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Monday, July 12, 2004

articles-july 12

Apology is fine but justice is better
MARK TRAHANT
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST

I did wrong. I am sorry. I will change.

Three-word sentences that all of us have to say from time to time. We learn from our mistakes, we change our behavior and we progress on through life.

In our generation, our institutions have become apology minded, too.

Congress is now considering an official apology to "all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States."

Argue all you want over the apology, this is where the story turns ironic. While Congress considers how sorry it is -- it also acted to steal more native land (one more time, for old time's sake). full article

Massacre in Colombia
Violent drug competition traps peasants, indigenous tribes in middle

By Galle Sévenier
Special to The Denver Post

Madeleine Diaz / La Verdad
Colombia’s civil war between paramilitary groups and guerrillas has resulted in a massive migration of Wayuu Indians into cities and neighboring countries. More than 700 Wayuu, including those above, live in poverty in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Cabo de la Vela, Colombia - At least 34 farmers near the Venezuelan border were massacred June 15 in the latest violent competition to control drug production and distribution.

The killings followed an incident two months earlier in which a Wayuu Indian village in the Guajira desert of Colombia was wiped out, with more than 100 people dead or missing, according to survivors.

On one side of this lethal struggle are right-wing paramilitary organizations; on the other are leftist guerrillas called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Their conflict, once ideological, now includes control of drug-making territories.

In the middle are peasants and indigenous tribes that, with few weapons and few choices, are pressured into growing coca, from which cocaine is processed. Wayuu are streaming across the border into Venezuela, whose officials have denounced what they call the "Wayuu genocide." full article

Counting on Indian Country

Terry Woster
Argus Leader
published: 7/11/2004

GOP hopes to end Democratic hold on reservations
EAGLE BUTTE - Attention spans used to be shorter in Congress when Harold Frazier traveled to the nation's capital to lobby for programs or funding for his Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

That was before a heavier than normal, heavily Democratic vote from Indian Country helped provide the 524-vote victory margin that re-elected Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson in the 2002 election.

"I could see the change the next time I went to Washington," Frazier, the Cheyenne River chairman, said. "They were paying more attention. It used to be, I'd go there, and the attention span was something like 10 minutes, 12 if you were lucky, then they were on to other things."
The influence of the Indian Country vote in the Johnson race against former Republican Rep. John Thune raised the awareness level for Native American issues on Capitol Hill, the chairman said. full article

New Sault chairman sworn in as bitterness continues to divide

July 11, 2004, 6:34 PM

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) -- A new chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians took office Sunday and promptly barred his predecessor from the reservation.

Aaron Payment's temporary order against former chairman Bernard Bouschor underscored the bitter division within the 31,000-member tribe, which owns five Upper Peninsula casinos and is primary owner of the Greektown Casino in Detroit. full article

The Dots Never Existed'
A damning report on Iraq intelligence failures throws the administration a Curve Ball

By Michael Isikoff
Investigative Correspondent
Newsweek

July 19 issue - The more he read, the more uneasy he became. In early February 2003 Colin Powell was putting the finishing touches on his speech to the United Nations spelling out the case for war in Iraq. Across the Potomac River, a Pentagon intelligence analyst going over the facts in the speech was alarmed at how shaky that case was. Powell's presentation relied heavily on the claims of one especially dubious Iraqi defector, dubbed "Curve Ball" inside the intel community. A self-proclaimed chemical engineer who was the brother of a top aide to Iraqi National Congress chief Ahmad Chalabi, Curve Ball had told the German intelligence service that Iraq had a fleet of seven mobile labs used to manufacture deadly biological weapons. But nobody inside the U.S. government had ever actually spoken to the informant—except the Pentagon analyst, who concluded the man was an alcoholic and utterly useless as a source. He recalled that Curve Ball had shown up for their only meeting nursing a "terrible hangover." full article

Senate WMD Report Whacks CIA, Not Bush

by David Corn

The United States went to war on the basis of false claims. More than 800 Americans and countless Iraqis have lost their lives because of these false claims. The American taxpayer has to pay up to $200 billion--and maybe more--because of these false claims. The United States' standing in the world has fallen precipitously because of these false claims. Two days before the war, when George W. Bush justified the coming invasion of Iraq by saying "intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal" weapons of mass destruction, he was dead wrong. And when he later claimed his decision to attack Iraq had been predicated upon "good, solid intelligence," he was dead wrong.

The debate is over--or it should be. According to the report released today by the Senate intelligence committee, the intelligence community--led by the CIA--"overstated" and "mischaracterized" the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, produced hastily and haphazardly in October 2002, the intelligence community concluded that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed chemical and biological weapons, was "reconstituting" its nuclear weapons program, was supporting an "active" and "advanced" biological weapons program, and was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle "probably intended to deliver" biological weapons. All of these critical findings, the committee report says, "either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting." full article

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