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A CounterPunch Exclusive

The Denial of My Parole

I Am Barack Obama’s Political Prisoner Now

By LEONARD PELTIER

The United States Department of Justice has once again made a mockery of its lofty and pretentious title.

After releasing an original and continuing disciple of death cult leader Charles Manson who attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford, an admitted Croatian terrorist, and another attempted assassin of President Ford under the mandatory 30-year parole law, the U.S. Parole Commission deemed that my release would “promote disrespect for the law.”

If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity. Not to mention the fact that every law in this country was created without the consent of Native peoples and is applied unequally at our expense. If nothing else, my experience should raise serious questions about the FBI’s supposed jurisdiction in Indian Country.

The parole commission’s phrase was lifted from soon-to-be former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, who apparently hopes to ride with the FBI cavalry into the office of North Dakota governor. In this Wrigley is following in the footsteps of William Janklow, who built his political career on his reputation as an Indian fighter, moving on up from tribal attorney (and alleged rapist of a Native minor) to state attorney general, South Dakota governor, and U.S. Congressman. Some might recall that Janklow claimed responsibility for dissuading President Clinton from pardoning me before he was convicted of manslaughter. Janklow’s historical predecessor, George Armstrong Custer, similarly hoped that a glorious massacre of the Sioux would propel him to the White House, and we all know what happened to him.

Unlike the barbarians that bay for my blood in the corridors of power, however, Native people are true humanitarians who pray for our enemies. Yet we must be realistic enough to organize for our own freedom and equality as nations. We constitute 5% of the population of North Dakota and 10% of South Dakota and we could utilize that influence to promote our own power on the reservations, where our focus should be. If we organized as a voting bloc, we could defeat the entire premise of the competition between the Dakotas as to which is the most racist. In the 1970s we were forced to take up arms to affirm our right to survival and self-defense, but today the war is one of ideas. We must now stand up to armed oppression and colonization with our bodies and our minds. International law is on our side.

Given the complexion of the three recent federal parolees, it might seem that my greatest crime was being Indian. But the truth is that my gravest offense is my innocence. In Iran, political prisoners are occasionally released if they confess to the ridiculous charges on which they are dragged into court, in order to discredit and intimidate them and other like-minded citizens. The FBI and its mouthpieces have suggested the same, as did the parole commission in 1993, when it ruled that my refusal to confess was grounds for denial of parole.

To claim innocence is to suggest that the government is wrong, if not guilty itself. The American judicial system is set up so that the defendant is not punished for the crime itself, but for refusing to accept whatever plea arrangement is offered and for daring to compel the judicial system to grant the accused the right to right to rebut the charges leveled by the state in an actual trial. Such insolence is punished invariably with prosecution requests for the steepest possible sentence, if not an upward departure from sentencing guidelines that are being gradually discarded, along with the possibility of parole.

As much as non-Natives might hate Indians, we are all in the same boat. To attempt to emulate this system in tribal government is pitiful, to say the least.

It was only this year, in the Troy Davis, case, that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized innocence as a legitimate legal defense. Like the witnesses that were coerced into testifying against me, those that testified against Davis renounced their statements, yet Davis was very nearly put to death. I might have been executed myself by now, had not the government of Canada required a waiver of the death penalty as a condition of extradition.

The old order is aptly represented by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who stated in his dissenting opinion in the Davis case, “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged ‘actual innocence’ is constitutionally cognizable.”

The esteemed Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan, who is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, used much the same reasoning in writing that “our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just.”

It is a bizarre and incomprehensible statement to Natives, as well it should be, that innocence and guilt is a mere legal status, not necessarily rooted in material fact. It is a truism that all political prisoners were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged.

The truth is the government wants me to falsely confess in order to validate a rather sloppy frame-up operation, one whose exposure would open the door to an investigation of the United States’ role in training and equipping goon squads to suppress a grassroots movement on Pine Ridge against a puppet dictatorship.

In America, there can by definition be no political prisoners, only those duly judged guilty in a court of law. It is deemed too controversial to even publicly contemplate that the federal government might fabricate and suppress evidence to defeat those deemed political enemies. But it is a demonstrable fact at every stage of my case.

I am Barack Obama’s political prisoner now, and I hope and pray that he will adhere to the ideals that impelled him to run for president. But as Obama himself would acknowledge, if we are expecting him to solve our problems, we missed the point of his campaign. Only by organizing in our own communities and pressuring our supposed leaders can we bring about the changes that we all so desperately need. Please support the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in our effort to hold the United States government to its own words.

I thank you all who have stood by me all these years, but to name anyone would be to exclude many more. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP-Lewisburg
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

For more information on Leonard Peltier visit the Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Committee website. http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/

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Save the date!

What: Justice for Custodio Family: Filipino Community Support, SV Hosts Post Trial Community Gathering
When: Friday September 25, 2009 5:30pm-7:30pm
Location: Filipino Youth Coalition Office Welch Park
San Jose, CA

**Potluck event. Please bring something to share.**

Contact: Noemi Teppang – teppang_noe@yahoo.com; (408) 307-6717

The San Jose Filipino community has much to celebrate with the recent dismissal of Marilou Custodio’s case, but the struggle for complete justice continues. The denial of justice to Romel and Marlo Custodio is a temporary hurdle for the broader San Jose community’s ongoing struggle against racial profiling and police brutality.  The community at large has gained strength through the Justice for Custodios Family Campaign and we will continue to demand for justice to ALL victims of racial profiling and police brutality, and for San Jose to end all use of torture weapons such as tasers.

In affirmation of the community’s determination and ability to enact true change within the Santa Clara County judicial system,
we invite all allies of the Custodio family to join Filipino Community Support, Silicon Valley and the Custodio Family as we gather and celebrate community strength and show appreciation to allies who have supported the JCFC campiagn for the past two years. The Custodio Family also will discuss their next steps for their future in the struggle for justice.


Justice for the Custodio Family!
Justice for All Victims and Families Affected by Racial Profiling and
Police Brutality!
Demand SJPD Accountability!
Ban Tasers and Other Weapons of Torture!
Immigrant Rights are Human Rights!

FOCUS  MISSION
As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic injustices.

FOCUS  VISION
We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley with our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist, and advocate for our mutual and collective interest against exploitation, oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to build a broad comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the rights gained by previous struggles and upholds the welfare of Filipinos. With nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater social, cultural, and political
resources for the Filipino community in Santa Clara County that would benefit everyone and promote greater equity and justice.

For more info contact: email focus.balita@gmail.com

News Statement
August 8, 2009

“Justice for Custodio Family Trial Update: Judge Grants Motion to
Dismiss Marilou Custodio’s Case while Jury Denies Justice to Romel and
Marlo Custodio”

Reference: Rowena Tomaneng
Filipino Community Support,SV
focus.balita@gmail.com

San Jose—Friday, August 7, 2009 marked the close of the Custodio Family
Trial, which began after the prosecution finished its closing arguments
mid-morning and the Jury was instructed to deliberate on the evidence
presented to them for two weeks. This evidence included a grouping of
graphic photos of Romel Custodio the day after he was tased repeatedly
and beat by several members of the San Jose Police Department. By 2:30
p.m., the Jury was back in Department 37 amidst the overwhelming
presence of community supporters. The Jury found Marlo Custodio guilty
of the two charges against him: 1. resisting, delaying, and
obstructing a police officer from duty; 2. possession of marijuana.
Romel Custodio was also found guilty of resisting, delaying, and
obstructing a police officer from duty. The Jury, however, was in a
6-6 deadlock on Marilou Custodio’s case, resulting in a mistrial.
Marilou’s attorney, Mike Armstrong, motioned for Judge Arthur Bocanegra
to dismiss Marilou’s case in the interest of justice. Despite the
prosecuting attorney’s objection, Judge Bocanegra granted the motion to
dismiss Marilou’s cas
e.

The San Jose Filipino community and our allies—National Alliance for
Filipino Concerns, Coalition for Justice and Accountability, Silicon
Valley
Debug, Asian Pacific American Justice Coalition, Students for
Justice, Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute–are disheartened
and outraged by the Jury’s decision to penalize the Custodio brothers,
especially since they–like many other young men of color in San
Jose—ARE victims of police brutality and racial profiling. We are also
appalled by this outcome because for more than two years the violence
imposed on the Custodio family since February 5, 2007 continued as
their case was drawn out and delayed through the judicial system in
order to discourage the family’s quest for justice. Their trial was
pushed back more than 30 consecutive times, and the family had to make
special arrangements with their employment and other family
obligations.

While the denial of justice to Romel and Marlo Custodio is a
disappointing set back for the broader San Jose community’s ongoing
struggle to end use of torture weapons such as tasers and police
brutality,we have increased the community’s strength, unity, and
capacity to mobilize and demand that “real change” happens within SJPD
and our judicial institutions that systematically sanction
discriminatory practices. We can claim victory in the dismissal of
Marilou Custodio’s case as Judge Bocanegra
’s decision validates
Marilou’s unjust arrest. We can claim victory in the fact that for over
two-years the ongoing community support for the Custodio family has
been consistent and strong. From the first press in conference in
Spring 2007, to the first and second year anniversaries on February
2008 and 2009, and throughout the two-week trial, there has been a
steady presence of community members supporting the Custodios—family,
pastors, student organizations, non profits, grassroots organizations,
working professionals, appointed officials, community leaders, and
other victims of racial profiling and police brutality.

The struggle for justice within the court system continues and the
morale and determination of the San Jose Filipino community and
Custodio family remains strong.

Justice for the Custodio Family!
Justice for All Victims and Families Affected by Racial Profiling and
Police Brutality!
Demand SJPD Accountability!
Ban Tasers and Other Weapons of Torture!
Immigrant Rights are Human Rights!

FOCUS MISSION
As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community
Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests
of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic
injustices.

FOCUS VISION
We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley with
our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist, and
advocate for our mutual and collective inte
rest against exploitation,
oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to build a broad
comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the rights gained by
previous struggles and upholds the welfare of Filipinos. With
nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater social,
cultural, and political resources for the Filipino community in Santa
Clara County
that would benefit everyone and promote greater equity and
justice.

For more info contact: email focus.balita@gmail.com

Reply
Forward

Please forward widely…

CALIFORNIA FILIPINO-AMERICAN WOMEN EXPRESS OUTRAGE AT GOVERNOR’S 100% CUT ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2009

Reference: Marisa Mariano, Chair, Babae-San Francisco

babaesf@gmail.com

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $489 million from the state budget passed last week by the state legislature, cuts which were directed primarily towards the state’s health and human service programs. Filipina-American women of Babae, the San Francisco chapter of GABRIELA USA, are especially shocked and outraged at Schwarzenegger’s elimination of the entire state’s funding support for California’s crucial Domestic Violence Programs. Domestic violence shelters were already preparing for the 20% funding cut proposed by the state legislature, but will now be forced to close their doors entirely or scramble to seek new sources of funding. Affecting the most vulnerable citizens of the state, battered women and children will be left with no place to go as the $20.4 million in cuts affects 94 domestic violence shelters throughout California. These shelters not only offer a safe space for women and children escaping and seeking protection from their abusers, but also provide vital services to help rebuild their lives. Shelters across the state are now being forced to lay off staff and eliminate services including their emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy, and counseling programs, as well as those which serve the young victims of abuse, such as child counseling and support groups. It is equally important to remember that these broad cuts do not only affect these much needed shelters, but also affect the valuable domestic violence programs which focus on community education, advocacy, and prevention.

“We are already experiencing deep cuts for students, children, the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the working poor throughout California, but now, if Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts are allowed to stand, survivors of violence will not have a place to turn for help and lives will inevitably be lost,” said Marisa Mariano, Babae-San Francisco Chairperson. For many communities, the budget cut coincides with an increase in reported cases of domestic violence. The stress of job loss, foreclosures, and car repossessions stemming from the current economic crisis can raise tension in vulnerable homes, leading to domestic violence. The city of Fresno has seen a 30% rise in cases of domestic violence over the past four months. “Domestic violence has been and continues to be a problem in the Filipino community. We’ve lost Marisa Corpuz and Claire Joyce Tempongko in the last few years in the city of San Francisco alone, to domestic violence and without state support and culturally relevant resources, more Filipinas will fall victim to violence.”

Babae-San Francisco stands together with domestic violence shelters, organizations, and others throughout California to protest the governor’s action and call on the state legislature to do everything in its power to restore funding to domestic violence programs and other vital health services for the most vulnerable Californians.

We urge you to take action and:

1.) Call the Governor’s office at 916-445-2841 and express your concern.

2.) Use this easy action alert tool to send a message to the Governor and your state legislators: http://www.capwiz.com/sfvo/issues/alert/?alertid=13807706&type=ML

3.) Forward this message to your family and friends and urge them to call or write the Governer and their state legislators.

====================

Babae (Tagalog for “woman”) is a grassroots women’s organization that serves to address the rights and welfare of Filipinas in the San Francisco Bay Area. We strive to learn about our history and culture in the Philippines and how it connects to our conditions as Filipinas in the United States. We mobilize and organize around Pinay issues to strengthen our legacy as empowered Filipina women in solidarity with National Democracy in the Philippines and international women’s emancipation. For more information, please visit http://www.babaesf.org.

We are a proud member organization of GABRIELA-USA, the first overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, with Pinay Sa Seattle in Seattle, SiGAw in Los Angeles, and FiRe in New York.

Babae is a member of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. To learn more about BAYAN, please visit http://bayanusa.org

Press Statement
July 31, 2009

References:
Katrina Abarcar, Katarungan: Center for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights in the Philippines, email: katarungan@comcast.net;
Peter Arvin Jabido, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), email: nychrp@gmail.com

Filipino-American Rights Groups Disappointed in Obama for Standing with Leader on Wrong Side of History

See Related Photos:
http://www.katarungan-dc.org/gma-white-house-visit-picket-and-vigil/

US-based rights groups are registering disappointment over the outcome of US President Barack Obama’s meeting with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines yesterday at the White House.

“Yesterday, Obama shook hands with a leader who stands on the wrong side of history,” states Gary Labao of the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), a New York City-based human rights advocacy organization. “Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo fits the description of one who clings to power though deceit, corruption, and the silencing of dissent to a tee.”

A few hours before Arroyo’s arrival on the White House driveway, DC-rights group Katarungan: Center for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights in the Philippines and the Columban Center for Outreach and Advocacy sponsored a prayer vigil for the victims of extrajudicial killings and abductions by the Philippine military in front of the White House gate. Other sponsors of the vigil included the Ecumenical Advocacy Network for the Philippines, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church-USA Washington DC Office, the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, the International Labor Rights Forum, and NYCHRP.

Members of NYCHRP, Anakbayan NY/NJ, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, and Sandiwa Fil-Am Youth Alliance traveled from New York to join the vigil, in which around 50 advocates stood in a circle in front of the White House gates and renewed their call for US Congress to cut a greater amount of US military aid to the Philippines and tag greater human rights conditions. Also discussed was the case of Melissa Roxas, an American abducted and tortured in the Philippines last May. It is widely-believed that Roxas was taken by elements of the 7th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) based in Central Luzon.

Katrina Abarcar of Katarungan spoke on Roxas’ behalf and reiterated the words from a statement of Roxas, who is currently in the Philippines testifying against the Philippine military– “I can no longer count how many times I have narrated the incident and my ordeal. But I will not tire to tell the truth about what happened for I seek justice, not only for myself, but for others who have gone through the same. I seek justice, not only for what they did to me, but for other victims of human rights violations.”

Arroyo’s White House Arrival Met with Protest

After the vigil, the rights groups staged a protest in front of the White House gates in anticipation of Arroyo’s arrival.
Chanting “Gloria Tuta, Diktador Pasista!” (Gloria, Puppet! Fascist Dictator!) and “Inutang na Dugo, Singilin, Siniglin, Pagbayarin!” (Blood Debt, Payback Now!) and “Gloria, Don’t Lie to Me. Torture Don’t Make Democracy!”, as Arroyo’s car entourage drove into the White House driveway, protestors marched to and straddled the White House front gate with banners and signs reading “Justice for Melissa Roxas!” and “Obama: Say to No to Torture! Say No to Arroyo!”

During the 45-minute meeting between Obama and Arroyo, the groups stayed outside the White House holding picket-protest, explaining to tourists and passersby the state of unequal relations between the US and the Philippines, and why more Americans should demand that US Congress withdraw all forms of support to the Arroyo government.

Prior to the meeting, US human rights advocates were pushing for Obama to include raising the case of Roxas and human rights with Arroyo in person.

No Public Mention of Roxas or Human Rights in the Philippines

But the subsequent post-meeting press conference did not indicate whether or not the issues of Roxas or Arroyo’s human rights track record were raised behind closed doors. Instead, the only reference to human rights was Obama’s praise for Arroyo’s so-called efforts to address the human rights situation in Burma, as well as eagerness to work with the Arroyo government by appointing the Philippines as the coordinator of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), an economic organization of countries in the region framed to promote economic, social, and cultural progress.

“We assume his silence means he is more committed to continuing Bush’s foreign policy on the Philippines, which includes maintaining and even increasing US troop presence on the island nation, and using the Arroyo government as a proxy to uphold US economic and political interests in the region,” Abarcar said. “So much for standing ‘against torture wherever it takes place.’ ”

Arroyo critics continued with the picket until Arroyo’s departure, in which the chanting resumed until the car entourage was off the White House premises.

Katarungan and NYCHRP, along with other US-based groups and churches, have been actively lobbying the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to cut a greater portion of US military aid to the Philippines. They expect a final decision on the 2010 military aid package released by September.

###

Filipino Community Support, Silicon Valley (FOCUS, SV) continues this struggle for justice, along with our community allies: Silicon Valley Debug, Coalition for  Justice and Accountabilty (CJA), Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC), MAIZ, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), De Anza Isang PUSO, De Anza Students for Justice, De Anza Student Alliance, De Anza SJSU Akbayan, MAIZ, SFSU League of Filipino Students, and ALAY.  JOIN US IN OUR SUPPORT OF THE CUSTODIOS BY ATTENDING THE TRIAL.  TWO and a HALF IS TOO LONG TO WAIT FOR JUSTICE!!!

Custodio Trial Schedule

Location:    190 West Hedding Street. Department 37, 5th Floor, Judge Bocanegra
Days:          Monday-Thursday, July 27-August 6, 2009
Time:          9:00am – 4:30pm (there are recess breaks)

The week of July 27th – scheduled testimonies for the prosecution (San Jose Police Officers and a Filipino neighbor)
The week of August 3rd – scheduled testimonies for defense (family and witnesses)

Guidelines for Supporters

1. Dress Professionally
2. No Discussion of Case in or outside of the courtroom. If a Juror is exposed to conversation on the case, it can be grounds for a mistrial.
3. Display of Professional Behavior.  Disruptive behavior will reflect badly on the family.

__ ___________________________________________________________________
FOCUS  MISSION
As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic injustices.

FOCUS VISION
We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley with our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist, and advocate for our mutual and collective interest against exploitation, oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to build a broad comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the rights gained by previous struggles and upholds the welfare of Filipinos. With nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater social, cultural, and political resources for the Filipino community in Santa Clara County that would benefit everyone and promote greater equity and justice.

Ariz. home invasion suspects tied to border group

Two of three people arrested in a southern Arizona home invasion that

left a little girl and her father dead had connections to a Washington

state anti-illegal immigration group that conducts border watch

activities in Arizona.

Jason Eugene Bush, 34, Shawna Forde, 41, and Albert Robert Gaxiola,

42, have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and

other charges, said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz.

The trio are alleged to have dressed as law enforcement officers and

forced their way into a home about 10 miles north of the Mexican

border in rural Arivaca on May 30, wounding a woman and fatally

shooting her husband and their 9-year-old daughter.

Their motive was financial, Dupnik said.

“The husband who was murdered has a history of being involved in

narcotics and there was an anticipation that there would be a

considerable amount of cash at this location as well as the

possibility of drugs,” Dupnik said.

Forde is the leader of Minutemen American Defense, a small border

watch group, and Bush goes by the nickname “Gunny” and is its

operations director, according to the group’s Web site.

She is from Everett, Wash., has recently been living in Arizona and

was once associated with the better known and larger Minuteman Civil

Defense Corps.

A statement attributed to officers of Forde’s group and posted on its

Web site on Saturday extended condolences to the victims’ families and

said the group doesn’t condone such acts and will cooperate with law

enforcement.

“This is not what Minutemen do,” said member Chuck Stonex, who

responded to an e-mail from The Associated Press sent through the Web

site. “Minutemen observe, document and report. This is nothing more

than a cold-hearted criminal act, and that is all we want to say.”

The assailants planned to leave no one alive, Dupnik said at a press

conference in Tucson on Friday. He said Forde was the ringleader.

“This was a planned home invasion where the plan was to kill all the

people inside this trailer so there would be no witnesses,” Dupnik

said. “To just kill a 9-year-old girl because she might be a potential

witness to me is just one of the most despicable acts that I have

heard of.”

Dupnik said Forde continued working through Friday to raise a large

amount of money to make her anti-illegal immigrant operation more

sophisticated.

Forde denied involvement as she was led from sheriff’s headquarters.

“No, I did not do it,” she said. “I had nothing to do with it.”

Gaxiola also denied involvement; Bush was arrested at a Kingman,

Ariz., hospital where he was being treated for a leg wound he

allegedly received when the woman who survived the attack managed to

get a gun and fire back.

Killed were 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her 29-year-old father,

Raul Junior Flores. The name of the wounded woman who survived the

attack hasn’t been released.

Forde is well known in the anti-illegal immigration community, said

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and

Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

“She’s someone who even within the anti-immigration movement has been

labeled as unstable,” Levin said. “She was basically forced out of

another anti-immigrant group, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and

then founded her own organization.”

Stonex, of Alamagordo, N.M., said he met Forde while on an Arizona

border watch operation last fall, and liked her despite her reputation

in the Minutemen community.

“I know she’s always had sort of a checkered past but I take people

for what I see and not what I hear,” the 57-year-old said.

She recruited him to start a new chapter in New Mexico, but was

secretive about her group or its members.

Stonex said he didn’t know how to recruit for a chapter and never did.

He said Forde called him on the day of the attack while he was

visiting Arizona and asked him to bring bandages to an Arivaca home

because Bush had been wounded.

Stonex said it appeared Bush had a relatively minor gunshot wound,

which he treated.

He said Forde and Bush told him Bush been wounded by a smuggler who

shot at him while the group were patrolling the desert.

Stonex said he didn’t suspect that might not be the case until was

contacted by a deputy on Saturday about their alleged involvement in

the crime.

reference: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090613/ap_on_re_us/us_fatal_home_invasion

URGENT COMMUNITY ACTION! Calling for ALL who can SUPPORT!

Monday, June 8, 2009 8:45 AM
Department 24
190 W. Hedding Street, San Jose CA 95110

It has been a long standing struggle for the Custodio family, but the community will stand strong in solidarity to display its support. A new judge has been selected and the next hearing is imminent. Because racial profiling and police brutality are ongoing crimes against humanity for people of color, Filipino Community Support, Silicon Valley (FOCUS,SV) once again CALLS ON THE COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT the CUSTODIO FAMILY in their struggle for Justice. JOIN US for their next Court Appearance on MONDAY, June 8, 2009 at 8:45 am in Department 24.The family requests NO PLACARDS.

The struggle for justice within the court system continues and the morale and determination of the Custodio family remains reslilient. Every supporter present is a testament towards the goal of bringing the offending officers to prosecution of their crime against a community that has not given up hope. Please show your support tomorrow as the next hearing is underway. JOIN US tomorrow morning in support of the CUSTODIO FAMILY!

Justice for the Custodio family!
Drop the charges against the family now!
Prosecute the offending officers!
Demand SJPD accountability and ban tasers!
Justice for all victims and families affected by police brutality!

FOCUS MISSION

As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic injustices.

FOCUS VISION

We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley with our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist, and advocate for our mutual and collective interest against exploitation, oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to build a broad comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the rights gained by previous struggles and upholds the welfare of Filipinos. With nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater social, cultural, and political resources for the Filipino community in Santa Clara County that would benefit everyone and promote greater equity and justice.

For more info contact: email focus.balita@gmail.com

Another violation of human rights in our backyard . . .

On February 5th, 2007, Marlo Custodio, his brother, Romel Custodio,
and his mother, Marilou Custodio, became victims of police brutality
and racial profiling. More than two years later, the violence
continues as their case has been drawn out and delayed through the
courts’ system in order to discourage the family’s quest for
JUSTICE!!!

In the Spring of 2008, the Custodio family was told by their judge
that their trial would begin in the summer. Accordingly, they were
advised to hold off on any family vacation plans and make special
arrangements with their employment, and they did. When summer arrived
however, the eight police officers expected to be at court failed to
appear—prolonging the case further than necessary. On February 20th,
2009, friends, family, and members of the San Jose and larger San
Francisco Bay area community came out in support of the Custodio
family: THE COMMUNITY WAS PRESENT in Department 52’s courtroom,
filling it to capacity. No more than 20 minutes after being seated
however, the Custodio family found themselves leaving the court room
to meet their supporters outside. Apparently, one of the main
arresting officers was on a pre-paid vacation!!! Despite advance
notice of the trial, despite the Custodios having to appear time after
time at the court, there was nothing that the judge could do or was
willing to do to hold the DA accountable for this travesty of Justice.

After having their trial pushed back yet again (more than 30 total
consecutive times!) the Custodio family now awaits a new judge. The
Custodio family has been placed back onto the master calendar of the
courts (since one of the officers failed to show for an important
motion) and on June 6th, 2009, will find out who their new judge is.
The COMMUNITY HOPES that the family will be able to proceed with their
motion to dismiss, and finally have the bogus charges filed against
them by the SJPD dropped.

The COMMUNITY’s support of the Custodios is Strong. Recently, FOCUS
– SV in collaboration with Silicon Valley Debug and many other
organizations raised approximately $1000 for the legal fees of Marilou
Custodio. On March 6th, 2009, in celebration of International Women’s
Day, entitled, “Two Year Wait – A Woman’s Pursuit of Justice,” spoken
word artists, DJ’s, cultural performers, friends, family and community
members joined the Custodio family as they shared heartfelt words
about their mother’s strength and courage, not only throughout this
trial, but throughout their lives. Words were also spoken that linked
Marilou’s struggle with the larger struggle of Filipinas in the U.S.
and Globally. The brutality imposed on Marilou Custodio reminds us of
the brutality imposed on Filipina migrant workers in the Middle East
by their employers. Marilou’s story reminds us of the brutality
imposed on Filipinas by the U.S. military as in the case of Nicole.
Marilou’s story reminds us of the brutality against Filipinas imposed
by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Regime in the Philippines as in the
recent abduction of Melissa Roxas, a U.S. Citizen doing Human Rights
work in the Philippines .

The struggle for justice within the court system continues and the
morale and determination of the Custodio family remains strong.

Justice for the Custodio family!

Drop the charges against the family now!

Prosecute the offending officers!

Demand SJPD accountability and ban tasers!

Justice for all victims and families affected by police brutality!

FOCUS MISSION

As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community
Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests
of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic
injustices.

FOCUS VISION

We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley
with our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist,
and advocate for our mutual and collective interest against
exploitation, oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to
build a broad comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the
rights gained by previous struggles and upholds the welfare of
Filipinos. With nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater
social, cultural, and political resources for the Filipino community
in Santa Clara County that would benefit everyone and promote greater
equity and justice.

For more info contact: email focus.balita@gmail.com

Its has been 10 yrs since the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) has been active, allowing the U.S. to send troops to the Philippines. Its like the they never left…

The VFA allows U.S. troops into the Philippines without having to go through customs, where they are screened for things like the swine flu. Any soldier that may have the swine flu may walk in as they please where anyone else that may have at least one of the symptoms will be detained for a days. Furthermore, a Philippine citizen that may have caught the virus will have a hard time getting over the flu because health care is not affordable  which makes it lethal.

The VFA allows the U.S. troops full access anywhere in the Philippines. That means land, sea and air. They could even occupy a house that a family owns.

Collateral damage has increased due to weapons testing and exercises. Family have lost their houses, mothers, fathers, children due to these exercises. Bullets have entered houses while people were sleeping, killing innocent civilians.

U.S. troops  are above any laws in the Philippines. An example is the ‘Nicole’ case where a college student is raped by a U.S. soldier Daniel Smith. Smith was sentenced to jail in the Philippines, however, on his first night in jail he was taken to the U.S. Embassy. If a person was convicted for rape in the U.S. they would have to be in custody until the trial is over. 

Nicole and Vanessa, another Filipina that was raped, we can see that number of cases went up; belittling the rights of Filipinas; and that the Philippines judicial system is a joke because of how Smith was treated with a pardon. 

The VFA is funded by U.S. Taxdollars, therefore we as Americans have blood and injustice on our hands. The money that is funding the killing and injustice of the Filipinos can be used to bail out the struggling Americans in an economic crisis. 

We say no more blood on our hands and not in our name!

JUNK THE VFA!!!!