April 14, 2010

Remembering Bassem Abu Rahma of Bil’in

Posted in Israel, Palestine, war crimes tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:23 am by Edna

Remembering Bassem of Bil’in cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on 13 April 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Also published at Palestine Think Tank, Earth Heal, Window Into Palestine, Uprooted Palestinians.

In memory of Bassem Abu Rahma of Bil’in Village, killed by an IDF soldier on 17 April 2009, during a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid wall.

Almost a year earlier in July 2008, Bassem’s brother, Ashraf, survived a close-range shooting by the IDF while detained and blindfolded, which was also filmed (more info below).

Watch this beautiful video that his friends made about Bassem’s life.

Soldiers Kill Palestinian Demonstrator in Bil’in

Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh (a.k.a. Phil), a 30 year-old Bil’in resident, was killed this Friday during a demonstration against the wall, after Israeli soldiers shot a high-velocity teargas projectile directly at him. As can be seen in the video above, Bassem was standing on a hill alongside several journalists, removed from the main body of the demonstration, when he was hit in his chest by the special, “extended range” teargas projectile, which was fired without provocation from a distance of about 40 meters by troops positioned behind concrete blocks and on the other side of the separation barrier.

Seconds before the shooting, Bassem had been pleading with the soldiers to hold their fire, shouting “we are in a nonviolent protest, there are kids and internationals…”. He was shot before he could finish the sentence.

Video clip of Bassem’s murder during the peaceful protest

According to eyewitnesses, the impact from the projectile knocked him over and left a gaping hole in his chest. As there was no ambulance at the scene, he was driven to a Ramallah hospital in a private car, but died less than halfway there from the injury, blood flooding his lungs. News of his death reached the village just as the last of the demonstrators were leaving the site of the protest, next to the separation barrier.

The teargas projectile in question is the same kind that critically injured American national Tristan Anderson at a demonstration in Ni’lin on the 13th of March, after he was hit in the head from approx. 60 meters. Tristan remains hospitalized in Tel HaShomer hospital in Tel Aviv.

Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh’s Funeral, Bil’inBassem Abu Rahmeh’s Funeral, Bil’in

Bassem Abu Rahmeh, a well-known and frequent participant in the village’s four year long battle against the Wall, is the first Bil’in resident and the 18th Palestinian in total to be shot dead during a demonstration against the Apartheid Wall. His funeral took place on Saturday afternoon, after his body was carried on a cloth stretcher all the way from a Ramallah hospital to his village of Bil’in, accompanied by hundreds of mourners. The funeral itself was attended by over a thousand people, including Palestinians from neighboring villages as well as international and Israeli friends and activists.

Read in full here.

CASE CLOSED IN MURDER OF PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST ~~ NO CHARGES FILED

Israel’s military said Thursday 01-04-10 it will not file any charges in the death of a Palestinian protester last year.

Teargas canister shot kills Palestinian demonstrator

A Palestinian demonstrator was killed today when he was hit by a teargas canister fired by Israeli forces during a weekly demonstration against the West Bank barrier.

Bassem Abu Rahmeh, 29, was hit in the chest by a high-velocity gas canister during the protest in Bil’in. For the past four years Bil’in has been the scene of a weekly demonstration against the barrier, which cuts the village off from a large slice of its farmland.

Abu Rahmeh was taken to hospital in Ramallah but died of his injuries. The Israeli military said it was looking into the incident.

Umm Ahmed Abu Rahmeh, left, and her two sons, react as the body of her son Bassem, 31, arrives at a hospital. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

The barrier near Bil’in runs into the occupied West Bank, surrounding the large and fast-growing Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit. In September 2007, the Israeli supreme court ordered that the path of the barrier near Bil’in be rerouted to return some of the farmland to the village, although it has not yet been moved.

Read in full here.

A Tale of Two Palestinian Brothers… and Israel’s Dismissal of Murder

by Tim King

This is the story of Bassem “Phil” Abu Rahmah and his brother Ashraf. Bassem was killed by Israel’s military during a peace protest. He was unarmed and had no violent intent of any kind, in fact he was begging the Israeli soldiers in Hebrew not to fire directly at them, they did anyway, and struck Bassem squarely in the chest.

This act was excused yesterday by an Israeli judge, and the trigger happy soldier, Brian Ross, is in the clear…

Brian Ross, the soldier who murdered Phil, walks away scot free. But nobody is surprised or shocked, this what murderous governments do, and there is not a more rotten or illegal one in existence beyond Israel.

Again, there is no worse or more dangerous government on earth, mostly because of the backing of the U.S…

Ashraf was detained by Israeli soldiers during a nonviolent protest in July of 2008, in the nearby village of Ni’lin, and after he was cuffed and blindfolded a soldier, standing next to him, pointed his gun at his leg and shot him with a rubber-coated bullet.

The shooting of Ashraf was also caught on tape by a young Palestinian girl… . Israeli soldiers kidnapped the girl’s father later on as a punishment just for exposing the crime. ..

Abu Rahma’s brother Ashraf, slammed Israel’s decision, saying it amounts to giving their soldiers more chances to continue the killing of innocent, nonviolent protesters….

The photograph below shows Palestinian demonstrator, Ashraf Abu Rahma, 27, brother of Bassem, who was stopped by soldiers in July 2008, and cuffed and blindfolded for about thirty minutes before soldiers and border policemen led him to an army jeep, where a soldier aimed his weapon at the demonstrator’s legs, firing from about 1.5 meters away.

Read in full here.

Video clip of Ashraf’s shooting at this link.

Bassem photograph archives

His name was Bassem

His name was Basem, which means smile, and that is how he greeted everyone. But we all called him ‘Pheel’, which means elephant because he had the body the size of an elephant. But Basem had the heart of a child.

He loved everyone, and because of his sweetness and ability to make us laugh, everyone loved him. Basem was everyone’s friend: the children talk about how he would play with them, scare them and then make them laugh. He would tend the garden in the playground and bring toys and books to the kindergarten. The old ladies in the village talk about how he used to visit, to ask after them and see if they needed anything. In the village, he seemed to be everywhere at once. He would pop in to say hello, take one puff of the nargila, and be off to his next spot. The morning he was killed he went to the house of Hamis, whose skull had been broken at a previous demonstration three months ago by a tear gas canister projectile – the same weapon that would kill Basem.

Basem woke Hamis and gave him his medicine, then off he went to visit another friend in the village who is ill with cancer. Then a little girl from the village wanted a pineapple but couldn’t find any in the local stores. So Basem went to Ramallah to get a pineapple and was back before noon for the Friday prayers and the weekly demonstration against the theft of our land by the apartheid wall. Pheel never missed a demonstration; he participated in all the activities and creative actions in Bilin.

He would always talk to the soldiers as human beings. Before he was hit he was calling for the soldiers to stop shooting because there were goats near the fence and he was worried for them. Then a woman in front of him was hit. He yelled to the commander to stop shooting because someone was wounded. He expected the soldiers to understand and stop shooting. Instead, they shot him too.

People came to his funeral from all the surrounding villages to show Basem that they loved him as much as he had loved them. But those of us from Bil’in kept looking around for him, expecting him to be walking with us.

Pheel, you were everyone’s friend. We always knew we loved you, but didn’t realize how much we would miss you until we lost you. As Bil’in has become the symbol of Palestine’s popular resistance, you are the symbol of Bil’in. Sweet Pheel, Rest in Peace, we will continue in your footsteps.

— Mohammad Khatib, member of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements

More info here.

More photos of Bil’in Village

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April 9, 2010

THE unHOLY SEE-saw

Posted in Vatican tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:50 pm by Edna

THE unHOLY SEE-saw cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on 9 April 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Also published at Uprooted Palestinians.

New Allegations of Vatican Sex Coverups

Allegations have surfaced that the late pontiff John Paul ll blocked an investigation of a pedophile cardinal, promoted senior church officials despite allegations they had raped children, and covered up innumerable cases of sexual abuse of children during his 26-year papacy have cast a cloud over his path to sainthood.

The most serious claims concern Hans Groer, the Cardinal of Austria and a close friend of John Paul. Groer sexually abused an estimated 2,000 boys for decades, but was never hindered by Rome. The Groer affair became public in 1995 when former pupils of an elite Catholic school accused him of sexual abuse. Groer was never punished and some of his victims were offered “hush money” by the Church…

John Paul also faced criticism last week from Poland for protecting Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, who was accused of abusing trainee priests. Letters detailing the charges were sent to John Paul’s office and also to Ratzinger, but they were ignored…

Stanislaw Obirek, a Polish theologian and a former Jesuit priest, said: “I believe John Paul is the key person responsible for the cover-up of abuse cases because most of it occurred during his papacy. How can someone who is to blame for this be beatified?”…

Read in full here.

Pope’s immunity to prosecution may be challenged in Britain

Protests are growing against Pope Benedict XVI’s planned trip to Britain, where some lawyers question whether the Vatican’s implicit statehood status should shield the pope from prosecution over sex crimes by pedophile priests.

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Downing Street’s web site against the pope’s 4-day visit to England and Scotland in September, which will cost U.K. taxpayers an estimated 15 million pounds ($22.5 million). The campaign has gained momentum as more Catholic sex abuse scandals have swept across Europe.

Although Benedict has not been accused of any crime, senior British lawyers are now examining whether the pope should have immunity as a head of state and whether he could be prosecuted under the principle of universal jurisdiction for an alleged systematic cover-up of sexual abuses by priests.

Universal jurisdiction — a concept in international law — allows judges to issue warrants for nearly any visitor accused of grievous crimes, no matter where they live. British judges have been more open to the concept than those in other countries.

Lawyers are divided over the immunity issue. Some argue that the Vatican isn’t a true state, while others note the Vatican has national relations with about 170 countries, including Britain. The Vatican is also the only non-member to have permanent observer status at the U.N…..

Read in full here.

Catholic church reluctant to release Canadian residential schools records

Study time at an Indian Residential School in Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, date unknown. Library and Archives Canada

Indian Residential School in Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, date unknown.

The Roman Catholic Church is balking at the release of Indian residential schools documents that name individual church members, insisting its concern is purely about respecting Canada’s privacy laws and not an attempt to cover up new allegations of abuse.

But the research director for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission says the denominations involved in residential schools are being unco-operative, and suggests the Catholic church in particular fears more abuse stories will come out against living members.

The Conservative government and the churches that helped run Canada’s Indian residential schools are sitting on mountains of archived material, but not a single page has yet been turned over to the commission…

“The TRC does not have a free fishing expedition. We are bound by the law,” he said. “The law does not allow us to deliver documents which are pertaining to individuals who are named in some documents…

Mr. Baribeau said regardless of how this debate ends, the commission will still receive 99 per cent of the documents it seeks from Catholic archives…

The commission’s research director, Trent University professor and historian John Milloy, described the situation far more bluntly in comments published recently in a Trent campus newspaper.

…With funding from Ottawa, the Roman Catholic Church ran more than 70 per cent of the Indian residential schools, which operated from the late 1800s to the 1970s….He said he has come across concern among Catholics that retirees living in church residences will be embarrassed.“There are former staff who live in community – brothers, sisters, priests and so on – and I know that some of the concern in the Catholic Church has been about the reputations and the kind of history related to people who are still living in community,” Mr. Scott said.

The churches’ promise to publicly disclose their private archives to the commission was considered a key victory by former students at the time of the 2007 multibillion-dollar out-of-court settlement between former students, the federal government and the churches that helped run the schools…

Read in full here.

Ireland Child Abuse Report Reveals Vatican, Police Cover-up Collusion

The Vatican refused to co-operate with an official inquiry investigating sexual abuse by clerics in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The official Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin was published on Thursday. The investigation began in 2006, and covered the period 1975 – 2004.

The Commission’s brief was “to investigate how Church and state authorities handled allegation of child abuse against 46 priests”.

The inquiry condemned church leaders for covering-up abuse for decades.

The Commission examined complaints concerning over 320 children. Substantially more of the complaints related to boys. Of the 46 priests examined, 11 pleaded guilty to or were convicted in the criminal courts of sexual assaults on children.

The report revealed that all the Archbishops of Dublin in the period covered by the Commission were aware of some complaints.

However, it concluded that pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the Church’s reputation and the preservation of its assets.

All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities, the report said.

According to the Commission, there was also collusion on the part of the police. A number of very senior members of the Irish police regarded priests as being outside their remit. There were some examples of them actually reporting complaints to the Archdiocese instead of investigating them.

The Vatican had refused to co-operate with the Commission, saying only that the request “had not gone through appropriate diplomatic channels”. A request for information from the Papal Nuncio also was ignored.

Following the publication of the Commission’s report, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland issued an apology.

Cardinal Sean Brady said he was deeply sorry and ashamed by the abuse the report had revealed…

Read in full here.

Vatican, Canadian church officials tried to keep sex scandal secret

A 1993 letter focuses on protecting the church’s image by preventing public knowledge of Bernard Prince’s abuse of altar boys…

The man Bishop Windle was writing about was then-monsignor Bernard Prince, now 75, a friend of the late Pope John Paul II who had just been posted to the Vatican as a high-ranking official working with missionary societies.

The year before Mr. Prince was sent to Rome, a man had complained to the diocese that the priest had molested him when he was a child…

In his letter to the papal nuncio, Bishop Windle cautioned the Vatican to avoid honouring Mr. Prince because it could anger victims and prompt them to contact police.

“The consequences of such an action would be disastrous, not only for the Canadian church but for the Holy See as well,” the bishop wrote…

It would only be in May, 2005, that a victim contacted the Ontario Provincial Police. Mr. Prince is now defrocked and serving a four-year sentence after being convicted in 2008 of sexually molesting 13 boys between 1964 and 1984…

More info here.

Church swamped by priest abuse claims

Norway’s Roman Catholic Church received so many email tip-offs about possible paedophile priests following revelations of abuse by a bishop that its computer crashed, a senior cleric said…

Bernt disclosed on Wednesday at the request of the Vatican that one of Norway’s former bishops, German Georg Mueller, had abused a choirboy in the early 1990s.

The newspaper said that its own research had in recent days uncovered nine sex abuse cases in the church…

Eidsvig said the church was aware of three cases in addition to Mueller and was ready to open its “secret” archives in which sensitive information on priests is held…

Read in full here.

Italy sees 130 priests investigated over abuse

Italian authorities have arrested, investigated or convicted 130 Catholic priests for sexually abusing children over the last decade, it has been claimed.

A report by prosecutors said that not one of the cases was referred to the police by the local bishop.

Sergio Cavaliere, a lawyer who has compiled evidence on the cases, said: “It’s an alarming figure if you consider that it’s only the tip of the iceberg, if you think about all the cases that haven’t shown up in the media or that haven’t gone to court.”

A prosecutor in Milan, Pietro Forno, who has won 10 convictions for paedophile priests, claimed that police suspected the existence of a “network of clergy who have a passion for minors”.

He said abusive priests had been shuffled between dioceses, where they were free to molest more children.

“It seems that some chose the priesthood with the aim of being close to children,” said Mr Forno, the head of a unit which investigates sex crimes…

Read in full here.

Former Catholic priest in Grand Prairie gets prison in child porn case

A former Catholic priest in Grand Prairie who pleaded guilty to downloading hundreds of pornographic images of children on a church computer in 2005 was sentenced to more than four years in prison on Tuesday…

…After the state case was dropped in 2006, Bagert was indicted in November 2008 and surrendered to federal authorities. He has been on supervised released ever since.

Bagert has left the priesthood and works as a traveling installer for hotel energy management systems.

Read in full here.

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March 30, 2010

The Papal Pedophile – Suffer, Little Children

Posted in Vatican tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:43 pm by Edna

The Papal Pedophile cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on 30 March 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Pedophilia in the Catholic Church: Coverup Operation at the Vatican?
Pope Ratzinger’s Swan Song

by Mike Whitney

…These are more than isolated incidents. It’s like some gruesome papal crime-ring; Ratzinger’s Sopranos.

A few weeks ago, Benedict issued an apology to Catholics in Ireland for decades of cruelty and abuse. In the papal communique Benedict opined, “I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them.”

Benedict’s comments are predictably insincere. He knew exactly what was going on. As Catholic theologian, Hans Kueng points out:

“There was not a single man in the whole Catholic Church who knew more about the sex-abuse cases than him, because it was ex officio (part of his official role)… “He can’t wag his finger at the bishops and say, you didn’t do enough. He gave the instruction himself, as head of the Congregation of Doctrine of the Faith, and repeated it as Pope.”

…This case goes way beyond the sleazy details of one man’s repeated attempts to conceal the criminal activities of  serial molesters and child rapists. The real issue is whether people in positions of power are to be held accountable  for their actions and whether the law really applies to everyone equally and without exception. That’s what’s at stake here.  Ratzinger needs to be indicted, prosecuted and – if found guilty – sentenced to prison.

Read in full here.

The “Pedophile’s Paradise”

Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a “dumping ground” for child-molesting priests—and blaming the president of Seattle University for letting it happen.

by Brendan Kiley

…The sheer concentration of known sex offenders in these isolated communities begins to look less like an accident than a plan. Their institutional protection looks less like an embarrassed cover-up than aiding and abetting. And the way the church has settled case after case across the country, refusing to let most of them go to trial for a public airing, is starting to look like an admission of guilt….

…When Boudreau was a child, the villages of Northwest Alaska were only accessible by plane, boat, or dog sled. Many still are. For the most part, they didn’t have public schools, cops, or telephones. Many of the houses were one room and lacked food and consistent heat in the below-zero weather. “The perps would soften up their victims with food and warmth,” Wall says, “because that’s what the kids didn’t have. ‘It was always warmer in the rectory,’ they say. ‘There was always food in the rectory. There was always candy.’”

In those villages, the priests had unusual authority. “In the village, our elders loved the church and the priests so much,” Boudreau says. “They were like honored guests in our land. The priest had the utmost power, power that historically the village shaman would have had.” If children complained about the priests, it was tantamount to complaining about the village shaman. “I’ve talked to hundreds of victims in Alaska,” Boudreau says, “and many were physically hurt by parents for speaking about this.”

The priests came to occupy the role of shamans by a weird confluence of history and microbiology…

In September 2005, former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—who’d just become the pope—asked the justice department of the Bush administration to grant him immunity from prosecution in sex-abuse cases in the United States. Ratzinger, the onetime head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was accused of “conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian” in Texas, according to the Associated Press. Ratzinger had “written in Latin to bishops around the world, explaining that ‘grave’ crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation. The proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to ‘pontifical secret,’” Ratzinger’s letter said. The Bush administration granted Ratzinger the immunity.

In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to more than 500 victims of clerical sex abuse.

Why does the church keep sending these priests, who have come to be such a major liability, back into ministry? “It’s all about keeping the stores open, keeping the revenue rolling,” Wall says. The Alaskan provinces in particular, Wall says, were a source of revenue—not from the Native population living there, but from parishioners in the lower 48 who were encouraged to donate for the Native ministry up north. “You could raise thousands to fund a mission that cost very little to run,” Wall says. “The profit margin is huge.”…

Read in full here.

Witness to Murder at Indian Residential School

Irene Favel describes in a CBC interview (July 8, 2008) how she witnessed the murder of a baby by staff at the Muskowekwan Indian Residential School, run by the Roman Catholic Church in Lestock, Saskatchewan.

The Exorcism Worked, I guess: Reflections on the Latest Vatican Lie

by Rev. Kevin D. Annett

…Murder, torture and child rape are not new to the Roman Catholic church, nor will these obscenities stop, since the church is above the law and accountable only to itself. And yet, for all its worldly power, the Vatican is tottering under the impact of the simple truth.

In exorcism rituals practiced by Christian churches, the key moment is when the ostensible possessing entity is asked to name itself and thereby be exposed and lose its grip over the possessed. Last October, I proclaimed to the angel spirit of the Vatican to come forth and reveal itself; and, sure enough, it has. What Jesus called “The Father of Lies”, the spirit that some call Satan, stands naked for anyone to see.

The question is, now that it stands exposed, what are we to do with this evil?

Jesus had a simple remedy for child abusers, if you believe the Bible:

“It would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should harm one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:2)

On Easter Sunday, this April 4, I will be returning to St. Peter’s Square in Rome to do what I can to fasten a millstone of truth around the neck of the most murderous institution in human history…

Read in full here.

Witnesses to Murder in Catholic Indian schools to Protest at the Vatican, Testify before Italian Parliamentarians

Aboriginal elders from Canada will offer prayers for their friends and relatives who died or were killed in Catholic Indian residential schools, at the institution in Rome responsible for their death. And they will name Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, as the one ultimately responsible.

Lillian Shirt of the Cree Nation and Charles Cook of the Anishinabe-Ojibway Nation will gather with Rev. Kevin Annett and other members of The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) and Italian supporters at a memorial service outside the Vatican in St. Peter’s Square on Easter morning, Sunday April 4 at 11 am.

Both of the native elders survived incarceration in Catholic Indian schools in Canada, and witnessed the deaths of other students.

“Like Jesus, thousands of innocent children were crucified by religious fanatics in the Christian residential schools. We will help to resurrect them this Easter by naming what killed them, and holding their murderers responsible” stated the FRD delegation today.

“Pope Benedict is personally responsible for aiding and abetting pedophile priests, so this is not a crime that he can sweep under the rug or blame on others” stated delegation member Rev. Kevin Annett.

“As we asked the Pope in an unanswered letter two years ago, we want to know where his church buried the children who died at their hands, and have their remains surrendered for a proper burial. The buck stops with Joseph Ratzinger.”

While in Rome, the FRD delegation will take their campaign to Italian politicians. On April 7, they will make a presentation to a human rights committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and ask them to endorse an international inquiry into genocide in Protestant and Catholic residential schools in Canada.

More info here.

How Vatican Tries to Dodge Legal Fallout of Sex Abuse

(March 31) — Developments in a Kentucky court case suggest that the Vatican will seek to shield Pope Benedict XVI and the church from liability in the worldwide clerical sex abuse crisis by distancing itself from individual dioceses.

In legal documents filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville last week, the Vatican claims that as the head of a sovereign state, the Vatican City, the pope is immune from prosecution. The papers further assert that American bishops are not employed by the Holy See.

The Vatican will also likely deny that a 1962 church decree about clergy and the reporting of clerical pedophilia is a “smoking gun” that led to a worldwide cover-up of sexual crimes…

Read in full here.

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March 18, 2010

Splitting the Sky Versus the War Criminals

Posted in George Bush, resistance, USA, war crimes tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:08 am by Edna

STS Versus the War Criminals cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on 17 March 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Also published at The Splitting The Sky Blog, Window Into Palestine, The Radical Press, Snippits and Snappits, Asu-USA Articles, Uprooted Palestinians, Zimbio.

On 17 March 2009 in Calgary, Canada, Splitting the Sky (aka John Boncore) was arrested and charged with obstruction (as he fully expected) when he tried to serve George W. Bush with a citizen’s warrant, and to arrest him to stand trial for war crimes and torture. In doing so, he sacrificed himself for ALL of us who are concerned with Truth, Peace and Justice. His trial took place on 8 and 9 March, and judgment will be passed on 7 June 2010.  He could face between 6 months and 2 years in prison unless we the people put pressure on the Harper government and let them know that we will not tolerate that.

His trial was closed down by the state after 2 days, though he was originally given 5 days to present evidence of war crimes and torture, as well as the involvement of the Bush regime in the events of 9/11, to justify his actions under the legal principle of “civil resistance”.

STS needs your support.

Updates on the trial at his home page and blog.

Listen to STS – Anthem for Dissent

Citizen’s Arrest of George W. Bush for War Crimes – The Trial of “Splitting the Sky”

by Prof. Anthony J. Hall

Who and What is on Trial?

When Splitting the Sky broke through police lines in his attempt to conduct a citizen’s arrest of former US president George W. Bush, the Mohawk freedom fighter pierced a thick wall of tyranny. He broke through a tight phalanx of state protection for the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace.

With his courageous act, Splitting the Sky announced the unwillingness of millions of global citizens to tolerate any longer the culture of impunity that places a small, interlinked global plutocracy above the law. By breaking police lines, the Attica brother and American Indian Movement activist scouted a route of liberation for those of us seeking to get out from under the weight of complicity in international crime committed in our name. We are all deeply implicated in the state terror permeating the 9/11 wars because it is our tax dollars that fund these imperial assaults.

Splitting the Sky’s action in Calgary highlights the abject failure of law enforcement agencies to do their job. It highlights the unwillingness of police and those who direct them to apply the law equitably and independently.

When he broke through police lines last March, Splitting the Sky built on the message of Muntadar al-Zaidi, the Baghdad journalist who fired his shoes at the departing US president. Al-Zaidi’s symbolic shot was seen and applauded around the world. By dramatizing the role of so-called law enforcers as protectors of international crime, Splitting the Sky highlighted that many millions of global citizens have seen more than enough evidence to understand that George W. Bush and his war cabinet are credibly accused war criminals.

If we lived in a world where the integrity of law prevailed over the power of money, political corruption and military might, the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush syndicate of war profiteers would have been apprehended long ago to face charges in a properly constituted court of international law.

When Splitting the Sky presents himself this coming March to a provincial court in Calgary, Alberta to face a criminal charge for obstruction of justice, who and what is really on trial? Whose sense of justice was really obstructed?…

Read in full here.

A RadicalPress Exclusive Interview with Splitting the Sky, Gustafsen lake Defender

By Arthur Topham, October, 2000

“…Readers are bound to find it an exciting, informative, provocative, highly enlightening and spell-binding expose of a life of one of today’s foremost radical activists…

…As readers are about to realize Mr. Hill has led a most remarkable life; one fraught almost from the onset with challenges, dangers and responsibilities that the average person would cringe at the thought of having to endure.

For all of John’s trials though, he has emerged- tempered by the fires of life- as a leading spokesperson for native sovereignty issues and a living example of the persevering spirit of resistance that has kept the aboriginal people of this continent strong.

…In short it’s an abbreviated odyssey, an epitomizing epic of one man’s struggle to maintain his dignity and spirit in a world where native traditional values are no longer given the respect and honour that they once knew. John Splitting the Sky Hill’s story of how he survived a brutal prison system in New York state only to end up playing a major role in the Gustafsen Lake Stand off during 1995 will surely come as a major surprise to readers who only heard the one-sided reports that came from the corporate press during that time.

It’s a riveting tale with a message as relevant today as it was almost thirty years ago. Ed.)

Read in full here.

9/11 Truth is “Splitting the Sky”

by Peter Zaza

…John Boncore was born in Buffalo, New York on January 7, 1952. His Mohawk name, Dacajeweiah, translated into English means “Splitting the Sky”. From the age of seven he endured many years in New York foster homes and youth detention centres where he was ill-treated. Eventually he would become the only man convicted as a ringleader of the infamous 1971 Attica State Prison rebellion in upstate New York, in the course of which 43 inmates were killed. This event has inspired several movies — “Against the Wall” (1994) starring Samuel L. Jackson, and “Attica” (1980) starring Morgan Freeman — and documentaries including “Attica” (1974), and “The Ghosts of Attica” (2001). He was listed by former UN Ambassador Andrew Young of the Carter administration as the number one political prisoner in the USA in 1975.

Splitting the Sky founded an organization to unite all Indigenous Peoples into a great confederation called the League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations of the Western Hemisphere (LISN). In 1995 he was the Sun Dance Chief at Gustafsen Lake, British Columbia, during the Gustafsen Lake Standoff, which was precipitated by a rancher who attempted to evict the Sun Dancers from what he claimed was his property. The incident turned into a major protest against the occupation of unceded native land. Splitting the Sky was an outspoken critic of the government’s handling of the incident and was among those who raised the question of so-called “Aboriginal Title” under international law. Specifically, aboriginal title is enshrined under the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which is validated as an aboriginal right in section (35) of the Canadian Constitution.

On September 10th, 2001, Splitting the Sky and his family were checking out of the Marriott Hotel one block from the World Trade Center in New York. Had he stayed an extra day or two, as was originally planned, he and his family might have suffered the fate of 400 others at that location who lost their lives during the 9/11 tragedy. As if by some intuition, he and his wife decided to cut short their stay and get out of New York City. While many researchers for 9/11 Truth deal with the never ending incongruities and falsehoods of the government’s story regarding 9/11, or the various examples of forensic evidence proving controlled demolition, Splitting the Sky has studied the complex web of people and organizations he believes to be the authors of this crime. Through careful deconstruction of the financial entities involved, as well shining the light on those specific figures who occupy the principle seats of power within those structures, he follows the age old maxims of criminology which compel us to “follow the money”, as well as determine “who benefits”….

Read in full here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Highly recommended – Video footage from the night the trial ended, of a talk given by STS and Cynthia McKinney.

Cynthia McKinney Meets Splitting the Sky – Calgary, March 9th, 2010

14 part video playlist (90 minutes) at the above link will stream all 14 segments consecutively. Teaser:

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March 8, 2010

Murder in Dubai

Posted in Israel, Zionism tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:13 am by Edna

Murder in Dubai cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on 7 March 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Cartoon of the Day on 8 March 2010 at Palestine Think Tank.

Also published at Palestine News, Band Annie’s Weblog, Annie Bannie’s Weblog, DesertPeace, Al-Buraq, Uprooted Palestinians, BuJ Al Arab, Wizard of Oswald.

Mossad Comes to America: Death Squads by Invitation

by James Petras

…The authorities in Dubai have found clear evidence that the Mossad assassination team received support from European Zionists. The hotels, air tickets and expenses were paid with credit cards issued in the US. Two of the killers may be in the US now. Will a time come when American Zionists, who are unconditional public defenders of Mossad killings, cross the line between propaganda for the deed to become accomplices of the deed? The robust American Zionist defense of Mossad’s overseas assassinations does not augur well for the security of Americans in the face of Israel’s willing U.S. accomplices.

Read in full here.

Mossad Madness

by Christopher Bollyn

…There are lessons to be learned from the murder of a Hamas leader in Dubai.  The information provided about the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh by the authorities of Dubai has shown the world that their police force is technologically competent and professional.  The detailed information provided by the police of Dubai about the suspects involved in the al-Mabouh murder is the result of a police investigation using normal procedures, yet it is far superior to any of the information provided by the FBI about the 19 alleged terrorist hijackers of 9-11, who have been blamed for killing some 3,000 Americans.  Are the police of Dubai that much more competent and professional than the FBI or is there another reason why U.S. law enforcement seems so incompetent when dealing with Israeli crimes?…

Read in full here.

Dubai Police Chief Seeks Netanyahu Arrest

Dubai’s police chief plans to seek the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of Israel’s spy agency over the killing of a Hamas leader in the emirate, Al Jazeera television reported…

Read in full here.

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March 4, 2010

Hail to the Prince

Posted in Obama, USA, war crimes, Zionism tagged , , , , , , at 2:54 pm by Edna

Hail to the Prince cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on 4 March 2010

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Also published at Palestine Think Tank, Sabbah Report, Tlaxcala, DesertPeace, Uruknet, Les dessous de l’information mondiale-Downside World News, News from the Middle East, Window Into Palestine, Palestine News, Atlantic Free Press, Vox, Blog from Middle East, Black Voices, Al-Buraq, Pacific Free Press, OpEd News, The Greanville Post, Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, Newsodrome.

Hail to the Prince: Obama, the Paradigmatic Machiavellian Leader

by Mary Rizzo

A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.
Nicolò Machiavelli

Obama, before he actually “did” anything, had a reputation. And, indeed, reputation – what others think you are, and not what you actually are – is a crucial factor in a public figure…

The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.
Nicolò Machiavelli

And the beauty of his thesis is in its simplicity and the ease of its being verified. His idea was that in public life only the praise and blame of fellow human beings is what really counts. Thus, Machiavelli supposed, the ruler needs to acquire a good reputation while actually doing whatever seems necessary in the circumstances, no matter how “right or wrong” it could appear or actually be. Thus, rulers must seem to be generous while spending their money to consolidate their own wealth and power, appear to be compassionate while ruling their armies cruelly, and act with great cunning while cultivating a reputation for integrity. In essence, the ace ruler, cream of the crop, has to be considered as a worthy recipient of peace prizes while at the same time he is sending more troops to wage war in faraway lands. People will see the parts of it they want to see, and all of it is real.

In his writing, a true “Prince/President” has to appear “compassionate, faithful, humane, religious” without actually being any of these things….

Read in full here.

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February 25, 2010

Real Men Love Palestine

Posted in Africa, Palestine, resistance, USA tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:52 pm by Edna

Malcolm X for Palestine cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Malcolm X – El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
19 May 1925 – 21 February 1965

Photomontage made on 23 February 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Also published at Band Annie’s Weblog, Uprooted Palestinians.

Quotes

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.

We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.

Nonviolence is fine as long as it works.

Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.

You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being.

Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression.

Anytime you beg another man to set you free, you will never be free. Freedom is something that you have to do for yourself.

It’s a crime, it’s a crime what people don’t know about their history. And we have not only to learn history, but I invite you to that other excitement, the excitement of unlearning history, unlearning the history that you learned.

Malcolm X on Zionism – Egyptian Gazette, September 17, 1964

The Zionist armies that now occupy Palestine claim their ancient Jewish prophets predicted that in the “last days of this world” their own God would raise them up a “messiah” who would lead them to their promised land, and they would set up their own “divine” government in this newly-gained land, this “divine” government would enable them to “rule all other nations with a rod of iron.”…

The modern 20th century weapon of neo-imperialism is “dollarism.” The Zionists have mastered the science of dollarism: the ability to come posing as a friend and benefactor, bearing gifts and all other forms of economic aid and offers of technical assistance. Thus, the power and influence of Zionist Israel in many of the newly “independent” African nations has fast-become even more unshakeable than that of the 18th
century European colonialists… and this new kind of Zionist colonialism differs only in form and method, but never in motive or objective….

Did the Zionists have the legal or moral right to invade Arab Palestine, uproot its Arab citizens from their homes and seize all Arab property for themselves just based on the “religious” claim that their forefathers lived there thousands of years ago? Only a thousand years ago the Moors lived in Spain. Would this give the Moors of today the legal and moral right to invade the Iberian Peninsula, drive out its Spanish citizens, and then set up a new Moroccan nation … where Spain used to be, as the European zionists have done to our Arab brothers and sisters in Palestine?…

In short the Zionist argument to justify Israel’s present occupation of Arab Palestine has no intelligent or legal basis in history … not even in their own religion. Where is their Messiah?

Read in full here.

There’s a Worldwide Revolution Going on

More Malcolm X quotes

How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what is yours?

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.

Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. You don’t need anything else.

The only true world solution today is governments guided by true religion — of the spirit.

I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.

If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.

We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition…for the right to live as free humans in this society.

I might point out here that colonialism or imperialism, as the slave system of the West is called, is not something that is just confined to England or France or the United States. The interests in this country are in cahoots with the interests in France and the interests in Britain. It’s one huge complex or combine, and it creates what’s known not as the American power structure or the French power structure, but an international power structure. This international power structure is used to suppress the masses of dark-skinned people
all over the world and exploit them of their natural resources.

They don’t stand for anything different in South Africa than America stands for. The only difference is over there they preach as well as practice apartheid. America preaches freedom and practices slavery.

I think that an objective analysis of events that are taking place on this earth today points towards some type of ultimate showdown. You can call it political showdown, or even a showdown between the economic systems that exist on this earth which almost boil down along racial lines. I do believe that there will be a clash between East and West. I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.

For the freedom of my 22 million black brothers and sisters here in America, I do believe that I have fought the best that I know how, and the best that I could, with the shortcomings that I have had…I know that societies often have killed people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America then, all of the credit is  due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.

Democracy is Hypocracy

Malcolm X  delivers his final message on 14 February 1965, a week before his death:

Part 1: 29 minutes

Part 2: 16 minutes

Part 3: 23 minutes

Part 4: 19 minutes

Latuff – An unexpected visit from Malcolm X…HOME

February 22, 2010

Barack Has a Dream

Posted in George Bush, Iran, Israel, Obama, USA, war crimes, Zionism tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:18 am by Edna

Barack has a Dream cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on 22 February 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Also published at DesertPeace, Window Into Palestine, Buj Al ArabUprooted Palestinians, A More Perfect Union.

26 February 2010
The Road to Armageddon: The Insane Drive for American Hegemony Threatens Life on Earth
by Paul Craig Roberts

…The U.S. has already encircled Iran with military bases. The U.S. government intends to neutralize China by seizing control over the Middle East and cutting China off from oil.

This plan assumes that Russia and China, nuclear armed states, will be intimidated by U.S. anti-missile defenses and acquiesce to U.S. hegemony and that China will lack oil for its industries and military.

The U.S. government is delusional. Russian military and political leaders have responded to the obvious threat by declaring NATO a direct threat to the security of Russia and by announcing a change in Russian war doctrine to the pre-emptive launch of nuclear weapons. The Chinese are too confident to be bullied by a washed up American superpower.

The morons in Washington are pushing the envelop of nuclear war. The insane drive for American hegemony threatens life on earth. The American people, by accepting the lies and deceptions of their government, are facilitating this outcome…

Read in full here.

Israel Turns to US For Backup Plan Against Iran

24 February 2010

After failing to win support in Russia for tough sanctions against Iran, Israel turns to its closest ally, the United States, for a backup plan to curb Tehran’s enrichment program. On Tuesday, the Israeli military radio reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak will be travelling to Washington to share his concerns over Iran’s refusal to stop its nuclear activities.

Barak will meet several US officials during his five-day tour, including US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East ‘peace’ envoy George Mitchell. He is also scheduled to meet the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York….

Read more: Israel Turns to US For Backup Plan Against Iran

Michel Chossudovsky, editor of Global Research: US plans to start WW3 by attacking Iran

24 February 2010

Iran’s security officers grounded the plane carrying the ringleader of Jundullah terrorist group Abdolmalek Rigi in one of Iran’s southern ports, informed sources say. As initial reports indicated that Iran’s most wanted man was captured on a flight en-route to Kyrgyzstan from Dubai, a source talking to Press TV on condition of anonymity confirmed that Rigi and one of his deputies were captured after their plane was brought down by security forces in an airport in the Iranian Persian Gulf city of Bandar Abbas.

Iran’s intelligence minister says the leader of Jundallah terrorist group was at a US base in Afghanistan 24 hours before his capture, in possession of a US-issued, forged Afghan passport. Iran’s Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said Tuesday that the leader of Jundallah terrorist group was at a US base in Afghanistan 24 hours before his capture, in possession of a US-issued, forged Afghan passport….

Read more: Iran Grounds Plane with Rigi Holding US-Issued Passport

US offered Rigi ‘extensive aid’ for Iran attacks

“…One of the CIA officers said that it was too difficult for us to attack Iran militarily, but we plan to give aid and support to all anti-Iran groups that have the capability to wage war and create difficulty for the Iranian (Islamic) system. They reached the conclusion that your organization has the power to create difficulties for the Islamic Republic and they are prepared to give you training and/or any assistance that you would require, in terms of telecommunications security and procedures as well as other support, the Americans said they would be willing to provide it at an extensive level.”

Iran’s security forces arrested Rigi on Tuesday by bringing down his plane over the Iranian airspace, as he was onboard a flight from the United Arab Emirates to Kyrgyzstan.

Read in full here.

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February 17, 2010

Sgt. Uri And His Howling Commandos

Posted in Gaza, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, war crimes tagged , , , , at 5:37 pm by Edna

Sgt. Uri and his Howling Commandos cc Edna Spennato 2009.

Photomontage made on 18 January 2009.

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January 31, 2010

Ole Chávez, protector del Caribe

Posted in Caribbean, Central America, Hugo Chavez, Obama, South America, USA, war crimes tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:20 pm by Edna


Ole Chávez, protector del Caribe cc Edna Spennato 2010.

Photomontage made on  31 January 2010.

Click on image to enlarge

Permanent Aggression: War on the Horizon in Latin America
By Eva Golinger

Latin America has suffered constant aggressions executed by Washington during the past two hundred years. Strategies and tactics of covert and overt warfare have been applied against different nations in the region, ranging from coup d’etats, assassinations, disappearances, torture, brutal dictatorships, atrocities, political persecution, economic sabotage, psychological operations, media warfare, biological warfare, subversion, counterinsurgency, paramiliary infiltration, diplomatic terrorism, blockades, electoral intervention to military invasions. Regardless of who’s in the White House – democrat or republican – when it comes to Latin America, the Empire’s policies remain the same…

Clinton’s regional trip was part of a strategy announced by the Obama administration last year, to create a divide between the so-called “progressive left” and the “radical left” in Latin America. It’s no coincidence that her first tour of the region coincided with the announcement of a new Latin American and Caribbean Community of States, which excludes the presence of the US and Canada.

The Coming Conflict

A military conflict is not initiated from one day to the next. It’s a process that involves first influencing public perception and opinion – demonizing the target leader or government in order to justify aggression. Subsequently, armed forces are strategically deployed in the region in order to guarantee an effective military action. Tactics, such as subversion and counterinsurgency, are utilized in order to debilitate and destabilize the target nation from within, increasing its vulnerability and weakening its defenses.

This plan has been active against Venezuela for several years. The consolidation of regional unity and Latin American integration threatens US possibilities of regaining domination and control in the hemisphere. And the advances of the Bolivarian Revolution have impeded its “self-destruction”, provoked by internal subversion funded and directed by US agencies. However, the Empire will not cease its attempts to achieve its final objective, and a potential military conflict in the region remains on the horizon.

Read in full here.

The Kidnapping of Haiti

by John Pilger

…The theft of Haiti has been swift and crude…. The airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is now an American military base and relief flights have been re-routed to the Dominican Republic. All flights stopped for three hours for the arrival of Hillary Clinton. Critically injured Haitians waited unaided as 800 American residents in Haiti were fed, watered and evacuated. Six days passed before the US Air Force dropped bottled water to people suffering thirst and dehydration…

Not for tourists is the US building its fifth biggest embassy in Port-au-Prince. Oil was found in Haiti’s waters decades ago and the US has kept it in reserve until the Middle East begins to run dry. More urgently, an occupied Haiti has a strategic importance in Washington’s “rollback” plans for Latin America. The goal is the overthrow of the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, control of Venezuela’s abundant oil reserves and sabotage of the growing regional cooperation that has given millions their first taste of an economic and social justice long denied by US-sponsored regimes.

The first rollback success came last year with the coup against President Jose Manuel Zelaya in Honduras who also dared advocate a minimum wage and that the rich pay tax. Obama’s secret support for the illegal regime carries a clear warning to vulnerable governments in central America. Last October, the regime in Colombia, long bankrolled by Washington and supported by death squads, handed the US seven military bases to, according to US air force documents, “combat anti-US governments in the region”.

Media propaganda has laid the ground for what may well be Obama’s next war… Of 304 BBC reports, only three mentioned any of the historic reforms of the Chavez government, while the majority denigrated Chavez’s extraordinary democratic record, at one point comparing him to Hitler…

Read in full here.

American Genocides: Is Haiti Next?
Stephen Lendman

…The post-2004 East Asian tsunami is instructive. Around $1.2 billion in aid relief was raised, mostly used for development, not victims. They got nothing, were forced into permanent shantytowns, and are still there. High-end tourism took precedence over rebuilding their homes and restoring their way of life.

That’s what Haitians now face – permanent displacement on their own to facilitate plunder, exploitation and perhaps mass deaths because of no aid, too little, and no disease prevention or treatment.

If genocide is planned, that’s the model. Henry Kissinger’s secret 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) was an earlier one. Shaped by Rockefeller interests, it was an action plan for global population reduction – culling unwanted, unneeded “useless eaters.”

The scheme involved:

– mandatory birth control;

– involuntary sterilizations;

– legalized abortion;

– indoctrination of children; and

– other coercive methods, including withholding disaster relief and food aid when most needed.

The plan specifically said America would conceal its role to avoid charges of imperialism, so would induce the UN and NGOs to do its dirty work….

Read in full here

Updated 24 February 2010

Leaders agree to create Latam Bloc

Latin American and Caribbean leaders have agreed to create a new regional bloc that excludes the US and Canada.

The announcement came at the close of a two-day summit of 32 leaders in Cancun, Mexico on Tuesday…

Read in full here.

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