Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 463, April 13, 2008

"Throw it Together and Go Lie Down"

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Letter from David T. Anderson

Letter from Doug Heard

Letter from Sean Clifton

Letter from A.X. Perez

Hi Neil—

With regard to "Taxi to the Dark Side—The Axis of American Evil", (TLE Number 462, March 30, 2008), I'd be careful about anything written by Kahentinetha Horn. She's a pretty well-known wingnut in Canadian radical "anarchist" and native groups. I'd really want to see some independant support for what she's written here about the Oka standoff and aftermath. For example, Ronald Cross died nine years after the events at Oka, including a six-year stretch in prison. He was working construction at the time of his death. The article Horn wrote makes it sound like he died during or shortly after his arrest.

The following is a news clip I saw quoted, along with the original source.


Last Updated Sun Nov 7 20:44:19 1999

MONTREAL—Ronald Cross, known during the Oka crisis by his Mohawk nickname "Lasagna", died Monday night.

Cross, 41, had been working as a steelworker on the Champlain Bridge in Montreal when he complained to his co-workers he wasn't feeling well. His co-workers found him unconscious in his car and rushed him to hospital where he apparently died of heart failure. Cross was one of the best known Mohawk warriors involved in a tense 11 week stand-off with Quebec police and Canadian troops in the summer of 1990. The Mohawks were trying to block the expansion of a golf course onto ancestral lands. A provincial police officer was killed during the crisis.

Cross became a symbol of the stand-off when he was shown dressed in army fatigues and wearing a mask standing nose-to-nose with a Canadian soldier. It turns out Cross wasn't the man in the photo. But the incident gained him notoriety. Cross later wrote a book about the Oka crisis and said he never wanted to be known as "Lasagna the warrior."

Cross got his nickname from his mother's Italian cooking. He was sentenced to six years in prison on charges related to the Oka confrontation. He was released only last month. He is survived by his four children.

[end of newsclip]

The whole event is rife with legends and misinformation. A lot of the underlying events and history of the Mohawk reserves along the Quebec/US border have to do with straight-up gangsterism and internal power struggles (the same is true in many other Canadian Native reserve communities) according to many accounts I've read. Not much solid information is easily found; it's too embarassing to all parties concerned. Anyhow, I'll just repeat that you have to be careful of your sources.

Not that I disagree with the overall tenor of your comments. The soft spot and blind eye many of our government "leaders" have for torture is horrifying to me. My simple answer is that torture is a crime against humanity, just like genocide and rape camps and a bunch of other things too depressing to mention. Anybody who disagrees should be waterboarded until they change their mind on the subject [ummm ... joke, sorta].

David T, Anderson
Calgary, Alberta

Why I'm not a libertarian.

Starting back before I was in Jr. High School I thought I was a Constitutionist. By 1980 I was a Libertarian. But as time goes on I find not just the LP but the idea of libertarianism is flawed for me. Less government is better than more government but it's still government. By definition government is evil. So lesser evil is still evil.

I still vote libertarian, but recognize that only NO government is not evil. The problems of anarchy are small compared to the problems of government.

So now I am proud to be an anarchist.

Doug Heard

Living in a motorhome somewhere USA, only in states where I can carry my .45. LOL!

This is in response to "Taxi to the Dark Side—The Axis of American Evil", by Kahentinetha Horn.

I found the account to be interesting, especially since I had never heard of the event in Quebec. I think that the haphazard nature of the piece took away from the overall personal impact, particularly in terms of credibility. Some citations or links may have helped.

As an explanation on my perspective, I'm a Marine, and I've worked quite a bit in Iraq in a capacity to know a thing or two about what's being discussed. I share your disdain for people who behave like the various soldiers, Canadian and American, which were described in the article. I value professionalism and respect for humanity. The thing is, in my experience, people who behave as described are quite rare, and are generally kept at bay by their more humane comrades. Social influences such as shame and peer pressure go a long way in this regard. As far as rumors go, and I suspect that much of the article (your account of Quebec notwithstanding) is based largely on rumor, and the people who are responsible for doing the terrible things described (i.e. the case with Dilawar, water boarding, etc) are probably not US soldiers or Marines. That stuff may happen (there's been enough hoopla about it to assume it does), but I don't know where it happens, and the people probably carrying it out are normally referred to as "they," if you catch my meaning, and I don't think your tactic of bad press will affect them much.

I know that, personally, I wouldn't tolerate any of my co-workers urinating on anyone, no matter how bad the detainee is known to be. Anybody who knows anything about gathering information from people knows that kindness combined with careful questioning, rather than abusing the body and mind, is the most effective way to get accurate information. That torture and abuse stuff is just unacceptable (with some rare, understandable exceptions), as any grown man ought to be able to agree.

My main comment is thus: if you're going stop anything, as your final statement suggests should happen, you ought to ensure your facts are straight. Avoid mere hearsay and, when you have your information in order, publish it in a manner that will be taken seriously. As an aside, Taxi to the Dark Side doesn't seem like a good example to use as ammunition for the cause of liberty, as it seems to me to be about as credible as An Inconvenient Truth.

I have a lot of respect for TLE, and I enjoy reading it weekly. I imagine I share the desire of most readers for a society of peaceful, intelligent people who are unmolested by such intrusive institutions as government and religion, although there is not much agreement about how that ought to be achieved, if ever it can. Personally, I think that stressing organization in order to "act together," is something that should be avoided. That seems like it could lead to either a pacifistic resistance, which I doubt will ever achieve much, or an armed revolution, which I'm certain will never achieve anything we want ("Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."). There has to be another way for moving in the right direction, and I think it starts with mature, intelligent thought and behavior. Any positive social influence will have to start with that.

Sean Clifton

From time to time you worry about it. The visit to a strip club you don't want your wife to find out about. The tips you forgot to pay social security and taxes on. All the guilty little secrets, some illegal, others just immoral, that you worry will one day be busted.

So you walk small. Don't draw attention to yourself and maybe no one will find out about that data CD full of old copyright violating Napster downloads. Don't criticize the government and no one checks if you checked Panfilio's green card as carefully as you should have.

And the bosses love it, we're so busy ducking in the shadows and avoiding trouble for all the times we've busted the rules that we put up with bad laws and unjust enforcement of those laws. After all, if we raise a fuss, why we're just a bunch of (crime of your choice here) committers.

It's an antisocial contract, they don't bust us for our violations of the law, we don't call them on their acts of tyranny. Some would argue that part of the plethora of laws and regulations we live under is aimed at creating just this circumstance. It more or less works until one side or the other goes to far and then arrest warrants and letters to the editor get written.

So if you are a believer in liberty it is time to make up your mind to do one of two things.

Straighten out your legal situation so that the bosses can't bust you. Or make up your mind that what you have to say is worth getting busted over. But the time is approaching when we can no longer submit to the implicit blackmail of the antisocial contract.

A.X. Perez

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