Progressive Calendar 11.19.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 07:58:43 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   11.19.09

1. Juvenile justice  11.19 1pm
2. Eagan peace vigil 11.19 4:30pm
3. Leslie's home     11.19 4:30pm
4. Northtown vigil   11.19 5pm
5. Health phone bank 11.19 6pm
6. Mpls 2010 budget  11.19 6:05pm
7. Energy system     11.19 7pm
8. AI                11.19 7:15pm

9. Women vets/KFAI   11.20 11am
10. Netroots nation  11.20 1pm
11. Palestine vigil  11.20 4:15pm
12. Transgender      11.20 7pm
13. NOW/warriors     11.20 8:30pm

14. Dave Bicking - fwd - Carrie and Scott taken hostage by the State!
15. John Perkins - Poverty, global trade justice, & the roots of terrorism

--------1 of 15--------

From: Peggy Katch <peggy [at]>
From: Brian Smith [mailto:bk-smith [at]]
Subject: Juvenile justice 11.19 1pm

I am hoping that all of you can show support for Juvenile Justice reform
in Hennepin County by, making an appearance on Thursday, November 19th
between the hours of 1pm and 4pm.  Your presence could make the difference
in eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in Hennepin County's Juvenile
Justice System.  If you have any questions please contact me at
651-788-7458, or email me at bk-smith [at]  Please feel free to
forward to any interested parties.
 -Sincerely Brian K. Smith

Hennepin County Board Meeting
300 S 6th Street, 24th Floor, 24A: Administrative side
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Juvenile Corrections is presenting their 2010 Budget.

However, there is little funding being proposed for community based
alternatives for youth of color.  Please attend to show your support for
community based alternatives and systems reform. Eliminating the alarming
racial and ethnic disparities in Hennepin County's juvenile justice system
is a must.

--------2 of 15--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 11.19 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.

--------3 of 15--------

From: Lynette Malles <lynettemalles [at]>
Subject: Leslie's home 11.19 4:30pm

Press Conference at Leslie Parks' Thursday, Nov. 19th
Important developments in the struggle to save Leslie Parks' home.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, 4:30 pm we will be officially launching our campaign
to "Call IndyMac!" with a press conference at Leslie Parks' house, 3749
Park Ave in Mpls. Please try to be there, and keep reading for the latest

Today Nov. 17, was a big day in the legal and financial fight to save the
Parks home: Leslie's mother, Tecora Parks, recorded a "quit claim" deed to
officially put the property in Leslie's name. While Tecora had homesteaded
the property to her daughter years ago, that arrangement made it harder
for Leslie to get financing on her own. In any case, today's quit claim
deed opens up new avenues for securing financing for the home.

But, time is short and we all need to take action to make sure the home
stays in the Parks' family. The "redemption period" still ends Nov. 30. If
nothing changes, at that point IndyMac could start eviction proceedings.

Because of needing to pay for city-ordered repairs, Tecora Parks, Leslie's
mother, was swindled into getting an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). The
man from Allied Mortgage who sold her the ARM lied and insisted it was a
conventional loan. It is important to note that Tecora Parks had perfect
credit and qualified for a conventional loan hands down. But she was lied
to, got swindled into an ARM, and after months of trying to keep up, both
Tecora and Leslie lost their good credit and went into foreclosure.

Remember, these banks got billions in bailout money and the feds "gifted"
IndyMac to OneWest Bank. In this time of economic crisis, we have to let
them know that it is time that the people got some help.

We are currently researching the best contact phone numbers at
IndyMac/OneWest and the FDIC. We will present them at the Thursday press
conference - earlier if possible.

--------4 of 15--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 11.19 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------5 of 15--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Health phone bank 11.19 6pm

November 19: Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition Phone Bank for the
Minnesota Health Plan. Take part in the Campaign for the Minnesota Health
Plan. 6 - 8 PM at MUHCC, 2469 University Ave. W, St. Paul. Sign up.

--------6 of 15--------

From: Mike Tupper <miketupperforcitycouncil [at]>
Subject: Mpls 2010 budget 11.19 6:05pm

City holding two public hearings on the proposed 2010 budget

Two public hearings on the City's 2010 budget are coming up in the next
few weeks. These hearings give you a chance to share your thoughts on the
proposal with Council Members.

State law requires the City to hold a budget hearing on the same day the
City Council scheduled to adopt it (which will be Dec. 7 this year).
However, the Council is also holding an additional public hearing in
advance of that date.

Public hearings on tax levy and 2010 City budget
Thursday, Nov. 19, 6:05 p.m.
City Hall, 350 South 5th Street, room 317

Monday, Dec. 7, 6:05 p.m.
City Hall, 350 South 5th Street, room 317

The Mayor's proposed City budget for 2010 focuses on jobs, while
preserving public safety gains and continuing to invest in infrastructure.
It includes expanding a program that offers low interest loans and
financing tools to small businesses, and $1.2 million to help more people
find and get jobs through the City's Workforce Centers.

Minneapolis is facing a number of serious fiscal challenges that affect
the City's bottom line. This includes State cuts to Minneapolis of more
than $40 million during 2009-2010 and escalating health care and pension
costs. To balance the budget, the Mayor's proposal includes a mix of
budget cuts, reforms and a new revenue policy.

For more information on the proposed 2010 budget, visit the Mayor's Office
Web page at

--------7 of 15--------

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: Energy system 11.19 7pm

3rd Thursday Forum: ENERGY SYSTEM
Free and open to the public.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale &
Hennepin). Park in church lot.
Thursday, November 19, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.


In 2007, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research published a
ground- breaking analysis of the planet's three-fold energy crisis: severe
climate change caused mainly by carbon dioxide emissions; insecurity,
violence and war associated with control of oil supplies; and nuclear
weapons proliferation connected to the spread of nuclear energy. That
work, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy,
examines the feasibility of getting to a zero-carbon dioxide energy system
by 2050. Authored by IEER president and senior engineer, Arjun Makhijani,
the book provides a technological roadmap for achieving the goals
indicated in its title and is popular among clean energy advocates and
policy makers. The presentation will summarize the analysis and discuss
what is being done to implement the book's recommendations.

Presenter: LISA LEDWIDGE. Outreach Director at the Institute for Energy
and Environmental Research, Adjunct Instructor at Inver Hills Community
College, and former CGS-MN Board member, Lisa has been deeply involved in
environmental, peace and security issues for more than a decade. Her focus
has been on eliminating nuclear weapons and the Cold War's health risk to
present and future generations. She holds Master's degrees in
Environmental Science and in Public Affairs. Telecommuting from
Minneapolis, Lisa edits and writes for IEER's quarterly newsletter,
Science for Democratic Action, and other publications. Additionally, she
organizes annual workshops for activists, is a frequent public speaker,
and has testified before a Congressional subcommittee on nuclear worker
issues. IEER, a nonprofit, nonpartisan technical organization based in
Takoma Park, Maryland, provides scientific information and analysis on
environmental, energy, and security issues to grassroots activists, policy
makers, journalists, and the public.

--------8 of 15--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: AI 11.19 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, November 19th, at 7:15 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near
the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

--------9 of 15--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Women vets/KFAI 11.20 11am

Fri.NOV.13,11am: WOMEN VETERANS on "Catalyst"/KFAI
"Catalyst:politics & culture", hosted by Lydia Howell on KFAI Radio
90.3fm Mpls 106.7 fm St.Paul Live-streaming & archived for 2 weeks after
broadcast at:

Women now make up 15% of the U.S. military and while on paper they are
still allegedly not supposed to be "in combat", since the 1991 Gulf war
and in the current occupations of Iraq and Afghanisan, women soldiers are
in combat. But, they not only face "the enemy", they face harassment,
abuse and sexual violence from their male comrades. Hear a conversaton
with HELEN BENEDICT, author of "The Lonely Soldier" who interviewed many
women and tells the in-depth stories of five women veterans. HALF the
women in the U.S> military are women of color and most women come from
working-class or poor backgrounds, many of them single mothers.Their
voices still remain unheard and the military re-victimizes them when they
report rape by fellow soldiers.

We'll also remember Veterans' Day as we always do with anti-war music &
poetry - since all too often such days for "honoring fallen soldiers" are
manipulated to glorifying war and encouraging more youth to join the
military. It's THE COST OF WAR that Veterans' Day should stand for.

[If we didn't have the rich pushing them, we could end wars tomorrow.

--------10 of 15--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Netroots nation 11.20 1pm

Xavier Lopez-Ayala, wrote:


NETROOTS Minnesota
St. Paul Hilton Garden Inn
11/20/2009 at 1:00 PM
411 Minnesota Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101

"Netroots" refers to a community of progressives committed to discussing
important issues and using technology to empower regular people to
influence the public debate. From blogging to texting and tweeting, the
Netroots is helping the progressive movement adapt to our new media

That's why I'm so excited that Netroots Nation is holding a regional
conference here in St. Paul on November 20-21. Netroots Minnesota will
offer panels, keynotes, training sessions, and networking
opportunities for progressives to come together to exchange ideas.

The full agenda hasn't been set, but check out some of what's taking

     * Our New Reality - Why Social Media is Key to Building a
       Progressive Movement
     * Read My Lips: We Need Fair Taxes: How Progressives Can Save the
     * Point, Shoot, Post: Why Online Video Matters & How to Do It
     * Impact Journalism: Bringing together bloggers and advocacy
       organizations to further progressive change

From: Denise Cardinal
Subject: Join us for Netroots Minnesota

You know you're not alone in wanting to build progressive power in the

Over the next 12 months, we will be working hard to advocate for
progressive policies. But in order to be effective, we're going to need to
get the progressive grassroots and Netroots together to network and

Join us, along with progressives from all over Minnesota, in St. Paul on
November 20th and 21st for the first ever Netroots Minnesota conference.

We'll have captivating panels led by national and state experts, practical
training sessions and workshops, and a gubernatorial candidate forum. This
conference is the premier kickoff to the critical conversations
progressives will be having as we approach 2010.

*Declare your support for the Netroots community and register to attend
Netroots Minnesota at


Netroots Minnesota is modeled after the Netroots Nation conference
(formerly known as the YearlyKos Convention). The Netroots have played a
critical role in helping shape a progressive agenda over the last several

We hope to build upon that same success in Minnesota, and with the hotly
contested 2010 gubernatorial race on the horizon, now is the time to start
this important conversation. Through this conference we hope to strengthen
our community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that
challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public

Don't be left out! Space is limited, so visit and
reserve your spot today
> Denise Cardinal Executive Director Alliance for A Better Minnesota

[Let us hope this is not just another DFL front to keep unhappy Dems from
joining third parties. Unhappy Dems should leave and never return. -ed]

--------11 of 15--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 11.20 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs

--------12 of 15--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Remember transgender 11.20 7pm

November 20:  OutFront Minnesota Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Throughout the world, people gather this day every year to pay respect to
those needlessly killed by hate crimes against the transgender community
and to call attention to the threat of violence faced by gender-variant
people. This memorial service recalls the lives of those killed in the
past twelve months due to anti-transgender violence. 7 PM at Spirit of the
Lakes United Church of Christ, 2930 13th Ave. S, Minneapolis. More
information: 612-670-1978.

--------13 of 15--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: NOW/warriors 11.20 8:30pm

NOW | America's New Wounded Warriors
NOW: "The Pentagon estimates that as many as one in five American soldiers
are coming home from war zones with traumatic brain injuries, many of
which require round-the-clock attention. But lost in the reports of these
returning soldiers are the stories of family members who often sacrifice
everything to care for them."

[As long as the rich people who make the wars don't have to take care of
them, who cares? Dump them on the scrap heap and get new killers. We are
expendable/superflous/genocidable, billons of non-rich blots on the earth
whose only function is to work for, die for, or kill other non-rich blots
for, the rich. -ed]

--------14 of 15------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at]>
Subject: Carrie and Scott taken hostage by the State!

Still more state repression.  This is outrageous.
- Dave Bicking

-- Fwd --
Date sent: Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:10:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Carrie and Scott taken hostage by the State!

Today, Minneapolis-based activists Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth refused
to testify in front of a grand jury in Davenport, Iowa, and were found to
be in contempt of court. They were immediately handcuffed and hauled off
by U.S. Marshalls. According to District Judge John Jarvey, who presided
over the contempt hearings, both will remain incarcerated until they agree
to testify. The state can lock them up for the duration of the grand jury
- another 11 months.

For reasons all too familiar and valid to anyone who has followed the
escalation of Green Scare repression, both Carrie and Scott refused to
cooperate with the grand jury by providing information about themselves
and their comrades. We stand in solidarity with them for refusing to be
complicit in their own persecution. We will stand with them every day
until they are free.

While the law does not compel the U.S. Attorney's Office to disclose the
subject of the grand jury investigation, supporters believe that it is
likely related to an unsolved Animal Liberation Front action in 2004 at
the University of Iowa. At the time, Carrie was only 15 years old and
Scott was only 17 years old; both were residents of the Twin Cities.

However, both have more recently been involved in supporting political
prisoners, specifically those incarcerated as a result of the government's
targeting of animal-rights and environmental activists. Carrie, Scott, and
their communities feel that this support work has now made them targets as

Prior to their grand jury appearances today and the contempt hearings that
followed, between 30 and 40 supporters rallied outside the Federal
Courthouse in Davenport. The support rally was characterized by a
disproportionate law enforcement presence, and the proceedings themselves
by a sense in the courtroom that the state´s actions were perfunctory at
best. District Judge Jarvey dismissed out of hand arguments offered by
both Carrie and Scott´s counsel regarding the need for them to remain
free. For instance, Carrie is her ailing grandmother´s caretaker and Scott
is currently a graduate student whose intellectual and professional
integrity would be irreparably damaged by participating in a sealed
investigation. In response, the judge simply read verbatim the legal
language about contempt charges and then ordered the two taken into
custody immediately.

For his part, U.S. Attorney Cliff Cronk not only ignored the calls that
flooded his office on Monday demanding that the subpoenas be quashed,
allowing Carrie and Scott to continue on with their lives, but went
substantially further down the rabbit hole. In Carrie´s case, in
particular, his arguments and implications were egregiously over-the-top.
Cross-examining Carrie´s father, for instance, Cronk cynically implied
that the elderly grandmother she cares for was a sort of pawn in an
elaborate ruse to avoid incarceration. He suggested that a shirt Carrie
had been photographed wearing, in which the letters "L" and "F" were
visible, was evidence of "membership" in either the ALF or ELF. And he
even cited the fact that she has a white rat companion animal as evidence
of ... something or other. It would all be a rather inspired piece of
satire if he were kidding.

With both Carrie and Scott currently incarcerated, it´s unfortunately
clear he´s not.

But the community members who attended the morning´s rally - as well as
those who publicly gathered in support from Minneapolis to Dallas, TX -
aren´t laughing, either. They have vowed to mount pressure on Cronk´s
office, demanding Carrie and Scott´s immediate release. Since the grand
jury process gleans much of its power from its secrecy, they intend to
increase the attention currently being cast on these Orwellian

Prior to appearing before the grand jury, Carrie and Scott prepared
statements regarding the repression they are facing:

Carrie Feldman

Today I have my second appearance before a federal grand jury that is
investigating animal rights actions that occurred at the University of
Iowa in 2004. Last month, after being subpoenaed in Minneapolis with one
day´s notice, I appeared before this grand jury and plead my Fifth
Amendment right to remain silent. Today, that right will be sidestepped
with technical legal "protections" that have little or no substantive
value.  I will once again be put in front of a grand jury with no lawyer
present in the room, and once again they will attempt to coerce me to

The prosecutor has filed to grant me immunity. I do not need immunity from
prosecution for a crime that I was not involved in and have no relation
to.  This will not change my decision to refuse to cooperate with the
grand jury.  I stand here today in solidarity with everyone who has stood
up to resist the exploitation of the environment and animals, the
repression of the state, and the abuses of the justice system.

In anticipation of my refusal to cooperate, the court has scheduled a
contempt hearing for today at ten o´clock. And they´re right. I do feel
contempt for a justice system that prosecutes people for property damage
that is done in defense of life, while real violence is committed at the
hands of vivisectors, the police, and the military on a daily basis. I
feel contempt for the federal agents that would use these prosecutions as
a pretext to investigate above ground movements and activists like me,
with no apparent grounds other than my political beliefs and legal
activities.  I will not help them to do this, and I will not let them
violate my rights and privacy.

Today, I may be taken to jail for up to eleven months, solely for taking a
moral stand against an institution that I believe to be corrupt and
obsolete.  I have not been accused of any crime. So let me ask you this,
Clifford Cronk. Is it worth it to you? Is it worth it to you when my
friend´s eight year old sobs, wondering if her mother could be going to
jail next? Is it worth it, Tom Reinwart? Is it worth it to you when my
elderly grandma is without a caretaker? Is this what you work for, Melissa
Hendrickson? Is it worth it to tear an innocent 20-year-old woman away
from everyone that she loves and cares for? Is this justice?

Thank you for your support.

Scott DeMuth

Hau Mitakuyapi.  Cante wasteya nape ciyuzapi do.  Iyuskinyan waciyankapi
do.  Dakota ia Hepan emakiyapi do.  Wasicu ia Scott DeMuth emakiyapi do.
Damakota do.  Oyate mitawa kin hena Bdewakantunwan ewicakiyapi do.  Bdote
heciya tanhan wahi do.  Wanna nina cante mawaste do.

Hello all my relatives.  With a good heart, I greet you all with a
handshake.  It is good to see all of you here today.  My name is Scott. My
place name is Dakota is Hepan.  I am from Bdote, the confluence of the
Mnisota and Mississippi Rivers, where the creation of the Bdewakantunwan
took place.

Before anything else, I wanted to address you all in the Dakota language.
State repression isn´t anything new to this country, or even to this city.
 One hundred and forty-six years ago, only a few miles from this
courthouse, over 300 Dakota prisoners of war were held in a concentration
camp. Over a third of them died in their captivity. Whatever happens to me
today, whatever I face, it will be easy in light of the hardships those
men faced.  Right now, my heart is really good. I am glad to see so many
people from so many of the communities I am a part of here to support me
today. Being part of a community means we help each other. We support each
other. We strengthen each other. And sometimes, we must make sacrifices
for each other.

Grand juries started as an important part of our justice system to prevent
over-reaching prosecuting powers. However, this process has been used
historically against political movements. In the context of this history,
most recently in the Green Scare, when investigative techniques of law
enforcement have been halted by the silence of political movements, grand
juries have been used as a tactic to intimidate our communities and as an
attempt to coerce testimony from movement members. This is an abuse of a
constitutionally mandated process by using it as an investigative tool
rather than its intended purpose.

Grand juries can be very disempowering for us all, and especially for
those targeted by them. We face questioning without legal counsel present
or a right to remain silent. We can be threatened, coerced, and jailed.
However, no punishment could be worse than surrendering our values. And
this decision, whether we cooperate or resist, is the one thing we, as
individuals, have control of in this process. Luckily, this is the choice
that allows these grand juries to succeed or to fail.

Our willingness to cooperate and to be complacent, our willingness to be
intimidated and to be scared, not only serves to legitimize these
proceedings, but it also empowers the tactics of state repression.
However, when we as individuals, with the strength and backing of our
communities, are no longer afraid of their punishment, choose to resist
this process and refuse to cooperate, we dis-empower this tactic and give
strength to our communities. We return the strength that is given to us.

So thank you all for giving me that strength. And I only hope to give back
as much as has been given to me. ***

Supporters are still determining where Scott and Carrie are being held.
Watch for more information about where to send them mail, as well as other
ways to help. Meanwhile, legal funds are needed.

To donate, and for more information about Carrie and Scott, please visit
------- End of forwarded message -------

--------15 of 15--------

Poverty, Global Trade Justice, and the Roots of Terrorism
by John Perkins
Sunday, November 15, 2009
YES! Magazine
Common Dreams

To combat terrorism, we should address the root causes of poverty, says
former "economic hit man"

The following is adapted from Hoodwinked: An Economic Hitman Reveals Why
the World Financial Markets Imploded - and What We Need to Do to Remake
Them. Random House, 2009:

Navy Seal snipers rescued an American cargo ship captain unharmed and
killed three Somali pirates in a daring operation in the Indian Ocean on
Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between United States naval forces and
a small band of brigands in a covered orange lifeboat off the Horn of

The New York Times published that article in April 2009. The very words
"pirates," "daring operation," "standoff," and "brigands" were typical of
the U.S. media; they made it sound as though white-hatted cowboys had
ridden to the rescue of a town besieged by Billy the Kid and his gang.
Having lived in that part of the world as an economic hit man, I knew
there was another side to what had happened. I wondered why no one was
asking about the causes of piracy.

I recalled my visits with the Bugi people when I was sent to the
Indonesian island of Sulawesi in the early 1970s. The Bugi had been
infamous pirates since the time of the East India companies in the 1600s
and 1700s. Their ferocity inspired returning European sailors to
discipline their disobedient children with threats that "the bugiman will
get you." In the 1970s, we feared that they would attack our oil tankers
as they passed through the vital Strait of Malacca.

I sat with one of their elders on the Sulawesi shore one afternoon. We
watched his people build a sailing galleon, known as a prahu, much as they
had for centuries. Like a gigantic beached whale, it was high and dry,
propped upright by rows of gnarled stakes that resembled roots sprouting
from its hull. Dozens of men hustled about it, working with adzes,
hatchets, and hand drills. I expressed the concerns of my government to
him, intimating that we would retaliate if the oil lanes were threatened.

The "terrorists" I have found in Andean caves and desert villages are
people whose families were forced off their farms by oil companies,
hydroelectric dams, or "free trade" agreements, whose children are
starving, and who want nothing more than to return to their families with
food, seeds, and deeds to lands they can cultivate.

The old man glared at me. "We were not pirates in the old days," he said,
his bushy white hair bobbing indignantly. "We only fought to defend our
lands against Europeans who came to steal our spices. If we attack your
ships today, it is because they take the trade away from us; your 'stink
ships' foul our waters with oil, destroying our fish and starving our
children." Then he shrugged. "Now, we're at a loss." His smile was
disarming. "How can a handful of people in wooden sailing ships fight off
America's submarines, airplanes, bombs, and missiles?"

A few days after the rescue, the Times ran an editorial entitled "Fighting
Piracy in Somalia" that concluded:

Yet left to its own devices, Somalia can only become more noxious,
spreading violence to its East African neighbors, breeding more extremism
and making shipping through the Gulf of Aden ever more dangerous and
costly. Various approaches are being discussed, such as working through
Somalia's powerful clans to reconstitute first local and then regional and
national institutions. These must be urgently explored.

Nowhere did the Times - or any of the other media outlets that I read,
heard, or saw - attempt to analyze the roots of the problem in Somalia.
Debates abounded about whether to arm ships' crews and send more Navy
vessels to the region. There was that vague reference to reconstituting
regional and national institutions, but what exactly did the author mean
by that? Institutions that would truly help, like free hospitals, schools,
and soup kitchens? Or local militias, prisons, and Gestapo-style police

The pirates were fishermen whose livelihoods had been destroyed. They were
fathers whose children were hungry. Ending piracy would require helping
them live sustainable, dignified lives. Could journalists not understand
this? Had none of them visited the slums of Mogadishu?

Finally, NPR's Morning Edition on May 6 aired a report from Gwen
Thompkins; she interviewed a pirate who went by the name Abshir Abdullahi
Abdi. "We understand what we're doing is wrong," Abdi explained. "But
hunger is more important than any other thing."

Thompkins commented, "Fishing villages in the area have been devastated by
illegal trawlers and waste dumping from industrialized nations. Coral
reefs are reportedly dead. Lobster and tuna have vanished. Malnutrition is

You might think we would have learned from Vietnam, Iraq, the "Black Hawk
down" incident in Somalia back in 1993, and other such forays, that
military responses seldom discourage insurgencies. In fact, they often do
the opposite; foreign intervention is likely to infuriate local
populations, motivate them to support the rebels, and result in an
escalation of resistance activities. That was the way it happened during
the American Revolution, Latin America's wars for independence from Spain,
and in colonial Africa, Indochina, Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and so
many other places.

Blaming pirates and other desperate people for our problems is a
distraction we cannot afford if we truly want to find a solution to the
crises confronting us. These incidents are symptoms of our failed economic
model. They are to our society the equivalent of a heart attack to an
individual. We send in Navy Seals to rescue the hostages, as we would hire
doctors to perform a coronary artery bypass. But it is essential to admit
that both are reactions to an underlying problem. The patient needs to
address the reasons his or her heart failed in the first place, such as
smoking, diet, and lack of exercise. The same is true for piracy and all
forms of terrorism.

Our children's futures are interlocked with the futures of children born
in the fishing villages of Somalia, the mountains of Burma (Myanmar), and
the jungles of Colombia. When we forget that fact, when we see those
children as remote, as somehow disconnected from our lives, as merely the
offspring of pirates, guerrillas, or drug runners, we point the gun at our
own progeny as well as at the desperate fathers and mothers in lands that
seem so far away but in reality are our next door neighbors.

Every time I read about the actions we take to protect ourselves from
so-called terrorists, I have to wonder at the narrow-mindedness of our
strategy. Although I have met such people in Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt,
Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, and Nicaragua, I have never met one who wanted
to take up a gun. I know there are crazed men and women who kill because
they cannot stop themselves, serial killers, and mass-murderers. I am
certain that members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other such groups are
driven by fanaticism, but such extremists are able to recruit sizable
numbers of followers only from populations that feel oppressed or
destitute. The "terrorists" I have found in Andean caves and desert
villages are people whose families were forced off their farms by oil
companies, hydroelectric dams, or "free trade" agreements, whose children
are starving, and who want nothing more than to return to their families
with food, seeds, and deeds to lands they can cultivate.

In Mexico, many of the guerrillas and narcotraffickers once owned farms
where they grew corn. They lost their livelihoods when the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) gave subsidized U.S. producers an unfair
price advantage. Here is how the Organic Consumers Organization, a
nonprofit that represents more than 850,000 members, subscribers, and
volunteers, describes it:

Since NAFTA came into effect on January 1, 1994, U.S. corn exports to
Mexico have almost doubled to some 6 million metric tons in 2002. NAFTA
eliminated quotas limiting corn imports . . . but allowed U.S. subsidy
programs to remain in place - promoting dumping of corn into Mexico by
U.S. agribusiness at below the cost of production. . . . The price paid to
farmers in Mexico for corn fell by over 70 percent. . .

The passage above exposes the dark side of "free trade" policies. U.S.
presidents and our Congress have implemented regulations that prohibited
other countries from imposing tariffs on U.S. goods or subsidizing locally
grown produce that might compete with our agribusinesses while permitting
us to maintain our own import barriers and subsidies, thus giving U.S.
corporations an unfair advantage. "Free trade" is a euphemism; it
prohibits others from enjoying the benefits offered to the multinationals.
It does not, however, regulate against the pollution that is melting
glaciers, the land grabs, and the sweatshops.

Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, a Nicaraguan priest who ministered to
Sandinista guerrillas and is now president of the U.N. General Assembly,
has a firsthand appreciation for such euphemisms and the power of words
used to sway public perceptions. "Terrorism is not really an 'ism,' " he
told me. "There's no connection between the Sandinistas who fought the
Contras and Al Qaeda, or between Colombia's FARC and fishermen turned
pirates in Africa and Asia. Yet they are all called 'terrorists.' That's
just a convenient way for your government to convince the world that there
is another enemy 'ism' out there, like communism used to be. It diverts
attention from the very real problems."

Our narrow-minded attitudes and the policies that result from them foment
violence, rebellions, and wars. In the long run, almost no one benefits
from attacking the people we label as "terrorists." With one glaring
exception: the corporatocracy.

Those who own and run the companies that build ships, missiles, and
armored vehicles; make guns, uniforms, and bulletproof vests; distribute
food, soft drinks, and ammunition; provide insurance, medicines, and
toilet paper; construct ports, airstrips, and housing; and reconstruct
devastated villages, factories, schools, and hospitals - they, and only
they, are the big winners.

The rest of us are hoodwinked by that one, loaded word: terrorist.

The current economic collapse has awakened us to the importance of
regulating and reining in the people who control the businesses that
benefit from the misuse of words like terrorism and who perpetrate other
scams. We recognize today that white-collared executives are not a
special, incorruptible breed. Like the rest of us, they require rules. Yet
it is not enough for us to reestablish regulations that separate
investment banks from commercial banks and insurance companies, reinstate
anti-usury laws, and impose guidelines to ensure that consumers are not
burdened by credit they cannot afford. We cannot simply return to
solutions that worked before. Only by adopting new strategies that promote
global environmental and social responsibility will we safeguard the

John Perkins adapted this excerpt of Hoodwinked: An Economic Hitman
Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded.and What We Need to Do to
Remake Them for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization
that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. John is also the author
of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, The World is as You Dream It:
Shamanic Teachings from the Amazon and Andes,  and Spirit of the Shuar.

YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking
these easy steps.
Perkins, J. (2009, November 12). Poverty, Global Trade Justice, and the
Roots of Terrorism. Retrieved November 15, 2009, from YES! Magazine Web
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License


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