Saturday, October 20, 2007


I want to bring to the attention of Oread Daily readers something new. You'll notice a new link on this page to a blog called The Stiletto. For your information this blog is from the other side of the political spectrum. I figured it wouldn't hurt readers of the Oread Daily to access a point of view with which most of the time they will certainly not agree. You should know that I have posted something from the blog before and that The Stiletto has posted items from Oread Daily. Of late, the publisher of the blog and I have exchange friendly correspondence on topics of mutual interest. The publisher of The Stiletto is most assuredly over on the right, but she is also humorous, interesting and more willing to exchange ideas than most any of her comrades of which I am aware. I've enjoyed communicating with her. On rare occasions we agree. A couple of examples of this agreement being the recent debate on the Armenian Genocide resolution and support of the second amendment.

She is also considering putting a link to the Oread Daily on her blog.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Who cares if small businesses in some town in Oklahoma are forced to shut down as their town goes down the tubes?

Probably not even you, but for sure the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOD) doesn't seem to concerned.

They've decide to re-route a major highway in the area which will pretty much bypass the town and kill it off.

Mayor James Jennings explained to the Tulsa World most local businesses are either near the intersection of Oklahoma 51 and U.S. 69 or in the downtown business district east and south of that intersection. He seems to think, for some reason, if there is no highway, there will be no traffic, and if there is no traffic there will be no business.

How foolish of him.

The mayor, probably a good Republican, also says rerouting the highway to bypass the city would mean a decade-long setback in sales tax revenue.

Hey, its the job of ODOT to get people from point A to Point B...not to worry about some local small business owners.

Locals have offered counter plans, but they're are just local yokels and the big boys in Oklahoma City will decide what's best for them (and by them I have a feeling the them is them...if you catch my drift).

Anyway, this sort of thing happens everyday in America and most of us take no notice.

Maybe we should.

But for now, its getting late and I have to hit the road buckaroos...

The following article is from Fox 23 in Tulsa, Oklahoma USA.

Highway project has many upset

(WAGONER, Oklahoma)– There are new plans to widen and re-route a major highway and one Green Country community isn't too happy about it.

Right now Highway 51 runs through the city of Wagoner, but the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s new plan would change that.

One plan on the table would re-route Highway 51, completely bypassing the city of Wagoner. Some say that would force some businesses to shut down and would cripple the city for years to come.

FOX23 News heard from opponents of the plan and they say those changes could add up to big trouble for the city.

“It would have a huge negative effect, both economically and socially”, says Jeff Hamilton, President of the Wagoner Chamber of Commerce and a small business owner. Hamilton says there's a lot at stake, “It affects almost every aspect of life.”

He points to a huge push with state money combined with local efforts to revitalize Wagoner. “But at the same time, it seems like the Department of Transportation, they’re working against all our efforts.”

ODOT disagrees pointing out this plan is only one of three being considered. And only one of the plans calls for a complete bypass of Wagoner.

However Mayor James Jennings is convinced a complete bypass is a very real possibility. “But I think the Wagoner citizens will get together and voice our opinions with ODOT and I’m certainly hopeful that they’ll listen to us.”

ODOT says they’re working on an environmental impact study to help them determine which plan is best for the city, but some say they should include one more study, an economic impact study.

ODOT has already held four public meetings to involve Wagoner residents and are planning a fifth soon.


"YAF is the Nation's oldest, largest, and most active conservative youth organization. Founded in 1960 at the Sharon, Connecticut estate of William F. Buckley, Jr., YAF has long fought for the values that made America great – individual liberty and political, social, and economic freedom."

The MSU chapter of Young Americans for freedom has been active since 2001 and has risen to be one of the most active YAF groups in the country. And that's what YAF is all about – being active. Activism is the base of our group. Whether it's organizing a counter-demonstration, bringing a conservative speaker to campus, or rallying students against left-wing university policies, we're always being active. We've been described as the "green berets" of the conservative movement, always out on the front battling the left wherever they are.
-----Web Site of the Michigan State Young Americans for Freedom

The zany right wing student group known as the Young Americans for Freedom or more affectionately Yaffers have invited British fascist Nick Griffin of the British National Party to come to campus and give a little talk on the issue of how Europe is rapidly becoming Eurabia. He will be speaking on October 26, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Locals in the area might take note of what happened when old Nick turned up for a speech in his own country earlier this week.

Over 100 anti-fascists turned out on Tuesday evening. The assembled trade unionists, socialists and members of the local community gathered outside Kimberley Parish Hall trapping Griffin and a handful of supporters inside. The protest was sufficiently large and well organized to prevent a planned 'mass-meeting' of BNP supporters from taking place. This was described by some as a major set-back for the BNP in the region and a huge victory for all those who oppose their fascist race-hate.

The web site "Stop the BNP," reported:

"A stand-off between protesters and the police lasted well over two hours after initial attempts to break our lines were thwarted. The police made a number of heavy-handed attempts to intimidate the protest - all of which failed. A small number of protesters have been detained by the police. Notts Stop the BNP will monitor the situation and support those involved.

At the end of the evening Griffin and his close associate Sadie Graham (BNP councillor for Brinsley, Broxtowe) were driven away with police protection after a small number of very disheartened supporters on the outside gave up their token vigil."

The British anti-fascist magazine Searchlight wrote recently:

"Nick Griffin and the British National Party have a problem with democracy. It is an alien concept to fascism and one that is regularly derided in party literature and speeches. After all, it was Griffin who once wrote that power was obtained through the boot and fist rather than the council chamber. It was Griffin who once reproduced a noose on the front page of his Rune magazine as a hint at what awaited their opponents when he was swept into power."

Griffin, by the way, isn't just some BNP flunky, he runs the British National party as his personal political fiefdom.

Nick Griffin has a conviction for inciting racial hatred, and has been known as a Holocaust denier.

In an article in The Rune Griffin called the Holocaust "the Holohoax" and criticized the Holocaust denier David Irving for admitting in an interview that up to four million Jews might have died in the Holocaust. Griffin apparently thought such an admission meant Irving had converted to Judaism. Griffin wrote: "True Revisionists will not be fooled by this new twist to the sorry tale of the Hoax of the Twentieth Century."

In June 1999, following the nail bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho by self-declared Nazi David Copeland, Griffin wrote “The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators flaunting their perversions in front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive.”

Griffin may be a fascist, but he is no fool. He is out to sell the BNP.

In April 2001 Griffin spoke to the American Friends of the BNP. He said, “So, what are we now doing with the British National Party? Well we tried to simplify its message in some ways and to make it a saleable message. So it’s not white supremacy or racial civil war or anything like that, which is what we know in fact is going on, and we’re not supremacists, we’re white survivalists, even that frightens people. Four apple pie words, freedom, security, identity and democracy.”

I could go on and on but why bother. You get the drift. The Yaffers apparently think bringing an out and out fascist to town is a good idea and is a part of the "...long fought for the values that made America great."

The following is from the Michigan Messenger. I don't know who they are, but they've got some interesting articles and this is about the third time in recent weeks I've cited them.

Student hate group bringing ultra right wing conservative leader from England
by: Todd A. Heywood

EAST LANSING -- The Young Americans for Freedom at Michigan State University will host a speech by Nick Griffin, the head of the British National Party on October 26 at 7 p.m. according to press release on their website. No location for the speech has been announced.

The British National Party has drawn fire for allegedly being racist. The party has a platform statement which includes stopping all immigration to England.

The organization's website has the following position post on immigration. (

"On current demographic trends, we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years. To ensure that this does not happen, and that the British people retain their homeland and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question."

MSU YAF was listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in April. Its chairman, Kyle Bristow, has been tied to the white supremacy movement and its legal advisor Jason VanDyke has been tied to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist outgrowth of the former White Citizens Councils.

Bristow declined to comment for this article.


In Kashmir, the killing of a teacher by members of the armed forces has sparked massive protests today in the border district of Kupwara in the north of the country.

Abdul Rashid Mir was on way to his school at Malsari village in Rawatpora, Kralpora area of Kupwara district when he was confronted by soldiers.

WebIndia reports sources say that amid a heated exchange of words, the troops opened fire on him. Mir was killed on the spot.

“They (troopers) checked his identity card and then shot him, killing him on the spot,” eyewitnesses said.

When the news of the killing of teacher spread, the villagers rushed to the forest area and took possession of the body. The army opened fire and used tear gas on the villagers but were forced into surrendering the body to the villagers.

About 10,000-15,000 angry villagers gathered at Mir's residence at Rawatpora and have reportedly refused to bury the body till action was taken against the errant soldiers, the sources said.

Angry protesters set ablaze army and government vehicles. They also demolished army bunkers along an eight km stretch of road in the area.

The Army on Friday ordered a court of inquiry into the killing.

The following story is taken from Greater Kashmir on Line.

Soldiers murder teacher in cold blood’

Srinagar, Oct 19: Cold-blooded murder of a teacher allegedly by Army soldiers triggered massive protests in frontier district of Kupwara in north Kashmir Friday. However Army termed the incident as “unfortunate” claiming that the teacher was killed in “accidental fire.”

Sources said the teacher Abdul Rashid Mir son of Ghulam Muhammad Mir of Rawatpora Kralpora was shot dead by the soldiers of Drangyari camp near Marchari this morning.

As the word about the killing spread in the area people raising pro-freedom and anti-troops slogans took to the roads and staged massive protests demanding stern action against the accused soldiers, the sources said.

The angry protesters set ablaze an Army Gypsy and the vehicle of local Tehsildar and refused to bury the body till FIR is registered against the accused soldiers, sources said.

They said Mir, a ReT teacher who had to walk 3 kilometres every day through a dense forest from his house to the school used to accompany two female teachers.

“Soldiers deployed in the forests had been harassing him for quite some time and had instructed him not to accompany the female teachers,” the sources said.

They said on Thursday soldiers snatched the identity card of the deceased and warned him of dire consequences if he dared to accompany the female teachers again.

According to the sources when soldiers spotted Mir accompanying the female teachers on Friday again, they first subjected him to third degree torture and then shot him dead.

“Soldiers after killing Mir were trying to bundle him into the Gypsy, but locals reached on the spot and attacked the soldiers and set ablaze the Gypsy,” the sources said, adding, “Sensing trouble, soldiers fled from the spot.”

Later, thousands of people took to the roads and staged a sit-in on Srinagar-Kuwpara road. Higher officials including Superintendent of Police and Tehsildar who reached the spot to pacify the protesters were taken hostage by the angry protesters, sources said, adding, “Protesters refused to lay Dar to rest till FIR is registered against the soldiers.”

Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Afsandyar Khan told Greater Kashmir, “I have instructed the police to register a case and start investigations.”

Khan said Additional Deputy Commissioner would probe the matter.

Meanwhile Army’s Srinagar based spokesman in a statement here said, “Road-opening of Choukibal-Drangyari road was done by Army to ensure safe passage of convoy. A person was halted and asked to prove his identity by soldiers on duty in Marsari area. Instead of showing his identity papers the individual got into argument with the soldier. In this confusion the weapon got accidentally discharged which caused unfortunate fatal injuries to Abdul Rashid Mir of Rawatpora,” the statement said, adding, “An enquiry has been ordered to investigate the incident. Army regrets this unfortunate incident leading to death of Abdul Rashid.”

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This will have to be quick as its late and I have got to get the OD out already. However, I keep trying to include these local issues once a day so here it is.

What do you do when the city refuses to take responsibility for causing you and your neighbors a big headache? Well, one women in Springfield, Missouri has been doing everything humanly possible to reach a some sort of solution to the periodic flooding which has caused years of mold and mildew in her home.

The flooding, I might add, isn't natural. It's caused by a drainage line which belongs to the city which is too small to do its job.

The local paper has followed the controversy for years and reports nothing has changed.

Now don't think this women hasn't tried to find a way to take care of the problem on her own without bothering the city, but nothing has worked.

So she did her research and began filing reports with the City Attorney like a good American. There were no responses. Nothing was done.

She has spent $130,000 to date on the damages done to her house by the city negligence.

She's been more than patient, I think.

Finally she has filed a law suit.

As the News-Leader aptly put it in the article below:

"Our sewer system is something every taxpayer funds, in the trust that their property and health will be cared for. Allowing raw sewage to escape and even pool beneath people's houses is not protecting their health. Allowing repeated, debilitating decay and damage to a house is not protecting the taxpayer's property."

We all pay taxes and we have the right to expect something in return.

Apparently though, the city of Springfield, Missouri disagrees. And they've in charge!

The following is from the News-Leader in Springfield, Missouri.

Woman, city at odds over water

Wanda Sue Parrot and the city are at a stalemate.

And "stale" couldn't be a more appropriate word. Mold, mildew. Years and years of it. Stench from sewage seeping into the house every time there's a heavy rain and the outdated stormwater system carries it downstream and pops it out manholes and who knows where else. This is a situation I wrote about in 2004 in the area called the Sunshine-Holland neighborhood, generally bounded by Cherokee Street, Washita Street, Robberson Avenue and South Avenue, a "bowl" of a place when it rains hard.

Some houses on Jefferson Avenue periodically suffer water damage.

Just southeast of the Sunshine Street-Campbell Avenue intersection, it is bounded by massive construction and parking lots that came years after the houses were built.

Parrott, 72, has lived with severe flooding since moving here in 1988. Many houses in the neighborhood flood, but her house and the one to her west got it the worst — waters have come up to the middle of their car doors before, and her former neighbor Jim Davis says his car floated off once.

Parrott's floors started buckling from the water that flooded her entire crawlspace, then the tiles in the kitchen and bathroom came off. During several deluges, water rose to her baseboards. Mold and mildew and smell were and are everywhere, and she constantly battles to eradicate it, raking debris after every deluge. When exposed to raw, damp mold, she says she gets either bronchial asthma or a sinus infection. She wonders if three tumors she had to have removed, separately, from the top of her nasal passages were related to mold spores, but doctors couldn't confirm it.

She has hired contractors for various tries at diverting the waters and sealing her foundation, installed both electric and manual sump pumps and done other stopgap measures to the house.

I first wrote about the situation in 2004, and chief stormwater engineer Todd Wagner said then that he wasn't aware of the severity of the problem. City crews then implemented some improvements they thought would help.

Three years later, nothing has changed. There was a major flood on June 29, and six minor ones throughout the year. With the rains that came before our brutal ice storm, there was standing water under Parrott's house, which froze. "I was out of power for 22 days," she says, "and my sump pump was totally ravaged."

For years, Parrott just lived with things as they were. Her elderly mother, for whom she was caring, didn't want to bother with fixing things, Parrott says. But when her mother died, Parrott started asking city workers to come look at the situation and to do something about it. They tried a few measures, but every time a heavy rain came, the floods came again. It became a comfortless cycle: more calls, more city visits and workers scratching heads, apprehension, flooding. More calls, more city visits and workers scratching heads, apprehension, flooding.

She then began talking to longtime residents of the area. Some had lived there with their parents as children and remembered fishing in a creek there. She looked at a Civil War map of the area and found a creek, studied years and years of Springfield sewer and growth history, environmental protection acts such as the Clean Water Act and other documents. She interviewed a retired sanitary sewer worker about his experiences in the neighborhood. Then she discovered that in 1987, a former resident whose house was close to Parrott's had filed a lawsuit against the city seeking compensation for damages to personal and real property caused by sewage in their basement. It was settled out of court.

In 2000, Parrott began filing reports with the city attorney's office about the situation in the neighborhood and in her house in particular and sent letters to the city-county health department. Then her attorney sent the city attorney's office an offer to sell her house to them at what she thought was fair market value. "There was no response," she says. "They acted like I wasn't even alive."

Yet when she wrote asking about the possibility of an underground waterway beneath the area, assistant city attorney Thomas Rykowski wrote back: "Our records indicate that an underground system exists in the Washita/South Campbell area. Our staff is currently searching for drawings or diagrams of this system."

In 2006, Parrott used her files of documents and wrote a book chronicling the situation and sent copies to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Attorney General Jay Nixon.

Rykowski says the city is at loggerheads with Parrott and won't go further with buying Parrott's house because she wants to retain the right to sue the city for damages in addition to selling her house to the city. "She wanted to reserve the right to sue me for something I'm trying to pay for," Rykowski said.

Parrott itemized the expenses she has incurred fighting the water over the years, and it totals $130,000. That's what she's asking the city for above the selling price of her house. "I've used up all my savings on this," she says. "I'm living on Social Security only now."

"It appears there is no determination that the cause of (any damages) is nothing caused by or in control of the city," Rykowski says.

Yet Wagner now says the flooding in the neighborhood is due to a drainage pipe that is too small to hold the run-off from the neighborhood, where it runs under the streets to a nearby Conoco station. To lay a larger pipe where the smaller one is would run into too much money and into problems working around City Utilities lines and equipment to the area.

Is it not the city's negligence that an outdated and inadequate sewer pipe has been allowed to stay in the area for so long?

Wagner says the Public Works Department's remedy for the situation would be to buy Parrott's house and use the empty lot, and the one to the west, to make a retention basin. The west one has already been sold to the city and razed — that neighbor had only lived there two years and didn't have much of an investment in trying to cope with the floods.

So here the neighborhood sits, held hostage to a legal disagreement. No retention basin, no work on the inadequate draining system in the area. How long are they going to have to live with the flooding while the legal battle goes on?

Our sewer system is something every taxpayer funds, in the trust that their property and health will be cared for. Allowing raw sewage to escape and even pool beneath people's houses is not protecting their health. Allowing repeated, debilitating decay and damage to a house is not protecting the taxpayer's property.

Parrott has an attorney, Rick Muenks, working on a lawsuit, but it has not been filed.

Most people would have given up a long time ago. Parrott says she's just too committed to let the problems continue without bringing them to light and some kind of positive outcome. "I wouldn't sell and leave somebody else with my problems. I may be at this till I die. But I'll die standing upright, even if they have to bury me standing."


According to the Jackson Hole Daily Yellowstone National Park’s bison population increased 17 percent compared to summer of 2006, growing from 3,900 to 4,700 animals, according to new numbers released by park officials Monday.

The population, however, is lower than the peak of 4,900 bison in 2005.

Bison in Yellowstone are a source of controversy among conservation groups, American Indians, the Park Service, livestock growers and officials in Montana. Ranchers and others say the animals harbor the disease brucellosis, a threat to stock, and migrate out of the park in the winter. They don't want them around their livestock.

The Buffalo Field Campaign argues the threat is way overblown. They say only a relatively small percentage of Yellowstone buffalo are actually infected with brucellosis. Brucellosis does not have any significant impact on the health of the Yellowstone buffalo. The risk of transmission between wild buffalo and cattle is extremely low. Relatively few susceptible cattle graze in the Yellowstone area and most are not present when transmission is even a possibility. Some doubt that it ever has happened.

Professor emeritus Paul Nicoletti, D.M.V., College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, who has conducted research on brucellosis, agrees the risk is minimal. “Bison bulls, calves, yearlings, and non-pregnant cows pose no risk,” he says, adding while pregnant bison do pose a theoretical risk it is diminished because not all pregnant bison are infected, not all emigrate from the park, experience an abortion or reproductive failure.

The risk, he says, is further reduced by separation of cattle and bison, by predators and scavengers who consume fetuses and contaminated reproductive materials, cattle vaccination and the lack of bacteria during spring and summer months.

The controversy about brucellosis in buffalo may be beside the point considering the disease is endemic in Yellowstone elk, free to move in and out of the park.

“You could shoot it out of existence among the bison tomorrow and they still might get it from the elk the next day. Or the cattle could get it directly from the elk,” says Merritt Clifton, editor of the leading independent newspaper Animal People. Clifton, who has written about the issue for 20 years, told this newspaper eliminating brucellosis from the elk is logistically even more unlikely than trying to eliminate it altogether from the bison.

“I suspect that the real solution is going to have to be developing vaccinations for cattle that won’t give false positives.”

Through an interagency agreement, the bison are hazed back to Yellowstone, shot in Montana, corralled at the park border and shipped to slaughter, or allowed to wander. But, conservation groups say the bison should be allowed to follow historical migration routes out of the park, where public land at lower elevations provides better forage for the animals.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) admits that Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where wild bison have continuously existed since prehistoric times.

The Buffalo Field Campaign recently attempted to have the Yellowstone bison included on the Endangered Species list, claiming the herd meets the requirements to be classified as threatened or endangered. The Department of Interior denied the petition, after examining the issue and determining the Yellowstone bison herd is not threatened or endangered.

The following is from Native Times.

Majestic Yellowstone Bison Receive Native American Prayers

Sacred prayers and songs were lifted for the Yellowstone buffalo herd by Native American elders led by Scott Frazier (Santee/Crow, and assisted by Dr. Henrietta Mann (Cheyenne) and John Potter (Ojibway). The resting buffalo were gathered in a large meadow on the South edge of Yellowstone Park near the boundary line that stands literally for life or death if crossed by the bison during the winter months when they travel outside park perimeters in search of better forage.

Buffalo herds once numbered 30 to 60 million across North America but were slaughtered nearly to the point of extinction during the late 1800s. As of the spring of 2006, the Yellowstone herd has approximately 3,500 remaining buffalo. Forced to remain inside the confines of Yellowstone Park, the buffalo are subjected to repeated harassment or death as a result of leaving the border lines the animals do not see nor sense.

Buffalo were the sustaining force for the American Indian people for centuries. The balance of supply and demand, weather patterns, and over use of one part of the ecological web affected both bison and human. The plains tribes honor the buffalo in their religious belief and ceremony, depended upon them for their shelter, food, and daily living requirements. Many of the tribes are now part of a hunting program developed by Montana leaders who say buffalo must be killed to keep population in balance. Their efforts are attempting to return some of the buffalo back to the tribes that originally hunted them originally in this area.

Scott Frazier has spent the better part of his life attempting to help protect the Yellowstone herd. When trying to explain the spritiual impact the buffalo have for the people, he explains, "I've been asked many times why the buffalo are so important. I have always seen them as the life that is holy. The buffalo has always been the life force of this land. They gave themselves in many ways so that others could learn, live, and be religiously fulfilled. Peoples of the plains could have not found the strength to exist without the buffalo. There is a power unknown to humans that the buffalo answers."

Though the struggle to procure extra grazing land as a buffer zone for the bison herd outside the park’s boundaries has been attempted, there has not been an entirely affective solution to the problems of migrating buffalo yet.

Despite enormous public outcry by Native tribes, wildlife protection groups and the worldwide community of visitors who come to Yellowstone, the agreement between federal and state agencies continues to places the economic interest of Montana’s livestock industry above the welfare of the buffalo herd.

With the Federal and State government agencies in control, the buffalo have been chased by helicopter and snowmobiles, captured and held in pens, endured experimental testing and slaughter programs that have all resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 Yellowstone buffalo since the mid 1980s. There were 0 kills in the 1999/2000 season but that number skyrocketed to 1,016 buffalo killed during the 2005/2006 season.

Buffalo are migratory like other wildlife in the park and they naturally seek out better food supplies during the heavy snows in winter and spring. Crossing a park boundary line into the path of domestic cattle is leading to their demise where Montana’s livestock industry and the state of Montana maintains a zero-tolerance policy for wild buffalo.

Scott Frazier and those who know the significance of the buffalo hope and pray there will be changes to the treatment the herd has historically been given.

Scott explains this relationship with the buffalo by saying, “The buffalo are trying to awaken us to understand the potential of all relationships to the creation. There are those who walk with the buffalo. They come here to stand in the light of the moment. There is a great relationship happening here, between the holy and the human. It has always been my belief that the buffalo are studying us and relating their findings to the Creator. We are under the microscope of the cosmos in a time when we as humans consider ourselves a higher life form. However, in this time we grow old and change is slow. Many humans do not understand their relationship within the balance and continue to treat the animals poorly. Some humans forget their potential to change and become holy. The buffalo are here to help awaken those people to change. They don't realize that the buffalo are watching.”


Dozens of people were injured on Thursday when residents of a Madrid shantytown fought Spanish riot police with stones and sticks to try to stop bulldozers destroying homes authorities say are illegal.

Reuters says police fired plastic bullets and teargas at stone throwers, some of them women and children, and led baton charges at protesters in the Canada Real shantytown, home to around 30,000 people, many of whom are immigrants from Morocco and Romania.

"They are animals," shouted an elderly man at police as television cameras filmed the destruction of a brick home

El País says the 27 injured are 23 police officers and four civilians, with the residents using stones, gas bottles and other objects to keep the police out of the Canada Real Galiana settlement, located some 30 minutes southeast of Madrid's city center.

The injured civilians include a three month pregnant woman. Her family is one of those evicted already. Her husband, whose home has now been demolished, was one of the nine people taken into custody after Thursday’s altercations.

Local authorities knocked down over 25 homes on Oct. 9 in Canada Real, many built with old doors and windows. Residents said houses were levelled with their possessions still in them.

Dozens more homes have been targeted for destruction.

The police were acting on a court order to clear several shanties, a spokeswoman for the housing department of Madrid's town hall said. She said the city has been looking to clear the city of shanty settlements and house their occupants elsewhere for several years.

The following is from Radio Netherlands.

Spanish slum dwellers clash with police

Madrid - Inhabitants of an illegal slum near Madrid have clashed with police during an attempted demolition. The inhabitants, who were trying to stop bulldozers from destroying their homes, threw stones at the police, who responded with tear gas and plastic bullets. Many people were wounded.

The Canada Real district, which consists of dwellings improvised mainly from discarded building materials, is currently home to approximately 30,000 people. These are mainly immigrants from Morocco and Romania. The district's population has expanded enormously in recent years, chiefly as a result of the massive influx of immigrants into Spain.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The Sacramento Bee reports community rights groups are expected to pack a Sacramento County courtroom this afternoon to press for a stringent prosecution of the only stateside suspect in the alleged hate-crime killing of Satender Singh.

"There is a big community concern about this, and we really want to see some measure of justice for Satender," said Andy Noguchi, civil rights chair for the Florin Japanese American Citizens League and a Satender Justice Coalition member who is helping organize the gathering. "This is a real tragedy for the community ... there should be some real consequences."

Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21, who has pleaded not guilty to a felony hate-crime charge, is scheduled to appear in Department 61 at 3 p.m. His preliminary hearing was continued last month, and he remains free on $25,000 bail.

Last July 1st, Satender Singh, a 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was beaten to death at Lake Natoma near Sacramento by Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.

The murder was the handiwork of thugs associated with The Watchmen.

The virulently anti-gay hate group will gather in Lynnwood, Washington Oct 19-21 for a little confab.

As noted at the blog Box Turtle Bulletin the venue is owned by the Lynnwood Public Facilities District, a public taxing district that operates the convention center but is separate from the city.
“Our understanding is that they’re law-abiding. They have a right of free speech just like any other group,” said Mike Echelbarger, the board’s chairman.

“If we were talking about the (Ku Klux Klan) we’d have a totally different take on it. Of course we wouldn’t rent to the KKK,” he said.

These low lifes may not be the Klan, but they might as well be.

Watchmen on the Walls (the full name) expects as many as 700 people to attend the prayer gathering, including religious leaders and an anti-gay activist who claims the Holocaust was perpetrated by gays.

Watchmen on the Walls is planning four "regular services, like church services," said Sergy Trikhodko. He described himself as a contact person for the Lynnwood event, but said he could not speak about Watchmen on the Walls, its mission or history.

Among those expected to speak in Lynnwood is Scott Lively, a lawyer from California. He is a "radical anti-gay activist who has all sorts of beliefs about homosexuality and fascism," said Michelle Deutchman, western states counsel for the Anti-Defamation League.

The Everett, Washington Herlad says also listed as a speaker for the Lynnwood gathering is former Seattle Seahawk Ken Hutcherson. He's now a pastor at the Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland and a vocal opponent to gay marriage.

The Watchmen group is composed of some of the state's 200,000 Russian speaking immigrants, said Pastor Joe Fuiten of Bothell's Cedar Park Church. He plans to be a featured speaker at the Lynnwood event.

Fuiten, known statewide for rallying the religious right on moral issues, bristled at the Southern Poverty Law Center's characterization of the Watchmen as the hate mongers they are.

"That southern law group, they're a bunch of whackos," Fuiten said. "They're the hate group. That's a gay front, is what that is."

"Watchmen on the Walls is an extremist organization that makes the radical right look liberal," said Josh Friedes, advocacy director for Equal Rights Washington, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights group. He's concerned about violence, and wonders "What will Lynnwood do to make sure that GLBT citizens are welcome in the town and to make sure to the rest of the state that this conference isn't a Lynnwood value?"

We can only hope the Watchmen are given the type of welcome they surely deserve.

The following comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center and it is lengthy.

The Latvian Connection
West Coast Anti-Gay Movement on the March
By Casey Sanchez

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On the first day of July, Satender Singh was gay-bashed to death. The 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was enjoying a holiday weekend outing at Lake Natoma with three married Indian couples around his age. Singh was delicate and dateless — two facts that did not go unnoticed by a party of Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.

According to multiple witnesses, the men began loudly harassing Singh and his friends, calling them "7-Eleven workers" and "Sodomites." The Slavic men bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a "good church" like theirs. According to Singh's friends, the harassers sent their wives and children home, then used their cell phones to summon several more Slavic men. The members of Singh's party, which included a woman six months pregnant, became afraid and tried to leave. But the Russian-speaking men blocked them with their bodies.

The pregnant woman said she didn't want to fight them.

"We don't want to fight you either," one of them replied in English. "We just want your faggot friend."

One of the Slavic men then sucker-punched Singh in the head. He fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. The assailants drove off in a green sedan and red sports car, hurling bottles at Singh's friends to prevent them from jotting down the license plate. Singh suffered a brain hemorrhage. By the next day, hospital tests confirmed that he was clinically brain dead. His family agreed to remove him from artificial life support July 5.

Outside Singh's hospital room, more than 100 people held a vigil. Many were Sacramento gay activists who didn't know Singh personally, but who saw his death as the tragic but inevitable result of what they describe as the growing threat of large numbers of Slavic anti-gay extremists, most of them first- or second-generation immigrants from Russia, the Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union, in their city and others in the western United States.

In recent months, as energetic Russian-speaking "Russian Baptists" and Pentecostals in these states have organized to bring thousands to anti-gay protests, gay rights activists in Sacramento have picketed Slavic anti-gay churches, requested more police patrols in gay neighborhoods and distributed information cards warning gays and lesbians about the hostile Slavic evangelicals who they say have roughed up participants at gay pride events. Singh's death was the realization of their worst fears.

"After a couple years of fundamentalist and Slavic Christian virulent anti-gay protests at almost every Sacramento gay event in the region," said local gay rights activist Michael Gorman, "what the gay community has feared for some time has finally happened."

The Watchmen
Gay rights activists blame Singh's death on what they call "The West Coast connection" or the "U.S.-Latvia Axis of Hate," a reference to a virulent Latvian megachurch preacher who has become a central figure in the hard-line Slavic anti-gay movement in the West. And indeed, in early August, authorities announced that two Slavic men, one of whom had fled to Russia, were being charged in Singh's death, which they characterized as a hate crime.

A growing and ferocious anti-gay movement in the Sacramento Valley is centered among Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking immigrants. Many of them are members of an international extremist anti-gay movement whose adherents call themselves the Watchmen on the Walls. In Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Vlad Kusakin, the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle, told The Seattle Times in January that God has "made an injection" of high numbers of anti-gay Slavic evangelicals into traditionally liberal West Coast cities. "In those places where the disease is progressing, God made a divine penicillin," Kusakin said.

The anti-gay tactics of the Slavic evangelicals in the U.S. branch of the Watchmen movement are just as crude and even more physically abusive than Fred Phelps' infamous Westboro Baptist Church, and they're rooted in gay-bashing theology that's even more hardcore than the late Jerry Falwell's. Slavic anti-gay talk radio hosts and fundamentalist preachers routinely deliver hateful screeds on the airwaves and from the pulpit in their native tongue that, were they delivered in English, would be a source of nationwide controversy.

Dennis Mangers, a gay former California state senator who now lobbies for the cable industry, said that when he met a prominent leader of Sacramento's Slavic community at a 2006 weekend reconciliation retreat, the Slavic leader told him: "You have to understand, we equate homosexuals with thieves, adulterers and murderers. … You are an abomination."

Current California State Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who rode in a dignitary car in Sacramento's 2006 gay pride parade, told The Sacramento Bee he was shocked by the vitriolic comments shouted by Slavic fundamentalist counter-demonstrators. "The words are vile … and words may give people the implicit license to take the next step and hurt people."

Last summer, The Speaker, a Russian-language newspaper with an English title in Sacramento, urged readers to attend a massive anti-gay rally: "Make a choice. It's your decision. Homosexuality is knocking on your doors and asking: 'Can I make your son gay and your daughter lesbian?'"

At that rally and others at the California Capitol, thousands of Russian-speaking teens crowded the halls of the Capitol building rotunda, wearing "Sodomy is a Sin" T-shirts. Scarf-wrapped babushkas held up signs that read, "Perversion is never safe" and "I am not learning about gay people."

'Masculine Christianity'
Last April in Salem, Ore., more than 700 Russian-speaking teenagers rallied outside the state Capitol against a pair of gay rights bills. It was the largest anti-gay protest to take place in Oregon's sleepy capital city since 1992, when the anti-gay Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) pushed a ballot initiative that came within a few percentage points of rewording the state constitution to declare gay people "abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse" and requiring the state to fire all openly gay or lesbian public school teachers.

The executive director of the OCA at that time was Scott Lively, a longtime anti-gay activist who is now the chief international envoy for the Watchmen movement. Lively also is the former director of the California chapter of the anti-gay American Family Association and the founder of both Defend the Family Ministries and the Pro-Family Law Center, which claims to be the country's "only legal organization devoted exclusively to opposing the homosexual political agenda."

The Watchmen movement's strategy for combating the "disease" of homosexuality calls for aggressive confrontation. "We church leaders need to stop being such, for lack of a better word, sissies when it comes to social and political issues," Lively argues in a widely-circulated tract called Masculine Christianity. "For every motherly, feminine ministry of the church such as a Crisis Pregnancy Center or ex-gay support group we need a battle-hardened, take-it-to-the-enemy masculine ministry like [the anti-abortion group] Operation Rescue."

Lively identifies "the enemy" as not only homosexuals, but also what he terms "homosexualists," a category that includes anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who "actively promotes homosexuality as morally and socially equivalent to heterosexuality as a basis for social policy."

When he personally confronts the enemy, Lively practices what he preaches when it comes to "battle-hardened" tactics. He recently was ordered by a civil court judge to pay $20,000 to lesbian photojournalist Catherine Stauffer for dragging her by the hair through the halls of a Portland church in 1991.

The Pink Passport
Lively occasionally writes for Chalcedon Report, a journal published by the Chalcedon Foundation, the leading Christian Reconstructionist organization in the country. (Reconstructionists typically call for the imposition of Old Testament law, including such draconian punishments as stoning to death active homosexuals and children who curse their parents, on the United States.) But he's most famous as the co-author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party.

Published in 1995, the book is a breathtaking work of Holocaust revisionism. It asserts that Hitler was gay — a claim no serious historian supports — and that Hitler and other evil gay fascists were central in forming the Nazi Party, operating the Third Reich and orchestrating the Holocaust. (Lively's most recent book, The Poisoned Stream, similarly details "a dark and powerful homosexual presence" through "the Spanish Inquisition, the French 'Reign of Terror,' the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American Slavery.")

The Pink Swastika — whose cover has a swastika in place of the "x" in "homosexuality" in the book's subtitle — has been roundly discredited by legitimate historians and was thoroughly debunked in a 2005 Intelligence Report article. Stephen Feinstein, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, said the book was "produced by a right-wing Christian cult and is as correct as flat earth theory."

Lively declined to answer several E-mails seeking comment.

Nevertheless, The Pink Swastika has become Lively's passport to fame among anti-gay church leaders and their followers in Eastern Europe, as well as Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America. Lively frequently speaks about the book and his broader anti-gay agenda in churches, police academies and television news studios throughout the former Soviet Union.

Lively credits the popularity of Russian-language translations of The Pink Swastika to the support of Pastor Alexey Ledyaev, the head of the New Generation Church, an evangelical Christian megachurch based in Riga, the capital city of Latvia. New Generation has more than 200 satellite churches spread throughout Eastern Europe, Argentina, Israel and the United States.

"One of my supporters gave him [Ledyaev] a copy of The Pink Swastika. He was very impressed by it," Lively said in a December 2006 radio show on WTTT-AM, based in Boston. "The European press was bashing them [Ledyaev and his church] for being Nazis. He was finally thrilled that he had something to counter the media with." Ledyaev did not respond to E-mails seeking comment.

Since then, Lively said, "I've been deluged by media speaking offers all over the former Soviet Union."

In Sacramento, editorials in The Speaker urge readers to buy The Pink Swastika. Even right-wing legislators in the California Assembly are said to audibly groan when Slavic evangelicals wave a copy of the pink volume during testimony.

Rock Operas and Reconstruction
The New Generation theology Ledyaev preaches borrows heavily from R.J. Rushdoony, the late founding thinker of Christian Reconstruction. Pastor Ledyaev's 2002 book, New World Order, calls for evangelical Christians around the world to influence the wealthy and powerful in their home countries to implement biblical law in order to stave off a supposed alliance of gays and Muslims hell-bent on destroying Christianity. "The first devastating wave of homosexuality makes a way for the second and more dangerous wave of islamization [sic]," writes Ledyaev.
Born in Kazakhstan, Ledyaev doesn't even speak fluent Latvian. But he's quite proficient in the international language of the anti-gay Christian Right. Ledyaev is close friends with Southern Baptist televangelist Pat Robertson — a man who once predicted God would punish Florida with hurricanes and other disasters because Disney World had allowed a "Gay Days" discount — and was invited to the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President George Bush.

At 56, Ledyaev is still youth-oriented enough to promote his vision of global theocracy through elaborate, large-scale Christian rock operas that Ledyaev writes, directs and stars in, and which are replete with lasers, smoke machines, and spandex-clad actors in ghoulish makeup. One of the rock operas, which young Russian-speaking anti-gay activists promote on video-sharing websites, features a hero character wearing a tuxedo battling men in black tights armed with tiki torches. Over heavy-metal guitar riffs, a military-like chorus sings of "victory over the gays."

In addition to Lively and Robertson, Ledyaev has cultivated the support of Rev. Ken Hutcherson, the African-American founder of Antioch Bible Church, a Seattle-area megachurch. "Hutch," as the ex-NFL player is known, played a key role in persuading Microsoft to temporarily withdraw its support for a Washington bill that would have made it illegal to fire an employee for their sexual orientation. In 2004, his "Mayday for Marriage" rally drew 20,000 people to the Seattle Mariner's Safeco Field to oppose legalizing same-sex marriage.

One of Ledyaev's nephews saw Hutcherson speak in Seattle at a March 2006 debate on gay rights and arranged a meeting with the Latvian pastor. By the end of the year, Hutcherson, Ledyaev and Lively had teamed up with Vlad Kusakin, the editor of The Speaker, to form an international alliance to oppose what Hutcherson characterizes as "the homosexual movement saying they're a minority and that they need their equal rights."

Walking the Gauntlet
They took the name Watchmen on the Walls from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, in which the "watchmen" guard the reconstruction of a ruined Jerusalem. The cities they guard over today, say the contemporary Watchmen, are being destroyed by homosexuality.

"Nehemiah stood by the destroyed city of Jerusalem. So are we standing these days by the ruins of our legislative walls," Ledyaev says on the Watchmen website. "Defending Christianity begins with the restoration of the walls which is where the watchmen should stand up." The group's mission is "to bring the laws of our nations in[to] full compliance with the law of God."

During the past year, the Watchmen have met twice in the United States, first in Sacramento, then in Bellevue, Wash. They gathered to strategize against same-sex marriage and build a political organization to fight "gay-straight alliances" in public schools and push for the boycott of textbooks that mention homosexuality in any context other than total condemnation.

The group has also convened outside America. In the summer of 2006, the Watchmen and their supporters gathered in Riga, Latvia, to "protect the city from a homosexual invasion." Gay rights activists in Europe counter that it's gays who need protection from the Latvian capital, not the other way around.

And, indeed, the city is a hotbed of violent homophobia. In 2005, for example, a group of 100 gay activists, most of them from Western Europe and Scandinavia, traveled to Riga to hold a gay rights march that was widely viewed as the first real test of Latvia's official commitment to freedom of assembly, a requirement for its tentative admission to the European Union in 2004. Under heavy police escort, the gay rights demonstrators walked a few blocks through a gauntlet of ultranationalists, neo-Nazi skinheads, elderly women and youths wearing "I Love New Generation" T-shirts. They were pelted with eggs, rotten tomatoes and plastic bags full of feces.

During a parliamentary debate in Riga on whether sexual orientation should be covered under a national ban on discrimination, an activist named Janis Smits, a prominent defender of Pastor Ledyaev’s New Generation Church, quoted the Old Testament: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." Last year, Smits was elevated to chair the Latvian Parliament's Human Rights Commission.

Representing the White House?
When gay rights activists in Europe announced plans to hold a second Riga Pride march in the summer of 2006, the City Council voted to ban it. The gay rights protesters showed up anyway. Once again, they were pelted with eggs, rotten produce and feces as they attempted to attend services at an Anglican church that welcomed them. Swedish gay rights activists said that a carload of violent anti-gay protesters tried to force their taxi off the road.
Roving black jeeps with dark-tinted windows that carried anti-gay activists were a new element at the 2006 march. Decals on the jeeps bore the logo "No Pride" with a red line slashing through a circled picture of two male stick figures having sex. No Pride is a group organized and funded by New Generation Church member Igors Maslakovs.

A translator wearing a "No Pride" T-shirt bearing the same logo accompanied Lively and Hutcherson during their March 2007 Watchmen tour of Latvia. On that trip, Lively told a crowd of police officers that "the gay movement is the most dangerous political movement on earth" and repeated his claims that Riga is under siege by homosexuals, despite the fact that thousands of anti-gay demonstrators had countered the showing of just a few dozen gay rights marchers the summer before.

High on the Watchmen agenda during their March Latvia visit was expressing their anger over a $7,179 donation the U.S. embassy in Latvia made to Mozaika, a Latvian gay rights organization. The four-figure sum is pocket lint in terms of U.S. foreign aid. (According to tax records, nonprofit organizations run by Lively donated a similar amount to anti-gay groups over the last two years.) But the Watchmen didn't just protest the small donation. They did so in the name of the Bush Administration. Hutcherson claimed that the White House had appointed him a "special envoy" for "family values."

"I came to you representing the White House. In my country, people will know how Latvia responded to anti-Christian statements," Hutcherson told the Latvian parliament. "We need to stand for righteousness not only morally, but also physically and financially. It's a great battle for righteousness and no one can stop it. I promise to stand with you."

Hutcherson later said that he was designated a White House envoy during a February 2007 meeting between himself, Ledyaev and Jay Hein, the head of the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Hutcherson claims he has a videotape of this meeting, but so far has refused to release it.

In a written statement, White House spokesperson Alyssa J. McLenning refuted Hutcherson's claim: "The White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives did not give Hutcherson the title, 'Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief.' The White House did not give Hutcherson any other titles and did not coordinate with Hutcherson on his recent trip to Latvia." Impersonating a diplomat is a felony, but the White House apparently is not pursuing the matter.

A Contagious Disease
Soon after returning from the March trip, Lively visited a Russian-language evangelical church in Salem, Ore., where he screened a video documenting the Watchmen's activities in Latvia. The 45-minute tape repeatedly refers to gays as "terrorists" alongside footage of Ledyaev leading crowds in a chant: "In the name of Jesus Christ, we curse the name of homosexuality!"

In a speech given after Riga's first gay pride parade in 2005, Ledyaev told his international congregation: "Homosexuality is a … dangerous and contagious disease. The contagious should be isolated and treated. Otherwise, an epidemic will sweep through the entire community."

Lively echoed his Latvian ally's comparison of homosexuality to disease in a 2003 letter to the editor published in The Washington Times. "The homosexual movement in a society is analogous to the AIDS virus in the human body," Lively wrote. "It is not benign but destructive; it thrives at the expense of the host, and you're most likely to get it by saying yes to sodomy."

The Watchmen portray the battle against gay rights as nothing less than a biblical clash of civilizations. "The homosexual sexual ethic" and "family-based society" are at war, Lively proclaimed in his letter to The Washington Times. "One must prevail at the expense of the other."

That sort of militant rhetoric is standard among Watchmen followers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Speaking to his American counterparts in a Watchmen video, a Latvian anti-gay activist intones: "Your generation beat the Nazis, and our country beat the Communists. Together we will defeat the homosexuals!"

Outnumbered and Fearful
Anti-immigrant sentiments already were rising among Sacramento gays and lesbians prior to Singh's murder. Slavic immigrant chants of "Repent, Sodomites!" at anti-gay demonstrations were frequently countered with shouts of "Go back to Russia!" Since the killing, anger at the local Slavic evangelical community has reached the boiling point. One typical online posting to a Craigslist Web forum was titled, "DEPORT RUSSIANS NOW!!"

"Satender Singh is just the beginning of the [P]andora's box," it read. "They come here [as] religious refugees and turn their newfound freedom on our citizenry. If they are going to [cite] evangelical religious rhetoric, then I say give some Old [Testament] eye for eye."

The situation heated up further on Aug. 7, when Sacramento authorities charged Andrey Vusik, 29, with involuntary manslaughter as a hate crime in Singh's death, saying that the evidence did not show intent to kill. Vusik, leaving a wife and children in West Sacramento, fled to Russia in July, they said, and is being sought by the FBI. A second suspect, Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21, was arrested at his home and charged with intimidation and interfering with a victim's rights, also as a hate crime. Authorities roundly dismissed the claims of Vusik's wife, who told The Sacramento Bee that her husband acted in self-defense after Singh's party became raucous and sexually provocative, shocking her "Christian" family. No independent witnesses or members of Singh's party supported that version, detectives said.

Meanwhile, Ledyaev and Lively have contributed to the tension by refusing to publicly condemn Singh's murder. Vlad Kusakin, editor of The Speaker, called the killing "tragic" but criticized The Sacramento Bee for publicizing the details of the murder, alleging that the newspaper was engaged in a Nazi-style propaganda campaign against Slavic Christians.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 Slavic immigrants live in the Sacramento region, the highest concentration in the United States, and the city is home to some 70 Russian fundamentalist congregations. A third of the Slavic population considers themselves evangelicals or "Russian Baptists," a doctrine that is unrelated ideologically or organizationally to American Baptist churches. (Ironically, many of them emigrated to the United States beginning in the late 1980s to escape religious persecution in what was then still part of the Soviet Union.) Meanwhile, nearly 10% of the actual city of Sacramento's 450,000 residents openly identify as gay or lesbian — almost 45,000 men and women. Only a small handful of cities, like Seattle and San Francisco, boast higher percentages of openly gay and lesbian residents.

The disparity in numbers has not gone unnoticed. Even though many Slavic immigrants are not homophobic, there's a new and uneasy feeling among Sacramento's gay and lesbian population of being outnumbered by people who hate homosexuals in a city that has long been considered gay-friendly.

Florin Ciuriuc, a former executive director of the Slavic Community Center of Sacramento, told The Sacramento Bee earlier this year that he stopped leading anti-gay protests among his countrymen because "I saw that people were hungry for violence, for blood." Ciuric added, "I don't want people from my community killing each other or other people because they are getting aggressive."

Sacramento gay and lesbian rights advocate Wendy Hill, 33, said that when she came of age as a lesbian in the mid-1990s, Sacramento was a safer place. "As a college student, you pushed the envelope. You walked down the street hand-in-hand with another girl, even if you weren't dating." Now, Hill says, after a group of rowdy Russian-speaking protesters showed up outside her house one morning, "I get afraid of that now, walking hand in hand with my wife."

Hill, who has served on the board of several local gay and lesbian organizations, says that she first became aware of the city's large and increasingly militant anti-gay Slavic population in the spring of 2006 when she attended "Queer Youth Advocacy Day," a lobbying event at which around two dozen young gay rights activists were confronted by 350 anti-gay demonstrators. "I'd say about 90% to 95% were from Slavic churches," she said. "They were blocking sidewalks, physically intimidating. … We realized how complacent we had become. We weren't used to that type of behavior."

Hill and her partner of eight years have two young children, a 3-year-old and a 1-year old. They used to consider Sacramento a safe place for a lesbian couple to raise a family. Now they're not so sure. "It scares me," Hill says, "to think that's something going to happen to my daughter because of who her parents are."


Vernon Bellecourt died the other day. I met him a couple of times back in the 70s. Interesting fellow and a true man of his people. He was often controversial amongst friends as well as enemies. Burial services were this morning on the White Earth Indian Reservation northern Minnesota.

The following is from Indian Country Today

Harjo: Vernon Bellecourt (1931-2007)
© Indian Country Today October 15, 2007. All Rights Reserved
by: Suzan Shown Harjo / Indian Country Today

American Indian Movement leader Vernon Bellecourt would have celebrated his 76th birthday on Oct. 17, but now it is also the date of his burial.

Bellecourt died Oct. 13 in a Minneapolis hospital from complications of diabetes and an E. coli infection in his lungs. He was surrounded by family and friends, who said that he passed peacefully within three minutes after being removed from a respirator.

''Of all 12 of us siblings, only me and my sister are left,'' said Bellecourt's brother, Clyde Bellecourt, also a longtime activist in Minneapolis. ''It's hard to think about what we'll do without him.'' Bellecourt will be laid to rest on family land on the White Earth Chippewa Reservation in northwestern Minnesota.

Bellecourt's Anishinaabe name was WaBun-Inini, which means Man of Dawn. A White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians tribal member, he once served on the tribal council and was Minneapolis-area vice president of the National Congress of American Indians.

''Vernon was a great representative of the Ojibwe Nation and one of the great communicators of our generation,'' said William A. Means, Oglala Lakota, Bellecourt's friend, fellow activist and community organizer. ''He was the best at getting across the message of treaty rights, human rights, mascots and racism to people from the grass-roots all the way to national officials.''

Means lauded Bellecourt's work as president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, his support of our lawsuit against the disparaging name of the Washington football team and his efforts on behalf of the International Indian Treaty Council, which Means served as president for two decades. He commended what turned out to be the final work of Bellecourt's life: ''Getting another year's heating oil for 27 tribes from the people of Venezuela and CITGO.'' Bellecourt returned from Venezuela shortly before being hospitalized.

Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, praised Bellecourt's leadership of the AIM Grand Governing Council in Minneapolis. Westerman recalled a 1968 meeting in Denver ''where Vernon, Clyde, DJ [Dennis J. Banks, Leech Lake Chippewa] and I started the American Indian Movement; then they went to Minneapolis and made it official.''

Westerman's spoke to me from a hospital bed in Los Angeles, where he was recovering from a myelodysplasia syndrome incident. ''Now, all of us guys are getting up there. All that traveling - the life's been hard on us.'' Westerman, 71, is a singer/songwriter and actor who first rose to prominence in 1969, when his collaboration with Vine Deloria Jr. resulted in Westerman's first album, named after Deloria's bestselling book, ''Custer Died For Your Sins.''

I last saw Bellecourt in November 2005, at the public service following Deloria's private inurnment in Golden, Colo. Westerman was closing the service and invited all the AIM people to join him and sing the AIM song in Deloria's honor. Ward Churchill - who arrived late and loudly derided the family's projected images of Deloria on a back wall - started making his way to the front of the room.

Westerman cleverly called out the name of the man who had helped expose Churchill as a pseudo-Indian more than 15 years before he was fired for plagiarism by the University of Colorado: ''Vernon Bellecourt, come on up here.'' Upon hearing the name of his nemesis, Churchill threw his hands in the air and left in a huff, taking with him the gathering's only discordant note.

Seeing Westerman, Bellecourt and others together that day reminded me that these were brave men and women who had put themselves in danger for the rights of all Native peoples, so I joined them in a show of solidarity. Afterward, a friend said, ''I didn't know you were AIM.'' I wasn't, but that wasn't the point. It was a respect thing. I remember marveling at Bellecourt's verbal skills. He was like an old jazz musician who never had a lesson or needed a rehearsal - he could just play.

(In the interest of full disclosure, my late husband, Frank Ray Harjo, Wotko Muscogee - together with an Iroquois ironworker and a Nicaraguan Indian musician - were asked in 1973 by Banks to wrest a New York AIM office from a con artist who started it, and they ran it for six months. Aside from that, Harjo was a radio producer, community organizer and carver of Muscogee stickball sticks and Onondaga lacrosse sticks, whose activism pre-dated AIM).

Bellecourt was a stand-up guy, even when he was in a wheelchair, as he often was over the last five years. Never a quisling or fair-weather friend, he had a quick wit and a keen sense of what was important at any given moment. One day at a lunch meeting, I ordered a low-cal/no-carb dish and something in diet brown; he ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a sugary drink. ''Is that all you're going to eat,'' he asked. ''Yes, I'm diabetic, you know.'' ''Well, who isn't, but no-taste food? What's the point of even eating?''

As his diabetes progressed, he called periodically to ask about my health and to say that we ought to make some public service announcements for Indian young people about what happens if you smoke and don't eat right. He was the first to congratulate me for writing a column saying that frybread wasn't healthy or traditional.

''Vernon Bellecourt was serious about services to Natives, and he reached out to be a leader in the community,'' said Gerald Vizenor, White Earth Chippewa, a writer and professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico. ''He took part in many activities, including an interest in contemporary Native arts. I was impressed that he attended shows and exhibitions of Native American art. Vernon studied each contemporary painting, and would ask the artist to talk about his work. I once encouraged him at an art show to consider contemporary Native literature, but he seemed to be more interested in painting and sculpture.''

''I crossed many paths and traveled many roads with Vernon,'' said Phyllis Young, Hunkpapa Lakota/Yanktonai Dakota, a community activist and a founder of Women of All Red Nations. ''Vernon spent his life in pursuit of a better life for all Indian people. He did it very aggressively and never stopped, in spite of age and ailments and opposition.''

Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, is president of the Morning Star Institute in Washington, D.C., and a columnist for Indian Country Today.


The BBC is reporting that police in the Cameroons have shot dead at least three taxi drivers who were part of a protest against police brutality. The group had gathered to denounce the severe beating of one of their own at a police check point.

An aide to the governor of North-West Province, who asked not to be named, confirmed there had been a "popular upheaval downtown" but could not confirm the deaths.
"The situation is very tense here now," the aide added, requesting anonymity.

"It seems the people want the police to pay for the killings."

There is more to the police beatings then simple spite or even one brutal beating.

Taxi drivers have long been bristling with anger at policemen who 'control' car documents. Drivers speak with disdain about the cruel treatment they receive in the hands of the uniformed men. They complain bitterly that the policemen have a fondness for their [taxi drivers] hard-earned stipends regardless of whether they present complete car documents or not.

The cab drivers feel offended about the carefree attitude of the policemen who seem to have shunned their noble duty of enforcing the law and protecting citizens' lives and their property, for the lucrative business of collecting bribe.

In an interview with The Post (Cameroons), a taxi driver in Buea Town, Solomon Tah, said the policemen are out to drain them because they no longer check documents, but merely demand for the traditional FCFA 500 'settlement'.

He said it is very difficult for them to have all the required documents due to exorbitant rates running up to as much as FCFA 350,000, the delay in getting the documents and the money they lose daily to policemen.

The following is from Reuters Alert Africa.

Cameroon police shoot dead 3 moped taxi riders

YAOUNDE, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Police in northwestern Cameroon shot dead three motorcycle taxi drivers who were protesting against the arrest and beating of one of their colleagues, residents said on Tuesday.

Police arrested one of the taxi drivers on Monday for not having the right papers in Bamenda, the main town of the central African country's North-West Province, a region frequently rocked by land disputes and clashes with the authorities.

"He was thoroughly beaten until he lost consciousness and one of his eyes. His colleagues went to the police station to seek his release but the police used tear gas to chase them away," one Bamenda resident said, asking not to be named.

"They then invaded the town, mounting roadblocks and blocking the traffic. When the security forces came out to lift the roadblocks, they threw stones at them and the police fired at them in retaliation."

The three taxi drivers -- known locally as "benskinners" because passengers have to "bend their skin" to climb onto the motorcycles -- were killed instantly by bullets. A pregnant woman who was also hit was rushed to hospital, witnesses said.

Thousands of people then gathered in support of the "benskinners", accusing the police of extorting money from them and of other human rights abuses.

An aide to the provincial governor, who asked not to be named, confirmed there was "a popular upheaval downtown" but said, in the confusion, he was unable to confirm the deaths.

"The situation is very tense here now. It seems the people want the police to pay for the killings," he said.

Bamenda is no stranger to violent unrest. Residents of a nearby village burned down 300 homes and forced thousands of people to flee in March after rival landowners reportedly tried to burn down their traditional chief's "fon", or palace.

Last year, another group of villagers beat their own chief to death and burnt his corpse after they accused him of selling farmland to wealthy cattle breeders. They then stoned to death the policeman who came to arrest the main suspects.


I love watching the pundits discussing why Americans don't trust their leaders, why so many don't vote, why so many have given up any faith they have in the system. "Why, oh why," they moan.

Just take a look at what is going on with the genocide resolutions, my friend, and you'll sure find one answer.

Our misleaders, the politicians haven't any spines. In the face of the historical fact of the genocide of the Armenian people at the hands of the Turks way back at the beginning of the 1900s, they have been "himming" and "hawing" for decades. Can't say the word...won't say the word...wouldn't be prudent...might upset Turkey...could affect the war in Iraq...might bother someone. So they pretend just maybe that genocide didn't happen, maybe no one will notice.

Wasn't everyone all aghast when a few weeks back a certain President of Iran took pretty much the same point of view about the genocide of the Jews at the hands of the Germans? You know, it deserved more study or as some Bushies have said, "Leave it to the historians to decide."

Hell, just today our tough President who likes to stand solidly on principle, this God fearing Christian man stood right up to the plate and proclaimed proudly, "One thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire. Congress has more important work to do than antagonizing a democratic ally in the Muslim world, especially one that's providing vital support for our military every day."

No, George Bush II is not afraid to take a stand.

And neither are the conservatives and the Christian right who seem to have lost their voice when it comes to speaking out against the genocide of the mainly Christian Armenians.


Now, the Democrats, they of the noble speeches, they who talk endlessly about Iraq but do nothing, those folks, you know them, now they are starting to back away from their own resolution and join their friends on the other side of the aisle and in the White House and becoming "pragmatic."

Take tough talking John Murtha. You remember him. Today calling on the House leadership to shy away from a vote said of the resolution to condemn the genocide, ""We don't have the number of allies we used to have. We've lost so much credibility worldwide." So John is telling his buds to just forget about it already.

Joining Mr. Murtha were Alcee Hastings, chairman of the House Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and John Tanner, Chief of the Voting Rights Section, Robert Wexler, chairman of the House NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and Stephan Cohen, chairman of Subcommittee on European Affairs who all appealed to the House Speaker to call off the vote on the resolution.

``What we are asking is for our own leadership to do what is right for the American national and strategic interests,'' Florida Democrat Robert Wexler said.

``Sometimes your head has to give in to your heart and do what makes sense for your country,'' Tennessee Democrat Stephen Cohen said. ``It's just bad, bad, bad timing.''

They needn't fear. Madam Speaker has no more guts then the rest of these gomers. Pelosi backed off her pledge to call a floor vote on a measure declaring the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks an act of genocide after support for the resolution eroded.

``Whether it will come up or not and what the action will be remains to be seen,'' Pelosi told reporters today.

And then there is that profile of courage, the former Congressman from Missouri, who so well exemplifies why Americans of all political stripes so often say "a pox on both your houses." Just keep reading.

In 2003, Richard A. Gephardt cosponsored a resolution that put the “Armenian genocide” in company with the Holocaust and mass deaths in Cambodia and Rwanda.

In 2000, the Missouri lawmaker backed a similar measure, and in a letter to then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Gephardt said he was “committed to obtaining official U.S. government recognition of the Armenian genocide.”

Now Gephardt, reports Congressional Quarterly is a foreign agent lobbying on behalf of Turkey, and he’s got a different view of the world. He’s working to stymie the latest version of an Armenian genocide resolution.

It all just makes you want to do one of those Howard Dean screams!!!

The following is from the Congressional Quarterly.

Chances Fading for Armenia Genocide Vote

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged today that an Armenian genocide resolution she supports might not make it to the House floor, as growing opposition spurred by fierce lobbying from the Bush administration and the Turkish government put its adoption in doubt.

The non-binding resolution (H Res 106) calls on President Bush to recognize as genocide the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in the former Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago. The administration and most Republicans oppose a floor vote on the measure, which the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved Oct. 10.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said she would consult with the remaining sponsors to see if there is still enough momentum among Democrats to bring the measure to a floor vote in the coming weeks. “I am working with them to see what their wish is,” she said.

Pelosi has long supported the resolution and in the past has promised to bring it up for a vote. Thousands of Armenian-Americans make up a vocal and influential community in her home district in California.

But about a dozen Democrats have withdrawn their sponsorship and even more have said they won’t vote for it on the floor, prompting Democratic leaders to reconsider.

“If it came to the floor today it would not pass,” said John P. Murtha, D-Pa.

The measure has angered NATO ally Turkey, and the administration has warned that its adoption would harm U.S. foreign policy efforts in the region. It also could touch off a widening of the war in Iraq by emboldening Turkey to strike at Kurdish separatists hiding there among their ethnic brethren.

Earlier, the Turkish parliament voted to authorize cross-border military strikes on the separatists.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Workers in the Islamic Republic of Iran have few if any real rights. Those who try to organize are frequently attacked, beaten and jailed.

But still the workers of Iran continue to stand up for their rights and to challenge the clerics.

The International Alliance in Support of Workers' in Iran last month reported on just a recent sampling of worker related news in their country:

* Bakhtyar Rahimi, a labour activist, was arrested by security forces at 3:00 am. His house was searched and his personal belongings such as computer, CDs, camera, etc. were confiscated. (Salam Democrat weblog, July 23, 2007)

* Parviz Khorshid, Mansour Osanloo’s lawyer, announced that he has not got permission to meet his client. Osanloo, the president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company-Sherkate Vahed has been charged with “security accusations” and has been held with no visitation rights by the revolutionary court’s Branch 28. (ISNA, July 25, 2007)

* Mohammad Sharif, Mahmood Salehi’s lawyer says that his efforts to move Mahmood Salehi from Sanandaj prison to Saqez prison has been unsuccessful and prison officials have always prevented him to meet his client. (ISNA, July 25, 2007)

* Javanmir Moradi, a founding member of the Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers in Iran reports: 600 workers of Gama Company have not been paid for 3 months. To protest this situation, workers went on strike. 40 workers were fired. They were the most active workers during the strike. Also, 120 workers of Pars Hass Company who were not being paid for 3 months went to strike. This company is a contractor of T.I.G.D Company. These contractors are working in Assalooyeh Refinery, Phase 6, 7 and 8.

* 11 workers, who were arrested on May Day celebration in Sanandaj city, were sentenced to 91 days in prison and 10 lashes each. They were accused of disturbing public order and participating in an illegal gathering by both civil and revolutionary courts of Sanandaj. Their names are: Khaled Savari, Eghbal Latifi, Yadullah Moradi, Tayeb Mollaee, Fars Goilian, Sadiq Amjadi, Habibollah Kalkani, Mohiuddin Rajabi, Tayeb Chatani, Sadiq Sobhani and Abbas Anadyari. (The Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers, August 5th, 2007)

* Ebrahim Madadi, the vice-president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company was summoned to Tehran Revolutionary Court Court-Branch14. His charges are: ‘propaganda against establishment, conspiracy and assembly for the purpose of endangering national security. (ISNA, August 7, 2007)

* Mohammad Jarahi a member of Painters’ and Building Decorations’ Syndicate was arrested in Tabriz city by the security forces. He has also been a member of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Workers’ Organizations. (Salam Democrat weblog, August 8, 2007)

* Ebrahim Madadi, Seyed Davood Razavi, Yaghoub Salimi, Ebrahim Nowroozi Gohari and Homayon Jaberi, members of Vahed Syndicate, were arrested by intelligent forces and were transferred to Evin prison while they went to Osanloo’s house to state their solidarity with Mansour Osanloo on August 9, 2007. Taher Sadeqi and Fatemeh Hajilou were also amongst the detainees (Vahed Syndicate)

* Yaghoub Salimi a member of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company-Sherkate Vahed was summoned to Enghelab Islami Court-Branch 14. His charges are: propaganda against regime and disturbing Law and order as well as endangering national security. (Etemad, August 13, 2007)

* Yousef Molaee, Osanloo’s lawyer, announced that he has met with his client, Mansour Osanloo, in Evin prison. “Mansour was beaten severely when he was arrested. He had bruises all over his body”, he added. (ISNA, August 14, 2007)

* Parviz Khorshid who is the lawyer of some of accused workers of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company- Sherkate Vahed declared that: “Seyed Davood Razavi has had a hearing at Tehran Enghelab Islami Court-Branch14 on August 21st 2007. His charges were propaganda against regime, illegal gathering and deranging national security. Also, Yaghoub Salimi will have a hearing for similar accusations. See latest information below:

- According to the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburban Bus (Vahed) Company, on “Saturday September 8, 2007 Ebrahim Madadi, Deputy of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburban Bus (Vahed) Company was taken to the Interrogation of Security branch number one and was questioned and was once again returned to Evin after the questioning procedure was over. Ebrahim Madadi was arrested on August 9, 2007 when he was about to enter Mansour Osanloo’s house and was taken to Evin. Furthermore, Seyed Davoud Razavi, a member of the Syndicate’s Executive Board who was arrested on August9, 2007, was released on a $50,000 bail on September 8, 2007”.

* Taher Sadeqi , who was arrested on August 9th , 2007 before Osanloo’s house and then was transferred to Evin prison, and Fatemeh Hajilou, who were moved to section 209 in Evin prison, have been released from prison.

* According to Committee in Defence of Mahmoud Salehi, Mr. Salehi was transferred to Tohid Hospital in Sanandaj under heavy security on Thursday, August 23rd after his health reached a very critical condition. Salehi, while being handcuffed to the hospital bed, received a simple medical examination and subsequently was sent back to the prison again despite the recommendation of the hospital’s physicians. Salehi was again transferred to the Tohid hospital on September 2, 2007 for another short treatment and was sent back to jail.

* On Wednesday, August 29th, 2007, Mohammad Abdipour, one of the Saqez Seven labour activists, while taking his 7 year-old child to a hair salon, was attacked by someone named Omar Darwish Abdullah with a handgun. Abdipour was not harmed in this attack as he was rescued by people present in the area. In a statement on august 30th, the Committee in Defense of Mahmoud Salehi emphasized that this kind of attack, particularly with a gun, can only done by the government forces and with their arrangement.

* Public transit drivers in the City of Kermanshah went on strike on August 27th for almost a full shift to demand immediate attention to their unresolved issues. Workers were demanding permanent position for contract employees and a better insurance scheme to protect drives as well as the payment of their overdue bonuses.

* Sheys Amani and Sedigh karimi members of the board of directors of the Dismissed and Unemployed Workers’ Union have been sentenced 30 months imprisonment by the Sanandaj’s criminal court. These two labour activists were incarcerated following organizing a rally on May 1st 2007 in Sanandaj. Each was freed on 50 million Toman bail (US$54,000) in June. They will appeal these charges.

* According to the Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran, Mr. Hamid Rahmati an activist teacher in the city of Shahreza was arrested by security forces in his home on September 6, 2007 and was released after 24 hours detention on September 6th. He went on hunger strike right following his arrest. In addition Ms. Baadpar, also a member of Teachers’ Trade Association, who was there as a guest, was arrested and a couple hours later released.

* According to news reported at the Salam Democrat weblog in Iran, on September 5, 2007, the Teachers’ Trade Association of Kermanshah’s legal certificate was annulled by the Kermansha governorship. Therefore, the association has no rights to organize any activities under this name.

* According to a report by the Collaborative Council of Labour Organizations and Activists, the Workers of Azemayesh factory in Marvdasht went on strike as of in August 2007 to demand the payment of their overdue wages. This factory used to have 1400 workers but about 1000 was dismissed and out of the 400 remaining workers only 200 have permanent positions. The factory is not fully functioning and there is news that the employer is planning to lay off all employees and shut down the factory entirely.

The International Alliance in Support of Workers' in Iran (IASWI) was formed in January 2000, with labour endorsements, particularly from Canadian labour movement, to launch and organize collaborative international solidarity campaigns in support of workers' rights and struggles in Iran.

The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) is formed with the following objectives:

To support workers’ struggle in Iran for better working conditions and
living standards;

To advocate for workers’ movement demands in Iran,
including the right to organize free and independent labour organizations and
the right to strike;

To strive for an absolute end to the systematic repression, persecution, imprisonment, torture, assassination and execution of
labour activists and political opponents in Iran;

To promote the implementation and enforcement of internationally recognized human and workers’ rights and freedoms for all people in Iran.

The following comes from the weB page of the International Alliance in Support of Workers' in Iran.

Open Letter to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)
Re: the WFTU’s Relations with Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran

As you are well aware, a WFTU Delegation visited Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran (WH) on July 16-20, 2007. The photos of this visit can be seen at the WFTU website*. This is not the first time WFTU and the Workers House have been engaged in friendly relationships. WFTU seems to have established an ongoing close relationship with WH. WFTU has previously extended invitations to the WH to attend its conferences as a representative of the Iranian working class. It’s not even the first time an international labour federation has made such attempts to build close relationships with the WH. Each time however such attempts have received strong reactions by Iranian labour activists in Iran and abroad. WFTU too has previously received numerous letters regarding its unacceptable relationship with the WH. WFTU thus already knows very well that the Workers House is simply an instrument of the Islamic Republic of Iran and employers. It’s not even a trade union, independent or not, by the furthest stretch of the imagination. It’s an ideological group formed by the Islamic Republic of Iran for controlling Iranian labour movement. We and others in Iranian labour movement had previously sent WFTU information about WH that proves that WH is a means of controlling and suppressing independent labour activities and organizations in Iran. The Iranian labour movement undoubtedly sees the Workers House and the Islamic labour Councils as puppets of the Islamic Republic**.

Workers in Iran have been struggling tirelessly, despite ever-increasing repression, to form various independent organizations to demand the freedom of association and the right to organize and strike and other internationally recognized workers’ and human rights. Iranian workers are denied the right to form any independent organization and those who act to form one are fired, persecuted, arrested and imprisoned or exiled. Time and time again, workers and progressives and anti-capitalists in Iran have declared that the Workers’ House is not a labour organization and it does not represent workers at all. The expulsion of the Workers’ House delegations from all international gatherings has been a major demand of Iranian labour activists in Iran and abroad.

WFTU and US Military Intervention in Iran:

We recognize and value the fact that the WFTU has repeatedly opposed war and imperialist militarization by the United States and its allies against countries like Iraq and Iran, etc. The WFTU is absolutely right in its position that economic sanctions and war would primarily (and the most drastically) affect working people. WFTU is also right to state that the US and its allies have used the pretext of the struggle against terrorism to attack and restrict democratic and trade union rights under the pretext of war on terror. A position based on the working class interests, however, must go way beyond this. The Iranian working class and the independent labour movement in Iran strongly oppose war and militarization in the region and around the world. In the context of the current confrontation between the US and its European allies and the Iranian government, i.e. nuclear power and so on, the Iranian labour movement is holding an independent position because this is not the working class conflict. The Iranian working class strongly opposes all kinds of arms races and nuclear weapons in all countries without exception. In term of war on Iran, the Iranian labour movement strongly and unequivocally opposes any military intervention or sanctions against Iran, because it’s not only unacceptable and inhuman under any pretext, its main victims are always working people and their families. At the same time, the Iranian labour movement does not allow the Iranian government to use the threats of war and sanction as a pretext to continue, and intensify, persecuting, arresting, dismissing, kidnapping and jailing Iranian labour and progressive activists. Let’s make it clear once and for all, the Islamic republic of Iran is not an anti-imperialist force; it’s a cruel capitalist government, which is fully implementing the neo-liberal policies of global capitalism. Moreover, it’s a regime that has been jailing and killing tens of thousands of labour and women’s rights activists, students and socialists and other progressive forces in Iran. Moreover, we have said this repeatedly that the United States government, which in collaboration with corporations and industries has for years stripped workers of so many of their rights and protections, as the most dangerous nuclear and military power and the only government ever used the atomic bomb against people and its invasion of Iraq brought absolute disaster for the Iraqi people, has no credibility whatsoever on any of these issue. A progressive working class stance not only proactively opposes any attempts to pursue war or economic sanctions against Iran, it ought, at the same time, support the workers’ struggles against the repressive government and capitalists in Iran who are forcefully implementing the most aggressive anti-worker and neo-liberal policies in the country’s contemporary history.

What needs to be done for workers rights in Iran?

Just six days before WFTU mission’s arrival in Tehran to visit WH, Mansour Osanloo, the president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was kidnapped by plain clothes agents in the evening of Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Later on, he was transferred to the notorious Evin prison and has been kept imprisoned there since then. As you should remember, Osanloo’s tongue was cut by a knife used by the Workers’ House executives when members of Workers’ House and Islamic Labour Council, with the support of security forces and the Vahed Bus Company, violently attacked the meeting of the Bus Workers’ syndicate of Tehran in May 2005. Mahmoud Salehi, a prominent anti-capitalist labour leader in Iran, has been imprisoned in Sandanj’s prison without the right for proper medical treatments. His health since imprisonment has been severely deteriorated and his family and colleagues are extremely worried for his life.

The WFTU calls for the establishing and the free functioning of Trade Union organisations in every country. It is absolutely undeniable that In Iran, in addition to the government, a main barrier for establishing free labour organizations is the Workers’ House and its so called Islamic labour councils.

We are therefore calling on WFTU and its affiliates to immediately stop WFTU’s friendly relationship with Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are urging the WFTU to engage in a meaningful dialogue with independent labour activists in Iran and pro-actively support the following resolution in support of the Iranian labour movement in any possible ways you can.

Proposed Resolution in Support of workers in Iran

WHEREAS the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), has imposed deplorable political, economic and social conditions on workers and impoverished strata of society;

WHEREAS Iranian workers have consistently witnessed the imposition of anti-labour and neo-liberal policies and practices of government and employers and;

WHEREAS the IRI dismantled independent workers' councils and syndicates, which were set up democratically and freely by workers in various sectors and industries after the 1979 revolution, and identified activists of such organizations, tried them for framed up unfounded charges in sham courts, expelled many from their workplace, and arrested and executed others;

WHEREAS the Iranian government created "Islamic Labour Councils" and “Workers’ House” in order to control workers and suppress independent workers' organizations;

WHEREAS workers in Iran continue to be deprived of the right to organize and strike and frequently face persecution, arrests and imprisonment –the persecution of the activists of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company and imprisonment of Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi and arrests and prosecution of other labour activists for organizing efforts or May Day activity are just some known examples and;

WHEREAS, the US Administration’s drive to wage war against countries including Iran has been a pretext for massive attacks on labour, civil, immigrant, and human rights;

WHEREAS sanctions and military intervention in Iran will be disastrous, inhuman and totally and unacceptable under any pretext and its main victims will surely be the working people of Iran, ordinary women, men and children.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the WFTU and its affiliates strongly support the rights of Iranian workers to freely set up their independent workers’ organizations and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the WFTU calls for immediate and unconditional freedom of Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi and all jailed labour activists;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that WFTU and its affiliates refuse any recognition of the “Islamic Labour councils” and “Workers’ House”, which are set up and backed by the government authorities and employers, in the name of Iranian workers.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that as part of the worldwide struggles against capitalist globalization and neo-liberalism, the WFTU will work with independent labour movement in Iran to strengthen worker-to-worker solidarity;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the WFTU takes a strong and proactive stand against any attempts by the US government and its allies to pursue sanctions and military interventions against Iran.

Thank you for taking these urgent and important issues and concerns into serious consideration. Please contact us at if you have any questions or concerns.

International Relations- International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran

***Contact Persons:

Mahchid Modjaverian (

(CGT Transport)

Farid C. Partovi (

(Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 4772)

cc: labour, progressive and anti-capitalist and anti-war organizations in Iran and other countries.

*WFTU Website, Photos:

**Workers’ House- A brief historical background:

Workers’ House (Khaneh Kargar) was founded under the old monarchical regime. In the early 1970s, Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hovayda organized the only legal political party in Iran, called the Rasstakhiz (Resurgence) Party. Connected to this instrument of monarchical dictatorship was the Workers Organization of Iran headed by the chief of SAVAK (the secret police agency) General Parnianfar, Minister of Labour, one senator and two representatives of Majeles (the lower house of the monarchical parliament). After the February 1979 revolution, workers took over the offices of the Workers’ Organization of Iran and renamed it Workers’ House. This was a centre for activities of independent workers shoras (councils) and syndicates (trade unions). In September 1979, after a Friday prayer in Tehran a group of government agents armed with clubs attacked the Workers’ House and took it over from workers. Ali Rabbiei, Assistant Director of the Organization for Information and Security of the Islamic Republic, Hossein Kamali, an engineer and a representative in the Parliament and soon after the minister of labour, Sarhadizadeh, Minister of Labour at the time, and Alireza Mahjoob, member of the pro-capitalist Islamic Republic Party (now the head of Workers’ House and a Member of parliament), formed the central leadership of the “occupied” Workers’ House. They registered the Workers’ House based on a political constitution supporting the pro-capitalist agenda of the Islamic Republic regime….

*** For identification purposes.

For more information, please contact

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)