Monday, 18 February 2013

Exploiting Indians to Seize Land

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In May of 2012, the United Nations “Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People,” James Anaya, ended his “fact-finding” mission to the United States with a shocking conclusion: Americans should return vast tracts of land to Native Americans, including the iconic Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Such a move, he claimed, would help put the U.S. government closer into compliance with the so-called UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — a controversial scheme that President Obama endorsed in 2010.

Suspicion, unsurprisingly, ran rampant because the UN and many of its member regimes are famous for hostility toward private property. They are openly seeking to curtail those rights using a variety of seemingly unrelated mechanisms.

Chief among those tools is the drive for so-called “sustainability,” which The New American magazine has spent considerable space exposing. It now seems, however, that past injustices against Native Americans have been added to the UN toolbox for advancing its controversial anti-property rights agenda.

The UN Declaration

After decades of negotiations, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted in 2006 by the dictator-dominated UN “Human Rights Council” before being sent to the global body’s General Assembly, which approved it in 2007. Four national governments — Australia, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand — originally opposed the move, but it was approved by the vast majority of governments around the world. All four opponents eventually relented. Still, it was hardly uncontroversial.

Article 26 of the document, for example, purports to mandate the recognition and return of indigenous peoples’ lands that are now lawfully owned by other citizens. “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,” the document states, a position that several governments criticized when refusing to support the declaration.

While much of the document is aimed, on the surface at least, at giving indigenous populations full control over their own affairs in most areas (under UN guidance), Article 29 goes on to say that national governments “shall establish and implement” so-called environmental protection and conservation schemes on Indian lands — two key mechanisms exploited by opponents of private property, economic development, and national sovereignty to infringe on individual rights.

Obama publicly announced that his administration supported the UN declaration at the end of 2010, and with millions of Native Americans living within the United States, analysts say the implications could be far-reaching.

Now, despite the fact that the U.S. Senate never ratified the agreement, Obama will apparently seek its implementation. “The United States intends to continue to work so that the laws and mechanisms it has put in place to recognize existing, and accommodate the acquisition of additional, land, territory, and natural resource rights under U.S. law function properly and to facilitate, as appropriate, access by indigenous peoples to the traditional lands, territories and natural resources in which they have an interest,” a State Department statement about the UN deal acknowledged.

According to the announcement, the Obama administration had already acquired more than 34,000 acres of land for Indians — a 225 percent increase from 2006. “The Obama Administration has also made extensive efforts to resolve longstanding Native American legal claims against the United States and private entities related to lands, natural resources.”

It’s noteworthy that essentially the entire territory of the United States was once occupied by Native Americans. But, for now, the Obama administration claims that it will “interpret” the UN declaration to mean lands and territory that Indians “currently possess,” a position that is at odds with the clear language in the international agreement. But it is realistic that someday, property owners could be expelled from their land under the guise of returning it to Indians. It’s already happened elsewhere in the world with UN guidance.

Brazilian Indians and Land Grabs

At the end of 2012, federal Brazilian police and military personnel, some wearing UN insignia, forcibly relocated whole communities in Brazil at gunpoint, purportedly to return huge tracts of land to a handful of Indians whose ancestors allegedly lived there at some point. Thousands of uprooted residents, who had lived there for decades or were even born there, fought back, and critics say the government’s actions smacked of Stalinism and may constitute crimes against humanity. Authorities, however, marched on, undeterred.

Like the Obama administration, the executive branch of government in Brazil also signed the UN indigenous people declaration under fierce international pressure. And while the agreement has not been ratified by the Brazilian Congress, the government is still acting as if it were in force. According to a document posted on the UN website issued by Brazilian authorities and global agencies: “To apply the Declaration in Brazil there is no need for it to become law or for it to be ratified by Congress because Brazil already signed the Declaration at the UN Assembly.”

The same UN official who called on the U.S. government to return Mt. Rushmore to Indians is also working closely with the Brazilian government. In May of 2012, meanwhile, a representative of Brazil went to give the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the UN Economic and Social Council an update on the government’s progress in implementing the agreement. Ambassador Regina Dunlop assured the global body that Brazilian authorities were making progress but that more work needed to be done, saying that effective implementation of the declaration required “coordinated efforts at all levels and branches of the State.”

The Expulsion

When the controversial operation to create an “Indian reservation” began in November in the state of Mato Grosso by expelling all non-Indians, citizens opposed to being stripped of their property and homes did everything in their power to stop the assault — setting up roadblocks; battling heavily armed federal forces with stones, sticks, and Molotov cocktails; torching government trucks; protesting; and refusing to leave. Others cried as they tore down their own lowly houses and shacks under armed guard. During much of the operation, the press was barred from entering the area, with police threatening journalists. However, information did eventually get out — complete with pictures and video evidence.

Reporters on the scene and even federal lawmakers suspected bloodshed would occur as the conflict intensified in the final days, and more than a few locals actually ended up in the hospital. The government, however, had already vowed to expel the communities at any cost, threatening those who refused to comply with criminal charges and even confiscation of what little remained of their personal property. Rubber bullets, tear gas, and threats of real bullets and prosecution were all employed to forcibly remove the locals, whom the government continually dehumanized as “invaders” and “intruders.” They were, of course, neither.

Some 400,000 acres of land in the state of Mato Grosso, with numerous towns — at least one of the communities in Estrela do Araguaia was home to an estimated 7,500 residents complete with churches, schools, a hospital, a graveyard and more — was handed to a small band of nearby Indians by official decree. Property owners’ deeds were nullified and no compensation was offered. Authorities began the forced evictions late last year after giving existing residents just 30 days to vacate their land “voluntarily.” Most refused to go, but the government would not take no for an answer.

Citizens and Lawmakers Resist

In the Suia Missu area that was evicted, about 3,000 people who lived in the town of Posto da Mata, including some 700 schoolchildren, are now homeless after the government, using brute force, finally got its way.

“Where are we going to stay? Where are we going to live? What are we going to live off of? What are we going to eat going forward?” wondered a tearful girl outside one of the town’s two schools in a TV interview. “I’ve lived here all my 17 years and I’m not leaving.”

An eight-year-old boy, also crying, read a letter to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a “former” self-described communist terrorist, asking her not to let the police knock down his family’s house. Rousseff and her government, however, appeared unmoved. The boy’s home is almost certainly nothing but a pile of rubble at this point — bulldozers, many marked with UN logos, have been tearing down the houses as quickly as possible even as the now-former residents continue trying to petition the government for their land back.

“The federal government is sticking to the judicial decision with firmness and serenity,” Chief Minister Gilberto Carvalho with the General Secretariat of the President said in a press release as the battles were raging between heavily armed federal forces and poor farmers armed with sticks and stones. “Violent and illegal actions will not be tolerated and adequate measures are already being taken.”

Political leaders of the affected communities who spoke to the press also sounded resolute and undeterred. The mayor of São Félix do Araguaia, Filemon Limoeiro, a farmer whose town was literally wiped off the map, called on local residents to protest. “I invite everyone to come with me to take down the Brazilian flag, which is an embarrassment for all of us,” he said of the flag, stamped with “order” and “progress” across it. “Those who agree, please join us.”

After the crowd, including many children, finished pulling down the flag, other protesters poured gasoline on it and set it on fire. “We are not terrorists, we are rural people,” shouted some of the residents quoted in local news reports as the flag was desecrated.

The protests would likely have been even more vocal if not for the intimidation. Media outlets in Brazil reported that authorities had been threatening those who spoke out with jail time. Two local associations for ranchers and livestock owners, for example, were reportedly coerced into not openly supporting resisters. The government used threats of arrest and prosecution for encouraging or participating in obstructing the forced relocation scheme. Some locals reported threats of extrajudicial assassination.

State lawmaker Baiano Filho in Mato Grosso, though, supported the demonstrations, adding that his colleagues did as well. “The act [of burning the Brazilian flag] has the support of our state assembly, our whole state legislature, because we lawmakers understand that what is happening here is a grave injustice,” he was quoted as saying in the media, chastising the federal government’s forced eviction schemes.

Even at the federal level, lawmakers were speaking out. Congressman Valtenir Pereira, for instance, warned a top executive branch official that the violent expulsion of families and communities risked damaging Brazil’s image and reputation in the world. “I told him that the international community is aware of the problem. We are running the risk of allowing bloodshed to occur. The conflict has already started, we’ve had incidents between police and locals who did not want to leave the area,” he said. “I also said that this conflict can become a blood stain on the presidency. President Dilma and her vice president cannot let this happen, otherwise they will stain Brazil’s image internationally. The solution depends only on the president.”

In the end, residents, outgunned and totally surrounded, gathered what they could carry or load onto their old trucks and left to live in nearby refugee camps at schools, in make-shift huts made of sticks and tarps, or with friends and family elsewhere. Thousands of families were displaced. The ones who could took some of the wood from their houses, roofing tiles, windows, and doors, hoping to rebuild somewhere else someday.

“What’s happening here is a great injustice being perpetrated by Dilma’s government,” local property owner Paulo Gonçalves, whose land was expropriated during the evictions, told The New American in a phone interview. “What’s happening is all a fraud. This is an area where Indians have never lived, yet they are throwing all of those poor families out on the street.... There are now more than 350 families living in just one school, with all of their belongings, they have no place to go, nothing.”

Watching local news reports posted on YouTube helps grasp the enormity of the tragedy: the poor families living in squalor clutching crying children as they wonder where their next meal will come from. Old women, young moms, and little kids all sobbed on camera, having lost everything they had. Many worried about being forced to live under a bridge. Even grown men, fathers, and grandfathers who supported their families with hard work in the region for decades were largely unable to contain their tears as reporters interviewed them trying to salvage building materials from their ramshackle homes before the government destroyed them.

History Behind the Dispute

The history of the land is somewhat in dispute, but authorities now claim that in the 1960s, the former Brazilian government expelled local Indians from the region and moved them hundreds of miles away before selling off the land. The goal was supposedly to encourage Brazilians, agricultural producers in particular, to settle the area, which saw a steady influx of new residents over the following decades.

Many locals and even outside analysts, however, question whether the land was really inhabited by Indians at all. Even some Xavante Indians, who are set to receive the lands, have spoken out, explaining that their people always lived in another region with another climate and type of vegetation. “Despite what Funai [the Justice Ministry’s Indian department] says, these lands were all forests,” said one Xavante Indian in front of a packed audience of local residents, who cheered as he spoke. “With all of the Indian lands that exist in Brazil, why would the police come here? … This is theirs,” he said, referring to existing residents and property-deed holders.

Another Indian present at the rally agreed, saying, “The Justice Ministry only supports things that aren’t right.” Again, the local residents celebrated. “I already told them this before: Xavantes never existed in the forest, they existed only in the cerrado [a vast tropical savanna covering the plateaus of central Brazil].”

Official documents obtained by The New American confirm the Xavantes’ statements while showing that the government has been lying. First of all, despite the claims of one Xavante village chief who critics say was offered government help in exchange for supporting the land grab, the Xavante Indians never lived in that area and mostly don’t want the land. Two official documents issued by Funai, for example — one from 1971 and another from 1974 — certify that no Indians ever lived on the land in question.

Another report obtained by The New American, issued by a Brazilian congressional delegation that visited the area in late November on a fact-finding mission, also shows that the Brazilian government has been less than truthful when it comes to the numbers.

Among other startling revelations, the documents say that the process of handing the land in question to the Xavante Indians really began at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in 1992 in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. According to the report, a large company that owned part of the land said it would donate it to Indians, a process that eventually fell through. In 1993, though, the government officially issued its decree purporting to transfer the whole area to Indians.

Even more startling is what the report confirms about the Xavante Indians and their relationship to that land. According to four separate members of the tribe quoted in the report who were interviewed by officials, “The true land occupied in remote times by the Xavantes was actually expropriated by a government agency for its agrarian reform schemes. For convenience, Funai shifted the perimeter to the area in conflict. Those areas were covered with forest, and the Xavantes are not Indians of the forest but of the cerrado.” All of the Xavantes who met with the commission were unanimous in supporting those facts, according to the report.

Another document shows there are a total of 14,000 Xavante Indians, and the tribe already possesses around 3.5 million acres of land in the state of Mato Grosso. Incredibly, the state government offered to provide another massive tract of land — larger and in better condition than Suia Missu — to avoid the mass evictions. The federal government, however, refused, insisting on throwing out the thousands of residents from their villages and homes instead.

Lest there was any doubt about whether the authorities actually care about the Indians, critics pointed to Rio de Janeiro. According to a recent Associated Press report, officials there are currently evicting large numbers of Indians — a whole settlement, in fact — to make way for new infrastructure and buildings for the upcoming soccer World Cup and Olympics to be held there in 2014 and 2016.

In other parts of Brazil, especially in the Amazon, whole Indian communities are being, and have been, uprooted by authorities to make way for government projects, according to Indian rights activists. Ironically, many of them are complaining to the UN about the injustices, citing the UN declaration, but the global body has remained largely silent so far.

The UN and Greenpeace, though, were heavily involved in promoting the apparently bogus Xavante-Suia Missu narrative during the recent Rio+20 “sustainable development” conference in Rio de Janeiro, parading a small group of Indians around the premises in between ceremonies worshipping “Mother Earth” and calls for a planetary regime. Greenpeace, of course, has an atrocious record when it comes to indigenous people: Its actions have literally destroyed more than a few Native American communities under the guise of pseudo-environmentalism, according to experts who spoke with TNA in Rio.

The legal process surrounding the evictions, meanwhile, has been notorious for its lack of justice: Critics, citing lies by Funai and voided property deeds, say the proceedings are nothing but outright fraud. Still, the courts ruled in 2010 that the executive decree kicking all non-Indian residents out of the area without compensation for the loss of their property and homes could move forward. Shortly after that, the decision to force residents off their land was put on hold. In May of 2012, another court said the relocation could proceed.

That decision was also halted, but the Brazilian Supreme Court eventually decided that the evictions could proceed as planned. Residents were notified on November 7 that they should pack what they could and go, or face the full fury of the federal government. A few reportedly left, enticed by government promises to certain eligible small farmers of welfare and new land somewhere else, but many more stayed. Ranchers and farmers with larger properties were offered nothing.

“According to Brazilian law, as the invaders remained illegally on Indian land, knowing that it is federal property, they are not entitled to any compensation,” a spokesperson for Funai told The New American. “Nevertheless, the Brazilian government acts to resettle those who meet the criteria of the Brazilian Agrarian Reform Policy.” According to sources on the ground, not a single person had been “resettled” as of January 18, when the evictions were finally completed.

The Real Agenda

“This is just one more case among many. The policy of Brazil’s leftist government is to dismantle the country to deliver it all to ‘native reserves,’ which are nothing more than instruments of billionaire foreign Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs),” explained renowned Brazilian writer and philosopher Professor Olavo de Carvalho, who has played a key role in exposing the well-orchestrated socialist takeover of Latin America. Indeed, Indians that have not joined broader society, who make up a fraction of one percent of the Brazilian population, now occupy almost 15 percent of the nation’s landmass on government-established reservations. Many of those sit atop vast mineral deposits and other riches, and citizens are becoming suspicious.

Of course, land expropriation in Brazil is nothing new — for decades, the government has been stirring up animosity against “big” farmers and “wealthy” ranchers, seizing and redistributing their property in its push for what it calls “agrarian reform.” In neighboring Venezuela, socialist strongman Hugo Chavez has been stealing massive amounts of land from its owners, as well, a trend that has been accelerating since he disarmed law-abiding citizens with strong support and backing from the UN last year.

“The goal of destroying the rural sector in Brazil, one of the strongest in the world, is far from complete,” Brazilian liberty-minded activist and farmer Walber Guerreiro told The New American, noting that, like all communists, the current government leaders of Brazil hope to smash independent-minded farmers and ranchers. “But it is an absolute priority for the Marxist agenda.”

Perhaps even more alarming, Guerreiro pointed to the military vehicles being used to terrorize and evict local residents that bore the UN insignia used by international “peacekeeping” forces. Video documentation showed, and Brazilian federal authorities confirmed to The New American, that troops and equipment sporting the UN logo are indeed involved in the operation.

Guerreiro touched on widespread suspicions of UN involvement. However, federal officials in Brazil claimed in an e-mail to TNA that the controversial global organ­ization was not actually involved in the evictions. Instead, Funai said, the soldiers and equipment had recently returned from “peacekeeping” operations abroad, hence the insignia.

After the regime is done with farmers and ranchers, though, new classes of victims will find themselves in the crosshairs. “Nothing guarantees civil security in the Workers’ Party’s (PT) Brazil, and this process will not end with just the persecution of farmers,” Guerreiro concluded. “In the end, everyone will have their property expropriated, exactly like what happened in Cuba, the paradise of the PT’s dreams.”

The so-called “pink tide” sweeping over Latin America, however, is being led in part by top Brazilian Workers’ Party officials, who currently hold power, collaborating with totalitarian regimes in the region. As The New American has documented extensively, a shadowy network of socialist and communist political parties, as well as Marxist terror groups known as Foro de São Paulo — founded by former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, communist tyrant Fidel Castro, the Sandinistas, and others — now dominates Latin American politics.

Indeed, socialist and communist forces are still making significant progress throughout the region, with major support from abroad and just a handful of national governments resisting the trend. Considering the recent birth of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUL or UNASUR) — a European Union-like transnational regime dominated by socialists — the people of the entire continent are facing the very real prospect of tyranny in the not-too-distant future. What justification is used — the environment, “economic justice,” Indians, “social justice,” so-called sustainable development, climate change, or others yet to be devised — will matter little to the victims.

Losing the Land

Brazilians are already starting to understand what the UN means when it seeks to “preserve the environment” or bring “justice” to Indians. Whether Americans ever come face to face with similar scenarios depends largely on a number of factors. However, the UN has made it clear in its official documents that, across the world, private property rights must be curtailed and eventually dismantled.

“Land cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market,” the UN claimed in a report on “Human Settlements” that sparked outrage worldwide. “Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.”

Then there is the UN’s Agenda 21, which seeks to transform human civilization by stripping private property rights and erecting a planetary regime to centrally plan the global economy. The plot is already being implemented across the world — and even in the United States, despite never having been ratified by the U.S. Senate, as required by the Constitution. Some states and local governments are fighting back, but the battle will be long and hard if Americans and liberty are to emerge victorious.

Onondaga Nation Chief Tadodaho Sid Hill at the opening of the 12th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: UN photo

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