the World Trade Organization
By Valerie Taliman
Indian Country Today
SEATTLE - Indigenous elders, students and activists were at the forefront of thousands of peaceful demonstrators representing labor, environmental, consumer, health and food safety groups protesting closed-door meetings by trade ministers from 135 countries gathered here to set the global economic agenda for the next 10 to 20 years.
Braving tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber pellets and hundreds of police officers in full riot gear, some 50,000 protesters succeeded in shutting down the opening session of the World Trade Organization's four-day ministerial conference Nov. 30.
By nightfall, Gov. Gary Locke had declared a state of emergency, called out the National Guard and placed a 7 p.m. curfew on the downtown area. An additional 300 officers were brought in to quell a small group of gangs who shattered windows, looted stores and painted anti-WTO graffiti on downtown businesses.
The massive demonstrations were largely fueled by concerns that global free-trade policies set by the WTO will weaken fair labor standards, environmental regulations and protections for human rights.
Many object to the sweeping powers of the WTO to over-ride the laws of nations, states and tribes if those laws present barriers to global trade.
"The WTO is here to impose corporate-managed trade rules on our food, agriculture, health, education, intellectual property and patents on life-forms,"said Richard Moore of the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice.
"We're the low-income, rural people of color who are disproportionately victimized by members of the WTO who want free trade, not fair trade. This profit without principles mentality is directly responsible for increases in hazardous waste, birth defects, undrinkable water and air pollution in our communities."
A delegation of Indigenous peoples representing more than 1 million constituents from communities in the United States, Canada, Asia and Central and South America joined the four-mile march bearing banners that called for protection of cultures, languages, sovereignty and Indigenous homelands.
"This isn't just about trade and economic development , it goes beyond that," said Tom Goldtooth, coordinator of the Indigenous Environmental Network, a coalition of grass-roots Native organizations. "We have grave concerns regarding free trade and its impacts on the environment, food safety and our treaty rights."
"We're concerned about the domination provided to corporations by the WTO that commodifies our water, our forests, our genes, and the theft of our intellectual property rights."
In the U.S. and Canada, some tribal leaders fear new WTO trade policies will erode tribal sovereignty, trample long-standing treaty rights and threaten existing tribal laws to protect Native lands and peoples.
Alvin Manitopyes, a Cree traditionalist from Calgary, Alberta, predicted that WTO's policies will mean more outside control over tribes.
"Our youth are being bombarded by corporate advertising and as a result there's a loss of culture, language and identity. The impact is going to create more economic and social hardship for our communities."
Indigenous representatives from Panama, Mexico, Columbia, and other South American countries say the current WTO policies have encouraged murder, genocide and dislocation of Indigenous peoples in their homelands.
"The weakening of trade policies and mining laws allows the free entry of corporations to take over Indigenous lands, evict Indigenous peoples and claim the rights over their resources," said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the Indigenous Peoples Network for Policy Research & Education, based in the Philippines.
Tauli-Corpuz was one of many Indigenous women who took part in a "Women of Diversity" forum, one of five special public forums organized to voice the views of Native elders, women, environmental justice groups and pro-sovereignty advocates.
"We came from South America because the situation for Indigenous peoples there is getting worse due to economic globalization," said Nilo Cayuqueo of the Abya Yala Fund. "Our territories have been seriously contaminated because of oil, mining, dredging of rivers and clear-cutting of our forests. In some places, we can no longer drink the water. We hope the trade ministers here will listen to us because they affect the future of Indigenous peoples and other peoples worldwide."
As the ministerial meetings finally got underway, with continued protests outside, activists of many colors and races expressed skepticism that the WTO will include a seat at the negotiating table for their causes. But they vow not to give up.
Many representatives said the ministerial negotiations will serve as a catalyst for more people to demand accountability from the WTO and to restructure the corporate-heavy WTO rule-making process.
"We're issuing a call to action to all our tribal leaders to learn more about the WTO's powerful influence and to assert our inherent rights to protect those things that are sacred to our people," said Goldtooth as the Native delegation reached police barricades.
CERTAIN Home List -
Earlier today Natives joined the march that started in front the of labor temple in downtown Seattle's No Protest Zone. Natives who'd been attending the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Seventh Generation Fund's conferences held at Seattle University went to the streets today.
They were marching in front of the labor group when the police in their full riot gear tried to stop them. The Natives in the front line came to a halt, the others behind them kept drumming and singing.
A front line Native reached forward and tapped the police on their helmets with his coup stick, stricking them each three times. The police were confused, and I think labor was a bit confused. The police opened their lines and the march continued on their way. I think this will remain on of my favorite stories of the "Battle in Seattle."I have more stories, and will tell more if'n people want to hear them. Thanks for listening....
This report from one of our delegates just came in. It is outdated but provides some background on the work and particpation of the Indigenous delegation at the WTO. As you know, the networking of Indigenous Peoples at the WTO resulted in the drafting of a DECLARATION that is getting support from all over the world.
From: Priscilla.Settee@extfc.usask.ca (Priscilla Settee)
December 3, 1999
It is estimated that over fifty thousand of people converged on Seattle for the World Trade Organization meeting.
"Established in 1995, the WTO is a powerful new global commerce agency, which transformed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) into an enforceable global commercial code.
The WTO is one of the main mechanisms of corporate globalization. The WTO's 700-plus pages of rules set out a comprehensive system of corporate-managed trade. Under the WTO's system of corporate-managed trade, economic efficiency, reflected in short-run corporate profits, dominates other values. Decisions affecting the economy are to be confined to the private sector, while social and environmental costs are borne by the public".
First Nations and Native Americans from Canada and United States through the sponsorship of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Seventh Generation, in partnership with the Indigenous Women's Network and other Indigenous organizations spent 5 days in sessions educating their members and the broader public about ways that the WTO and international trade agreements will impact the globe's Indigenous Peoples.
While they were left out of formal representation,Indigenous peoples wasted no time in educating others present. They were also joined by Indigenous peoples from Central and South America and Asian Pacific.
Front and center of the Indigenous agenda are such issues as Forestry, Biodiversity and Biopiracy, Persistent Organic Pollutants, Self-determination and Treaties, Militarization of Indigenous lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Human Rights/Indigenous rights, and Lands and territories. While some Chiefs of communities were present it is clear that Indigenous community issues were not part of formal WTO talks. This is particularly disturbing as the majority of the world's valuable natural resources exist on Indigenous lands.
Organizers of the parallel Indigenous event say that economic globalization policies endanger Indigenous cultures, communities and traditional subsistence lifestyles by clear-cutting forest, destroying fisheries, displacing populations and undermining Indigenous Peoples power over their land and natural resources.
"The liberalization of trade policies and mining laws allows the free entry of corporations to take over Indigenous lands, evict Indigenous peoples and claim the rights over their resources," said Victoris Tauli-Corpuz of the Indigenous Peoples Network for Policy Research & Education, based in the Philippines. Representatives from Colombia and other South American countries say that the current WTO policies have encouraged murder, genocide and the dislocation of Indigenous populations.
The rally of November 30, was attended by an estimated 50,000 people and brought Indigenous peoples, trade unionists, environmentalists, nationals from Tibet, Philippines and Vietnam together.
Youth from all parts of the nations dominated the rally.
As we were marching next to Lynda Chavez, the daughter of United Farm Workers of America (leader) Cesar Chavez, another trade unionist was heard to say, "This march brings a lump in my throat; it is just an amazing show of solidarity among the world's people, all colours all races, it's just amazing".
The one thing that united all the ralliers was that the WTO must be stopped until the interests of ordinary citizens are considered.
It is felt by all of the "unofficial" members of the WTO meeting that further 'behind closed doors meetings' by the world's leaders must stop as the consequences of the decisions made by WTO members will greatly impact all of the world's citizens.
These feelings were evidenced when the WTO official meeting was prevented from happening and many official delegates were prevented from entering and leaving their hotels and other places.
The rally turned violent when police fired gas canisters on many innocent bystanders and marchers. Demonstrations went long into the night and by morning over 300 people had been arrested. Large areas of Seattle's downtown area had been cordoned off by the police and the national Guard as a state of civil emergency was declared by the City of Seattle and the Governor of the State of Washington.
Police used the unruly behaviour of some people to shut down through aggressive measures the voices and presence of all people. Unfortunately many of the pictures which media focused on were of broken windows and mayhem, rather than issues - issues which united the people.
A large area around the WTO convention centre was under National Guard presence where no one was allowed to pass. Towards the end over 500 people had been arrested.
What is evident is that from all of this is that ordinary citizens want a say into how events impacting their communities, jobs and lands will unfold.
(Below Indigenous statement)
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES� SEATTLE DECLARATION
on the occasion of the
Third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization
30 November - 3 December 1999
We, the Indigenous Peoples from various regions of the world, have come to Seattle to express our great concern over how the World Trade Organization is destroying Mother Earth and the cultural and biological diversity of which we are a part.
Trade liberalization and export-oriented development, which are the overriding principles and policies pushed by the WTO, are creating the most adverse impacts on the lives of Indigenous Peoples. Our inherent right to self-determination, our sovereignty as nations, and treaties and other constructive agreements which Indigenous nations and Peoples have negotiated with other nation-states, are undermined by most of the WTO Agreements. The disproportionate impact of these Agreements on our communities, whether through environmental degradation or the militarization and violence that often accompanies development projects, is serious and therefore should be addressed immediately.
The WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AOA), which promotes export competition and import liberalization, has allowed the entry of cheap agricultural products into our communities. It is causing the destruction of ecologically rational and sustainable agricultural practices of Indigenous Peoples.
Food security and the production of traditional food crops have been seriously compromised. Incidents of diabetes, cancers, and hypertension have significantly increased among Indigenous Peoples because of the scarcity of traditional foods and the dumping of junk food into our communities.
Small-scale farm production is giving way to commercial cash-crop plantations further concentrating ancestral lands into the hands of few agri-corporations and landlords. This has led to the dislocation of scores of people from our communities who then migrate to nearby cities and become the urban homeless and jobless.
The WTO Forests Products Agreement promotes free trade in forest products. By eliminating developed country tariffs on wood products by the year 2000, and developing country tariffs by 2003, the Agreement will result in the deforestation of many of the world�s ecosystems in which Indigenous Peoples live.
Mining laws in many countries are being changed to allow free entry of foreign mining corporations, to enable them to buy and own mineral lands, and to freely displace Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral territories. These large-scale commercial mining and oil extraction activities continue to degrade our lands and fragile ecosystems, and pollute the soil, water, and air in our communities.
The appropriation of our lands and resources and the aggressive promotion of consumerist and individualistic Western culture continue to destroy traditional lifestyles and cultures. The result is not only environmental degradation but also ill health, alienation, and high levels of stress manifested in high rates of alcoholism and suicides.
The theft and patenting of our biogenetic resources is facilitated by the TRIPs (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) of the WTO. Some plants which Indigenous Peoples have discovered, cultivated, and used for food, medicine, and for sacred rituals are already patented in the United States, Japan, and Europe. A few examples of these are ayahuasca, quinoa, and sangre de drago in forests of South America; kava in the Pacific; turmeric and bitter melon in Asia. Our access and control over our biological diversity and control over our traditional knowledge and intellectual heritage are threatened by the TRIPs Agreement.
Article 27.3b of the TRIPs Agreement allows the patenting of life-forms and makes an artificial distinction between plants, animals, and micro-organisms. The distinction between �essentially biological� and �non-biological� and �microbiological� processes is also erroneous. As far as we are concerned all these are life-forms and life-creating processes which are sacred and which should not become the subject of private property ownership.
Finally, the liberalization of investments and the service sectors, which is pushed by the General Agreement of Services (GATS), reinforces the domination and monopoly control of foreign corporations over strategic parts of the economy. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund impose conditionalities of liberalization, deregulation and privatization on countries caught in the debt trap. These conditionalities are reinforced further by the WTO.
In light of the adverse impacts and consequences of the WTO Agreements identified above, we, Indigenous Peoples present the following demands:
We urgently call for a social and environmental justice analysis which will look into the Agreements� cumulative effects on Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Peoples should be equal participants in establishing the criteria and indicators for these analyses so that they take into consideration spiritual as well as cultural aspects.
A review of the Agreements should be done to address all of the inequities and imbalances which adversely affect Indigenous Peoples. The proposals to address some of these are as follows;
a. It should not include in its coverage small-scale farmers who are mainly engaged in production for domestic use and sale in the local markets.
b. It should ensure the recognition and protection of rights of Indigenous Peoples to their territories and their resources, as well as their rights to continue practicing their indigenous sustainable agriculture and resource management practices and traditional livelihoods.
c. It should ensure the food security and the capacity of Indigenous Peoples to produce, consume and trade their traditional foods.(2) With regard to the liberalization of services and investments we recommend the following:
a. It must stop unsustainable mining, commercial planting of monocrops, dam construction, oil exploration, land conversion to golf clubs, logging, and other activities which destroy Indigenous Peoples� lands and violate the rights of indigenous peoples� to their territories and resources.
b. The right of Indigenous Peoples to their traditional lifestyles, cultural norms and values should likewise be recognized and protected.
c. The liberalization of services, especially in the areas of health, should not be allowed if it will prevent Indigenous Peoples from having access to free, culturally appropriate as well as quality health services.
d. The liberalization of finance services which makes the world a global casino should be regulated.
(3) On the TRIPs Agreement, the proposals are as follows:
a. Article 27.3b should be amended to categorically disallow the patenting of life-forms. It should clearly prohibit the patenting of micro-organisms, plants, animals, including all their parts, whether they are genes, gene sequences, cells, cell lines, proteins, or seeds.
b. It should also prohibit the patenting of natural processes, whether these are biological or microbiological, involving the use of plants, animals and micro-organisms and their parts in producing variations of plants, animals and micro-organisms.
c. It should ensure the exploration and development of alternative forms of protection outside of the dominant western intellectual property rights regime. Such alternatives must protect the knowledge and innovations and practices in agriculture, health care, and conservation of biodiversity, and should build upon indigenous methods and customary laws protecting knowledge, heritage and biological resources.
d. It should ensure that the protection offered to indigenous and traditional knowledge, innovation and practices is consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity (i.e., Articles 8j, 10c, 17.2, and 18.4) and the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources.
e. It should allow for the right of Indigenous Peoples and farmers to continue their traditional practices of saving, sharing and exchanging seeds, and cultivating, harvesting and using medicinal plants.f. It should prohibit scientific researchers and corporations from appropriating and patenting indigenous seeds, medicinal plants, and related knowledge about these life-forms. The principles of prior informed consent and right of veto by Indigenous Peoples should be respected.
We call on the member-states of the WTO not to allow for another round whilst the review and rectification of the implementation of existing agreements has not been done. We reject the proposals for an investment treaty, competition, accelerated industrial tariffs, government procurement, and the creation of a working group on biotechnology.
We urge the WTO to reform itself to become democratic, transparent and accountable. If it fails to do this we call for the abolition of the WTO.
We urge the member nation-states of the WTO to endorse the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the current text of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the ratification of ILO Convention l69.
We call on the peoples� organizations and NGOs to support this �Indigenous Peoples� Seattle Declaration� and to promote it among their members.
We believe that the whole philosophy underpinning the WTO Agreements and the principles and policies it promotes contradict our core values, spirituality and worldviews, as well as our concepts and practices of development, trade and environmental protection. Therefore, we challenge the WTO to redefine its principles and practices toward a �sustainable communities� paradigm, and to recognize and allow for the continuation of other worldviews and models of development.
Indigenous peoples, undoubtedly, are the ones most adversely affected by globalization and by the WTO Agreements. However, we believe that it is also us who can offer viable alternatives to the dominant economic growth, export-oriented development model. Our sustainable lifestyles and cultures, traditional knowledge, cosmologies, spirituality, values of collectivity, reciprocity, respect and reverence for Mother Earth, are crucial in the search for a transformed society where justice, equity, and sustainability will prevail.
Statement by the Indigenous Peoples� Caucus convened and sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Network USA/CANADA, Seventh Generation Fund USA, International Indian Treaty Council, Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, the Abya Yala Fund, and TEBTEBBA (Indigenous Peoples� Network for Policy Research and Education), 1 December 1999, Seattle, Washington, USA.Other indigenous peoples� organizations, NGOs and individuals who wish to sign on to this statement, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Report from Portland student Jim Desyllas (posted 12-2-99)
Called-in from a pay phone outside Seattle. Wed., 7:30 pm Pacific time.
I just spent 4 days in Seattle. The "information" people are getting from the mass media is false. This was not, as Pres. Clinton claims, a peaceful protest marred by the actions of violent protesters. This was a massive, strong but peaceful demonstration which was attacked repeatedly by the police with the express purpose of provoking a violent response to provide photo opportunities for the Western media. I know because I watched it happening. I'll tell you how they did it.
As Michel Chossudovsky says in his "Disarming the New World Order" (See Note # 1 at end for link to that article) - the government put a lot of effort into making sure the protesters in Seattle were a "loyal opposition" who wanted to reform the WTO, not get rid of it. But the people in Seattle - American steel workers, Canadian postal workers, college kids from all over, environmentalists from Australia - - - you name it - were not for reforming the WTO. They were for getting rid of it.
And this wasn't just true of the protesters. I interviewed delegates. None of them had anything favorable to say about the WTO. Two delegates from the Caribbean were angry about job loss. One delegate from Peru took a bullhorn and got up on a car and spoke to the protestors against the World Trade Organization. He said it hurts the workers and farmers. I interviewed a Norwegian guy from Greenpeace. Totally against it. Even a delegate from Holland said it had hurt the farmers there. He said though it is supposedly democratic, that's actually a lie: the US, England and Canada and a few others get together and decide what they want to do. Then they ask the rest of the countries to vote and if they vote wrong they threaten,"You won't get loans," or whatever. They get them to do what they want by blackmailing them. The Italians we interviewed were upset too. I couldn't find any delegates who were in favor.
So the government instigated a "riot" to discredit the movement against the WTO because they couldn't dilute it. I am not guessing about this. I was there. I saw it happening. And I will tell you I am frankly shocked to see, close up, just how little our leaders care what happens to ordinary people. Clinton can pose and speak a lot of flowery stuff but the truth is - we are nothing to them. I saw this with my own eyes.
Sunday and Monday, there was no violence. None. The people were aggressively non-violent; they were self-policing. Up until Tuesday at 4pm there was one window broken in the whole city - a McDonalds window. This compares favorably to the typical rock concert, let alone a demonstration of people who were non-violently barring entry to the World Trade Center!
At this point, a new group of police - tactical police - moved in and started gassing people and shooting rubber bullets. Is it any surprise that people got mad? Of course, the young kids hit back by breaking some windows in retaliation for being gassed, sprayed with very painful pepper gas, and shot with dangerous "rubber" bullets. The police instigated these kids, plain and simple.
Sunday and Monday they had young cops, using them to block the streets. These were trainees. But Tuesday they had the real cops; none of them were young. They were trained to attack people. A small group, maybe 100 people total, struck back. Then these cops herded that group around the city, making sure there were plenty of photo ops of "violent protesters."
A number of times they had these 100 or so protesters caught between buildings and walls of police. They could easily have arrested and detained this small number of people and gotten it over with. Instead they would gas them and let them go. Then trap them again, gas them again, and again let them go. The cops made no arrests that I know of until late Tuesday night though the skirmishing was going on from three till 9:30. The cops would blockade three or five blocks of an area, give the angry kids room to operate, keep gassing them - when you gas a person, let me tell you, it gets them fighting mad.
Tuesday night the police gassed all of downtown. This was going on from 3 PM, till 6 PM.. Gas everywhere. The kids broke a few windows - McD's, Starbucks - small stuff - burned a few garbage cans. The police were using these people as extras. It was staged. I believe also the police had their own people in there, encouraging people to break stuff - if people think I may be exaggerating, I saw supposed protesters - they were screaming and so on - and then later, when everything was over, the same people tackled other protestors and put handcuffs on them.
At 6pm they issued a State of Emergency. At that point they had pushed the 100 people outside the city limits, so the police went outside the limits too, and they started gassing that area too, gassing the neighborhoods where the regular people live. I am not exaggerating. The police were relentless.
This was in an area from the city limits for about 10 blocks to the Seattle Central Community College. If you were alive, the police gassed you. People coming back from work, kids, women, everyone. People would go out of their houses to see what was happening because these tear gas guns sound like a cannon - and they would get gassed. A block away there was a Texaco gas station - they threw tear gas at gas pumps, believe it or not - they were like vandals. They gassed a bus. I saw it with my own eyes. A bus. The driver, the riders, the people just abandoned it .
I was sitting in a little coffee shop called Rauhaus, [Jim did not spell this - the spelling may be wrong.] They were shooting "rubber" bullets at the glass. I picked up a dozen of the things in a few square feet. They were also shooting this paint that you can only see with a florescent light. They would paint anyone and everyone and then go hunting them.
Anyway, because they were gassing everybody, the local people got mad too and they joined the 100 who had been herded out of the city. So soon there were 500 including the neighborhood people and all very angry. Naturally. Because they had been gassed and hit with pepper spray, that stuff does a number on you. And shot with these damn bullets. Then people set up barricades at Seattle Central Community College. The cops organized themselves for about an hour and then moved in and gassed that area.
Today they started mass arrests. That was because Clinton - the Greeks call him the Planitarchis, Ruler of the World - was coming. Weeping crocodile tears about how he just LOVES peaceful protest, which of course you'd have to be two years old to believe he had nothing to do with the police action. This whole thing, this police attack, this was US foreign policy, not some action decided by some bureaucrat in Seattle. This was the State Department. They wanted to discredit the people.
When things started on Sunday, there was a protest rally of solidarity involving people from different walks of life. Monday it got even bigger. Tuesday there was a big sort of carnival where people were doing different things, a band was playing music and people were blocking the World Trade Center. And about 3 PM the cops started throwing tear gas.
The thing that drove Clinton crazy was that on Tuesday the protesters had succeeded in making nonviolent human chains and had therefore stopped everyone from going into the World Trade Center. Only maybe 27 delegates got through, mostly US and British. There were what seemed like tens of thousands of protesters involved. So the police did their gassing number against these nonviolent people to break up the human chains and make the protesters look violent.
Today (Wednesday) I followed the union protest put together by the Longshoremen's Union. They went down to the docks and had a rally then marched to Third Avenue. As soon as they got there the cops started gassing them. There was an old lady there. She had gone downtown by bus to buy something. This lady was in her 70's and I saw her trying to run, but she couldn't breathe. She was in shock. I carried her to a building entryway. She was gasping, terrified. She had been in Germany, and it was like she was having flashbacks. The tear gas sounds like gunfire and there were helicopters overhead, sirens, cops on horses, everything.
They had clearly made a decision to destroy this movement.
So anyway there I was with her in this building and she wanted to go to the hospital but there was tear gas everywhere and I was afraid if I tried to move her she'd be gassed again. I went to this line of cops and begged - I mean begged - these riot police to help her. They ignored me. A girl told me later that a one year old had been gassed. And I myself saw a girl no more than 18 - a cop had busted her lip wide open - she was bleeding - and then they gassed everyone including her. After that she was kneeling on the ground crying like a baby and praying for 15 minutes, Hail Mary, Hail Mary. Over and over. She was in a state of shock. They just gassed these people who were sitting down non-violently and doing nothing. Nothing.
At one point the Seattle Mayor said his boys were not using rubber bullets. Miraculously, by then I had ten in my pocket. I could open a little market, sell the things. They are everywhere. I and other people started giving them to delegates and stuff. "See what they're doing? They're shooting "rubber" bullets and lying about it." We showed them to the media. I guess enough people and the media got the information because the Mayor made a new statement then that they were using them. As if he hadn't known.
They shot rubber bullets from four feet away into the face of a guy next to me, broke all his front teeth. When that happened I lost it. I forgot I was supposed to be getting the news for all of you and I started yelling at the cops, "What the hell is wrong with you? Are you sick, man?" So this cop aimed his gun right at me. That was his answer. So I first put my hands in front of my face because I didn't want to lose my teeth. And then I thought, to hell with it. I was wearing my target shirt that said "Collateral Damage", you know? With a bullseye target, like they wore during the bombing in Yugoslavia. And I told this guy, "Go ahead, shoot! Here! Here's the target!" He didn't shoot me.
I want to emphasize, these protesters were NOT violent people. They were the most non-violent people I have ever seen. Even when I was screaming at the cop, this girl came up to me and said, "Do not scream. This is non-violent." These people were too much to believe. They must meditate all the time, I don't know.
Clinton said he supports nonviolent protest. That is baloney. Today (Wed.) the protesters were causing absolutely no "trouble". In downtown the cops had people running who weren't even protesters - like that old lady or just people going to work or shopping - everyone was getting gassed. The busses weren't running because of the gas. I was lucky to catch one with a driver who could still see. I begged him to drive the old lady home - the driver changed his route especially for her. If you want to find human decency, stay away from the Planitarchis. Go to the to regular people. They have some. The Planitarchis lost all his years ago. Now he wouldn't know human decency if it came up and bit him.
So now I have made personal acquaintance with the people who run this country, and they are quite simply scum. There were people at work, people with babies, they were all getting gassed because the government would not allow an assembly of people speaking their minds. It is the same as what happened in Athens. Clinton's requirements on the Greek government created the riot and he did the same thing here. And then he says he supports nonviolent protest? How? By shooting rubber bullets? And today they outlawed gas masks. They want to make sure everyone gets his money's worth.
Today, just like yesterday night, the police were in the residential neighborhoods. People in caf�s were getting gassed and shot at, you could hear it on the windows, bang, bang, bang. A guy trying to cross the street to go to his house got gassed. First a drunk guy outside a bar yelled at the cops "Get out of here!" so they gassed him. And then this other guys was just crossing the street to go home so the cops figured, might as well gas him too. People got gassed for coming out of restaruants and bars and coffeee shops. I'm amazed that nobody died who had asthma or something.
Or maybe somebody did die and they didn't talk about it. I mean after all, it's just collateral damage..
For a critical look at the World Trade Organization, click on SEATTLE AND BEYOND: DISARMING THE NEW WORLD ORDER or go to http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/chuss/seattle.htm
From: Ann Nichols Ann.Nichols@ASU.EDU
Subject: Police response to Seattle Abu-Jamal rally
On "Morning Edition" on NPR today, there was a brief report of the Seattle police response to a peaceful demonstration outside the center city area in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal. It was an annual event, not connected to the World Trade Organization demonstrations which have been going on the past couple of days. Eyewitnesses who were not part of the demonstration, mostly people living in the neighborhood, reported that the police used tear gas and rubber bullets and batons against demonstrators and even residents. A city council person came to the site to try to mediate, and he was gassed.
I couldn't tell whether the excessiveness of the response was a carryover from the problems with WTO demonstrations earlier, or whether it was police anger over a demonstration in support of someone alleged to have killed a police officer.
By tonight's news, this incident was no longer being reported.
the World Trade Organization
See Thursday (12/02/99) am CNN update:
INDIGENOUS ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK
Contact: Tom Goldtooth in Seattle or Valerie Taliman
at 206/296-2288, 296-2289
For more information or to schedule interviews
visit our website at http://www.ienearth.org/intellectual_property.html
Indigenous Peoples Protest WTO Policies
Forums to highlight impacts on Treaty Rights,
Date: Indigenous Peoples Forum, Wed, 12/01/99 -
SEATTLE - Indigenous Peoples from the Arctic to the Amazon to Asia have gathered here to join protests against the WTO and to call attention to the impacts of WTO policies on Native communities that are at the forefront of environmental and cultural destruction.
Organizers say that economic globalization policies endanger their cultures, communities and traditional subsistence lifestyles by clear-cutting forests, destroying fisheries, displacing populations and undermining Indigenous Peoples power over their land and natural resources.
"The liberalization of trade policies and mining laws allows the free entry of corporations to take over Indigenous lands, evict Indigenous peoples and claim the rights over their resources," said Victoria Tauli- Corpuz of the Indigenous Peoples Network for Policy Research & Education, based in the Philippines. Representatives from Colombia and other South American countries say that the current WTO policies have encouraged murder, genocide and the dislocation of Indigenous populations.
In the U.S. and Canada, Indian tribes fear WTO trade policies will trample long-standing treaty rights and erode tribal sovereignty to protect Native land and peoples. The Clinton Administration's position on advanced tariff liberalization will increase forest destruction worldwide and destroy homelands and cultures of many Native Nations.
"This isn't just about trade and economic development. It goes beyond that," said Tom Goldtooth, coordinator of the Minnesota-based Indigenous Environmental Network. "We have grave concerns regarding free trade and its impacts on the environment, food safety and our treaty rights. The rights of all people to have a say in their destiny must be respected. We're concerned about the domination provided to corporations by the WTO that commodifies our water, forests, our genes, and theft of our intellectual property rights."
"We're issuing a call to action to all our tribal leaders to learn about these issues and to assert our inherent rights to protect those things that are sacred to our people," Goldtooth added.
On Wednesday evening, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Seventh Generation Fund are co- hosting an Indigenous Peoples Forum at Seattle University focusing on Indigenous Peoples' rights to self-determination, cultural integrity and sovereignty.
Speakers include Chief Ed Moody, Nuxalt Nation, British Columbia; Priscilla Settee, Nuclear Free Independent Pacific,Canada; Chris Peters, Seventh Generation Fund; Sharon Venne, attorney, Cree First Nations; Debra Harry, Indigenous Peoples Council on Bio-Colonialism; Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Indigenous Peoples Network for Policy Research and Education; Esther Nahgahnub, Anishinabeg Treaty Office; Taira Stanley, Movimiento de la Juventud Kuna, Panama; Cipriano Jurapo, Border Justice Campaign, Cuidad Juarez, Mexico and Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
On Thursday at Seattle University's Schaffer Auditorium, 900 Broadway Avenue, from 10:00 am to 2:00pm, traditional Indigenous elders from North America also will speak about the importance of protecting Native cultures, lands and values.
The panel "North American Indigenous Elders" will include Janet McCloud of the Tulalip Tribe in Washington; Chet Kiyou, Salish, Canada; Tom Sampson, Vancouver Island, Canada; Lee Piper, Eastern Band of Cherokee; Vernon Lane, Lummi Nation; Chief Johnny Jackson, Yakama Klickitat Band, and Jim Main, Sr., Gros VentreWhite Clay Society.
On Friday, a panel moderated by Chris Peters of the Seventh Generation Fund will examine "Indigenous Peoples, Forests and the WTO." Presenters include Chief Arthur Manuel, Interior Alliance of First Nations, B.C.; Jeff Thomas, Puyallup Tribe, Washington; Dune Lankard, Eyak Preservation Council, Alaska; and Chaz Wheelock, Great Lakes Indigenous Environmental Network, Wisconsin.
Position statements from an array of Indigenous groups are available and several North and South American Indigenous delegates are available for interviews. The Indigenous Peoples Networking Office has been established at Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Lemieux Library, Room 108, 206/296-2288, 2289.
From: arthur miller firstname.lastname@example.org
The following report is based upon news accounts, people I talked to and things I witnessed.
Though people may or may not agree with trashing corporate stores and this was only done by a very small group of people, still what the media is not telling people is that this happened after the police fired rubber bullets at close range at non-violent protesters who had sat down in the street as an act of CD. I wanted to state that first.
I marched in the big labor march of over 35,000 people. When we got close to the WTO meeting part of the march turn back to where it started from and another part headed closer to the convention center. It was hard to tell which way to go. The group I was with got cut off from the larger organization we were with. We ended up marching behind longshoremen from Bellingham and Tacoma and they went the way to the convention center. Once there we were faced with police lines in three directions. In the area I was I saw no trashed stores. After a bit the police north of us started firing tear gas, very loud concussion bombs and pepper spary. I was not far away and I heard no warning. This crowd was not violent young people, but rather people of all ages even young kids. My son, daughter and myself were tear gased.
We moved back away from the gas. A little ways a way was a Teamsters truck (which was a part of the labor march) and all the smoke and gas was passing over it and they started to play Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangle Banner". After a little bit the police starting moving from every direction, firing tear gas and concussion bombs. We made it down to Pike Place Market where the gas was still very strong.
Another group of protesters to moved east up the hill into a community where the tear gas brought people from their homes, restaurants or just walking down the street wanting to know why the police were gasing their community. This led to some confrontations between the community and the police. There were 68 people arrested on Nov. 30th. And a curfew was placed on downtown from dark to dawn.
The next day 300 state toopers and a unknown number of National Guard troops were brought in. They start off the morning stopping cars and taking all signs, banners and radio equipment. They also set up what they called a "No Protest Zone" in a large area of downtown. Around 7:30 am a group of around 100 protesters left a park and were stopped by a police line. This small march was stopped far outside the "No Protest Zone". The police arrested around 60 of these people. After these arrests the "No Protest Zone" was made larger to include where these people were.
Other protesters gathered at a plaza (not in the street) and around 250 of them were arrested. Any where in downtown Seattle that it looked like there maybe protesters the police came. I say this because many of the people tear gased today were just people walking the streets. I saw one woman come out of a store and saw the police and tried to move out of the way and she feel down and a cop came up to her and sprayed pepper gas a few inches from her face. The police attacked people standing waiting for the bus. Many people got caught up with the protesters because the police pushed everyone together. Most of the gasing and arrests happened outside of the "No Protest Zone". The news stated that over 450 people have been arrested so far today.
Anyone that ain't a WTO delegate or police that are in downtown seem to be subject to these police actions. As I write this they are attacking unionists in north downtown, a small Mumia march, other protesters at Pike Place Market and other places. The police state in Seattle is trying to suppress anyone that dares to protest. I will be out again, I will report back later.
Northwest Leonard Peltier Support Network
Indigenous Peoples Occupy World Bank Premises in New Delhi
Protest against the Destruction of Livelihoods and the Environment by the World Bank and the WTO
More than 300 Adivasis [i.e. indigenous peoples] from the Indian state of Madya Pradesh, representing all mass-based Adivasi movements, jumped over the fence of the World Bank building on the 24th of November at 12:00. They blocked the building, covering it with posters, grafitti, cow shit and mud, sang slogans and traditional songs at the gate, and went back only after Mr. Lim, country director of the World Bank in India, went out to receive an open letter signed by all their movements.
The letter denounces the destructive impact of World Bank investments in forestry and of the liberalisation in timber products enshrined in the WTO system, which range from the commodification and destruction of the forests to increasing violence, rape and assassinations. The letter also clearly states their stand in relation to these institutions: "We fought against the British and we will fight against the new form of colonialism that you represent with all our might."
The attempts of the country director of the World Bank to deliver a speech were refused by the Adivasis, who said that after talking with World Bank officials for the last 5 years they had concluded that such 'dialogues' had the only objective of betraying, misleading and deceiving the Adivasis while pushing through commercial and industrial interests.
Adivasi organisations in Madhya Pradesh have repeatedly denounced the highly destructive, so-called 'eco-development' programmes that the World Bank has been funding for the last five years in their forests. Those programmes involve the violent forced eviction of Adivasis from their lands (where all means of force were used, including several killings), which as so many other aspects of the 'eco-development' programmes of the WB goes against the Operational Directives of the Bank, as well as a remarkably awkward combination of bans on the activities on which Adivasis have based their livelihoods since milennia (shifting cultivation, fishing, extraction of forest produce, etc.) on 'environmental grounds', combined with the liberalisation of commercial activities to 'make conservation a good business'. A great business not for the Adivasis, but for the corrupt administrative system exploiting the forest and the commercial and industrial interests behind this sort of 'eco-development'. Hence, the Adivasi communities see themselves forced to buy in the market the products that they are not anymore allowed to extract from their forests.
The other target of the action was the WTO regime, an increasingly important tool for the interests that are destroying the lives of indigenous peoples all over the world. The attempts to include in the WTO system a new agreement aimed at boosting timber extraction and trade were highlighted, and the Adivasis expressed their determination to fight against it.
The open letter to the President of the World Bank concludes:
"For the World Bank and the WTO, our forests are a marketable commodity. But for us, the forests are a home, our source of livelihood, the dwelling of our gods, the burial grounds of our ancestors, the inspiration of our culture. We do not need you to save our forests. We will not let you sell our forests. So go back from our forests and our country."
Pictures of the action will soon be available at the PGA website, ( http://www.agp.org ). In the next months more background information on this issue will be slowly added to that webpage.
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