Saturday, October 6, 2012

Venice Declares Independence—via Gondola; Gibraltar, Kosovo Jostle for Football Independence; Musqueam Win Vancouver Condo Battle; Nuwaubians in Georgia; Mauritius Rallies Africans to Take Chagos Isles Back from U.K.: The Week in Separatist News, 30 September - 6 October 2012


Civil engineers may say that Venice is sinking, but politically it seems to be rising.  A newly formed group, Indipendenza Veneta, has organized a rally for October 6th in Venice (just getting underway as this blog entry “goes to press”), with the aim of calling for the city and region to secede from the Italian Republic, including a declaration of independence to be delivered to the regional government offices—via gondola.  Recent polls put the share of Venetians hankering for independence at 70-80%.

The group’s aim is to found a Repubblica Veneta out of the region (i.e. autonomous macro-province) of Veneto and parts of the neighboring regions of LombardyTrentino–Alto Adige/Südtirol, and Friuli–Venezia Giulia.  This approximates the area ruled by the Most Serene Republic of Venice (whose striking embroidered red and gold lion flag is pictured at the top of this page), which was a major cultural, political, and naval power in the Mediterranean for nearly a millennium until it was divvied up between the French and the Hapsburgs in 1797 during France’s First Republic.  The territory was the focus of a Franco-Austrian tug of war until the mid 19th century, and many Venetian nationalists claim that the 1866 referendum which brought Venice and environs into the Kingdom of Italy was fishy.

A declaration of independence puts Venice on a collision course, however, with the Northern League (in Italian, Lega Nord, or Lega Nord per l’Indipendenza della Padania), a major political party which has taken a lot of hits lately (last year’s collapse of Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition government, in which it was junior partner, followed by a party corruption scandal) but which began in Lombardy, still the Padanian separatist heartland, in the 1980s and envisions Venice as the capital of a future Padania that would cover the northern third-or-so of Italy.  (See a separate article on the aims of the Padania movement.)  Venetism, as Venice-based separatism is known, is also anathema to the 35% of Trentino–Alto Adige/Südtirol residents who speak Austrian German and the one-fifth of the formerly independent city of Trieste, on the border with the old Yugoslavia, who speak Slovenian.  Though the movement was founded only a few months ago, in May, Lodovico Pizzati, Indipendenza Veneta’s founder, says, “We have gained a lot of momentum from what is happening in Scotland and Catalonia and things are moving fast.”  Fasten your seatbelts.  Scotland and Catalonia look rather straightforward compared to the can of vermicelli the Venetians are about to open up.

The regions of northern Italy.  In purple and green are the regions that the Lega Nord (Northern League) call Padania.
Some envision Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche in an independent Padania as well.

[For updates on separatism in Nigeria, including Boko Haram, the Middle Belt, Bakassi and Ambazonia, Biafra, and Ogoniland, see a separate update article here.]

U.S. Urges Malian Leaders to Allow Ecowas to Invade Azawad.  The United States assistant secretary for African affairs, Johnnie Carson (no relation), said this week that the Republic of Mali should allow the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to send in the military intervention force it has readied in order to liberate the northern two-thirds, which has been run for much of this year as an Islamist-governed Independent State of Azawad.  Some Malian leaders object to the suggestion of bringing foreign troops in.  “We do not need to see a Mali,” Carson said, “which has a caliphate in the north.”  Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, blamed last month’s attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the American ambassador, on the “powder keg” of terrorist-ruled northern Mali.  An ideologically similar but mostly unrelated group, Ansar al-Sharia, based in Benghazi, is generally considered responsible for the consulate attack.

Azawadi Islamists Demolish Another Sufi Tomb; More Whippings, Executions.  Members of one of the Islamist militias which co-govern the northern two-thirds of the Republic of Mali as the Independent State of Azawad on September 29th demolished another ancient Sufi tomb, according to witnesses.  The destroyed structure, the Tomb of Askia, burial place of the Songhai imperial ruler Almirou Mahamane Assidiki, in the town of Goundam, north of Timbuktu, was built in 1485.  In defiance of alarm bells from the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Islamists—Salafists who regard Sufism as heretical and the erection of structures atop burial sites sinful—have taken sledgehammers to numerous ancient structures in Azawad, especially around Timbuktu.  Then, on October 2nd in Timbuktu itself, an Islamist firing squad publicly executed a murder suspect in front of a municipal building and before a crowd of 100.  The suspect was a member of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (M.N.L.A.), the Tuareg separatist army that inaugurated this spring’s secession before Islamists moved in and took over.  The same day, witnesses told media that officers from one of the two Islamist militias, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), gave forty lashes to four local men in Douentza, in the partially Azawadi-controlled Mopti province, after they had been rounded up in a raid on a Christian-run underground tavern.

The Tomb of Askia, another cultural treasure fallen to the sledgehammers of religious fundamentalism
Turkish Development Officer Wounded in Shoot-Out at Checkpoint in Puntland.  A visiting official from Turkey was shot and wounded on October 2nd in the self-governing Puntland State of Somalia.  The official, Mustafa Hashimi Pulat, who is in charge of East Africa operations for the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), was injured when his security detail and unspecified armed men skirmished at a checkpoint near Galkayo, a town divided between zones controlled by Puntland and by a neighboring de facto independent republic, the Galmudug State.  Pulat was taken to Galkayo for treatment.

Puntland Electoral Commission Greeted with Bullets, Boycotts, Fury in Karkaar.  Ambitions for a tour of the Puntland State of Somalia by the de facto independent state’s electoral commission had to be scaled back this week after the commission’s chairman, Dr. Mohamed Hassan Barre, was met with a hail of gunfire from a local militia upon his delegation’s arrival in Rako in the Karkaar region.  The commission’s security detail returned fire but there were no injuries.  Later, at the Rako police station, the promised delegation of local officials did not show up to meet Barre.  Earlier, in  Bander Bayla, also in Karkaar, a group of elders had dressed Barre down for his government’s plan to unilaterally extend the president’s term of office.  Last week, the electoral commission had met with a full-on riot over the presidential-term issue, while visiting Qardho, the Karkaar capital (as reported last week in this blog).

South African Mercenary Firm Loses Contracts with Puntland Government.  The self-governing Puntland State of Somalia has cancelled its contract with a private “security” firm—i.e. a mercenary militia—based in South Africa called Sterling Corporate Services (S.C.S.) (formerly Saracen International) after international criticism of its human-rights abuses.  The United NationsMonitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (S.E.M.G.) had taken Puntland to task in August (as reported on at the time in this blog) for letting S.C.S. to function as the “private army” of President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole and referred to the C.I.A.-linked firm as the “most egregious threat” to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, with offenses such as torture of recruits and violations of international sanctions.  Officially, S.C.S. had been aiding the Puntland Maritime Police Force in combatting sea piracy.  S.C.S. will be replaced by Bancroft Global Development, which already works with the U.N. in Somalia and which also employs a number of South Africans—a nationality which tends to dominate the mercenary profession.  (See an excellent article in the New York Times this week on mercenaries in Puntland.)

Somaliland Army Repels Militia Attack in Recently Pacified Buhoodle Region.  The military of the de facto independent Republic of Somaliland on September 29th successfully repelled an attack by a local militia during a peace conference in Kalshaale in Somaliland’s disputed Buhoodle region.  The meeting was to bring together different clan leaders and was sponsored by Suleiman Isse Ahmed Kara (nom de guerre: “Hagaltosie”), the former supreme warlord of the now-disbanded Khaatumo State (a.k.a. Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn (S.S.C.) State), which used to control the Buhoodle area, in a region claimed by both Somaliland and the Puntland State of Somalia.  No casualties were reported.  Meanwhile, the lower house of Somaliland’s parliament expelled four members on September 29th for dereliction of duty after they had missed too many sessions.

Ethiopian Police Beat 100 Oromo Celebrants at Cultural Festival; 1 Killed.  Police publicly beat over 100 members of the Oromo ethnic group in Bishoftu, in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region, and arrested hundreds during the annual celebration of the main Oromo annual cultural event, Irreecha, on September 30th, according to a statement released by the Oromo Liberation Front (O.L.F.).  At least 55 of those arrested were taken to a prison notorious for its use of torture, the O.L.F. said, and media reported that one person was killed.

Irreecha celebrants with Oromian flags
Kenyan Police Blame Mombasa Separatists for Machete Attack on Fisheries Minister.  Police in Kenya are blaming the Muslim separatist Mombasa Republican Council (M.R.C.) for an attack on a public meeting on October 4th by “youths brandishing machetes,” who attacked the country’s minister of fisheries, Amason Kingi—he was unharmed—and killed one of his bodyguards.  A crowd then beat three of the youths to death.  An M.R.C. spokesman denies involvement.  Meanwhile, a man arrested October 1st in Likoni is being charged with “incitement to violence” for passing out leaflets bearing the M.R.C.’s banned slogan, “Pwani Si Kenya,” meaning, “Coast Province is Not Kenya.”

Vast Majority of Kenyans Oppose Secession of Coast Province in New Poll.  A poll released September 30th indicates that 83.2% of Kenyans oppose the agenda of the Mombasa Republican Council (M.R.C.), which seeks to hive off Kenya’s Coast Province, and thus nearly all the country’s coast, as a separate, predominantly-Muslim country.  Supporters were 13.6% of the Kenyan population, according to the poll, but 19% of residents of Coast Province.  Only 11.6% of Kenyans support the recent court ruling which lifts the ban on the M.R.C., while 85.6% opposed the lifting of the ban.

Guyana Grants Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Diplomatic Recognition.  At the United Nations General Assembly meeting this past week in New York, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, a Caribbean nation on the north coast of South America, joined 83 other independent states (and one quasi-independent one, the Republic of South Ossetia)—just under half the countries in the world—in extending diplomatic recognition to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (S.A.D.R.) (a.k.a. Western Sahara), a non-U.N.-member which controls only an eastern sliver of its territory in what is otherwise the former colony of Spanish Sahara, the rest of it illegally occupied by the Kingdom of Morocco.  Guyana also established formal diplomatic relations for the first time with Tuvalu, which is a fully recognized sovereign state.

17 Barotse Go on Trial in Zambia for Tearing Up Constitution Drafts.  In Lusaka, capital of the Republic of Zambia, 17 Barotse (Lozi) agitators for independence for Western Province as the Kingdom of Barotseland went on trial this week for their role in demonstrations last month (reported on at the time in this blog) in which copies of Zambia’s new draft constitution were ceremonially torn up.  They are being charged with threatening the peace and damaging government property.  They have pleaded not guilty.

Mauritius Rails at U.N., Urges African Unity over Chagos Islands Sovereignty Issue.  The minister of foreign affairs for the tiny Indian Ocean island nation of the Republic of Mauritius told the United Nations General Assembly on October 1st that the United Kingdom’s squatting on the Chagos Islands, which rightfully belong to Mauritius, are an example of a cause in which small nations must push for the decolonization of the last remaining corners of Africa.  The U.K. unilaterally separated the Chagos Islands off of the colonial Dominion of Mauritius shortly before independence in 1968, but Mauritius still claims it as part of its territory under its understanding of the negotiations for independence.  The U.K. leases out the largest Chagos island, Diego Garcia, to the United States for a military base used heavily in the “War on Terror” (it is conveniently close to the Middle East) and claims it will consider other arrangements when the base is no longer needed militarily.  (That’s reassuring.  Because I’m sure things are going to calm down in the Middle East any day now.)


European Commission’s No. 2 Says Independent Scotland, Catalonia Would Stay in E.U.  The Luxembourger vice-president of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, chimed in this week on what many legal scholars say is the open question of whether regions that secede from European Union (E.U.) member states automatically become member states themselves by saying that there is no legal reason why Catalonia should have to leave the E.U. if it succeeds in seceding from Spain.  This brought an immediate reaction from one Scottish National Party (S.N.P.) parliamentarian, Roderick Campbell, who said, “Scotland is part of the territory of the European Union and the people of Scotland are citizens of the E.U.; there is no procedure for either of these circumstances to change upon independence” from the United Kingdom.  Meanwhile, Alfons López Tena, head of Catalan Solidarity for Independence, told media that he predicted Catalonia would be independent within two years.

Unionist Catalan M.E.P. Says Madrid Should Send in Civil Guard to Prevent Secession.  A Catalan but pro-unionist member of (and vice-president in) the European ParliamentAlejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, raised the stakes in the heated discussions of Catalonia’s promised upcoming referendum on independence from the Kingdom of Spain by saying that if Catalonia persisted in planning a referendum in the face of Madrid’s insistence on its illegality, then the Civil Guard should be sent in.  Vidal-Quadras, who is a member of Spain’s ruling People’s Party (P.P.), told a Spanish television interviewer, “They should be briefing a general of the Civil Guard.  The government should think of intervening in the rebellious region if they persist.”  A fellow M.E.P., Martina Anderson, who represents Londonderry, Northern Ireland, for Sinn Féin, the Irish nationalist party, responded, saying, “The ghost of General [Francisco] Franco haunts the European Parliament in the form of Vice President Alejo Vidal-Quadras.”

Arturo Mas, president of Catalonia
French Mob Drives Gypsies out of Marseilles, Torches Camp.  A mob of vigilantes in Marseille, in southern France, forced 35 Roma (Gypsy) people out of their encampment on September 27th and then burned it down.  The attack was motivated by suspicions of Roma responsibility for a string of burglaries in the area.

Papua New Guinea Becomes 93rd Nation to Recognize Kosovo.  On October 3rd the Independent State of Papua New Guinea became the 93rd nation to extend diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Kosovo.  See this blog’s separate article on this development.

[For the latest news from the North Caucasus (including DagestanChechnya, and Ingushetia), see this week’s Caucasus Update.]


[For the latest news from the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), see this week’s Caucasus Update.]

[For the latest news from Turkey and Turkish Kurdistan, see this week’s Kurdistan update.]


[For the latest news from Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan, see this week’s Kurdistan update.]

Former Yemen Vice-President, Now Separatist Leader, Boycotts Secession Conference.  A conference by Yemen’s secessionist Southern Movement began on September 30th in Aden, the former capital of South Yemen, but without a prominent separatist leader, Ali Salim al-Beidh, who was the first vice-president of the reunified Republic of Yemen in the early 1990s.  Beidh, who lives in Beirut, Lebanon, and plans (as reported recently in this blog) to return from exile, claims the conference was not well prepared.  The conference was hosted by Hassan Baoum, a leader who is less hard-line than Beidh and promotes a nonviolent struggle to secede.  During the conference, independence rallies were held in Aden, at one of which, on October 1st, five people were arrested.  A police station was also attacked with live fire and hand-tossed bombs in a drive-by incident.  At the conclusion of the conference, a joint announcement by the participant groups stated that the Southern Movement refused to take part in a planned summit on the separatist crisis proposed by the central government.

Yemeni President Accuses Iran of Backing Southern Separatists.  The president of the Republic of Yemen, Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi, told media this week that the Islamic Republic of Iran was backing the Southern Movement, which aims to restore the separate South Yemen that was dissolved at reunification in 1990.  Hadi’s claim is more or less incoherent: although South Yemen, during the late Cold War period, was, like Iran, an enemy of the West, it is northern, not southern Yemen, that is predominantly Shiite, like Iran, and in fact it is the smaller Houthi autonomy movement in the north, with its militias, that has traditionally been backed by Iran.  It is Shiites of the Zaidi sect who broke free from the Ottoman Empire during the First World War’s Arab revolts and established the Mutawakelite Kingdom of Yemen, which became the Arab Republic of Yemen (i.e., North Yemen) in 1962.  Hadi himself is a former South Yemeni, from Abyan province.

2 Dead, 5 Injured in Clashes between Police and Separatists in Southern Yemen.  In Aden, the former capital of the formerly independent South Yemen, police fired tear gas and bullets on a separatist rally on September 28th, injuring at least three people.  Some of the injured were arrested and prevented from getting medical care.  About 300 people participated in the demonstration, which followed Friday prayers.  In 1990, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) was absorbed into the Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen), forming the Republic of Yemen.  Later in the week, on October 5th, a clash in Aden between police and separatists that attacked a checkpoint left two dead and two others injured, while another group of separatists attacked security officers with homemade bombs the same day, with no reported casualties. 


Balochistan Rebels Take Credit for Assassinations of Politician, Paramilitary Leader.  Rebels fighting for an independent Balochistan in southwest Pakistan took credit for several attacks this week.  First, a district leader from a Pakistani opposition party was killed in a drive-by shooting in Hub, a town in Balochistan.  The victim, Qadir Zehri, belonged to P.M.L.–N, the faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, which forms Pakistan’s main opposition, headed by the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.  Two companions were killed in the incident and another was injured.  A spokesman of the Baloch Liberation Army (B.L.A.) accepted responsibility for the killing, citing Zehri’s close association with Shafeeq Mengal, head of the Musallah Deffa Tanzeem (“Armed Defense Organization”), an independent militia which targets Baloch political activists.  But the B.L.A. spokesman denied responsibility for another killing, the previous day, of a journalist in Khuzdar.  Later in the week, the Baloch Liberation Front (B.L.F.) said it was behind the killing of an official from Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps (F.C.) in Awaran and attacks on trucks carrying precious stones.  Also, the brother of the head of the Baloch Students Association (Pajjar) was gunned down and killed in Chamrok, in Balochistan.

Balochistan makes up 44% of Pakistan’s territory
Separatist Grenade Wounds 4 Indian Federal Police in Kashmir Hotel.  Four troopers from India’s federal Central Reserves Police Force (C.R.P.F.) were injured on October 4th in Sopore, in northern Jammu and Kashmir, when a grenade was thrown into a hotel.  Separatist guerillas are suspected.

President Zardari Invites Kashmiri Moderate Separatist to Visit Pakistan.  The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has invited a separatist leader from India’s main majority-Muslim state, Kashmir, to visit Pakistan.  The invitation was extended to Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, leader of moderates within the Kashmiri separatists’ umbrella group the Hurriyat Conference, while both were attending the United Nations General Assembly on September 28th. A Pakistani government spokesman said that in the brief meeting “Zardari reiterated his call to the international community to focus its attention toward the plight of the Kashmiri people who have been waging a legitimate struggle for their right to self-determination over six decades despite suffering huge losses and massive human-rights violations.”

In India, 2 Assamese Separatists Arrested, 1 Killed; 3 Karbi Rebels Also Nabbed.  In Guwahati, the largest city in India’s far-northeastern strife-torn tribal areas, security forces arrested five rebels on October 3rd, two from the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA)—which seeks independence for Assam state, where Guwahati is situated—and three from the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (K.P.L.T.).  The Karbi militants—who belong to an ethnic group from the hills of Assam—were intercepted by authorities when they were on their way to collect a ransom as part of an extortion plot.  The following day, security forces killed a member of ULFA’s hardline faction in a shootout in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Retired Indian General, 78, Fights Off “Pro-Khalistan” Thugs in London Street.  A retired general in India’s military was attacked in the street in London on September 30th by four unknown assailants.  The victim, Lt.-Gen. Kuldeep Singh Brar, who is 78 years old, fought the attackers off but had his throat cut with a knife, requiring hospitalization.  Brar said later that it was an attempt on his life by “pro-Khalistan elements” because of his role in Operation Bluestar, the Indian Army’s brutal attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, in 1984, as part of a crackdown on Sikh rebels who sought an independent state called Khalistan.  London police have arrested 15 suspects in the case but are unwilling to speculate on a motive.

Gen. K. S. Brar, after his attack
Indian Police Arrest 2 Sikh Terrorists, Including One Thought Killed in 1992.  A Sikh separatist militant in India who was once believed killed by police in 1992, was arrested last week in Rajasthan.  The militant, Sukhwinder Singh, aged 45, came to the notice of Delhi police during a drug-trade investigation.  Meanwhile, in Jalandhar, in Punjab state, the Sikh homeland, police arrested a suspected terrorist, Jaswant Singh Ajad, who has been linked to the Sikh separatist groups Babbar Khalsa International (B.K.I.), the Khalistan Zindabad Force (K.Z.F.), and the Khalistan Tiger Force (K.T.F.).

25 Police Hurt in Clash with Hyderabad Mob of 100,000 Demanding Telangana State.  In Hyderabad, India, police clashed with a mob of nearly 100,000 protesters on October 1st demanding a separate state for the Telugu-speaking Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.  Demonstrators threw stones at police, and police responded with tear-gas and water-cannons.  At least 25 police were injured, and perhaps many more civilians, but apparently no casualties.  It should be clarified that these demonstrations, organized by the Telangana Joint Action Committee, are not demanding a separate nation but merely a separate state within India.

A proponent of a separate Telangana state in Andhra Pradesh this week

Fighting Erupts Again between Burmese Troops and Kachin in Shan State.  There were reports on October 3rd of renewed combat between the Kachin Independence Army (K.I.A.) and the Burmese military in northern Burma’s Shan State.  The allied Taaung National Liberation Army also reported fighting in the area on October 1st.  No casualties were reported.

Wave of Muslim Attacks in Southern Thailand Kills 6, Injure 27.  Despite a recent high-profile cease-fire in the southern Thailand insurgency, six  people were killed and 27 injured in a series of attacks by ethnically-Malay Muslim separatists over the September 29-30 weekend.  In Pattani province, the dead included a Muslim police officer, a 74-year-old Buddhist, and a Muslim security volunteer.  A shooting in Yala province killed a Buddhist woman and injured her husband.  Another couple, on their way to a security-volunteer training session, were attacked in Narathiwat province, killing the wife and injuring her husband.  A grenade attack on a public market in Narathiwat injured 23 people.  On the morning of September 31st, a Muslim teenager was shot dead by unknown persons.

Taiwanese Separatist Presidential Aspirant Angers Party Members with Mainland Visit.  A former presidential candidate from the Republic of China (a.k.a. Taiwan), Frank Hsieh, who promotes formal independence from mainland China, arrived in the mainland this week for a five-day trip.  He will be meeting academicians but no government representatives during his trip.  Some Hsieh’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party (D.P.P.), on whose ticket he ran in the 2008 Taiwanese elections, have scorned the trip, which they see as an implicit sell-out to the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.).  Both Taiwan and the P.R.C. claim the entirety of China.

Tibetan Writer Self-Immolates in Public Market near Lhasa.  Yet another Tibetan activist has died from self-immolation, this time a 43-year-old writer who set himself afire in a public market in Nagchu County, near Lhasa, capital of the People’s Republic of China’s misnamed Tibet Autonomous Region.  The writer, Driru Gudup, called out, as he died, “for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom in Tibet and shouted that there was no freedom in Tibet,” according to an exiled Tibetan familiar with the events.  “Chinese authorities have not handed over his dead body to his family members.”

Driru Gudup
Hunger-Striking Tibetan Youth Congress Leader Hospitalized in India.  In Dharamsala, India, the seat of Tibet’s government-in-exile, the vice-president of the Tibetan Youth Congress (T.Y.C.), Dhundup Lhadar, was readmitted to a hospital because of complications from his ongoing hunger strike to protest the People’s Republic of China’s brutal occupation of Tibet.  He and two other activists, who are doing comparatively fine, have been fasting since early September.


Rights Group Says 7 West Papuans Arrested for Bomb Plot Were Framed.  Police in Indonesia’s rebellious far-eastern province of West Papua arrested seven members of the West Papua National Committee (K.N.P.B.) on September 30th for a supposed bombing plot.  One of the arrested told police that he had been instructed to blow up a police station, a military station, a bridge, and other targets.  But the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (a.k.a. Elsham), an Indonesian rights-monitoring group, called the evidence and confessions fabricated.

Aboriginal Tent “Embassy” in Queensland Destroyed by Fire.  An Australian Aboriginal “embassy” tent encampment in Brisbane, Queensland, was found partially destroyed by fire on the morning of October 2nd.  Five tents were wiped out in the encampment in Musgrave Park, which has been the focus of lengthy demonstrations and stand-offs with police.  Police are treating the fire as “suspicious.”

Aboriginal Activist Asks U.N. to Bar Australia from Security Council.  An Aboriginal activist in Australia wrote to Ban Ki-Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, on September 28th, urging him to reject, on human-rights grounds, Australia’s bid for a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council, citing colonial policies toward the aboriginal population and treatment of refugees.  The gesture, by Michael Anderson, is merely symbolic, since brutal colonialism seems not to be a disqualifier for Security Council membership but seems at times even to be a prerequisite.  Permanent members of the council are the United States, the United Kingdom, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, and the People’s Republic of China.


Musqueam Hail Court Kibosh of Vancouver Condo Project on Burial Ground.  Members of the Musqueam First Nation in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, claimed victory this week after a court handed down two rulings on the Marpole Midden, a Musqueam burial site which was slated to be destroyed to make way for condominiums in the middle of downtown Vancouver—a cause which has been the focus of months of sit-ins, demonstrations, marches, and legal battles.  One of the new rulings finds that no further alterations to the site can occur; regarding another permit, more time is allowed to reinter remains that were recovered from the site during excavation.  The province has sided with the Musqueam in the case.  With a jaw-dropping lack of a sense of irony or history, a spokesman for the Century Group, the condominium developer involved, brayed that in effect the B.C. government “have expropriated the property without compensation and basically said you can’t do anything with that property and we are not doing anything to compensate you for that.”  Expropriation without compensation?!  I refuse to believe it!!  Who ever heard of stuff like that happening in North America?

Flag of the Musqueam nation
U.S. Judge Tosses Out Oglala Sioux Lawsuit against Liquor Stores.  A United States federal judge in Lincoln, Nebraska, threw out on October 1st a class-action lawsuit by the Oglala Sioux Tribe against four massive beer retail outlets in Whiteclay, Nebraska, on the edge of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, blaming them for alcoholism-related poverty and social problems on one of the poorest and most socially dysfunctional communities in North America.  The judge wrote, “There is, in fact, little question that alcohol sold in Whiteclay contributes significantly to tragic conditions on the reservations.  And it may well be that the defendants could, or should, do more to try to improve those conditions for members of the tribe.  But that is not the same as saying that a federal court has jurisdiction to order them to do so.”  But he dismissed the case without prejudice, rejecting its suitability for his court, not for its own merits, so the way is clear for further suits in different jurisdictions.

Sobering graffiti on the Pine Ridge reservation
“Nuwaupian Embassy” Spams Georgia Officials with Legal Notices.  County law-enforcers, court officers, and other public officials throughout central Georgia, in the United States, received more than two dozen certified letters October 1st from the so-called embassy of the “United Nuwaupian Nation,” but their full contents have not been disclosed.  All of the recipients were involved one way or another in the legal actions in the 2000s against the Nuwaubian (sic; the spelling with a p is new) Nation of Moors, a self-proclaimed African-American monarchy set up on a 500-acre compound called Tama Re in Putnam County, Georgia, in the 1990s.  Eventually, their leader, Dwight Malachi York (a.k.a. Dr. Malachi Z. York, a.k.a. Amar Utu, a.k.a. Rabboni Y’shua Bar El Haady, a.k.a. Bawaba Bassa Afriqa, a.k.a. Melki Sedec, a.k.a. Issa al-Haadi al-Mahdi, a.k.a. the Angel Michael, a.k.a. Paa Munzul Nazdur Amun Nub Reakh Ptah Shil Paa Hanutu (personally, I think he should have stuck with the last one—much more pithy)), was convicted, in 2004, to a 135-year sentence for child molestation and racketeering and in 2005 Tama Re was demolished.  One recipient, Georgia Smith, who had been a vocal opponent of the Nuwaubians during their struggle with authorities over land-use rules and other issues, said that the letters were titled “Citizen’s Notice of Violation of the Law and Intent to Act,” on Nuwaupian letterhead, and in content are, according to Putnam County’s sheriff, Howard Sills, “nonsensical.”  The Nation—classified as a racist hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (S.P.L.C.)—has shifted its identity over time, at various times resembling a Black Muslim movement, once calling itself the Yamassee Native American Moors of the Creek Nation, and also espousing beliefs in extraterrestrials.  We will be keeping you posted of further developments and are happy to see the Nuwaubians back in the news.

The Nuwaubian (now, apparently Nuwaupian) Nation’s Dwight Malachi York
“President” of Parallel U.S. Appears in Alabama Court for Detention Hearing. The man who calls himself the “president” of the “Republic for the united States of America” (R.u.S.A.) (sic, including the lower-case u), James Timothy “Tim” Turner, appeared in a United States federal court in Montgomery, Alabama, October 1st for a detention hearing as part of multiple indictments against him for tax fraud (as reported earlier in this blog).  Turner, who was arrested September 18th, is the 56-year-old self-styled leader of the R.u.S.A., a “sovereign citizens” movement (see an earlier article from this blog on events in Iowa connected to the group) which borrows ideas from the pro-slavery, anti-women’s-suffrage “organic Constitutionalist” school of thought and is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate-groups watch list.  The R.u.S.A. released a statement about the case, stating, “The unchartered Municipal Corporation (UNITED STATES) has taken a desperate action through their corporate policies which are clearly outside constitutional governance.  This dishonorable act will reveal to Americans that the United States must return to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Aryan Nations Returns to Idaho with Recruitment Drive, Plans for Headquarters.  The white-supremacist group Aryan Nations has returned to Idaho, the heartland of militant white-supremacism in the United States, with plans to establish a world headquarters.  Aryan Nations and other racist hate groups declined in popularity, becoming mostly a prison-gang phenomenon, after a federal crackdown in the 1980s but have had a boom in recruitment, as they point out, after the election of Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008.  The new effort is headed by Jerald O’Brien, who has a swastika tattooed on his forehead and calls Obama “the greatest recruiting tool ever.”  The group started by distributing fliers to residents in Coeur d’Alene, ground zero of Idahoan white-supremacism, showing a girl asking her father, “Why did those dark men take mommy away?”


Spain Fumes, Kosovo Bitter as Gibraltar Clears Hurdle for Entry to Football League.  The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), in a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 1st, has referred the Gibraltar Football Association’s application for the inhabited peninsular rock to become the football (soccer) governing body’s 54th competing member state to a final committee decision in London in May.  Reactions to the decision were varied and widespread, given the obscurity and minusculity of the territory.  (If admitted, Gibraltar, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, will be the smallest UEFA member-state, overtaking the current smallest, the Most Serene Republic of San Marino.)  The Kingdom of Spain, which still occasionally presses spurious territorial claims on Gibraltar, told the media that it would fight Gibraltar’s admission to UEFA “with all legal means possible.”  The Bailiwick of Jersey, on the other hand, in the English Channel, was the site of raised hopes.  Jersey’s football association has been angling for full UEFA membership for years, and Gibraltar’s accession would make it harder to keep out.  Jersey, a Crown dependency of the U.K. rather than an overseas territory like Gibraltar, is in many ways more independent: for example, unlike Gibraltar, Jersey (along with Guernsey and the Isle of Man) is not in the European Union (E.U.).  The Faroe Islands, a self-governing overseas territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, is also a full UEFA member; Gibraltar’s success this week merely augments the precedent.  The head of the Football Federation of Kosovo (F.F.K.), however, said that, since it still awaited a promised decision on Kosovo’s eligibility, the UEFA is exhibiting a double standard, pointing out that Gibraltar doesn’t even pretend to be independent and that its football tradition is “embryonic.”  Later, the F.F.K. head, Fadil Vokrri, retracted some of his comments, clarifying, “UEFA has not broken its statutes to make Gibraltar a provisional member.  When this state made the request to join UEFA, its statues were different.  The statutes to not admit countries that are not members of the United Nations did not apply at that time.”

[You can read more about Venice, Kosovo, and many other separatist and new-nation movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar.  The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this interview for more information on the book.]

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