29 June 2011

What Wikileaks Reveals about Canadian and U.S. Efforts in Suppression and Surveillance of Indigenous Communities

First, from Brenda Norrell's exceptional effort to keep us all abreast of a wealth of daily news concerning indigenous struggles--CENSORED NEWS: Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights--some extracts (please see the complete articles at the links below), with the most recent articles listed first:

Wikileaks: Top six ways the US and Canada violated Indigenous rights--Wikileaks reveals how the US and Canada worked globally to systematically violate Indigenous rights:

  1. The United States worked behind the scenes to fight the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In Ecuador, the US established a program to dissuade Ecuador from supporting the Declaration. In Iceland, the US Embassy said Iceland's support was an "impediment" to US/Iceland relations at the UN. In Canada, the US said the US and Canada agreed the Declaration was headed for a "train wreck."
  2. The United States targeted and tracked Indigenous Peoples, community activists and leaders, especially in Chile, Peru and Ecuador. A cable reveals the US Embassy in Lima, Peru, identified Indigenous activists and tracked the involvement of Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Bolivia Ambassador Pablo Solon, prominent Mapuche and Quechua activists and community leaders. President Chavez and President Morales were consistently watched, and their actions analyzed. Indigenous activists opposing the dirty Tar Sands were spied on, and other Indigenous activists in Vancouver, prior to the Olympics.
  3. The United States was part of a five country coalition to promote mining and fight against Indigenous activists in Peru. A core group of diplomats from U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Switzerland and South Africa formed an alliance with mining companies to promote and protect mining interests globally. In other illegal corporate profiteering, Peru’s government secretly admitted that 70-90 percent of its mahogany exports were illegally felled, according to a US embassy cable revealed by Wikileaks. Lowe's and Home Depot sell the lumber.
  4. Canada spied on Mohawks using illegal wiretaps. Before Wikileaks hit the headlines, it exposed in 2010 that Canada used unauthorized wiretaps on Mohawks. Wikileaks: "During the preliminary inquiry to Shawn Brant's trial, it came out that the Ontario Provincial Police, headed by Commissioner Julian Fantino, had been using wiretaps on more than a dozen different Mohawks without a judge's authorization, an action almost unheard of recent history in Canada." The United States and Canada tracked Mohawks. In one of the largest collections of cables released so far that targeted Native people and named names, the US consulates in Montreal and Toronto detailed Mohawk activities at the border and in their communities.
  5. The arrogant and insulting tone of the US Embassies and disrespect for Indigenous leaders is pervasive in US diplomatic cables. The US Embassy in Guatemala stated that President of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, called Rigoberta Menchu a "fabrication" of an anthropologist and made other accusations. Menchu responded on a local radio station that Colom was a "liar."
  6. The collection of DNA and other data, makes it clear that US Ambassadors are spies abroad. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton states that the Intelligence Community relies on biographical information from US diplomats. In cables to Africa and Paraguay, Clinton asked US Embassy personnel to collect address books, e-mail passwords, fingerprints, iris scans and DNA. “The intelligence community relies on State reporting officers for much of the biographical information collected worldwide," Clinton said in a cable on April 16, 2009. Clinton said the biographical data should be sent to the INR (Bureau of Intelligence and Research) for dissemination to the Intelligence Community.

Wikileaks: Canada says UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights headed for 'Train Wreck'

In a diplomatic cable marked 'sensitive,' US Ambassador David Wilkins states that the US and Canada agree that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is 'ill conceived and is headed for a train-wreck.' It was written five weeks after the United Nations adopted the Declaration.When the United Nations adopted the UN Declaration, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia were the four countries that voted against it. Although the four countries later took action on it, the US and Canada gave only lip service and did not sign on to it, or fully endorse it.

Wikileaks Quito: US worked against UN Indigenous Rights Declaration in Ecuador--US Ambassador in Quito carried out US mission of working against adoption of UN Declaration:

"Wikileaks reveals that US Ambassador Jewell in Quito, Ecuador, described steps taken by the US to dissuade Ecuador from supporting the Declaration in 2006, the year before it was adopted by the UN. Jewell stated the government of Ecuador was inclined to support the Declaration in 2006. She said, however, that the US took steps to present papers to show that the UN Declaration 'is fundamentally flawed'."

Wikileaks Peru: US feared Indigenous power--US Ambassador in Peru obsessed with fears of Venezuela, radicalism and Indigenous rule:

"Wikileaks releases from Peru once again reveal the pro-copper mining and anti-Indigenous sentiment of the US Embassy in Lima. Former US Ambassador Curtis Struble in Peru expresses fear that Indigenous may once again govern Peru. Struble is again on the look-out for Venezuela's "meddling," and again is tracking Indigenous activists. This time, on the US watch list, is Aymara activist Felipe Quispe of Bolivia, leader of Pachakuti Indigenous Movement, according to the June 19, 2007 cable. In one of six cables released Friday, Feb. 25, from Lima, Ambassador Struble writes of the regions of Peru. He said the southern highland province of Puno has an 'affinity for far-left radicalism.' Struble fears Venezuela is involved here and fears the movement of Bolivarism. 'Evo Morales is widely popular, but he is admired for his poor, indigenous background, not for his political views,' Struble wrote. Continuing his obsession with the feared 'radicalism' and Indigenous rule in Peru, Struble writes of the 'ethnocacerism' of Antauro Humala. He calls this 'a murky philosophy that seeks to return Peru to a past when only indigenous persons wielded political power'."

Wikileaks: US engaged in espionage of Indigenous activists

"A Wikileaks cable reveals the US Embassy in Lima, Peru, identified Indigenous activists and tracked the involvement of Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Bolivia Ambassador Pablo Solon, prominent Quechua activist Miguel Palacin Quispe and community leaders. Since the writing of this cable, the bonds with Native Americans and First Nations have grown stronger in the struggles for justice. Bolivian President Morales and Ambassador Solon were in the forefront of the Indigenous global climate change efforts in 2010. Palacin was in Tucson for an anti-mining conference in 2007, and more recently at the climate summits in both Cochabamba and Cancun. The US Embassy report dated March 17, 2008, focuses on Indigenous activists and their supporters who, the cable states, were organizing "anti-summit" protests against the European Union-Latin American Heads of State summit scheduled for mid-May of 2008 in Lima. James Nealon at the US Embassy in Lima wrote the cable released Sunday, Feb. 13. 'The greatest concern among our European Union mission colleagues is the threat that radicals could hijack the protests by aggressively confronting ill-prepared security forces, as occurred in Cusco in February'."

Wikileaks Peru: US Ambassador targeted Indigenous activists, promoted mining--Diplomats protecting mining interests of Barrick, Newmont, BHP; US, Canada, Australia, UK, Switzerland and South Africa:

"...The diplomatic cables reveal the US promoting multi-national corporations, while targeting Indigenous activists and their supporters. The new cables reveal that a core group of diplomats formed an alliance with mining companies to promote and protect mining interests globally. The diplomats were from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Switzerland and South Africa."

Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege:

"The most disturbing aspect of the US State Department cables on Indigenous Peoples is the haughtiness and white privilege that bleeds through the print. The cables make it clear that to the United States, Indigenous Peoples are annoying, even potential terrorists, and must be dealt with. Along with the Mapuches defense of their land and environment, the Wikileaks cables released so far [to December 2010] show the United States’ obsession with Bolivian President Evo Morales and his growing popularity. In the Bolivian cables, the incorrect facts, poor content and unreliable sources are the most glaring aspect."
Chile: "The US spy in Santiago said, 'Secretariat General of the Presidency Minister Viera Gallo told the Ambassador January 30 that the GOC – and Chilean society - are only belatedly taking seriously a growing problem with Chile's indigenous (largely Mapuche) population, which has never been fully integrated and is becoming increasingly radicalized. Mapuche alienation and protest activity could impact on issues such as terrorism, energy, and development in environmentally sensitive regions.' This cable, and other cables, show the growing concern by the United States of the rising collective power of Indigenous Peoples, it terms of uniting with other groups and stopping the development of enormous development projects such as dams that destroy Indigenous lands. With the Mapuches, the US is concerned about connections to the Basque and NGOs (non-governmental organizations.)"

Iceland's support of Indigenous Declaration an 'impediment' to US relations

"The United States scrutinized Iceland's support of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, according to new cables released by Wikileaks. The US cables reveal the behind-the-scenes maneuvers of the United States, the last country in the world to support the Declaration. US Ambassador Ambassador Carol van Voorst said Iceland's support of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was an 'impediment' to full cooperation between the US and Iceland at the United Nations. Van Voorst said Iceland is the only country in the Nordic that does not have Indigenous Peoples. Iceland officials, however, said they would join other Nordic countries in support of the Declaration, Van Voorst wrote to the US State Dept."
Second, from APTN:

U.S. considers ‘Native Canadian groups’ as possible terror threats: embassy cables

"The U.S. has been keeping regular intelligence on potential security threats in Canada, including the activities of unnamed First Nations groups, according to two cables sent by the U.S. embassy in Ottawa and obtained by APTN National News....The cables, sent from the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, and titled, Security Environmental Profile Response For Mission Canada, appear to be part of regular updates on the situation in the country. The U.S. identified the involvement of Aboriginal groups in anti-U.S. demonstrations and as possible terror threats in a Feb. 27, 2009 cable."...'Human rights groups, small political protest/grass roots organizations and Canadian Aboriginal groups are prone to carrying out demonstrations aimed at the host government and sponsor anti-U.S. demonstrations,' reads the cable from 2009....The cables also list potential terrorist threats in Canada. Under the heading 'Indigenous Terrorism,' the cables outline several subgroups of interest, including Anti-American Terrorist Groups and Other Indigenous Terror Groups....The cables...include Aboriginal groups under the heading of 'Other Indigenous Terror Groups'..."
Third, from rabble.ca:

Wikileaks comes to Canada: Federal failure on aboriginal rights

"You just know things are bad when the U.S. criticizes Canada for its treatment of Indigenous people. Wikileaks late last week released a memo from the American Embassy in Ottawa to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, outlining a land claim process that is hopelessly mired in bureaucracy, costly court cases, allegations of the mismanagement of First Nations funds and assets, and the lack of any lucid definition of aboriginal rights. The disparaging memo, which dates back to August of 2009, ends rather pessimistically. 'As long as Canada lacks a clear definition of aboriginal rights or a uniform model for negotiations, effective mechanisms to resolve aboriginal grievances in a timely manner will remain elusive'...."

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