Saturday, November 17, 2012

Return to Carnage in Palestine, Bodoland, Azawad; Plus, Gilgit-Baltistan, Jubaland, Kleinfontein, Tatarstan, Kukiland, Rex Hunt, Texan Aryans, and Smiley Swastikas: The Week in Separatist News, 11-17 November 2012

What’s left of the offices of the prime minister of Gaza after an Israeli air strike

The State of Israel and the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip exclave of the Palestinian Territories careened toward war this week after barrages of rocket attacks from Hamas into southern Israel, inviting Israeli airstrikes in retaliation.  The reprisals spiralled out of control, with Israel now mustering 75,000 troops in preparation for a ground war like the one in 2009.  In the most recent violence, Israeli airstrikes demolished the offices of Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza’s jihadist prime minister, while air-raid sirens have gone off as far away from Gaza as Tel Aviv.

42 Dead, Toll Rising as Gaza, Israel Trade Rockets, Airstrikes.  The prime minister of IsraelBenjamin Netanyahu, met with his cabinet this week about the ongoing rocket attacks on southern Israel from inside the Palestinian Territories’ Gaza Strip exclave, with the defense minister, Ehud Barak, warning Hamas—the Islamist terrorist militia that governs the territory—that another ground offensive along the lines of the 2009 Gaza war was even possible.  The announcement, on November 12th, came a day after 110 rockets were fired from Gaza, causing damage and injuries in Israeli communities and wounding four Israeli soldiers along a border fence.  The Israeli Defense Forces (I.D.F.) replied to that with air strikes and tank shells, killing six people and wounding 30 in a strike on a rocket-launching squad.  With the rockets not letting up, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip on November 14th, launching over 100 airstrikes and also using tanks and naval gunboats.  The attacks included the assassination of Hamas’s military commander, Ahmed Jabari.  Ten Palestinians were killed, including two young children, and there were more than 93 injuries, followed the next morning by the killing of one militant and the wounding of two.  The following day, rockets from Gaza hit an apartment building in Israel, killing three.

Aftermath of a rocket attack on Israel
Israel Plots Overthrow of Abbas as Palestine Prepares U.N. Membership Bid.  The Palestine National Authority announced this week that November 29th was the date on which it would make its promised application to the United Nations (U.N.) for “non-member observer state” status in the U.N. General Assembly (G.A.), which would put war crimes by Israel against Palestine in a new, more serious and actionable category of state-on-state aggression.  Spooked by this, Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Liebermanhas adopted a draft position paper proposing that, in case of a successful U.N. membership bid the Israeli government should “overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”  The paper states that the “reality of a U.N.-recognized Palestinian state would crush Israel deterrence and completely undermine its credibility” (an odd way to phrase it, since Israel has no credibility on the Palestinian question).  More concretely, the Israeli foreign ministry put out the word to foreign leaders that a U.N. bid by Palestine would render all Israeli–Palestinian peace accords null and void.  Currently, the Palestine Liberation Organization (P.L.O.), not strictly speaking a state entity, represents the Palestinian people in the G.A. as a (non-state) “permanent observer.”  Palestine’s application for full member-state status in the G.A. last year was blocked at the U.N. Security Council by Israel’s only ally, the United States, but the current application will be voted on in the G.A., not the Security Council.


Tuaregs and Islamists Clash near Gao in Renewal of Malian Civil War.  In a renewal of fighting between ruling Islamist militias and sidelined secular Tuareg separatists in northern Mali, fighters from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) on November 16th engaged with Tuareg fighters of the secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (M.N.L.A.) in and around Ansongo, near Gao.  MUJAO claimed that the M.N.L.A. started the fighting, with a spokesman telling media, “We burned their vehicles.  We are in the process of strangling them.”  There are conflicting reports as to whether MUJAO had advanced as far as Menaka, the M.N.L.A.’s last redoubt.

Secular Tuaregs Demands Role in Any Foreign Intervention to Retake Azawad.  In an open letter on its website, the Tuareg-dominated and comparatively secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (M.N.L.A.) warned the international community on November 10th that it could not recapture the northern two-thirds of Mali from Islamist militias without M.N.L.A. help.  The letter was signed by Hamma Ag Mahmoud and Moussa Ag Assarid and was addressed to the United Nations (U.N.), the European Union (E.U.), the African Union (A.U.), and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).  The M.N.L.A. declared an independent state in the Azawad region of northern Mali in April, but sincde then the secession has been hijacked by Islamist armies affiliated with al-Qaeda who now govern the territory.

At Ecowas Talks, Ansar al-Dine Softens Stand on Imposing Shari’a across Mali.  The radical Islamist militia Ansar al-Dine, one of two extremist groups governing the northern two-thirds of the Republic of Mali as the Independent State of Azawad, announced on November 14th that it was abandoning its aim of extending shari’a (Islamic law) throughout the country.  Speaking in Burkina Faso during negotiations with the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), an Ansar al-Dine spokesman, Hamada Ag Bibi, said, “Ansar al-Dine announces its abandonment of its demand about applying the Islamic Sharia all over Mali, but will continue to impose it in Kidal province according to our own peculiarity.”  Another spokesman said that shari’a imposed in Azawad would “take into consideration local populations’ choices.”

Jubalanders Protest New Somali President’s Coldness to Their Autonomy Plans.  In Kismayo and in other parts of Somalia’s southern region, called Jubaland, which was recently liberated from Islamist radicals by an African Union (A.U.) force, hundreds demonstrated on November 9th against what they called interference by the federal Somali government in Mogadishu in their attempts to in Jubaland’s “state formation process.”  The Federal Republic of Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, had visited Kismayo two days earlier and denounced Jubaland’s attempts to establish itself as a self-governing state along the lines of Puntland or Galmudug.  He prefers it to be governed from Mogadishu, like other regions, as the separate provinces of Middle Juba, Lower Juba, and Gedo.  Jubaland (which has at times been called JubbalandAzania, or Greenland) was intermittently de facto independent during the Somali civil war that began in 1991, and from 2008 until this year was controlled by al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia affiliated with al-Qaeda.  Unlike previous autonomous Jubaland administrations, the new Jubaland plans to have its capital in Bu’aale, Middle Juba, instead of Kismayo.

Somaliland Troops Force Puntland Militias out of Sanaag Harbor Town.  The unrecognized Republic of Somaliland’s military this week took control of Las Khorey, a coastal town in the disputed Sanaag region, from militias loyal to the Federal Republic of Somalia’s de facto independent Puntland State.  The mayor of Las Khorey, Mohamed Hayan Arshe, spoke of it as the end of a reign of terror, and Somaliland media referred to the militias fleeing “with their tails coiled in shame and fright.”  Meanwhile, in Galkayo, 25 suspects—six Puntland troops and 19 al-Shabaab militants—were given three- to 10-year prison sentences on (typically for Somaliland “justice”) unspecified charges.

Puntlanders and jihadists put behind bars by Somaliland
Mombasa Separatist Chairman in Kenya Released on Bail a Month after Arrest.  The chairman of Kenya’s Mombasa Republican Council (M.R.C.), Omar Mwamnuadzi, who was arrested on October 15th, was released from prison November 12th along with his wife, son, and daughter.  Title deeds to land had been finally accepted as bail, after some legal wrangling.  The M.R.C. seeks independence for Kenya’s predominantly-Muslim Coast Province.  Meanwhile, in the Coast Province town of Kwale, a grenade attack on November 16th that killed two, including a government official, is being blamed on the M.R.C.

Families of 8 Zanzibari Separatists, Including Leader, Complain of Abuses in Custody.  The families of eight Zanzibari separatists, including the separatist leader, Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed, are complaining that the men’s human rights were abused in police custody during a recent round-up of activists seeking independence from Tanzania (as reported at the time in this blog).  The relatives have written to Zanzibar’s justice minister, Amnesty International, and others.  Farid is the head of Uamsho, the main Islamic separatist group in Zanzibar.  The abuses included barring of visits by relatives, lack of access to lawyers, and denial of the chance to pray, read the Quran, or change their clothes for a three-week period.

Nigerian Presidency Confirms Backchannel Talks with Boko Haram.  The federal government of Nigeria confirmed on November 12th that talks with the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram have begun.  But, according to President Goodluck Jonathan’s media and publicity advisor, Reuben Abati, the talks are “backchannel,” adding, “Some Nigerians are expecting that a venue should be chosen and a banner will be placed there indicating that the Federal Government is holding dialogue with the group there.  That is not the kind of talks we are talking about here.”

28 Dead, over 100 Injured in Suicide Bombing, Other Boko Haram Strife.  Jihadist violence claimed 29 lives in Nigeria this week.  Unknown assailants suspected of being members of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram shot and killed four people at a bar in Geidam, in northern Nigeria’s Yobe State, on November 10th.  (Other reports said that the victims, identified as Igbo, were five in number and were killed inside a home.  These may be separate attacks.)  Also on the 10th, a cattle market in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, was hit by an explosion, which caused no casualties, and an Igbo refrigerator repairman in the same town was shot and killed by suspected Boko Haram fighters.  The same day, in Itas, in Bauchi State, suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed one policeman and injured a second in an attack on a police station with explosives and gunfire.  Eight people were killed and more than 100 injured on November 11th when a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden Jeep into a Catholic church in Kaduna.  After the attack, young Christians rampaged through the city with sticks and knives, killing at least two.  Police clamped down on the entire city.  In Maiduguri, two people were followed back to their homes and then gunned down and killed on November 12th by suspected Boko Haram members.  One was a lecturer in geography with the University of Maiduguri, and the other was a deputy director in Borno State’s ministry of land and survey.  Suspected Boko Haram militants stormed the village of Madauchi, in the south of Kaduna State, on November 14th, killing six people, including a pregnant woman, before burning the bodies and retreating again into the forest.  One Ibn Saleh Ibrahim, a Boko Haram commander held responsible for the November 2nd assassination (reported on at the time in this blog) of Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Shuwa, a hero of the 1967-1970 Biafra War, was killed in “a major offensive” in Maiduguri by Nigerian troops on November 15th, according to the military.  An unspecified number of his lieutenants were also killed in the operation.  On the same day in Maiduguri, three Igbo traders were shot and killed in—ahem! I swear I’m not making this up—a tricycle drive-by shooting.  Meanwhile, media revealed on November 9th that 89 high-level suspects, including two females and many Boko Haram commanders, are being held in a special secret prison in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Muhammadu Shuwa

Moroccan Police Break Up Peaceful Sahrawi Protests Marking Gdeim Izik Incident.  Occupation forces of the Kingdom of Morocco on November 8th violently broke up peaceful protests in LaayouneWestern Sahara, by Sahrawi demonstrators advocating independence for what they call the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.  The demonstrations marked the second anniversary of the dismantling of a Sahrawi protest camp, Gdeim Izik.  Police fanned out across the city, and several demonstrators were reportedly injured by police actions.

Barotseland Prime Minister in Zambia Resigns; Infighting Blamed.  The prime minister of Barotseland, Clement Wayinyae Sinyinda, resigned this week.  He represented the executive wing of the Kingdom of Barotseland, which declared independence in March of this year from the Republic of Zambia.  Some observers blamed his resignation on accommodationist elements within the Barotse Royal Establishment (B.R.E.) who wish to rescind the independence declaration.  The Barotse (Lozi) ethnic group dominates in Zambia’s Western Province.

Clement Sinyinda has resigned as Barotse prime minister
South African Authorities Investigate Whites-Only Rules at Boer “Cultural Village.”  The provincial legislature of Gauteng, in South Africa, said November 13th it was launching an inquiry into the “whites only” policy at Kleinfontein, a 500-hectare self-proclaimed Afrikaner “cultural village” which is a rallying point for nostalgia for Boer (Dutch-descended South African) nationalism.  A parliamentary committee on public safety is looking into complaints that police have had difficulty gaining access to the community when necessary.  Kleinfontein, which was founded in 1992 in response to the looming transition to black majority rule in South Africa, has a population of 650.

An image from the website of the Boer-nationalist community of Kleinfontein, in South Africa

For updates on Kosovo, see this week’s “Kosovo Update.”

Catalonia Hints It Might Secede Even If That Means Leaving E.U.  As legal experts, as well as separatist and unionist politicians, debate whether countries such as Catalonia and Scotland would be able to stay in the European Union (E.U.) if they seceded, the chief of staff of Catalonia’s separatist-dominated parliament, Joan Vidal de Ciurana, told an interviewer November 13th that Catalonia might secede from Spain even if that meant giving up E.U. membership.  “The people should decide whether they want to continue as they are now or not be part of the union,” he said.  “The possibility of consulting Catalans, if the ballots shows a big majority, should be there.”

Spain Denies Its Navy Trespassed in Gibraltarian Territorial Waters.  The Kingdom of Spain’s foreign ministry denied accusations this week that a Spanish naval ship had on November 6th made “an illegal incursion” (as reported last week in this blog) into the territorial waters of Gibraltar, a United Kingdom overseas territory which Spain lays claim to.  The Gibraltarian chief minister, Fabian Picardo, had called the alleged incident a “scandalous and illegal act of aggression” and promised a formal diplomatic complaint.  Days later, both countries’ ambassadors were recalled for consultations.

Suspected Basque Terrorist Arrested in Liverpool, Linked to Murders.  Police in Liverpool, England, on November 16th arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of membership in the disarmed and mostly disbanded Basque separatist militia Euskadi Ta Askatusana (“Basque Homeland and Freedom,” or ETA).  The man, Raúl Ángel Sánchez Fuentes Villota, has been linked to several murders and has been in hiding since 1995, living under an assumed name.

Raúl Ángel Sánchez Fuentes Villota
Salmond Reaches Out to England’s North Country; Northerners Envy Scotland’s Voice.  The separatist First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, called this week for a new “northern accord” between his country and the northeast of England, in order to coordinate transportation and other matters.  Addressing a crowd of 200 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the county of Tyne and Wear in far-northeastern England, Salmond said that a high-speed rail link from Glasgow and Edinburgh to the south could pass through towns like Newcastle and Liverpool in England’s North Country as well unless it remains “a hope left high and dry by Westminster.”  Meanwhile, a North Country think-tank, I.P.P.R., says that the northern economy is hampered by its inability to speak to the United Kingdom’s central government with a single voice, the way Scotland can.  Many in the north, especially in Yorkshire, have called for a devolution of powers to their regions.

9 Russian, Tajik Jihadists Charged in Tatarstan in Terrorist Bomb Plots.  In central Russia’s predominantly-Muslim and increasingly violent Republic of Tatarstan, nine militants were charged on November 16th with membership in the international jihadist network Hizbut Tahrir, which is outlawed in Russia.  The nine men, who include citizens of the Russian Federation and of the Republic of Tajikistan, are suspected of involvement in plots to bomb civilian targets in Moscow.  The group is active in the Republic of Bashkortostan as well.

Village Imam, Secret-Police Officer Assassinated in Dagestan; 4 Rebels Dead.  Two high-profile killings rocked southwestern Russia’s Republic of Dagestan this week.  In the first, the imam of Khadzhalmakhi, in the north of Dagestan, became the latest victim in a growing list of assassinations of moderate religious leaders in the Caucasus region by radical Islamists, presumably associated with the separatist Caucasus Emirate movement.  The cleric, Gadzhi Aliyev, was gunned down with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in his own backyard on November 11th.  The day before, two Muslim religious leaders elsewhere in Dagestan had been injured in a similar attack.  Then, on November 14th, a 43-year-old officer for the Russian Federation’s Federal Security Service (F.S.B., successor to the K.G.B.), was killed in Yubileiny, a village near Khasavyurt, in Dagestan.  According to police, four men took the officer, Nutsalkhan Abdulkhabirov, prisoner, “along with his wife and two children, stole 160,000 rubles from his safe as well as gold jewelry and three telephones.  They then led the man into the kitchen, stabbing him in the neck and chest,” killing him.  Two days later, authorities reported that clashes between militants and security forces in and around Khasavyurt resulted in the deaths of four rebels.


Azerbaijan Protests Uruguayan Diplomatic Visit to Nagorno-Karabakh.  Following last month’s rumors and hints that Uruguay is preparing to grant diplomatic recognition to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (N.K.R.) (as reported at the time in this blog), an Uruguayan diplomatic delegation visited the N.K.R. on November 13th, prompting the Republic of Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry to announce the next day that it would be lodging a formal protest with the Uruguayan foreign minister.  Troops and paramilitaries from Russia and Armenia created the N.K.R. out of western Azerbaijan shortly after the fall of Communism, ostensibly to protect its ethnic-Armenian population.  If Uruguay recognized the N.K.R., it would be the first recognized sovereign state to do so.

Cossack Chieftain Offers 500 Troops to Liberate Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenian Rule.  The chieftain of the Union of Cossacks of Azerbaijan, Gen. Victor Mereshkin, said November 16th that his host would be ready to contribute 500 Cossacks to liberate the Nagorno-Karabakh region from ethnic-Armenian rule, and he suggested that the Don Cossacks might contribute men as well.  “The Cossacks of Azerbaijan since the ’90s have been protecting their homeland,” Mereshkin said, adding,“We have a proverb, ‘Where you were born, there you will serve.’  But currently the settlement of the conflict is being negotiated, and we hope that it will be resolved peacefully.”

Cossack general Victor Mereshkin offers 500 troops to defend Azerbaijan.
For the latest on Kurdistan (including parts of Turkey), see this week’s “Kurdistan Update.”


For the latest on Kurdistan (including parts of Iraq and Syria), see this week’s “Kurdistan Update.”


Indian Police Kill Armed Separatist Rebel in Western Kashmir.  Police in Kujjar, in the west of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s largest Muslim-majority state, shot and killed a separatist guerilla on November 13th.  Police said they were following up on the report of an armed militant in the area and, when they were fired upon, returned fire.

11 Killed in Assam, in Apparent Attempt to Rekindle Bengali–Bodo Violence.  Violence has flared again in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts in India’s far-northeastern Assam state.  Two people were killed on November 10th, one a farmer who was hacked to death, and on November 12th another farmer was shot and killed.  After the third killing, a mob surrounded a police station in the Gossaigaon area, pelted it with rocks, and made away with the farmer’s dead body, which they then carried with them as they staged a protest by blocking a railway.  Police have arrested 13 suspects in the shooting.  Then, on November 13th, a tea-garden owner was shot and killed and his security guard wounded near Assam’s border with Arunachal Pradesh in what police are considering a killing by the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (N.D.F.B.).  The head of a teachers’ union was killed and his companion injured in Kasugaon on the same day, and a woman was also shot and three injured in a two separate incidents.  In two further incidents on November 16th, a man was stabbed in a market in Kokrajhar, and another was shot dead by militants in Telipara.  The following day, also in Kokrajhar, militants attacked a home, killing four people and injuring a boy.  A second militant attack on a house in Bamungaon killed one woman.  Assam’s director general of police, Jayanto Narayan Choudhury, said, “We cannot call this ethnic conflict.  These are targeted killings, done to create panic as memories of the clashes are fresh in the minds of both communities.”  He referred to violence between Bengalis and other Muslims on the one hand and on the other members of the Bodo people in July and August which left scores dead.  Influxes of Muslim migrants have made Bodo people a minority even in their own autonomous region.  Meanwhile, elsewhere in Assam, three people were killed and five injured when a radical faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) battled security forces on Majuli river island on November 15th.

Map showing Bodoland (purple) within the state of Assam (yellow and purple)
Kuki Push Statehood Demand with Economic Blockade of Manipur.  The Kuki State Demand Committee (K.S.D.C.), which for decades has been demanding a separate state within India for the Kuki ethnic group to be created out of the far-northeastern Manipur state, announced November 12th that it would be launching an economic blockade of Manipur, including blocking highways leading into and out of the capital, Imphal.  The blockade is not supported by the United People’s Front (U.P.F.), an umbrella group of six other Kuki-rights organizations.  Kuki people staged an uprising in 1917-19 against the United Kingdom’s colonial rule, for which the Crown punished them by dividing their homeland among different provinces and between India and Burma, a situation which persists today in the demarcation of the international border and of modern Indian states.

Gilgit-Baltistan Separatist Leader Released from Prison in Pakistan, Claims Torture.  An activist for independence for Gilgit-Baltistan, in Pakistan, released on bail this week after nearly a year in custody, said that he was tortured in prison and was also falsely accused of inciting unrest in the prison.  The activist, Baba Jan Hunzai, is now vice-president of the left-wing Awami Workers Party.  When he was jailed, he was with the Labour Party, which supports more autonomy and an independence referendum for Gilgit-Baltistan, a province-level jurisdiction which comprises the Pakistani-administered part of what was, under British rule, the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, though Pakistan claims all of Jammu and Kashmir.  Gilgit-Baltistan was given greater autonomy in 2009, but its final status has always been deferred because Pakistan hopes one day to reunite it with the portion of Jammu and Kashmir run by India.  Jan claims his original arrest was politically motivated, stating, “We want our assembly to decide whether to join China, Pakistan, or India—but I’d prefer independence.  Why join a country that uses terrorism in the name of Islam?  No human rights, no political rights, and no free judges.  No one wants to stay with this country and that’s why the intelligence agencies hound us.”

Baba Jan Hunzai, of Gilgit-Baltistan

Three More Tibetan Self-Immolations in Gansu, Qinghai Provinces.  After a week with a record seven self-immolations in Chinese-occupied Tibet (as reported last week in this blog), media are reporting five more dead in this grisly form of protest.  The first, Gonpo Tsering (also identified as Gonpo Tashi, aged 18 or 19), died November 10th after immolating himself in front of a monastery in Gannan prefecture, Gansu province, according to official Chinese media, to protest the People’s Republic of China’s annexation and occupation of Tibet.  Less than 48 hours later, according to Voice of America, Nyingkar Tashi, aged 24, immolated himself in Rebkong (Tongren) County, in Qinghai province, and 18-year-old Nyangchak Bhum, did the same a few hours later in Dowa, also in Tongren.  On November 15th, there were two more immolations in Tongren: Tenzin Dolma, a 23-year-old woman, and Khambum Gyal, identified by Chinese authorities as a 14-year-old, though Tibetan sources say he was 18 or 19.  Meanwhile, the father of 23-year-old Tamdring Tso, who self-immolated last week, appealed to the Tibetan public, requesting “you all to pray that my daughter be reborn in an independent Tibet and hear and see His Holiness the Dalai Lama in her next life.”

Dalai Lama, in Japan, Speaks on Burnings, Pushes China’s Buttons on Disputed Isles.  The 14th Dalai Lama, visiting Japan on November 12th, said of the self-immolations, “The Chinese government should investigate the cause.  China does not look into it seriously and tries to end it only by criticising me.”  (On the same trip, the Dalai Lama infuriated Beijing by using the Japanese name, Senkaku, for islands that China also claims, under the name Daoyu Islands.)

The Dalai Lama in Japan this week
Uyghur Activist from Germany, Denied Twice Before, Granted Entry to United States.  The chairman of the executive committee of the World Uyghur Congress, an organization based in Munich, Germany, which lobbies on behalf of the rights of China’s Uyghur minority, has been granted permission to enter the United States, after having been denied entry twice before.  The activist, Dolkun Isa, who is a German citizen, is the third-ranking Uyghur on China’s “terrorist” list.  Isa arrived in the U.S. on November 9th and met this week with congressional leaders in Washington and with the National Endowment for Democracy (N.E.D.).

Dolkun Isa, Uyghur activist
9 Killed amid Escalation of Burmese Military’s War against Kachin Rebels.  Seven members of Burma’s military were killed on November 12th in two separate battles with the Kachin Independence Army (K.I.A.) in northern Kachin State.  In one of the attacks, four soldiers were killed when a 30-truck military convoy was ambushed.  Then, two days later, Kachin rebels ambushed a prison convoy in Kachin State, killing two convicts and leaving 14 wounded.  Starting last week, Burma’s half-heartedly reforming military junta sent more than 1,000 reinforcements to the Kachin region.

Former Malay Rebel Turned Pacifist Imam Assassinated by R.K.K. in Thailand.  A Muslim imam in southern Thailand’s civil-war-torn Yala province was gunned down and killed by suspected separatist ethnic-Malay separatists on November 14th while he was on his way to a hospital to visit his four-year-old son.  The imam, Abdullateh Todir, aged 50, was a former member of the separatist militia Runda Kumpulan Kecil (R.K.K.) but had turned his back on militancy in favor of peace.

Abdullateh Todir paid the price for advocating peace in southern Thailand.

Isabel Coe, Australian Aboriginal “Tent Embassy” Activist, Dies at 61.  In Australia, a renowned Aboriginal-rights activist, Isabel Coe, died November 9th at the age of 61.  Coe was a leading figure in the “Aboriginal Tent Embassy” movement and was instrumental in securing permanence for the tent embassy in front of the Old Parliament House in Canberra.  In the 1990s, she led the movement to call for a boycott of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.  She was an elder from the Wiradjuri ethnic group of New South Wales.

Isabel Coe, Wiradjuri elder

Federal Arrests Cripple “Aryan Brotherhood of Texas” Prison Gang Network.  Federal prosecutors on November 9th announced what they describe as a crippling blow to the network of white-supremacist prison gangs known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (A.B.T.).  Officials announced the rounding up of 17 Aryan Brothers throughout Texas and North Carolina and fresh charges against 14 already in prison, including murder, kidnapping, arson, racketeering, and drug trafficking.  With Aryan Brothers already facing trial, this brings to 72 the number of A.B.T. members currently charged with federal offenses.  The A.B.T. has an estimated 2,600 members in Texas prisons and about 180 in federal ones.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Special Agent Stephen Morris told media, “A conscious effort was made to go after the worst of the worst.  You’ve heard people talk about how, in order to kill a snake, you have to cut its head off and that’s what this team has done.”

The F.B.I. shatters the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas
Former Hutaree Militiaman Elected Constable near Ann Arbor, Michigan.  A former member of the Hutaree Militia in Michigan is now an elected constable in Washtenaw County, which includes the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor.  The militiaman, Michael Meeks, got 631 votes (he ran unopposed) for the position, in Bridgewater Township.  He was acquitted in March (as reported at the time in this blog) of charges of conspiracy and sedition in connection with the Hutaree Militia, which aimed to establish a separate Colonial Christian Republic in what is now southeastern Michigan.

Former right-wing Hutaree militiaman, now constable on patrol
R.I.P. U.S.A.? Governors, Pundits Respond to Post-Election Secession Petitions.  Amid more than a million signatures on online petitions on the White House website pushing for secession from the United States in the wake of Barack Obama’s re-election (see my blog article on this subject from earlier this week), seven Southern states have reached the 25,000-signature thresholds requiring a formal White House response, with independence for Texas garnering over 100,000 signatures.  Governors and pundits respond.  See today’s full report on this blog on these developments.

Parti Québécois Wants Maple Leaf Removed from Quebec Parliament; Ottawa Yawns.  The Parti Québécois (P.Q.), the ruling party in Quebec which promotes secession from Canada, moved on November 15th to have the Canadian maple-leaf flag removed from atop the National Assembly, as the provincial legislature is called.  Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, who visited Quebec City the next day without meeting Quebec’s newly elected P.Q. premier, Pauline Marois, wouldn’t take the bait: he refused to get into the issue, saying the economy was a higher priority for him than flag flaps.

“ManWoman,” Holocaust Survivor’s Son Who Championed “Smiley Swastikas,” Dies at 74.  An eccentric artist from Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, who covered himself in swastika tattoos in an attempt to separate the symbol from its association with Nazism, died this week at the age of 74.  Born Patrick Charles Kemball, but known as “ManWoman,” or “Manny” for short, was a hot-rod-driving redneck until the 1960s when, as he/she told in an interview with the Needles and Sins website, “I had a spontaneous mystical awakening, my spirit soared through a vortex of energy, and I melted into god and the sacred, and peace and joy, and incredible power.  Then, later, when I would dream about these events, it was always symbolized by the swastika.”  The child of an Auschwitz survivor, ManWoman said, “My dreams kept telling me, ‘This is a sacred sign.  You need to redeem this symbol.’”  The artist counted Dan Aykroyd among his fans.


Connecticut Court Gives Puerto Rican Separatist Militant 5 Years for Bank Heist.  Closely on the heels of a plebiscite in which most Puerto Ricans opted for statehood rather than independence, a United States federal court in Connecticut handed down a five-year prison term on November 14th for Norberto González Claudio, a Puerto Rican separatist revolutionary.  González, who is 67, was captured by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) last year in Puerto Rico and in June pleaded guilty in a $7-million robbery of a Wells Fargo armored car in 1983.  That and a string of other robberies were a source of  fund-raising for the Ejército Popular Boricua (E.P.B., or Boricua People’s Army), nicknamed los Macheteros (“the machete-wielders”), a 1970s-vintage militia with thousands of members which fights for independence for Puerto Rico.


Sir Rex Hunt, Falklands Governor Who Defied Argentine Navy, Dies at 86.  Sir Rex Hunt, the governor of the Falkland Islands from 1980 and 1985, including the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and the Argentine Republic, died on November 11th at the age of 86.  He was famous for persuading the government in London to take Argentine threats to its colony seriously and then, in 1982, confronting an Argentine admiral on the shore, dressed in full colonial dress including an ostrich-plumed hat, and declaring, “You have landed unlawfully on British territory and I order you to remove yourself and your troops forthwith.”  Instead, they captured him and shipped him to a prison in Uruguay, where he spent the remainder of the war.  But he remains a heroic figure to Falklanders and Britons.  The U.K.’s prime minister, David Cameron, said of Hunt on November 12th, “Faced with invading forces in Port Stanley in April 1982, his courage, resolve and judgment fired the spirit of the islanders and the British people to stand up to aggression and to defend the rights and freedom of the islanders.”

Sir Rex Hunt (1926-2012), defender of the Falklands

[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with my forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  The book is now in the layout phase and should be on shelves, and available on Amazon, by early fall 2014.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even though you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook.]


  1. Hey, you have such a helpful resource, it was impossible not to comment on this one! Also I would like to ask you one thing that I am interested of. Is that a paid blog theme which you buy online or this one is a regular one?

  2. Thanks! No, nothing about it is paid. This is just a blog I've put together on the theme of separatism, which seems to fill a niche. I typically do a weekly news updates, plus occasional more in-depth commentaries, of varying lengths. Thanks for reading.


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