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27 March 2006

im oktober letzten jahres trafen sich minutemen in arlington heights, illinois zu einer konferenz. dagegen gab es protestaktionen. 5 menschen wurden dabei festgenommen. die in chicago als anti-minutemen 5 bekannte gruppe hat am 25. april 2006 ihren prozeß . der artikel ist ein interview mit einigen der gruppe.

The Anti-Minutemen Five
   Think Twice Before You Oppose the Minutemen

There have been a number of massive protests across the United States for immigrant rights in recent weeks. The particular impetus for these protests is a bill authored by the anti-immigrant Congressmen Rep. Sensenbrenner and his allies that was passed by the House in late 2005 and is currently being considered in the Senate. The bill, numbered H.B. 4437, is a repressive piece of legislation authored by one of the most reactionary legislators in the Congress. Not only would it penalize undocumented workers, it would also criminalize any acts designed to help these members of US society. This bill is just the most obvious aspect of a growing wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.

Back in October, the anti-immigrant vigilante group The Minutemen held a conference in Arlington Heights, Illinois. People opposed to the Minutemen's agenda protested the event. Five were arrested by police in what many witnesses agreed were rather brutal arrests. The Anti-Minutemen Five-as they are known in the Chicago area--are scheduled to stand trial on April 25, 2006 on a variety of charges. I recently contacted the arrestees through their defense organization. Some of them agreed to answer some questions I emailed to them. A transcript of our email conversation follows: [...]

[   The Anti-Minutemen Five
   Think Twice Before You Oppose the Minutemen

[  antiminutemen5.tk

20. oktober 2005

Die minutemen haben neue aktionen angekündigt. Sie wollen ihre aktivitaeten in den 5 staaten an der grenze zu mexiko zu verstaerken , aber auch in den acht staaten die eine grenze mit kanada haben wollen sie zukünftig "taetig" sein. Allerdings scheiterte der erste versuch in vermont öffentlich aufzutreten. In mehreren bundeslstaaten fanden im september und oktober demonstrationen der minutemen statt.

"Minutemen" not welcome in Vermont

Members of the racist vigilante organization known as the “Minutemen Civil Defense Corps” are meeting serious resistance from a wide range of progressive and revolutionary individuals and organizations.

As the Minutemen attempt to recruit and build nationally, they are increasingly confronted with militant resistance and messages such as this one at a Sept. 10 protest in Babylon, N.Y.: “Minutemen, racist, KKK, fascists out of the USA!”Similar confrontations have taken place in California, Texas and Michigan.The Minutemen, founded by Chris Simcox in April 2005, are working openly or covertly with at least 15 local, state and federal agencies to deport, menace and even possibly to incapacitate or kill undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the Mexican and Canadian borders into the United States.

The organization also lobbies politicians to pass chauvinist anti-immigrant legislation. And it targets businesses that hire undocumented workers.Many of the Minutemen’s members are current or former military and police personnel. They are highly trained in paramilitary activities, including hand-to-hand combat, surveillance and sniper skills.Since April the Minutemen have concentrated their activities in Arizona and California. But they now claim to have “volunteer operations” in 12 states on the southern and northern borders.

They work with other legal and extra-legal organizations such as America’s PAC, American Caging Inc., Capitol Watch, Citizens United, Conservative Petitions, Declaration Alliance, IFIRE, the National Border Control Council, Ope ration Spotlight, the Patrick Henry Center and RightMarch.com.Politicians who support the Minutemen include Rep. John Culbertson. In August, this Texas Republican introduced a House bill to train civilian “volunteers” to patrol borders. The “volunteers,” according to the bill, would resemble the Minutemen but would receive federal training and certification.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarz eneg ger, also a Republican, supports similar policies. But Republicans have no monopoly on this kind of bigotry. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, both Democrats, are on the same bandwagon.

On Sept. 28, at a “Secure Our Borders” rally in Washington, D.C., Simcox announ ced a new operation, effective immediately, to increase the vigilante effort to all five states along the Mexican border, and to eight states along the 4,000-mile Canadian border. Twelve members of Congress from the House Immigration Reform Caucus participated in the rally at the Capitol Hill Club, where a detailed schedule of October rallies and “patrolling” activities was outlined.

The schedule includes coordinated Oct. 15 anti-immigrant recruiting rallies at state capitols or federal buildings in Arlington Heights, Ill., Salem, Ore., and Houston. Other Minutemen rallies are scheduled for Oct. 29 in Sacramento, Calif., at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol steps, and in Tallahassee, Fla., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the front steps of the “Old Historic Capitol Building.”

No racists here!

According to the New England Minuteman chapter, Vermont would be their first major “testing grounds” in the Northeast and on the northern border generally. Vermont, population 600,000, is 98-percent white.

On Oct. 15 an 11-member Minutemen delegation arrived in the town of Derby Line, Vt., just across the border from Stansted, Quebec.This area is historically well-known for many Underground Railroad passages.Minutemen delegation members included Weymouth, Mass., police officer Bob Johnson, Bob Cassimiro, executive director of the misnamed Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform, and others from Long Island, N.Y., and elsewhere. Casimiro spent three weeks in Naco, Ariz., earlier this year.

In a driving rain, dozens of protesters were ready. They dealt the racists a decisive blow. After the Minutemen attempted to gather in town, protesters and sympathetic town residents drove them out, telling them firmly, loudly and repeatedly, “Don’t come back!”Perhaps parodying the Minutemen’s xenophobia, David Van Deusen of More town, Vt., a protest organizer, said: “They are outsiders, and we don’t want them here. We don’t want racist policies in Vermont.”James Griffin, a Derby Line resident, agreed. “It’s just another form of vigilantism,” said Griffin. “I think their agenda is racist, and they’re just trying to impose their will. They’re just another form of militia. I don’t like their very presence.”

Members of various Vermont anti-war and socialist organizations, the Raging Grannies, the Vermont Workers’ Center and anti-racist Vermont residents all participated in this action. They vowed to confront the Minutemen anyplace, anytime and anywhere they come out.The Minutemen say they plan to “patrol” the Vermont border the weekend of Oct.


No borders in the workers’ struggle

As the Vermont victory and others show, U.S.-born working-class and oppressed people across the country are increasingly standing shoulder-to-shoulder with immi grant sisters and brothers, documented and undocumented, to fight back against the Minutemen, their supporters and similar organizations such as the Nazis and the KKK.These organizations, depending on the ruling class’s needs at any given time, work openly or clandestinely in an attempt to deflect onto immigrants or other oppres sed people the endemic crises and the grave harm done by the capitalist system to the working class and oppressed.

Working-class whites who join the protests against these dividers show that they understand the real enemy: the capitalist ruling class. Attacking immigrants or other super-exploited people won’t lower unemployment, gas prices or rents, or turn around cutbacks in health care and education spending. Just the opposite.There are no borders in the workers’ struggle. Increasing and ever-widening unity and solidarity among the working class and all the oppressed are essential to building a mighty, independent multinational class-wide movement.

[  workers.org

6.August 2005

nach drei wochen, in denen es immer wieder zu auseinandersetzungen mit gegendemonstrantinnen gab, wurde das california- minutemen projekt abgebrochen

Campo border-watch group has drawn praise, protests

CAMPO: A loosely organized group of civilians patrolling the border near this East County hamlet will pull up their tent stakes and go home tomorrow. Some locals will miss them. Others won't. And chances are, they won't leave without a vociferous send-off from protesters.

The controversial Campo border-watch effort began July 16, organized by Oceanside resident Jim Chase, a former postal worker who participated in the Minuteman Project in Arizona in April and has christened his offshoot project the California Minutemen.In the three weeks that have elapsed, this hot, dusty town has seen shouting matches between border-watch participants and protesters who oppose their presence, reports of gunshots in the night, and a phalanx of additional sheriff's deputies brought in each weekend to keep the peace.

The Border Patrol reports that since the Campo effort began, only three undocumented immigrants have been apprehended because of the border watchers' efforts. Two migrants were caught the second Sunday after Chase picked them up hitchhiking. But border-watch participants insist they have made a difference in illegal immigration and drug traffic through the area."One lady said it's the first time in 50 years she hasn't had her dogs barking," said Maxwell Worthington, who came from Boston to participate and said he plans to pitch a reality television show based on the Minutemen.Some locals say they have seen a difference in border-crossing traffic, while others say they haven't. According to the Border Patrol, illegal crossings were down in the area before the border watching began and remain so.Bob Shea, who owns a ranch in Campo about seven miles from the border, said he has seen a decline in illegal crossers on his property while the border watchers have been in town.

But he said the traffic tends to ebb and flow, so he couldn't determine whether the decrease is the result of their presence. Shea said the border should be guarded by the Border Patrol, not untrained amateurs."I'd rather have the professional people there because I think (the border watchers) would be rather unpredictable," Shea said. "They're not trained and I don't know who they are. I don't know what their personalities are."The personalities of some border watchers " and of some protesters " have not exactly been friendly at times. Multiple shouting matches have erupted, mostly on weekends when more protesters have turned out.According to the Sheriff's Department, which has had as many as 25 extra deputies on duty at one time in Campo " most on overtime pay " the border watching has been relatively peaceful.

There have been several complaints made by each side, including misdemeanor police reports filed by an aide to Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside, who was visiting the area the first weekend. The aide said he was kicked and spit on by a protester. Another report was filed by a border-watch participant who said protesters threw dirt at his dogs and stole his keys, although according to deputies, he eventually found his keys.The fact that many of Chase's participants are armed has been a concern among opponents of the border watch, especially after the separate shootings of two Mexican nationals two weekends ago in the border area between Campo and Tecate. Mexican authorities are investigating the shootings."It doesn't matter if the guy is not a card-carrying member of the California Minutemen," said Enrique Morones, an immigrant rights activist who is organizing a protest caravan from Chicano Park this afternoon. "They are all part of the same group. . . . It's all the same thing."

An apparent lack of organization has been a concern for Border Patrol agents, who met with Chase before the border watches began. According to Border Patrol spokesman Sean Isham, the border watchers haven't followed through on letting agents know where they are so as not to interfere with Border Patrol operations.Chase has taken issue with the Border Patrol's reporting apprehensions to the Mexican Consulate " a routine practice according to the agency " and to legal observers. Chase said one reason so few apprehensions are credited to his group is because participants, who recently numbered around 40, stopped identifying themselves to avoid scrutiny."I've given my people instructions not to identify themselves as Minutemen," Chase said recently. "Now we are tourists . . . bird-watchers, campers, picnickers."

Isham said the Border Patrol is being transparent in its reporting."If he's accountable for 100 apprehensions, we will say he is accountable for 100 apprehensions," Isham said. "If he is accountable for three, we will say he is accountable for three."Meanwhile, the border watchers have proved profitable for mini-mart owner Steve Garmo, who owns the Campo Trading Post on state Route 94."They need batteries, some milk, ice, water," Garmo said, chuckling. "That's one bright side of it.""I'd guess I'd like to see them here all the time," he said. "They're good customers."A manager for the California Minutemen said this week that some participants might stay longer than Sunday. Even if they don't, residents along the border might as well get used to out-of-towners: A second border-watch effort, organized by a different group, is set to start in September.

[  signonsandiego.com

28. Juli 2005

zwei mexikaner durch schüsse von minutemen verletzt

"Rogue" Minutemen may be behind California border shootings

Minutemen Suspected in Border Shootings Jim Chase of the California Minutemen admitted to the San Diego press this week that "rogue" Minutemen shot 2 unarmed Mexicans at the California border near Campo Saturday night. "The rogue theory is absolutely true," he said.

Chase claimed no one in his formal organization has fired a weapon, and that he has turned away "extremists," but that he's encountered "rogue" patrols. According to fellow anti-migrant activist Andy Ramirez of "Friends of the Border Patrol," however, Chase had planned to bring "snipers" to the border, a move Ramirez denounced, saying "It scared the hell out of me. We decided we weren't going to have anything to do with him." Associated Press reported earlier that Chase would not intervene against anyone chasing migrants on the "If somebody's stupid enough to do it, I'm not going to stop them," Chase said. Chase had urged volunteers to bring baseball bats, mace, pepper spray and machetes to the border but said he rescinded the call after the Border Patrol expressed concern about potential violence. Despite Chase's claim to knowledge of the shootings neither the Border Patrol nor any other federal, state, or local agency has opened an investigation, despite an earlier claim by San Diego Sheriff Bill Kolender who said "We will not tolerate any kind of hate crimes, we will not tolerate any violations of the law?"

Mexican officials have meanwhile contradicted their original claim that the 2 Mexican nationals were shot by "bandits" " a claim the victims flatly denied. Authorities now say it is uncertain who shot the migrants. Jose Rivera Perez was shot below the left knee while waiting to cross the border about 20 yards south of the steel fence that slices through the desert. His group was approached, Rivera said, by a masked assailant who, when they began to run, fired on them.

Rivera said he was not robbed, according to the Union Tribune. "If he were a bandit he would have robbed us and taken everything. He only shot at us and ran," Rivera said. A second man, Carlos Estrada Martinez, said he was shot some 200 yards on the US side of the border when, according to the Union Tribune, ?he saw a laser dot tracing up and down the front of his body? before he was hit by the third of three shots fired in the darkness. Estrada also said he was not robbed. Chase, who has reportedly angered police with a very frequent series of calls over minor matters, told reporters that he has been running into people conducting patrols "who have not gone through me?" There is no indication that Chase reported such patrols to the police, however. Similar claims of "rogue" Minutemen activity were made when Minutemen invaded the Arizona border and several migrants were held at gunpoint. Chase claimed this week he had called the Border Patrol after he picked up a migrant couple hitchhiking along a state highway near the borderline, claiming he became "suspicious"only after stopping to pick them up. He dropped them off near the Border Patrol station in Campo, then called agents to arrest them.

"They looked like a nice couple," he said. According to the Union Tribune, Heriberto Garcia, regional coordinator of the Mexican National Human Rights Commission, said of the Minutemen, "They are feeding feelings of hatred" It's very strange that these acts are occurring in this context. We're not discarding any possibilities until authorities find out who did this, one way or another." Meanwhile, anti-Minutemen activists in the Campo area reported encountering heavily armed men hiding in bushes the night of the shooting, some two miles East of Campo in the direction the shootings took place. The men used Morse code on their flashlights to demand a password from the activists.

[  houston.indymedia.org

[  Two Mexicans shot at border near Campo

[  Mexican insists he was shot in U.S.

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