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:
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)
Ward Churchill has released a statement on the controversy concerning his 9-11 statements, grandiosely entitled "On the Injustice of Getting Smeared: A Campaign of Fabrications and Gross Distortions." (Online at Counterpunch) He now claims to never have defended the 9-11 attacks, and actually has the chutzpah to invoke Martin Luther King and the admonition that "Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable" (which he cites to RFK, even though it was JFK who actually said it).
Upstate New York's Hamilton College cancelled an appearance by University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill following over 6,000 protest e-mails and even death threats in reaction to an essay he wrote defending the 9-11 attacks. Churchill's essay called the WTC victims "little Eichmanns" (a reference to Nazi Holocaust mastermind Adolph Eichmann) and hailed the "gallant sacrifices" of the "combat teams" that carried out the 9-11 attacks. In the wake of the controversy, Colorado's Gov. Bill Owens called on Churchill to step down from his faculty position. Churchill has stepped down as head of the ethnic studies program, but remains on staff, the Denver Post reports.
The separatist insurgency that has been shaking Paksitan's Baluchistan province--strategically bordering Afghanistan--since the beginning of the year seemed to have come out of nowhere. Finally, a Jan. 29 account in the BBC sheds some light. It seems the natural gas field at Sui lies at the heart of the unrest. Typically, it is a source of much of Pakistan's national wealth, yet little of it returns to the local peoples.
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter argues in a Jan. 25 piece for al-Jazeera that the so-called "Salvador Option" for Iraq has already been used. He writes that in the months after Paul Bremer took over the Coalition Provisional Authority in June 2003, "the streets of Baghdad crawled with scores of assassination squads." Dozens of Baathist leaders were rubbed out by the Iran-backed Badr militia, with the collaboration of the CIA and Pentagon Special Operations. The Badr militia was later reined in by Bremer as an unreliable proxy, but this unlikely alliance between radical Shi'ites and US military forces could be rebuilt.
The US is petitioning the UN Security Council not to prosecute Darfur war criminals--just another piece of Washington's ongoing campaign against the International Criminal Court, which could one day be used against US troops or political leaders. Meanwhile, a report by a five-person UN panel released Jan. 28 conveniently finds that while the Darfur violence is part of a government-orchestrated systematic campaign, it does not constitue "genocide". (IHT, Jan. 28) Just a day later, African Union peacekeepers reported that a Sudanese government airstrike on the Darfur village of Shangil Tobaya (40 miles south of El Fasher) left at least 100 civilians dead, and caused a thousand more to flee. Some 10,000 have fled violence in the Shangil Tobaya area in the past two weeks. (Boston Globe, Jan. 29) Pretty impolitic--you'd think the Khartoum butchers would have a better sense of timing. Then again, I guess they are entitled to their hubris, given how the whole world is giving them a blank check for butchery.
They did it again. On Jan. 24, the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that police sending a drug-sniffing dog into a car in a traffic stop is constitutionally permissible, even in the absense of any evidence of drug use. The ruling reverses an Illinois Supreme Court decision in the case of Roy Cabelles, who was stopped for going six miles over the speed limit and now faces marijuana charges.