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Military Resistance 11H13

[Thanks to David McReynolds for posting.]


Fort Eustis Soldier Is Laid To Rest
August 08, 2013 by Hugh Lessig, Daily Press

YORK — Caryn Reynal Nouv didn't always have it easy, but she was remembered Thursday as someone who overcame challenges, sought direction in military service and died doing a job she loved. Like thousands of young men and women, Nouv sought purpose and stability in her life through the Army. She landed at Fort Eustis in Newport News, near where she was raised by loving adoptive parents. Deployed to Afghanistan with the 359th Transportation Company, Nouv seemed to be finding her way when her life was tragically cut short. Nouv was killed July 27 when her vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device and small arms fire in Ghanzi province. Another Fort Eustis soldier, Sgt. Eric T. Lawson of Stockbridge, Ga., was also killed. Nouv, a specialist who was posthumously promoted to sergeant, leaves behind a husband and two children, a 10-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. Nouv would have celebrated her 30th birthday on Friday. Hundreds of friends and family gathered Thursday at Bethel Baptist Church in York County to remember Nouv not only as a good soldier, but as someone who worked to overcome the hurdles put in her path. Nouv came from a broken home and was initially placed in foster care. Then she came to the Rev. John Ward, pastor of a church in Greenville, in western Virginia. Nouv was a toddler when she showed up at the Ward home, and he became emotional as he recalled that moment. "There on my front porch, I first saw Caryn," he said. "She stood there with a social worker and she had a small paper grocery bag in her hand with all of her worldly possessions. The last time I saw Caryn was last night. She was decorated with medals, surrounded by a loving but grieving family ... a far cry from the little girl who stood on our front porch with a grocery bag." After a couple of years, Caryn moved from the Ward home in Greenville to the home of Richard and Judy Reynal in Yorktown, who became her adoptive parents. Then another pastor came into her life. The Rev. James White of First Baptist in Newport News remembered her as "a beautiful little 5- or 6-year-old with curly blonde tresses and a smile that made you want to hug her." But because she came from a broken home, "she was wounded long before she began serving in Afghanistan," White said. And Caryn also trusted in the church early in life, and "nothing would ever change the love the parents had for their daughter, not the commitment they had to her," White said. Referring to what he said was a "wild streak," he prompted a smattering of laughter in the church when he said, "Caryn brought joy and vitality — much vitality — into their home."

The deaths of Nouv and Lawson were part of a heartbreaking stretch for the 359th, which deployed to Afghanistan in January. The company, which has taken on the hazardous job of providing security for convoys, has lost three soldiers in 40 days. Sgt. Justin R. Johnson was killed June 18 by indirect fire at Bagram Air Base, then came the deaths of Nouv and Lawson on July 27. Prior to this, the last combat-related deaths of Fort Eustis-based soldiers were in 2008 in Iraq. Doug Echols, senior pastor at Bethel Baptist, called on the mourners to not let Caryn's death be in vain, but to cherish the freedom for which she fought. "Every time you hear the national anthem being played at a football game or baseball game, stand there, stare at that flag and remember Caryn," he said. White said there were "positive signs" that military service was helping her find direction. She would have come home with the 359th this fall. "Now, with wounds healed and her spirit settled," White said, "she has found that for which her soul longed all along, in the safety and security of her savior's embrace."


Resistance Action
13 August 2013 TOLOnews. Local officials of Jawzjan province confirmed that a tribal elder named Sayed Azizullah was shot dead by a group of unidentified gunmen on Tuesday. Officials were not sure of the motive behind the attack, but they suspect it was related to Mr. Azizullah's cooperation with local Afghan security forces in the area. The incident took place in the Darz Aab district of the province while Mr. Azizullah was on his way home. Reportedly, the tribal elder was working with security forces to prevent the Taliban from gaining control in several parts of the province. However, no one, including the Taliban, has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.


3-Star Improperly Accepted Expensive Gifts In South Korea:
“Gold-Plated Montblanc Pens, A $2,000 Leather Briefcase And Other Gifts”
“Fil Jr. Also Failed To Report A $3,000 Cash Gift To A Member Of His Family From The Unnamed South Korean Benefactor”

Former Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., left, reportedly accepted gifts from a South Korean citizen while commanding U.S. troops in that country, according to the Washington Post. (Sgt. Song Chang-do/Army) Aug. 8, 2013 Army Times

A former general who served as the commander of the Eighth Army in South Korea, reportedly accepted gold-plated Montblanc pens, a $2,000 leather briefcase and other gifts from a South Korean citizen while commanding U.S. troops in that country, according to the Washington Post. Former Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr. also failed to report a $3,000 cash gift to a member of his family from the unnamed South Korean benefactor, the newspaper reported, citing a confidential investigative report by the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General. Reportedly, the investigation began in 2011, and Fil retired in August 2012 as a major general, one rank below his position as a three-star commander in South Korea. Fil was announced to become the Army’s inspector general in 2010, but he never took the job. An Army spokesman said Army Secretary John McHugh approved the decision to have Fil retire as a two-star general “after weighing the substantiated allegations of misconduct ... against an otherwise long and distinguished career,” according to the Washington Post. The Army took no other disciplinary measures against Fil, Army officials said. In a brief phone interview with the Washington Post, Fil declined to answer questions. Fil reportedly told investigators that he accepted the gifts in “good conscience.” He believed the gifts were legal because they were given by a longtime personal friend. Investigators noted that the South Korean did not speak English and that Fil had to communicate with him by “using hand and arm signals.” The report states that Fil surrendered the gifts to investigators and repaid the $3,000 to the South Korean.

Portrait Of The Birth And Development Of The Syrian Armed Resistance:
Through The Eyes And Experiences Of Abu Qusay, Free Syrian Army;

“We Had No Other Choice Than To Do This”
“This Is A War That Was Imposed On Us And We Have To Finish What We Started”
“We want a nation without bribery; we want freedom of expression, and real elections for every political position, from the presidency of the country to the presidency of the municipalities. “We want an army whose officers aren’t corrupt, and don’t steal or smuggle our country’s oil abroad and mess up our national budget and economy.” 1 August 2013 Yassin al-Haj Saleh interviews Abu Qusay; Translated by Firas Massouh. Abu Qusay used to work as a tailor and a carpenter in his hometown of al-Ghizlaniya before the start of the revolution. When the tailoring business was slow, the heavy-set, burly 33-year-old would occupy himself with carpentry, and vice versa. Abu Qusay earned between 15,000 and 20,000 Syrian pounds on average per month. This was his family’s only source of income and it was barely enough money for a family with 4 young children, but as Abu Qusay would say “God will provide”. *************************************************************************** When the revolution erupted in Tunisia, I was hoping it would come here. We want to change the government, the regime, and everything that we have to put up with for the better. The state is corrupt and so are its components; its employees, its officers, and its judges. Bashar sits on top of the pyramid of authority and therefore holds full responsibility for the situation and for his regime’s transgressions. I had a dream once – before the revolution – that I was in Damascus, chanting against the regime. Then, when the revolution started here, I actually took part in the first demonstration to come out from the Umayyad Mosque. We chanted “Freedom! Freedom!”, but we failed. They beat us with their batons and they made us bleed.

We demonstrated again a week later. This time the demonstration was big; there was about 800 or a thousand of us. Statesecurity officers were scattered in small groups, so they were unable to break up our protest. We reached as far as Marjeh Square. There was a young protestor among us who held up a Qur’an with one hand, and a cross with the other. We then chanted “Freedom! Freedom! Muslims and Christians”. After that we started to take part in the demonstrations in Douma. We were a group of young men who came from the neighbouring areas; al-Ghizlaniya, Zamalka, and Ghouta. None of us had ever been politically active before. We reprimanded those in the demonstrations who threw a rock or carried a knife, and we warned them that this is exactly what the regime wants us to do! We tried again to organise demonstrations in Damascus. We focused on the suburb of al-Midan. We congregated daily in the suburb’s mosques and started our demonstrations from there; there was al-Hasan mosque, al-Mansour mosque, al-Majed mosque, al-Daqqaq mosque… We came out of the mosques because it was difficult to assemble in the streets, and so this became the norm. Following Ramadan and the massive protests in Hama (the regime had killed many people by then), we established the “Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah Battalion” in total secrecy. The members of this battalion came from all over the Ghouta agricultural belt; Douma, Saqba, Jisrin, Hammurya, Rankus, al-Ghizlaniya… The battalion’s leader was Abu Muhammad, a Kurd and a retired colonel from Rukn al-Din. Our missions were quite light-weight. Fundamentally, our role was to protect demonstrators. We know that people would come out in bigger numbers if they knew that they were protected. We used to maintain our distance from the demonstrations, and would only strike the state-security forces if they tried to attack the demonstrators. In November 2011, on the first day of Eid al-Adha, we attacked a border-security battalion in Rankus and secured a decent amount of materiel; rocket launchers, carbines, assault rifles, ammunition… we then returned to Douma and carried out an attack on a Shabiha headquarters. We did the same in Saqba and Hammurya. At this point, our battalion grew and there was more than 200 of us, so Abu Khalid alGhizlany and I decided to form an independent company in Deir al-‘Asafir. We separated from our original battalion, but only to relieve them administratively. There was no conflict between us, on the contrary, we are still in co-operation; it was just that we needed to expand. We began to strike state-security convoys and police stations, and kidnapped security officers on the airport road. We also targeted regime battalions and checkpoints; for

example, we struck the checkpoint in Jisrin on a number of occasions. We would hitand-run; resist for a short while but then retreat. Back then, we had no anti-tank missiles or enough ammunition, and were unable to seize control of territory. We received financial aid from Syrians living in Syria and spent this on guns. We struck ‘Ain al-Tineh Battalion in Deir al-‘Asafir and were able to seize hand grenades and an anti-aircraft cannon. We also attacked a battalion in Nawla and seized its weapons. We had no other choice than to do this. We did not expect that any of this would happen. However, this is a war that was imposed on us and we have to finish what we started. What concerns us today is to end the conflict and minimise loss of human life and historic buildings. After all, this is our country. Oh how I wish we could end all of this today! But we do not trust the regime; neither its proposals nor its promises, and we will never accept them. We established the “Battalions of the Mothers of Believers” in the Spring of 2012, a company that protects Mlaiha, Deir al-‘Asafir, Hteitet al-Turkman, Shab’a, and alGhizlaniya. There was about 300 of us, most in their 20s and 30s but we had a few men younger than 20. Amongst us there were some defected privates, but no officers. No defected officers joined us; they either went back to their hometowns, or left the country to Jordan or Turkey. They fear for their lives and think that the regime will survive and chase after them. 4 or 5 months later, we established the “Brigade of the Mothers of Believers”, in which I lead a battalion. Honestly, we gave the brigade this name in order to secure financial support from donors. Our financiers want to see results. Most of the financial aid that the rebels receive comes from Syrians. As for our brigade, we only accept financial support from Syrians, and I stand by what I say. Today, the brigade is under the command of First Lieutenant Abu Uday, a Homsi who defected from the checkpoint in Hammurya.

When we participated in the battle of al-Midan, I had 150 fighters under my command. Back then, the Ghouta was surrounded, while Douma was totally occupied by regime forces. We decided to go to Damascus and chose al-Midan as our point of departure, since we have a popular support base there. 200 fighters from the “Battalions of the Martyrs of Douma” provided assistance. Further support from Ghouta and from other governorates was expected, but that did not happen. We were able to arrest many mukhabarat agents and soldiers, and seize some armoured cars and Dushka heavy machine guns, but the regime razed al-Midan to the ground and over our heads. We did not receive any assistance so we decided to retreat on the fifth day. I recall asking a local there about the way out, to which he responded: “Unless the earth cracks open and swallows you, there is no way out of here.” We managed to escape by breaking through adjacent walls from house to house. We left al-Midan only with our injured soldiers and light weapons. We continued to carry out operations in Yalda, al-Hajar al-Aswad, Yarmouk Camp, Babbila, Beit Sahm, and ‘Aqraba. During our time in al-Midan, the fighters in these localities were able to liberate them. We also tried to carry out operations in al-‘Amara neighbourhood in Damascus. There were 40 of us and we based ourselves in some safe-houses there, but were soon found out. We lasted about 3 or 4 days and then lost 14 of our members. We could have lost everyone but Abu Khalid and I led some fighters into Bab Touma Square where we shut off the main road with our cars and skirmished with the army and the mukhabarat in order to assuage the blockade on al-‘Amara. We were successful in saving the rest of our fighters but we lost our cars. Following that, we begun planning to liberate the Ghouta. Our most important accomplishment was striking the mills in al-Ghizlaniya which the regime had been using as ammunition depots. This happened on the eve of Eid al-Adha in 2012. We seized a large amount of ammunition, and a week later attacked the Harasta al-Qantara battalion and seized whatever weapons it had as well. We managed to strike all of the regime’s battalions in the Ghouta in ten days’ time. The regime fell in this region, and our esprit du corps was lifted. But as our borders now stretched, so did our frontline. Some of our fighters put their feet up thinking that the regime had fallen. In the meantime we carried out attacks on Damascus airport, Tishreen palace, and the state-security headquarters. People were able to cross through to Jordan without anyone harassing them, but we did not go anywhere outside the country.

Since the start of this year things have started to stagnate. People are in pursuit of slogans and financiers; every wise guy is out to make a name of himself, forgetting that Bashar is not gone yet. The whole thing is so long and drawn-out, life is expensive, food and ammunition are scarce, and some groups now swear their allegiance to outside forces; to Saudi Arabia, to Qatar, and to Kuwait. Currently, we are trying to secure enough ammunition. If we are able to do that, then the rest is a breeze and we can restore our sense of purpose. The regime’s siege on Ghouta does not worry me, since we can easily break it off if we have enough ammunition. I fear what will happen if the battle drags on too long. Imagine if the whole country was destroyed and its population gone. People are hungry. If this stretches out much longer then we may have different gangs and groups and conflicts, and more thieves. We will triumph. There is no doubt about that. I can see that clearly. But we need time, patience, and wisdom. We have not lost our nerve, and we have not broken down. Jabhat al-Nusra worries me. After the regime falls, I fear that they may cause bombings, harm the people, and mess up the country even more. We are definitely not on the same page as Jabhat al-Nusra. Our conflict with them will most likely turn into an armed one, and there will be assassinations. I am sure of that. We will not allow for anyone to jeopardise the security of this country once the regime falls. We will not drop our guns until we fix the country. We want a nation without bribery; we want freedom of expression, and real elections for every political position, from the presidency of the country to the presidency of the municipalities. We want an army whose officers aren’t corrupt, and don’t steal or smuggle our country’s oil abroad and mess up our national budget and economy. The Free Syrian Army should be free and not steal. There are some among us who do steal. We will strike them on their hand and hold them accountable with everything that we have, even if they are major generals. Actually, we once detained a major general and held him accountable because he stole. We want a just system that applies to all. Personally, I will not hand over my weapon until I see that. It is not acceptable for anybody to impose themselves on us. Elections and freedom are our priority. At the end of the interview Yassin al-Haj Saleh asked Abu Qusay whether he felt comfortable carrying arms and being in power, to which Abu Qusay responds: “God forbid!

“We took to the streets precisely because we are against power-hungry despots. We want to be normal, and a quarter of the people are like us. It is true that some opposed the regime because they were after power and political positions, but there are many noble people out there, and they will no-doubt prevail.”


Forward Military Resistance along, or send us the email address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly with your best wishes. Whether in Afghanistan or at a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to injustices, inside the armed services and at home. Send email requests to address up top or write to: Military Resistance, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.


August 14, 1980: Polish Workers Strike Against Dictatorship:

“They Had Illusions In The Army, And Did Not Make Any Serious Effort To Win Over Rank-And-File Soldiers”

After months of labor turmoil, more than 16,000 Polish workers seized control of the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk. Carl Bunin Peace History August 13-19 [Excerpts] ****************************************** 9 August 2000 BY CHRIS SLEE, Green Left Weekly [Excerpts] Twenty years ago, on August 14, a strike began at the Lenin shipyards in Gdansk, Poland, which led to the birth of the independent Solidarity trade union movement. This movement went on to play a crucial and contradictory role in the restoration of capitalist rule in Poland at end of the 1980s. The initial issues that sparked the shipyards strike were wages and the sacking of a militant worker, Anna Walentinowicz. The strike quickly spread to other workplaces, reflecting the widespread discontent with the system of bureaucratic “socialism” established in Poland in the late 1940s. The authorities were forced to negotiate and, in an agreement signed at Gdansk on August 31, conceded a list of demands including the right to form independent trade unions. Solidarity was formally established as a trade union on September 17.

Solidarity developed into a mass social movement challenging Poland’s Stalinist regime. It was violently suppressed in December 1981 when martial law was declared by General Jaruzelski, who held the posts of Communist Party first secretary, prime minister and defence minister. Remnants of the movement continued to organise illegally, re-emerging into legality in the late 1980s. The movement was then converted into a right-wing political party which won the elections in June 1989 and formed a government that set out to restore capitalism. How did a movement that grew out of a working-class struggle against Stalinism become an agent of capitalist restoration? Part of the answer lies in the ideological limitations of the leadership. Lech Walesa, the main leader of the Gdansk strike and subsequently the central leader of the union, was a militant worker, but also a socially conservative Catholic. The same was true of many other working-class activists in the union. The striking workers at Gdansk sang hymns and held mass in the shipyard. Religious beliefs do not necessarily prevent political leaders from playing a progressive role. But the fact that the dominant section of Solidarity’s leadership belonged to a church committed to the defence of private property, and hailed its right-wing social teachings, was a problem. It became an even bigger problem when this leadership became the government of Poland and began to implement those teachings. Another component of Solidarity’s leadership was a group of intellectuals who had been active in KOR (the Committee for the Defence of the Workers), an organisation that had carried out solidarity with workers’ struggles during the 1970s. The key figure in this group was Jacek Kuron. In the 1960s he and Karol Modzelewski had called for the seizure of power by the working class. But by the time Solidarity was formed, Kuron had modified his ideas, replacing the perspective of revolutionary overthrow of the Stalinist bureaucracy with one of gradually reforming the state under pressure from mass organisations and struggles. At that time, Kuron’s perspective was still one of reforming the socialist state rather than restoring capitalism. Pressure for reform came mainly from Solidarity, which was then a mass workers’ movement imbued with the idea that workers were entitled to control the factories and play a leading role in society. But after this movement was crushed by Jaruzelski’s repression, Solidarity’s leadership (including both its Catholic and “leftist” components) adopted a perspective of capitalist restoration. (Kuron himself later became minister of labour in Walesa’s pro-capitalist government). The adoption of a policy of capitalist restoration by Solidarity’s leadership was made easier by the confused political outlook of most Solidarity activists. During 1980-81, Solidarity grew to include 10 million members. The consciousness of the activists was mixed. They fought for immediate economic demands (e.g., wage rises) and democratic demands (e.g., freedom of speech). They also struggled for control of the factories, in many cases voting the factory directors out of office and replacing them with new ones.

These demands and struggles represented a progressive response to Stalinist bureaucratic rule. Yet there were also some less progressive elements in the workers’ consciousness. In addition to the socially conservative attitudes promoted by the Catholic church, many workers were impressed by the relative prosperity and democratic rights existing in the advanced capitalist countries and failed to see that the prosperity and freedom of a few imperialist countries is based on the exploitation and repression of people in the Third World. Not understanding imperialism, they failed to solidarise with Third World struggles for national liberation. While expressing a general sympathy with workers everywhere, most did not take much interest in workers’ struggles in the West. Solidarity’s newspaper had hardly any international news. Solidarity lacked a clear program and strategy for overthrowing the bureaucratic regime and creating a democratic worker-ruled society. The organisation’s draft program made reference to socialism as one source of inspiration, along with Christianity and democracy. Solidarity activists carried out a struggle for self-management in many workplaces, but did not have a clear understanding of the need for socialist planning. They had illusions in the army, and did not make any serious effort to win over rank-and-file soldiers. While Solidarity was not a consciously socialist organisation, neither was it consciously anti-socialist. As British academic Martin Myant observed in Poland: a Crisis for Socialism (1982): “It advocated equality and was particularly emphatic about the need for an adequate assured minimum income and an end to special privileges for a wealthy minority. Many of the specific demands were, even if the authors of the program avoided making the point, quite incompatible with capitalism.” During 1980-81, neither the government nor the leadership of Solidarity could have carried out a program of capitalist restoration, even if they had wanted to. This was because the workers would not have allowed it. Workers in the factories were attempting to bring the enterprises under their own control, and would not have accepted handing them over to capitalist owners. The crushing of this working-class upsurge created the conditions in which capitalist restoration could be carried out with little resistance a few years later. In the demoralisation following martial law, pro-capitalist attitudes were able to become dominant in Polish society. Today, there is a lot of discontent with the results of the restoration of capitalism in Poland and other former Stalinist-ruled states, but still no mass revolutionary parties with a clear socialist perspective.

A mass upsurge of working class and popular discontent is necessary but not sufficient. A struggle to win the movement to a clear socialist perspective is necessary.

August 15, 1876:
Historic Betrayal

Lakota Sioux watch as their Black Hills are invaded. Painting by Howard Terpning Carl Bunin Peace History August 15, 1876: Congress passed a law to remove the Lakota Sioux and their allies from the Black Hills country of South Dakota after gold was found there. Often referred to as the “starve or sell” bill, it provided that no further appropriations would be made for 1868 Treaty-guaranteed rations for the Sioux unless they gave up their sacred Black Hills, or Paha Sapa. That treaty had granted them the territory and hunting rights in exchange for peace. **************************************************** [Excerpts] STATEMENT OF MARIO GONZALEZ, ATTORNEY, CHEYENNE RIVER AND PINE RIDGE WOUNDED KNEE SURVIVORS’ ASSOCIATIONS AND OGLALA SIOUX TRIBE, SUPPORTING PROPOSALS TO ESTABLISH A MEMORIAL AND HISTORIC SITE TO COMMEMORATE THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE 1890 INDIAN MASSACRE AT WOUNDED KNEE CREEK, SOUTH DAKOTA, IN THE HEARING OF SEPTEMBER 25,1990, BEFORE THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE, WASHINGTON, D.C. [Excerpts]

Mr. Chairman, and honorable Members of the Committee, my name is Mario Gonzalez. I am an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and a descendant of Chief Lip’s Band. I am appearing here today as the attorney for the Wounded Knee Survivors’ Associations and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. I am honored to appear before the Committee to discuss events surrounding the December 29, 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. I am also related by blood to some of the victims and survivors of the massacre. Dewey Beard , the last survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn and an 1890 Massacre survivor, was a first cousin to my great-great-grandmother, Rattling Hawk. Dewey’s real mother, Seen By Her Nation, and my great-great-great-grandmother, Jealous Of Her, were sisters. One cannot understand what happened at Wounded Knee without understanding something about the Sioux people and their history. The term “Sioux” should be distinguished from the word “Siouan,” which refers to a linguistic stock that the Sioux are a part of. Other Siouan peoples include such Tribes as the Mandan, Omaha, Otoe, Winnebago and Osage. The Sioux refer to themselves as “Lakota,” “Dakota,” or “Nakota,” depending on whether the “L,” “ D” or “N” dialect is used. It is also important to understand that the term “Sioux Nation” has been used to refer to different entities at different times. According to the Indian Claims Commission, the Sioux people were divided into seven divisions: Mdewakantons Sissetons Wahpakootas Wahpetons Yanktonais Yanktons Tetons The Mdewakantons, Sissetons, Wahpakootas, and Wahpetons, or eastern Sioux, are sometimes referred to as “Santee” or “Mississippi” Sioux and speak with the “D” dialect. The Yanktonais also speak with the “D” dialect. The Yanktons speak with the “N” dialect and the Tetons with the “L” dialect. The Tetons, or the western Sioux, were sub-divided into seven bands: Blackfeet Brule Hunkpapa Minneconjou Oglala Saris Arc (No Bows) Two Kettle The Teton Bands held aboriginal title to a vast territory west of the Missouri River in what are now the States of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Much of this territory was held jointly with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations. The Big Horn Mountains were the western boundary. The Yellowstone and

Missouri Rivers were the northern boundary. The Republican River was the southern boundary. In 1874 the United States Army planned and undertook a military expedition into the Black Hills portion of the Great Sioux Reservation. The expedition was led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, who sent out glowing reports of gold. This led to an invasion of the Hills by white miners and settlers in violation of the 1868 Treaty and created intense pressure on Congress to open the Hills for settlement. The influx of miners and settlers into the Hills increased when President Grant refused to enforce the Treaty and remove these trespassers. In the winter of 1875 and 1876, most of the Sioux were residing on the Great Sioux Reservation, keeping the peace they promised to maintain under the 1868 Treaty. Others were exercising their hunting rights with their Cheyenne and Arapahoe allies near the Big Horn Mountains. Contrary to the terms of the Treaty, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs sent instructions to the hunting parties that if they did not return to the Great Sioux Reservation by January 31,1876, they would be declared “hostile.” The Sioux were under no legal obligation to return and could not return because of the weather. They were attacked, but defeated General Crook at the Battle of Rosebud and annihilated Lt. Col. Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. The U.S. violated Articles 11 and 16 of the 1868 Treaty by attacking the Sioux while they were exercising their right to hunt near the Bighorn Mountains. Although some refer to the Battle of the Little Bighorn as a “massacre,” it was clearly a battle in which the Indians were defending their families against an egocentric Indian fighter who planned to capitalize on the event and become President of the United States. The United States Government resented its defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The Battle, therefore, marked the beginning of a course of dishonorable dealings by the federal government with the Sioux people to [get] revenge [for] Custer’s defeat. This course has continued down to the present time. On August 15, 1876, Congress passed an appropriations bill, often referred to as the “starve or sell” bill, which provided that no further appropriations would be made for the subsistence of the Sioux under the 1868 Treaty unless they gave up the Black Hills and reached an accommodation with the United States that would enable them to become self-supporting. To accomplish this cession, Congress requested the President to appoint a commission to negotiate an agreement with the Sioux to buy the Hills. The 1876 Commission, however, could not obtain the requisite number of signatures required by Article 12 of the 1868 Treaty, so Congress took matters into its own hands and enacted the proposed “Agreement” into law on February 28, 1877. This enactment confiscated the Black Hills, the 1851 Treaty lands, and hunting rights recognized under the 1868 Treaty.


[Thanks to David McReynolds, who posted this. He writes: “No one ‘earns’ $9.6 million a year. They may get it but they damn well didn't earn it. Those guys sank our economy and walked away with their millions.”]

The Workers Defense Project:
“Stan Marek, Chairman Of A Construction Company Based In Houston, Called The Group ‘A Junkyard Dog’”
“They Keep Coming At You”

“One Construction Worker Died In Texas Every Two-And-A-Half Days From WorkRelated Injuries”

At a Workers Defense Project protest in 2011, top, at the Texas Capitol in Austin, mock coffins symbolized workers killed on the job. Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin AmericanStatesman, via Associated Press August 10, 2013 By STEVEN GREENHOUSE, New York Times LIKE most construction workers who come to see Patricia Zavala, the two dozen men who crowded into her office in Austin, Tex., one afternoon in March had a complaint. The workers, most of them Honduran immigrants, had jobs applying stucco to the exterior of a 17-story luxury student residence. It was difficult, dangerous work, but that was to be expected. What upset them was that for the previous two weeks their crew leader had not paid them; each was owed about $1,000. Ms. Zavala, the workplace justice coordinator at the Workers Defense Project, listened to their stories and then spent a month failing to persuade the contractors to pay the back wages. So Ms. Zavala, 27, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the daughter of a Peruvian immigrant, turned to what she calls the nuclear option: the workers filed a lien on the building site. That legal maneuver snarls any effort to make transactions on the property and sometimes causes banks and investors to freeze financing.

The lien, along with a threatened protest march, quickly got the attention of the dormitory’s developer, American Campus Communities, and the general contractor, Harvey-Cleary Builders. Within hours, Harvey-Cleary arranged a meeting between the stucco contractor and the unpaid workers, and, presto, Harvey-Cleary and the contractor, Pillar Construction, agreed to pay the $24,767 owed to the workers. “Liens are the very best tool workers have,” said Cristina Tzintzún, executive director of the Workers Defense Project. Instead of dealing with subcontractors, she said, “you’re negotiating with the project owner and general contractor. They can no longer shift responsibility and say: ‘I paid the guy downriver. It’s out of my hands.’” The Workers Defense Project, founded in 2002, has emerged as one of the nation’s most creative organizations for immigrant workers. Its focus is the Texas construction industry, which employs more than 600,000 workers, about half of whom, several studies suggest, are unauthorized immigrants. Immigrant workers, especially those who are undocumented, are especially vulnerable to abuse by contractors. Each year, the Workers Defense Project, which has 2,000 dues-paying members, receives about 500 complaints from workers who say they were cheated out of overtime or denied a water break in Texas’ scorching summer heat or stuck with huge hospital bills for an on-the-job injury. The Workers Defense Project is one of 225 worker centers nationwide aiding many of the country’s 22 million immigrant workers. The centers have sprouted up largely because labor unions have not organized in many fields where immigrants have gravitated, like restaurants, landscaping and driving taxis. And there is another reason: many immigrants feel that unions are hostile to them. Some union members say that immigrants, who are often willing to work for lower wages, are stealing their jobs. “The Workers Defense Project is not like a union — it welcomes everyone,” said Luis Rodriguez, a Mexican immigrant who sought the group’s help after he lost a finger in a construction accident. “It is always willing to take in more people and help more people.” At a recent Workers Defense Project meeting — they are held every Tuesday night — the atmosphere was part pep rally, part educational session, part social hour. After a dinner of tacos, rice and beans, about 60 workers plotted strategy for a demonstration against the developer of a 1,000-room Marriott hotel. A skit mocking the developer drew raucous laughter. The energy and sense of solidarity were reminiscent of what America’s labor unions had many decades ago, before they started to stumble and stagnate. Worker centers, which are among the most vigorous champions of overhauling immigration laws, coalesce around issues or industries. For example, there is Domestic Workers United, which persuaded New York and Hawaii to enact a bill of rights for

housekeepers and nannies, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which has gotten most Florida tomato growers to adopt a workers’ code of conduct and to increase pay by at least 20 percent. Young Workers United played an important role in persuading the San Francisco City Council to enact a paid-sick-days law and a minimum wage of $10.55 an hour. With labor unions losing members and influence, these centers are increasingly seen as an important alternative form of workplace advocacy, although no one expects them to be nearly as effective as unions in winning raises, pensions or paid vacations. “Worker centers are filling a void by reaching out to a work force that is particularly hard to reach out to,” said Victor Narro, a specialist on immigrant workers at the University of California, Los Angeles. Jefferson Cowie, a labor historian at Cornell, said: “Worker centers are part of the broad scramble of how to improve things for workers outside the traditional union/collective bargaining context. They’ve become little laboratories of experimentation.” As worker centers go, the Workers Defense Project in Austin has racked up an unusual number of successes. It has won more than $1 million in back pay over the last decade on behalf of workers alleging violations of minimum wage and overtime laws. A report it wrote on safety problems spurred the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate 900 construction sites in Texas — leading to nearly $2 million in fines. And, despite a liberal image, the group made common cause with law-abiding contractors to persuade the state’s Republican-dominated legislature to approve a law that made wage theft — an employer’s deliberate failure to pay wages due — a criminal offense. The Workers Defense Project has just 18 employees, and its executive director, Ms. Tzintzún, 31, earns just $43,000 a year. But it managed to bring mighty Apple to the negotiating table. The group extracted a promise that construction workers on Apple’s new Austin office complex would receive at least $12 an hour, not the more commonly paid $10 — as well as workers’ compensation coverage. The workers’ compensation pledge was an important victory. The construction industry in Texas has a higher fatality rate than that in most other states, but Texas is the only one that does not require building contractors to provide workers’ compensation to cover an injured worker’s hospital bills and disability benefits. “We like organizing here in Texas,” Ms. Tzintzún said. “Things can only go up because working conditions are so awful.” AS soon as word got out in March 2012 that Apple was planning to build a $300 million operations center in Austin, the Workers Defense Project sprang into action. Gregorio Casar, the group’s business liaison — his title might more fittingly be thorn-in-the-side —

learned that Apple hoped to receive tax incentives in exchange for promising to create 3,600 full-time jobs with salaries averaging at least $63,000. But Mr. Casar, a University of Virginia graduate who is the son of Mexican immigrants, assumed that Apple’s construction contractors would pay much less than that. The typical wage for nonunion construction laborers in Texas is just $10 an hour — about $20,000 a year. Relying on relationships that the Workers Defense Project had built over the years, Mr. Casar, 24, persuaded the Austin City Council to require Apple to hold talks with the group as a condition for $8.6 million in city tax incentives. (The group had previously persuaded the council to enact Texas’ first ordinance requiring rest and water breaks for construction workers.) In these discussions, Mr. Casar demanded that Apple’s construction contractors pay at least $12 an hour, provide safety training and workers’ compensation, and allow the group’s representatives to go to the site to inspect working conditions. “Like many companies, Apple resisted at first because they wanted total flexibility,” Mr. Casar said. So the group turned up the heat. On March 22, just before the council’s hearing on Apple’s tax incentives, 100 protesters demonstrated outside City Hall. Inside the council chambers, Jose Nieto, a demolition worker affiliated with the Workers Defense Project, testified about how he had once nearly bled to death when a large mirror he was removing from a hotel wall broke and sliced into his arm. His hospital bill, which included multiple operations, was more than $80,000. He had no workers’ compensation to pay for the operations or support his family. Mr. Nieto implored the council not to grant Apple the tax incentives unless it accepted the Workers Defense Project’s demands. “It is in your power to prevent things like this from happening to other people,” he told the council. Several weeks of negotiations ensued. Apple — then under criticism for conditions at the Foxconn plants in China that build its products — agreed to almost all of the group’s demands. “Apple is a strong supporter of workers’ rights around the world,” Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, said recently. “We’ve had a productive dialogue with the Workers Defense Project since we first heard from them last year. We shared many of the group’s goals.” Ms. Tzintzún has an explanation for these victories. “We make it very hard for people to oppose us publicly,” she said. “We know what we’re asking for is the bare minimum, and we remind everybody of that.” In taking on one of the world’s most successful companies, the Workers Defense Project showed how far it has come. Six years ago, it had just two employees: Ms. Tzintzún, then a senior at the University of Texas, and Emily Timm, now the group’s policy

director, who had just graduated from Brown University and was working part time at a homeless shelter where many low-paid immigrant construction workers passed through. The group limped along with insecure financing until 2009. That year, three immigrant workers plunged 11 floors when their scaffold collapsed in Austin; all three died. A week later, the Workers Defense Project released a 68-page report on worker safety. The report had been a year in the making. Prepared with the help of University of Texas researchers, it found that two-thirds of 312 construction workers surveyed had not received basic health and safety training and that three-fourths had no health insurance. Most shocking, it calculated that one construction worker died in Texas every two-and-a-half days from work-related injuries. To draw attention to the report — and to provide a television-friendly shot — Ms. Tzintzún and Ms. Timm held a news conference in front of 142 pairs of empty work boots. That was the number of construction workers who died in Texas in 2007. The report received media attention across Texas and turned the group overnight into an influential voice in a state where labor unions are weak. The group’s higher profile has also meant more criticism. Stan Marek, chairman of a construction company based in Houston, called the group “a junkyard dog.” “They keep coming at you,” he said. Industry lobbyists have blocked many of the group’s initiatives in the State Capitol. A proposal to stop the common practice of classifying workers as independent contractors — allowing construction contractors to avoid providing benefits or paying overtime — died in committee. So did a proposal to require workers’ compensation in construction. Some business-backed groups have begun a new attack on worker centers in recent weeks, calling them union-front groups set up to circumvent legal requirements that unions face, like strict financial disclosure. Not all businesses object to the centers. The Workers Defense Project has made allies of many who dislike being undercut by what they call “low-road contractors” — for instance, those that do not provide workers’ compensation. “It makes no sense — in Texas I’m required to have insurance on the cargo I haul up a construction elevator, but not on the workers in that elevator,” said Andy Anderson, owner of Linden Steel, which provides steel and labor to building projects. Impressed by the Workers Defense Project’s success in helping immigrant workers and highlighting job safety, the Ford Foundation and others have showered it with grants. As a result, the project’s budget has swelled to $1 million — four times what it was just four years ago. The money has helped finance building site inspectors and safety and computer classes. Many worker centers rely heavily on grants. “We’re flavor of the month right now,” Ms. Tzintzún said. “I worry what happens to our funding when we’re not.”

Henry Allen, the recently retired executive director of the Discount Foundation, one of the group’s first benefactors, voiced confidence in its future. “They’re a real model,” he said. “If there’s a future for organizing for worker justice, I think it’s the Workers Defense Project.” LUIS RODRIGUEZ, 42, a short and stocky man with a thick mustache and a deep, bass voice, came to the Workers Defense Project early last year. A heavy industrial drill had torn off his right index finger as he dislodged it from a wall. Doctors could not reattach the finger, and after 20 years of construction work, Mr. Rodriguez was suddenly too disabled to work. That contractor provided workers’ comp, but the checks did not arrive — and when he went to the state workers’ comp office, he ran into one obstacle after another. “A lady working there whispered to me, ‘You should go to the Workers Defense Project,’ ” he said. The project helped him get his checks, and it provided him with a cause: worker empowerment. “I was really lost when I went to them,” he said. “I was one of those people who didn’t know anything. But now I know my rights. Now I won’t let some jerk step on me.” Educating immigrant workers and turning them into activists and leaders is central to the project’s mission. Immigrants make up half of its board, and Mr. Rodriguez is on its Construction Workers Committee. “No union can substitute for what the Workers Defense Project does,” he said. “A union is a more closed group.” Unions often help workers win better wages and safer workplaces, but unionizing is especially hard in right-to-work states like Texas. The large number of unauthorized immigrants makes it even harder, because many of them fear that outright union support could lead to deportation. (The Workers Defense Project does not ask whether workers who come to it are in the United States legally.) In the project’s early days, unions often viewed it as an antagonist, a supporter of immigrants who stole jobs from Americans. But unions now often work and march alongside the Workers Defense Project. The change dates from its influential 2009 report about the dangers of construction work in Texas. “If you had asked me a few years ago, would we be working with a group of nonunion workers to help them better their lives, we’d ask, why would we help people that are taking our jobs?” said Michael Cunningham, executive director of the Texas Building and Construction Trades Council. “Well, the fact is they already have our jobs. “By working together,” he continued, “we’re trying to drive out low-road contractors that are driving down wages.” As organized labor strains to reverse its membership decline, unions have established an uneasy alliance with many worker centers, hoping that they might someday help bring immigrant workers into established unions.

“There’s a need to experiment with new ways to reach workers who haven’t been reached by unions,” said Anna Fink, a liaison between the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and foundations that help finance worker centers. “The labor movement doesn’t have the deep trust that worker centers have built with immigrant worker communities.” Worker centers have done much to discourage wage theft and have marginally increased the pay of some workers. But they do not begin to have the power that unions once had to vault workers into a middle-class life. Mr. Rodriguez may feel empowered, but he is also poor. After losing his finger, he could not work for seven months. His family of five lost its apartment and moved into a trailer. His son who is now 20 quit high school to help support the family, and to his great shame, Mr. Rodriguez had to cancel his daughter’s quinceañera celebration. When he returned to work, he found a job framing walls and staircases that paid $11 an hour, $440 a week. That, he said, was not enough, considering that his rent is $850 a month, not to mention costs for electricity, telephone, gasoline, car and food. Some months he makes ends meet only because of that 20-year-old son, who earns money as a disc jockey. A few weeks ago, Mr. Rodriguez found a job paying $14 an hour. He hopes it lasts. “Eleven dollars an hour isn’t really enough,” he said. “It’s difficult to survive on that.” But he is grateful to have survived. Many construction workers do not, a truth brought home in 2011, when the Workers Defense Project organized a haunting procession to the State Capitol with 138 mock coffins, commemorating all the Texas construction workers who died in job-related incidents in 2009. Now, each year, the group commemorates a Day of the Fallen. The workers at the defense project come together around tragedy and hurt, but with a larger purpose, “Now,” Mr. Rodriguez said, “I tell other workers how to stand up for their rights.”

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40,000 In Tunis To Call For The Fall Of The Government

Anti-government protesters wave flags and shout slogans during a demonstration in Tunis August 13, 2013. Around 40,000 rallied in Tunis on Tuesday to call for the departure of the government. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi


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