Media Portrayals of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

Yesterday, Edmonton Police announced that they would be dismantling the task-force named Project Kare, which has been looking into the deaths and disappearances of sex trade workers in Edmonton, because it has decided to ‘reallocate resources’ so that it can operate more efficiently.

There is some concern that this issue is being shelved due to the lack of appropriate media attention into reports of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and sex trade workers.  This article in the Drum examines the differences stigma can make in public perceptions of these crimes.

Media Portrayals of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women.

Recently in Saskatoon, a candlelight vigil was held to remember and mourn for their loved ones.


Augusta: Just another example of how 9/11 criminals continue to ‘get away with it’

Augusta National Golf Club – Home of the Green Jacket of privileged membership

By Heather Martin

Is it fitting that the one person who could have moved an investigation forward into the potential threat of a terrorist attack on the United States prior to the events on 9/11 is now set to receive the illustrious Green Jacket at Augusta National Golf Club?  How is it that we reward people who through negligence or outright complicity in the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept 11, 2001 and many more Americans, Iraqi’s, Afghani’s including women and children?

It’s perhaps the American way to lavish gifts on the psychopaths (don’t even get me started on G.W. Bush – who has yet to face charges of crimes against Humanity in the US, let alone in Indonesia).  It’s what so-called civilized society has become; preoccupied with the Honey boo-boo’s and Snooki’s and Lady Ga Ga’s of this world and frivolity is what U.S.A is all about.

But, being that we are leading up to the 11th Anniversary of 9/11 (numerologists you go crazy!), I wanted to take a quick look at the first woman to have the glory of wearing the Green Jacket in a club that for many generations was not only a males only club, but was also a whites only club.  Her induction is not a coup for either ‘colored-people’ or women, as her legacy is of a person who failed miserably in her position as Secretary of State – a position that is supposed to forge ties of diplomacy and peace with foreign countries like Iraq which has seen itself attacked without provocation in the wake of 9/11.

Rice reveals the most when asked about what she knew about an impending attack on the U.S. and how the conversation went about the decision to attack Iraq.  In essence, she pleads ignorance, which is laughable given her extensive education in political science.  If anyone would have smelled a rat it, should have been her.  The person closest to the President should have know what was going on and had the ability to speak up and ask questions.  Why didn’t she?  Well, it’s hard to be a woman in the White House after all.

9/11 Commission Transcript

GKEAN. I’ve got a question now I’d like to ask you. It was given to me by a number of members of the families. Did you ever see or hear from the F.B.I., from the C.I.A., from any other intelligence agency, any memos, discussions or anything else between the time you were elected or got into office and 9/11 talked about using planes as bombs?

RICE. Let me address this question because it has been on the table. I think that concern about what I might have known or we might have known was provoked by some statements that I made in a press conference. I was in a press conference to try and describe the Aug. 6 memo, which I’ve talked about here in the – my opening remarks and which I talked about with you in the private session. And I said at one point that this was a historical memo, that it was not based on new threat information. And I said, No one could have imagined them taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon – I’m paraphrasing now – into the World Trade Center using planes as missiles. As I said to you in the private session, I probably should have said, I could have not imagined. Because within two days people started to come to me and say, Oh, but there were these reports in 1998 and 1999; the intelligence community did look at information about this. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Chairman, this kind of analysis about the use of airplanes as weapons actually was never briefed to us. I cannot tell you that there might not have been a report here or a report there that reached somebody in our midst. Part of the problem is, and I think Sandy Berger made this point that, when he was asked the same question, that you have thousands of pieces of information: car bombs and this method and that method. And you have to depend, to a certain degree, on the intelligence agencies to sort, to tell you what is is actually relevant, what is actually based on sound sources, what is speculative. And I can only assume or believe that perhaps the intelligence agencies thought that the sourcing was speculative. All that I can tell you is that it was not in the Aug. 6 memo – using planes as a weapon. And I do not remember any reports to us, a kind of strategic warning that planes might be used as a weapon. In fact, there were some reports done in ’98 and ’99. I think I was – I was certainly not aware of them at the time that I spoke.

KEAN. Some Americans have wondered whether you or the president worried too much about Iraq in the days after the 9/11 attack and perhaps not enough about the fight ahead against al Qaeda. We know that at the Camp David meeting on the weekend of Sept. 15 and 16 the president rejected the idea of immediate action against Iraq. Others have told that the president decided Afghanistan had to come first. We also know that even after those Camp David meetings the administration was still readying plans for possible action against Iraq. So can you help us understand where in those early days after 9/11 the administration placed Iraq in the strategy for responding to the attack?

RICE:  There was a discussion of Iraq. I think it was raised by Don Rumsfeld. It was pressed a bit by Paul Wolfowitz given that this was a global war on terror, should we look not just at Afghanistan but should we look at doing something against Iraq? There was a discussion of that. The president listened to all of his advisers. I can tell you that when he went around the table and asked his advisers what he should do, not a single one of his principal advisers advised doing anything against Iraq (see Oct 2002 WMD report- nie). It was all to Afghanistan.

KEAN. So when Mr. Clarke writes that the president pushed him to find a link between Iraq and the attack, is that right? Was the president trying to twist the facts for an Iraqi war? Or was he just puzzled about what was behind this attack?

RICE. I – I don’t remember the discussion that Dick Clarke relates. Initially he said that the president was wandering the situation room – this is in the book, I gather – looking for something to do. And they had a conversation. Later on he said that he was pulled aside. So I don’t know the context of the discussion. I don’t personally remember it. But it’s not surprising that the president would say, what about Iraq, given our hostile relationship with Iraq. And I’m quite certain that the president never pushed anybody to twist the facts.

Iraq Before and After

Congressman Hamilton:  You did make comments on terrorism but they were connected – the link between terrorism and the rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran and Iraq. And by our count here there were some 100 meetings by the national security principals before the first meeting was held on terrorism, Sept. 4. And General Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that terrorism had been pushed farther to the back burner. Now, this is what we’re trying to assess. We have your statements. We have these other statements.

When asked by Hamilton about how to address the root causes of terrorism, Rice had this to say:

And this is why Iraq is so important. The Iraqi people are struggling to find a way to create a multiethnic democracy that works. And it’s going to be hard. And if we stay with them and when they succeed, I think we will have made a big change. They will have made a big change in the middle of the Arab world and we will be on our way to addressing the source.

Next, Rice is questioned by Ben Veniste:

RICE. I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He’d talked to people about this. But I don’t remember the al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.

BEN-VENISTE. Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the Aug. 6 P.D.B. warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that P.D.B.

RICE. I believe the title was Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States. Now, the P.D.B. –

BEN-VENISTE. Thank you.

RICE. No, Mr. Ben-Veniste –

BEN-VENISTE. I will get into the –

RICE. I would like to finish my point here.

BEN-VENISTE. I didn’t know there was a point.

RICE. Given that – you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.

BEN-VENISTE. I asked you what the title was.

RICE. You said did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.

BEN-VENISTE. Now, you knew by August 2001 of al Qaeda involvement in the first World Trade Center bombing. Is that correct? You knew that in 1999, late ’99, in the millennium threat period, that we had thwarted an al Qaeda attempt to blow up Los Angeles International Airport and thwarted cells operating in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Boston, Mass. as of the Aug. 6 briefing. You learned that al Qaeda members have resided or traveled to the United States for years and maintained a support system in the United States. And you learned that F.B.I. information since the 1998 blind sheik warning of hijackings to free the blind sheik indicated a pattern of suspicious activity in the country up until Aug. 6 consistent with preparation for hijackings. Isn’t that so?

RICE. Do you have other questions that you want me to answer as a part of the sequence?

BEN-VENISTE. Well, did you not – you have indicated here that this was some historical document. And I am asking you whether it is not the case that you learned in the P.D.B. memo of Aug. 6 that the F.B.I. was saying that it had information suggesting that preparations, not historically, but ongoing, along with these numerous full field investigations against al Qaeda cells, that preparations were being made consistent with hijackings within the United States.

RICE. What the Aug. 6 P.D.B. said – and perhaps I should read it to you.

BEN-VENISTE. We would be happy to have it declassified in full at this time, including its title.

RICE. I believe – I believe, Mr. Ben-Veniste, that you’ve had access to this P.D.B.

BEN-VENISTE. But we have not had it declassified so that it can be shown publicly, as you know.

RICE. But let me just – I believe you’ve had access to this P.D.B. – exceptional access. But let me address your question.

BEN-VENISTE. Nor could we, prior to today, reveal the title of that P.D.B.

RICE. May I – may I address the question, sir? The fact is that this Aug. 6 P.D.B. was in response to the president’s questions about whether or not something might happen or something might be planned by al Qaeda inside the United States. He asked because all of the threat reporting, or the threat reporting that was actionable, was about the threats abroad, not about the United States. This particular P.D.B. had a long section on what bin Laden had wanted to do, speculative, much of it – in ’97, ’98, that he had in fact liked the results of the 1993 bombing. It had a number of discussions of – it had a discussion of whether or not they might use hijacking to try and free a prisoner who was being held in the United States – Rassam. It reported that the F.B.I. had full field investigations underway. And we checked on the issue of whether or not there was something going on with surveillance of buildings. And we were told, I believe, that the issue was the courthouse in which this might take place. Commissioner, this was not a warning. This was a historic memo – historical memo prepared by the agency because the president was asking questions about what we knew about the inside. Now, we had already taken –

BEN-VENISTE. Well, if you were willing – if you were willing to declassify that document, then others can make up their minds about it. Let me ask you a general matter, beyond the fact that this memorandum provided information, not speculative but based on intelligence information, that bin Laden had threatened to attack the United States and specifically Washington, D.C. There was nothing reassuring, was there, in that P.D.B.?

RICE. Certainly not. There was nothing reassuring.

From the National Security Archive:

According to the CIA and the 9/11 commission, there were 40 other mentions of Al Qaeda or Bin Laden in the President’s Daily Briefs before 9/11. Most of those presumably came during what Dr. Rice called “the threat spike” of June and July 2001. The August 6 Brief came on the downside of that spike, so the other PDB reports may be more (or less) alarming. Until these are released – and Saturday’s release shows it can be done with minor deletions to protect sources – neither the American public nor the 9/11 commission can move on to the next question: “What did the President do and when did he do it?” Or, perhaps most important, how do we fix our vulnerabilities, rather than just hide them?

The last line of the pdb8-6-2001:

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations
throughout the US that it considers Bin ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

In addition, Rice was privy to information specific to the Al Qaeda threat to the U.S in a memo by Ramsey Clarke:

The crux of the issue is a January 25, 2001, memo on al-Qaeda from counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, the first terrorism strategy paper of the Bush administration. The document was central to the debate over pre-9/11 Bush administration policy on terrorism and figured prominently in the 9/11 hearings held in 2004.

In Rice’s own statement to the 9/11 commission, she acknowledges that she acted by increasing support to Uzbekistan, giving further proof that she had seen the memo by Clarke and was fully briefed on the threat posed by Al Qaeda.

Rice’s greatest failing was in not (or being prevented from) following up on the threat of foreign nationals in the U.S. who posed a threat to the U.S. and the role of Al Qaeda.  She failed in putting 2 +2 together into a credible and imminent threat that deserved priority attention.  However, her greatest defence is that the information amounted to much ado about nothing; an oversight that resulted in a legacy of 11 years of escalating wars and deteriorating relations in the Middle East.  She is either hugely incompetent or willfully ignorant or a stealthy liar.  None of these choices are a legacy worth celebrating.

In this bloggers opinion, no one complicit with the events of 9/11 (and it’s bloody aftermath) deserves the perks of a free and open society…. that includes a Green Jacket membership at Augusta.

Should Natives Cry: “Sovereign Citizen”?

With Friends like These….. Alex Hundert – convicted Black Bloc radical and advocate for Indigenous Sovereignty

The question of Sovereignty for Native people depends largely on the definition of Sovereignty and how the claim of ‘Sovereign Citizen’ is used by various groups to achieve unique treatment and status from the rest of Canada.

Blacks Law Dictionary (Sixth Edition) defines Sovereignty in four ways:

The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which any independent state is governed; supreme political authority; the supreme will; paramount control of the constitution and frame of government and its administration; the self-sufficient source of political power, from which all specific political powers are derived; the international independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign dictation; also a political society, or state, which is sovereign and independent.

The power to do everything in a state without accountability, –to make laws, to execute and to apply them, to impose and collect taxes and levy contributions, to make war or peace, to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like.

Sovereignty in government is that public authority which directs or orders what is to be done by each member associated in relation to the end of the association. It is the supreme power by which any citizen is governed and is the person or body of persons in the state to whom there is politically no superior. The necessary existence of the state and that right and power which necessarily follow is “sovereignty.” By “sovereignty” in its largest sense is meant supreme, absolute, uncontrollable power, the absolute right to govern. The word which by itself comes nearest to being the definition of “sovereignty” is will or volition as applied to political affairs.

The FBI defines the Sovereign Citizen Movement as follows:

The FBI has classified “sovereign citizens” as people who believe they are free from all duties of a U.S. citizen, like paying taxes. The FBI considers the group’s members a danger for making threats to judges and law enforcement, using fake currency and impersonating police officers.  The FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists as comprising a domestic terrorist movement…

This movement, along with the Redemption Movement, and Freeman on the Land Movement have resulted in some epic failures leading to the imprisonment and deaths of many American citizens:

  • Convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols was a member of the sovereign citizen movement, having asserted individual sovereignty in at least three court cases. (Wikipedia)
  • In May 2010, two police officers in West Memphis, Arkansas were shot and killed by Joseph T. Kane after Kane and his father were the subject of a traffic stop. Kane and his father were later identified as members of the sovereign citizen movement. (Wikipedia)
  • Seven suspects were charged in the shooting of Deputy Michael Scott Boyington, one of the deputies who survived the shootings. Murder charges are also pending.

Sympathy for this movement increases as disillusionment and a worsening economy in the U.S. creates mass appeal for no longer paying taxes, eliminating drivers licences, resisting searches and citations as well as being able to legally grow weed.  It is appealing to many, but few know the intricate details of how ‘Sovereign Citizenry’ affects the world around them.  To them, the rest of the world can take a flying leap, so long as they can do what they please.  As this interview of an SC on RT demonstrates the issues are far from cut and dried…(unlike the cannabis this guy in the interview clearly smokes)

The Native Sovereign Citizen Issue

A fellow blogger at Warrior Publications, who has taken an in-depth look at the Sovereign Citizen movement and the Aboriginal adoption of it’s principles, has this to say:

Once people accept the sovereign citizen doctrine and its attenuating conspiracy theories, it can be very difficult to communicate with them. There is no logic or rationale to their understanding of the world. They see only a vast conspiracy, which very few are aware of and the rest are either part of it or slaves to it.

It is at this point that the sovereign citizen movement really takes on the character of a religious cult, although not a typical cult built around a dominant personality. It is instead an autonomous and decentralized network of believers, with a sprinkling of gurus and teachers, whose scriptures are old archaic laws and legal codes most people have never heard of. Individuals and groups are quite free to re-interpret and add to the existing doctrine as they see fit. 

I first became aware of the Sovereign Squamish Government (SSG) in May 2008, when group members and supporters, led by “Hereditary Squamish Chief Kiapilano,” briefly occupied the Squamish band office and declared a common law jurisdiction over the building, at the same time evicting the band council chief, Bill Williams. The ‘take over’ ended shortly after RCMP arrived and the building was closed for the rest of the day.

Over the years, they have announced various government-like measures, such as banning members of the government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission from Squamish land, as well as ordering the eviction of churches in Vancouver (both as part of a campaign around the legacy of Residential Schoolssee article with Chief Kiapilano and Kevin Annett (emphasis mine)).  

See the full article at: Crazy and Confused; Con-job or Cult

Equally troubling is an April 30, 2011 APTN article which reported that Wikileaks cables revealed US Intelligence agencies regularly monitored native ‘sovereign citizen’ activities in Canada in a report entitled, Security Environmental Profile Response For Mission Canada, which appeared “to be part of regular updates on the situation in the country” (APTN):

The cables show that U.S. officials were at the time closely monitoring the situation in the Mohawk community near Montreal with concern following the botched raid that saw 67 First Nations police officers recruited from other Quebec communities descend Kanesatake.
The officers came in armed with assault rifles, shotguns, a sniper rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunitions under the stated mandate of targeting organized crime.
The officers, however, found themselves inside the local police headquarters trapped and surrounded by community members.
After the Quebec government negotiated an end to the situation with the help of Kanesatake’s sister Mohawk community of Kahnawake and their Peackeepers police force, it appears there was particular concern over the arrival of Mohawks from Canadian and U.S. reserves in case authorities attempted a second raid.
“Mohawks from other reserves continue to arrive in Kanesatake, including some from Colorado, to join in the resistance. Some ‘gun slingers’ have already arrived from the U.S., and more could come,” said one of the cables, from May 17, 2004 and sent by the U.S. consulate in Quebec City.
The cross border involvement appeared to trigger a request from Quebec public security ministry officials to ask for help from the F.B.I, the cable notes.
“The Quebec authorities have asked for greater coordination with the FBI on the situation,” said the cable. “Asked about U.S. role, the public security ministry officials requested…better coordination with the F.B.I in a situation where U.S. interests are involved.”
The cable also noted a similar request had been made by the public security minister at the time Jacques Chagnon.
The cable, titled Kanesatake Calm But Confrontation Continues, also delves into Kanesatake’s history to try to make sense of the situation in the community, and why the RCMP was hesitant to go in.
“The Quebec police (SQ) are more accepted than the RCMP. With long memories, the Mohawk remember that the RCMP killed one of theirs in 1916,” said the cable. “(Georges Beauchemin, secretary-general of Quebec’s Public Security Ministry) described the situation as akin to a family quarrel with people held hostage: the two embattled factions have been warring for 200 years.”
The cable described the situation in the community following the botched January raid as “several weeks of no-man’s land.”
Some community members continue to call for an inquiry to this day into the raid and the events that transpired under Gabriel’s leadership leading up to the event.  By Jorge Barrera APTN National News 03. May, 2011 via Warrior Publications blog

Claiming “Sovereign Citizen” status tends to yield an escalation of tensions that almost always involves police presence, yet many members of Native communities embrace the Sovereign movement as their primary agent of change.

So, if the Sovereign Citizen movement is the wrong way to eliminating the Aboriginal aparteid in Canada, what is the right way?

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has published a position paper, entitled Dividing Canada: The Pitfalls of Native Sovereignty  and it concludes that the solution lies with effective self government enabled through the elimination of restrictions imposed by the Indian Act.  In essence, it emphasizes Autonomy which is the freedom to live through self government as opposed to lawlessness.

Providing more powers with less accountability, as advocated by Indian lobby groups, is not the answer to reduce mismanagement and corruption on reserves.  Municipal-type governments successfully manage communities all over Canada and are conducive to the small population base of many native bands.  This model should be implemented for native reserves rather than an ill-defined “third order” style of government.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation believes there is an escape.  The escape lies in the federal government’s willingness to abolish the reserve system (via abolishing the Indian Act).  Thus allowing individual native Canadians the freedom to choose how and where they wish to live.

There are solutions that can work for Native and non-Native Canadians that does not involve the need for extremism or conflict.  Dialogue can and should be used as the primary method for negotiating the murky waters of Aboriginal self-government.  However, so long as authorities view all Natives in the same light as the small number of radicals who lay claim to the Sovereign Citizen movement, change will be hard fought and at a price that we as Native and Non-Natives cannot afford.

Are the Police a bunch of Scaredy-Cats with itchy Trigger Fingers?

Civil Rights and the Law often come up against each other, resulting in the most extreme reactions from both sides… none of which turn out well for the citizen.

I have a theory: The difference between a good cop and a bad cop is knowing you have the power to kill someone, but knowing when not to use that power.

Recently, I see a lot of scared cops being portrayed in the media these days.. and it seems that the more firepower, flack-jackets and armor they have the more scared they look.  How is it that a man wielding a knife can’t get shot in the leg as opposed to the ‘kill-shot’?  C’mon… don’t these guys practice how to use their weapons for non-lethal force?  Or maybe that’s the point, maybe they are conditioned during training that the public is to be feared and so they opt for the quickest and most severe method of taking someone out… permanently.

In a recent two-day training program called PART (Professional Assault Response Training) we learned methods to get ourselves out of a physical assault if it escalated to that point.  The program, when first created, used to teach physical combat kinds of manoevers, but had so many complaints about the use of excessive force and the dehumanization of the aggressor, that they changed their approach.   Part of the changes made were to recognize the signs that an assault was impending, how to try to diffuse the situation before it gets physical, and to avoid physical contact with the assailant.  Physical violence is viewed as a last resort, not the first.

This kind of approach made the participants in the training program feel empowered and less threatened which resulted in fewer un-necessary injuries to both parties involved in an incident.

I can’t help but wonder what policing would be like, and what use there would be for organizations like ‘CopWatch‘ which tend to inflame tensions between civilians and police with their antics.

Does a poster like this make us scared of the police? And the police scared of us?

Below is an interesting article from the Daily looking at the number of incidents with police and citizens since 9/11.

Police stopped 700,000 on streets of New York last year compared to 90,000 in aftermath of 9/11

  • Majority of people stopped are black or Hispanic
  • Figures released in wake of fatal stand-off between NYPD officers and machete-wielding man
  • Critics claim policy uses racial profiling and number of people have been unfairly stopped
  • New York Civil Liberties Union has rolled out a Stop and Frisk Watch app to alert people to where police stops are taking place
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg claims policy is ‘essential’ to NYPD’s work
  • Most voters approve of city’s police force but are divided over stop-and-frisk programme

Read more: