Please respond to this!

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Sun Jun 24 22:13:16 MDT 2001


Adam Levenstein wrote:

Lou,

I don't know. I tend to be skeptical of these
"Tribunals." They have no effect outside of some minor
media exposure (and usually not much of that) and
preaching to the converted.

I question whether something like this is even worth
bothering with.

Adam


Response (Jim C):

I think that Adam's reservations and skepticism--in general--are probably
sound and worth noting. Many Tribunals wind up with exactly the results that
Adam mentions. For example, the Tribunal that was convened to examine
allegations against Kurt Waldheim, with a spacious and "majestic" courtroom,
and judges with "impeccable" credentials as Supreme court judges from
various countries, was in my opinion a farce (I have it on tape and have
reviewed it many times). For example, the defense raised as the ONLY
defense, that superiors of Waldheim, connected directly with some of the
same crimes alleged against Waldheim had either never been charged and/or
were aquitted by other Tribunals. Neither the "prosecution" nor the judges
raised
the most basic issue: Post-war War Crimes Tribunals by the allies were
riddled with Cold War politics in terms of who got charged, and, in terms of
what the specific charges were, and, what evidence was allowed, and, in
terms of who was subsequently convicted, and, in terms of sentences given
etc; and therefore, which superiors of Waldheim were charged or convicted
and of what is entirely irrelevant to Waldheim's own guilt or innocence (The
Tribunal made a big deal that their verdicts would be based ONLY on evidence
presented at that Tribunal and then proceeded to allow this external
non-evidence as the sole basis for defense of Waldheim.)

This Blackfoot Tribunal is different in many ways. Firstly, it is being
conducted by People of a sovereign Nation on the verge of extinction and it
is the first occasion in which separate Bands of the Blackfoot (kept
isolated and divided by the powers-that-be for the usual reasons) will be
acting in concert. Secondly, it will be to gather evidence and accounts to
compile a record of atrocities at precisely a time in which the Canadian
Government and the accomplice-in-genocide Churches are trying every way
possible to prevent such testimonies ever being gathered or made public (The
Churches, for example, after pleading near bankruptcy, now come up with a
separate $2 billion  fund for victims who agree to sealed settlements, never
making their charges in court and never revealing how much hush money has
been taken). Thirdly, many Blackfoot, desperately poor, have refused hush
money so that their accounts and evidence of genocide, and what they
suffered personally, can be made public and passed on to future generations
and to the real historical record. Fourthly, it is an exercise in Nationhood
itself as a Nation stands and defends its nationhood by doing what nations
do: put offenders and offenses against the People and Nation on trial and
compiling a record for history and for purposes related to the security of
the nation. Fifthly, it is not merely preaching to the converted; many who
will be attending, especially the young, have never heard the stories and
evidence from their Elders that they will hear and need to learn from.
Sixthly, this is not some PR stunt; we are deliberately not inviting the
"mainstream" media as we regard this as a sacred event and are not
interested in a few potentially "salacious" tid-bits being picked up by
"mainstream" (bourgeois media) sleaze merchants to boost some of their
ratings and revenues. We will have Native media to protect the sensitivity
and sacredness of the testimonies of the victims and we are controlling
access very carefully.

For those who have sent donations, and thanks to all of you, there has been
a problem for some in wiring to an account at a credit union in Canada. For
those who intend to wire donations, to get around this problem where
donations may only be mailed to a bank in Canada, the following address may
be used:

Elizabeth Okemaysim
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada
Account Number 7063334
Transit Number 03049

Checks and money orders may be sent to the Blackfoot Nation Account,
priority mail would help, at:
Blackfoot Nation Fund
Pincher Creek Credit Union Ltd.
750 Kettle Street
Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada
T0K 1W0
Blackfoot Nation Account Number 6122345

Thanks to all who have inquired and have sent donations or plan to send
donations. I do understand that all are subject to so many appeals for so
many worthy causes, and we do understand that many Tribunals do indeed
wind-up producing the results that Adam has alluded to; this Tribunal will
be conducted as a sacred Blackfoot event and process and is only the opening
shot of a protracted struggle for justice, to expose genocide, to establish
a real record of real history and to unite separate and divided Bands into a
common front as part of a whole Nation and People on the verge of
extinction.



Jim Craven
Blackfoot Nation



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