Thursday, August 03, 2006




2489 Mission St. Room 30, (at 21st St.) San Francisco
near 24th St. BART, #14, #49 MUNI
Join us for a political update on the U.S.-Israeli war in the Middle East.
We will also have a Volunteer Orientation and go over the sceanrio
of the day for August 12 and then break into work sessions for
sign making, phonebanking, postering and more. Your help
is needed! No prior experience necessary. Call 415-821-6545
for more info.
The plan: Assemble 11am at Civic Center in San Francisco,
at Polk and Grove Sts. (at Civic Center BART station). Rally,
and then march through downtown San Francisco returning
to Civic Center for a closing rally with speakers, entertainment
and cultural performances.
Volunteers are needed for the August 12 Emergency March
to Defend the People of Lebanon and Palestine!
Stop the U.S.-Israeli War!
Civic Center Plaza (Rally Site):
7:30am to 9:00 Truck unloading and set up
9:00am Volunteer sign in (including Legal Observers & Security)
for check-in please go to the table under the Volunteer banner
9:00am Check-in for informational table set up and directions
11:00am Gathering rally at Civic Center
Approximately 12:30 march stepping off
2:00 p.m. March arrives back at Civic Center
2:00 to 4:00 End rally
4:00 to 5:00 Take down, truck loading, and clean up
5:30 Unloading trucks at A.N.S.W.E.R. office (please come by
and help after the rally) 2489 Mission St. Rm. 24.
** Volunteers will be needed to help ALL DAY LONG to make
this action successful. When you have finished a volunteer
task at either site, please go back to the Volunteer Tables
and check-in again to see where you can help.
There are many ways you can help out regardless of when
you are arriving - and volunteering doesn't mean you have
to miss the rally or the march! Please see below for a list
of various areas in which help is needed. You will be contacted
with more information about the area for which you signed
up prior to the march. When you arrive at the rally, look for
the signs that say "Volunteer" (unless asked to report elsewhere).
Work sessions are taking place daily and outreach materials
are available to be picked up at all times to continue
to spread the word. Call the 415-821-6545 to begin
getting involved.
There will be worksessions at the A.N.S.W.E.R. office on
Tuesday 8/8 at 7 pm and Wednesday 8/9 at 7pm and you
can also help out during the day (just give us a call for details).
On Friday, August 11 we will be loading the truck with all the
materials for the march at our office at 5pm.
On Saturday, help is needed from 7:30am am until 5:30 pm.
There are many different areas that need help - including
sign and literature distribution, Legal observers, First Aid,
march monitoring & more! Please see the descriptions and
sign up sheet below.
Sign distribution: We will be handing out hundreds of signs
so that those who see our march on the streets of SF and
in images in the media know exactly what we're there for!
We have beautiful signs with many different slogans to give
out. This job will begin about 10 am and continue until
more people have arrived at about 12 noon. When you
arrive at Civic Center look for the banner that says "Volunteer" -
people at that table will direct you to the sign distribution points.
Literature distribution and outreach: There will be flyers and
other materials to let people know what's coming up next,
and to provide organizers and activists from around the area
with resources that can contribute to local organizing. We will
have tables to staff, and go into the crowd to hand out materials.
We will also be circulating the "Guantanamo - Shut It Down!"
petition and asking people to sign the mailing list. These
jobs can be done regardless of when you are arriving or
how much time you have. When you arrive at Civic Center,
look for the banners that say "Volunteer".
Legal Observers: We need legal observers for the march
and rally. If you have any legal background, please email
us if you can help in this area and our coordinator from
the NLG will contact you.
March Monitoring: We need volunteers to help keep the march
going to and direct people at corners where the march is turning.
Volunteers will be working in conjunction with our security team.
First Aid: We are looking for people who have training in first
aid (EMT, RN, LPN, M.D., first aid instructor). If you are volunteering
for this area, please describe your first aid training in the comments
section. You should report to the First Aid tent by the stage
as soon as you arrive at the demonstration. The First Aid
coordinator will get in touch with you in advance to schedule
you for a shift during the rally and/or march. You can also check
in at the First Aid Tent by the stage at Civic Center.
Help is also needed for set up at 7:30am Saturday morning and
take down at 4pm after the rally. If you are unsure about what
you want to do or when you're available, you can come to the
Volunteer Tent at anytime on Saturday to sign up to help.
To fill out the Volunteer form click below and reply to this email.
Name -
Home/ Cell Phone -
Work Phone -
Address -
What hours can you volunteer on August 12 - (from when to when)
What task you would like to do on August 12 (set-up, sign distribution,
leaflet distribution, march monitoring, petitioning, first aid, legal
observers, take down, or other)
I can help at the Tuesday 8/8 Worksession - (Y/N)
I can help at the Wednesday 8/9 Worksession - (Y/N)
I can help at the Friday, 8/11 Truck Loading - (Y/N)

If you are traveling to San Francisco from another city or town,
we have transportation being organized from the following areas.
For transportation contact:
Merced -
Sacramento -
San Jose - 408-829-9506
Santa Cruz -
Reno, NV -
If you're organizing people from your area and you're not
listed, fill out the online form at
or email us at
so that we can help get the word out.

To map these directions visit
enter your starting point and Polk and
Grove St. San Francisco, CA as your destination.
Bay Bridge: Take 80 West to Mission St. exit.
Take the exit toward NINTH STREET / CIVIC CENTER.
Take the ramp toward 9TH ST / CIVIC CTR / FELL ST /
RIGHT onto 9TH ST. Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto LARKIN ST. to Grove.
BART: If you are taking BART, exit at the Civic Center
station, walk SW on Market to Hyde, turn right on Hyde
and an immediate left onto Grove, walk one block to Civic Center.
Peninsula: Take U.S. 101 North to I-80 toward
Bay Bridge/Oakland/Seventh St. 101 North. Take the
US-101 N / MISSION ST exit toward VAN NESS AVE / G G BRIDGE.
Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto MISSION ST / US-101 N. Continue
to follow US-101 N. Turn RIGHT onto GROVE ST. to Polk.
Golden Gate Bridge: Follow U.S. 101 south as it merges onto
Lombard St. Turn right at Van Ness. Turn left on Grove St. to Polk.

The closest BART station is Civic Center station.
The closest MUNI Metro stop to Civic Center is 7th and Market St.
For a San Francisco MUNI map, click below:
(choose the type of map you desire)
For a BART map, click below: 
For directions from your starting location, click below
to use the trip planner feature. Just enter your starting
location and Civic Center Plaza (Grove & Larkin) as your
ending location, and you will receive detailed public
transit directions.

The rally gathering site is Civic Center. Buses and vans
can drop passengers off at this location.
Bus pick up will be at Civic Center Plaza where the
closing rally will also take place.
Buses should park along the north side of McAllister
between Polk and Larkin or either side of Grove St. between
Polk and Larkin.
Please note that public transportation is the preferred
method to the rally, as parking is limited in the area.
There is a municipal garage below Civic Center Plaza on
McAllister St. between Dr. Carlton P Goodlett Pl. (Polk St.)
and Larkin St. This garage may fill up early. The garage has
843 spaces for $1.50/hr. The garage will be open 8 am
to midnight.
There are several private parking garages and lots in the
Civic Center area. That can be easily returned to via BART
after the march.
Click the link below for municipal parking garage information. 

Below are listed some accommodations in the San Francisco
Civic Center area. There are many accommodations throughout
the city, and more info can be found at

Healthcare workers will be on hand to assist with basic medical
needs. Please remember to bring water, snacks, weather
protection and comfortable walking shoes, as you will be
on your feet and outside for many hours.
If you are a healthcare worker or have first aid experience
and would like to volunteer to help on June 5th, call us at
415-821-6545 or email

If you are a law student or other person interested in helping
with legal observing on the day of the march, please email
for more info on how you can plug in or sign in to volunteer
at 9:00 a.m. at Civic Center.
To contact the legal group, email

The media coordinator for San Francisco is Mazda Majidi.
He can be reached at (415) 821-6545.
To contact the media logistics group, email 

San Francisco weather is typically cool mornings with warm
afternoons, then gusty cool or cold winds late in the evening.
(see also, for temperature readings,
etc. Please remember that weather predictions are not
always accurate.)

Bring snacks and water, and wear comfortable shoes since
you'll be standing and walking for several hours. Changeable
weather is possible, so bring appropriate gear to protect
either from the sun, wind, cold, or other elements. If you've
been to an A.N.S.W.E.R. protest before and have an "Act Now
to Stop War & End Racism," T-shirt or sign, wear it or bring
it to the protest!

There are a number of small cafes, restaurants and stores
in the area of Civic Center. There will also be food vendors
at Civic Center.

Portable toilets will be readily available. Some of them will
be wheelchair accessible.

There is a designated area for groups to set up tables at the
Civic Center, and there will be a $50 fee for nonprofits
to help offset the enormous organizing costs and $250
for commercial sales.
Table space at the Civic Center in the designated area is
available for 6-foot tables on a first come, first served basis.
The fee must be paid at the time when you set up your table
and you must bring your own table.
Ask for the Tabling Coordinators after 9:00 am at Civic Center
for set-up area details. There will be volunteers on hand
to explain to collect the fee. Please bring cash, check
or money order (made to "A.N.S.W.E.R.") with you when
you set up.
All groups must bring their own tables.

Download flyers at

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Make a tax-dedctible donation to A.N.S.W.E.R.
by credit card over a secure server:
To donate by check contact:
From Iraq to Lebanon to Palestine,
Occupation is a Crime!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 2006, 11:00 A.M.
Stop U.S. Aid to Israel!
Support the Palestinian People's
Right to Return!
Money for Jobs and Education,
Not for War and Occupation!
Initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, the
National Council of Arab Americans (NCA),
and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.
Volunteers are needed for August 12 -- call 415-821-6545


Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone discuss: Apocalypse Now -
The U.S. and Israeli Master Plan for the Middle East.
Also, to be shown for the first time in the Bay Area: "The War
in Lebanon: An Inside View" including harrowing photos
of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila Massacre.
Thursday, August 17 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the Unitarian
Universalist Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar St., at Bonita
Berkeley, CA,. $10 suggested donation. No one will be
turned away for lack of funds. For more information
call 707.552.9992 or write

Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone, producers of the national
radio show "Taking Aim," present a dramatic exposé of the
current wave of U.S. coordinated and Israeli mass slaughter
in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. They discuss
in compelling and heart-rending detail the U.S. and Israeli
murderous agenda, its timetable and the collusion of client
Arab regimes in targeting the peoples of the region.

From Rafah to, Ramallah and Nablus, from Bint Jbail, Tyre,
Sidon and Beirut to Tripoli, from 1947, 1967 to 1982 and
now, an ongoing genocide has been unleashed _ part
of a plan to visit the identical agony on the people
of Syria, Iran, Iraq and the region.

This murderous agenda proceeds under the cover of the false
category of terror for which 9/11 was planned, implemented
and orchestrated by the U.S. ruling class and its Israeli cohorts.

Heralded authors of “The Hidden History of Zionism”,
“Prisoners of Israel” and “Homage to Palestine”, Schoenman
and Shone, reveal through first hand testimony and shocking
visuals the wholesale massacre and mass expulsion that
emptied Palestine of its population in 1948 and was repeated
in an identical operation in Lebanon in 1982.

In 1982-83, Schoenman and Shone lived in the Palestinian
refugee camps as these were reduced to rubble. They
documented the round-up by the Israeli invaders of males
from ages 7 to 70 across Lebanon and took 6,000 affidavits
from the victims_ families. They witnessed and made a photo
record of the mass murder and the mass graves from
Ain El Helweh, Rashidieh, Bourj al Burajneh to Sabra and
Shatila in Beirut.

Schoenman and Shone draw from their experiences in
Palestine and Lebanon, their testimony presented to the
United Nations, Foreign Ministers and to the Nordic Commission
in Oslo, Norway as well as their years of advocacy on behalf
of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

Ralph Schoenman was Secretary General of the International
Tribunal on U.S. War Crimes in Indochina. He worked with
Malcolm X with respect to the battle for the Congo and has
negotiated the release of political prisoners in many countries.
He was the Executive Director of the Committee in Defense
of the Palestinian and Lebanese Peoples and the Committee
for a Democratic and Secular Palestine. He is the author of
“The Hidden History of Zionism,” “Iraq and Kuwait: A History
Suppressed,” and co-authored with Mya Shone “Prisoners of
Israel (report for the United Nations)” and “Homage to Palestine.”
Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone co-produce “Taking Aim with
Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone” heard weekly on Pacifica’s
WBAI-NY and nationally on the Progressive Radio Network.

Mya Shone is an economist and has a long history as an activist
involved in political, community and labor issues. She worked
closely with Casa Nicaragua and Casa El Salvador during
the struggles taking place in Central America, was the
coordinator of the Tri-County (Santa Barbara, Ventura,
San Luis Obispo) Labor Party chapter and co-coordinator
of the Open World Conference in Defense of Trade Union
Independence and Democratic Rights. She was the coordinator
of the Committee in Defense of the Palestinian and Lebanese
Peoples and the Committee for a Democratic and Secular Palestine.
Mya Shone was also an award-winning documentary filmmaker
as well as a newscaster at KPFK in Los Angeles. --- The first
two parts of Taking Aim's series on the Middle East, "Apocalypse
Now: The U.S. and Israeli Master Plan for the Middle East" are
available on our website archive
Part 1: Death and Devastation in Lebanon Part 2: The Meaning
of Qana --- Ben Gurion and the Final Aim: (an excerpt from
"The Hidden History of Zionism" by Ralph Schoenman, available
from Veritas Press --see

In 1938, David Ben Gurion, who became the first Prime Minister
of the Israeli state, wrote in a letter to his son: "A partial Jewish
State is not the end, but only the beginning. I am certain that we
can not be prevented from settling in the other parts of the
country and the region."

In 1937, he declaimed: "The boundaries of Zionist aspirations
are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor
will be able to limit them."

In 1938, he was more explicit: "The boundaries of Zionist
aspirations," he told the World Council of Poale Zion in Tel Aviv,
"include southern Lebanon, southern Syria, today's Jordan,
all of Cis-Jordan [the West Bank] and the Sinai."



San Francisco Board of Education Meeting
Tuesday, August 22, 7:00 P.M.
Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room
555 Franklin Street, 1st Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
San Francisco School board members are likely to vote Tuesday,
August 22 on a resolution to phase out JROTC. If the
proposal is approved, a blue-ribbon panel will be
formed to find and implement a non-military program to
replace JROTC. At present, the resolution has the
support of the majority of school board members.
7) Why queers should oppose JROTC
Guest Opinion
Published 07/27/2006 Bay Area Reporter
by Tom Ammiano, Mark Sanchez, and Tommi Avicolli Mecca]


U.S. Out of Iraq Now! We Are the Majority!
End Colonial Occupation from Iraq,
to Palestine, Haiti, and Everywhere!
October 28 National Day of Action
Locally Coordinated Anti-War Protests from Coast to Coast
Vote With Your Feet … and Your Voices, and Banners, and Signs!
Let Every Politician Feel the Power of the People!




This convention is for all peace partners. Please circulate widely.
Reserve you seat today by sending us an email at
Hope to see all of you on August 20th 2006.
Thanks, Samina
American Muslim Voice  Foundation
creating a culture of peace, acceptance, mutual respect and harmony
Phone:  650-387-1994   
3rd Annual Convention
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Heroes
AMV needs your support urgently
Limited seating. Please purchase your ticket today.
When: Sunday – August 20th, 2006
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Where:  Chandni  5748 Mowry School Road Newark, CA  94560
Ticket price $25.00 (Includes Luncheon)
Special request: Could you please enrich this event
by dressing in your traditional clothing?  
We are very grateful for your support and friendship.
Looking forward to see you.The AMV Team
For more information visit



Come Back Home Campaign
Washington, D.C. August 24, 25, and 26, 2006
Baton Rouge, August 27-28, 2006
New Orleans, August 29, 2006

On August 24-26, 2006, Survivors who are still displaced and
scattered all across the U.S. will be traveling to D.C., pitching
tents, and camping out on the federal government to demand
their right to returnhome

On August 27-28, 2006, these Survivors will be traveling to
Baton Rouge, pitching their tents in front of the state capitol,
and putting pressure on the state government of Louisiana
for their right to return home

On August 29, 2006, the anniversary of the Katrina Disaster,
Survivors will make their demands to return home heard
by the city council of New Orleans and camp
out on city hall

We are planning to have at least of 5,000 Katrina survivors
bused into D.C., Baton Rouge, and New Orleans from all across
the U.S. We are focusing our efforts on bringing residents
in from seven states in the Southern Region:
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas,
Georgia, Florida.

We are specifically reaching out to those who are public
housing residents, renters, and home owners that the city,
state and federal government are trying
to keep from returning home We need help with food,
housing, medical providers, logistics, showers/toilets,
entertainment, & advertising

For more info, contact the following organization representatives:
Makani, Praxis Project (202) 234-5921,
Ishmael, Advancement Project and People's Organizing
Committee (504) 872-9591,
Please visit our website:


National Emergency March on Washington
Defend the People of Palestine and Lebanon!
Stop the U.S.-Israeli War!
From Iraq to Lebanon to Palestine,
Occupation is a Crime!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 2006, 11:00 A.M.
Stop U.S. Aid to Israel!
Support the Palestinian People's
Right to Return!
Money for Jobs and Education,
Not for War and Occupation!
Initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, the
National Council of Arab Americans (NCA),
and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.
October 28 National Day of Action
Locally Coordinated Anti-War Protests from Coast to Coast
Vote With Your Feet … and Your Voices, and Banners, and Signs!
Let Every Politician Feel the Power of the People!


End Canada's Occupation of Afghanistan!
Call for action on October 28, 2006

This call for a pan-Canadian day of action, co-signed by the
Canadian Peace Alliance, the Canadian Islamic Congress, the
Canadian Labour Congress and the Montreal coalition Echec
a la Guerre, is being distributed and discussed at the World Peace
Forum now taking place in Vancouver. -SV The Collectif Échec
à la guerre, Canadian Peace Alliance, the Canadian Labour Congress,
and the Canadian Islamic Congress are jointly calling for a pan-
Canadian day of protest this October 28th, 2006, to bring Canadian
troops home from Afghanistan.

On that day, people all across the country will unite to tell
Stephen Harper that we are opposed to
his wholehearted support for Canadian and U.S. militarism.
This October marks the fifth anniversary of the invasion and
occupation of Afghanistan, and the people of that country are
still suffering from the ravages of war. Reconstruction in the
country is at a standstill and the needs of the Afghan people
are not being met. The rule of the new Afghan State, made
up largely of drug running warlords, will not realize the
democratic aspirations of the people there. In fact, according
to Human Rights Watch reports, the human rights record
of those warlords in recent years has not been better than
the Taliban.

We are told that the purpose of this war is to root out terrorism
and protect our societies, yet the heavy-handed approach of
a military occupation trying to impose a US-friendly
government on the Afghan people will force more Afghans
to become part of the resistance movement. It will also
make our societies more -- not less -- likely to see terrorist

No discussion on military tactics in the House of Commons
will change that reality. Indeed, violence is increasing with
more attacks on both coalition troops and on Afghan civilians.
While individual Canadian soldiers may have gone to Afghanistan
with the best of intentions, they are operating under the
auspices of a US-led state building project that cares little
or the needs of the Afghan people. US and Canadian interests
rest with the massive $3.2 billion Trans Afghan Pipeline (TAP)
project, which will bring oil from the Caspian region through
southern Afghanistan (where Canada is stationed) and onto the
ports of Pakistan.

It has been no secret that the TAP has dominated US foreign
policy towards Afghanistan for the last decade. Now Canadian
oil and gas corporations have their own interests in the TAP.
Over the last decade, the role of the Canadian Armed Forces
abroad has changed, and Canadian foreign policy has become
a replica of the US empire-building rhetoric. The end result
of this process is now plain to see with the role of our troops
in Southern Afghanistan, with the enormous budget increases
for war expenditures and "security," with the Bush-style speeches
of Stephen Harper, and with the fear campaigns around
"homegrown terrorism" to foster support for those nefarious

It is this very course that will get young Canadian soldiers killed,
that will endanger our society and consume more and more
of its resources for destruction and death in Afghanistan.
We demand a freeze in defense and security budgets until
an in-depth public discussion is held on those issues across
Canada. The mission in Afghanistan has already cost Canadians
more than $4 billion. That money could have been used to fund
human needs in Canada or abroad. Instead it is being used
to kill civilians in Afghanistan and advance the interests
of corporations.

On October 28th, stand up and be counted.
Canadian Troops Out of Afghanistan Now!


Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.
Personalize the message text on the right with
your own words, if you wish.
Click the Next Step button to send your letter
to these decision makers:
President George W. Bush
Vice President Richard 'Dick' B. Cheney
Your Senators
Your Representative
Go here to register your outrage:


Idriss Stelley Foundation is in critical financial crisis, please help !
ISF is in critical financial crisis, and might be forced to close
its doors in a couple of months due to lack of funds to cover
DSL, SBC and utilities, which is a disaster for our numerous
clients, since the are the only CBO providing direct services
to Victims (as well as extended failies) of police misconduct
for the whole city of SF. Any donation, big or small will help
us stay alive until we obtain our 501-c3 nonprofit Federal
Status! Checks can me made out to
ISF, ( 4921 3rd St , SF CA 94124 ). Please consider to volunteer
or apply for internship to help covering our 24HR Crisis line,
provide one on one couseling and co facilitate our support
groups, M.C a show on SF Village Voice, insure a 2hr block
of time at ISF, moderate one of our 26 websites for ISF clients !
Report Police Brutality
24HR Bilingual hotline
(415) 595-8251


Sign the petition to save Bayview Hunters Point: No more Fillmore!
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff,
As urban Black displacement grows, Bayview kicks off referendum
drive to stop Redevelopment by Randy Shaw,
Hands off Bayview Hunters Point!
An open letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Shattering the myth that our community is divided, people –
especially Black people – are lining up to sign, but we need
lots more signature gatherers. Can you commit to a few
hours with a clipboard or to passing petitions among
your co-workers, friends and family? Give us a call at
(415) 671-0789 or an email at
Now for what we’re up against: The Bay View newspaper
has been too broke to help finance the petition campaign,
very few contributions have come in and bills are overdue.
So the petition drive needs financial help … and so does
the Bay View newspaper, desperately.
The Bay View has faced many crises in the over 14 years
we’ve published it – eviction, death threats, never enough
money – yet readers have always come through, enabling
us to bounce back, tackle bigger issues and fight harder
than ever. We hate to beg, but WE NEED YOU NOW.
BAY VIEW CANNOT CONTINUE. To discuss a loan, which
we can amply collateralize, please call us at (415) 671-0789;
we’re here 24/7. Tax-deductible contributions to our
nonprofit arm, the Hurricane Relief Information Network,
are also a big help to save the hopes and the lives
of survivors who depend on the Bay View for news and resources.


Appeal for funds:
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website
Request for Support
Dahr Jamail will soon return to the Middle East to continue his
independent reporting. As usual, reporting independently is a costly
enterprise; for example, an average hotel room is $50, a fixer runs $50
per day, and phone/food average $25 per day. Dahr will report from the
Middle East for one month, and thus needs to raise $5,750 in order to
cover his plane ticket and daily operating expenses.
A rare opportunity has arisen for Dahr to cover several stories
regarding the occupation of Iraq, as well as U.S. policy in the region,
which have been entirely absent from mainstream media.
With the need for independent, unfiltered information greater than ever,
your financial support is deeply appreciated. Without donations from
readers, ongoing independent reports from Dahr are simply not possible.
All donations go directly towards covering Dahr's on the ground
operating expenses.
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


New Flash Film
From Young Ava Over At 'Peace Takes Courage'


Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition
To The Concerned Citizen of The World:


Legal update on Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case
Excerpts from a letter written by Robert R. Bryan, the lead attorney
for death row political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal.
...On July 20, 2006, we filed the Brief of Appellee and Cross
Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal, in the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia.


Today in Palestine!
For up to date information on Israeli's brutal attack on
human rights and freedom in Palestine and Lebanon go to:


For a great car magnet--a black ribbon with the words, "Bring
the troops home now!" written in red, and it also comes in a
lapel pin!--go to:
(Put out by A.N.S.W.E.R.)


Essential reading for understanding the development of Zionism
and Israel in the service of British and USA imperialism.
The full text of the book can be found at:


For those of you who don't know who Lynne Stewart is, go to and get acquainted with Lynne and her
cause. Lynne is a criminal defense attorney who is being persecuted
for representing people charged with heinous crimes. It is a bedrock
of our legal system that every criminal defendant has a right to a
lawyer. Persecuting Lynne is an attempt to terrorize and intimidate
all criminal defense attorneys in this country so they will stop
representing unpopular people. If this happens, the fascist takeover
of this nation will be complete. We urge you all to go the website,
familiarize yourselves with Lynne and her battle for justice


Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos
Who are the Cuban Five?
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving
four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly
convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.
They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero,
Fernando González and René González.
The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing
espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related
But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were
involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups,
in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.
The Five’s actions were never directed at the U.S. government.
They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any
weapons while in the United States.
The Cuban Five’s mission was to stop terrorism
For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based
in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against
Cuba, and against anyone who advocates a normalization
of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. More than 3,000 Cubans
have died as a result of these terrorists’ attacks.

2 Life Sentences

Life Sentence

Life Sentence

19 Years

15 Years

Free The Cuban Five Held Unjustly In The U.S.!


Eyewitness Account from Oaxaca
A website is now being circulated that has up-to-date info
and video that can be downloaded of the police action and
developments in Oaxaca. For those who have not seen it
elsewhere, the website is:




Iraq Body Count
For current totals, see our database page.


The Cost of War
[Over three-hundred-billion so]


"The Democrats always promise to help workers, and the don't!
The Republicans always promise to help business, and the do!"
- Mort Sahl

"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
- Emilano Zapata

Join the Campaign to
Shut Down the Guantanamo Torture Center
Go to:
to send a letter to Congress and the White House:
Shut Down Guantanamo and all torture centers and prisons.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545


Great Counter-Recruitment Website



Last summer the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Shanti Sellz and
Daniel Strauss, both 23-year-old volunteers assisting immigrants
on the border, for medically evacuating 3 people in critical
condition from the Arizona desert.

Criminalization for aiding undocumented immigrants already
exists on the books in the state of Arizona. Daniel and Shanti
are targeted to be its first victims. Their arrest and subsequent
prosecution for providing humanitarian aid could result in
a 15-year prison sentence. Any Congressional compromise
with the Sensenbrenner bill (HR 4437) may include these
harmful criminalization provisions. Fight back NOW!

Help stop the criminalization of undocumented immigrants
and those who support them!

For more information call 415-821- 9683.
For information on the Daniel and Shanti Defense Campaign,


According to "Minimum Wage History" at "

"Calculated in real 2005 dollars, the 1968 minimum wage was the
highest at $9.12. "The 8 dollar per hour Whole Foods employees
are being paid $1.12 less than the 1968 minimum wage.

"A federal minimum wage was first set in 1938. The graph shows
both nominal (red) and real (blue) minimum wage values. Nominal
values range from 25 cents per hour in 1938 to the current $5.15/hr.
The greatest percentage jump in the minimum wage was in 1950,
when it nearly doubled. The graph adjusts these wages to 2005
dollars (blue line) to show the real value of the minimum wage.
Calculated in real 2005 dollars, the 1968 minimum wage was the
highest at $9.12. Note how the real dollar minimum wage rises and
falls. This is because it gets periodically adjusted by Congress.
The period 1997-2006, is the longest period during which the
minimum wage has not been adjusted. States have departed from
the federal minimum wage. Washington has the highest minimum
wage in the country at $7.63 as of January 1, 2006. Oregon is next
at $7.50. Cities, too, have set minimum wages. Santa Fe, New
Mexico has a minimum wage of $9.50, which is more than double
the state minimum wage at $4.35."



I can't imagine that you haven't seen this, but if you
haven't, please sign the petition to keep our access.
Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress
passes a radical law next week that gives giant
corporations more control over what we do and see on
the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress
hard to gut Network Neutrality--the Internet's First
Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Right now,
Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which
websites open most easily for you based on which site
pays AT&T more. doesn't have to
outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your

If Net Neutrality is gutted, many sites--including
Google, eBay, and iTunes--must either pay protection
money to companies like AT&T or risk having their
websites process slowly. That why these high-tech
pioneers, plus diverse groups ranging from MoveOn to
Gun Owners of America, are opposing Congress' effort
to gut Internet freedom.

So please! sign this petition telling your member of
Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here:




Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 [1.8 MB]
Also, the law is up before Congress again in 2007.
See this article from USA Today:
Bipartisan panel to study No Child Left Behind
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
February 13, 2006


The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies


Bill of Rights


1) 'No Hezbollah Rockets Fired from Qana'
by Dahr Jamail
Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 by Inter Press Service

2) Tax Cheats Called Out of Control
by David Cay Johnston
Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 by the New York Times

3) Support the Resistance in Palestine:
A Call to Action

4) The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil
By Michel Chossudovsky
July 26, 2006

5) Enhance force levels? Look to immigrants.
The US should grant preference for visas to those
willing to serve in the military.
By Kevin Ryan

6) Israel trying the same trap on Lebanon
By Shadi Fadda

7) Why queers should oppose JROTC
Guest Opinion
Published 07/27/2006 Bay Area Reporter
by Tom Ammiano, Mark Sanchez, and Tommi Avicolli Mecca

8) Free Josh Wolf
Thursday, August 3, 2006

9) Massacre at Qana may be a turning point
By Karim Makdisi
Posted on Fri, Aug. 04, 2006

10) An open letter to the American president By Salim El Hoss
By Salim El Hoss, former prime minister of Lebanon
The Daily Star, August 3, 2006

11) A City Lives On With Its Ill-Fated Charm
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

12) Black Beaches in Lebanon
July 29, 2006
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

13) Images from Lebanon

14) ‘Dead Zone’ Reappears Off the Oregon Coast
August 6, 2006

15) Economic View
The Rich Spend Just Like You and Me
August 6, 2006

16) Cuba's military money machine
Under the leadership of defense minister Raul Castro, the country's
military is a powerful political and economic force.
Posted on Sun, Aug. 06, 2006

17) Intimations of Recession
August 7, 2006

18) Iraq Incident Was Fueled by Whiskey, G.I. Says
August 7, 2006

19) 15 States Expand Right to Shoot in Self-Defense
“In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill
other citizens in defense of property.”
August 7, 2006

20) Tasks Are Workaday for Guard Troops on Border
August 7, 2006

21) The Rise of the Super-Rich
July 19, 2006

22) Hezbollah Rides a New Popularity
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

23) Rodeo in Salem gets unexpected song rendition
A man purportedly from Kazakhstan launched into a diatribe
instead of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
By Laurence Hammack

24) Hezbollah, a Discussion on "Marxmail", a Marxist discussion list:

25) Peaceful succession underway in Cuba: official
By Anthony Boadle
August 7, 2006;jsessionid=1NZBQTPC5PWPECRBAELCFFA?type=topNews&storyID=13105991


1) 'No Hezbollah Rockets Fired from Qana'
by Dahr Jamail
Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 by Inter Press Service

QANA - Red Cross workers and residents of Qana, where Israeli
bombing killed at least 60 civilians, have told IPS that no Hezbollah
rockets were launched from the city before the Israeli air strike.

The Israeli military has said it bombed the building in which several
people had taken shelter, more than half of them children, because
the Army had faced rocket fire from Qana. The Israeli military has
said that Hezbollah was therefore responsible for the deaths.

"There were no Hezbollah rockets fired from here," 32-year-old
Ali Abdel told IPS. "Anyone in this village will tell you this,
because it is the truth."

Abdel had taken shelter in a nearby house when the shelter was
bombed at 1 am. When the bombings finally let up in the morning,
he went back to the bombed shelter to search for relatives.

He found his 70-year-old father and 64-year-old mother
both dead inside.

"They bombed it, and afterwards I heard the screams
of women, children, and a few men -- they were crying
for help. But then one minute after the first bomb, another
bomb struck, and after this there was nothing but silence,
and the sound of more bombs around the village."

Masen Hashen, a 30-year-old construction worker from
Qana who lost several family members in the air strike
on the shelter, said there were no Hezbollah rockets
fired from his village. "Because if they had done that now,
or in the past, all of us would have left. Because we know
we would be bombed."

Qana had been a shelter because no rockets were being
fired from there, survivors said. "When Hezbollah fires
their rockets, everyone runs away because they know an
Israeli bombardment will come soon," Abdel said. "That
is why everyone stayed in the shelter and nearby homes,
because we all thought we'd be all right since there were
no Hezbollah fighters in Qana."

Lebanese Red Cross workers in the nearby coastal city
of Tyre told IPS that there was no basis for Israeli claims
that Hezbollah had launched rockets from Qana.

"We found no evidence of Hezbollah fighters in Qana,"
Kassem Shaulan, a 28-year-old medic and training manager
for the Red Cross in Tyre told IPS at their headquarters.
"When we rescue people or recover bodies from villages,
we usually see rocket launchers or Hezbollah fighters
if they are there, but in Qana I can say that the village
was 100 percent clear of either of those."

Another Red Cross worker, 32-year-old Mohammad
Zatar, told IPS that "we can tell when Hezbollah has been
firing rockets from certain areas, because all of the people
run away, on foot if they have to."

While IPS was interviewing people in Qana at the site
of the shelter Monday, Israeli warplanes roared overhead.
Vibrations from nearby bombing rattled many buildings.
At least three villages in southern Lebanon were attacked
in Israeli air strikes Monday.

Following the international outcry over the air strike,
Israel declared a 48-hour cessation of air strikes in
order to carry out a military probe into the Qana killings.

Despite the false Israeli statement that it was halting
its air strikes, Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon told
Army Radio that the stoppage "does not signify in any
way the end to the war."

Israel has rejected mounting international pressure
to end the 20-day-old war against Hezbollah. The United
Nations has indefinitely postponed a meeting on a new
peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon.

While defending the Israeli air strike on the civilians
in Qana, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations
Dan Gillerman told the UN Security Council that Qana
was "a hub for Hezbollah", and said that Israel had
urged villagers to leave.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said in
reply to questions in New York Monday that the
bombing was "totally, totally its (Hezbollah's) fault.

Copyright © 2006 IPS-Inter Press Service


2) Tax Cheats Called Out of Control
by David Cay Johnston
Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 by the New York Times

So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts
that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct,
according to a Senate report that provides the most detailed
look ever at high-level tax schemes.

Among the billionaires cited in the report are the owner of the
New York Jets football team, Robert Wood Johnson IV; the
producer of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” children’s
show, Haim Saban; and two Texas businessmen, Charles and
Sam Wyly, who the Center for Public Integrity found in 2000
were the ninth-largest contributors to President Bush.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Saban, who are portrayed as victims
in the report, are scheduled to testify today before the Senate
Permanent Investigations subcommittee. They are expected
to say that professional advisers assured them their deals
to avoid taxes were more likely lawful than not. The Wyly
brothers told the committee that they would invoke their
Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and thus
were not called to testify. The report characterizes them
as active participants in tax schemes.

Cheating now equals about 7 cents out of each dollar paid
by honest taxpayers, as much as $70 billion a year,
the report estimated.

“The universe of offshore tax cheating has become so
large that no one, not even the United States government,
could go after all of it,” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan
Democrat whose staff ran the investigation.

Senator Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican who
is chairman of the subcommittee, adopted the minority
report on Sunday as the product of the full committee.

The report details how the Quellos Group, a tax shelter
boutique based in Seattle, “concocted a tax shelter”
using $9.6 billion “worth of fake securities transactions
that were used to generate billions of dollars of fake
capital losses.”

Senator Levin said that when investigators asked for trading
records they were first told the trades were private, over-the-
counter transactions. He said investigators asked for trading
tickets or other evidence of who owned the $9.6 billion worth
of stock and were told the stocks were never owned by the
parties involved.

“They just wrote down numbers on paper and claimed losses,”
he said. “It was just like fantasy baseball, except the taxes
not paid were for real.”

Quellos, in a statement, said, “we fundamentally disagree
with the report, which presents a one-sided view.” It said
the transactions, which the Senate committee describes
as fabrications, were real and involved “a significant
possibility of economic gain and loss.”

The investigation, which took 18 months, involved 74
subpoenas, 80 interviews and the collection of more than
two million documents, and yet Senator Levin said “the six
cases we present are just examples, just a pinhole look.”

The 400-page report recommends eight changes, some
of them aimed at going after the law and accounting firms,
banks and investment advisers that the report says enable
tax schemes that rely on complexity, secrecy and
compartmentalizing information so that advisers can
claim they had no idea that the overall transaction was
a fraud.

“We need to significantly strengthen the aiding and abetting
statutes to get at the lawyers and accountants and other
advisers who enable this cheating,” Senator Levin said,
adding that “we need major changes in law to stop the
use of tax havens” by tax cheats.

It also recommends new rules that strip away the underlying
legal presumptions that make offshore tax havens like the
Cayman Islands, Nevis, the Isle of Man and Panama attractive
places for Americans to hide assets and income from
the Internal Revenue Service.

Senator Levin said the law “should assume that any
transaction in a tax haven is a sham.”

He said that during the investigation he grew angry as
he learned how common cheating had become and how
existing government rules aided tax cheats. He said that
complex schemes were broken into discrete pieces, allowing
professional advisers working on each piece to assert that
they had no idea that, taken as a whole, a scheme was

“I get incensed by people who use tax havens to not pay
their taxes while the average guy has to pay his taxes
because they are taken out of his pay before he gets it,”
he said.

Both Mr. Johnson, the football team owner and scion
of the Johnson & Johnson health care fortune, and
Mr. Saban, the television mogul, are portrayed in the
report as victims.

The two men, through representatives, said yesterday
that they relied on professional advisers who told them
the transactions were lawful, and that they were now
settling with the Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Johnson, known as Woody, told Senate investigators
two weeks ago that to buy the Jets in 1999 he had
to sell assets, incurring the 20 percent tax on long-term
capital gains in effect at the time. He said that a way
to defer the tax was proposed by Larry B. Scheinfeld,
who had been his accountant at KPMG until he joined
Quellos, where he worked closely with Chuck Wilk,
a tax lawyer.

The technique involved a complex set of circular transactions
using what the Senate report characterized as sham
corporations in the Isle of Man with shell corporations
given names like Jackstones. Their ownership was kept secret.

“Ain’t capitalism great!” Mr. Wilk wrote to Mr. Scheinfeld
in an e-mail message extolling the tax benefits of the Johnson
deal. Three weeks later, when the deal was set, Mr. Scheinfeld
wrote back: “I just hope Woody doesn’t get cold feet or have
the I.R.S. select his return for an audit!”

The report details a scheme created for Mr. Saban to avoid
more than $300 million in taxes from sale of his half interest
in the Family Channel and related properties.

Mr. Saban told Senate investigators that he never understood
the transactions but undertook them after asking two questions
of Mr. Wilk and his personal tax lawyer, Matthew Krane.

Mr. Saban said he asked whether the deals were legal and
whether a major law firm would certify them as proper.
The two lawyers, Mr. Saban said, answered “yes to both,”
so he went ahead.

Later, when Mr. Saban learned that he had paid $54 million
in fees to Quellos; Cravath Swaine & Moore, a New York law
firm; and others for what turned out to be what the report
described as fake transactions, he said he felt “misled, lied
to and cheated.”

Lewis R. Steinberg, who as a Cravath Swaine partner helped
design the deal and wrote an opinion letter attesting that
it was more likely than not to work as a tax shelter, told Senate
investigators last week that he relied on assurances from Quellos
and Mr. Johnson that real transactions took place, not fake trades.
Mr. Steinberg, who is now at UBS Securities, another firm named
in the report, is a prominent tax lawyer and in 2004 was chairman
of the tax section of the American Bar Association.

The report also dissects deals by the Wyly brothers of Texas,
showing how they made at least $190 million through stock
option exercises offshore but had yet to pay taxes on most
of the money. They then borrowed against their offshore
accounts to buy jewelry, pay for portraits of family members,
buy homes and operate properties named Rosemary’s
Circle R Ranch, LL Ranch, Stargate Horse Farm, Cottonwood
Galleries and 36 Malibu Colony.

Senator Levin said he might propose limiting or barring
the transferring of executive stock options to others,
as well as more disclosure when they are exercised.

The report says that Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman
Brothers and Bank of America “all knew that the offshore
entities” for which they made trades were associated with
the Wylys, but ignored rules requiring disclosure of these
transactions and helped them hide the true ownership of
the assets. Only when Robert M. Morgenthau, the New York
District attorney, issued subpoenas in 2004 did Bank of
America close the Wyly accounts.

William Brewer, a Dallas lawyer for the Wylys, said that while
the Senate report “intends to present a balanced view, the
committee report is reflective of a number of misunderstandings.”

“The Wylys believe they have paid all taxes due,” he added. “
And in any event, as the report makes clear, the Wylys were
counseled by an armada of lawyers, brokers, financial
professionals and offshore service providers to ensure that
they were at all times fully meeting their obligations.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


3) Support the Resistance in Palestine:
A Call to Action
[Sorry for the symbols--I did not have time to edit them]

The events of the past few weeks have clarified the nature of the
struggle in Palestine. Although ╲Israel╡ has an arsenal of
military weapons unmatched by any power in the region, each
new wave of aggression against the people of Palestine and
Lebanon has resulted in a response of immense courage and
resistance. As the military struggle expands beyond Gaza and
the West Bank, the underlying reality of Israelâ•˙s doomed
colonial project becomes clear: short of bombing the entire
region into annihilation, the Zionists cannot continue to exist
in a region in which Arab people aspire to self-determination
on Arab land. There can be no more gray zone: the post-Oslo
sham of normalization and the process of land theft through
peace treaties and open or hidden alliances between ╲
Israel╡, the "US", and Arab client states╉all that is swiftly
disappearing. It could not have come at a more critical time:
a moment when ╲the worldâ•˙s only superpower╡ has
suffered defeat at the hands of Iraqâ•˙s brave guerillas;
a moment when a new block of anti-imperial power is forming
from Venezuela and Bolivia to the Arab world.

The question of taking sides can no longer be avoided by
people in the international community. This is now true not
only in Lebanon, but in Jordan and Egypt. It is the only question
worth asking now in the US and Europe. The time is
passed╉if it ever existed╉in which activists can pretend
to be in solidarity with Palestinians while refusing to take sides
with Palestinian resistance to Zionist colonization of Arab land.
It is not possible any more to claim to be on the side of the
people of Palestine and to condone the theft of 78% of their
land, or pretend that there can be a meaningful peace between
the colonists and the colonized.

It is time to choose sides: either you are on the side of
colonialism or you are on the side of liberation.

The Palestinian peopleâ•˙s choice

Although recent elections took place under military occupation,
the Palestinian people voted overwhelmingly for resistance.
However one interprets the meaning of ╲elections╡
in the post-Oslo context, and whatever questionable motives
the US and Europe may have had in pressing for elections╉e.g.
to co-opt Hamas, to create conditions for civil war etc.╉the
message of the elections was utterly clear: the people of Palestine
want their land, their sovereignty and have chosen resistance
as the only way forward. The choice itself was a popular recognition
that any gains must come through a fight against the occupier,
not agreements dictated by the occupier.

The international community was nearly unanimous in its
response: it sought immediately to undermine the will
expressed by the popular vote, disagreeing only in strategy.
The United States and ╲Israel╡ imposed a total economic
blockade on Palestine in the hope of starving the Palestinian
people into submission; the World Bank and some European
governments sought ways of funneling money directly into
NGOs and ╲humanitarian╡ agencies╉ believing that
economic hardship would only increase the peopleâ•˙s will
to resist. Either way, the international community has tried
to use money to pressure Palestinians to give up their
fundamental human and political rights.

Palestinians on the street responded to the economic blockade
with remarkable courage. They went on strike in the West Bank
to instruct their elected leaders that their human rights were
not for sale. On a popular level the message was clear.
Across Palestine the people declared "We can accept hunger,
but not concessions."

Under near starvation conditions in Gaza, the Popular Resistance
Committees (PRC) captured an enemy soldier and attempted
to negotiate the release of women and children Palestinian
political prisoners, who constitute only a portion of the over
10,000 Palestinian political prisoners and prisoners of war
now detained in Israeli prisons. As ╲Israel╡ began its
military invasion of Gaza, thousands of Palestinians responded
by directing the PRC not to release the captured soldier until
Palestinian political prisoners were released. In the face of
aerial bombardment of their electrical plants, cutting off of
their water supply, destruction of bridges, and a massive
military assault that has resulted in over 175 murdered and
over 450 injured (the majority of whom are in Gaza) ╉ the
Palestinian people chose resistance again.

On June 29th, the Israelis kidnapped over 64 elected Palestinian
leaders. Before, during, and after the elections, every part
of the Palestinian resistance (including but not limited to
elected leaders) has been attacked through assassination,
aerial bombardment of Palestinian communities, and mass
kidnapping and illegal detention.

At the same time, Palestinians have continued their long
struggle against settlement of their homeland-- the primary
method of genocide used by Zionists that continues to be
ignored by the international community. The Palestinian
people have resisted this genocide through operations
against Israeli settlers and settlements in both 1948
occupied Palestine and 1967 occupied Palestine.

To date, apart from Iraq, the only meaningful international
solidarity with Palestine has come from the resistance
in Lebanon. Hezbollah fulfilled its promise to capture Israeli
soldiers in order to press for the release of its own prisoners
at a moment timed to force the Israelis to fight on two fronts.
Hezbollah, who have strong popular support in Lebanon,
and the Lebanese people have paid a high price for this act
of solidarity╉nearly 1000 people have been murdered --
over one third of them are estimated to be children╉ and
over 800, 000 displaced. At the same time, Hezbollah has also
managed to exact a significant cost on Israel, destroying its
image of invulnerability.

The Palestinians and the Lebanese people have remained
steadfast in their support for resistance. The election of Hamas,
the collective refusal by Palestinians to sell their fundamental
rights through 'negotiations', the popular support for Hezbollah
in Lebanon, and the steadfastness of the people to resist in the
absence of the most fundamental needs, such as bread and
medicine, all point to the consistency with which the overwhelming
majority of people in both countries have chosen to fight for
their liberation. An international solidarity community that is
committed to self determination must support this choice.

A Call to Action

This is a critical moment in the history of the Palestinian
struggle and the larger struggle for sovereignty over Arab
land. Palestinian and other Arab resistance movements in
Lebanon and Iraq are currently the only force standing
between the Palestinian people and the completion of the
genocidal project started by Zionists over sixty years ago.

Up until now, most efforts at solidarity╉ letters to the
editor, protests at embassies, silent vigils, and ╲humanitarian
aid╡ tied to the condition of renouncing resistance╉ have
resulted in no meaningful support to the Palestinian people.
As American and other Western European governments continue
to criminalize resistance and dissent, public statements have
been crafted to occupy a middle ground where the oppressorsâ•˙
aggression and the self-defense of the oppressed are treated
equally. In some cases, calls have actually made Palestinians
responsible for Israel's "retaliation" or blamed those who are
bravely risking their lives to fight this oppression. Most importantly,
these efforts have in no way disrupted the process of Zionist colonization.

We in the international community should not allow the threat
of government repression to determine the limits and direction
of our movement. It is our responsibility to expose the racist
and genocidal aims of the Zionist movement, to support the
full range of Palestinian people's resistance to those aims, and
to disrupt the infrastructure of genocide where we live.

To be clear, there is no gray area for activists on the side of
social justice to inhabit. This moment demands that we in
the international community act now and that we act with
clarity of purpose and strategy.

As a first step, we call on the international solidarity community
to organize and take the following actions to support the
Palestinian resistance immediately and unconditionally:

1) Break the starvation and economic blockade being
instituted against the Palestinian people. As an immediate
way to counterbalance the blockade against resistance,
organize financial support for the families of political
prisoners and those martyred in the struggle;

2) Support Palestinian freedom fighters who are paying
a tremendous price for their courageous resistance. Mobilize
an international pressure campaign to demand the release of
all Palestinian political prisoners and prisoners of war through
financial support for legal defense, coordinated letter writing
and phone campaigns organized through existing political
prisoner groups in Palestine, and letter writing to prisoners;

3) Exact an economic cost from the Zionist colonization
project. Identify key pressure points where force can be exerted
to stop the flow of arms and money to the Israeli settler and
military infrastructure through direct action at ports and
corporate headquarters. There are many Arab solidarity
groups as well as immigrant rights groups, anti-globalization,
and environmental groups that stand to gain from mass
mobilization against corporations supporting the occupation
of Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as the ╲
Secure Border Initiative╡;

4) Recognize and support pan-Arab resistance to
imperialism throughout the region. In existing solidarity
campaigns, solidarity groups have sent mixed messages
to those fighting against American imperialism and Zionist
aggression. We must be clear in our political message as well
as our political action that we are on the side of liberation and
support those fighting for it. The recognition that the Palestinian
struggle is part of a larger regional indigenous struggle should
be reflected in our solidarity campaigns. We can begin
by coordinating internationally between Palestinian,
Lebanese, and Iraqi solidarity groups.

This call is broad; we must make the tasks specific and focused.
We will be sending out updates and action steps to coordinate
with political prisoner groups in Palestine and solidarity groups
internationally. If you want to be involved in supporting this
campaign or have ideas regarding the points above, please
contact us at

Our first local fundraising event in Boston will be scheduled
in the coming weeks. Watch for updates regarding time and location.


4) The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil
By Michel Chossudovsky
July 26, 2006

Is there a relationship between the bombing of Lebanon and the
inauguration of the World's largest strategic pipeline, which will
channel more than a million barrels of oil a day to Western markets?

Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku (BTC)
oil pipeline, which links the Caspian sea to the Eastern Mediterranean,
took place on the 13th of July, at the very outset of the Israeli
sponsored bombings of Lebanon.

One day before the Israeli air strikes, the main partners and
shareholders of the BTC pipeline project, including several heads
of State and oil company executives were in attendance at the port
of Ceyhan. They were then rushed off for an inauguration reception
in Istanbul, hosted by Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in the
plush surroundings of the Çýraðan Palace.

Also in attendance was British Petroleum's (BP) CEO, Lord Browne
together with senior government officials from Britain, the US
and Israel. BP leads the BTC pipeline consortium. Other major
Western shareholders include Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, France's
Total and Italy's ENI. (see Annex)

Israel's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
was present at the venue together with a delegation of top Israeli
oil officials.

The BTC pipeline totally bypasses the territory of the Russian
Federation. It transits through the former Soviet republics of
Azerbaijan and Georgia, both of which have become US
"protectorates", firmly integrated into a military alliance with
the US and NATO. Moreover, both Azerbaijan and Georgia have
longstanding military cooperation agreements with Israel.

Israel has a stake in the Azeri oil fields, from which it imports
some twenty percent of its oil. The opening of the pipeline
will substantially enhance Israeli oil imports from
the Caspian sea basin.

But there is another dimension which directly relates
to the war on Lebanon. Whereas Russia has been weakened,
Israel is slated to play a major strategic role in "protecting"
the Eastern Mediterranean transport and pipeline corridors
out of Ceyhan.

Militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean

The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully planned and
coordinated military road map. The extension of the war into
Syria and Iran has already been contemplated by US and Israeli
military planners. This broader military agenda is intimately
related to strategic oil and oil pipelines. It is supported by
the Western oil giants which control the pipeline corridors.
In the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks Israeli territorial
control over the East Mediterranean coastline.

In this context, the BTC pipeline dominated by British Petroleum,
has dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern
Mediterranean, which is now linked , through an energy
corridor, to the Caspian sea basin:

"[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of the
region's countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having
taken the pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has
practically set up a new bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey
and Israel, " (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)

Israel is now part of the Anglo-American military axis, which
serves the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East
and Central Asia.

While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel
oil to Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part
of the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled
towards Israel. In this regard, an underwater Israeli-Turkish
pipeline project has been envisaged which would link Ceyhan
to the Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel's
main pipeline system, to the Red Sea.

The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil
for its own consumption needs but also to play a key role in
re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through
the Red Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this
re-routing of Caspian sea oil are farreaching.

What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel
Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline, from
Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. In April 2006, Israel
and Turkey announced plans for four underwater pipelines,
which would bypass Syrian and Lebanese territory.

"Turkey and Israel are negotiating the construction of a multi-
million-dollar energy and water project that will transport water,
electricity, natural gas and oil by pipelines to Israel, with the
oil to be sent onward from Israel to the Far East,

The new Turkish-Israeli proposal under discussion would see
the transfer of water, electricity, natural gas and oil to Israel
via four underwater pipelines.

“Baku oil can be transported to Ashkelon via this new
pipeline and to India and the Far East.[via the Red sea]"

"Ceyhan and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon are situated
only 400 km apart. Oil can be transported to the city in tankers
or via specially constructed under-water pipeline. From Ashkelon
the oil can be pumped through already existing pipeline to the
port of Eilat at the Red Sea; and from there it can be transported
to India and other Asian countries in tankers. (REGNUM )

Water for Israel

Also involved in this project is a pipeline to bring water to Israel,
pumping water from upstream resources of the Tigris and
Euphrates river system in Anatolia. This has been a long-run
strategic objective of Israel to the detriment of Syria and Iraq.
Israel's agenda with regard to water is supported by the military
cooperation agreement between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

The Strategic Re-routing of Central Asian Oil

Diverting Central Asian oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean
(under Israeli military protection), for re-export back to Asia,
serves to undermine the inter-Asian energy market, which is
based on the development of direct pipeline corridors linking
Central Asia and Russia to South Asia, China and the Far East.

Ultimately, this design is intended to weaken Russia's role in
Central Asia and cut off China from Central Asian oil resources.
It is also intended to isolate Iran.

Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a new powerful player in
the global energy market.

Russia's Military Presence in the Middle East

Meanwhile, Moscow has responded to the US-Israeli-Turkish
design to militarize the East Mediterranean coastline with
plans to establish a Russian naval base in the Syrian port
of Tartus:

"Defense Ministry sources point out that a naval base in
Tartus will enable Russia to solidify its positions in the Middle
East and ensure security of Syria. Moscow intends to deploy
an air defense system around the base - to provide air cover
for the base itself and a substantial part of Syrian territory.
(S-300PMU-2 Favorit systems will not be turned over to the
Syrians. They will be manned and serviced by Russian personnel.)

Kommerzant, 2 June 2006,

Tartus is strategically located within 30 km. of the Lebanese border.

Moreover, Moscow and Damascus have reached an agreement
on the modernization of Syria's air defenses as well as a program
in support to its ground forces, the modernization of its MIG-29
fighters as well as its submarines. (Kommerzant, 2 June 2006).
In the context of an escalating conflict, these developments have
farreaching implications.

War and Oil Pipelines

Prior to the bombing of Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced
the underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon.
These underwater pipeline routes do not overtly encroach
on the territorial sovereignty of Lebanon and Syria.

On the other hand, the development of alternative land based
corridors (for oil and water) through Lebanon and Syria would
require Israeli-Turkish territorial control over the Eastern
Mediterranean coastline through Lebanon and Syria.

The implementation of a land-based corridor, as opposed
to the underwater pipeline project, would require the militarisation
of the East Mediterranean coastline, extending from the port of
Ceyhan across Syria and Lebanon to the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon?
Open up a space which enables Israel to control a vast territory
extending from the Lebanese border through Syria to Turkey.

"The Long War"

Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert has stated that the Israeli
offensive against Lebanon would "last a very long time".
Meanwhile, the US has speeded up weapons shipments
to Israel.

There are strategic objectives underlying the "Long War"
which are tied to oil and oil pipelines.

The air campaign against Lebanon is inextricably related to
US-Israeli strategic objectives in the broader Middle East
including Syria and Iran. In recent developments, Secretary
of State Condoleeza Rice stated that the main purpose of
her mission to the Middle East was not to push for
a ceasefire in Lebanon, but rather to isolate Syria and
Iran. (Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2006)

At this particular juncture, the replenishing of Israeli
stockpiles of US produced WMDs points to an escalation
of the war both within and beyond the borders of Lebanon.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international
best seller "The Globalization of Poverty " published in
eleven languages. He is Professor of Economics at the
University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research
on Globalization, at . He is also
a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His most
recent book is entitled: America’s "War on Terrorism",
Global Research, 2005. To order Chossudovsky's book
America's "War on Terrorism", click here.

Revised, 28 July 2006.

For media inquiries:

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2006


5) Israel trying the same trap on Lebanon
By Shadi Fadda

Israel trying the same trap on Lebanon
By Shadi Fadda,
Israeli policy of committing massacres on the civilians is not a simple
crime, as just to commit a crime out of their will to kill. It is not an
individual committing a crime, not a group of criminals; it is “The State”.
State of Israel, has in its experience found that the best way to fight
Arab-popular-resistance is to start by playing with their nerves.
They have learnt from al-Aqsa uprising that committing big crimes
against humanity is the way to achieve the favored response,
which comes from people’s heart rather than their mind.
In the Al-Aqsa Intifada Israeli Occupation Forces have in the first
week of the Uprising spent more than one million bullets[1], at the
same time they killed tens and injured thousands of Palestinians,
there was no attack on Israeli civilians. The goal was achieved,
as Palestinian response was through Martyr Attacks. The armed
resistance, with no strategic plan, was the favored achievement
of the most advanced military in the Middle East.
In the first two months of the Palestinian Second Uprising,
as relating to the PRCS[2] the number of casualties exceeds the
following seven months as relating to death, and exceeds the
following year ! and a ha lf in number of injured.
Sadly, the Palestinian side has fallen into Zionist trap, and made
the second uprising be related to as ‘armed uprising’. As opposed
to the first uprising, Israeli side had achieved their goals. Despite
their loosing some 900 Israelis out of Palestinian attacks (more
than half of them being of IOF “Israeli Occupation Forces”),
as opposed to 11 in the first uprising, Israel has achieved i
mprisoning the Palestinians behind the Apartheid Wall.
Today, after spending 18 days attacking Lebanon, using their
US-Made Air forces, killing more than 600 civilians, and four
members of UN forces, IOF is trying to apply the same policy
on the Lebanese Resistance.
Today 30-Jul-2006 Israeli, “Jewish State?,” Forces have attacked
the building where the civilians of town of Qana were sleeping,
and succeeded in killing more than 50 civilians, at 1 am while
sleeping; among the murdered were at least 27 children
all below age of 10.
The response of the Lebanese streets is very similar to that
of the Palestinian streets in October 2000. Israeli goal is clearly
to achieve the similar response of Hezbollah, as that of the
Palestinians in 2000. Until now, Hezbollah had proved itself
to always respond from the mind, I hope for it to remain.

[1] Haaretz, “More than a million bullets” by Reuven Pedatzur,
June 29, 2004
[2] Palestine Red Crescent Society


6) Enhance force levels? Look to immigrants.
The US should grant preference for visas to those
willing to serve in the military.
By Kevin Ryan

While in Moscow as US Defense attaché from 2001 to
2003, I received several calls from Russians with a
remarkable and unexpected request. They wanted to join
the United States Army.

I often think of those phone calls now as I consider
the efforts our nation makes to find and recruit
quality men and women into the service. Is there an
opportunity out there beyond our borders that we ought
to explore while recruiting the best and brightest to
our nation's defense?

I would like to make the case that there is, and it
could benefit our nation in a number of ways.

As our country debates a multitude of immigration
issues, otherwise opposing sides seem to agree on at
least one thing: There is value in recruiting
immigrants into our military forces.

The president and Congress have been working with the
Department of Defense since 2002 to encourage legal
immigrants to join the military by promising to speed
up the process for citizenship for any member of the
service who completes one year of duty. In the four
years since the program began, more than 25,000
immigrants in uniform have become American citizens.
That's the equivalent of one of the active Army's 10
divisions being manned entirely by immigrants.

The average American may not know it, but non-US
citizens have for years been accepted into our
military as volunteers. The only prerequisite has been
a green card demonstrating permission to reside in the
US. Most of these immigrants became American citizens,
having served in our nation's defense even before they
received all of its benefits and rights. Instead of
thinking outside the box when recruiting, let's make
the box bigger and seek out these great soldiers in
the numbers we need.

The US Army, which in 2005 fell 7,000 soldiers short
of its recruiting goal, already has recruiters in
American territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico. Why
can't we expand our presence overseas to recruit
foreign citizens who also possess higher educations
and speak English? The idea is not as far-fetched as
one might think. In an analogous effort, the Army
Materiel Command stations teams around the globe to
obtain new technologies to fulfill our materiel needs.
The same principle can apply to satisfying our
personnel requirements. We only accept the
highest-grade technologies, and we would only recruit
the highest-caliber people.

According to its annual Visa Office Report, the State
Department issued over 5 million temporary
(nonimmigrant) visas in 2005 to foreigners to come to
America as businessmen, students, tourists, etc.
Another 2 million requests, however, were refused.

Of those 2 million, 1.5 million applicants were
refused entry not because of any crimes, illness, or
undesirable behavior, but solely because they could
not establish that they intended to return to their
country of origin. In other words, they met our
standards for being in America but couldn't prove they
would only stay temporarily. Do you think we could
have convinced half of 1 percent (7,000) among that
1.5 million people to come to our country and serve in
our armed forces in exchange for the privilege to stay
longer than temporarily? I wager we could have.

If the US Army placed one recruiting station in the
capital of India, an English-speaking democracy of
more than a billion people, we would have available a
pool of enlistment-age adults equivalent to the entire
population of the United States - more than 300
million men and women. Or, if we don't want to pay for
a recruiting station in New Delhi, we could mail
recruiting brochures to some of the 1 million foreign
students who actually make it to America's colleges
and institutes on temporary visas each year. Perhaps
they would like to have their school debts paid along
with guaranteed work.

Our nation historically grants preference for visas to
people who bring valuable skills and talents to
America. Skills that are in short supply. We should
add a new category to the 27-plus preferences on the
books - military recruit. The DOD could set the
standards (educational, physical, linguistic, etc.)
for the recruits, and Congress could authorize State
and Defense officials to offer enlistment in our armed
forces to up to 10,000 qualified visa applicants each
year. The Army could seek out soldiers with valuable
cultural and language capabilities. America could put
recruiting shortages in its past, and the country
would gain educated, legal, patriotic, new immigrants
who, like immigrants before them, would do the work
that many Americans won't - serve their country in its

• Retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan is a senior fellow
with the Belfer Center for Science and International
Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He
served in Air Defense and Eurasian Foreign Area
assignments for over 29 years. His most recent
assignment was deputy director for Army Strategy,
Plans, and Policy.


7) Why queers should oppose JROTC
Guest Opinion
Published 07/27/2006 Bay Area Reporter
by Tom Ammiano, Mark Sanchez, and Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (or JROTC) is an
official program of the U.S. Department of Defense
that is offered to 1,625 kids in high schools in San
Francisco as an alternative to physical education. In
a city that is overwhelmingly antiwar and pro-queer,
the presence of the antigay military in our schools is
indeed puzzling. Especially given the fact that the
San Francisco Unified School District stopped allowing
Boy Scouts of America school facility usage when that
organization refused to change its discriminatory
policy toward gay men.

School board members are likely to vote Tuesday,
August 22 on a resolution to phase out JROTC. If the
proposal is approved, a blue-ribbon panel will be
formed to find and implement a non-military program to
replace JROTC. At present, the resolution has the
support of the majority of school board members.

The LGBT community should stand with those community
leaders who want to tell the military: Not in our
schools. The reason is quite simple: The military has
always been a hotbed of homophobia. It used to
outright ban all LGBT folks. In 1993, then-President
Bill Clinton proposed lifting that ban. Facing strong
opposition from the Pentagon, he compromised, giving
us "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Under this policy, the
military can't ask a recruit his/her sexual
orientation and the inductee can't volunteer it,
either, or s/he gets booted. The result: hundreds of
LGBT folks are ousted from the military each year.
Between 1994 (when DADT was first implemented) and
2005, about 11,182 service members have gotten the ax
for being queer. The Government Accounting Office says
that the cost to taxpayers was $200 million. According
to Human Rights Campaign: "In 2002, 83 percent of
those discharged from the Air Force under Don't Ask,
Don't Tell were 18 to 25 years old, although they
accounted for only 35 percent of the force." If that's
not bad enough, there are reports of soldiers being
harassed, gay- and lesbian-baited, and even beaten and
killed for being, or for suspicion of being, queer.

Proponents of JROTC say that the program here in San
Francisco is not like that. In fact, our local JROTC
doesn't discriminate against anyone, they claim. LGBT
students have even testified at school board hearings
about their positive experiences with the local
chapter. They also say that JROTC has at least one out
gay instructor. But what they don't say or perhaps
don't know is that while it may be safe to be an out
queer in the local JROTC, it's a different story if an
LGBT person goes on to join the military itself. Talk
about being at a disadvantage. According to Sandra
Schwartz of the American Friends Service Committee:
LGBT JROTC members are ineligible for enlisting at a
higher rank in the U.S. military. They cannot receive
ROTC scholarships. They are nixed from military
academy nominations. Out queer instructors in the
local JROTC program are an anomaly and definitely not
the rule in the military world. Says Schwartz, "If
there is a gay JROTC instructor in S.F., it is only
because he came out in such a way as to avoid a forced
discharge from the military, in the same way that
other people can avoid the consequences of
discrimination by finding a way to 'pass.'"

LGBT JROTC students who join the military (as 50
percent of JROTCers do, though that percent is
fortunately much lower here in San Francisco) will
face discrimination for the rest of their military
careers, even discharge if they are found out or come
out. Our local school district, which has a stated
nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation,
has an obligation to take a stand against such
discrimination, as it did with the Boy Scouts. If not,
it is participating in this discrimination by
knowingly allowing out LGBT kids to be discriminated
against or even excluded altogether.

It's time for the school board to do the right thing
and reject an institution that promotes homophobia and
discrimination and that prepares young working-class
teens to be fodder for America's oil wars overseas.
Our schools should be helping young people to "be all
that they can be." They don't need the military to
teach them leadership or other life skills.

Join us in supporting the resolution to phase out
JROTC in favor of a non-military program in our

Tom Ammiano is the openly queer District 9 supervisor
and a former school board president. Mark Sanchez, the
only queer member of the current San Francisco Board
of Education, authored the current anti-JROTC
resolution. Tommi Avicolli Mecca is a longtime queer
antiwar activist who was recently honored by the
American Friends Service Committee.


8) Free Josh Wolf
Thursday, August 3, 2006

JOSH WOLF is an imperfect martyr for freedom of the press.
The 24-year-old freelance journalist from San Francisco makes
no pretense of being fair and balanced. He is a self-proclaimed
anarchist. Advocacy, not objectivity, appears to be his driving
motivation. "The revolution will be televised," his Web site promises.

But the First Amendment was not crafted just to protect the
mainstream media. One of its clear aims was to allow journalists
to do their jobs without government regulation or interference.

It's hard to think of a more basic measure of a free country than
the ability of people to demonstrate against government policies
-- and the freedom of journalists to edit and disseminate their
accounts of such events.

Wolf was recording a demonstration by a group of anarchists on
July 8, 2005. The demonstration turned unruly, with some of the
protesters vandalizing buildings and scuffling with police. Wolf
posted some of the videos on his Web site.

Federal prosecutors are demanding that Wolf turn over the outtakes
-- claiming to be specifically interested in the attempted burning
of a police car.

Wolf's refusal to turn over his unpublished material would seem
to be covered by the state's shield law.

However, federal prosecutors are arguing that the sliding of a burning
mattress under a police cruiser constitutes a federal crime because
the San Francisco Police Department receives money from the U.S.
government. Yes, the argument is a stretch.

But the really ominous element of the government's argument is the
notion that a journalist can be compelled to turn over raw material
-- be it notes or video outtakes -- at the government's whim. If that
standard can apply to Josh Wolf, it can be used against CNN, NBC,
Fox News or any independent journalist who is conducting an
investigation or trying to record a chaotic event. Journalists are
not agents of the government.

This case comes at a particularly precarious time for the First
Amendment. The Bush administration has become increasingly
aggressive about pursuing and prosecuting leaks -- including
The Chronicle's publication of grand jury testimony about an
investigation into performance-enhancing drugs at the highest
level of sports. On Tuesday, a federal court cleared the way for
prosecutors to inspect the telephone records of two New York
Times reporters in an effort to identify their confidential sources.

Today, Wolf sits in a federal prison cell, facing the possibility
of staying there until the grand jury's term expires in July 2007.

He may not have the clout or journalism credentials of some
of the other government targets, but Josh Wolf is no less entitled
to First Amendment protection. Each day he remains incarcerated
represents another small dent in this nation's basic freedoms.

Page B - 6


9) Massacre at Qana may be a turning point
By Karim Makdisi
Posted on Fri, Aug. 04, 2006

Earlier this week, we woke to the news that there had been yet
another massacre in South Lebanon. Reports say that anywhere
from 28 to 60 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed
when Israeli missiles took down a building in which refugees had
gathered for safety in the biblical town of Qana, where Jesus
performed his first miracle, turning water into wine. As mutilated
children were pulled from the debris, my wife and I instinctively
held on tightly to our own two young daughters.

No one here believes Israeli claims that this attack was
"unintentional." For Lebanese and Arabs everywhere, memories
of a previous slaughter in Qana flooded back. In 1996, Israeli
planes chased fleeing residents into the well-marked United
Nations camp there. About 100 civilians - again mostly women
and children - were killed.

Now, Lebanon is facing its 24th day of relentless assault by
Israeli air, sea and ground forces amid a humanitarian disaster.
Hundreds of Lebanese have been killed and thousands more
injured. Nearly a million have become refugees.

Israel's war on Lebanon, however, seems not to be going
according to plan. Hezbollah - which most Arabs refer
to as the Resistance - has so far repelled the superior might
of the Israeli army, and gained unprecedented popular support
within Lebanon and the wider Arab and Muslim world. Israel's
military strategy is unraveling into a desperate and
indiscriminate lashing out against Lebanon's infrastructure
and its beleaguered civilian population.

When Israel began its attacks, Lebanon was deeply divided
politically. Leaders of the pro-American March 14 coalition,
including many cabinet ministers and members of parliament,
publicly accused Hezbollah of acting like a "state within
a state" to advance Syrian or Iranian interests at the expense
of Lebanon's sovereignty. This unprecedented criticism was
angrily denounced by an alliance led by Hezbollah and populist
Christian leader Gen. Michel Aoun, as well as Arab nationalists,
leftists, and many citizens across Lebanon's sectarian divide.

The pro-American Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and
Jordan joined the United States and Europe in openly blaming
Hezbollah for its "adventurism" in capturing two Israeli soldiers.
There seemed to be tacit approval by many Arab regimes
to destroy, or at least clip the wings off Hezbollah to alter the
balance of power within Lebanon in favor of the March 14 camp,
and to stem what was seen as an increasingly powerful Shia
crescent that links Hezbollah with Syria and Iran.

The projected swift defeat of Hezbollah was to have been
a major victory for America in its "war on terror" and its plans
to kick-start yet another "new Middle East" after similar plans
failed so disastrously in Iraq and Palestine, not to mention

This latest massacre in Qana, however, may be a turning
point against U.S. plans for Lebanon and the region: It has
wiped away any ambivalence about who started this war,
and has unified Lebanon and the Arab world behind the
Resistance. The March 14 leaders and Arab regimes have
now followed their outraged citizens in demanding an end
to Israel's assault and American complicity, as well
as accountability for all the massacres of this brutal war.

Hezbollah and Syria look likely to emerge stronger than
before, while Israel's military faces a humiliating defeat
that would resonate across the Arab world.

Qana has also buttressed the suspicions of many Lebanese
and Arabs: This war is part of an Israeli-American plan
to assert U.S. and Israeli hegemony over servile, autocratic
and unpopular Arab regimes. America's role in blocking U.N.
calls for an immediate cease-fire, and its apparent willingness
to grant Israel more time for its assault - with all the suffering
that this entails for ordinary Lebanese - therefore comes
as no surprise. It represents, however, the final nail in the
coffin of America's credibility in the region.

Karim Makdisi ( is an assistant professor
of political studies at the American University of Beirut.


People are encouraged to write a letter 200 words or less
to the editor of the Philadelphia Enquirer commending
them for printing this article among the mass media sea
of propaganda and lies.

Open Letter to the Editor of the Philadelphia Enquirer
By Bonnie Weinstein:

Dear Editor,

Thank you for printing Karim Makdisi’s commentary
on the Qana massacre. I am flabbergasted by coverage
of these events—the news media’s responding like
Congress did when Bush declared the "War on Terror"
and defined the “Axis of Evil”--jumping up and down
like jackrabbits, cheering!

American Imperialism's plan for the Middle East can
be traced back to the end of WWII when Jews, who
were fleeing fascist extermination, were turned away
from our shores. Why? To propagate a separate Zionist
state that would become America's giant aircraft carrier
in the Middle East--to do just what they are doing now,
establishing military bases to steal land and resources
for profit!

The American people have a courageous history that
began, ironically, with the fight to end their own
occupation and went on to fight slavery, racism, religious
discrimination, sexism, classism; and, most recently,
for basic human rights and amnesty from unjust laws
for immigrants-- a long history of working people having
to fight to win our right to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness and a world without war!

Our fight continues!

Bonnie Weinstein
375 Winfield Street
San Francisco, CA 94110


10) An open letter to the American president By Salim El Hoss
By Salim El Hoss, former prime minister of Lebanon
The Daily Star, August 3, 2006

Dear Mr. Bush,

We heard you express your regrets regarding the casualties of "Israel's"
ravaging war against my country, Lebanon.

I hope you have been furnished with a true profile of the atrocities being
perpetrated in my country. You pose as being at war with terrorism. Let me
honestly tell you: Charity starts at home.

""Israel"" is wantonly indulging in the most horrendous forms of terrorism
in Lebanon: indiscriminately killing innocent civilians at random; not
sparing children, elderly or handicapped people; demolishing buildings over
their residents' heads; and destroying all infrastructure, roads, bridges,
water and power arteries, harbors, air strips and storage facilities.
Nothing moving on the highways is spared, not even ambulan ces, trucks,
trailers, cars or even motorcycles, all in violation of the Geneva
Conventions and human rights.

The displaced population has reached more than one fourth of the total
population of my country - all suffering the harshest and most miserable of
conditions. The victims include thousands of killed and maimed.
If this is not terrorism, what is?

"Israel's" savage assault has been labeled retribution for Hizbullah's
abduction of two Israeli soldiers. This smacks of collective punishment,
which constitutes a brazen violation of the Geneva Conventions and human
rights. Furthermore, the alibi is far from plausible. The two Israeli
soldiers were abducted for the express purpose of reaching a swap of
hostages with "Israel". In fact, "Israel" had acceded more than once to such
swaps in the past. Why would a swap of prisoners be acceptable at one time
and a taboo, rather a casus belli, at another? This created a conviction
among the Lebanese that the sweeping assault against them was premeditated,
and the abduction was only a tenuous excuse.

"Israel" is indulging in terrorism at its worst, at its ugliest, using the
most lethal and sophisticated weapons you have supplied them.

We the Lebanese are justified in seeing in "Israel" as a most atrocious
terrorist power, and seeing in you a direct partner. Mr. President: You are
indeed a terrorist practicing the worst variant of terrorism as you condone
the annihilation of my country, precluding a cease-fire to be announced,
supporting the aggression against my people politically and diplomatically
and bolstering "Israel's" destructive arsenal with the most lethal weaponry.
Mr. President: You are not fooling anybody with your alleged war against
terrorism. In our perspective, you and "Israel" are the most unscrupulous
terrorists on earth. If yo u want to fight terrorism, we suggest that you
start with your administration and your hideous ally, "Israel".

You repeatedly claim that "Israel" is acting in self-defense. How
preposterous! Self-defense on other people's occupied territory is
tantamount to one thing: blatant aggression.

You call Hizbullah a terrorist organization. We call it a legitimate
resistance movement. There would have been no military wing of Hizbullah if
there had been no Lebanese territory under Israeli occupation, if there had
been no Lebanese hostages languishing in Israeli jails, and if Lebanon had
not been exposed to almost daily Israeli intrusions into its airspace and
territorial waters, and to sporadic incursions into Lebanese land and
bombardment of civilian targets.

You cannot eliminate a party by demolishing a whole country. This would have
been achieved peacefully by "Israel" withdrawing from the land it occupi es,
releasing Lebanese prisoners, and desisting from further acts of aggression
against Lebanon.

"Israel" is the most horrendous terrorist power. And you, Mr. President, are
unmistakably a direct partner, and hence a straight terrorist.
August 1, 2006
Source:Daily Star, 3-8-2006.  Date: 03/08/2006  Time 09:51


11) A City Lives On With Its Ill-Fated Charm
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

*BEIRUT, Aug 5 (IPS) - The poster on the corniche near the American
University campus in Beirut has become justly well known. It shows a
Muslim woman in full black abaya walking next to a slender woman in a
bikini. Together, they're the face of Beirut.*

Again this weekend Israeli jets bombed the Muslim areas of Beirut,
'Hezbollah strongholds' as Israel sees them. It also bombed a bridge in
the Christian area of the city in recent days. But attacks on a
Christian area are rare; Beirut is not quite one in getting shattered.

This has been a city with two faces, Christian and Muslim. The
distinction between the two has not always been that sharp. Beirut at
its most charming merges the two entirely. But it is in that division
that Beirut has found its troubles, and also overcome them.

It's the conflict between Christian and Muslim groups that ripped Beirut
apart over years of civil war through the seventies and eighties. It was
ignited when a militant group of Christian right-wingers massacred all
27 Palestinian passengers in a bus Apr.. 13, 1975. Reprisal killings
followed, setting off a spiral of violence that continued 17 years.

Beirut was before then a city that had merged two faces, even two
worlds. The West gave it the title 'Paris of the Orient'. Its white
villas with those red tiled roofs sent well-heeled shoppers to the chic
shopping districts downtown. It was a city on holiday.

Beirut drew Westerners who could ski on Mount Lebanon overlooking the
city by day, and drive down to a seafood feast on the warmth of its
beaches by the crystal blue Mediterranean in the evening. Odd, how this
little country of less than four million has managed to include so many

Western influence has been strong on a large middle class. Many parents
have traditionally sent their children to the West for higher education.
Many young Lebanese married abroad, and carry two passports. And in turn
their children are often raised both in Lebanon and the West.

Over time, that became more the pattern for the Christian than the
Muslim population. And among Muslims, Shias have grown to almost 60
percent of the Lebanese population now. With the growth of Shias came
the rise of the Hezbollah to counter the Israeli threats from the south.

Within the country religious groups began to splinter in the early
seventies. Sunni and Shia Muslims, displaced Palestinians, Maronite
Christians, Druze groups, all began to go their different ways; they
often found themselves in the way of others, and others in theirs. The
bus massacre only gave this explosive mix the ignition.

Syrian intervention, followed by an Israeli invasion in March 1978
brought yet more killing. It reached a point where several countries
including France and the United States had to send in peacekeepers. But
they too became targets; in 1983 220 U.S. marines and 21 other
servicemen were killed in their barracks in Beirut in a terrorist
attack. The peacekeeping forces withdrew.

The civil war claimed 18,000 lives in Beirut alone.

The Taif Accord, signed in Taif in Saudi Arabia Oct. 22, 1989, reduced
some of the disproportionately high power that Maronite Christians held,
and provided for a Cabinet divided equally between Christians and
Muslims. But that arrangement still did not make room enough for the
growing power of the Shias. At the same time the government could do
little to counter Israeli threats.

The Hezbollah that rose in the eighties proceeded to become a militant
power stronger than the Lebanese military. The Hezbollah were the ones
preparing to take on Israel.

But even so, after a couple of years of the signing of the Taif
agreement, peace had become fairly stable. Trade picked up, and tourism
began to flourish as it had in the Beirut of the years between World War
II and the early seventies. Israel continued to occupy portions of
southern Lebanon, but the people of Beirut began to wipe off the dust,
and began to rebuild.

That was until the new destruction began last month, that has made about
a quarter of the population refugees in their own country. The Shatila
camp too has become a refugee camp again. This is where Israel-backed
Christian militiamen killed close to a thousand Palestinian refugees in

Once again Lebanon has fallen just as it had begun to rise again. Before
this round of Israeli bombing of Beirut began Jul. 12, you could pass a
shelled building, with its walls pockmarked by shrapnel and bullets from
the civil war days, standing next to a gleaming shopping centre with
workers polishing the glass for the perfect shine. The new bombing is
providing more such contrasts. You can still pass villas and fashionable
restaurants, not far from the born again Shatila refugee camp.

Old Mercedes taxis, many more than 30 years old, belch out black smoke
as they get overtaken by new Mercedes cars driven by chic young Lebanese
on the roads that are still motorable. That contrast Beirut has lived
with. The new one between the destruction of southern Beirut and the
rebuilt smartness of central and Christian Beirut will be a lot harder
to bridge.

Beirut still boasts some of the finest restaurants around the
Mediterranean. And it has exported its traditional salads, rice and lamb
dishes and its kebabs and hummus around the world. But it lives with 20
percent unemployment. The old civil war drove capital away from the
city; the new one is likely to drive back much that had come in after
the Taif agreement.

It's the Shia population shattered most. Through these days of
destruction, Hamra, a ten-minute drive from the southern districts where
most of the Shia population live, presents a face of life as usual.
Joggers are doing their rounds at the coast as usual, shops remain open,
the streets are clogged with traffic. Israel has chosen with some care
the face of Lebanon that it has picked to bomb.

Hamra remains pleasant, but under the cloud of war. The waves of
tourists have been replaced by a trickle of journalists. Electricity
supply is sporadic, queues for petrol are lengthening. Beirut - and
Hamra too - are on a precipice. The way down from the cliffs this time
may not end with seafood on the Mediterranean coast.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
August 05, 2006


12) Black Beaches in Lebanon
July 29, 2006
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

Towards the beginning of the war, Israeli air strikes target five of the
six oil storage tanks at the electrical plant in El-Jiye city. El-Jiya
is a small coastal city roughly 20 miles south of Beirut. The prevailing
winds blow towards the north, up the coast, so this translates into most
of the coast of Lebanon north of that city now being smeared with 50,000
tons of fuel oil.

On Friday my photographer friend Raoul, a British photographer named
Mark and I headed up to the coastal city of Byblos to see how the
fishermen there and local tourist economy were holding up. I'd seen some
of the footage of the oil choked boat harbor in Byblos, and wanted to
see it for myself.

After a nice drive up the highway north to Byblos, (there is much more
traffic on the roads now that most of the air strikes have let up in the
area north of Beirut), we arrived to find the harbor nearly completely
filled with oil

"What a disaster, this is heartbreaking," muttered Raoul while Mark and
I stood by and nodded our disgust.

Byblos is a seaside city whose economy is heavily reliant on fishing and
tourism. The city dates from the 5th millennium B.C. and it is believed
that the linear alphabet originated there.

We spread out and took photos of the sludge filled harbor, an odd scene
as the setting was so beautiful. Date palm fronds ruffled in the sea
breeze as they stood amongst harbor-view restaurants with flags from
various Arab countries fluttering. The salty air from the sea would have
been nice, if it wasn't for the tinged oily residue smell that by the
end of our visit left me with a headache.

The bottoms of most of the boats, at water line, looked like a bad
graffiti artist with too many cans of jet-black spray paint went on a
rampage during the night. Ropes which tied the boats to the dock lifted
up and down as boats shifted in the waves. As they stretched tight,
rivulets of oil dripped from them back into the oil-covered water. It
was so thick it looked like you could walk on it to pick up the garbage
which was trapped in the oil.

After about an hour we decided to take a lunch at one of the empty
restaurants. While the photographers carried on their work, I went to
one of these and found three men sitting at a table smoking cigarettes,
drinking coffee, and staring at the harbor.

"The Lebanese government definitely does not have the capability to
clean this us," Nabil Baz, the restaurant owner said to me after I
introduced myself as a journalist. After ordering me a coffee, he said,
"I heard we were going to get some help from Kuwait, but I don't know
how true this is or when they might start the cleanup process."

The occasional local strolled by on the sidewalk beneath us; otherwise
the harbor was empty, along with the empty fishing boats bobbing in the
sludge, their tubs of nets sitting idle.

Nabil, while talking with me, would periodically look out over the
harbor and shake his head, take a drag from his cigarette, then return
to our discussion. As bad as the scene was, he believed the main problem
for the fishermen, rather than the oil spill, was the Israeli naval
blockade of Lebanon which has prevented any boat traffic to leave the
coast for any reason.

"No fishermen are able to work at all," he said, "I have no idea how our
community will recover from this. We are going to need some serious help."

Since the bombing of El-Jiye, a huge black smoke plume has been visible
even from areas in northern Lebanon, beyond Byblos. The smoke varies
between blowing up the coast or into the nearby mountains. From Byblos
it appeared as a faint grey smudge across the sky, just off the coast.
But that was only because on that day the wind was blowing more
inland-so down in Beirut the plume was going towards the mountains.

Joseph Chaloub, a 55 year-old fisherman who has fished from the Byblos
harbor his entire life, sat with us. He said that his greatest concern
now was the lack of a cleanup operation.

"The problem is there is no cleanup, along with the Israeli blockade,"
he said while pointing to the nearby Mediterranean, "Otherwise we could
fish and survive. Now, it's a catastrophe that people have lost their

In addition to the fishing industry, the overall economy of Byblos, like
so many other cities in Lebanon who rely heavily on tourism for their
survival, has ground to a near standstill.

"Everything is down now, only the local markets and the refugees are
keeping our economy going," a local banker named Tony Ashar who was
sitting with us added, "Also there is no US currency in our banks to
give to people when they want to make a withdrawal."

Ashar explained that since Israeli warplanes bombed Beirut International
Airport, the influx of US dollars to Lebanese banks, which rely on the
currency for travelers since the value of the Lebanese currency is fluid
and low, has come to a complete halt.

"We usually have US currency flown in, but now there's a big concern
that we may have to limit the amount of US dollars we can give out," he
continued, "So that makes it difficult for people to travel, which is a
big problem since so many people are leaving the country now."

I should add that the Lebanese immigration authorities are working 18
hours a day and issuing an average of 5,000 passports per day, as the
flow of people out of Lebanon continues. Foreign nationals are still
being loaded onto ships from the port of Beirut to be whisked to safety
on nearby Cypress.

Mohamad Yasouk, an information technology engineer who was also sitting
at the table, said that he didn't believe the already weak economy of
Lebanon could survive much longer if the war continued more than two
more weeks.

"With the oil spill and the war, all of the tourists are gone," he said,
"I came to Byblos from south Beirut since my home was bombed." He turned
and pointed a short ways up the coast and added, "Yet even here two
nights ago the Israelis bombed an Army radar nearby. The same one they
bombed two weeks ago."

Nabil, while forlornly staring at the sludge filled harbor and empty
sidewalks again, said that this was what Byblos looked like in the
middle of winter. "The tourists are afraid because of the war, then the
few who are left here don't want to eat the fish, even though the fish
are caught further to the north and brought here. So our main economy is
gone now."

After our meal we drove back to Beirut. I'd been to the tourist beaches
here a few days ago-to take photos of the flotillas of oil washing up on
the empty beaches, which are usually jammed with tourists this time of year.

Pools of oil sloshed up with the waves, staining the beach and rocks. A
group of Palestinian fisherman who used to fish the coast near the
capital city sat staring at the waves as the sun began to set in late

Several of them were sitting around in a small beach hut with a palm
frond roof. They too were staring at the sea, as if to wish the oil
away, and the Israeli naval blockade, so they could do their work.
Instead of working their nets and earning money by selling fresh sea
bass to the local markets and restaurants, the darkly tanned men were
sitting around drinking strong Arabic coffee and smoking too many

"If we tried to fish, the Israelis would kill us," said one of them who
told me his name was Hafez. "Besides, nobody would eat the fish anyway
even if we could fish. Now we wait for a miracle, something to take this
oil away and stop this war."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


13) Images from Lebanon

I have taken many photographs of different aspects of the conflict in

To view:
Israeli Air Strikes Targeting Lebanese Red Cross
Click here

To view:
Scenes from Shelter in Qana where on July 30, Israeli air strikes killed
over 60 civilians, 37 of whom were children, as they slept in a shelter.
Click here

To view:
Views of villages and roads in southern Lebanon which have been hit by
Israeli air strikes. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Targets destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Sidon, and on highway
between Sidon and Beirut. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Wounded Lebanese civilians, many in critical condition, crowd hospitals
in Sidon. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Israeli air strikes destroyed 5 of 6 oil storage tanks at electrical
plant in El-Jiye, leaving much of Lebanon's coast covered in oil,
including the ancient harbor at Byblos.
Click here

To view:
Images of destruction south of Beirut, as well as inside Beirut, from
Israeli air raids. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
As Israeli air strikes continue, wounded Lebanese arrive at hospitals in
Beirut. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Israeli bombings of oil storage tanks near the coast, along with an
Hezbollah attack against an Israeli warship have left Beirut's beaches
covered in oil.
Click here

To view:
Approximately 75% of southern Beirut has been damaged or destroyed by a
massive Israeli air assault. July, 2006.
Click here

To view:
Lebanese refugees from southern Beirut and southern Lebanon, fleeing
Israeli bombs, now living in Parks in central Beirut. July 2006.
Click here

To view:
Refugees from Lebanon clog the northern border with Syria, as they flee
for their lives from indiscriminate Israeli bombing of their country,
July 2006.
Click here

To view:
As Israel invades Lebanon, tens of thousands of people jam the border
with Syria to escape the bloodshed in July 2006.
Click here

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


14) ‘Dead Zone’ Reappears Off the Oregon Coast
August 6, 2006

For the fifth year in a row, unusual wind patterns off the coast
of Oregon have produced a large “dead zone,” an area so low
in oxygen that fish and crabs suffocate.

This dead zone is unlike those in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere,
which result from fertilizer, sewage or runoff from hog or poultry
operations carried by rivers. The Oregon zone appears when
the wind generates strong currents carrying nutrient-rich but
oxygen-poor water from the deep sea to the surface near shore,
a process called upwelling.

The nutrients encourage the growth of plankton, which eventually
dies and falls to the ocean floor. Bacteria there consume
the plankton, using up oxygen.

Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist at Oregon State University,
said the phenomenon did not appear to be linked to recurring
El Niño or La Niña currents or to long-term cycles of ocean
movements. That made Dr. Lubchenco wonder if climate
change might be a factor, she said, adding, “There is no
other cause, as far as we can determine.”

The dead zone, which appears in late spring and lasts
a matter of weeks, has quadrupled in size since it first
appeared in 2002 and this year covers about 1,235 square
miles, an area about as large as Rhode Island, Dr. Lubchenco

The zone dissipates when winds shift.

It is not clear what effect the dead zone may have on future
fish or crab catches, Dr. Lubchenco said. So far, she said, the
dead zone has not formed until the Dungeness crab season
has been nearly over.

Hal Weeks, a marine ecologist who leads the Marine Habitat
Project for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said
the formation of the low-oxygen, or hypoxic, areas had
so far caused “localized disruptions” in fishing but no overall
decline in catches and no interference with recreational fishing.

Dr. Weeks said these areas might have occurred in the past
and gone undetected. But he added that when he convened
a meeting of scientists and fishermen about 18 months ago
to discuss the issue, the fishermen said they did not recall
problems occurring so regularly.

“Based on people’s memories,” Dr. Weeks said, “they did
not have a pattern or periodicity to it.”

He and Dr. Lubchenco said scientists would take a research
vessel out to sea on Tuesday and lower a robot vehicle
to photograph the sea bottom to check fish and crab mortality.

“You don’t normally haul up a pot and find any dead crabs
in it,” Dr. Lubchenco said. “And the crabbers that we have
talked to have all reported dead crabs.”

Dr. Weeks said he hoped the research cruise would help
explain what was going on. “I am expected to give the best
possible technical advice to my managers,” he said, “and
I am afraid right now I don’t have answers for them.”

In 2002 when the dead zone first appeared, Dr. Lubchenco
said, she and other researchers dismissed it as an interesting
anomaly. “But now, five years in a row, we are beginning
to think there has been some sort of fundamental change
in ocean conditions off the West Coast,” she said, possibly
because of changes in the jet stream caused by global warming.


15) Economic View
The Rich Spend Just Like You and Me
August 6, 2006

THE extensive coverage of the Astor family saga is just the latest
example of America’s longstanding fascination with the very rich.
But in recent years, the lifestyles of wealthy people have been not
only a staple of popular culture but of serious economic research
as well.

That’s because the wealthiest families have reaped enormous
financial rewards over the last two decades, and their economic
and political power has increased markedly. So it’s well worth
asking what they are doing with all that money and what effect
they are having on the overall economy.

Finding out where those income gains have gone, however,
is about as easy as peering at the estates behind the towering
hedges of Gin Lane in Southampton. There’s simply no official
data on the economic behavior of the very rich. We can’t
be sure how much they are saving or consuming, or exactly
how they are using their accumulated wealth.

The wealthy are often thought to be big savers and, under
President Bush, they have been given significant tax breaks.
But what has actually become of their outsized gains in income?

There are some clues.

For discussion’s sake, let’s start by defining the very rich as
the top 1 percent of the population. That’s about 1.4 million
families, a group that in 2004 had an average real income
of nearly $750,000.

According to two economists, Thomas Piketty, at the School
for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris, and Emmanuel
Saez, at the University of California, Berkeley, the income
of this top 1 percent increased an inflation-adjusted 44 percent
from 1994 to 2004, compared with a 10 percent average
increase for the rest of the population.

That’s without counting capital gains, a large source of income
for this group. Including capital gains, the gap between the
top 1 percent and everyone else widened further, totaling
a 54 percent increase in real income for the very rich and
a 12 percent gain for everyone else.

Tracking what has happened to those income gains first
requires examining the two best official data sources: the
Consumer Expenditure Survey, conducted by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, and the Survey of Consumer Finances,
conducted by the Federal Reserve Board.

The trouble is that the Consumer Expenditure Survey lumps
together as “rich” the top third of households, starting
at income levels around $70,000 a year. The consumer
finance survey is not much better. It includes the top
10 percent of households.

Another approach — to glean information by studying individual
economic sectors — runs into similar problems. For instance,
official housing sales data lumps homes over $500,000 into
a single category. But in many areas of the country today, the
starting point for real estate held by the very rich is valued
at $3 million or more.

Without precise figures, we have to rely on aggregate measures
and anecdotal evidence to paint a picture of what the very rich
have been doing with their money.

Start with what, it seems, the very rich have not been doing much
of — saving. The national savings rate has declined steadily during
the last decade, and every income group has been saving less.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s, has tried
to study the savings rate for the rich. Because concrete official
data for the top 1 percent is lacking, Mr. Zandi focused on the
top 5 percent — households with an average real income
of around $275,000.

He found that the proportion of after-tax income saved in this
group fell from 13.6 percent in 1990 to 6.2 percent in the first
quarter of this year. And he knows of no reason that the top
1 percent would be notably different in their savings habits.

“The wealth effect is inducing less saving and more consumption
by almost everyone, including those at the very top,” Mr. Zandi said.

What can we deduce about what the very rich have been spending
their larger income on? By surveying the booming industries that
cater to well-heeled consumers, it seems reasonable to conclude
that the rich have been buying such things as high-end real
estate, yachts and luxury goods like jewelry.

Figures for second-home mortgages soared in the last decade,
while real estate sales over $3 million hit record levels. DataQuick,
a real estate research group based in San Diego, estimates that
the number of properties nationwide that sold for more than
$3 million grew 135 percent in the five years to 2005.

And while the rest of the real estate market may be cooling off,
sales of luxury properties remain steady. “What I’m hearing from
our brokers is that the high end, $10 million plus, has not tailed
off like the rest of the market,” said Jim Gillespie, president and
chief executive officer of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation.

Then there’s spending on other luxury goods. Three economists,
Jonathan A. Parker and Yacine Ait-Sahalia from Princeton, together
with Motohiro Yogo at the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania, tried to track the consumption of the wealthy by
constructing an index based on domestic sales of luxury retailers
such as Tiffany.

Their research indicates that during the 1990’s, the average
annual real sales growth of luxury retailers was a strong 11 percent.
Unfortunately, their data stops at 2001. But looking at the domestic
sales of individual high-end retailers since then, it seems sales
have remained robust. For instance, Tiffany reported that domestic
sales grew 9 percent in the year ended Jan. 31, 2006, and
10 percent the previous year.

Over the short term, the propensity of the very rich to consume
rather than save has helped stimulate the national economy.
Led by the wealthy, American consumers have driven growth
around the world as well as at home. This may seem like good
news, but there’s a catch. Too much consumption and not enough
saving could become a significant drag on the domestic economy.

SAVING leads to investment and capital formation, which in turn
drive growth and prosperity. Without savings of its own, a nation,
to support its living standard, must attract the savings of foreign
investors by offering higher interest rates. Higher rates then
tend to slow domestic growth.

“It hasn’t been a problem up to this point,” Mr. Zandi said. “But
unless higher-income households start to save more, it will
be a big concern.”

Mr. Zandi is skeptical that the very rich will change their behavior
any time soon. When he pieces the evidence together, he finds
that within the top income group, younger wealthy households
tend to save less than their older counterparts.

This may suggest the emergence of a more profligate attitude
toward consumption and saving among segments of the very rich.

To be sure, some very wealthy people have engaged in acts
of great generosity. Brooke Astor has been renowned not just
as the doyenne of New York society, but as a philanthropist.

Recently, on a much larger scale, Warren E. Buffett has dedicated
the bulk of his fortune to philanthropy, through the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation.

While philanthropy should be applauded, it can’t replace the
basic responsibility we all have of saving and investing in the
future of the nation. Time will tell how responsible the very
rich have been with all their new wealth.


16) Cuba's military money machine
Under the leadership of defense minister Raul Castro, the country's
military is a powerful political and economic force.
Posted on Sun, Aug. 06, 2006

Tourists who sleep in some of Cuba's hotels, drive rental cars, fill
up their gas tanks, and even those riding in taxis have something in
common: They are contributing to the Revolutionary Armed Forces'
bottom line.

The same goes for anyone who has puffed on an exported Cuban cigar,
visited Havana's El Morro castle or hopped a domestic flight in Cuba.

In a post-Soviet Cuba, this military is not a repressive apparatus
out to stifle dissent; it's a money machine that runs not only much
of the tourism sector, but the sugar, naval and retail industries, as

Military enterprises now control an estimated 90 percent of the
nation's exports and 60 percent of its tourism revenue, and employ 20
percent of state workers.

''The military's job is to make money,'' said Frank Mora, a professor
at the National War College in Washington. ``Power in Cuba is not
just a question of who holds the guns, although that helps. More
important is who controls what is profitable.''

In Cuba, that's the men in green.

As nearly 80-year-old Fidel Castro reportedly recuperates from
gastrointestinal surgery and his brother, Defense Minister Raúl
Castro, takes over, the role of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, or
FAR, has never been more critical. The pressure to deliver will be on
the armed forces that Raúl created and transformed.

Cubans who have suffered years of shortages will be looking to Raúl
Castro and his military -- highly respected in Cuba -- to address
crucial deficiencies in housing, transportation, food and medicine.
Experts say the younger class of rising military stars who run Cuba's
commercial enterprises using economic models they learned in European
business schools just might be able to do it.

The government appears to be feeling the pressure. Just three days
after Castro's shocking announcement that he had turned power over to
his brother, the state newspaper Granma featured an article about the
military sprucing up and modernizing its equipment.

The military is also considered more inclined toward reforms and more
qualified to execute them, making them an organization that could
help sustain the socialist government in a post-Fidel scenario,
experts say.

''It's the only institution that has legitimacy in Cuba,'' said
Armando Mastrapa, who runs a website about the Cuban military
( ``I don't see how Raúl could continue without

Fiercely loyal, the military has never in its 47-year history staged
a coup attempt to topple the Castros and has rarely been directly
involved in cracking down on political dissent.

Raúl Castro created the FAR in 1959 with the guerrilla forces that
toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista. Raúl is credited with
transforming the ragtag revolutionaries into a real army. Dubbed
''the historics,'' some of those original revolutionaries still
occupy high-ranking positions in the military.


The military gained experience in combat during its involvement in
African wars in the 1970s. Thousands of Cubans fought and died in
Angola, and many survivors now make up another circle of respected

That was back when the FAR enjoyed massive subsidies from the Soviet
Union. From 1960 until 1990, it received up to $19 billion in Soviet
subsidies, and defense expenses made up 13 percent of the national
budget, according to Mora's research.

With about 150 Soviet-supplied fighters, including MiG Floggers and
Fulcrums, the Cuban armed forces were considered the best-equipped
military in Latin America.

The collapse of the Soviet Union dealt a blow to the FAR. Suddenly,
it had more than 220,000 troops and no money to pay for them.

>From 1988 to 1991, its budget was cut nearly in half, Mora said. By
1998, a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report described Cuba's
armed forces as one with mothballed equipment, a navy with no
functioning submarines and an air force with fewer than two dozen
operational warplanes. Its troop strength dropped to about 55,000

The Cuban military meanwhile needed to find a way to pay for itself,
so the FAR started experimenting with Western-styled business
management techniques and began running parts of the economy.

Raúl Castro formed GAESA, or Business Administration Group, the FAR's
holding company for the Defense Ministry's economic interests. At the
helm: Col. Luis Alberto Rodríguez, Raúl's son-in-law, known as a Raúl
loyalist and sharp businessman.

Based on the fourth floor of the Armed Forces Ministry, GAESA did $1
billion in business in 2000 alone through a long string of
GAESA-owned companies, experts say.


The FAR's powers extend well beyond GAESA, however.

Half of the now 20 members of the politburo are active military
officers, and generals are in charge of several ministries, including
sugar and fisheries.

By 1996, Mora said, the FAR was generating enough revenue to pay half
of its own budget.

The military ''enjoyed the best of both worlds,'' Mora said, because
it was able to profit from its businesses while leaving the political
repression to the Ministry of Interior, which runs the police and the
state security agency.

But even within the armed forces, there are potentially problematic
divisions, he added.

'They went to wars abroad. They worked in the fields. These were the
`heroic FAR.' These are the good guys. They have garnered a lot of
respect,'' said Mora. ``But that has begun to change, because now
there are generals who live a little bit better.''

Former military officer Eugenio Yáñez, author of Secretos de
Generales (Generals' Secrets) said the perks obtained through the
officers' connections are not luxurious -- maybe a computer or a trip
abroad -- but they are valuable enough to spark jealousies.

''They live a life of privilege,'' he said of the officers. ``I'm not
talking things that would be considered privileges in Hialeah, but
they are in Cuba. Of course there are jealousies.''

Experts say that fissure could cause problems for Raúl in the long
run. On the other hand, they add, those who have benefited have a
vested interest in keeping the status quo.

''These are political animals,'' said Domingo Amuchástegui, a former
Cuban intelligence officer who defected in 1994 and now lives in
South Florida. ``They are not guerrillas. They are professional
politicians. They're just like American generals who retire and
become CEOs -- but these are going to work at state-owned joint

He said Raúl Castro and his team -- military and civilian -- are
likely to push reforms forward. Each time Cuba experimented with
farmers' markets where uncontrolled prices drove up production, it
was defense minister Raúl who pushed them -- and Fidel who shut down
all but the current ones.

If Raúl and the military focus on housing, food and jobs, Cubans are
likely to support them, experts say.

''They have been in a situation for 12 to 15 years where their hands
were tied,'' Amuchástegui said. ``Now they are going to feel they'll
have their big chance to put in practice the knowledge they acquired
in the world's best capitalist institutions.''


17) Intimations of Recession
August 7, 2006

These are the dog days of summer, but there’s a chill in the air.
Suddenly — really just in the last few weeks — people have starting
talking seriously about a possible recession. And it’s not just
economists who seem worried. Goldman Sachs recently reported
that the confidence of chief executives at major corporations has
plunged; a clear majority of C.E.O.’s now say that conditions
in the world economy, and the U.S. economy in particular,
are worsening rather than improving.

On the face of it, this loss of faith seems strange. Recent growth
and jobs numbers have been disappointing, but not disastrous.

But economic numbers don’t speak for themselves. They always
have to be interpreted as part of a story. And the latest numbers,
while not that bad taken out of context, seem inconsistent with
the stories optimists were telling about the U.S. economy.

The key point is that the forces that caused a recession five
years ago never went away. Business spending hasn’t really
recovered from the slump it went into after the technology bubble
burst: nonresidential investment as a share of G.D.P., though up
a bit from its low point, is still far below its levels in the late 1990’s.
Also, the trade deficit has doubled since 2000, diverting a lot
of demand away from goods produced in the United States.

Nonetheless, the economy grew fairly fast over the last three
years, mainly thanks to a gigantic housing boom. This boom
led directly to unprecedented spending on home construction.
It also allowed consumers to convert rising home values into
cash through mortgage refinancing, so that consumer spending
could run far ahead of families’ incomes. (Americans have been
spending more than they earn for the past year and a half.)

Even optimists generally concede that the housing boom must
eventually end, and that consumers will eventually have
to start saving again. But the conventional wisdom was that
housing would have a “soft landing” — that the boom would
taper off gradually, and that other sources of growth would
take its place. You might say that the theory was that business
investment and exports would stand up as housing stood down.

The latest numbers suggest, however, that this theory isn’t
working much better on the economic front than it is in Baghdad.

Signs of a deflating housing bubble began appearing a year
ago, but for a while it was possible to argue that eliminating
a bit of “froth” in the housing market wouldn’t do the overall
economy much harm. Now, for the first time, problems in the
housing market are starting to seriously reduce economic growth:
the latest G.D.P. data show real residential investment falling
at an accelerating pace. The latest job numbers show falling
employment in home construction, and retail employment has
fallen over the past year, suggesting that consumer spending
is running out of steam. (Gas at $3 a gallon doesn’t help, either.)

Meanwhile, neither business investment nor exports seem
to be growing fast enough to make up for the housing slump.

Now maybe we’ll still manage that soft landing despite
a rapidly rising number of unsold houses; or maybe there’s
a boom in business investment and/or exports just over
the horizon. But based on what we know now, there’s
an economic slowdown coming.

This slowdown might not be sharp enough to be formally
declared a recession. But weak growth feels like a recession
to most people; remember the long “jobless recovery” that
followed the official end of the 2001 recession?

And what will policy makers do about a slump, if it happens?
A snarky but accurate description of monetary policy over
the past five years is that the Federal Reserve successfully
replaced the technology bubble with a housing bubble.
But where will the Fed find another bubble?

And with the budget still deep in deficit and the costs
of the Iraq war still spiraling upward, it’s hard to see Congress
agreeing on any significant fiscal stimulus package — especially
because history suggests that the Bush administration and
Congressional leaders will turn any debate about how to
help the economy into yet another attempt to smuggle
in tax cuts for the wealthy.

One last thing: the real wages of most workers fell during the
“Bush boom” of the last three years. If that boom, such as it was,
is already over, workers have every right to ask, “Is that it?”


18) Iraq Incident Was Fueled by Whiskey, G.I. Says
August 7, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Monday, Aug. 7 — One of the soldiers accused
in the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of the girl
and her family said the incident took place after a morning of
cards and whisky, when a member of his unit began pestering
the group to kill some Iraqis, according to testimony today from
an army investigator.

The investigator, Special Agent Benjamin Bierce, testified in an
American military hearing today about statements made by one
of the accused, Specialist James P. Barker, that gave a graphic
and chilling account of the deaths.

Specialist Barker described a former soldier, Steven D. Green,
a private who was discharged in May after a psychiatric evaluation,
as having taken the lead both in planning the incident and
in firing the first shot.

Mr. Bierce testified that Specialist Barker said that while he
and another soldier took turns holding down the girl and
sexually assaulting her, they heard gunshots from the bedroom,
where Private Green had taken three of her relatives.

Private Green then came into the living room looking agitated
and said something to the effect of “They’re all dead —
I just killed them,’’ Mr. Bierce testified.

Earlier in the day, Pfc. Justin Watt, the soldier whose report
led to the investigation that uncovered the killings, told the
hearing how he had pieced together information after
a sergeant, Anthony Yribe, told him that Private Green
had confessed to the killings in confidence.

Sergeant Yribe is accused of dereliction of duty for failing
to report the incident.

Private Watt testified that after he reported his suspicions
to combat stress counselors he feared for his life. “It’s like
this: I find out that guys in my squad, guys I’ve trusted with
my life, are allegedly responsible for one of the most brutal
rapes/murders I’ve ever seen. And everyone has a weapon
and grenades.’’

Private Watt also testified that he had heard Private Green
say, “I want to kill and hurt a lot of Iraqis.’’

On Sunday, Private Green’s former battalion commander,
Lt. Col. Thomas Kunk, testified that Private Green had
sought help for combat stress after his unit began taking

Along with Mr. Green and Specialist Barker, Sgt. Paul Cortez,
Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard have been
accused of rape, murder and arson in the incident, which took
place March 12 in the town of Mahmudia, south of Baghdad.
Military prosecutors say they set the girl’s body on fire
to conceal evidence.

The case, one of several recent ones in which American
soldiers have been accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians,
has embarrassed the American military, infuriated Iraqis
and strained relations between American authorities
in Baghdad and their Iraqi counterparts.

The hearing in Baghdad, conducted under Article 32
of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, is roughly equivalent
to a grand jury proceeding and will determine whether there
is enough evidence to convene a court-martial to try the
five active-duty soldiers. Mr. Green faces rape and murder
charges in a federal court in Kentucky. He has pleaded not
guilty to the charges.

Special Agent Bierce said that Specialist Barker had
confessed his role in the killings in a written statement
and in two hours of interviews.

In the statement, Specialist Barker said that he and Private
Green had been drinking Iraqi whisky mixed with an energy
drink and playing cards on the morning of March 12,
and then had gone to hit golf balls behind an Army

Private Green then said he wanted to go to a house
and kill some Iraqis, Specialist Barker wrote. Private Green
was very persistent and kept bringing up the idea, he said.
According to Mr. Bierce’s account of the interview, Sergeant
Cortez asked Specialist Barker what he thought
and Specialist Barker replied: “It’s up to you.’’

Specialist Barker said that after killing the other family
members, Private Green raped the girl, then shot her once
with an AK-47, paused, then shot her several more times,
Mr. Bierce testified.

The girl’s body was then doused with kerosene from
a lamp and set ablaze, and the AK-47 was thrown
into a canal.

Private Watt testified that after hearing of the incident
from Sergeant Yribe, he sought out Private Howard and
asked what happened. Private Howard said that Private
Green and Sergeant Cortez had planned to rape a girl
and that he was the lookout.

Private Howard said when the others returned from
the Iraqi’s house, “their clothes were covered in blood,’’
Private Watt said.

Asked why he had come forward, Private Watt said
it “had to be done.’’

“We’d come through hell with each other and there
were a lot of good men who died,” he said. “And this
happened, for what? We’re just trying to do a little
good over here.’’

In his testimony on Sunday, Colonel Kunk said the
soldiers’ company — Company B of the First Battalion,
502nd Infantry, part of the 101st Airborne Division —
had a particularly dangerous assignment to patrol
a stronghold of the Sunni Arab insurgency south
of Baghdad. The job took a high toll, with eight
of the company’s soldiers killed from September
through June.

Private Green and two of the other accused soldiers,
Private Spielman and Sergeant Cortez, were
“wallowing in self-pity” early in the year amid
the violence and the death of fellow soldiers,
Colonel Kunk said. They were among several
soldiers who sought help for combat stress, he said.

Colonel Kunk said at the hearing that others had
told him about Private Green’s comment, “all Iraqis
are bad people.” He was so concerned about it that
he personally discussed it with Private Green, he said,
asking him whether he intended to kill Iraqis.

But during the hearing, the line of questioning
turned and Colonel Kunk never testified about Private
Green’s response.Two Iraqi witnesses also took the
stand, but reporters were barred from hearing them,
and officials did not disclose details of their testimony.
A trial lawyer had requested the restriction out
of concern that public exposure might endanger them.

The hearing took place on another day of scattered
violence around Iraq.

Three American soldiers were killed Sunday by an
improvised bomb planted along a road southwest
of Baghdad, the American military said in a statement
early Monday.

A suicide bomber wrapped in explosives detonated
himself in the middle of a crowd of mourners attending
the funeral of a member of the Tikrit city council,
an Interior Ministry official said. Five people were
killed and 15 wounded, the official said.

At least 15 bodies, all with their hands tied behind their
backs and gunshots to the head, were found in different
Baghdad neighborhoods, according to the ministry official.

Kirk Semple reported from Baghdad for this article and
John O’Neil reported from New York. Iraqi employees
of The New York Times contributed reporting from
Falluja and Kirkuk for this article.


19) 15 States Expand Right to Shoot in Self-Defense
“In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill
other citizens in defense of property.”
August 7, 2006

In the last year, 15 states have enacted laws that expand the right
of self-defense, allowing crime victims to use deadly force
in situations that might formerly have subjected them
to prosecution for murder.

Supporters call them “stand your ground” laws. Opponents
call them “shoot first” laws.

Thanks to this sort of law, a prostitute in Port Richey, Fla.,
who killed her 72-year-old client with his own gun rather
than flee was not charged last month. Similarly, the police
in Clearwater, Fla., did not arrest a man who shot a neighbor
in early June after a shouting match over putting out garbage,
though the authorities say they are still reviewing the evidence.

The first of the new laws took effect in Florida in October,
and cases under it are now reaching prosecutors and juries
there. The other laws, mostly in Southern and Midwestern
states, were enacted this year, according to the National
Rifle Association, which has enthusiastically promoted them.

Florida does not keep comprehensive records on the impact
of its new law, but prosecutors and defense lawyers there
agree that fewer people who claim self-defense are being
charged or convicted.

The Florida law, which served as a model for the others,
gives people the right to use deadly force against intruders
entering their homes. They no longer need to prove that they
feared for their safety, only that the person they killed had
intruded unlawfully and forcefully. The law also extends
this principle to vehicles.

In addition, the law does away with an earlier requirement
that a person attacked in a public place must retreat
if possible. Now, that same person, in the law’s words,
“has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his
or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly
force.” The law also forbids the arrest, detention
or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and
it prohibits civil suits against them.

The central innovation in the Florida law, said Anthony J.
Sebok, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, is not its
elimination of the duty to retreat, which has been eroding
nationally through judicial decisions, but in expanding
the right to shoot intruders who pose no threat to the
occupant’s safety.

“In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens
to kill other citizens in defense of property.”

This month, a jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., will hear the
retrial of a murder case that illustrates the dividing line
between the old law and the new one. In November 2004,
before the new law was enacted, a cabdriver in West Palm
Beach killed a drunken passenger in an altercation after
dropping him off.

The first jury deadlocked 9-to-3 in favor of convicting
the driver, Robert Lee Smiley Jr., said Henry Munnilal,
the jury foreman.

“Mr. Smiley had a lot of chances to retreat and to avoid
an escalation,” said Mr. Munnilal, a 62-year-old accountant.
“He could have just gotten in his cab and left. The thing
could have been avoided, and a man’s life would have
been saved.”

Mr. Smiley tried to invoke the new law, which does away
with the duty to retreat and would almost certainly have
meant his acquittal, but an appeals court refused to apply
it retroactively. He has appealed that issue to the Florida
Supreme Court.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the N.R.A.,
said the Florida law had sent a needed message
to law-abiding citizens.

“If they make a decision to save their lives in the split
second they are being attacked, the law is on their side,”
Mr. LaPierre said. “Good people make good decisions.
That’s why they’re good people. If you’re going to
empower someone, empower the crime victim.”

The N.R.A. said it would lobby for versions of the law
in eight more states in 2007.

Sarah Brady, chairwoman of the Brady Campaign to Prevent
Gun Violence, said her group would fight those efforts.
“In a way,” Ms. Brady said of the new laws, “it’s a license to kill.”

Many prosecutors oppose the laws, saying they are
unnecessary at best and pernicious at worst. “They’re
basically giving citizens more rights to use deadly force
than we give police officers, and with less review,”
said Paul A. Logli, president of the National District
Attorneys Association.

But some legal experts doubt the laws will make a practical
difference. “It’s inconceivable to me that one in a hundred
Floridians could tell you how the law has changed,” said Gary
Kleck, who teaches criminology at Florida State University.

Even before the new laws, Professor Kleck added, claims
of self-defense were often accepted. “In the South,” he said,
“they more or less give the benefit of the doubt to the alleged
victim’s account.”

The case involving the Port Richey prostitute, Jacqueline
Galas, turned on the new law, said Michael Halkitis, division
director of the state attorney’s office in nearby New Port Richey.
Ms. Galas, 23, said that a longtime client, Frank Labiento, 72,
threatened to kill her and then kill himself last month.
A suicide note he had left and other evidence supported
her contention.

The law came into play when Ms. Galas grabbed Mr. Labiento’s
gun and chose not to flee but to kill him. “Before that law,”
Mr. Halkitis said, “before you could use deadly force, you had
to retreat. Under the new law, you don’t have to do that.”

The decision not to charge Ms. Galas was straightforward,
Mr. Halkitis said. “It would have been a more difficult situation
with the old law,” he said, “much more difficult.”

In the case of the West Palm Beach cabdriver, Mr. Smiley, then
56, killed Jimmie Morningstar, 43. A sports bar had paid
Mr. Smiley $10 to drive Mr. Morningstar home in the early
morning of Nov. 6, 2004.

Mr. Morningstar was apparently reluctant to leave the cab
once it reached its destination, and Mr. Smiley used a stun
gun to hasten his exit. Once outside the cab, Mr. Morningstar
flashed a knife, Mr. Smiley testified at his first trial, though one
was never found. Mr. Smiley, who had gotten out of his cab,
reacted by shooting at his passenger’s feet and then into his
body, killing him.

Cliff Morningstar, the dead man’s uncle, said he was baffled
by the killing. “He had a radio,” Mr. Morningstar said of Mr. Smiley.
“He could have gotten in his car and left. He could have
shot him in his knee.”

Carey Haughwout, the public defender who represents
Mr. Smiley, conceded that no knife was found. “However,”
Ms. Haughwout said, “there is evidence to support that the
victim came at Smiley after Smiley fired two warning shots,
and that he did have something in his hand.”

In April, a Florida appeals court indicated that the new law,
had it applied to Mr. Smiley’s case, would have affected its

“Prior to the legislative enactment, a person was required to
‘retreat to the wall’ before using his or her right of self-defense
by exercising deadly force,” Judge Martha C. Warner wrote.
The new law, Judge Warner said, abolished that duty.

Jason M. Rosenbloom, the man shot by his neighbor in
Clearwater, said his case illustrated the flaws in the Florida
law. “Had it been a year and a half ago, he could have been
arrested for attempted murder,” Mr. Rosenbloom said
of his neighbor, Kenneth Allen.

“I was in T-shirt and shorts,” Mr. Rosenbloom said, recalling
the day he knocked on Mr. Allen’s door. Mr. Allen, a retired
Virginia police officer, had lodged a complaint with the local
authorities, taking Mr. Rosenbloom to task for putting out
eight bags of garbage, though local ordinances allow only six.

“I was no threat,” Mr. Rosenbloom said. “I had no weapon.”

The men exchanged heated words. “He closed the door and
then opened the door,” Mr. Rosenbloom said of Mr. Allen.
“He had a gun. I turned around to put my hands up. He didn’t
even say a word, and he fired once into my stomach. I bent over,
and he shot me in the chest.”

Mr. Allen, whose phone number is out of service and who could
not be reached for comment, told The St. Petersburg Times that
Mr. Rosenbloom had had his foot in the door and had tried
to rush into the house, an assertion Mr. Rosenbloom denied.

“I have a right,” Mr. Allen said, “to keep my house safe.”


20) Tasks Are Workaday for Guard Troops on Border
August 7, 2006

NOGALES, Ariz., Aug. 4 — The border may have a reputation
for drama, intrigue and danger, but Specialist James Dwiggins
of the Wisconsin National Guard has not seen much of that
in the reception booth of the Border Patrol station here, where
he works answering phones and sliding a clipboard for visitors
to sign in.

From a camera room at the station, Specialist Kirsten Schultz
of the Wisconsin Guard has seen a lot of people crossing the
border. Out in the field, Specialist David Murray of the Virginia
National Guard stares out at the loping hills lining the border,
waiting and watching.

“I don’t see that we are having an impact,” said Specialist
Murray, camped on a rainy afternoon at an observation point
covered in camouflage netting with three other soldiers.
“But every time the Border Patrol comes up, they tell us
movement of people has almost completely stopped through

For the National Guard troops sent here, many of the tasks
in the border mission may seem humdrum, but the Border
Patrol, eager for any help it can get, has claimed some early
success as the operation moves into full swing.

Critics still question whether the Guard troops, who do not
make arrests because they are not trained to do so and
to avoid domestic and international political squabbles,
are making a big difference. But Border Patrol officials say
the soldiers, whether in an office or on a hilltop, have freed
more than 250 agents for regular patrolling, which, combined
with the presence of the Guard, has acted as a deterrent
to crossers.

The number of arrests in July, when large numbers of soldiers
took up positions, declined 37 percent to 59,613 along the
2,000-mile-long Southwest border compared with July last
year, officials said. Guard troops have also participated in several
rescues of crossers stranded in the desert, they said.

“Operation Jump Start has been tremendous,” the Border Patrol
chief, David Aguilar, told reporters last month. Arrest figures
fluctuate greatly because of trends in enforcement, weather —
July was unusually hot in many border areas — and political
and socioeconomic conditions in Mexico and Central America.

Advocates for migrants said they suspected human trafficking
had simply shifted away from the more fortified positions into
more remote, rugged terrain. Since October, the beginning
of the government’s fiscal year, arrests over all have declined
in Arizona, the current focus of enforcement, but increased
in California, suggesting trafficking is returning there after
years of declines.

The presence of the Guard, moreover, apparently has not
deterred drug smugglers, with the Border Patrol reporting
an increase in drug seizures — marijuana is up 20 percent
to 1,262,860 pounds and cocaine less than 1 percent to
8,816 pounds — so far this year.

President Bush ordered the Guard to the border as a stopgap
while the Border Patrol hires and trains 6,000 agents by the
end of 2008, bringing the force to 18,000.

The Guard’s duties, which include operating cameras and
observation posts, fixing vehicles, and repairing and building
fences and roads, have not mollified critics who call the mission
window dressing to appease conservative lawmakers demanding
more action to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants.

Mr. Bush had set a goal of up to 6,000 troops on the border
by Aug. 1. The National Guard said that 6,600 were in the four
border states but that only about 3,000 were “forward deployed”
near the international boundary, with the rest working
as administrative staff or undergoing training. Guard officials
said that though Mr. Bush said the troops “will be deployed
to our southern border,” they never planned to have that
many right on the line.

“In normal operational planning, part of the operation is always
going to be logistics,” said Lt. Col. Michael Mallord, a spokesman
for the Guard in Washington.

Thirty of the 54 states and territories with National Guard
troops have contributed troops, while several others will not
because they are needed for possible home emergencies
like wildfires, flooding and hurricanes. In June, California
rejected a Guard request for additional soldiers.

“I think it is fair to say it has taken some work to find 6,000
people,” said Christine Wormuth, a senior fellow at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies in Washington who
studies the Guard. Maintaining anything near that level
“is going to be a challenge from a management standpoint,”
she said, though Colonel Mallord said they would “easily”
maintain strength at the border.

“There is no question in my mind they are providing added
value,” Ms. Wormuth added, “but in the grand scheme of border
security it is not clear this deployment is going to dramatically
enhance the nation’s border security.”

Nevertheless, the men and women here, from Arizona, Kentucky,
Nevada, Virginia, Wisconsin and other states, say participating
in the mission, in most cases part of their regular two- to
three-week annual training obligation, may lack a certain
drama but has brought them a first-hand connection to the

The majority asked for border duty, and some may stay for
several months; unlike normal deployments, the soldiers, at
least for now, are largely camped in motels and hotels, ranging
from the highly rated Loews Ventana Canyon resort near Tucson
to the more modest Americana hotel in this city’s gritty downtown.

“You hear about it in the news and then you see it here,” said
Sgt. Howard Renfro of the Virginia Guard, who on a recent night
spotted a small group of people crossing through a low point
in the fence and reported them to the Border Patrol. “It takes
you off guard for a second.”

The Guard deployment has shed light on a shortage of civilian
staff that has left agents repairing their own vehicles and taking
up welding torches to repair border fences.

In a garage at the Border Patrol station here, a team of Nevada
Guard mechanics strives to repair agency trucks and cars, battered
mercilessly over the jolting terrain, while a group of Guard
engineers from Kentucky drives dump trucks and bulldozers,
helping build a road along the border fence here.

“This is real good training for us,” said Specialist Robert Owens
of Olive Hill, Ky., who had imagined the border fence as a chain-
link job but stood stunned to see it as a towering wall of steel
plates salvaged from aircraft carriers. Smugglers regularly try
to weld and drill through it, necessitating regular repairs, said
Sean King, a spokesman for the Border Patrol here.

Staff Sgt. Aric Garza of the Nevada Guard, accustomed to
repairing Humvees, now works on sport utility vehicles, vans,
all-terrain vehicles and other pieces of the Border Patrol fleet
that have seen better days.

“They are really hurting on vehicle maintenance,” he said,
describing himself as “happy and motivated” to play even
a behind-the-scenes part in the border mission.

Likewise, Specialist Dwiggins of Neenah, Wis., the de facto
greeter at the Nogales station, smiled when asked if his tasks
were what he had in mind in coming to the border. “Right
now it has been this, but I am sure I will see more,” he said.
“Anything they need us to do, we’ll do.”


21) The Rise of the Super-Rich
July 19, 2006

The gap between rich and poor is unfortunately an old story.

It is the stuff of parables and literature. It is a force in social history
and political economy, from electoral campaigns to reform
movements and revolutions.

But in the United States today, there’s a new twist to the
familiar plot. Income inequality used to be about rich versus
poor, but now it’s increasingly a matter of the ultra rich and
everyone else. The curious effect of the new divide is an
economy that appears to be charging ahead, until you realize
that the most of the people in it are being left in the dust.
President Bush has yet to acknowledge the true state
of affairs, though it’s at the root of his failure to convince
Americans that the good times are rolling.

The president’s lack of attention may be misplaced optimism,
or it could be political strategy. Acknowledging what’s
happening would mean having to rethink his policies,
not exactly his strong suit.

But the growing income gap — and the rise of the super-rich
— demands attention. It is making America a less fair society,
and a less stable one.

I. The Growing Divide

Anyone who has driven through the new neighborhoods
filled with “McMansions” that have arisen near most cities,
or seen the brisk business that luxury stores are doing, has
an anecdotal sense that some Americans are making a lot
of money right now.

But there is no need to rely on anecdotal evidence.

Thomas Piketty, of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris,
and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley
recently updated their groundbreaking study on income
inequality(pdf), and their findings are striking.

The new figures show that from 2003 to 2004, the latest
year for which there is data, the richest Americans pulled
far ahead of everyone else. In the space of that one year,
real average income for the top 1 percent of households —
those making more than $315,000 in 2004 — grew by
nearly 17 percent. For the remaining 99 percent, the
average gain was less than 3 percent, and that probably
makes things look better than they really are, since other
data, most notably from the Census Bureau, indicate that
the average is bolstered by large gains among the top
20 percent of households. In all, the top 1 percent of
households enjoyed 36 percent of all income gains in
2004, on top of an already stunning 30 percent in 2003.

Some of the gains at the top reflect capitalism’s robust
reward for the founders of companies like Microsoft,
Google and Dell. But most of it is due to the unprecedented
largesse being heaped on executives and professionals,
in the form of salary, bonuses and stock options. A recent
study done for the Business Roundtable(pdf), a lobbying
group for chief executives, shows that median executive
pay at 350 large public companies was $6.8 million in 2005.
According to the Wall Street Journal, that’s 179 times the
pay of the average American worker. The study is intended
to rebut much higher estimates made by other researchers,
but it does little to quell the sense that executive pay is out
of whack. As the Journal's Alan Murray pointed out recently,
the study’s calculation of executive pay is widely criticized
as an understatement because, as a measurement of the
median, it is largely unaffected by the eight or nine-digit
pay packages that have dominated the headlines of late.

Rich people are also being made richer, recent government
data shows, by strong returns on investment income.
In 2003, the latest year for which figures are available,
the top 1 percent of households owned 57.5 percent
of corporate wealth, generally dividends and capital
gains, up from 53.4 percent a year earlier.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington
think tank, compared the latest data from Mr. Piketty
and Mr. Saez to comprehensive reports on income trends
from the Congressional Budget Office. Every way it sliced
the data, it found a striking share of total income
concentrated at the top(pdf) of the income ladder
as of 2004.

• The top 10 percent of households had 46 percent
of the nation’s income, their biggest share in all but
two of the last 70 years.

• The top 1 percent of households had 19.5 percent
(see graph).

• The top one-tenth of 1 percent of households actually
received nearly half of the increased share going
to the top 1 percent.

These disparaties seem large, and they are. (Though
the latest availabe data is from 2004, there are virtually
no signs that the basic trend has changed since then.)
The top 1 percent held a bigger share of total income
than at any time since 1929, except for 1999 and 2000
during the tech stock bubble. But what makes today's
disparities particularly brutal is that unlike the last bull
market of the late 1990's — when a proverbial rising
tide was lifting all boats — the rich have been the only
winners lately. According to an analysis by Goldman
Sachs, for most American households — the bottom
60 percent — average income grew by less than 20
percent from 1979 to 2004, with virtually all of those
gains occurring from the mid- to late 1990's. Before
and since, real incomes for that group have basically

The best-off Americans are not only winning by an
extraordinary margin right now. They are the only
ones who are winning at all.

The result has been, as Andrew Hacker, a political
science professor at Queens College, has observed
in a recent article in the New York Review of Books,
“more billionaires, more millionaires and more six-
figure families.”

As income has become more concentrated at the top,
overall wealth has also become more skewed. According
to the latest installation of a survey(pdf) that the Federal
Reserve has conducted every three years since 1989,
the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans accounted for 33.4
percent of total net worth in 2004, compared to 30.1 percent
in 1989. Over the same period, the other Americans in the
top 10 percent saw their share of the nation’s net worth
basically stagnate, at about 36 percent, while the bottom
50 percent accounted for just 2.5 percent of the wealth
in 2004, compared to 3.0 percent in 1989.

II. A Brief History of Income Inequality

While it has long been the case that the rich do better
than everyone else, it has not always been true that,
in the process, the poor get poorer and the middle
class gets squeezed. In post-World War II America,
between 1947 and the early 1970’s, all income groups
shared in the nation’s economic growth. Poor families
actually had a higher growth in real annual income
than other groups.

Part of the reason was a sharp rise in labor productivity.
As workers produced more, the economy grew and
so did compensation — wages, salaries and benefits
(see graph). This link between productivity gains and
income gains was not automatic. Government policies
worked to ensure that productivity gains translated into
more pay for Americans at all levels, including regular
increases in the minimum wage and greater investment
in the social safety net. Full employment was also
a government priority. And, of course, unions were
strong back then, giving workers bargaining power.

From the mid-1970’s until 1995, the trend reversed.
The gap between the rich and poor widened at a rapid
clip. The upper echelons — generally the top 20 percent
of American households — experienced steady gains,
while families in the bottom 40 percent were faced with
declining or stagnating incomes.

The growing divide coincided with a slowdown in
productivity growth and a reversal in the government
policies that had been promoting income equality.
Legislators balked at raising the minimum wage and
the earned income tax credit, a feature of the tax code
that rewards the working poor by ensuring that work
pays better than welfare. During the “supply side” era
in the 1980’s, fostered by the policies of Ronald Reagan,
taxes became less progressive. The goal of full employment
was eclipsed by a focus on inflation fighting that remains
to this day.

As trade began to play an ever bigger role in the American
economy, manufacturing jobs diminished and labor unions
declined, reducing workers’ clout in setting compensation.
Regulatory laxness reached its apex in the fiscal disaster
of the savings and loan meltdown, which drained public
resources from socially and economically useful programs
and polices.

The trend toward increasing inequality was interrupted,
briefly, in the late 1990’s. Productivity growth rebounded,
and for a half decade, all income groups participated in
the prosperity. Even then, the richest Americans had the
best run, propelled largely by stock market gains. In fact,
when the stock market hit its all time high in 2000, post-
war income concentration also peaked.

But government policies of the day helped to ensure that
the lower rungs also had a boost. Clinton-era welfare
reforms are often cast as a success story of market-based
incentives. But in fact, they were supported by a big increase
in the earned income tax credit to help solidify the transition
from welfare to work. At the same time, budget deficits
were conquered by shared sacrifice — a mix of tax increases
and spending cuts affecting all groups. The combination
of economic growth and fiscal discipline spurred robust
hiring and, if it had endured, could also have strengthened
the Social Security safety net by allowing the government
to pay down its debts.

That seems like ancient history now. Nearly everyone’s
income fell in 2001 and 2002, due to the bursting of the
Internet bubble in 2000, recession in 2001 and the ensuing
jobless recovery.

In the last few years, though, the trend toward inequality
has reasserted itself — with a vengeance.

III. Inequality During the Bush Years

For the last few years, the tide has been rising again,
but most boats have been staying where they are, or
sinking. One key reason is that the link between rising
productivity and broad economic prosperity has been
severed. Take another look at this graph. During the years
that George W. Bush has been in the White House, productivity
growth has been stronger than ever. But the real compensation
of all but the top 20 percent of income earners has been
flat or falling. Gains in wages, salaries and benefits have
been increasingly concentrated at the uppermost rungs
of the income ladder.

The Bush administration would like you to believe that the
situation will correct itself. Most recently, the new Treasury
secretary, Henry M. Paulson, Jr., reiterated the administration’s
viewpoint at his confirmation hearing in June when he said
that “economic growth, job growth, productivity growth,
hopefully will be followed by increases in wage income.”

Well, hoping certainly won’t make it so.

Neither will growth alone. As the post-World War II history
of income inequality illustrates, productivity improvement
is only one piece of the prosperity puzzle. The economic
health of most American families also depends greatly on
what government does. If it merely “gets out of the way,”
inequality is bound to persist and — if recent results are
any indication of future performance — worsen.

The Bush administration, though, has not even done anything
as benign as get out of the way. The policies it has pursued —
affirmatively and aggressively — have widened the gap
between rich and poor.

A. The Tax Wedge

Tax cuts are the most obvious example. The Urban Institute-
Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center computed the combined
effects of tax cut legislation from 2001, 2003 and 2006.
The tax cuts’ contribution to the income gap was significant.

In 2006, the average tax cut for households with incomes
of more than $1 million — the top two-tenths of 1 percent —
is $112,000 which works out to a boost of 5.7 percent in after
tax income. That’s considerably higher than the 5 percent boost
garnered by the top 1 percent. It’s far greater than the 2.5
percent increase of the middle fifth of households, and fully
19 times greater than the 0.3 percent gain of the poorest
fifth of households.

The disparities are driven by tax cuts that overwhelmingly
benefit the most affluent. In 2006, for instance, a tax cut took
effect that allows high income households — those with incomes
above $200,000 — to take bigger write offs for their children
and other expenses, like mortgage interest on a second home.
And increasingly, tax cuts are aimed at allowing America’s
wealthiest families to amass dynastic wealth — estates
to transfer from one generation to the next virtually
untouched by taxes. The most obvious example is the
gradual reduction in the estate tax that is scheduled through
2010 (and regular attempts to abolish the estate tax altogether).
Another huge, though lesser noted example, is the law passed
last May allowing all Americans to shelter money in a tax-favored
Roth I.R.A. Under previous law, Roths had been off limits
to wealthy Americans, precisely because the government
did not want to help people amass big estates under the
guise of saving for retirement. That sound principle has
now been turned on its head.

B. The Assault on Programs for the Poor and Middle Class

Tax cuts are not the only policies widening the gap between
the rich and other Americans. Earlier this year, President Bush
signed into law a measure that will cut $39 billion over the next
five years from domestic programs like Medicaid and food stamps,
and $99.3 billion from 2006 to 2015.

The president and the Republican Congress have also done harm
to the finances of the poorest Americans — and to the notion
of basic fairness — by not increasing the federal minimum wage
— it has been $5.15 since 1997 While C.E.O. salaries have been
soaring, the take-home pay of waitresses and janitors has been
hit hard by inflation.

The Bush administration has also been trying, with mixed
success so far, to pursue other policies that would have the
effect of shifting money to the rich. The most ominous is its
often-repeated desire to “address our long-term unfunded
entitlement obligations.” That’s code for making tax cuts
for the wealthy permanent while cutting Social Security,
which has for 70 years been a major factor in keeping
Americans financially secure in their old age.

In 2004, over the objections of Congress, the administration
overturned time-and-a-half regulation for overtime.
For a brief period after Hurricane Katrina, the president
suspended by executive proclamation the law that requires
federal contractors to pay workers the locally prevailing wage,
until Congress objected. For three months after Katrina,
the Labor Department suspended the law requiring federal
contractors to have an affirmative action hiring plan —
an invitation to discrimination and, as such, to income

C. The Too-Easy Answer

When confronted with evidence of growing income
inequality, Bush administration officials invariably say
the answer is more and better education. “We are starting
to see that the income gap is largely an education gap,”
said Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, in a typical
retort last January when tax data showed an increasing
concentration of wealth among the highest-income

Education is critically important to individuals, society,
the economy and democracy itself, and deserves strong
government support. But it is neither a satisfactory
explanation, nor a remedy, for today's income inequality.

There is a strong correlation between one's level of
education and one's earning power. The Bush administration
is assuming that the correlation will continue to hold in
an ever more globalized economy. Writing in the March/April
issue of Foreign Affairs, Princeton economist Alan S. Blinder,
a former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve, explains why
that view may be mistaken:

"Other things being equal, education and skills are, of
course, good things; education yields higher returns
in advanced societies, and more schooling probably
makes workers more flexible and more adaptable to change.
But the problem with relying on education as the remedy
for job losses is that 'other things' are not remotely close
to equal. The critical divide in the future may instead be
between those types of work that are easily deliverable
through a wire (or via a wireless connection) with little
or no diminution in quality and those that are not. And
this unconventional divide does not correspond well to
traditional distinctions between jobs that require high
levels of education and jobs that don’t."

There is already evidence that the benefits of education
are not as straightforward as many people seem to believe
they are. In his review of "Inequality Matters," a collection
essays commissioned by Demos, a public policy research
and advocacy organization, Mr. Hacker, the Queens College
political science professor, cited findings from the Bureau
of Labor Statistics to show that many college graduates now
hold jobs that once required only a high school diploma.
Today, according to the bureau, 37 percent of flight attendants
have completed college, as have 35 percent of tour escorts,
21 percent of embalmers, and 13 percent of both security
guards and casino dealers. Mr. Hacker notes that more
people are expected to earn college degrees in preparation
for well-paying professions. “But we cannot expect the
economy will automatically create better-paid positions
to match the cohort acquiring higher education,” he writes.

Underscoring the point, the Bush administration's own
Economic Report of the President in 2006 shows that
average annual earnings of college graduates fell by
5 percent from 2000 to 2004. In those four years, the
difference between the average yearly pay of a college
graduate and a high school graduate shrank from 93
percent to 80 percent.

Education is vital. But as Mr. Blinder put it, it “is far
from a panacea.”

IV. The Future of Income Inequality

The fast-growing gap between the rich and poor and
middle-class Americans is not something that has just
happened. The Bush policies are an attempt to dismantle
the institutions and norms that have long worked
to ameliorate inequities — progressive taxation, the
minimum wage, Social Security, Medicaid and so on.
The aims that can’t be accomplished outright — like
cuts in Social Security — are being teed up by running
deficits that could force the shrinkage of government
programs, even though the public would not likely
condone many such cuts unless compelled to by
a fiscal crisis.

Such policies are grounded in an ideology that began
taking shape some 30 years ago, when economic policy
makers began to disdain the notion of harnessing and
protecting society’s collective potential in favor
of crafting incentives to align individuals’ interests
with those of the market. This campaign has gone
by many names — “starve the beast,” or “repeal the
New Deal.” Economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic
Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, calls that
approach “you’re on your own,” or YOYO, and has
written a book calling for a new way, dubbed “we’re
in this together,” or WITT. (Click here for excerpts from
“All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy,”
by Jared Bernstein.)

At issue, in economic terms, is the tradeoff between
equality and efficiency: It can be difficult to divide the
economic pie more equally without reducing the size
of the pie. But it’s not impossible, and doing so is crucial
for widespread prosperity. A fair and well-functioning
economy will always involve some inequality, which acts
a motivator and can be explained by differences in risk-
taking, ability and work intensity. But inequality
is generally deemed to be dangerous — socially,
economically, (and, perhaps, politically) — when
it becomes so extreme as to be self-reinforcing,
as many researchers suggest is currently the case.

The problem now is that most any attempt to reduce
inequality — even a measly increase in the minimum wage
— is rejected as misguided. And policies that under one
set of economic conditions might allow for a justifiable
modicum of inequality are pursued beyond all reason.
For instance, the rationale for the tax cuts in 2001 was
to return the budget surplus that Mr. Bush inherited
from President Clinton. The rationale for the tax cuts
in 2002 and 2003 and 2006 was to stimulate the
economy. The surplus has long since been replaced
by big deficits, the jobless recovery ended three years
ago and inequality is on the rise. But tax cutting that
overwhelmingly benefits the rich continues because,
we’re told, failure to keep cutting taxes would, somehow,
shrink the pie. As Mr. Bernstein of the Economic Policy
Institute has put it: “Economics, once an elegant and
sensible set of ideas and principles devoted to shaping
outcomes for the betterment of society, has been reduced
to a restrictive set of ideologically inspired rules devoted
to an explanation of why we cannot take the necessary
steps to meet the challenges we face.”

Hear, hear.

Lela Moore provided research for this article.


22) Hezbollah Rides a New Popularity
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

*BEIRUT, Aug 7 (IPS) - As the war in Lebanon approaches the one-month
mark, and amid the destruction of much of Lebanon, Hezbollah appears to
be gaining strength within the country and around the Arab world.*

The Israeli aim of widespread bombing of the Lebanese infrastructure in
order to create resentment against Hezbollah seems to have played into
the strengths of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, known in many western countries as a "terrorist
organisation", is widely seen in Lebanon as a legitimate political and
social power.

One reason for this, according to an official representative of
Hezbollah and member of the Lebanese Parliament, is that Hezbollah has
never aimed to turn Lebanon into an Islamic state.

"Hezbollah is a democratic party whose principles are based on the
Lebanese constitution," Tarad Hamade told IPS. "This means we have to
respect the cultural and religious diversity in the country. We have
never intended to establish an Islamic state."

Hamade, who is also labour minister, said: "Israel wants to terrorise
the country and inflict as much damage as possible. They call us
terrorists, at the same time as they are exercising state terrorism. Are
they not terrorists?"

More and more Lebanese are beginning to hold this view.

Lebanese see the destruction by Israelis all around them. The damage to
the civilian infrastructure will cost billions of dollars to fix.

All three of Lebanon's airports and all four of its ports have been
bombed. Damage done to houses and businesses is estimated at above a
billion dollars. At least 22 fuel and gas stations have been bombed.
Scores of factories have been damaged or destroyed.

Red Cross ambulances, government emergency centres, UN peacekeeping
forces and observers, media outlets and mobile phone towers have been
bombed -- all in violation of international law.

Mosques and churches have been bombed, and illegal weapons such as
cluster bombs and white phosphorous used. More than 90 percent of those
killed, close to 1,000 according to official estimates, are civilians.

The result is that rather than pressuring Hezbollah by destroying
Lebanon, Israel has increased popular support for the group, and brought
the wishes of most Lebanese more in line with the stated goals of
Hezbollah to keep Israel at bay.

With Hezbollah engaged in at least 60 percent of the relief efforts in
Lebanon, the kind of work that gave it power in the first place is now
only increasing its popularity.

Israel could also have fallen for the military strategy of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah would like nothing more than to engage the Israeli military in
a guerrilla war in southern Lebanon - and this has begun already now
that Israeli troops are in the south, and suffering casualties.

Hamade says Hezbollah's stated demands for a ceasefire are simple and
have remained unchanged since the beginning of the conflict.

"There can only be ceasefire if Israel stops firing as soon as possible,
accepts an exchange of prisoners and leaves Lebanon." But more than
10,000 Israeli troops now occupy parts of southern Lebanon, widespread
air strikes continue, and Israel refuses a prisoner exchange.

IPS recently interviewed a Hezbollah fighter who asked to be called
"Ahmed". The Israeli aggression has only made him a more determined fighter.

"I care about my people, my country, and I'm defending them from the
aggression," he said. "My home now in Dahaya (southern Beirut) is in
ruins. Everything in my life is destroyed now, so I will fight them."

Like most followers of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Ahmed said:
"We are all with him. He has given us belief and hope that we can push
the Zionists out of Lebanon, and keep them out forever. He has given me

He added: "We are like the French resistance against the Nazis."

Mohamed Slaibi, a 21-year-old business student at the American
University of Beirut (AUB), said that he has never supported Hezbollah,
but he now feels it is their right to defend Lebanon.

"And now I feel betrayed by America," Slaibi said. "The U.S. supports
Israel 100 percent in everything they do. Even though my dream was to go
to the U.S., and I study at AUB, now I hate the Americans for supporting

This is just the kind of sentiment that Israel did not want to provoke.
And it has been caused by the extent of the Israeli aggression. In the
past Israeli attacks were aimed primarily at Hezbollah, but now all
Lebanese people are suffering.

It is well known that Hezbollah enjoys strong political support from
Syria and Iran, and likely receives arms and munitions from those
countries, but more than ever it is enjoying the support of the Lebanese

And it certainly seems to have resources. "Some of it is donations from
the Lebanese people," Hamade said. "Some of it is revenues from
companies established by Hezbollah. In addition, Muslims pay 'Zaqaat' (a
voluntary donation for the cause of religion). The arms we can buy on
the market. There is an endless supply of arms."

Hezbollah can of course not match Israel in weaponry. "We might not be
as powerful as the Israeli army but we will fight until we die," Hamade

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


23) Stymied on the Castro Beat: Few See Behind the Curtain
August 7, 2006

[The U.S. media, which for the most part has participated in the
blockade through indifference to Cuba throught the years, is now
paying the price for their indifference. The Cubans have allowed
foreign journalists in who have spent years here bashing Cuba in
an endless cycle of boring and predictable commentaries. Now that
we're in a new state, these news outlets, which tried to ignore
Cuba when not reviling it, think Cuba should simply roll over and
play dead, opening their doors to everyone who wants to come here
and write about the buildings which need paint and the salaries
which aren't enough to go to Wal-Mart and so on. Sorry, but with
all due modesty, my committment is to be here for extended periods
of time, and to share both my own impressions and those of others
who write, good and bad, about life in this country.

The Cuban Revolution is a good thing, all sorts of reasons, but
this country has plenty of problems and contradictions, big and
small, serious and frivolous. The more time I spend here, the
more I know how little I know. But what little I know is a whole
lot more than the nearly nothing these wiseacres who just show up
and rant hysterically know. Their reportage is constantly filled
with the crudest factual errors. My home town newspaper, for one
example, sent the editor of their Sunday opinion section here not
long ago. He couldn't even get Alarcon's name right! Now what we
see is that these outlets are getting a taste of Cuban sovereignty,
something for which they have expressed contempt all all along and
they don't like it. For Cuba, there are some things which are more
important than money, the few lousy dollars which these newspaper
presstitutes would put into a hotel. Cuba allows CBS and NBC to
have bureaus here. AP, Reuters, and the Sun-Sentinel have also had
bureaus here. They write about the dissidents, about long line and
other problems in Cuban life, but they at least display a modicum
of committment by keeping people here full-time. The Sun-Sentinel's
Vanessa Bauza took a sabbatical. They sent a couple of people who
stayed for a couple of weeks, but didn't fill her slot. Well don't
blame Cuba for that.

Furthermore, Washington won't allow most people to come to Cuba to
see it for themselves. Ordinary people. It won't even allow Cuban
Americans to come to see their families except under extremely
limiting and infrequent conditions. Washington won't allow Cubans
to visit the United States, without paying a NON-REFUNDABLE $200
fee JUST TO HAVE AN INTERVIEW at the U.S. Interests Section, and,
in most cases, to have that request denied, but Washington keeps
the $200.00. All of these factors are ignored by such reporting as
what we read here in the New York Slimes.

If they would like to be able to come to Cuba, start writing about
the travel ban! Start demanding Washington allow Cubans to come to
visit the United States, and not have to pay $200.00 JUST TO ASK!

Cuba is a sovereign nation. Anyone who wants to write about this
country with a Havana by-line, something which gives the articles
a touch of authenticity, has to ask for and receive PERMISSION to
do that from Cuba's government. Cuba is a sovereign nation.

Deal with it!

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews]

Stymied on the Castro Beat: Few See Behind the Curtain
August 7, 2006

With one of the biggest events in Cuban history now unfolding ˜ the
provisional, and perhaps permanent, transition of power from Fidel
Castro to his brother Raúl ˜ many news organizations in the United
States are scrambling to cover the situation in a Communist country
that bars most American reporters.

The wire services that serve American newspapers, chiefly The
Associated Press but also Reuters, have bureaus in Havana ˜ as does
CNN ˜ but they are the exceptions.

Reporters are at the mercy of the Castro government in getting
working visas, and most are unsuccessful. At least a dozen reporters
have sought to enter the country on tourist visas and been turned
away at the airport; a few have slipped through and have been
operating in the island nation sub rosa, which hampers their ability
to report fully.

One news executive said that scores of journalists, perhaps hundreds
of them, were in Cancún, Mexico, waiting for permission to enter the
country. Some news organizations, including The Washington Post, are
using reporters already accredited and based in Havana. Others,
including The New York Times, are using employees in Havana who are
not identified, for what The Times says are security reasons.

The Chicago Tribune and The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, both owned
by the Tribune Company, appear to be the only two major American
newspapers with a bureau in Havana. Those two papers, along with The
Dallas Morning News, set up operations in 2001 after a decade of
courting Cuban officials; they were the first there in four decades.
(The Dallas paper closed its bureau last year for budget reasons.)

Gary Marx, The Tribune‚s man in Havana, has been filing reports
regularly since Mr. Castro underwent surgery last week. Unfortunately
for The Sun-Sentinel, it had no one in Cuba at the time, a spokesman

While Cuba granted The Sun-Sentinel, in Fort Lauderdale, a presence,
it has withheld such permission from The Miami Herald (owned by the
McClatchy Company). Miami is home to the largest population of Cuban
exiles in the country.

Juan O. Tamayo, chief of correspondents for The Herald, said that
Cuban officials regarded the paper with suspicion. „They want to try
to put their message out forcefully through the media, and we here in
Miami simply know too much and need to cover Cuba too intensely to
fit their needs,‰ he said.

The Herald is still trying to get reporters into Cuba, he said, „but
we‚re having problems with visas.‰

To view the current thirty CubaNews messages:


23) Rodeo in Salem gets unexpected song rendition
A man purportedly from Kazakhstan launched into a diatribe
instead of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
By Laurence Hammack

No one knows for sure who he was, that Middle Eastern man
in an American flag shirt and a cowboy hat who was supposed
to sing the national anthem at a rodeo Friday night in the
Salem Civic Center.

But he sure shook up this town before leaving in a hurry.

Introduced as Boraq Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan, he was said
to be an immigrant touring America. A film crew was with him,
doing some sort of documentary. And he wanted to sing
"The Star-Spangled Banner" to show his appreciation,
the announcer told the crowd.

Speaking in broken English, the mysterious man first told the
decidedly pro-American crowd - it was a rodeo, of all things,
in Salem, of all places - that he supported the war on terrorism.

"I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down
to the lizards," he said, according to Brett Sharp of Star
Country WSLC, who was also on stage that night as a media
sponsor of the rodeo.

An uneasy murmur ran through the crowd.

"And may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man,
woman and child in Iraq," he continued, according to Robynn
Jaymes, who co-hosts a morning radio show with Sharp and
was also among the stunned observers.

The crowd's reaction was loud enough for John Saunders,
the civic center's assistant director, to hear from the front
office. "It was a restless kind of booing," Saunders said.

Then the man took off his hat and sang what he said was his
native national anthem. He then told the crowd to be seated,
put his hat back on, and launched into a butchered version
of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that ended with the words
"your home in the grave," Sharp said.

By then, a restless crowd had turned downright nasty.

"If he had been out there a minute longer, I think somebody
would have shot him," Jaymes said. "People were booing
him, flipping him off."

Rodeo producer Bobby Rowe, who by then had figured out
that he was the victim of some kind of hoax, had the man
escorted out of the civic center. Rowe told him that he and
his film friends had best leave right then.

"Had we not gotten them out of there, there would have been
a riot," said Rowe, who has been bringing his Imperial Rodeo
Productions to Salem for years.

As his wife, Lenore, put it: "It's a wonder one of these cowboys
didn't go out there and rope him up."

Saunders agreed. "I was concerned for his personal
safety," he said.

Once the film crew members and their star realized the
severity of the situation, Bobby Rowe said, "they loaded
up the van and they screeched out of there."

After apologizing to the crowd for being duped, Rowe was
left to wonder who pulled such a hoax, and why. Months ago,
he was approached by someone from One America, a California
-based film company that was reportedly doing a documentary
on a Russian immigrant, Rowe said.

The outfit asked if Sagdiyev could sing the national anthem
at the rodeo in Salem. After listening to a tape, Rowe said sure.

By Saturday afternoon, Jaymes had observed that Sagdiyev looked
a lot like the title character of "Da Ali G Show," a Home Box Office
production that often catches its guests and audiences unaware
and then records their reaction to "shock value" material such
as Friday night's performance.

The show has a character named Borat from Kazakhstan,
according to the HBO Web site.

Jaymes said she recalls that one of the five cameras was
turned on her and others on stage, as if to catch their reactions.

"I looked at Brett and said, 'Why do I feel like I'm in the middle
of a bad "Saturday Night Live" episode?'" Jaymes said.

As Rowe prepared Saturday for a second night of the rodeo,
he was playing it safe on who would sing the national anthem.

"It'll be a tape," he said.


24) Hezbollah, a Discussion on "Marxmail", a Marxist discussion list:

Andy asks what explains the relative success of Hezbollah?

In just trying to be helpful, I note:

Hezbollah had the heroic example of the pre-Oslo Palestinian resistance.
It had a pool of 400,000 Palestians in Lebanon, the poorest of the poor
forced to be outcasts living in refugee camps, but sustaining a proud
national heritage. Hezbollah was far enough away from Israel to escape
the remorseless assassinations that Israel has used to decapitate the
Palestinian resistance. Since the outbreak of the second intifada 6
years ago, Israel has murdered over 200 Palestinian leaders at the rate
of several each month. Since the prominate "leaders" of the Palestinian
Authority were left untouched, this practice severely distorted the
cohesiveness of the resistance movements.

The demographics of Lebanon made it possible for Hezbollah to establish
safe areas for its operations and still participate in the normal
economic life of the country. In contrast, Israel controled the economic
life of all Palestinians except for those employed by the PA itself, and
most of those jobs (the military and police) went to loyalists who had
been in exile with Arafat.

There are many other significant differences between the conditions
facing the Palestinians in Palestine and the Lebonese Arabs in Lebanon,
differences bearing on the subjective factor -- the leaderships. Among
them are the influence of Syria, the partial but important defeat of the
semi-fascist Maronite forces, the use by Israel of the terror tactic of
arbitrary arrest and detention, the Israeli use of spys and double
agents, and so forth.

As for the popularity of Nasrallah, where would Marwan Barghouti be if
the Israelis let him out of jail? Even before Arafat's death, the polls
placed Barghouti far above any other leader in Palestine. Among the
assassinated leaders:
Shaikh Khalil, (Islamic Jihad)
Osama Jawabri (Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade)
Nayef Abu Sharkh (Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade)
Abu Ali Mustafa (PFLP)
Abdul Aziz al Rantisi. (Hamas)
Shiekh Ahmed Yassin (considered the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas)
and hundreds more.
We should never discount the effectiveness of state terror.


25) Peaceful succession underway in Cuba: official
By Anthony Boadle
August 7, 2006;jsessionid=1NZBQTPC5PWPECRBAELCFFA?type=topNews&storyID=13105991

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban officials on Monday mocked opponents
who had hoped that unrest would erupt in the Communist-ruled
nation following the hospitalization of veteran leader Fidel Castro.

In the latest of several messages from Washington aimed
at encouraging Cubans to push for change, President Bush
said Cubans should decide their own form of government.

A leading intellectual and Cuban government member said
the country had set in motion a "peaceful succession" --
the first official to use the word succession. It was not clear
whether his use of the term implied that Castro's handover
of power to his brother Raul will turn out to be permanent.

Fidel Castro remained convalescing out of sight on Monday,
one week after surgery for internal bleeding forced him
to put Raul Castro provisionally in charge of the island
he has dominated for 47 years.

Senior officials have in the past few days assured Cubans
that Castro, who is due to turn 80 next Sunday, is on the
road to recovery.

The news of his illness last Monday stunned the nation
of 11 million people and prompted heated speculation
in Cuba, in the exile bastion of Miami, and beyond over
Cuba's future political course.

Roberto Fernandez Retamar, a writer and member of the
Council of State, said the U.S. government had expected
chaos after Castro handed over power to his brother.

"They had not expected that a peaceful succession was
possible. A peaceful succession has taken place in
Cuba," he told a news conference.

National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon expressed
satisfaction that a potentially difficult situation had been
handled smoothly and took a dig at Castro's opponents.

"All those who have been dreaming, or trying to fool the
world and put out the idea that something terrible would
happen in Cuba, that people would take to the streets, that
there would be great instability, all those the door slammed
on them and they must have very swollen hands now,"
Alarcon said, speaking on Venezuela's Telesur network.


In the United States, Bush said it was up to Cubans to decide
to move from one-party rule to democracy.

"Our desire for the Cuban people is to be able to choose their
own form of government ... and we will make this very clear,
as Cuba has the possibility of transforming itself from a tyrannical
situation to a different type of society, the Cuban people ought
to decide," Bush told a news conference.

Washington has been trying for decades to oust Castro through
various means, but U.S. officials last week said it had no plans
for a military intervention nor would it otherwise interfere.

One of the world's longest-ruling leaders, Castro is admired
in many developing countries as a fighter for social justice.
His many critics, most notably the United States and Cuban
exiles in Miami, see him as a tyrant who has stifled freedoms
and brought Cuba to the verge of economic ruin.

Raul Castro, the 75-year-old defense minister, has not been s
een or heard in public since last Monday but state media has
been building up his image with flattering articles.

The Cuban government has not revealed the exact nature
of Castro's illness on grounds that it is a state secret.
The surgery was announced on July 31 to have been
for internal bleeding caused by overwork and stress.


Israeli War Crimes Escalate in the Gaza Strip:
Number of Dead in Rafah Aggression is up to 16, including
10 Civilians, 4 of them Children; 39 Injured, including 13 Children;
Destruction of Property; and 2 Houses Bombed in Gaza City
August 5, 2006

William Fisher | Screw Up, Collect Reward
"Millions of us have shaken our heads in disbelief as President
George W. Bush made a cottage industry of rewarding the
undeserving," writes William Fisher. "The cast of characters
is long and Orwellian."

Iraqi Medic Describes Carnage
Testimony begins in hearing for US soldiers accused of rape.
An Iraqi medic who responded to a home where US soldiers
allegedly raped and killed a teenage Iraqi girl and murdered
her sister and parents described on Sunday a display
of carnage so horrific he said it made him sick for two weeks.

Major Alaskan Oil Field Shutting Down
In a sudden blow to the nation's oil supply, half the production
on Alaska's North Slope was shut down Sunday after
BP Exploration Alaska discovered severe corrosion
in a Prudhoe Bay oil transit line.

While the UN Fiddles ... the Middle East Burns
The US and Britain warned that a UN resolution was only
a "first step" toward ending the violence, as Israel and
Hezbollah militants used the window before a vote to
inflict maximum damage. Meanwhile, Arab leaders are
rejecting the US-French draft UN Security Council
resolution that would bring a "full cessation of hostilities"
but enable Israeli forces to stay in southern Lebanon
until deployment of an international peacekeeping force.

Hezbollah south of the border
The "new threats of the 21st century recognize no borders", according to
the Pentagon. Ergo, everyone may be a terrorist, at least a potential one.
Not accidentally, General Craddock hates "anti-globalization and
anti-free-trade demagogues". Sunni or Shi'ite, Marxist or anarchist,
ruralist or existentialist, the Russian mafia, the Hong Kong triads, the
Nigerian mafia, the Ukrainian mafia - they are all in cahoots. And for the
Pentagon, Hezbollah is selling pirate video discs of Christina Aguilera to
finance more Katyusha rockets.

Video: Police Brutality from around the world
pretty f*cked up

In the US and the UK it is literally illegal to say that Hezbollaha is not "terrorist
This goes against Freedom of Speech and even freedom of thought. Last
year Al Manar, a Satellite station and website close to Hezbollah, were
blocked from US viewers and declared "terrorist". Americans should be able
to make up there own minds. Part of Al Manar's broadcasts included English
language newscasts which showed many of Israel's atrocities.

North Slope Shutdown to Cut U.S. Oil Output
Transit-line corrosion is blamed. Production will fall
by 400,000 barrels a day, 8% of nation's total.
From the Associated Press
August 7, 2006,0,5775527.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Goliath Pretending to be David
The Deadly US-Israeli Shell Game at the UN
August 7, 2006

IDF reservists: Our missions are unclear, our combat
equipment is antiquated
By Amiram Barkat and Amos Harel,
Haaretz Correspondents
Reserve soldiers are returning from fighting in south
Lebanon with harsh criticisms of their operational
preparedness and the combat equipment with which
they had been supplied.
August 07, 2006

Arab World Finds Icon in Leader of Hezbollah
August 7, 2006

A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons
August 7, 2006

A Year After March Against Iraq War, Another Try
CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 6 — It is another scorching summer
in Texas, and there are no movie theaters in Crawford.
But Cindy Sheehan, the sequel, was playing outdoors Sunday
afternoon, on the fortified outskirts of President Bush’s ranch
August 7, 2006

New Take on Public Housing: Destroying It to Save It
August 7, 2006

Gain in Income Is Offset by Rise in Property Tax
August 7, 2006

Critics Say Politics Driving Immigration Hearings
August 7, 2006

Protesters call for Lebanon peace
A march involving thousands of people calling for an immediate
ceasefire in Lebanon has taken place in London.
The Stop The War Coalition asked people at the demonstration
to put children's shoes at the Cenotaph in protest at the deaths
of children in the conflict.
March organisers said more than 100,000 people had attended
the event, but police put the figure at about 20,000.

Catholic Church calls for prayers for health of Cuban President
HAVANA, August 4 (PL).˜The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba
(COCC) called today on its congregation to pray for the recovery of
President Fidel Castro, who announced that he had undergone surgery
last Monday.
Havana. August 4, 2006

India Bans Arab TV Channels Under Pressure From Israel
Shahid Raza Burney, Arab News
BOMBAY, 6 August 2006 - In a country widely referred to as the world's
largest democracy, the Indian government has succumbed to mounting Israeli
pressure and ordered a nationwide ban on the broadcast of Arab television
Statements of protest against this can be sent to the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, via the following

Robert Fisk: A terrible thought occurs to me -
that there will be another 9/11
Published: 05 August 2006

Is Germany Ready to Help Police Lebanon?
Filed at 12:24 p.m. ET
August 6, 2006

Civilian Killings Went Unpunished
Declassified papers show U.S. atrocities went far beyond My Lai.
By Nick Turse and Deborah Nelson
Special to The Times
August 6, 2006,0,2932312,full.story?coll=la-home-nation

Navy Petty officer held in secret for 4 months
Tim McGlone
Aug 04, 2006

Holding a Gun, Hezbollah Lends a Hand
TYRE, Lebanon, Aug. 5 — Hezbollah paid for his wife’s Caesarean
section. It brought olive oil, sugar and nuts when he lost his job
and even covered the cost of an operation on his broken nose.
Like many poor Shiites across southern Lebanon, Ahmed Awali,
41, a security guard at an apartment building in this southern
city, has received charity from Hezbollah for years. He says
he is not a member. He does not even know the names
of those who helped him.
August 6, 2006

U.S. and France Back Plan to End Lebanon Clashes
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 5 — France and the United States reached
agreement Saturday on a Security Council resolution to halt the
fighting in Lebanon, even as Israel mounted a commando raid
in Tyre and kept up heavy airstrikes, and as Hezbollah unleashed
a flurry of deadly rocket fire into northern Israel.
A draft of the resolution, which could not be voted on until
at least 24 hours after it is formally introduced, calls for
an immediate cessation of “all attacks” by Hezbollah and
of “offensive military operations” by Israel.
A buffer zone would then be set up in southern Lebanon, free
of all but the Lebanese Army and United Nations-mandated
forces, followed by negotiations for a lasting settlement that
could include procedures for disarming Hezbollah and creating
a new international force to patrol the south. [Page 8.]
August 6, 2006

Thousands march in SA against Israel
Cape Town, South Africa
05 August 2006 03:38
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Cape Town
to Parliament on Saturday to demand diplomatic and trade
sanctions against Israel.

The Case for Boycotting Israel
Boycott Now!
Johannesburg, South Africa.

You can't trust the police with your children's lives
My cousin Mikey Powell died because officers treated him
as a racial sterotype, instead of a sick man in need of help
Benjamin Zephaniah
Saturday August 5, 2006
The Guardian,,1837675,00.html

40,000 US Troops Have Deserted Since 2000
Since 2000, about
40,000 troops from all branches of the military have deserted. Those who
help war resisters say desertion is more prevalent than the military has
admitted. "They lied in Vietnam with the amount of opposition to the war
and they’re lying now," said Eric Seitz, an attorney who represents
Army Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment
to the war in Iraq.

Bush Bids for Sweeping Detention Power
US citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely
and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed
by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early
version of the bill. A 32-page draft measure is intended
to authorize the Pentagon's tribunal system, established shortly
after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain and prosecute detainees
captured in the war on terror.

FOCUS | Bush to Open New Maximum-Security Jail at Guantanamo
The controversy over the US-run detention centre at Guantanamo
Bay is to erupt anew with confirmation by the Pentagon that a new,
permanent prison will open in the Cuban enclave in the next few
weeks. Campaigners pointed to Mr. Bush's claim earlier this summer
that he would "like to close" Guantanamo. The revelation that
Camp 6 is poised to open is proof that he intends to keep
using the prison.

Dahr Jamail | "Supporters of Hezbollah"
Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon announced, "All those in
south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to
Hezbollah. In order to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers
battling Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon, villages should
be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground troops move
in." Writing from Beirut, Dahr Jamail shows us these so called
"supporters of Hezbollah," in the hospitals of Sidon.

Bridge Bombing Paralyses Lebanon Aid Pipeline

US Threatens Suit if Maine Probes Verizon Ties to NSA

Traumatised and Afraid - 300,000 Children Who Want to Go Home

Oil Spill Threatens Mediterranean; Cleanup along Lebanon's Coast Can't Begin until Fighting Ends

Israeli Soldier Incarcerated for Refusing to Fight

Exonerated, Florida Death Row Inmate Tells His Tale

Chavez Ends Vietnam Visit with Attack on "US Imperialist Monster"

60+ Including 34 Children Killed by Israeli Attack on Qana

US Begins Building Treaty-Breaching Germ War Defense Center

"If You Haven't Left, You're Hezbollah"

Scientist Publishes "Escape Route" from Global Warming

US "Arms" Flights, Headed for Israel, Avoid Scottish Airport

Global Outrage Greets Israel "War Crime" in Qana

War In Lebanon: Dissent Grows In Israel

Farmers Use As Much Pesticide With GM Crops, Study Finds

NBC/WSJ Poll: US Pessimism on Increase

Chicago Orders 'Big Box' Stores to Raise Wage

Report Says Homeland Security Dept. Mishandled Contracts

Cancer Risk From Industrial Chemical Rises, Study Finds

SIPTU calls for sanctions against Israel
Date Released: 27 Jul 2006
At its meeting in Liberty Hall today, SIPTU‚s National Executive
Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Irish Government
to move for the immediate suspension of the Euro-Mediterranean
Association Agreement with Israel until such time as that country ends
its violations of international law.,4155,en.html

Crisis of US Capitalism or the Crisis of the US Wage
and Salaried Worker?
by James Petras
July 18, 2006

Live Bait & Ammo # 79
by Gregg Shotwell/UAW Local 2151

Police Seek New Controls on Protesters and Bicyclists
July 19, 2006

A protracted colonial war
With US support, Israel is hoping to isolate and topple Syria by holding
sway over Lebanon
Tariq Ali
Thursday July 20, 2006
The Guardian,,1824538,00.html

Uncompromising leadership will lift our people
By the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

The War at the Point of Production: The 'Killing Fields' of the United States
By Roland Sheppard   
Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Dahr Jamail | "This Is a Big Disaster for the Lebanese."
"A reported 15,000
people crossed the Lebanese border into Syria on Thursday, seeking refuge
from widespread bombings in Beirut, carried out by Israeli F-16
warplanes. Today, the situation continued, with reports of bombed petrol
stations, police stations, and a hospital. Interviewing people at the border
who had fled the bombs in Beirut, I felt like I was back in Iraq ..."
writes Dahr Jamail.

Baghdad Starts to Collapse as Its People Flee a Life of Death
"I returned to Baghdad
on Monday after a break of several months, during which I too was
guilty of glazing over every time I read another story of Iraqi violence,"
reports James Hider. "But two nights on the telephone, listening to my
lost and frightened Iraqi staff facing death at any moment, persuaded me
that Baghdad is now verging on total collapse."

Hugo Chávez
By Greg Palast
"Q: How do you respond to Bush's charge that you are destabilizing the
region and interfering in the elections of other Latin American countries?
Chávez: Mr. Bush is an illegitimate President. In Florida, his brother
Jeb deleted many black voters from the electoral registers. So this
President is the result of a fraud. Not only that, he is also
currently applying a dictatorship in the U.S. People can be put in
jail without being charged. They tap phones without court orders. They
check what books people take out of public libraries. They arrested
Cindy Sheehan because of a T-shirt she was wearing demanding the
return of the troops from Iraq. They abuse blacks and Latinos. And if
we are going to talk about meddling in other countries, then the U.S.
is the champion of meddling in other people's affairs. They invaded
Guatemala, they overthrew Salvador Allende, invaded Panama and the
Dominican Republic. They were involved in the coup d'état in Argentina
thirty years ago."
July 2006 Issue

Policy Rewrite Reveals Rift in Administration
Top Officials Split on Treatment of Detainees
By R. Jeffrey Smith and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 14, 2006; Page A04

The Little Tramp's Classic Labor Lesson in Venezuela
By: Chris Kraul - Los Angeles Times
LOS TEQUES, Venezuela - In his classic 1936 film, "Modern Times,"
Charlie Chaplin has to work so fast tightening bolts in a steel factory
that he finally goes crazy. In a memorable scene that has become
a metaphor for labor exploitation, the Little Tramp is run through
the factory's enormous gears.
For President Hugo Chavez's socialist government, the film is more
than just entertainment: It's become a teaching tool. Since January,
in a bid to expose the evils of "savage capitalism," the Labor Ministry
has shown the Chaplin film to thousands of workers in places such
as this rundown industrial suburb of Caracas.
When the screenings at factories or meeting halls end, Labor Ministry
officials then take their cue, and use Chaplin's plight to spell out
worker rights under occupational safety laws passed last year and
now being applied. They are part of Chavez's sweeping reform
agenda that he calls Socialism for the 21st Century.
Sunday, Jul 09, 2006

4 More Soldiers Accused of Rape and Murder in Iraq
BAGHDAD, July 9 — American military investigators have formally
accused four more soldiers of the rape and murder of a teenage
Iraqi girl and the murder of her parents and younger sister
south of Baghdad, the American military said in a statement
today. A fifth soldier was formally accused of "dereliction
of duty" for failing to report the offenses, the military said.
July 9, 2006

Venezuela To Offer Asylum For American
Military Deserters Fleeing Illegal Wars
By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Russian Subscribers
July 7, 2006

FOCUS | Dahr Jamail: "Packing It In"
Dick Cheney: "No matter
how you carve it - you can call it anything you want - but basically,
it is packing it in, going home, persuading and convincing and
validating the theory that the Americans don't have the stomach for this fight."
Dahr Jamail: "Guess what, Dick - moral and sane Americans 'don't have
the stomach for this fight' because this fight should have never taken
place. And anyone with a soul, let alone a conscience, should be more
than happy to see US troops in Iraq 'packing it in.'"

By Yossi Sarid
Haaretz (Israel)
July 7, 2006

The Corporate Interests Fueling Conflict in Palestine
Profiting from the Occupation
July 6, 2006

John Pilger: Israel's war on Palestinian children

Israeli "Retaliation" and Double Standards
June 26, 2006

Israel's Appalling Bombing in Gaza
Starving in the Dark
June 30, 2006

Greg Palast | Stealing Mexico
This Sunday in Mexico,
Greg Palast says that the "Bush Team" has helped their ruling party
"Floridize" the presidential election.

Israel Steps Up Airstrikes
July 2, 2006

Justices, 5-3, Broadly Reject Bush Plan to Try Detainees
June 30, 2006

Palestinian Premier Says Israel Seeks to Cripple Government
GAZA CITY, June 30 — The Palestinian prime minister, Ismail
Haniyah, today called Israel's seizure of 64 members of Hamas
"proof" that its recent offensive was not merely intended to
recapture a kidnapped soldier but was part of a "premeditated
plan" to cripple the Palestinian government.
Israeli soldiers took the Hamas members, who included a third
of the Palestinian cabinet and 23 legislators, into custody
in the West Bank on Thursday.
The Israeli air offensive in Gaza continued today, as jet fighters
destroyed the office of the Palestinian interior minister.
June 30, 2006

In Mid-Atlantic, Flooding's Fury Goes Downriver
[This article shows photo of stranded family with a
sign hand-painted on a piece of sheet metal that says,
"Get us out of here." Sound familiar?]
"It would seem that misery, like water, flows downstream.
A day after a nexus of swollen rivers spilled their banks in some
of the worst floods in the Mid-Atlantic region in decades, the waters
slowly started to recede yesterday. But trouble did not go with them."
June 30, 2006

The Road Back
In Battered Parish, Officials Bear the Brunt of Neighbors' Anguish
June 30, 2006

Ruling Leaves Uncertainty at Guantánamo
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba, June 29 — As the Supreme Court
prepared to rule on the Bush administration's plan to try terror
suspects before special military tribunals here, the commander
of Guantánamo's military detention center was asked what impact
the court's decision might have on its operations.
"If they rule against the government, I don't see how that is going
to affect us," the commander, Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, said
Tuesday evening as he sat in a conference room in his headquarters.
"From my perspective, I think the direct impact will be negligible."
June 30, 2006

Key Investor Urges G.M. to Explore 2 Bids
DETROIT, June 30 — The company controlled by General Motors'
biggest individual shareholder urged the automaker today to
explore a three-way partnership with Nissan of Japan and the
French automaker Renault, which controls Nissan.
Tracinda Corporation, which is owned by billionaire Kirk
Kerkorian, said it believed Renault and Nissan would be
interested in buying a minority stake in G.M., the world's
biggest auto company.
Such a combination stands to rank among the biggest deals
in recent automotive history, like the one that linked
Daimler-Benz and Chrysler in 1998 or Renault and
Nissan in 1999. It conceivably could keep G.M., which
is facing a stiff challenge from Toyota, at the top of the
automotive industry.
June 30, 2006

On Arab Streets and Airwaves, Shock Over Seizures by Israel
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 29 — Arab streets and airwaves
reacted with shock on Thursday over Israel's seizure of many
Hamas members and the continued bombardment of Gaza.
June 30, 2006

Israel Appears to Delay Ground Forays in North Gaza; Airstrikes Go On
GAZA, Friday, June 30 — With the seizure of dozens of senior Hamas
officials and its military hunkered down, Israel appeared to delay
any ground raid into northern Gaza on Thursday, but it continued
to pound Palestinian territory with artillery fire.
Israel carried out several airstrikes early Friday aiming at buildings
that included the Interior Ministry in Gaza City, which was set on
fire. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties.
June 30, 2006

Seizures Show New Israel Line Against Hamas
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Friday, June 30 — Israeli troops seized
64 members of Hamas in the West Bank on Thursday, including
a third of the Palestinian cabinet and 23 legislators, a move that
Israeli officials said indicated a significant change in Israel's
policy toward the Hamas government.
June 30, 2006

Israel Threatens to Widen Conflict Over Captured Soldier
June 28, 2006

Terror Expert: London Bomber Was Working For MI5
Khan used as informant for security services
Paul Joseph Watson/Prison | June 27 2006
A noted terror expert has told the BBC that Mohammed Siddique Khan,
the alleged ringleader of the 7/7 London bombings, was working for
British intelligence agency MI5 as an informant at the time of the

Are Americans Finally Ready to Get Smart?
FRANKFURT, June 27 — Are Americans finally ready to get Smart?
DaimlerChrysler, which shelved an earlier plan to bring its Smart
mini-car brand to the United States, plans to announce on Wednesday
that it will introduce the tiny, two-seat vehicle to the American market
early in 2008, according to several executives at the company.
June 27, 2006

Judge Halts Executions in Missouri (full article)
A federal judge halted executions in Missouri. The judge, Fernando
J. Gaitan Jr. of Federal District Court, said the state's lethal injection
procedure subjects condemned inmates to an unnecessary risk of
"unconstitutional pain and suffering." Judge Gaitan ruled in the
case of Michael Taylor. He gave the State Department of Corrections
until July 15 to come up with a new protocol. The judge also said
he was "gravely concerned" because the lone doctor in charge
of mixing the lethal cocktail in Missouri is dyslexic.
June 27, 2006

Supreme Court Roundup
Justices Uphold Basic Right to Choose Defense Lawyers
June 27, 2006

U.S. Ends a Yearlong Effort to Obtain Library Records
Amid Secrecy in Connecticut
June 27, 2006

'Breathtaking' Waste and Fraud in Hurricane Aid
June 27, 2006

Military Fails Some Widows Over Benefits
"...laws exclude widows whose husbands died too early in the war
or were killed in training rather than in combat."
June 27, 2006