Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Liberty Spills Out Onto The Ground

Fervent prayers were raised up to the sandy, dusty heavens of Iraq by thousands of soldiers and Iraqi’s alike that Karl Rove would change his mind and not allow a war criminal like George W. Bush to lay the wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Most Iraqi’s would do not like the United States by any means do however recognize after suffering through the Saddam regime that a leader can run rough shot over a nation if the followers of that leader get the same thirst for blood.
In the White House situation room:

President Bush: Ok, what the hell is so damn important down here, I got a photo op in a few minutes…Dick I thought we decided you wouldn’t bother me on the holidays with this crap!

Vice President Dick Cheney: I’m very sorry Mr. President, I didn’t call you it was general Myers.

At this point the president turns his scowl toward General Myers. General Myers looks at the President in shock, not awe.

General Myers: Mr. President we have a situation…

President Bush: Well you picked a helluva room for it!

General Myers: Yes sir. We have a lead that some of the strongholds in Afghanistan may be within our reach.

President Bush: Afghanistan? You called me down here about Afghanistan? Afghanistan…what about Iraq? We’ve got more troops there, hell, I forgot all about Afghanistan.

The President laughs wickedly and looks around the room only to be amazed at the shocked faces around him. The President turns around and walks out of the situation room and back to the oval office.

General Myers: Mr. Vice President?

Vice President Dick Cheney: Just keep it under surveillance.

- Chris Mansel

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Watching the Border Watchers: What the Minutemen Look Like From the Streets of Oaxaca

Youth Commentary, Angel Luna,Pacific News Service, May 26, 2005

Editor's Note: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent "welcome" to the Minutemen -- an Arizona group that has taken it upon itself to police the border -- caused controversy locally. The reaction south of the border, one young immigrant found when he returned to Oaxaca for a visit, has been even stronger, and potentially more extreme.SAN JOSE, Calif.--When I first heard about the Minutemen -- a group of vigilantes rounding up illegal immigrants along the Arizona border -- my first thought was, "I wonder what the reaction will be back home in Oaxaca." On a recent visit, I got a chance to find out. The Minutemen drew a lot of attention recently when California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed his support for the group and "welcomed" it to expand its operation to his state. Here in the United States, the response has been mostly soft pressure -- letters to congressional representatives and candlelight vigils. In San Jose, Calif., where I live, many people feel the situation is a lost cause and are just waiting for the worst. Folks like my aunt, who immigrated here three years ago, say "Hay Dios mio, protégé a esa pobre gente (Oh my Lord, please protect these poor people)," whenever the topic of the Minutemen comes up. But on the other side of the border the attitude toward the Minutemen, and how to handle them, is stronger. I recently went back to my hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico, for a visit. A lot more folks talk politics in Mexico than in the United States, and the Minutemen in particular had caught everyone's attention. It's the talk at the local bar, in the back of taxicabs and on campus at Uabjo Universidad Autonoma Benito Juares de Oaxaca. One of my old friends there told me that he had planned to go and reunite with his son in the United States, but all the hype about the Minutemen was stopping him. He said, "Pinches gueros culeros que no quieren que progrese la raza (Damn white boys, they don't want us to make progress)," and "Que mal les hace uno (What harm do we do them)?" The border itself looks very different from Mexico. First off, it's farther from home than people think. It is dangerous, tricky, dirty, unfriendly, and you can trust nobody. My aunt told me a story of how she almost got raped when she was crossing the border from Mexico to the United States. It is no easy decision to go. If you have enough money for a coyote (guide), you go through the desert. In Oaxaca, they tell stories of people -- not necessarily the Minutemen, but others who don't want to see people make it -- sabotaging the water stations that volunteers have placed in the desert to help prevent deaths by dehydration. If you don't have money, you catch a cargo train while it's running. If you don't stay awake, you can fall off and kill yourself. I heard many stories in Oaxaca of people getting their limbs chopped off, and getting stuck in between trains. Talk of these dangers has recently been upstaged by the question of how to deal with the Minutemen. Word on the street is that the narcos (drug lords) are going to give rewards to anybody who kills a member of the Minuteman organization. I was in a bar with my friends, drinking and joking around until the soccer game on the TV was interrupted by a news flash about the Minuteman. Everyone gathered around this older man who said he was a lawyer. "The only thing that these people are doing is pissing off the narcos, the coyotes and the Mara Salvatrucha (a gang that spans Latin America)," he said. Some of the folks laughed. In the neighborhood where I was raised in Oaxaca, the narcos have a pretty strong following. They are thought to be generous with their allies and dangerous to their enemies. Even though people know the narcos are up to no good, the drug lords are thought of as people who don't forget where they came from, and don't forget their folks. Before he left he bar, the lawyer said, "El narco no perdona, y la sangre va a tener que ser derramada (The narco doesn't forgive, and blood will have to be spilled)." The room cheered. PNS contributor Angel Luna, 20, writes for Silicon Valley De-Bug, the voice of young workers, writers and artists in Silicon Valley and a PNS project. He came to the United States from Mexico seven years ago.Related articles:Sagging Arnold Wants To Pump You Up With Diversionary IssueLatino Media, Politicians React to Governor's Praise of 'Minutemen'Civic Groups Unite to Protest Border Vigilantes

The Looting of American Prisons and the Sentimentality of Rogue Governments

Private security agencies are going through the old records of the American penal system to see if any immigrant now serving time in this country that could be held under the new terrorist watch list. If discovered by these hounds of the government the individuals could be transferred to Guantanamo Bay or another prison controlled by the American government and tortured at will thereby boycotting the Human Rights of the individual.
The setting is the interior of the House Judicial conference room, a private hearing on the President’s agenda of unspeakable acts headed by Sen. Bill Frist.

Unnamed individual: I know for a fact we have got a shipload of Cubans in custody held over from the Kennedy era.

CIA agent: Yea, they can take a shitting and keep on kicking.

Sen. Frist: I think every representative has undesirables in his district he would like to get rid of…

CIA agent: (laughs) Shit Bill, who said we were going to get rid of them? We’re just going to torture them for a few months and threaten to flush the picture of Castro down the toilet. Maybe we could set up in their cell a television playing the scene where Castro tripped and fell over and over.

Sen. Frist: I’ll discuss it with the President…..(long pause then laughter), ok I’ll mention it to Cheney.

- Chris Mansel

Friday, May 27, 2005

Burundi: Rwandan's Asylum Claims Must Be Heard

Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC)

PRESS RELEASE May 26, 2005

Posted to the web May 27, 2005 New York

Thousands of Rwandans seeking asylum in Burundi, most of them women and children, must not be coerced to return home without having their asylum claims fairly examined, Human Rights Watch said today.
The asylum seekers are Hutu, as were the assailants who slaughtered about three-quarters of the Tutsi living in Rwanda in 1994. But about half the Rwandans who fled to Burundi are children, too young to have participated in the 1994 killings.
The asylum seekers say they fear unfair treatment in Rwanda by local people's courts, called gacaca. Just three months ago, these courts began to try persons accused of participating in the 1994 genocide. Some of the asylum seekers say they also fear violence from Rwandan government officials or from genocide survivors who had threatened them.
"Rwandans implicated in the genocide must be brought before a fair trial. But the mere act of fleeing from Rwanda is not an admission of guilt," said Alison Des Forges, senior Africa adviser at Human Rights Watch. "International law requires that all asylum seekers must have a fair hearing of their reasons for seeking protection abroad."
Rwandan asylum seekers in Burundi, who began fleeing Rwanda in late March, numbered some 7,000 by early May. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) moved about 2,000 of them to two official sites to afford them better security and access to assistance.
In late April, Burundian authorities halted the transfer of the asylum seekers. Together with Rwandan officials, the Burundian authorities tried to persuade asylum seekers to return home. When persuasion failed, Burundian authorities closed four of the seven sites where asylum seekers had gathered. Burundian soldiers and police coerced and threatened asylum seekers, insisting they must return to Rwanda. In some cases, they beat the Rwandans, overturned their cooking pots, and tore down their shelters.
At the Gatsinda site north-east of the capital Bujumbura, a member of the Burundian armed forces raped a 20-year-old female asylum seeker.
Under international law, all persons have a right to seek asylum and have their claims fairly examined. However, those responsible for acts of genocide or certain other grave international crimes may be excluded from refugee status.
A schoolgirl-who would have been seven years old at the time of the genocide-told a Human Rights Watch researcher in Burundi that she fled Rwanda with three other schoolmates several weeks ago, making the 30-mile trek to the border on foot. She had been frightened, she said, by hearing an official publicly denounce people getting higher education. According to her, he warned that educated people "will train others to kill." During the genocide many community leaders, some of them well-educated, led the attacks.
Under coercion, most Rwandans left the sites in Burundi during the second week in May, but asylum seekers have gathered again at the sites. Some returned to the sites after hiding for several days in the vicinity; some went back to Rwanda and then returned to Burundi, claiming to have met new threats at home. Other asylum seekers just arrived from Rwanda for the first time.
Most of the asylum seekers are housed in makeshift sites near the border where they have received only minimal distributions of food and water. Malnutrition and disease are serious risks in these conditions.
"Burundian authorities should permit the asylum seekers to be transferred to UNHCR camps where they can be safe and better cared for," said Des Forges. "And they must begin hearings to decide which claimants have a right to asylum."
Most who fled to Burundi came from the province of Butare in southern Rwanda. Hundreds of other Rwandans from the eastern part of the country tried to flee to Tanzania. Earlier this month Tanzanian officials sent some 35 Rwandans back to their country without examining their claims for asylum.
International treaties on refugees including the African Refugee Convention of 1969, to which both Burundi and Tanzania are parties, oblige states not to forcibly return persons to countries where they may face grave human rights abuse. After protest from the UNHCR, Tanzanian authorities agreed not to send asylum seekers back to Rwanda without examining the basis of their claims for asylum.
More than a thousand Rwandans have also fled to Uganda, where they were settled in a refugee camp.

Copyright © 2005 Human Rights Watch. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

The Toe on the Kicking Heel

Tourists have become fodder for the Republican Party in Washington. The concrete bunker in front of that ominous looking fence of the White House is the touching off point for the rape of the culture. A secret passageway beneath the bunker passes into a labyrinth first used by J. Edgar Hoover for rendezvous with Howard Hughes after his appearance became too stricken for public view. The Kennedy tunnel as it became known is nothing compared to this grisly little hole. Chairs are strewn through the dimly lit passageway and posters representing the history of suffocation and pedophilia are displayed along with the written testimony in the form of R. Crumb cartoon Egyptian graffiti along the floor.
The imposing Henry Hyde can usually be seen with a glass of half Johnnie Walker and half diesel fuel lighting it for effect and spitting grape seeds into the crotch of senate pages rescued from the grip of Tom Delay and his metal cage cock matches. No democrat has ever seduced a tourist into this rancid squalor but a few congress women have indeed been shoulder fucked beyond all normal recognition by opposing members both circumcised and not.

- Chris Mansel

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Immolating The National Interest

The best way out is the closet back in. Where is this administrations Daniel Ellsberg? When we see the secret Iraq papers, the detailed orders for the mistreatment of prisoners of war. The truth always comes out eventually, or as President Bush has so scathingly remarked, “In 50 years we’ll all be dead.”
The frantic landscape of Iraq is ruined; the ground is covered in blood and riddled with twisted metal. More flesh has been torn away by fragmentation bombs than votes were cast in the last two elections. Refugees are caught in the crossfire and die before the official word of sympathy can be spoken. War is its own tribunal to overcast the clearing sky of humanity. Years ago it was argued before the supreme court that you need not burn the U.S. flag, but now as the dead arrive back in this country, the stars and stripes do not burn but are hidden under a curfew of information. The families of the victims cannot be shielded from their grief as the public is to the truth. This is an ugly situation that rears its own bloody head each time a commercial follows a listing of the dead and wounded. Serious reporting of this war does not see the glint of the television news. For the first time the Internet has become the voice of the people who do not have to get the approval of the establishment, old money and the virtuous treachery of the corporations. Websites like www.velvetrevolution.us and many others report a clear and defining message thereby sidestepping the gray for the black and white.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Abandoned Darfur Villages Burned To Terrorize Refugees From Returning

As always I am keeping my eye on that land so many would like to forget, the land containing people of color, a land rapt with disease and hunger. One of the points I see to writing the Mansel Report is to ensure that someone somewhere might read these reports and think differently and see with some clarity that suffering is not democratic or necessary. The following article speaks for itself. – Chris Mansel, The Mansel Report

Abandoned Darfur Villages Burned to Terrorize Refugees From Returning -

UN UN News

(New York) NEWSApril 26, 2005 Posted to the web April 26, 2005

The United Nations refugee agency today voiced alarm that abandoned villages in Sudan's conflict-ravaged western Darfur region are once again being burned as a message of terror to discourage people who once lived there from returning home.
"This gratuitous act is clearly a message to the former residents not to return home," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva of an agency visit last week to the village of Seraf, near Masteri, some 60 kilometres south of El Geneina, capital of West Darfur state.
"We are concerned because acts like this - on top of the displacement of some 2 million people from their homes - threaten to change the social and demographic structure of Darfur irrevocably," she added.
Ibrahim, a resident of Seraf, took UNHCR staff for an on-site inspection of the village, which he said had been burned to the ground four days earlier by men he called Arabs or Janjaweed militias.
"They are telling us not to come back to our original village," Ibrahim told agency staffers. "They want to push us to go to Chad, out of the country. They want to stay here instead of us."
Some 200,000 Sudanese have fled across the border into Chad, beyond the more than more than 1.8 million displaced inside Darfur by the conflict, which began two years ago when rebels took up arms partly in protest at the distribution of economic resources but has since been compounded by Janjaweed and other armed attacks on villages.
"It is a dramatic way of making the point they (the original inhabitants) are not welcome here," said a UNHCR staffer, who accompanied Ibrahim. Last year during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month from October to November, some 55 abandoned villages were burned around Masteri, an agglomeration of nearly 100 villages.
Actions like these also demonstrate the value of UNHCR's mobile protection teams, which have conducted more than 100 missions within West Darfur to find and arrange protection for the most vulnerable people, especially women who have been raped, Ms. Pagonis said.
"We are working to improve life for those who do choose to go home to selected areas, although we do not want to send the signal that it is now safe for all Darfuris to return home," she added. Some 20,000 people have already taken the brave step of going back to their villages from Chad and from larger towns in Darfur.