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Vieques - U'wa and Big Mountain Updates - Stop the current direction for war and destruction

1) Vieques - Stop the Direction of War

2) Update on U'WA - Columbian Court Halts Oil Drilling

3) Big Mt. Connection - Is Anyone Listening?

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1) Vieques - Stop the Direction of War

Vieques is occupied by peaceful people who love the Earth and are resisting a war machine that eats up everything in its path, including itself. The rationale for Vieques as target range is national security interests, but in reality this policy threatens everyone. The post Cassini flyby era poses a short window of opportunity in time to change from the destruction to the preservation of human and other species of life. Please support those struggling to resist control, greed and fear to protect sacred places.

Navy Plans Immediate Shelling of Vieques
by STEWART M. POWELL
2000 Hearst Newspapers

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2000

Navy warships will immediately fire non-explosive shells at the target range on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques as soon as federal authorities remove encamped Puerto Rican demonstrators, defense officials said Thursday. Three defense officials outlined the Navy's plans for a quick show of force as a Justice Department-led task force prepared to end a year-long occupation of the 899-acre target range that has thwarted Navy training on the range.

The task force, including FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, the Coast Guard, the Navy and 1,200 Marines, is expected to begin rounding up protestors early next week, according to a fourth U.S. official who said he is familiar with coordination planning between law enforcement agencies on the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico.

Navy warships will begin using the 59-year-old range "as quickly as possible'' after the law enforcement operation is complete, said one defense official. A second defense official said the Navy wants to "demonstrate use of the range in a prudent fashion as soon as we can just to get that principle established or restarted.''

A third defense official said the Navy would "be in a hurry to make a statement by using the range.''

The three officials spoke on background on the condition that their identity not be disclosed.

Attorney General Janet Reno, speaking at a Justice Department news conference, declined to discuss the impending operation.

"I don't comment on any prospective, or otherwise considered, law enforcement action,'' Reno declared.

Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Pentagon has been in "consultation with the Puerto Rican government (and) with the Department of Justice to work out a way to clear the range of the trespassers,'' adding: "That process continues.''

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., the senior Puerto Rico-born lawmaker in Congress, urged Clinton in a letter to halt the plans for a federal round up.

"This is not going to be nice,'' warned Serrano. "It's not too late to call the whole thing off.''

A federal raid to break up peaceful civil disobedience on Vieques would likely be a hot campaign issue for the 900,000 Puerto Rican voters in New York who could play an influential role in the outcome of the Senate campaign of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Serrano said.

"What happens in Vieques affects greatly the largest Hispanic voting bloc in New York,'' he said. Many of Puerto Rico's 3.8 million residents - U.S. citizens by birth - have relatives living in the United States.

The removal of the protestors is designed to clear the way for implementation of an agreement reached by President Clinton and Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello on Jan. 31 to end a bitter standoff between the Navy and the demonstrators.

Dozens of protestors, led by Puerto Rico Sen. Ruben Berrios, the Puerto Rico Independence Party's candidate for governor in November, occupied the beach-front bombing range after a Marine bombing mishap in April 1999 killed a Puerto Rican security guard working for the Navy.

The occupation of the target range prevented the Navy and Marine Corps from conducting the final air, land and sea combat rehearsals on Vieques that have prepared every departing Atlantic-based combat force since World War II.

The Clinton-Rossello agreement calls for the White House and Congress to provide $40 million in immediate economic development assistance to the 9,300 residents of Vieques and reduce noisy military training on Navy-owned land to 90 days a year using only non-explosive shells and bombs. The accord also calls for the island's residents to vote in a binding referendum on future Navy use of the island by February, 2002, with $50 million in additional U.S. assistance due to Vieques if the residents vote to permit combat training with explosive ordnance.

The forcible removal of protestors is expected to take place barely 10 days after a Justice Department-led operation broke into a Miami home to take custody of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez and return him to his Cuban father.

The Navy is poised to resume using the range. Four warships armed with 5-inch guns with ranges of 15 miles will be in the region in coming days as part of a combat exercise with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and a Marine amphibious task force. The armada is scheduled for deployment in June to the Mediterranean.

Navy Secretary Richard Danzig told Congress in testimony on March 22 that the Navy is eager for "the resumption of the use of the range and establishing the rhythms of cooperation.''

The shutdown of the target range since April 1999 forced the battle fleet led by the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to sail for duty in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf in late February with five of the eight escorting surface warships still needing to requalify for their naval gunfire support mission by firing roughly 100 shells of 5-inch ammunition at shore targets. The ships broke away from the fleet in transit to requalify at ranges at Cape Wrath, Scotland, or Capoteulado, Sardinia.


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2) Update on U'WA - Columbian Court Halts Oil Drilling


Associated Press

Colombian Court Halts Oil Drilling

March 31, 2000

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - A court on Friday ordered a halt to a U.S. oil company's exploration near a Colombian Indian reservation, in what appeared to be at least a temporary victory for the tribe.

Alberto Calderon, president of the state-owned Ecopetrol oil company, said the government had notified Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:OXY - news) of the order to suspend operations.

Details on the Bogota circuit court verdict favoring the 8,000 member U'wa nation were not immediately available.

Calderon, whose company has contracts with Occidental, denounced the verdict, saying it placed a small minority's interests above those of the nation. The government plans to appeal.

"This is a process in which if oil is found it could generate nearly $900 million a year," Calderon told a news conference Friday night. "It's a project of enormous importance for the country."

U'wa tribal leader Roberto Perez said the tribe still sees a long battle ahead.

"This is not a fight that's been won," he told The Associated Press, speaking from Washington, where he has been meeting this week with members of Congress and activists. "But we've taken a step forward and I feel content."

Occidental Corp. was unavailable for comment Friday night.

The tribe has waged a national and international campaign since 1995 to stop the company from drilling on or near its ancestral lands near Colombia's eastern border with Venezuela. At one point, the group threatened mass suicide to highlight their cause.

Seeking compromise, the government last September approved a nearly fourfold increase in the size of the tribal reservation, to 850 square miles stretching across four states.

An exploratory drill site - one Occidental and Colombian officials hope will lead to reserves of as many as 2.5 billion barrels of crude - was approved a few miles outside the expanded reservation.

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For more information link to:

http://www.ran.org/ran/ran_campaigns/beyond_oil/oxy/

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3) Big Mt. Connection - Is Anyone Listening?

"Is Anyone Listening?"

A Message from Roberta Blackgoat --- June 99

Great Spirit gave us this land to live in a good way. We're not living here for free, everything we have, we have worked hard for it. We humble ourselves before Great Spirit and it is according to them (the Holy Ones) that we live here.

Before non-indians came, we were put here with original guidelines to live in harmony. Some prayers we say are for our veterans, our young ones, they go to war and its those prayers and ceremonies that keep them in good health and able to come back.

All the natural resources that abound here are not here to be exploited but to be revered. All the things that we hold sacred have been comodified. It's commodification of the sacred. We are given no respect as human beings, as to our existence. The problems of relocation and all the mental anguish that we've gone through, and the deprivation of rights, religious rights, is the equivalent to the internment of Fort Sumner back in 1864 to 1868. The government and people in this country encompass our demise.

We need help as much as possible to reverse this relocation process. The government of this country must come to a compassionate understanding and allow us to go back to our traditional lifestyles. Guidance was given to us from the original instructions.

We've been told to get permission from the Hopi Tribal Council to gather herbs and religious paraphernalia. We already have permision from Great Spirit to gather herbs for performing ceremonies, which we were told to do according to the original instructions. We are not living arbitrarily, the way we are living has definite significance.

These laws and guidelines that we were given allow us to maintain certain values and truths, a certain ideology. To ask us to live other ways and ignore these laws is to ignore the truth. These non-indians have no regard for our existence.

We want all people to know that evertything we are doing(our struggle) encompasses environmental issues and all other things that go with it. We want no more energy exploitation, no more mining, cutting up, drilling of our Mother Earth. We do not benefit from these anyway. We want Mother Earth to heal again and this will only happen when we stop all the fencing and scarring of the land that modern industrialized man is doing.

I'm pleading with the entire nation and the whole world. Pleading with you. We were put upon here by the Creator within the four Sacred Mountains. Mt. Blanca to the East, Mt. Taylor to the South, San Francisco Peaks to the West, and Mt. Hesperus to the North. We were given instructions to live in a sacred way here.

These mountains encompass a Hogan in which we were told to carry on our lifestyle in harmony. The influence and influx of outsiders and cultural assimilation has dwindled us and the Traditionals have been reduced to a handful. That's why I appeal to everyone of you. I don't know what the government and the news and the media has told you, but that is the situation here.

I've been saying these things for years and years; is anyone listening?

Roberta Blackgoat

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For more information link to:

http://www.LISN.net
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Music Benefit to help Free Leonard Peltier
May 21, 2000 (Sunday)
8:00 to 10:00 P.M.
Performers: The Jennifer Greer Trio - Jeff Martell - Chaz
at the Fire and Water Cafe - Northampton, Massachusetts USA
Sponsored by the Leonard Peltier Support Group of Greater New England

Leonard Peltier is having a Parole Hearing on June 12, 2000.

Please write a letter on his behalf for justice and freedom and send to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, which will be presenting letters for individuals and organizations.

For more information contact the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Box 583 Lawrence, KS 66044 Tel: (785)842-5774 http://www.freepeltier.org

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