Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Doggie Friends - a movie

click here to see a short video i made featuring some of my favourite doggie friends ...

or copy and paste this into a different browser:

and don't bother to

As Hunting Season Begins ...

As Hunting Season Begins in Connecticut, So Do the Lies and Misinformation
September 29, 2009 |

Contact: Priscilla Feral
Phone: (203) 656-1522

Darien,CT—“Each year, apologists for hunting are pressed to justify their violent, unethical deer-killing schemes bolstered by state wildlife agencies which profit from hunting,” says Friends of Animal’s president, Priscilla Feral.

In a press release issued by the pro-hunting group Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, traffic accidents, Lyme disease and environmental destruction are solely blamed on deer. The group even called for Fairfield County residents to sanction deer killings on their private property, to “do their part” to eradicate deer. As though deer must disappear to ensure public safety.

Hunting is on the decline, and has been for years; fewer than 1% of Connecticut’s residents hunt.

It’s no longer acceptable to call hunting recreation. Hunters invent social benefits to excuse their killings: “protecting” deer from “over-population” or people from disease, or feeding the hungry. They are “protecting” wildflowers from “over-browsing” and heading off collisions.

“What’s missing,” Feral says, “is respect for conscious life -- and for the truth.”

Feral observes that humans—the only species on earth whose population is truly out of control—often fail to acknowledge how our reckless overdevelopment and penchant to overpopulate directly impacts our perceived problems with deer and other free-living animals.

Hunting changes the way deer naturally evolve and can cause deer populations to increase. Nature itself ensures that the deer population is limited by available food, territory, and winter weather conditions, which restrict both food and range. Numerous studies over the years have shown that both the reproductive rate and the survival rate of deer will then decrease -- creating a natural balance.
Neither do deer cause Lyme disease; black-legged ticks carry the disease when immature, on smaller host animals than deer. Vigilant checks for ticks on the body and immediate removal, especially in the summer and early autumn weeks, are key for controlling the spread of Lyme disease.

It’s true: there are about a 1.5 million reported instances of drivers hitting deer in the United States every year. “So, clearly there is a problem, yet the quickest way to reduce deer/auto collisions is to get the hunters out of the woods,” Feral says. A 2002 study by Friends of Animals found that hunting actually exacerbates roadway deaths of deer because it can frighten deer into darting out to roadways. About half of all these collisions occur in just three months: October, November, and December -- hunting season.

Howard Kilpatrick, a biologist with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Connecticut, celebrates the fact that more land has been opened up to hunting -- telling the Stamford Advocate “that’s what we need to manage deer populations.” But what Kilpatrick doesn’t mention is his own professional bias: The DEP is a pro-hunting agency that is funded, in part, by the sale of hunting licenses and a federal excise tax on guns and ammu

Nature is being managed to death; it’s time for communities to call for ceasefires. Deer simply need us to let them be.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Review: Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy

By Janine Bandcroft for the Canadian Quakers

Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy is founded upon a time honoured Quaker principle – that we can better proceed into the future having borne witness to fundamental wrongs that need righting.

This book offers a breath of fresh optimism, encouraging us to realistically examine the past and confidently reach for a brighter future. We can see that the dominant worldview, which considers the earth and all her inhabitants as intended for human consumption, is clearly greed motivated and fundamentally wrong, and we can collectively change to live life in a way that instead reflects fundamental truths (ie earth is a closed system). We can embrace right relationship, which offers a guiding ethic for those wishing to lead fulfilling lives as creative and integrated participants within human society and the commonwealth of life as a whole.

History, after all (the authors argue), has seen its share of despots, but it’s also filled with great thinkers and philosophers who “bore witness to a fulfilling, spiritual way of living that drew on a deep sense of right relationship.” Confucious, Lao-tzu, Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), Asoka, Isaiah, and Amos (along with other Hebrew prophets); and, later, Jesus and Muhammed. The authors also cite the indigenous societies of North America as examples for communities grounded in respect and reciprocity.

The authors reference many others whose contributions to history have shaped a philosophical worldview that honours earth’s systems: Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Aldo Leopold, Henry David Thoreau, George Monbiot. They draw upon many and various resources: Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme, Lynn Margulis, Karl Polanyi, John Ralston Saul, James Lovelock, Elise Boulding, Paul Hawken, David Suzuki.

Right Relationship is clearly written and well-documented. It was completed prior to the great economic collapse of 2008/2009, but wouldn’t be surprised by it. It offers hope that the human spirit can learn from past transgressions and right its wrongs. Unfortunately, it’s lacking not only significant numbers of women’s voices, but especially feminist perspective and inspiration. As the now common phrasing goes, you cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.

I believe this book is genuinely motivated, and striving for new thinking, am frankly surprised that it renders so many great feminist thinkers invisible. Unless I missed it, there’s no mention of Riane Eisler (author of The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future, now published in 22 languages), Vandana Shiva (Hindi, environmental activist, winner of Right Livelihood award), Starhawk (self described witch, theorist of paganism, ecofeminist), Carol Gilligan (American feminist and author), Laura Flanders (British born American based journalist), Alice Walker (African American pulitzer prize winning feminist), Winona LaDuke (Native American economist, twice vice presidential candidate), Naomi Klein (Canadian journalist and author of the Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism), etc. Neither is there any reference to the words “feminism,” “ecofeminism,” or “consensus” in the book’s index.

Authors Peter Brown and Geoffrey Garver are right to insist that “the people of the world can bring about a right relationship between the human economy and the earth’s commonwealth of life.” Their four step program (grounding and clarification, design, witness, and nonviolent reform) offers much to inspire us, but without a feminist analysis to show us the fatal structural, philosophical, psychological, and theological errors and violent abuses that 2000+ years of patriarchal domination has wrought, we can’t really imagine a global vision that’s as radically different as the authors argue, quite convincingly, is needed.

Brown and Garver also suggest we design new or reformed global institutions including a Global Court, a Global Reserve, Global Trusteeships, and a Global Federation. It’s a nice idea, but globally minded institutions already exist, ostensibly with the greater good in mind. The rules of patriarchy seem to enable those minded to dig their claws into any hierarchy and usurp all good intentions. The United Nations, for example, was created so that the horrors of WWII would never be seen again, yet every day civilians are mercilessly slaughtered by increasingly technologically advanced weaponry – the buying and selling of which fuels the American (and other nations’) economy. Filmmaker Kevin Pina recently captured UN “peacekeepers” standing by while the Haitian military open fired on a crowd of peaceful protestors. Brown and Garver offer convincing arguments in favour of globally minded organizations but again, without the feminist perspective, we’ll just end up playing the same old hierarchical power and ego game.

Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy
is an honest look at what’s wrong with our economy, and it offers some interesting ideas about how we can fix it. It’s a worthwhile read, keeping in mind there’s a significant body of knowledge that’s missing from its otherwise adept analysis.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Howard Zinn - come to G20 protests Pittsburgh

capitalism: a love story (chapter 12)

(photo from portland's dignity village)

it's not that i don't like reading media other than the victoria street newz .... i'm a faithful reader of "focus," and parts of "monday magazine," and "common ground." i'd like focus and monday better if they'd print on recycled .... but the obligatory "newsgroup" bundle of advertising inserts wrapped in a few local news stories just doesn't interest me, mostly because i can't be responsible for that amount of wilderness destruction.

i'm staying at a home that doesn't post a "no newsgroup" notice on their mailbox, and so receives the obligatory bundle of dead trees. this morning i opened it, flipping through, reading the headlines. here is what i learned:

1. in an article titled "they treat the poor good in canada," a quote they managed to extract from one homeless woman who hasn't had it too bad, there's a sidebar that reads: "did you know? a profile of victoria's homeless: more than 40 per cent have a substance use disorder. almost 30 per cent have a mental illness. roughly 30 per cent are thought to have co-occurring disorders."

these "statistics" are sourced from the mayor's task force on breaking the cycle of mental illness, addictions, and homelessness, something an undemocratic organization (mayor and council) disguised as a democracy (while pushing a bridge taxpayers are opposed to) should know all about.

if i were to print these "statistics" in the victoria street newz, here's how i'd spin it:

did you know? a profile of victoria's homeless: almost 60 per cent have no substance use disorder. approximately 70 per cent have no mental illness. and about 70 per cent have no co-occuring disorders.

same book, different chapter.

2. that article's the first of the four part series that's gonna, i guess, showcase some of the approximately 400 people who've been housed since the coalition to end homelessness came into being in 2007. their goal is 1500 homes, and they've housed 400. i have no problem giving credit where it's due, i just wish they'd realize that you can't just take someone who's been on the streets 10 or 20 years and stick them in an apartment and think it's all gonna work out. have we talked about transitional tent cities lately ?

the next topic of discussion .... housing minister rich coleman's suggestion that legislation needs to be established to give police the power to force people into shelters.

the editorial speaks of the need to "keep the public safe." which portion of the public are they referring to, i wonder? to be fair, they explain that dogs and shopping carts aren't allowed in shelters, that they're segregated by gender which splits couples up, and that's why a lot of the street community just doesn't like them. there's also the issue of airborne tuberculosis which is easily spread in a shelter space, and the theft, and the need to be out really early in the morning and then line up again really early in the evening to get back in. and those shelter "beds" referred to are often no more than mats on a floor, side by each. no privacy. no autonomy. no independence.

interestingly, the previous article, about the homeless woman, explained that she lived quite happily in beacon hill park under a tarp for many months. (interesting, too ... the photo shows her cigarette's and ashtray atop a copy of the street newz ...)

the editorial concludes ..... "it's critical for coleman and his staff to consult with service providers - and their clients - to see just how it might work and whether b.c. needs provincewide legislation dictating a solution to what may strictly be a vancouver problem." how many economic collapses do we need, i wonder, before it becomes clear that homelessness isn't the problem .... capitalism is the problem. until we stop creating the wound, it's gonna keep bleeding and all the band-aids in the world ain't gonna stop it.

in cuba they can recall elected officials who don't appropriately represent them ...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

shut down the tar sands, find another way

monday's wake up call

according to, "2632 events in 134 countries, tens of thousands of phone calls crashing government lines, unbelievable creativity and diversity of events, directly reaching heads of state and cabinet ministers from Australia to Europe. Words can't describe it -- this video gets close":

how i survived (so far) during the swine flu epidemic

undoubtedly there are many people living in worse circumstances than me, also battling the flu. my heart goes out to you, truly.

"i hope it's not the h1n1 virus," people say to me, when i do venture out into society. i've tried to isolate myself but it's day 18, impossible to stay home forever, there are chores to contend with. i'm still moving mighty slowly, walking like an old person .... the other day i was sauntering along the sidewalk and was passed by two people much older than me. i actually borrowed my friend's car yesterday because i needed to get some stuff done and i knew there's no way i'd be able to ride my bike. i definitely understand what it is to live with chronic fatigue syndrome.

is it the "swine" flu? who knows. whatever it is, it's persistent. i'm no scientist, and with all due respect to them, i suspect humans can only make attempts to identify and name every little virus that springs to life. (apparently large numbers of undocumented species have already disappeared from the oceans so if humans haven't managed to categorize every living species on earth yet i doubt they've got a grip on all the "viruses.") some suggest the h1n1 (and perhaps the hiv virus, and who knows what else), was generated in a laboratory. nothing surprises me anymore .... the lack of action on homelessness in canada suggests to me that allowing a segment of the population to just drop off is probably considered a viable methodology for population control. as is war. as is, perhaps, the release of viruses and, sometimes, the subsequent vaccinations.

sometimes i think the whole human species has been quietly knocked off and replaced with some alien species who, like corporations, know no allegiance to the land they occupy. they're here for a good time, not a long time.

if the virus i've got wasn't created in a lab, it's the result of 7 billion people, most of them meat-eaters, using and abusing the earth and her resources. if i were the earth i'd be throwing up a line of defense too. ultimately, i'm on the earth's team. she, and all the myriad creatures who have evolved from and with her, would definitely be better off without the greedy humans.

but .... i'm a good human, born in this body 48 years ago and hoping to stay here for a while longer. i don't consume other sentient beings or their by-products. i live in a small space. i don't use air conditioning, but i do appreciate a bit of heat in the winter. i don't own a car, i walk, cycle, or bus. i'm a member of the car share cooperative for those special occasions. i travel long distances over land, whenever possible, riding amtrak or buses rather than flying. i buy in bulk, re-use plastic bags, use washable girl things, dry my laundry on racks, carry a mug, buy local, organic, recycled, and second hand whenever feasible. i don't buy bottled water. i recently invested in a soy milk making machine, a wonderful creation that will save lots and lots of tetra containers from the recycling bin. i try my best to enable others to be heard (though i won't enable the endorsement of violence in any form) through radio and newspaper (printed on recycled newsprint), attempting to think and work both globally and locally.

yesterday i bought a newly released herbal/vitamin product that seems to have brought me back from the brink - at least for now. for folks wanting to avoid donald rumsfeld's tamiflu "solution," here's a list of what i've been taking to help my own immune system boost itself. this is not to be considered medical advice, just sharing what works for me. i appreciate that these things cost money:

vitamin c (the emergenC packages are great), echinacea, colloidial silver, oil of oregano, astragalas, a multi-vitamin (i like veglife vegan ones, but i don't know if they're available in canada) .... and the two i picked up yesterday .... rejuvenate cell therapy (very expensive but my tooth abscess also responds favourably to it, i've been in root canal avoidance for several years) and, the one i think has really helped me start to feel human .... stressmune from sisu. all these things are vegan. i also visited a herbalist last week who gave me a combination of herbs that helped my cough. if someone made a vaccine that listed ingredients like these, i might be tempted.

so, if you're suffering from whatever strain of whatever flu, my thoughts are with you. as much as i'm on team earth philosophically, i believe the eternal universe will be better off if lifeforms from this planet can attain some form of enlightenment while they're here. the earth has lots to teach us.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Save the Private Insurance Companies !!

Funniest Protest Photos

A while back we collected the funniest protest signs from town halls, but we realized that wouldn't do it--there have been so many protests since then! We set to work to find the best of the year, but we need your help! Here's how it works: Find a pic of funny protest sign, hit the participate button below, give your submission a title, upload the image and hit submit! Feel free to add a caption!

Read more at:

don't try to

Monday, September 21, 2009

Juanes in Cuba: Quite a Concert - Havana

Juanes in Cuba: Quite a Concert - Havana

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 21 - It turned out to be quite a concert. Cuban TV, unlike the foreign press, had kept news about the event low-key. But on Friday its coverage of Juanes’ idea and its genesis began to increase.

That evening a documentary by journalist Esther Barroso was featured with interviews of Cuban singers Amaury Perez, Silvio Rodriguez, Carlos Varela and other national artists and music promoters.

Their views were juxtaposed with arguments from Florida Republicans Ileana Ros Lethinen and Lincoln Díaz Balart, and several musicians and analysts from Miami-something that hasn’t been seen since the Elian Gonzalez episode nearly a decade ago. The initial perception by ordinary Cubans was a mixture of and astonishment and amazement.

Posted using ShareThis

just visiting ... a response to the conservative ads

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The New Cuban Revolucion

From Caravanista Greg in Minnesota:

The New Cuban Revolucion

As the daughter of President Raul Castro, Mariela Castro Espin could have done anything -- or nothing -- with her life. So why did she decide to become a champion of Cuba's gay and transgender communities?
By Michael Rowe, Photography by Byron Motley

The Advocate
September 14, 2009
Click on "The Advocate" to

waiting for the body bag ....

today, for me, is day 13 of the whatever flu. is it the hiney (h1n1) brand? i dunno. i'm not gonna invite that fear. it's a flu. i've visited my herbalist friend, got a good batch of natural earth blessed medicine and, thankfully, can rest and sleep until this damned thing finally releases me from its grip. and when it does, i'll be immunized, to some degree, at least against this particular strain.

they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. if it kills me, i'll get a free body bag from the government and get on with the next life. at least it won't be self-inflicted death by vaccination. did you hear they brought donald rumsfeld's tamiflu vaccine to the indigenous village of ahousaht and now there's a bunch of sick people?

no thanks. i'd much rather be sick from "natural" causes (not precluding the possibility that the virus was built in a lab somewhere, or, as the story goes, is the result of peoples' continued insistence on torturing animals for the unnecessary purpose of eating them) than forced to be innoculated with some corporate pharmaceutical death drug. have you seen what's in that flu shot? according to an article penned by stephen lendman, and published here,

"Vaccines contain the following toxic and others substances:

-- thimerosal (mercury);

-- aluminum hydroxide and phosphate;

--ammonium sulfate;

-- amphotericin B,

-- animal tissues and fluids, including horse blood, rabbit brain, dog kidney, monkey kidney, chick embryo, chicken egg, duck egg, pig blood, and porcine (pig) protein/tissue;

-- calf serum and fetal bovine serum;

-- betapropiolactone;

-- macerated cancer cells;

-- formaldehyde;

-- formalin;

-- synthetic phenol;

-- gelatin and hydrolyzed gelatin;

-- glycerol;

-- human diploid cells (from aborted human fetal tissue);

-- MSG;

-- the anti-biotics neomycin and neomycin sulfate;

-- phenol red indicator disinfectant dye;

-- phenoxyethanol (antifreeze);

-- potassium monophosphate;

-- polymyxin B;

-- polysorbate 20 and 80;

-- residual MRC5 proteins;

-- sorbitol;

-- sucrose;

-- tri(n)butylphosphate;

-- VERO cells, a continuous line of monkey kidney cells linked to the SV-40 virus known to cause leukemia; and

-- washed sheep red blood cells.

One or a combinations of theses substances can play havoc with the human immune and neurological systems and cause deadly autoimmune and other diseases."

no thanks. and i'd like my body bag to be constructed from recycled materials please, and completely biodegradable.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who says citizen journalism is unreliable and untrustworthy?

From Zoe Blunt --

After revelations that Len Barrie failed to pay back his share of the interchange loan, Mayor Stew Young has gone AWOL and Councillor Denise Blackwell is dodging calls from the media. Only Acting Mayor Lanny Seaton has the guts and integrity to face the public and bravely ... blame city staff for failing to tell him Len Barrie missed his $4.79 million payment on March 2, 2009. Believable? Not really. Plus, views of the abandoned interchange, a few words from me about the mess they're in, accountants and investors argue about missing money, and a woman whose house on Bear Mountain is literally crumbling! (A-Channel News, 3 minutes) Watch it on YouTube:

(and, from the rumour mill ... it's been said that len barrie bought a lear jet last year and regularly flies to various exclusive golf resorts. anybody work at the airport who can confirm?)

No need to try and

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You, Me and the SPP: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule

You are invited to attend a screening of my film about the Security and Prosperity Partnership entitled ‘You, Me and the SPP: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule’ during the SPP National Victory tour.

The tour, which will visit 33 cities across Canada, will be launched with an Ottawa Premiere on Parliament Hill on October 1st. hosted by NDP International Trade Critic, Peter Julian.

The Ottawa screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A, featuring, Peter Julian, Teresa Healy (Senior Researcher, Canadian Labour Congress), Bruce Campbell (Executive Director, Canadian Council for Policy Alternatives), Maude Barlow (Chairperson, Council of Canadians), Louise Casselman (Common Frontiers) and myself. The screening and panel will be streamed live by, they have set up a promo page.

From Ottawa, I will be working my way east to Newfoundland and then back across Canada to British Columbia. You can see all the tour dates on the film website. Each confirmed screening date has a pdf poster, handbill and press release that can be downloaded and used to promote the screening. Please help out where you can. All of the screenings are either free or by donation.

There are number of communities I was invited to but could not fit into the schedule. If you live in a community I am not visiting and would like to host a screening without me, please do so. Get in touch and I will set you up with a copy of the film and promotional materials.

Many of you are aware that the SPP is officially no longer an active initiative of the three NAFTA governments. This is a victory! This secretive, anti-demomcratic process became too politically poisonous for almost any politician to openly embrace.

But this is not the end of the corporate integrationist agenda that spawned the SPP. If you believe that the SPP agenda is dead, one of it's architects, Thomas d'Aquino, who heads the Canadian Council of Chief Executives will tell you you’re “dreaming in Technicolor.” The name is gone but the corporate agenda lives on. Check out the article I posted on the youmespp website and follow the links.

The corporate giants and right wing think tanks are working on SPP 2.0 and we need to be prepared. Education is key and that’s why I made 'You, Me and the SPP' and why I’m doing this tour. Please help spread the word to your contacts across Canada.

I hope to see you on tour!


Paul Manly

250 729-1254

Monday, September 14, 2009

Colonization all over again

MNN. Sep. 12, 2009. The three colonies of Canada, US and Mexico are forming a political block to better control Indigenous labor and to seize our resources.

In 1973, Henry Kissinger in effect said that depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the less developed countries because the US needs to steal their resources.

The greatest resistance to global control by international banker thugs are indigenous communities. We assert autonomy, self-determination and human rights when we communally hold our territory. This creates an obstacle to theft of our land and resources by US political and economic interests.

The US military and geographers have a plan to prey on and dissolve indigenous communities and resistance.

In 2005, the US Department of Defense gave Kansas University $500,000 to map communally-held indigenous land in the Mexican states of San Luis Potosi and Oaxaca. The professors and the US Foreign Military Studies Office FMSO at Fort Leavenworth are implementing the „Mexico Indigena‰ program to privatize Indigenous lands which are presently held communally.

The Officers are trained in land and resource theft at the US Army School of the Americas which also teaches torture and sets up death squads in Latin America.

The plan is to get rid of Indigenous autonomy and self-determination to get our territory and resources. Propaganda is being spread that our communities are breeding grounds of crime and insurgency and must be done away with.

Land data and military strategy was carried out in Colombia [Mapping Colombia: Land Data and Strategy]. While collecting data, the FMSO assessed so-called guerrilla armies, terrorist organizations and Indigenous defenses.

In 1992 the Mexican President revoked Article 27 of the constitution which had turned communal land grants over to Mexico‚s indigenous people in 1912. The North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA revoked this.

The day NAFTA went into effect, on January 1, 1994, the Zapatistas captured a third of the state of Chiapas, who continue to resist and inspire human rights struggles elsewhere.

Oaxaca State is extremely wealthy in natural resources. It is a site for NAFTA based mega industrial projects known as Plan Puebla Panama such as highways, railways, ports, wind energy, mines, agribusinesses, and maquiladora-style assembly plants. Indigenous communities are pushed off their land, used for cheap labor or robbed of their livelihood because they are considered non-viable.

A geographer at the University of the Earth in Oaxaca City saw the danger of these mapping junkets. They were combined with talks for US military aid known as the Merida Initiative. The military planned to displace Indigenous communities, remove hot spots and control the region. Natural and mineral resources could then be stolen by the government and its transnational allies.

On June 14, 2006 a teacher‚s union strike in Oaxaca City blew up into a popular Indigenous uprising of farm workers, teachers, students, housewives, and laborers. The people wanted traditional forms of land tenure and self-governance.

The Oaxacan People‚s Popular Assembly APPO took over the state‚s capitol city for six months. It became the de-facto government, organized under the Indigenous principle of leading by obeying the people. Organizing was done by consensus.

APPO members occupied state, local, and federal government offices throughout the city and took over food, water, transportation and communication. The state retaliated with murder, disappearance, rape, torture and police led drive-by shootings. The social movement was eroded for a while.

During this resistance, the „Mexico Indigena‰ mapping project moved its operation to a biologically diverse and mineral-rich region in Oaxaca.

Territory and culture are together in daily life for the indigenous of southern Mexico. Free Trade forces a loss of identity and tradition. There is constant propaganda that devalues Indigenous culture. Mannequins in Oaxaca City are tall, skinny, and very white. The most prevalent cosmetic product sold to indigenous women is skin bleach. We obviously need to reclaim our autonomy, territory and natural identity.

Negating communal land holding is to deny indigenous culture, life and identity. The US knows that our relationship with the land is the biggest threat to the capitalists. Our identity and our birthright is the land. International law dictates that changes can only be made with our full knowledge and consent, which we‚ll never give. Removing the artificial borders between Canada, US and Mexico is for the immigrants and foreigners, not us.

Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News, Note: Your financial help is needed and appreciated. Please send your donations by check or money order to "MNN Mohawk Nation News", Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0. Or go to PayPal on MNN website. Nia:wen thank you very much.

Go to MNN "WORLD" category for more stories; New MNN Books Available now!
Left Turn July/Aug 2009, Simon Sedillo

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hospital Employees Union Welcomes Activists

(photo: Cuba's hospitals lack equipment, because of the 48 year economic embargo. But they don't lack political will, or funding, or doctors, or nurses, or staff, or cleanliness, or loving care.)

About 60 support workers from across the province gathered at HEU’s Provincial Office on September 9 and 10 for the first of five facilities occupational conferences.

During the two-day forum, members spoke about their work, why it’s important, what challenges they face, and how their jobs contribute to the health care team and the delivery of quality care to British Columbians. Along with seasoned HEU veterans, there were a number of new activists attending their first-ever union function.

Rhonda Bruce and John Evans, co-chairs of the support workers subcommittee, kicked off the conference, welcoming participants, introducing subcommittee and Provincial Executive (P.E.) members as well as elected union officers – president Ken Robinson and financial secretary Donisa Bernardo – before HEU’s secretary-business manager Judy Darcy took the podium.

In her opening remarks, Darcy spoke about the critical role of the occupational conferences in upcoming bargaining talks, and thanked participants for “stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility” to mobilize support workers.

“By being here, you’re taking on a leadership role in identifying a short list of bargaining priorities,” says Darcy. “We need to be strategic, focused and creative. I’m not going to sugar-coat anything. I’m going to be brutally honest with you about these challenging times.”

During bargaining discussions, Darcy cited seven major challenges for health care workers, including the recent Lower Mainland consolidation announcement, the BC Liberals’ $360 million budget cut to health authorities, the ongoing reorganization of Shared Services, and government’s firm stance on a public-sector wage freeze.

But she also noted factors that are in HEU’s favour – the union’s Bill 29 Supreme Court victory which restored our legal right to negotiate on job security, the Campbell government’s poor record on privatization and its impact on infection control (such as the C-Difficile outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital), the mounting public concern about government budget cuts to health care funding, and the vital services HEU members provide to British Columbians every single day.

Representing food services, security, transportation, shipping/receiving, housekeeping, stores and laundry, conference participants broke into small groups by occupation and also by region to share information, strategize on bargaining, and identify workplace challenges, such as workload, short-staffing, malfunctioning equipment, supply shortages, safety issues, pressure from management and other departments, and computer systems that aren’t user-friendly.

Many of the groups emphasized the high level of accuracy, knowledge and education expected in their jobs.

“Getting the right supply or product to the correct location in a timely manner can avoid delaying or cancelling surgeries,” explained one shipper/receiver. “We’re efficient. If we can’t get our jobs done, then there are longer waitlists for patients.”

One housekeeper referred to herself as an infection control technician. “We are not just housekeepers. We are the hospital’s infection control. Cleaners can save lives.”

Adds a food services worker, “We have the nutritional knowledge and education to help patients heal. These aren’t entry-level jobs.”

And a laundry worker reports, “Without sterilized linens, there are no surgeries, no patient admissions. We have skills, but we’re only noticed when we’re needed. When everything is in place, nobody acknowledges the work we’ve done.”

Following informative, and often witty, presentations from participants about their work, Darcy commented that “members’ stories have to get out there. The public, politicians and health employers need to know the vital roles HEU members play in health care, and we need to affirm the importance of the jobs you do every day. And it’s going to take the ‘new energy’ as well as ‘experienced energy’ to get the word out.”

At the end of the conference, support workers identified job security, enhanced seniority rights, stronger health and safety language, and increased training opportunities as bargaining priorities for the P.E. to forward to Wage Policy in November.

HEU president Ken Robinson concluded the session, reminding participants of the importance of solidarity and unity. “We must stay the course and be strong throughout, so that we win respect and the workplace rights that every HEU member deserves.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

here's one thing i don't like about cuba ....

curious? go to this website ... this one here .... and type in "havana cuba." then type in "portland oregon." why the difference? i'm pretty sure it's not because capitalism is better than socialism ....

p.s. i haven't figured out how to get this to not print sometimes, so just don't

a funny clip found on a vegan site while searching for photos of vancouver's rally to oppose arts funding cuts

life is full of surprises

last week a presumably drug crazed guy verbally accosted me in centennial square. i told him he wasn't going to be doing those sorts of things with me, and looked quickly around to see who might assist me if the man proved to be problematic. for perhaps the first time since i founded the street newz four and a half years ago and began to hear about the incessant harrassment of homeless people by such military minded employees, i found myself relieved to see one in close proximity. the man moved along without incident.

today, after i hauled my sick flu infected ass downtown for an appointment at the school of accupuncture (where my sinuses were miraculously cleared and my energy mysteriously aligned), i had an opportunity to chat with a native friend who happened to be riding the same bus. i asked him what he thought about the million dollar "revitalization" of centennial square, with the two new totem poles. i don't think those were built by our people, he said, the salamander isn't a part of our culture. who built them, i asked? he didn't know. guessed it was someone from saskatchewan. but definitely not the folks around here. my friend's from the northern island, with friends in the middle of the island, and he lives here on the southern island. i trust his judgement. they're nice totem poles, but wtf?! a million dollars? and they appear neither to have been built, nor to be representative of, the local indigenous culture?

then, just now, my plague ridden flat mate told me about some elected senator or congressperson lunatic who heckled obama in the middle of his health care speech. isn't that like going to church and yelling "bah, jesus, what a crock?" and he shared this, from some of those who seem to have escaped the "socialism is always evil" bullshit that plagues so many of our whacky southern neighbours ......

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

there's gotta be a better way ....

while i was in cuba i spoke with gerry and diana about fresno's pam kincaid neighbourhood centre, established (partially) with money that homeless people were awarded in a lawsuit after they charged police who continued to steal all their things. click here to access it.

and, on the subject of cuba, check out these awesome photos that bexie took!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

gotta pay for those olympics somehow ....

Pacific Region IMAA Supports Art Strike! In Response to BC Funding Claw Backs

The Independent Media Arts Alliance is a national association representing 84 social-profit artist-run centres and over 15,000 artists across Canada. These days their attention is given to the Pacific region. The announcement made in BC on 28 August 2009 that Direct Access Gaming revenues were being slashed rippled through arts communities across Canada, echoing a ripple that ran across the country when earlier this year cuts of 40% were announced to the BC Arts Council.

Early last week the provincial government announced a partial–and what many expect to be temporary–reinstatment of funds to gaming clients that had pre-existing contracts. However, many organizations are still facing funding shortfalls that will impede their ability to function in the short-term, and a large number of organizations are still unclear about what the future holds for them. Artist-run centres have been hit particularly hard as many did not have multi-year contracts. Some of these centres will close their doors, as seems the fate of Vancouver’s Helen Pitt Gallery. Others will proceed with significantly reduced programming, which will then affect their ability to fulfill the terms of their grants with other funding bodies such as the Canada Council, thus jeopardizing their support from other sources.

According to Spencer Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-Burrard, 85%-92% of core provincial funding for arts and culture will be cut by 2012, from both tax-based and non tax-based [gaming] streams, including a devastating cut of 40% to the BC Arts Council’s operating budget. Herbert quotes the following figures:

Total support for arts and culture organizations in BC from 2008-2012, including all sources (Gaming, BC Arts and Culture Special Endowment, Direct taxpayer investment) are:

2008/2009–47.8 million
2009/2010–42.219 million (as of February)
2009/2010–23.075 million (suddenly, as of September)
2010/2011–3.749 million
2011/2012–3.675 million

BC’s per capita arts funding has long been near the bottom compared to other Canadian provinces, and BC is the only province to cut cultural funding as a result of the economic downturn. It is puzzling indeed to try and understand the motivation of the BC Liberals when even their own statistics show that for every government dollar spent, $1.38 is cycled back into the economy through tax revenues.

Further, during 2009’s provincial election, the BC Liberal’s official platform stated that, “In the new creative economy, art, theatre, culture, sport, design and other creative enterprises are integral components of a thriving technology industry and a vibrant society that can attract and retain highly skilled workers…Our film, visual, and musical arts communities help define a rich cultural diversity and vibrancy that always puts BC in a great light internationally.” Given the imminent arrival of the Olympics, it is bewildering why the provincial government would choose to so seriously impair their arts and cultural communities.

Regardless of these facts, the importance of the arts should be recognized beyond its contribution to the economy. Government funding for the arts is essential for nourishing artistic freedom and creativity, which in turn stimulates an understanding of diversity, inclusiveness and social awareness, all qualities that have defined our nation. The arts play a vital role in shaping and giving meaning to individual lives and culture in general, but also contribute to the imaginings of possible futures for a society. If the BC Liberals are allowed to demean the arts in the manner they have proposed, the social fabric of their province will surely fade to grey.

Please join us at Noon on Wednesday, 09 September, at the Olympic Clock at the Vancouver Art Gallery for Art Strike! Or in Victoria at Noon on Wednesday, 09 September, in front of the office of the BC Cultural Services Branch, 800 Johnson Street [corner of Johnson and Blanchard].

Wear grey because flat grey symbolizes the end of culture under the recent Liberal government cuts to cultural services, though the IMAA is hopeful that the BC government will recognize this as a major blunder and will reverse its decision to attack the heart of its people.

cheyanne turions, Pacific Region Representative of the Independent Media Arts
See the IMAA online here

Monday, September 7, 2009

Obama Steps Good for Cuban Families

September 6, 2009

, Sept. 5 - The end of restrictions on Cuban-Americans travel to Cuba and their sending of remittances to the island, announced by the Barack Obama administration last April and put into effect last Thursday, “is a measure awaited by all and, moreover, necessary,” said Dionisio García, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba.

The first steps taken towards a change in Washington’s Cuba-policy, “Will favor interfamily relations, searching for a spirit of understanding and reconciliation,” said Garcia.

The restrictions that had been effect on Cuban Americans still apply to the rest of US citizens who are forbidden from visiting Cuba without special US Treasury Dept. permission.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pastors for Peace visited by FBI

(Click here to see a short video filmed just prior to the US/Mexico border crossing on July 21 2009.)

Coming off the great success of the 20th Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba, we want thank all of you for your support, which was vitally important to making this Caravan a huge success.

We want also to notify all of our network, as we have the Caravanistas themselves, that immediately upon return, in fact before my return to the office, the FBI had visited the IFCO/Pastors for Peace office. Yesterday we learned that Ignacio Meneses of the US/Cuba Labor Exchange, who travelled to Cuba along with the Venceremos Brigade, recently received a visit by the FBI at his home. Because now two persons who travelled to Cuba in August have received visits from the FBI, we thought it would be appropriate to share the information that we sent out to the Caravanistas on August 18th, 2009, to our whole network.

We want to inform you that the IFCO/Pastors for Peace office received a "visit" from two FBI agents only one day after the Mexico/US border crossing. On Aug 4th agents arrived saying that they were doing "community outreach" and stopped by our office to chat and talk with us. They directly asked if they could come in and talk with us. Of course, we followed the same advice we give everybody who travels with us. We said, ìNo, you cannot come in.î We asked for their address and promised to have our attorney write to them. Our staff then immediately sat down, wrote a statement to describe in detail exactly what had transpired, who said what- every detail. We did this while the visit was fresh in our memories so that we would be less likely to forget any details. These statements/affidavits are in the hands of our attorney.

During orientation and the "reentry meeting" you were told all the Caravanistas that the FBI might visit them, or their friends, family or co-workers. This is why we briefed them on their rights when the FBI knocks, we are now extending this briefing to our entire network. You are under no obligation to talk with the FBI or let them into your home or workplace. We advise you to get their contact information and let them know that your attorney will be in touch with them.

A copy of the booklet "When an Agent Knocks," published by the Center for Constitutional Rights is attached. It is also important to let IFCO know immediately if you have been visited by the FBI- and to always make sure to get the cards and badge numbers of any officers that may visit you. Most of all we must remember not to talk to the FBI or let them into our homes. Also if any of you have ever received a letter from OFAC, don't answer the letter. Instead, immediately make a copy of the letter and the front and back of the envelope and send it to IFCO. We will inform you on how to proceed from this point.

If you have any questions or hesitations, please feel free to raise them with us, call, e-mail or write the office.

- Lucius Walker

418 West 145th Street, 3-FL.
New York NY 10031
tel: 212.926.5757 - fax 212.926.5842 - e-mail

When An Agent Knocks If an Agent Knocks - Federal Investigators and Your Rights

People opposing U.S. policies in Central America, giving sanctuary to refugees from Guatemala and El Salvador, struggling for Black liberation, and against nuclear weapons, are today more than ever likely to receive visits from FBI agents or other federal investigators. Increasingly, agents are also visiting the families, friends, and employers of these activists.

This pamphlet is designed to answer the most frequent questions asked by people and groups experiencing government scrutiny, and to help them develop practical responses.
What is political intelligence?

Political intelligence is information collected by the government about individuals and groups. Files secured under the Freedom of Information Act disclose that government officials have long been interested in all forms of data. Information gathered by government agents ranges from the most personal data about sexual liaisons and preferences to estimates of the strength of groups opposing U.S. policies. Over the years, groups and individuals have developed various ways of limiting the collection of information and preventing such intelligence gathering from harming their work.

Do I have to talk to the FBI?

No. The FBI does not have the authority to make anyone answer questions (other than name and address see errata), to permit a search without a warrant, or to otherwise cooperate with an investigation. Agents are usually lawyers, and they are always trained as investigators; they have learned the power of persuasion, the ability to make a person feel scared, guilty, or impolite for refusing their requests for information. So remember, they have no legal authority to force people to do anything — unless they have obtained an arrest or search warrant.
Even when agents do have warrants, you still don’t have to answer their questions.

Under what laws do the agents operate?

In 1976, FBI guidelines regulating the investigation of political activities were issued by Attorney General Edward H. Levi. Criticized by liberals and conservatives alike, the guidelines were issued in the wake of a Congressional committee’s report of highly questionable activities by the FBI, monitoring the activities of domestic political groups seeking to effect change. The report exposed the FBI’s counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) under which the agency infiltrated groups, compiled dossiers on, and directly interfered with individuals engaged in activities protected by the First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and association.

The FBI COINTELPRO program was initiated in 1956. Its purpose, as described later by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, was “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize activities” of those individuals and organizations whose ideas or goals he opposed. Tactics included: falsely labelling individuals as informants; infiltrating groups with persons instructed to disrupt the group; sending anonymous or forged letters designed to promote strife between groups; initiating politically motivated IRS investigations; carrying out burglaries of offices and unlawful wiretaps; and disseminating to other government agencies and to the media unlawfully obtained derogatory information on individuals and groups.
In 1983, Attorney General William French Smith issued superseding guidelines that authorized “domestic security/ terrorism” investigations against political organizations whenever the FBI had a reasonable belief that these groups might violate a law. The new guidelines permitted the same intrusive techniques the FBI used against organized crime.

The Smith guidelines were justified by the Attorney General’s observation that “our citizens are no less threatened by groups which engage in criminal violence for political… purposes that by those which operate lawlessly for financial gain.” He concluded: “we must ensure that criminal intelligence resources that have been brought to bear so effectively in organized crime and racketeering investigations are effectively employed in domestic security/ terrorism cases.” The guidelines provide, therefore, no safeguards to protect against infringements of First Amendment rights.

Worst, they ignore the history of COINTELPRO abuses, and abolish the distinction between regular criminal investigations and investigations of groups and individuals seeking political change. They fail to limit the investigative techniques used to obtain data on political groups, so that now the FBI may use any technique, including electronic surveillance and informers, against political organizations.

Today, the FBI may begin a full investigation whenever there is a reasonable indication that “two or more persons are engaged in an enterprise for the purpose of furthering political or social goals wholly or in part through activities that involve force or violence and a violation of the criminal laws of the United States.” The FBI has interpreted “force or violence” to include the destruction of property as a symbolic act, and the mere advocacy of such property destruction would trigger an investigation. Even without any reasonable indication, under a separate guideline on “Civil Disorders and Demonstrations Involving a Federal Interest,” the FBI may investigate an organization that plans only legal and peaceful demonstrations.
Another set of rules governing federal intelligence gathering is Executive Order 12333, in force since 1981. It authorizes the FBI and CIA to infiltrate, manipulate and destroy U.S.political organizations, as well as to use electronic surveillance — under the pretext of an international intelligence investigation.

What federal agencies are likely to be interested in a citizen’s political activities and affiliations?

The FBI is still the major national intelligence-gathering agency. There are also many other federal, state, local and private investigative agencies. At least 26 federal agencies may gather intelligence, including the Immigration & Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, and the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Local police agencies sometimes contain “special services” units and narcotics or other “strike forces” in which federal, state, and local agencies cooperate. The Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency are particularly active when a political organization has or is suspected to have international contacts. Military security agencies and increasingly significant “private” research institutes and security agencies also gather intelligence.

A recent Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of the Livermore Action Group, an anti-nuclear organization, revealed that the Navy, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the Marine Corps all sent agents to the Group’s public meetings and kept newspaper reports of such meetings. Most chilling was the revelation that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — the federal agency charged with implementing martial law in the event of a nuclear war — was also watching the Livermore group.

Federal and state, local and private agencies, all tend to share information in a variety of ways. How does the FBI learn about citizens and organizations?

Political intelligence is gathered from public sources, such as newspapers and leaflets. It is also collected by informers who may be government employees or people recruited by them. Political intelligence is also collected through FBI visits to your home or office. We are here most concerned with this aspect of intelligence gathering.

Agents may be sent to interview people after FBI officials decide there is a “reasonable indication” that an organization or person meets the guidelines for a “domestic security” investigation. Such interviews are a primary source of information, for most people are not aware of their right not to talk to federal agents.

Most people are also unaware of the limits to the power of FBI and other investigative agents. Many people visited by agents are also afraid of being rude or uncooperative. Agents may be friendly and courteous, as if they are attempting to protect you or your organization, or express admiration for your organization and its goals. Occasionally, the FBI may persuade a disaffected member of an organization to give them information about other members, including their personal lives, character and vulnerabilities.

A major job of FBI agents is to convince people to give up their rights to silence and privacy. For example, after a Quaker pacifist spoke in Anchorage, Alaska, at a memorial service for El Salvador’s Archbishop Romero, FBI agents visited a local priest and interrogated him about the speaker. The agents asked about the speaker’s organizational affiliations and expressed fears about “terrorist connections.” The agents informed the priest that they would do a “computer check” on the speaker and his wife, and asked the priest if the two might do violence to the U.S. President, scheduled to visit the area. These interrogations were repeated in the community by agents who later admitted there was no basis for their questions about “terrorist connections” and the danger to the President.
What if I suspect surveillance?

Prudence is the best course, no matter who you suspect, or what the basis of your suspicion. When possible, confront the suspected person in public, with at least one other person present. If the suspect declines to answer, he or she at least now knows that you are aware of the surveillance. Recently, religious supporters of a nation- wide call to resist possible U.S. intervention in Central America noticed unfamiliar people lurking around their offices at 6 a.m., but failed to ask what they wanted and who they were. If you suspect surveillance, you should not hesitate to ask the suspected agents names and inquire about their business.
The events giving rise to suspicions of surveillance vary widely, but a general principle remains constant: confront the suspected agents politely and in public (never alone) and inquire of their business. If the answer does not dispel your suspicion, share it with others who may be affected and discuss a collective response. Do not let fears generated by “conspicuous” surveillance create unspoken tensions that undermine your work and organization. Creating fear is often the purpose of obvious surveillance. When in doubt, call a trusted lawyer familiar with political surveillance. Please do not call the number that was printed here as the Movement Support Network Hotline, because it is no longer active, and is now the private residence of an unrelated person.

How should I respond to threatening letters or calls?

If your home or office is broken into, or threats have been made against you, your organization, or someone you work with, share this information with everyone affected. Take immediate steps to increase personal and office security. You should discuss with your organization’s officials and with a lawyer whether and how to report such incidents to the police. If you decide to make a report, do not do so without the presence of counsel.

What rights do I have?

1.The Right to Work for Change. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who advocate, petition, and assemble to accomplish changes in laws, government practices, and even the form of government political intelligence gathering is not supposed to interfere with these rights.

2.The Right to Remain Silent. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to remain silent in the face of questions (other than name and address) posed by any police officer or government agent.

Since 1970, however, federal prosecutors may request judges to order a subpoenaed witness to testify, after a grant of immunity, at a grand jury hearing or at a criminal trial. This grant of immunity means that your Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify is taken away. What is given to you is only the promise not to use your testimony against you in a subsequent criminal prosecution. But you can still be charged with a crime. Failure to testify after a grant of immunity is discussed on page 12 below.

3.The Right to be Free from “Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.” Without a warrant, no government agent is allowed to search your home or office (or any other place that is yours and private) You may refuse to let FBI agents come into your house or into your workplace. unless they have a search warrant. Politeness aside, the wisest policy is never to let agents inside. They are trained investigators and will make it difficult for you to refuse to talk. Once inside your home or office, just by looking around, they can easily gather information about your lifestyle, organization, and reading habits.

The right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” is based on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. This Amendment is supposed to protect against government access to your mail and other written communications, telephone and other conversations. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect government interference with writings and conversations. Modern technology makes it difficult to detect electronic surveillance on a telephone line, other listening devices, or cameras that record whatever occurs in a room. Also common are physical surveillance (such as agents following in car or on foot), mail covers, and informers carrying tape recorders.

What should I do if police, FBI, or other agents appear with an arrest or search warrant?
Agents who have an arrest or search warrant are the only ones you are legally required to let into your home or office. You should ask to see the warrant before permitting access. And you should immediately ask to call a lawyer. For your own physical safety you should not resist, even if they do not show you the warrant, or if they refuse to let you call your lawyer. To the extent permitted by the agents conducting a search, you should observe the search carefully, following them and making mental or written notes of what the agents are doing.
As soon as possible, write down what happened and discuss it with your lawyer.

What should I do if agents come to question me?

Even when agents come with a warrant, you are under no legal obligation to tell them anything other than your name and address. It is important, if agents try to question you, not to answer or make any statements, at least not until after you have consulted a lawyer.

Announce your desire to consult a lawyer, and make every reasonable effort to contact one as quickly as possible. Your statement that you wish to speak to the FBI only in the presence of a lawyer, even if it accomplishes nothing else, should put an end to the agents’ questions.

Department of Justice policy requires agents to cease questioning, or refrain from questioning, anyone who informs them that he or she is represented by a lawyer. To reiterate: upon first being contacted by any government investigator the safest thing to say is, “Excuse me, but I’d like to talk to my lawyer before I say anything to you.” Or, “I have nothing to say to you. I will talk to my lawyer and have her or him contact you.” If agents ask for your lawyer’s name, ask for their business card, and say you will have your lawyer contact them. Remember to get the name, agency, and telephone number of any investigator who visits you. If you do not have a lawyer, call the local office of the National Lawyers Guild.

As soon as possible after your first contact with an investigator, write a short memo about the visit, including the date, time, location, people present, any names mentioned by the investigators, and the reason they gave for their investigation. Also include descriptions of the agents and their car, if any. This may be useful to your lawyer and to others who may be contacted by the same agents.

After discussing the situation with your lawyer, you may want to alert your co-workers, friends, neighbors, or political associates about the visit. The purpose is not to alarm them, but to insure that they understand their rights. It might be a good idea to do this at a meeting at which the history of investigative abuse is presented.

If I don’t cooperate, doesn’t it look like I have something to hide?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The answer involves the nature of political “intelligence” investigations and the job of the FBI. Agents will try to make you feel that it will “look bad” if you don’t cooperate with them. Many people not familiar with how the FBI operates worry about being uncooperative.

Though agents may say they are only interested in “terrorists” or protecting the President, they are intent on learning about the habits, opinions, and affiliations of people not suspected of wrongdoing. Such investigations, and the kind of controls they make possible, are completely incompatible with political freedom, and with the political and legal system envisaged by the Constitution.

While honesty may be the best policy in dealing with other people, FBI agents and other investigators are employed to ferret out information you would not freely share with strangers. Trying to answer agents’ questions, or trying to “educate them” about your cause, can be very dangerous — as dangerous as trying to outsmart them, or trying to find out their real purpose. By talking to federal investigators you may, unwittingly, lay the basis for your own prosecution — for giving false or inconsistent information to the FBI. It is a federal crime to make a false statement to an FBI agent or other federal investigator. A violation could even be charged on the basis of two inconsistent statements spoken out of fear or forgetfulness.

Are there any circumstances under which it is advisable to cooperate with an FBI investigation?
Never without a lawyer. There are situations, however, in which an investigation appears to be legitimate, narrowly focused, and not designed to gather political intelligence. Such an investigation might occur if you have been the victim of a crime, or are a witness to civil rights violations being prosecuted by the federal government. Under those circumstances, you should work closely with a lawyer to see that your rights are protected while you provide only necessary information relevant to a specific incident. Lawyers may be able to avoid a witness’ appearance before a grand jury, or control the circumstances of the appearance so that no one’s rights are jeopardized.
How can grand juries make people go to jail?

After being granted immunity and ordered to testify by a judge, grand jury witnesses who persist in refusing to testify can be held in “civil contempt.” Such contempt is not a crime, but it results in the witness being jailed for up to 18 months, or the duration of the grand jury, whichever is less. The purpose of the incarceration is to coerce the recalcitrant witness to testify. In most political cases, testifying before a grand jury means giving up basic political principles, and so the intended coercion has no effect — witnesses continue to refuse to testify.
Witnesses who, upon the request of a grand jury, refuse to provide “physical exemplars” (samples of handwriting, hair, appearance in a lineup, or documents) may also be jailed for civil contempt, without having been granted immunity.

The charge of “criminal contempt” is also available to the government as a weapon against uncooperative grand jury witnesses. For “criminal contempt” there is no maximum penalty — the sentence depends entirely on what the judge thinks is appropriate. Charges of criminal contempt are still rare. They have been used, however, against Puerto Rican independentistas, especially those who have already served periods of incarceration for civil contempt.

Is there any way to prevent grand jury witnesses from going to jail?
There is no sure-fire way to keep a grand jury witness from going to jail. Combined legal and community support often make a difference, however, in whether a witness goes to jail and, if so, for how long. Early awareness of people’s rights to refuse to talk to the FBI may, in fact, prevent you from receiving a grand jury subpoena. If the FBI is only interested in getting information from you, but not in jailing you, you may not receive a grand jury subpoena.
What can lawyers do?

A lawyer can help to ensure that government investigators only do what they are authorized to do. An attorney can see to it that you do not give up any of your rights. If you are subpoenaed to a grand jury your lawyer can challenge the subpoena in court, help to raise the political issues that underlie the investigation, and negotiate for time. Your lawyer can also explain to you the grand jury’s procedures and the legal consequences or your acts, so that you can rationally decide on your response.


A law enforcement official can only obtain your name and address if he or she has a reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed or are about to commit a crime (note #2). Thus, if an FBI agent knocks at your door you do not have to identify yourself to him; you can simply say “I don’t want to talk to you,” or “You’ll have to speak to my lawyer,” and then close the door. An FBI agent, unlike a local police officer, does not have jurisdiction to investigate violations of state statute.

First Edition published March 1985.
Published by
Center for Constitutional Rights
853 Broadway, 14th Floor
NY, NY 10003
(212) 674-3303

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a non-profit legal and educational corporation dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Additional copies or this publication can be ordered from the Center for Constitutional Rights at the address above. Your comments about this publication will be appreciated and will be useful in preparing future editions.

This pamphlet was prepared by The Movement Support Network with the help of Linda Backiel, Joan Gibbs, Jonathan Ned Katz, Margaret L. Ratner, Audrey Seniors, and Dorothy M. Zellner.


1.See Final Report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, 94th Congress, 2d
Session, Report No. 94-755
2.See e.g. United States v. Hensley, 83 L. Ed. 2d 604 (1985); Kolander v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352 (1983); Brown
v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

the realities of home, and the fringe festival!

(photo: dignity village. click here for more photos from portland's fine contribution to humanity, and here for a 25 minute audio recording from there.)

what a joy it is to be home, and sleeping in my own bed. i'd forgotten what it is to sleep through the night. i definitely have a new appreciation for what it is to be homeless, without a bed night after night, no hope of ever attaining anything more than a mat on a crowded floor. it's no wonder mental instability is associated with homelessness. i defy anybody to live that way and keep their mental faculties in order.

at our friday coffee meeting, a casual gathering of street newz writers, vendors, supporters, i reaquainted myself with some of my local comrades, and the local street scene. there's a 'street voices' project underway, an attempt to document some of the stories. rose has found a homeless family, with two children, the youngest 2 1/2 years. they apparently moved to vancouver on the olympic promise of construction jobs. the "economy" bottomed out, campbell and crew continue to slash funding for anything even remotely connected to quality of life (now 90% of all arts funding), and another young family now lives (at least overnight) in a tent. they were recently ticketed $115 after failing to awaken their children and pack up their tent by the required time - is it 7 or 8 am, rain or shine, no exceptions. victoria officials were last year ordered to strike a bylaw that forbade such survival tactics as sleeping in tents, but they quickly moved to pass a regulation limiting the time people are able to sleep. it's just another form of torture, perhaps the most insidious.

the traveller's inn has apparently gone bankrupt, rendering another 200 people homeless. and british columbia now boasts the lowest minimum wage in canada, and let's not forget that the bc liberals (in their first term, the knuckleheads have voted for them twice since then) reduced the legal working age to 12 and introduced a 6 dollar an hour "training wage" so the corporations could hire children and rip them off. 21st century slavery - this is what we get for living in a society that is primarily focussed on profit making. it would never happen in cuba ... there's no way those people would ever allow children (or anyone else) to live in such conditions. cuba is not about fidel, though they love and appreciate that he fought for their right to self-determination. cuba is about community, plain and simple. it's a shining example of how people will treat each other when the profit motive is removed.

while visiting portland's dignity village last week i learned (click here for 25 minutes of audio, and click here for photos) that the city has coughed up about $200,000 (and a small patch of land outside the city) in total for its creation and upkeep these nine years. our city, in comparison, complains that tent cities are expensive, unsightly, magnets for drugs and prostitution. they are liars. and murderers, plain and simple. cruel and uncaring, now focussed on rushing a 63 million dollar bylaw so they can build a new bridge.

it's just a good thing we canadians don't own guns ....

home is joyful, and painful. but i love my community. last week i was gifted a super pass to the local fringe festival, a wonderful way to enjoy and support amateur thespians. and last night i sat alongside some of the very original raging grannies (those who formed the very first of what is now an international phenomenon .... i love the grannies!) and watched some more of my friends perform a parody called "the monday news," a telethon for our ailing corporate news makers. like so many other cities, we've lost another local television station and our daily newspaper is barely hanging on. a refreshing change for the quickly disappearing forests, i thought, until i read (in that very newspaper) about a gleeful forestry minister announcing that china has now decided to re-roof their homes using bc lumber. there goes the neighbourhood! as if that's not enough, i still hear my fellow victorians complaining about the rain (even as we learn from an aussie fringe performer that she lost a whopping one third of her province to fires last year, images of people carrying scarred koala bears in desperate rescue attempts), and i watch otherwise sensible tear pieces of forest (in the form of paper towels) from the dispensers in the public washrooms only to quickly discard them (just wipe your hands on your jeans!). i guess it's true, they won't know what they've got until it's gone - to the detriment of us all. and of course 'the monday news' got lousy reviews from the corporate media.

but moving along, i laughed and cringed through "pornStar," a chris craddock production about a conservative and fundamentalist mp's daughter who travels to a porn movie award ceremony she's been nominated for after a boyfriend secretly taped their physical antics, only to fall in love with a female sex advice columnist. it's a one woman performance, convincingly acted, with some really funny one liners.

and then "fall fair," another incredible jayson mcdonald creation. again, one actor playing many parts - an irish carnie, a stoner who convinces his friend to take a play day, a dad and his daughter, a teenage girl and, of course, lobster man - a freakish fair attraction. he got a standing ovation.

i got all teary-eyed at "japanglish," about a japanese canadian girl and the cultural divide between her and her parents. yumi ogawa plays all three roles, convincingly transforming her being as she shows us snippets of her life from all those perspectives.

then there's the monty pythonesque "war of 1812." i knew we'd kicked the yankees out several times, until brian mulroney (the traitor) signed nafta and the invasion was sanctioned, but i don't remember learning that canadians played a part in burning down the 'presidential palace' - now known as the white house.

the rosa parks team of young women did some pretty spontaneously funny improv routines, and two women offered up an interpretive dance performance that seemed to be about young girls and their experiences with nature. very tranquil, gentle, beautiful, calming.

so i'm off, after a full night's sleep in my own bed, for another afternoon/evening of fringing thanks to kim and her busy schedule helping organize next weekend's anarchist book fair. it's definitely good to be home, even with all its imperfections.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Amnesty Int. Coaches Obama on Cuba

Amnesty International came out Wednesday with a report recommending to US President Barack Obama that he take steps towards dismantling the half-century US economic blockade on Cuba. Amnesty, which has been critical of some aspects of Cuba's political system, said "This is the perfect opportunity for President Obama to distance himself from the failed policies.

Click here to read the entire article

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

they forgot to mention 'go vegan,' but otherwise it's a good video

Homeless World Cup 09 - Sept 6-13th

Teams across the world are currently preparing for the 7th annual Homeless World Cup, which takes place in Milan from the 6th - 13th September. INSP staff Lisa Maclean and Maree Aldam are attending this year to meet several INSP members, talk to organisations who may be interested in starting a street paper and meet with Terre di Mezzo to discuss their bid to host a future INSP conference in 2011/12. Former SNS intern Danielle Batist will also be covering the event as the Street News Service's roving reporter. You can view her blog here.