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)
The conservative Freedom House think-tank has released a new study (with an introduction by ex-CIA chief James Woolsey) finding that Saudi-produced Wahhabi literature promoting "hate ideology" is flooding American mosques. The following account is from the Alt.Muslim web site:
Chicago anti-war activists are waging a First Amendment battle in two courtrooms, the Chicago Tribune reported Feb. 3. In federal District Court, activists are seeking class-action status for a suit brought after police shut down a protest on Lake Shore Drive on March 20, 2003, the day the war on Iraq was launched. The case contends protesters were herded into an area cordoned off by riot police, and that hundreds were arrested without justification, sometimes with excessive force. Meanwhile, in a city courtroom yesterday, the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism appealed the denial of a permit to march again on this coming March 19 to mark the anniversary of the invasion. Coalition spokesman Andy Thayer said it is "essentially unconstitutional" to prohibit the right to protest on "hot-button issues." The city Transportation Department, in turn, denies that content is at issue, and says that the proposed march route would snarl traffic.
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).
Ishaq Levin, one of the last two Jews in Kabul (and presumably in all of Afghanistan), was buried at Jerusalem's honored Mount of Olives Feb. 2. When Taliban rule ended three years ago, Levin and Zebulon Simentov were found living at opposite ends of Kabul's synagogue, divided by a bitter feud and refusing to talk to each other. Levin's relatives in Israel learned of his death through relatives of Simentov, and made arrangements with the Red Cross to have his remains flown out. Two weeks later, the body was delivered to the Israeli embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and flown to Israel for burial. Levin was believed to have been around 80, and hadn't seen his family since a brief trip to Israel 26 years ago. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi Shlomo Amar led prayers at the funeral.
Nepal's King Gyanendra dismissed the country's government Feb. 1, and declared a state of emergency, closing off his Himalayan kingdom from the outside world as telephone and Internet lines were cut, flights grounded and civil liberties suspended. This is the second time in three years the king has taken control of the constitutional monarchy, a throwback to the era of absolute monarchy before King Birendra, Gyanendra's brother, introduced representative government following a popular pro-democracy movement in 1990.
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.