The indigenous peoples of the Americas oppose the narrative of perpetual war

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Our Own Correspondent

Jumada' al-Ula' 09, 1433 2012-04-01

Special Reports

by Our Own Correspondent (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 41, No. 2, Jumada' al-Ula', 1433)

On March 12, 2012, a delegation of First Nations Chiefs including Chief Frank Brown, Chief Smoke, Former Chief Ken Whitecloud and Chief Terrance Nelson met Kambiz Sheikh Hassani, Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Ottawa.

On March 12, 2012, a delegation of First Nations Chiefs including Chief Frank Brown, Chief Smoke, Former Chief Ken Whitecloud and Chief Terrance Nelson met Kambiz Sheikh Hassani, Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Ottawa. The meeting was held at the request of the First Nations Chiefs to draw attention to their ongoing struggle with the Canadian Government, especially relating to violation of their Treaty Rights and the illegal exploitation of resources on Native Lands. The following day (3-12-2012), Chief Terrance Nelson (pictured right) delivered a speech during a rally outside Iran’s Embassy. It is reproduced below.

In 1967, Muhammad Ali, the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, voiced his opposition to the Vietnam War and refused to be drafted. He said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong… No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.” Many people today forget how courageous Muhammad Ali was by refusing to be drafted and not hiding at a time when American soldiers were dying in Vietnam. Ali not only lost his title and millions of dollars, he risked his freedom and life to voice his refusal to kill other human beings.

I grew up in the Vietnam War era. We were bombarded in the media with the “fearful” idea that if Vietnam fell to the communists, it would have a domino effect and the whole world would fall to communism. Many young Americans answered President John Kennedy’s call to arms when he said in his inaugural speech: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Thousands of young Americans lost their lives answering that call and it cost the Vietnamese even more.

The Viet Cong didn’t kill Americans on American soil; they defended their people and their right to be sovereign in their own lands. Who are the people who made money in the Vietnam War? I remember the kill ratio was 20:1. Twenty Vietnamese were killed for every American soldier that died in Vietnam. The use of napalm, Agent Orange, the daisy cutters, and the propaganda, do you remember how much we were led to hate the Viet Cong?

My uncles, Tony and Louie were wounded combat veterans of the Second World War, they killed human beings. My uncle Tony told me, “Terry don’t let them lie to you.” He said, “we were just as bad. We were only 18, 19, 20 years old. We all cried, if they tell you they didn’t cry, they are lying.” I still carry his stories of what he had to do in the war.

We were told to hate the Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans, Cubans, Libyans, Russians, Venezuelans, and now we are being told to hate the Iranians. When do we have the right to question? Jane Fonda did and so did some students at Kent State University in Ohio.

How do we become disloyal if we question the killing of other human beings? American politicians wrap themselves in the American flag and tell Americans that they are dishonouring the young men and women who are dying on the battlefield, if you dare question American war policy. I recently rode on a plane with a young American soldier flying back to Grand Forks going home to Devil’s Lake in North Dakota. He was home for a short visit and he would go back to finish his tour of duty. He was so young, probably close to the same age as my uncle Tony, when Tony was in WWII.

I was in Iraq in April 1998. We took 25 hours of video on conditions of life for the average Iraqi citizen under economic sanctions. The United Nations concluded in a 1995 study that 567,000 Iraqi children had died in the first five years of economic sanctions. We naively thought that all we had to do was to show the West the faces of children dying in the cancer wards, dying without medicines. We were labelled by the Western media as “dupes of Saddam.” Iraq was bombed with depleted uranium. No one ever went to jail, no one was ever questioned about how the use of depleted uranium in Iraq was approved under American law and no one seemed to care that half a million Iraqi children had died. We blamed Saddam and that was enough to sooth our conscience, it was not our fault.

Well, I don’t buy it no more! I will not be silent as we condone the killing of Iranian people. America was on moral high ground after 9/11. A decade later, there is no more moral high ground! A war against Iran is not only wrong it will cause civil war in the United States.

In May 2005, I wrote a two page article entitled, A New Reality. The first two paragraphs of that article are:

In 2001, the United States economy was extremely healthy with a $128 billion surplus and expected $5.6 trillion worth of surpluses for the next ten years. Within four years the bright economic forecast had become a far different reality. In 2004, the United States deficit was $412 billion; public debt was pegged at $43 trillion. Federally, US national debt was $7.7 trillion and in 2005 the expected deficit is $427 billion, an average $1.2 billion daily increase in debt. By far, United States is the world’s biggest economy, 15 times larger than Canada’s economy but no one expects United States can maintain its current debt load. Even at current low interest rates it requires 80% of all money borrowed at the World Bank just to cover interest on the US debt. This is the new reality; United States can financially implode and cause a worldwide recession perhaps even a depression.

United States by itself spends as much on military expenses as the next 13 largest military countries in the world combined. Steven Maich reports in Macleans (3-2-2005), “Between 2001 and 2004, the annual budget for the Pentagon and domestic security rose by US$87.1 billion, an increase of 27.5% in four years”. The cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with a future that includes 77 million baby boomers reaching their unproductive years, high medical costs, and a commitment to lower taxes makes Americans used to living on credit, a country headed for financial disaster. Credit card junkies, Americans represent 5% of the world population but consume 25% of the world’s oil. Americans in a deep recession unable to live in their accustomed lifestyle could become a military superpower with an unstable government.

I wrote that two page article in May 2005. Today it is easy to see the economic consequences of another war, this one against Iran. At one time Canada and the US had a combined economy that was one-third of the world economy. The North American population, at just 6% of the world’s population had everything; we ruled the world by economics. Today, North America has dropped to one-fourth of the world economy and will drop even further. Economic sanctions are now a double edged sword that will devastate the US and Canada.

The average American is going to start taking their misery out on their own government. If he gets in trouble heading to the November election, President Barack Obama might take a cue from President Bill Clinton and bomb someone like Iran probably sometime in September or October. Like Clinton, he will get re-elected because he will be seen as protecting the US from “terrorism”. Mark my words, this time, it will be different. The world does not need us, in fact, the world would be a lot better off if they ignored North America and built their own economies away from the influence and blackmail of the First-World countries. A war against Iran will be the starting point of turning away from America. I am no seer, but anyone who understands economics can see that within three years of a sustained war against Iran, the American economy will collapse.

If Americans want to show their loyalty to their country, they need to exercise their democratic right to question their leadership. Americans need to show their loyalty to the young people fighting and losing lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans need to question starting a third war, this one against Iran, because it will be the average American citizen who will pay for that war, not only militarily but economically.

Economic sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and a host of other countries, whose economies are controlled by New York, will cause Third-World countries to finally decide that they have had enough of US bullying. A war against Iran will start the process of economic sanctions against the US. An army that does not feed upon the enemy will lose. How long do Americans think that the government can continue to print or borrow money to prop up the US economy? This will not be just a military war; it will be a war of economics. How long will Germany and China be able to prop up the economies of other nations?

This is what they call a Benjamin. This is an American IOU., for now it is worth a hundred dollars US, but it is only paper, it has no real value except what we give it.

Prior to the 1990 war against Iraq, one Iraqi dinar was worth 3.5 American dollars. By the time we were in Iraq in April 1998, it took 1,450 Iraq dinars to buy one American dollar. Iraq’s largest trading partners prior to the 1990 war were Russia, China and France. The United Nations Oil for Food Program in Iraq was just like the system used in North America to control indigenous people. A carrot and stick! Now food is being offered to North Korea if they cooperate on the nuclear issue. Do North Koreans love us for providing food or do they remember us for killing their people in the 1950s. Did we not help destroy North Korea’s economy with sanctions?

Do Americans listen to the people who bombed the World Trade Center? Were Americans cowered into changing their policies by the bombings of 9/11? Of course not! So, why do we believe that we can bomb other people into loving us?

If America goes to war against Iran, we will all pay for it. I know that the hawks in the United States will say that we are all naive and that we are like Neville Chamberlain, trying to appease the Nazis and now terrorists but, when do we stop believing in bogymen? The biggest reason for fear is to ensure that the senators and congressmen continue to pass the budgets that finance the military machine in America.

Is it so wrong to bypass one more war and maybe spend some of that money on the 77 million baby boomers in America? If the US economy falls, Canada is not far behind. We not only have a right to question, we have a responsibility in a so-called democracy to ask questions.

Remember the Cuban missile crisis? Kennedy came close to starting a third world war. The Soviet Union would not be allowed to place nuclear weapons 90 minutes from American soil. So, I ask you, why are there 200 nuclear warheads in Israel? If we are so against nuclear proliferation, why are there still 22,000 active nuclear warheads in the world? There is only one reason for nuclear bombs: to kill human beings.

We are much closer to nuclear war than most people imagine. When the missiles are flying, it will be too late to organize a protest. The men who will push the button will be deep in underground bunkers while we the people will be left exposed above ground. Why is Iran denied nuclear bombs if Israel has 200 nuclear warheads? Deterrence? It is not just Israel that faces extinction, we all do. Why is the United Nations so one-sided? We all agree, we are all in the same boat, if nuclear weapons are allowed to exist, we all move closer to a nuclear war. Until I saw it on the Military Channel, I had no idea that in November 1983, we almost had a nuclear war, with 350 Soviet nuclear warheads close to being launched against every American city. World War III, by accident? How close are we now to annihilation?

I fully support the right of Israel to exist. I also support the right of Iranian people to defend themselves against nuclear war. Why are Iranians not allowed to arm themselves? Our people had bows and arrows against Gatling guns and now Iran faces the nuclear bomb. I am here to ask questions because I not only have a right to do so but I have the responsibility to do so.

I live a 60-minute ride to one of the largest concentration of nuclear warheads in the world. We are just northeast of Mountain North Dakota and straight north of Grand Forks, North Dakota. If the United Nations really wants to look for Weapons of Mass Destruction, why go to Iraq or Iran, come to North Dakota and maybe, you should send some inspectors to Israel.

I am not against Israel nor am I a Holocaust denier. The Holocaust happened in Germany because most Germans were scared to ask questions. For most Germans during the Holocaust, it was better to deny anything was happening and to remain silent about it. Today, I want the world to quit denying the Holocaust and genocide that occurred and is occurring in North America. We want the economic sanctions against our people to end. My community has 75% unemployment and First Nations in Canada still live under undeclared economic sanctions legislated under the 1876 Canadian Indian Act. Our resource wealth flows south to the states and indigenous people get no payment, just existence money to live at the 72nd level of the United Nations living index in a nation that has one of the highest living standards in the world.

We have tried for 22 years to get the American government to publicly support the indigenous peoples of Canada and to recognize our right to a share of our own lands and resource wealth. We have failed. Now we will begin the process of reaching out to other nations and ask that they help us by condemning the violations of our human rights but also to help break the undeclared economic sanctions against our people by doing business directly with our people.

Together, we can build the industry that will provide resources to other nations by financing the indigenous people to develop the resource base in Canada. Only economic self sufficiency will end our plight but make no mistake, the days of immigrants just taking our resource wealth and not paying indigenous people anything will end. The days of being silent while our people die are ended. We will not be silent anymore.

A serial killer is currently operating in Winnipeg killing indigenous women. Over 600 indigenous women have been killed in Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the residential school era where approximately 150,000 indigenous children were removed from their communities and forcefully indoctrinated into immigrant belief systems. Apology accepted, but remember: that same system is occurring right now under the Child Care system. Over 10,000 indigenous children are in Child and Family Service in the province of Manitoba alone. Over 500 immigrant foster care parents are making money on our children, some receiving $400 a day to foster an indigenous child.

History is clear. Some of these children currently in care are the future prostitutes and are a future statistic. Hundreds of these children in care will become one of the murdered and missing women. Fifty years from now, a future Prime Minister may apologize for the Child and Family Service era that is happening right now.

We must have the courage of Muhammad Ali and Jane Fonda. We must take up our right to question and end our silence in the face of the mindless military machine that tells us we have no right to question. There is only one planet, only one Mother Earth for all of us; we all share the same fate. I thank you for your courage in being here this morning. The next three days will not get any easier but if we keep our minds focused on the future, the generations of lives that are to come, we can begin to take action to ensure that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will have a chance to live their lives with what we leave them. The courage to break our silence in the face of military madness! Mii-gwetch.

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