Bill Weinberg

Saudi dissidents freed on eve of election

A front-page story in the Feb. 10 NY Times notes that Saudi Arabia is holding its first national election that day--albeit with an "asterisk": women are barred from the vote, and even men only get to elect half the members of municipal councils. The other half will remain appointees, and no national leaders will be elected.

Anarchist scare: feds probe arson attacks

The FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force is investigating twin vandal attacks on Army recruiting centers in New York City--one in Manhattan's Flatiron section, the other in the Parkchester district of the Bronx. David Seigel, 19, of Litchfield, CT, was arrested for throwing a burning rag at the Parkchester facility, causing minor damage, and news reports have said that he is an "anarchist." In the Manhattan incident, a rock was thrown at the recruiting center, cracking the door, and graffiti left --including a slogan against the Iraq war an an anarchist symbol. (NY Post, Feb. 1)

Indonesian justice: firing squad for pot possession

More ironic timing for Washington's push to restore military ties with Indonesia. With Condi Rice on the stump claiming Jakarta is cleaning up its nasty human rights situation, the DC-based Marijuana Policy Project sends us the following chilling story:

In Indonesia, a 27-year-old Australian woman is facing death by firing squad for allegedly bringing marijuana into the country.

AIM splits over Churchill affair

It appears that different factions of the American Indian Movement (AIM) have released statements either condemning or supporting Ward Churchill, in equally vehement terms.

First this, from the AIM Grand Governing Council in Minneapolis:

US to resume Indonesia military ties

What an irony: Just after the tsunami's horrific toll has (briefly) focused world attention on Indonesia's grisly counter-insurgency war in Aceh, the US State Department is moving to approve restoration of official Pentagon ties to Indonesia's military. Indonesia's participation in the Pentagon's International Military Education and Training (IMET) program was suspended following atrocities in East Timor in 1999. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is now advocating restoring it, telling key members of Congress "IMET for Indonesia is in the US interest."

Churchill cancelled at four more colleges

For the fourth time in a week, a public speech by Ward Churchill was cancelled for "security reasons"--this time at his own University of Colorado. Each school he was scheduled to appear at reported an avalanche of calls and e-mails in protest. (Denver Post, Feb. 7; Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 5)

Is Ward Churchill really an Indian?

Indian Country Today, the national weekly run by the Oneida Nation in upstate New York, ran a story Feb. 3 casting doubt on Ward Churchill's claims to be a Native American. The account by Indian Country Today staff writer Jim Adams again aired accusations by national Indian leaders that Churchill has no real Indian ancestry. The report found:

New escalations in Churchill imbroglio

Passions are rapidly escalating in the Ward Churchill controversy, with the professor reporting vandals spray-painting swastikas on his truck as it was parked in his driveway overnight. The Colorado House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution Feb. 2 condemning him, calling his remarks an "evil and infalmmatory blow to the healing process." The state senate voted up the statement the following day. The U. of Colorado regents met later that day to issue a formal apology to "all Americans", but the session was disrupted by several student activists with signs reading "WITCH HUNT" and "Protect Freedom of Expression." (The usual public commentary period at the session was barred.) (Rocky Mountain News, Newsday, Feb. 3)

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