Friday, December 08, 2006




After meeting last evening, BAUAW has decided to continue our
organizing efforts and our work. While we are, admittedly, a small
group we have achieved much and, have made an impact and, we
are all dedicated activists anyway. So, we continue...

Our next meeting is Monday, January 15, 2007, 7:00 P.M.
Centro del Pueblo
474 Valencia Street (near 16th Street, SF)
(In the conference room--first floor, left and then
to the right at the end of the hall.)
All are welcome!


Note to Newsletter Readers:

Upon suggestion, I have reorganized the newsletter to put the
news articles and links first and detailed and general announcements
at the end. I hope you find this more


1) Waiting for Answers
December 7, 2006

2) Welcome Political Cover
New York Times Editorial
December 7, 2006

3) Senate Confirms Gates as Secretary of Defense
December 7, 2006

4) If Castro Had a Talk Show, It Might Sound a Bit Like This
December 7, 2006

5) Altoona, With No Immigrant Problem, Decides to Solve It
December 7, 2006

6) Report Says Oil Royalties Go Unpaid
December 7, 2006

7) Sitcom’s Precarious Premise: Being Muslim Over Here
December 7, 2006

8) Widows Become the Silent Tragedy
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

9) Israel demolishes entire Bedouin village in the Negev
Press Release, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages,
6 December 2006

10) FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein
Cuba: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave (1991)
The United States v. Cuba (1992)
Malcolm and Fidel in Harlem (1993)
Adrienne Rich, Poet of Honor (1997)
Dorothy Day: A Saint? (1997)
If We Are United, We Cannot Lose (2001) (speech)

11) Havana Journal
Hippocrates Meets Fidel, and Even U.S. Students Enroll
NY Times, December 8, 2006

12) It's still about oil in Iraq
A centerpiece of the Iraq Study Group's report is its advocacy
for securing foreign companies' long-term access to Iraqi oil fields.
By Antonia Juhasz
December 8, 2006,0,4717508.story?track=tottext

13) 33,000 San Franciscans
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff
San Francisco Bay View

14) Protesters Jam Beirut to Urge Government’s Ouster
December 10, 2006

15) Signs of Lean Times for Home Equity, the American Piggy Bank
December 9, 2006

16) U.S. Imprisons More People Than Any Other Nation
By James Vicini, Reuters
"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population
and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population.
We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens,"
[The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people
is the highest in the world.
[But the article doesn't break down the disproporionate r
ates for Blacks and Latinos.
[U.S. incarceration rates by race, June 30, 2004:
[-Whites: 393 per 100,000
[-Latinos: 957 per 100,000
[-Blacks: 2,531 per 100,000
[-Females: 123 per 100,000
[-Males: 1,348 per 100, ]
December 9, 2006

“three strike and you’re out” targets Blacks and Poor
"There are more Black youth in the prison system than there are
in college (even though it now costs twice as much to send
a person to prison as it does to send a person to college.) "
By Roland Sheppard

18) Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC calls on Human Rights Watch
to Re-evaluate its Criticism of the Nonviolent Action
of Palestinian Civilians in Gaza Refugee Camp
Hayward, California, December 7, 2007
For Immediate Release:

19) Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
December 9, 2006


1) Waiting for Answers
December 7, 2006

I don’t know whether the undercover cops who shot and killed Sean Bell
and wounded his two friends should be criminally indicted. I wasn’t
there and not enough information has emerged publicly to make
a determination.

What I do know is that the investigation of this shooting in Jamaica,
Queens, in which the victims were unarmed and seemed to have
no intention of threatening the police, is not being conducted
in a timely or effective fashion.

While the local community is seething with anger over the shooting,
there are investigators scrambling like mad to find dirt to throw
on the victims and locate any evidence that might, however
remotely, tend to justify the shooting. But the authorities have
not even asked the cops, who fired 50 bullets at the car with
the three men inside, what happened. That is insane.

The office of the Queens district attorney, Richard Brown,
is leading the investigation into the shooting. For procedural
reasons that have to do with concerns about inadvertently
conferring some degree of immunity on the officers, the D.A.
has asked the Police Department not to interview the officers
who shot at the car.

But the D.A.’s office has been moving in super-slow motion
on the case, and no one from that office has interviewed the
cops, either. Mr. Brown told me yesterday that he has
a tremendous amount of additional information to gather
before his office attempts to speak to the cops. “I’ve got
no business talking to these cops,” he said, “until I know,
or am reasonably satisfied, as to what the facts are.”

He said he hopes to speak to the officers next week, but
he does not know when the matter might be presented
to a grand jury. “You never go before a grand jury with
a case,” said Mr. Brown, “unless you’ve got all the T’s
crossed and the I’s dotted.”

A veteran investigator told me yesterday that there have
been several meetings in the D.A.’s office about the Sean
Bell case but that Mr. Brown and his top aides are not
yet sure how to proceed.

The truth is that neither the Police Department nor the
district attorneys in New York are equipped to properly
investigate controversial police shootings. The prosecutors
and the cops have a special, co-dependent relationship
that exists around-the-clock, year-in and year-out.
They work together all the time on criminal cases and
other matters. They view one another as members
of a close-knit criminal justice family. They watch
each other’s backs.

When cops are involved in shootings that may not seem
justified, there is an instinctive institutional response
from other cops and prosecutors to close ranks around
the accused officers. The instinct is to protect them,
not to indict them.

(Tugging against those instincts in this case, as in the
Amadou Diallo killing in 1999, is the sensational nature
of the shooting and the tremendous public outcry and
press coverage it has generated.)

The interests of the larger community can be served only
when problematic police shootings are thoroughly and fairly
investigated by objective, impartial and independent investigators.
The police have shown over many years that they are not up
to this important task, and neither are the district attorneys.
This is why so few cops have been brought to justice over
the years in cases of blatant police misconduct and brutality.

There is an inherent and apparently insurmountable conflict
of interest at work when district attorneys investigate cases
of alleged police brutality. It’s time for New York to face
up to this. It’s time to establish a truly independent office —
perhaps a special state prosecutor, or a permanent, fully
staffed independent office at the district attorney’s level —
to investigate this type of police misconduct.

The victims of unjustifiable police killings are most often
(but not always) black, and in most cases they are black
men. It’s time to recognize that racial stereotyping and race
prejudice are still big problems in New York, and that the
police often behave differently when confronting people
who are black.

A special investigative office, which could look at these
incidents and encounters only after the fact, is not enough.
There is also a need for Mayor Bloomberg and Police
Commissioner Ray Kelly to become proactive, to acknowledge
that racism is still an issue in the Police Department
and to overhaul police training and address poisonous
police attitudes in an effort to prevent these senseless tragedies.


2) Welcome Political Cover
New York Times Editorial
December 7, 2006

When President Bush insisted that the Iraq Study Group would
not provide cover for the White House to chart a “graceful exit” of
American troops, he was missing the whole point. The much-anticipated
report from the bipartisan panel is precisely about political cover.
That is a good thing, if only Mr. Bush has the sense to embrace it.

Iraq is so far gone that nobody expected the panel to come up with
a breakthrough solution. As the co-chairmen — former Secretary
of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton —
began their letter accompanying yesterday’s report, “there is no
magic formula to solve the problems of Iraq.” And the study was
never going to change the basic facts: there is no victory to be
had in Iraq, and however American troops withdraw, they will
leave behind a deadly mess.

Its real mission was to avert the worst scenario, in which a stubborn
George W. Bush spends the next two years blindly insisting
he will accept nothing short of victory, while Iraq keeps spiraling
out of control and the Iraqis get no closer to being able
to contain the chaos after the Americans leave.

That is a recipe for years more of savagery, a spillover
of terrorism and instability across the Middle East, more
sacrifice of American soldiers and more cynicism and division
among the American people. Avoiding it is not the same
as winning the war, but it is a way to cut one’s losses.

If Mr. Bush has the capacity to seriously reassess his Iraq
strategy, he will need exactly the kind of political cover that
the Baker-Hamilton group was meant to provide. The central
point of the group’s 79 unanimous recommendations is that
Washington should focus far more aggressively on training
Iraqi forces and prepare for a withdrawal of American troops.
The report says all combat brigades could be out by early
2008, but that would still leave tens of thousands of soldiers
behind to hold the Iraqi Army together.

That is to be combined with a lot more pressure on the
Iraqis to make political compromises and take responsibility
for their own security (the report lays out clear milestones
and says the United States should reduce its military and
economic support if the Iraqis resist) and more aggressive
regional diplomacy, including talks with Iran and Syria that
Mr. Bush has ruled out.

Make no mistake, the report is a stunning indictment of
Mr. Bush’s failure — in Iraq and no less in Washington. But
its recommendations are still couched in language vague
enough to allow the president to pretend it is the “new way
forward” his aides are now talking up, rather than a timetable
for withdrawal, which is on Mr. Bush’s no-go list. Predictably,
the first reaction of Tony Snow, the White House spokesman,
was to insist that “there is nothing in here about pulling back

The world has watched as Mr. Bush painted himself into
a corner and then insisted it was a strategic decision. Even
the Iraqis are trying to provide cover to for him to come
tiptoeing back to the real world. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal
al-Maliki’s call for a regional conference on Iraq would allow
the administration to get past its refusal to talk to Tehran
and Damascus, by saying that ban was never meant
to include Iraqi initiatives.

The Iraq report is a deeply diplomatic document, stuffed
with “coulds” and “mights.” It is, all in all, exactly the kind
of shades-of-gray thinking that Mr. Bush despises, and
exactly what he needs to get the country out of the hole he has dug.


3) Senate Confirms Gates as Secretary of Defense
December 7, 2006

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Senate voted overwhelmingly on
Wednesday to confirm Robert M. Gates as defense secretary
in a 95-to-2 vote.

The decision came after a confirmation hearing and floor debate
that unfolded in less than 48 hours, reflecting the bipartisan
sentiment that a course change in Iraq is vital as well as
a strong desire to quickly replace Defense Secretary Donald
H. Rumsfeld, who announced his intention to resign last month.

Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman, said Mr. Gates
would be sworn in and formally begin work on Dec. 18, more
than a week after his confirmation, because he wanted to
participate in fall commencement at Texas A&M University
before resigning as the school’s president.

With the White House expected to be discussing strategy changes
in Iraq over the next week, Ms. Perino said that Mr. Gates would
be involved in meetings and conference calls until his formal
swearing-in, “so he can hit the ground running.”

Mr. Gates, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency,
said during his confirmation hearing Tuesday that one of his
first acts would be to travel to Iraq to consult with American
ground commanders.

A Texas A&M spokesman, Lane Stephenson, said he could
not confirm Mr. Gates’s plans regarding the university’s
commencement ceremonies, but he said the event was
scheduled for Dec. 15 and 16 and it was customary for
the university president to preside.

The nomination was approved hours after the public release
of a report by the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel
headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III
and a retired congressman, Lee H. Hamilton, which urged
direct negotiations with Syria and Iran as well as a clear
declaration that the United States would reduce its support
to Iraq unless that government made “substantial progress”
on security in coming months.

Mr. Gates has not endorsed any specific strategy shift in Iraq,
and several senators warned against overestimating his
ability or desire to make sweeping and rapid changes in Iraq.

“We see the possibilities of a new chapter,” said Senator
Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, but he added,
“It is up to the commander in chief to structure a change
in policy.”

The two senators who voted against Mr. Gates were both
Republicans, Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Rick Santorum
of Pennsylvania, who lost his re-election bid in November.

In a floor statement after the vote, Mr. Santorum said he
opposed the nomination because he believed that Mr. Gates
was in favor of engagement with Iran, a country the lawmaker
blamed for contributing to the conflict in Iraq. “We should
confront them,” Mr. Santorum said.

Mr. Bunning gave a similar explanation. Mr. Gates, he said,
“believes in directly engaging rogue nations such as Iran and
Syria that are known sponsors of terrorist groups in Iraq,
Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza. I do not support
inviting terrorists to the negotiating table.”

President Bush telephoned Mr. Gates to congratulate him
during the Senate vote after it became clear he would be
approved by an overwhelming margin, Ms. Perino said.

In a statement issued by the White House, President Bush
thanked the Senate and called Mr. Gates “an experienced,
qualified and thoughtful man who is well respected by
members of both parties and is committed to winning
the war on terror.”

Though the statement did not mention Iraq or the White
House strategy review that is under way, Mr. Bush said
Mr. Gates “will help our country meet its current military
challenges and prepare for emerging threats.”

During a perfunctory Senate floor debate on his nomination,
the handful of senators who spoke endorsed Mr. Gates and
said he represented the possibility of a strategy change
in Iraq, which lawmakers from both parties said was necessary.

“I do not believe he is invested in the decisions, many of
them bad, made in the Department of Defense over the last
five years,” said Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island.
“He is a good listener, and I think he will draw on a cross
section of views in making decisions.”


4) If Castro Had a Talk Show, It Might Sound a Bit Like This
December 7, 2006

MIAMI, Dec. 6 — At the far right end of the AM radio dial, a broadcast
from a parallel universe emerges from the static:

Come-hither advertisements from Cuba’s state travel agency. Reportage
from last weekend’s Fidel Castro birthday parade in Havana, complete
with an admiring assessment of Soviet-era tanks. Excerpts from
speeches by whichever Castro brother is running the country.

It is not a signal-jamming effort beamed from the Cuban coast like
some kind of reverse Radio Martí. It is not, compadre, a joke of any sort.

It is Francisco Aruca, onetime Cuban political prisoner turned
Castro admirer, speaking out from a little radio station on the
industrial north side of Miami or, more often these days, from
the comfort of his home office in the lush suburb of Pinecrest.

For 15 years, Mr. Aruca, founder of the first American company
to run charter flights to Cuba, has doubled as on-air apologist
for a man whom the vast majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami
consider a despicable and murderous dictator.

In doing so, Mr. Aruca speaks to — and for — a tiny community
of committed Cuban-American leftists who have endured years
of public scorn, threats and, in the not-too-distant past, violence.

“I listen every day; it’s the only way you can keep fairly informed
in the Banana Republic of Miami,” said Eddie Levy, chairman of the
Cuban American Defense League, a civil rights group. “I consider
him a hero. We come and go, but Aruca’s there every day.”

Mr. Aruca’s legions of critics dismiss his show, “Ayer en Miami
(Yesterday in Miami),” as a glorified infomercial for his business,
Marazul Tours, which depends on good relations with the Cuban
government and would benefit handsomely from the lifting
of travel restrictions to Cuba, one of Mr. Aruca’s many causes.
Mr. Aruca buys his time slot, an hour every weekday morning,
on the station, WOCN-AM (1450).

Whatever its means of support, the very persistence of the show
has made it into something of an institution, however widely
ridiculed. While it is anyone’s guess how many of Miami-Dade
County’s 700,000 Cubans actually listen to the program,
Mr. Aruca remains a perennial target on mainstream Spanish-
language radio, the dominant medium of Cuban-American
political discourse here. A popular song these days has
a character impersonating Mr. Castro and discarding his
customary fatigues in favor of “the Adidas outfit that Aruca
bought me at Dolphin Mall,” where much of Miami shops.

During the call-in segment of Mr. Aruca’s show on Monday,
all four phone lines were constantly busy. On the other end
were at least as many foes as fans, which is how Mr. Aruca, 66,
says he likes it.

“I really believe that what I’m doing is useful for the Cubans
in Cuba, for the Cuban-American community in Miami, that
it is useful in the U.S., which has wrong relations with Cuba,”
said Mr. Aruca, a cheerful, box-shaped man with a face like
a friendly bulldog. “And given the mediocrity and lack of freedom
of expression and diversity that is in Miami, I have found that
doing something I’ve always enjoyed, which is talking,
I can be useful.”

Mr. Aruca, born 60 miles west of Havana, was a student at
a Jesuit school when Mr. Castro took power in 1959, and he
became part of the counterrevolution soon after. He said he
organized student strikes against the government’s crackdown
on free speech and was promptly arrested and sentenced
to 30 years in jail. He escaped a few weeks later.

Mr. Aruca rethought his politics after he made his way to
Georgetown University, where he earned degrees in economics.
“I was in Washington during the Vietnam War and the civil rights
movement, and came to realize that anti-Communism was
not enough reason to go to war,” he said. He now identifies
himself as a “Christian socialist, not a Marxist,” though he
said he considered Mr. Castro a “political genius.”

Mr. Aruca started Marazul Tours in 1979, soon after the American
government began allowing family visits to Cuba. When he
opened an office in Miami in 1986, he said, his windows were
routinely smashed. His office was later firebombed, and
a Human Rights Watch report on right-wing intimidation
in South Florida singled out Mr. Aruca as a leading victim.

Joe Garcia, the former executive director of the Cuban
American National Foundation, the leading voice of the Cuban
exile community, said Mr. Aruca was first and foremost “a man
who does business with a loathsome regime.” As for his on-air
opinions, Mr. Garcia said, “He calls things as he says he sees
it and as he benefits from seeing it.”

Mr. Aruca’s company and a few other tour operators are his
show’s only sponsors other than the Cuban travel agency.
He said most businesses dared not advertise with him for
fear of boycotts.

One segment on Monday was a report that Mr. Aruca recorded
after birthday parade in Havana, which the ailing honoree
did not attend. “Somebody sitting next to me said that the
Cuban infantry is not supposed to be able to march,”
Mr. Aruca says on the tape. “Looks to me like they’re
marching pretty well.”

After playing (and praising) an excerpt from a speech at the
parade by Mr. Castro’s brother, Raúl, inviting the United
States to begin diplomatic discussions, Mr. Aruca opened
the phones.

“Did Fidel give you sneakers, the sneakers he used there?”
a man asked.

“If you’re going to joke around, go to other shows,”
Mr. Aruca said, hanging up on the caller. “Besides, Fidel
doesn’t know my shoe size.”

Terry Aguayo contributed reporting.


5) Altoona, With No Immigrant Problem, Decides to Solve It
December 7, 2006

ALTOONA, Pa., Nov. 30 — By now the pattern is familiar. New
businesses move to town, creating low-paying, low-skill jobs
that are quickly filled by immigrants. Most are Hispanics who
speak little English. Some may be in the country illegally. After
a few years, local leaders fume that school enrollment has surged,
social services are stretched and crime has increased, and they
blame the illegal immigrants.

Since June, when Hazleton, Pa., some 130 miles east of here,
began debating what to do about illegal immigrants, more than
60 local governments in 21 states have followed its lead and
considered new ordinances to drive them away. At least 15
have approved the measures, typically intended to punish
landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and business owners
who employ them.

Altoona, an old railroad town nestled in an Appalachian
Mountain valley about 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, is one
of those 15. It approved its ordinance, which threatens
to withdraw the business licenses of employers and rental
licenses of landlords who hire or rent to illegal immigrants,
in October. But it does not fit the same pattern.

“If you were to look for the area for the fewest immigrant
settlements in the country, you would look to south central
Pennsylvania,” said Steven A. Camarota, director of research
for the Center for Immigration Studies, a research organization
in Washington that favors tougher immigration policies.
“There just aren’t many immigrants — legal or illegal —
around Altoona because there aren’t many jobs.”

If Hazleton, where the immigrant population grew sharply
in just a few years, started the current trend for dealing with
a surge in illegal immigrants, Altoona may be the beginning
of the next wave: trying to prevent a situation from
developing in the first place.

“We don’t have a problem here with immigrants,” said
Joe Rieker, 40, one of five members of the Altoona City
Council who voted in favor of the new ordinance. “But we
want to stay ahead of the curve.” One member voted against.

When places like Altoona pass such laws, it is a sign of
a growing frustration with the federal government’s lack
of immigration enforcement, said Ira Mehlman, spokesman
for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The
group’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute,
has aided several towns, including Altoona, in writing
similar laws.

“We certainly hope we see more towns like Altoona” approving
ordinances restricting illegal immigrants, Mr. Mehlman said.
“And as the message gets out that there aren’t a lot of
communities that are welcoming, it will be a deterrent.”

But the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union
in Pennsylvania, Vic Walczak, worries that a different
message is being sent.

“When you have towns like Altoona enacting a solution
in search of a problem, you worry if there’s a nativist impulse
there,” Mr. Walczak said. “There’s a fair bit of politics involved
here, and illegal immigrants are an easy and effective
scapegoat for a small town’s problems.”

Founded in 1849 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Altoona
grew as waves of German, Irish and Italian immigrants
moved here. But immigrants have long since bypassed
Altoona as the city’s economic fortunes dwindled along
with those of the railroad business. In the 2000 census,
the city had just 295 foreign-born residents, about one-
half of 1 percent of its 49,523 residents, and no one thinks
that figure has changed much over the past six years.

“You see a car here with four Mexicans in it, I do feel bad
about it, but they do stand out in an area that’s mostly
white and of European descent,” said Mr. Rieker, whose
wife, Vanessa, is a Peruvian immigrant going through
the lengthy and complex process of becoming a United
States citizen.

But Altoona does have at least one factor in common
with Hazleton: both ordinances were passed after local
killings that have been attributed to illegal immigrants.

In Hazleton, a local man was shot and killed in May.
Two illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic
have been charged in his death.

In Altoona, Miguel Padilla, 27, was convicted in September
in the killings of three men outside a nightclub on Aug. 28, 2005.
Though he had moved to a nearby town as a boy and graduated
from a high school there, Mr. Padilla was an illegal immigrant
from Mexico. He had previously been arrested and his illegal
status had been reported to the federal government.

Mayor Wayne Hippo and other members of the Council have s
aid the Padilla case had nothing to do with the city’s ordinance.

But for local residents who support the ordinance, the murders
were the biggest reason Altoona needed the ordinance.

“We just had three murders here,” Sandy Serbello, 64, a lifelong
resident said in explaining her support of the measure.
“We look at everybody differently now.”

Ms. Serbello said she avoided talking to anyone she suspected
of being an illegal immigrant, “because we don’t want to be
one of their victims.”

That is the kind of sentiment that worries the Rev. Luke
Robertson, executive director of Catholic Charities in Altoona,
which along with the local Roman Catholic diocese strongly
opposed the ordinance.

“I don’t think they thought through the unintended
consequences,” said Father Robertson, 49, a Franciscan
priest. “It promotes bigotry.”

Moreover, said Bishop Joseph V. Adamec of the diocese,
the ordinance could discourage businesses from opening
in or relocating to Altoona when Interstate 99, which runs
through town, is completed, connecting Interstates 80 and 76.

“They’re not going to build here if we aren’t welcoming,”
said Bishop Adamec, who has overseen the diocese for 19 years.

He is not swayed by those who say that the three murders might
have been prevented if the ordinance had been in effect in 2005.

“The one who did it, he came here when he was a boy and went
to our schools,” Bishop Adamec said. “He didn’t come here already
formed. He’s one of us.”


6) Report Says Oil Royalties Go Unpaid
December 7, 2006

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — An eight-month investigation by the
Interior Department’s chief watchdog has found pervasive problems
in the government’s program for ensuring that companies pay
the royalties they owe on billions of dollars of oil and gas pumped
on federal land and in coastal waters.

In a scathing report to Congress, the Interior Department’s inspector
general says the agency’s data are often inaccurate, that its officials
rely too heavily on statements by oil companies rather than actual
records and that only about 9 percent of all oil and gas leases
are being reviewed.

The report undermines claims by top Interior officials that the
department is aggressively pursuing underpayments and outright
cheating by companies that drill on property owned by the
American public.

And though investigators did not attempt to estimate the amount
of money that the government might be losing, they cited a host
of weaknesses that make the government vulnerable to being

Interior officials defended the program on Wednesday, but
announced that they would develop “an action plan” to
address the inspector general’s recommendations.

The report comes as lawmakers in both parties have been
attacking the Interior Department for failing to correct
blunders that department officials now concede could
cost the government as much as $10 billion over the
next five years.

It also reinforces complaints by critics, from auditors within
the agency to lawmakers in both parties, who have said
that enforcement has become superficial, prone to errors
and overly deferential to oil companies.

These are among the inspector general’s findings:

-Since 2000, the number of audits has declined by 22 percent
and the number of auditors has been reduced by 15 percent,
even though soaring energy prices have doubled the total
amount of money at stake, to about $10 billion a year.

-Though the Interior Department says it has “reviewed”
about 72 percent of all revenues from federal leases, it actually
examined only 9 percent of all properties and 20 percent
of all companies.

-The department’s “compliance review” system, a computerized
form of fact-checking that has increasingly replaced audits,
essentially relies on the word of the oil companies being monitored.
Officials conducting such reviews do not ask companies
for their actual records.

-Government data are incomplete and often inaccurate, making
it almost impossible for enforcement officials to develop strategies
for selecting companies for special scrutiny.

The report said the agency’s follow-up efforts were often sketchy,
because officials who identified underpayments by companies did
not have a procedure for verifying that the agency actually billed
the companies or collected the money.

It also said the agency’s statistics about recovering money were
incomplete, inaccurate and sometimes misleading. The investigators
said they could not even determine how many audits the government
completed each year or whether the government recovered as much
it had identified in underpayments.

In response to the report, the Interior Department said it was
preparing a “comprehensive plan” to act on many of the
recommendations. In a written statement, the department’s
Minerals Management Service, which oversees the royalty
collection program, said it would deliver the plan to the inspector
general within 30 days.

“We appreciate the work of the Inspector General’s office,” Johnnie
M. Burton, director of the department’s Minerals Management
Service, said in a written statement.

Last month, the Interior Department said that it had created an
independent advisory panel to review complaints about the
royalty program. But at the time, officials said they did not
believe there were serious problems.

“While I think there’s a lot of room for improvement, I’ve not
been able to find anything that’s drastically wrong,” C. Stephen
Allred, assistant secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals
Management, said in an interview last month.

The new panel will be led by a man with close ties to the oil
industry, David T. Deal, a former assistant general counsel
for the American Petroleum Institute.

Democratic lawmakers said the new report amounted to a broad
indictment of the Interior Department’s unwillingness to
scrutinize oil companies and protect the interests of taxpayers.

“This report is a blistering, scalding indictment of the Minerals
Management Service,” said Representative Edward J. Markey,
Democrat of Massachusetts and a longtime critic of the
Interior Department’s handling of the royalty program.
“It says that, rather than being a cop on the beat, they
were turning a blind eye to obvious flaws in the auditing

Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York
and a member of the House Government Reform Committee,
said the report would lead to broader investigations of the
oil and gas leasing program when Democrats take control
of the House and Senate in January.

“That gushing sound you hear is our government leaking
royalties owed to American taxpayers from the oil and gas
companies,” Ms. Maloney said Wednesday. “They are going
to have some explaining to do next year when there’s new
leadership in Congress.”

Since President Bush took office, the Interior Department
has shifted as much enforcement effort as possible from
traditional audits of oil companies to the computerized
“compliance review” system.

The new report is the result of an investigation that began
in March, in response to questions posed by the Senate
Energy Committee after The New York Times reported that
royalties for natural gas had climbed far more slowly than
market prices and that both federal and state auditors were
complaining that the new system was inadequate.

Earl E. Devaney, the Interior Department’s inspector general,
has sharply criticized the department on numerous occasions.
In 2004, his office described the royalty auditing program
as frequently unprofessional, with auditors who were often
unqualified and supervisors who were often ineffective.

In September, Mr. Devaney told the House Government
Reform Committee that the Interior Department had tolerated
cronyism, ethical breaches and cover-ups of major
management blunders.

The new report does not condemn the department’s growing
use of “compliance review,” noting that the Internal Revenue
Service has long used computerized systems to spot signs
of cheating.

“Compliance reviews are a legitimate tool for evaluating the
reasonableness of company-reported royalties,” the report said.

But the investigators warned that the reviews “do not provide
the same level of assurance as an audit, and should only be
used in conjunction with audits.”

When asked by the Senate Energy Committee whether the
agency was spending enough money to do its job properly,
the investigators said they could not answer because the agency
“lacked reliable information to allow us to conduct such an analysis.”


7) Sitcom’s Precarious Premise: Being Muslim Over Here
December 7, 2006

TORONTO — The handsome, clean-cut young man of evidently
Pakistani or Indian origin is standing in an airport line, gesticulating
emphatically as he says into his cellphone, “If Dad thinks that’s
suicide, so be it,” adding after a pause, “This is Allah’s plan for me.”

As might be expected, a cop materializes almost instantly and drags
the man off, telling him that his appointment in paradise will have
to wait, even though the suicide he is referring to is of the career
kind; he’s giving up the law to pursue a more spiritual occupation.

The scene unrolls early in the pilot of a new Canadian comedy
series called “Little Mosque on the Prairie.”

Yet that fictional moment is an all-too-possible occurrence,
as witnessed when six imams were hauled off a US Airways plane
in Minnesota in November after apparently spooking at least
one fellow passenger by murmuring prayers that included
the word Allah.

“Little Mosque on the Prairie” ventures into new and perhaps
treacherous terrain: trying to explore the funny side of being
a Muslim and adapting to life in post 9/11 North America.
Its creators admit to uneasiness as to whether Canadians
and Americans can laugh about the daily travails of those
who many consider a looming menace.

“It’s a question we ask ourselves all the time,” said Mary Darling,
one of the show’s three executive producers and an American
who has lived in Canada for the last decade. “If 9/11 is still
too raw, it might not work,” she said.

There is the other side of that coin too — what will Muslims
think? — which the show’s creators usually summarize in one
long sentence that mentions the uproar prompted by Salman
Rushdie as well as the Danish cartoons about the Prophet

This concern stems from the almost automatic presumption
that “to look at Muslims in an entertaining way is going
to be controversial because they will riot in the streets,”
said Al Rae, one of the show’s writers, who noted that he
does research by bouncing potential scenarios off cab drivers
here. Or as Amaar, the young man detained in the opening
airport scene, puts it sardonically, “Muslims all over the
world are known for their sense of humor.”

The strongest insurance against outrage from the faithful
is that “Little Mosque” is the brainchild of Zarqa Nawaz,
a Canadian Muslim of Pakistani origin whose own assimilation,
particularly after she left Toronto for Regina, Saskatchewan,
10 years ago, provides much of the comic fodder.

“It rests on my shoulders to get the balance right between
entertainment and representing the community in a reasonable
way,” Ms. Nawaz, a 39-year-old mother of four, said
in an interview here. “You have to push the boundaries
so you can grow and evolve as a community.”

During one recent episode being filmed at a neighborhood
swimming pool, two Muslim characters who are normally
veiled leave the changing room to discover that a man has
replaced their usual female instructor. The horrified women
lunge for bath towels to use as temporary hijabs, or veils,
to cover their hair.

Ms. Nawaz, veiled since she was in ninth grade, coached
both actresses to be less relaxed. “I didn’t feel that they
were panicked enough,” she said. “It’s a big deal for
a hijab-wearing woman to be seen without one.”

Ultimately the solution is found when, as the script describes,
“Fatima comes out dressed in the Haz-Mat Islamic swimsuit.”
The costume designer unearthed a swimsuit on the Internet
from Jordan that covers her from scalp to ankle and had
it shipped to Canada.

The struggle over what constitutes modest dress is central
to the show. When a Muslim girl flounces into her immigrant
father’s presence with her navel showing, he recoils in horror,
saying, “You look like a Protestant.”

She counters, “Dad, you mean a prostitute?”

He responds, “No, I meant a Protestant.”

Ms. Nawaz’s humor also emerges in the pool episode.
Johnny, the male water aerobics instructor, is gay, and
he pointedly says that the sight of the women’s hair would
not be the least bit arousing.

“I always try to start these debates in my community like:
Does gay count? Do you have to cover your hair in front of
a gay man?” Ms. Nawaz said with a chuckle. (It is not the kind
of question that arises in Muslim countries, where being openly
gay is virtually out of the question; such behavior is punishable
by a death sentence in some places.)

Fellow Muslims often dismiss her thoughts and questions
as too outrageous, she admitted. “But now I have a whole
series to express them.”

Amaar, for example, is abandoning a law career to become
the new imam, or prayer leader, in the small town of Mercy.
His predecessor as imam preaches sermons like, “First there
was ‘American Idol,’ and now there is ‘Canadian Idol.’ All idols
must be smashed.”

Ms. Nawaz wanted the show to look at how a native-born imam,
exceedingly rare at the moment, might deal with issues differently
from the standard imported imams. The actor who plays
the young imam, Zaib Shaikh, is the only Muslim in the cast,
although the creators said they had hoped more would audition.

Another episode focuses on the anguished debate among
strict Muslim families about allowing their children to dress
up and collect candy on Halloween, a Christian affair built atop
a pagan festival. Most North American Muslims eventually
compromise because the day has been drained of religion.
“Little Mosque on the Prairie” turns it into “Halal-oween,” halal
being the Arabic word for anything religiously permissible.

The sitcom grew out of the battle in Ms. Nawaz’s mosque
in Regina over whether women had to pray behind a partition,
a heated controversy across the United States and Canada. She
vehemently opposed the idea, ultimately making a documentary
released this year called “Me and the Mosque” about the
tug-of-war with her own imam as well as similar segregation
battles in Chicago and West Virginia.

The documentary sparked her idea that all manner of tension
between moderate and conservative Muslims — one episode
focuses on the partition issue — would make both Muslims
and non-Muslims laugh. There were 600,000 Muslims in
Canada in the 2001 census, with the number now estimated
around 800,000. Estimates for the American population are
around six million.

In an earnest manner not atypical of Canadians, one goal
of the show is to explain Muslim behavior, or at least make
Muslims seem less peculiar, much as humor about Jews,
Italians or gays helped those groups assimilate.

“On the news all you ever hear are voices from the extreme
end of the spectrum,” Ms. Darling said. “This gives voice
to ordinary people who look just like other ordinary people.”

With its small-town setting and affable cast of characters —
even a talk radio host who labels Muslims as terrorists comes
across as rather lighthearted — the show unrolls a bit like
“Mary Tyler Moore” or some other 1970s sitcom. It is scheduled
to start on CBC on Jan. 9, with eight episodes. More are under
negotiation. Pitches will be made to networks in the United
States in December, so at first only Americans in border states
will be likeley to have access to it.

Test audiences have been somewhat divided, the producers
said. Younger viewers, especially Muslims, tend to laugh
openly with recognition. Others, particularly the older
generation — whether Muslim or not — hesitate.

“Nobody has done a comedy about Muslims before, so they
are not sure how to take it,” Ms. Nawaz said. “Some non-Muslims
wonder, ‘Are we allowed to laugh?’ ”


8) Widows Become the Silent Tragedy
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

*BAGHDAD, Dec. 7 (IPS) - Hundreds of thousands of widows are becoming
the silent tragedy of a country sliding deeper into chaos by the day.*

Widows are the flip side of violence that has meant more than a million
men dead, detained or disabled, Iraqi NGOs estimate. These men's wives
or mothers now carry the burden of running the families.

"The total figure of men who have been killed, disabled or detained for
long periods of time adds up to more than one and a half million,"
Khalid Hameed, chief of the Iraqi al-Raya human rights organisation told
IPS. "The average number of Iraqi family members is seven, so about ten
million Iraqis are facing the worst living circumstances."

In these circumstances, he said, women have had to "search for ways to
survive and support their families at a time when not much help comes
from the international community."

Most international NGOs left the country by last year apparently on the
advice of governments of their countries pointing to growing violence
and dangers to NGO members.

"International NGOs were conducting support projects for Iraqi women
before they suddenly quit and left the country in a rush in October
2005," Faris Daghistani, who was project manager at the Baghdad mission
for the Italian humanitarian aid organisation in Iraq INTERSOS told IPS.

"There was a wide focus on working women and how to support them by
training and providing them with necessary tools to raise income on
their own," he said. "It is a pity that most of our productive projects
have stopped, and we had to leave women to face their fate on their own."

The violence since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is not the first to have
taken its toll. Hundreds of thousands of men were killed, taken prisoner
or disabled during the 1980-1988 war between Iran and Iraq.

"We have never lived our lives as human beings should live," 42-year-old
Dr Shatha Ahmed told IPS at her home in Baghdad. "The Iraq-Iran war took
our fathers, and now the Bush war is taking our husbands and sons."

Women now face a long struggle surviving and bringing up families on
their own, she said. "We could not even dream of developing our own skills."

Dr. Shatha's husband, also a doctor, was killed by Muqtada al-Sadr's
Mehdi Army in September this year when he was leaving the Ministry of
Health offices in Baghdad. She now has to support her family, and her
husband's parents as well.

Some help is on offer to widows through groups such as the Iraqi Red
Crescent, the Islamic Party, the Muslim Scholars Association and
non-governmental organisations. But this support is not well organised,
and is insufficient to help the growing number of widows.

The Social Affairs Office of the government has started paying the
equivalent of about 100 dollars monthly to widows. But this payment
cannot support whole families, given particularly the shooting inflation.

And the payment is not easy to get. "I had to pay a lot of money as
bribes to government officials in order to get the monthly support
payment, and that is not enough to support my big family," 47-year-old
widow Haja Saadiya Hussein from Baghdad told IPS.

"Americans killed my husband last year near a checkpoint, and now I have
to work as a servant in government officials' houses to earn a living
for my six children. I have stopped them going to school, to cut my

Some widows have attempted to remarry in order to find support. Some
second husbands, who are usually older, offer to take care of their new
sons for religious reasons.

"There can be no compensation for losing a husband," a spokesperson from
the Iraqi Red Crescent's social support department told IPS. "The world
is responsible for these women who lost their spouses in the name of the
international community."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


9) Israel demolishes entire Bedouin village in the Negev
Press Release, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages,
6 December 2006

At 5:00am hundreds of police accompanied six bulldozers and
demolished 17 homes and three animal shacks in the village
of Twail Abu-Jarwal. The entire village is demolished. People
are sitting by the piles of tin that were their modest dwellings
and wondering what to do, where to go - even their family
cannot host them, as no one has a house standing.

This is the fourth time this year that the government demolished
in this village. This time they got it "right" - no house
is left standing.

But the villagers have nowhere to go to. They lived on the
outskirts of the Bedouin town of Laqia, the old folk paid for
plots of land to build homes in the 1970s, they still hold on the
receipt, hoping someday to receive the plots. For the last
30 years they have been living on land belonging to others,
in shacks, the housing becoming ever more crowded, until
there was no room left for another baby. They turned to the
government for a solution - the option for joining the rest
of the residents of Laqia, in a regular house, on a regular
plot of land. But the authorities had no options for them.
The owners of the land on which they were living requested
that they leave - 30 years is enough. So eventually they left
back to their own ancestral land - only a couple of miles
south of Laqia - by the old ruined school, by their old cemetery.
The adult sons built their old mother a modest brick home.
The rest built tin shacks.

A year ago the government came and destroyed several houses -
including the brick home. Some of the people of Twail Abu Jarwal
rebuilt, some moved into more crowded homes with their adult
siblings. The government came nine months later and demolished
seven more homes. Again, some rebuilt their shacks, some moved
in with family. The government came back last month and just
to harass, uprooted fences, holding the sheep. And now they
came in order to make sure the work is complete.

Israel's Minister of Interior, Roni Bar-On, two days ago was
invited to give answers to the Internal Affairs Committee in the
Knesset, as to what solutions the government is advancing
in order to solve the issue of the unrecognized Bedouin villages
in the Negev, and why the government is demolishing homes
while these people have no "legal" options for building homes.
Bar-On claimed that everything is just fine, he is doing all he
can to deal with this issue, but a criminal must be punished,
and therefore all the "illegal" Bedouin homes in the Negev must
be demolished. He claimed that as far as he is concerned, there
are not enough demolitions in the Negev. And now he has
proved that he is a man of his word - 17 homes demolished
in one foul swoop.

Of the 150,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Negev,
over 50% live in villages that the government as policy has left
"unrecognized", meaning that there are no options for building
permits, as well as running water, electricity, roads, sewer
systems and trash removal, additionally there are very minimal
education and health facilities. This policy's aim is to force the
Bedouins off their ancestral lands and to concentrate the Bedouins
in urban townships, regardless of their wishes or their culture.
However, there are also no options for living in the concentration
towns the government has built, as there are no available plots
of land for homes, as in the case of the families of the Twail abu-
Jarwal village. Therefore the government can "legally" demolish
the homes of 80,000 members of this community, while they
cannot build one "legal" home.

We need help! Both financial and political.

Please donate to help the people of the village re-build their
homes (tin shacks that stand as homes...) Checks can be sent
to RCUV - al Awna Fund (the Regional Council for the
Unrecognized Villages), POBox 10002, Beer Sheva,
zipcode 84105, ISRAEL.

Please write to your representatives! And tell of the quiet
and brutal demolitions of homes and lives in the Israeli Negev,
demand that they do something about it.

The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages is an NGO
and was created in 1997 as the representative body for the
residents of the 45 Bedouin unrecognized villages in the Israeli
Negev. Hssein al-Rafaia is the elected head of the RCUV.
For more information, please contact Yeela Raanan, 054 7487005,
or via email at yallylivnat@, Civil Society Activities
Coordinator, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages.


10) FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein

Cuba: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave (1991)

The United States v. Cuba (1992)

Malcolm and Fidel in Harlem (1993)

Adrienne Rich, Poet of Honor (1997)

Dorothy Day: A Saint? (1997)

If We Are United, We Cannot Lose (2001) (speech)

by Carole Seligman and Roland Sheppard
First Edition. March 2005.

You have in your hands a wonderful book. It is a complete collection
of the monthly columns written by Sylvia Weinstein for Socialist Action
newspaper from 1984 through February of 2001, and for the first
four issues of Socialist Viewpoint magazine, May through
September, 2001. She engaged in revolutionary socialist journalism
until she died at age 75 on August 14, 2001. This collection also
includes the transcript of a presentation Sylvia gave to a university
women’s rights celebration in Baltimore, Maryland in 1993, in which
she reviewed her personal history as a fighter for women’s rights.

She was born Sylvia Mae Profitt in 1926, on the outskirts of Lexington,
Kentucky. Fifty-six of those years, her entire adult life since she
was 19 years old, was spent as an active participant in the
revolutionary workers movement: 38 years in the Socialist Workers
Party, and 18 years in Socialist Action, of which she was a founding
member and full-time worker. During the last few months of her
life, she was a founder and leader of Socialist Workers Organization
and Business Manager of Socialist Viewpoint magazine.

During her 38 years in the Socialist Workers Party, she took
assignments as secretary of the New York City branch of the
party, as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the Brooklyn
branch of the NAACP, and as a full time worker in The Militant
newspaper office, among many others.

She was arrested for sitting in at Coney Island Hospital at an
NAACP action there to force the hiring of Black workers in the
construction of more hospital buildings. She picketed at Woolworths
in solidarity with the southern sit-ins. Like many socialists during
the McCarthy era witch-hunt she was visited at home and harassed
many times by the FBI. Of course that never stopped her. She
not only increased her activism, she even ran in socialist election
campaigns for public office in New York City and later in San Francisco.

Sylvia was a staunch defender of the Cuban Revolution and
an activist in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. When Fidel Castro
came to New York City to address the United Nations after the
victory of the Cuban revolution, Sylvia was a key organizer in the
committee that arranged a big reception for Fidel and the Cuban
delegation to meet with their U.S. supporters and Black community
leaders at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem. Sylvia remained very proud
of that experience.

But it was the feminist movement of the 1970s that inspired Sylvia
to take a leadership role, especially in the struggles for abortion
rights and childcare. These issues had a deep personal meaning
for Sylvia. In those struggles, Sylvia was an organizer and activist.
She did countless mailings and handed out hundreds of thousands
of flyers. But the feminist movement also brought out Sylvia’s
tremendous leadership talents.

Sylvia made her own experiences as a young mother who was
forced to obtain illegal, terrifying, and unsafe abortions the
property of the movement as a whole. She testified at speak-outs
to legalize abortion, and later, when it was legal, she organized
to defend the clinics from the attacks of the rightwing anti-abortion
terrorists. She became a spokeswoman and teacher. In the 1970s
she was the main leader of the movement for childcare in San
Francisco. She became known throughout San Francisco as the
“childcare lady,” and as an advocate for all human rights.

She set an example of unalterable opposition to the capitalist
government which stood in the path of women’s liberation. Her
campaign for Board of Education in San Francisco was run on
a financial shoe string, but Sylvia got about 10,000 votes. She
came up against powerful politicians—representatives of the rich—
in the course of her work for women’s rights. S.F. Mayor Willie
Brown, who was then speaker of the California State Assembly,
tried to elbow her off the stage in the middle of her speech at
a Day in the Park for Women’s Rights. That was an annual
demonstration that Sylvia had helped initiate during the struggle
for childcare in San Francisco. Sylvia also found herself face
to face in opposition to Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was then
president of the Board of Supervisors of the City of San Francisco.
Feinstein tried to use the childcare issue to gain political power
for herself but not to expand childcare services for families. Sylvia
fought her on this, and fought successfully against the S.F. chapter
of the National Organization for Women endorsing Feinstein for mayor.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Sylvia was both the main spokeswoman
for the militant wing of the feminist movement and also the most
respected feminist speaker among the masses of working women
who demonstrated for women’s rights. Behind the scenes, powerful
politicians moved in to try to isolate Weinstein and her collaborators
from the NOW members by initiating a public red-baiting campaign
in the San Francisco media. To Sylvia, this campaign only showed
how effective militant independence in the feminist movement was.

Her last important political work was in founding the Socialist Workers
Organization after the demise of democracy within Socialist Action.
She continued the regular monthly column, “Fightback!” that she
had written for Socialist Action newspaper for the first three issues
of Socialist Viewpoint magazine.

Sylvia Weinstein had the unique ability to make masses of people
feel justified in their anger at their oppression and in the justness
of their cause. She also imparted a strong sense that masses
of oppressed, working together, could exert their power and
change things for the better. She believed that the working class
was fully capable of taking control over society and ruling in the
interests of themselves and all humankind. She was sure that
eventually masses of people would join with her to change things,
to make a socialist revolution. Perhaps it was because she exuded
a deep belief in the goodness of her fellow workers, that people
gravitated to her and were so affected by her.

In the women’s movement, during its ascendancy, Sylvia was able
to impart that attitude of class consciousness to thousands
of women. In the socialist movement she was able to impart
that confidence to her comrades. Her legacy is as a partisan
fighter for human rights and advocate of a socialist future
for humanity.

Sylvia’s columns are infused with revolutionary spirit, optimism,
respect for the potential of the working class, love for the working
people of the world, and hatred for the oppressor class. The
columns exhibit the very essence of Marxist political analysis—
a deep understanding that society is divided into social classes
with diametrically opposed social, political, and economic interests.
But they are in no sense dry or academic. Sylvia spoke and wrote
with a colorful style full of invective for the brutality and arrogance
of the capitalist class and the stupidity of its stooges in government.

Many of the columns also reveal the strong personal motivation
for Sylvia’s tireless revolutionary work—her personal background
of extreme rural poverty, her childhood experience in labor
organizing, her two dangerous illegal abortions, her active
participation in the working class, Civil Rights, antiwar, and
especially the women’s liberation movements. Because Sylvia
played a leadership role in the campaigns for child care, the
Equal Rights Amendment, and abortion rights, her columns
on those topics are especially fierce.

This book will be useful for all who oppose the horrors the
capitalist system is perpetrating upon the peoples of the world
today. It provides a revolutionary socialist perspective on the
last two decades of the 20th century U.S. empire. It contains
useful history on some of the most important developments
of those two decades, such as the several wars waged by the
U.S. on developing countries, on the status of women—
particularly with respect to women’s reproductive rights—
on the growth of the prison-industrial complex and
America's political prisoners, on the first Palestinian
intifada, and the major events of the end of the 20th century.

Sylvia had the gift of finding and re-telling the stories of
ordinary people that reveal great truths about our society.
She found stories in the daily newspapers, such as the story
of the Russian mother who went to Chechnya to bring her
soldier son home, and let the readers see how this strong
act of love and personal sacrifice applied to all mothers and
all working people. Through this story she showed how reactionary
wars against national liberation were not only against the
interests of workers and soldiers of the oppressed nation,
but against those of the oppressor nation as well.

The book does much more than provide a useful history of this
period. The basic politics of these columns is very relevant today.
These writings advocate policies of complete working class
independence from ruling class politics. They advocate working
class methods, strategies, and tactics, such as mass street
demonstrations to oppose war or to support important reforms
such as reproductive rights for women and the Equal Rights
Amendment. The columns are particularly useful in understanding
capitalist electoral politics. Many are scathing attacks on the
reformist policy of supporting so-called lesser-evil, pro-capitalist
candidates in elections, and the de-railing of important social
justice movements in the process. These columns are particularly
useful in understanding the present predicament of the antiwar
movement in the aftermath of U.S. wars against Afghanistan and
Iraq, current continuing occupations of both of these countries,
and a presidential election approaching with no genuine working
class political party in place to contest capitalist political power.
In this context, Sylvia Weinstein’s writings are not only interesting
but prophetic.

The series of articles in this book are indicative of her compassion
for the oppressed and her unswerving confidence in the power
of the working class to construct a socialist world humanitarian
society in harmony with nature. Sylvia was a rebel woman who
knew how to fightback. “Fightback!” was the name of her monthly
column, and therefore, it is the title of this book.

—Carole Seligman and Roland Sheppard

FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein

Socialist Viewpoint Publishing Association
ISBN: 0-9763570-0-3
360 pp.

To order your copy of FIGHTBACK!
Send a check for $25.00 plus $5.95 for shipping and handling to:

Socialist Viewpoint
333 Valencia Street, Suite 407
San Francisco, CA 94110

Please be sure to include your name, address, city, state and zip code.


11) Havana Journal
Hippocrates Meets Fidel, and Even U.S. Students Enroll
NY Times, December 8, 2006

HAVANA, Dec. 7 ˜ Anatomy is a part of medical education everywhere.
Biochemistry, too. But a course in Cuban history?

The Latin American School of Medical Sciences, on a sprawling former naval
base on the outskirts of this capital, teaches its students medicine Cuban
style. That means poking at cadavers, peering into aging microscopes and
discussing the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power 48 years ago.

Cuban-trained doctors must be able not only to diagnose an ulcer and treat
hypertension but also to expound on the principles put forward by „el

It was President Castro himself who in the late 1990s came up with the idea
for this place, which gives potential doctors from throughout the Americas
and Africa not just the A B C‚s of medicine but also the basic philosophy
behind offering good health care to the struggling masses.

The Cuban government offers full scholarships to poor students from abroad,
and many, including 90 or so Americans, have jumped at the chance of a free
medical education, even with a bit of Communist theory thrown in.

„They are completing the dreams of our comandante,‰ said the dean, Dr. Juan
D. Carrizo Estévez. „As he said, they are true missionaries, true apostles
of health.‰

It is a strong personal desire to practice medicine that drives the
students here more than any affinity for Mr. Castro. Those from the United
States in particular insist that they want to become doctors, not
politicians. They recoil at the notion that they are propaganda tools for
Cuba, as critics suggest.

„They ask no one to be political ˜ it‚s your choice,‰ said Jamar Williams,
27, of Brooklyn, a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany.
„Many students decide to be political. They go to rallies and read
political books. But you can lie low.‰

Still, the Cuban authorities are eager to show off this school as a sign of
the country‚s compassion and its standing in the world. And some students
cannot help responding to the sympathetic portrayal of Mr. Castro, whom the
United States government tars as a dictator who suppresses his people.

„In my country many see Fidel Castro as a bad leader,‰ said Rolando
Bonilla, 23, a Panamanian who is in his second year of the six-year
program. „My view has changed. I now know what he represents for this
country. I identify with him.‰

Fátima Flores, 20, of Mexico sympathized with Mr. Castro‚s government even
before she was accepted for the program. „When we become doctors we can
spread his influence,‰ she said. „Medicine is not just something
scientific. It‚s a way of serving the public. Look at Che.‰

Che Guevara was an Argentine medical doctor before he became a
revolutionary who fought alongside Mr. Castro in the rugged reaches of
eastern Cuba and then lost his life in Bolivia while further spreading the

Tahirah Benyard, 27, a first-year student from Newark, said it was Cuba‚s
offer to send doctors to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which was
rejected by the Bush administration, that prompted her to take a look at
medical education in Cuba.

„I saw my people dying,‰ she said. „There was no one willing to help. The
government was saying everything is going to be fine.‰

She said she had been rejected by several American medical schools but
could not have afforded their high costs anyway. Like other students from
the United States, she was screened for the Cuba program by Pastors for
Peace, a New York organization opposed to Washington‚s trade embargo
against the island.

Ms. Benyard hopes that one day she will be able to practice in poor
neighborhoods back home. Whether her education, which is decidedly low
tech, is up to American standards remains to be seen, although Cedric
Edwards, the first American student to graduate, last year, passed his
medical boards in the United States.

If she makes it, Ms. Benyard will become one of a small pool of
African-American doctors. Only about 6 percent of practicing physicians are
members of minority groups, says the Association of American Medical
Colleges, which recently began its own program to increase the number of
minority medical students.

Even before they were accepted into Cuba‚s program, most of the Americans
here said they had misgivings about the health care system in their own
country. There is too much of a focus on the bottom line, they said, and
not enough compassion for the poor.

„Democracy is a great principle,‰ said Mr. Williams, who wears long
dreadlocks pulled back behind his head. „The idea that people can speak for
themselves and govern themselves is a great concept. But people must be
educated, and in order to be educated, people need health.‰

The education the students are receiving here extends outside the classroom.

„I‚ve learned to become a minimalist,‰ Mr. Williams said. „I don‚t
necessarily need my iPod, all my gadgets and gizmos, to survive.‰

There are also fewer food options. The menu can be described as rice and
beans and more rice and beans. Living conditions are more rugged in other
respects as well. The electricity goes out frequently. Internet access is
limited. Toilet paper and soap are rationed. Sometimes the water taps are dry.

Then there is the issue of personal space.

„Being in a room with 18 girls, it teaches you patience,‰ said Ms. Benyard,
who was used to her one-bedroom apartment back home and described her
current living conditions as like a military barracks.

Other students cited the American government‚s embargo as their biggest
frustration. The blockade, which is what the Cuban government and many of
the American students call it, means no care packages, no visits from Mom
and Dad, and the threat that their government might penalize them for
coming here.

Last year Washington ordered the students home, but the decision was
reversed after protests from the Congressional Black Caucus, which supports
the program.

One topic that does not come up in classes is the specific ailment that put
Mr. Castro in the hospital, forced him to cede power to his brother Raúl
and has kept him out of the public eye since late July. His diagnosis, like
so much else in Cuba, is a state secret.


12) It's still about oil in Iraq
A centerpiece of the Iraq Study Group's report is its advocacy
for securing foreign companies' long-term access to Iraqi oil fields.
By Antonia Juhasz
December 8, 2006,0,4717508.story?track=tottext

ANTONIA JUHASZ is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies
and author of "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World,
One Economy at a Time."

WHILE THE Bush administration, the media and nearly all the Democrats
still refuse to explain the war in Iraq in terms of oil, the ever-pragmatic
members of the Iraq Study Group share no such reticence.

Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Iraq Study Group report lays out Iraq's
importance to its region, the U.S. and the world with this reminder:
"It has the world's second-largest known oil reserves." The group
then proceeds to give very specific and radical recommendations
as to what the United States should do to secure those reserves.
If the proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will
be commercialized and opened to foreign firms.

The report makes visible to everyone the elephant in the room:
that we are fighting, killing and dying in a war for oil. It states
in plain language that the U.S. government should use every
tool at its disposal to ensure that American oil interests and
those of its corporations are met.

It's spelled out in Recommendation No. 63, which calls on the
U.S. to "assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry
as a commercial enterprise" and to "encourage investment
in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by
international energy companies." This recommendation would
turn Iraq's nationalized oil industry into a commercial entity
that could be partly or fully privatized by foreign firms.

This is an echo of calls made before and immediately after
the invasion of Iraq.

The U.S. State Department's Oil and Energy Working Group,
meeting between December 2002 and April 2003, also said
that Iraq "should be opened to international oil companies
as quickly as possible after the war." Its preferred method
of privatization was a form of oil contract called a production-
sharing agreement. These agreements are preferred by the
oil industry but rejected by all the top oil producers in the
Middle East because they grant greater control and more
profits to the companies than the governments. The Heritage
Foundation also released a report in March 2003 calling
for the full privatization of Iraq's oil sector. One representative
of the foundation, Edwin Meese III, is a member of the Iraq
Study Group. Another, James J. Carafano, assisted in the
study group's work.

For any degree of oil privatization to take place, and for it
to apply to all the country's oil fields, Iraq has to amend its
constitution and pass a new national oil law. The constitution
is ambiguous as to whether control over future revenues from
as-yet-undeveloped oil fields should be shared among its
provinces or held and distributed by the central government.

This is a crucial issue, with trillions of dollars at stake, because
only 17 of Iraq's 80 known oil fields have been developed.
Recommendation No. 26 of the Iraq Study Group calls for
a review of the constitution to be "pursued on an urgent basis."
Recommendation No. 28 calls for putting control of Iraq's oil revenues
in the hands of the central government. Recommendation No. 63 also
calls on the U.S. government to "provide technical assistance to the
Iraqi government to prepare a draft oil law."

This last step is already underway. The Bush administration hired the
consultancy firm BearingPoint more than a year ago to advise the Iraqi
Oil Ministry on drafting and passing a new national oil law.

Plans for this new law were first made public at a news conference
in late 2004 in Washington. Flanked by State Department officials,
Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (who is now vice president)
explained how this law would open Iraq's oil industry to private
foreign investment. This, in turn, would be "very promising to the
American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil
companies." The law would implement production-sharing

Much to the deep frustration of the U.S. government and American
oil companies, that law has still not been passed.

In July, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced in Baghdad
that oil executives told him that their companies would not enter
Iraq without passage of the new oil law. Petroleum Economist
magazine later reported that U.S. oil companies considered
passage of the new oil law more important than increased
security when deciding whether to go into business in Iraq.

The Iraq Study Group report states that continuing military, political
and economic support is contingent upon Iraq's government
meeting certain undefined "milestones." It's apparent that these
milestones are embedded in the report itself.

Further, the Iraq Study Group would commit U.S. troops to Iraq
for several more years to, among other duties, provide security
for Iraq's oil infrastructure. Finally, the report unequivocally
declares that the 79 total recommendations "are comprehensive
and need to be implemented in a coordinated fashion. They
should not be separated or carried out in isolation."

All told, the Iraq Study Group has simply made the case for
extending the war until foreign oil companies — presumably
American ones — have guaranteed legal access to all of Iraq's
oil fields and until they are assured the best legal and financial
terms possible.

We can thank the Iraq Study Group for making its case publicly.
It is now our turn to decide if we wish to spill more blood for oil.


13) 33,000 San Franciscans
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff
San Francisco Bay View

It’s December, and 33,000 San Francisco voters are still waiting for
justice. All summer, in every neighborhood in the city, people eagerly
signed our referendum petition to stop the Bayview Hunters Point
Redevelopment Plan. We needed 21,000 signatures; we turned in
over 33,000 – and the Elections Department verified them. We were
jubilant. We – 33,000 San Franciscans – had stopped the biggest
land grab in the city’s history.

Then in September, at the request of Mayor Gavin Newsom and
Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Sophie Maxwell, City Attorney Dennis
Herrera threw out the signatures of over 33,000 San Franciscans with
the ridiculous excuse that each petition should have been as thick
as a phone book. No matter that our petitions had been thoroughly
examined and approved by all the appropriate officials before
we circulated them.

So much for democracy in San Francisco ! The Redevelopment
Agency and its developer friends, hungry for our neighborhood,
San Francisco ’s sunniest and most scenic, began to sink its teeth
into Bayview Hunters Point, to chew us up and spit us out.

We see three ways to justice: 1) We want to sue the City but
haven’t yet found attorneys we can afford who are willing to take
the case. 2) We want at least six members of the Board of Supervisors
to reconsider and rescind their approval of the Redevelopment Plan,
and we’re encouraging them to do so. 3) We want a law passed
at the local, state or federal level to prohibit the kind of eminent
domain that seizes property from one private owner and gives
it to a richer one. That would incapacitate the Redevelopment
Agency and stop the land grab.

This week, we have a slim chance to pull off the third option. The U.S.
Senate could pass federal eminent domain reform before Congress
adjourns if we push them hard enough. H.R. 4128 passed the House
over a year ago 376-38. The identical Senate bill, S. 3873, could pass
this week if 33,000 San Franciscans and our friends all over the country
call our Senators. In California , we need to call Sen. Barbara Boxer
at (202) 224-3553 and Sen. Dianne Feinstein at (202) 224-3841,
and we need to do it TODAY!

We still need to limit eminent domain in California too. Prop 90,
which would have done that, failed because of some additional
language about “takings.” I feel vindicated to learn that in Nevada ,
where a similar measure was on the ballot this year, the courts
struck down the “takings” language, leaving only the language limiting
eminent domain, and the voters passed it. I had proposed that route
for California . Too bad we missed the opportunity.

We should demand that the California legislature limit eminent domain,
as 34 other states have done in the past year. If our legislators
refuse – as they refused last year – we’ll know they’re still in the
clutches of the big developers and their big campaign donations.
And we’ll know that they don’t give a damn about us in Bayview
Hunters Point – or about 33,000 San Franciscans seeking justice.

And why not limit eminent domain in San Francisco ? According
to “On June 6, 2006 , voters in Orange
County , California , approved a countywide eminent domain
measure. The measure was approved with 75 percent of the
vote. Orange County was the first local jurisdiction in the
nation to weigh in on eminent domain restrictions at the ballot
box. The measure prohibits eminent domain for economic

If the voters can do it in Orange County , the Board of Supervisors
can do it in San Francisco . How about it, Supervisors? Do at least
six of you have the courage to give 33,000 San Franciscans
the justice they seek?

P.S. The headline “33,000 San Franciscans” was inspired by a lady
I’d never met who came by recently with a box full of 1,000 plain
white postcards printed on one side in bold black letters:
“33,000 San Franciscans.” “I don’t know what you can do with
these,” she said, “but I signed the petition and I’m so angry our
signatures were thrown out that I had to do something.”

Supervisors, your constituents are furious. They call and email
me constantly wondering what we’re going to do, what they can
do and, most of all, what you’re going to do. Your constituents,
33,000 of them, demand justice. It’s yours to give.

Contact Bay View Publisher Willie Ratcliff at or (415) 671-0789.

To reach the Bay View, email
To subscribe to this list, email


14) Protesters Jam Beirut to Urge Government’s Ouster
December 10, 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 10 — The center of Beirut was packed with
hundreds of thousands of pro-Hezbollah and allied demonstrators
today, pressing their call for the Lebanese government to resign
in a jubilant mass of protest and carnival.

The pounding of martial music, the roaring din of the excited crowd
floated up a nearby hill to pierce the thick walls of the stately
government building, the Grand Serail, as Prime Minister Fouad
Sinoria, entered a ceremonial room for a news conference. “I don’t
understand what is this great cause that is making them create
this tense political mess and stage open ended demonstrations,”
he said to a small group of reporters.

Over and over, the crowd, the speakers, the posters, offered clear
explanations. They did not want a government controlled by the
so-called March 14 coalition, an amalgam of Sunni, Christian and Druse
parties. They did not want a government aligned with Washington.
In short, a very large number of Lebanese citizens said they
did not want the present leadership.

A banner that hung down the side of a building, showing a picture
of the prime minister hugging Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“Thanks Condy,” it said just beneath another image of dead children,
referring to Lebanese civilian casualties during Israel’s war with
the militant Shiite group Hezbollah during the summer.

“There is no longer a place for America in Lebanon,” Hezbollah’s
deputy leader, Naim Qassem, said in remarks that boomed through

“Do you not recall that the weapons fired on Lebanon are American
weapons?” he added.

Prime Minister Sinoria’s somewhat surprising expression
of bewilderment seemed to capture the spirit dividing this country
of just four million people. There are government supporters
who appear afraid and threatened, and there are opponents of the
government, particularly those who support Hezbollah, who seem
empowered and confident that they stand at the threshold of victory.

In a subdued ceremony that seemed a reverse image of the boisterous
protests, several thousand people gathered to mark the anniversary
of the assassination of Gibran Tueni, the anti-Syrian newspaper
publisher killed in a car bombing last year. The front of the convention
center was filled with Range Rovers, Jaguars and Mercedes-Benzes.
Inside, the audience was dressed for a funeral, suits and ties,
and cuff links for the men.

“Everyone is afraid,” said Michel Khoury, a former governor of the
central bank as he left the memorial, a shiny new Motorola cell
phone pressed to his ear. “The Shiite community is very important.
It is the first time it is monolithic, the first time in the history
of this country you have one of the communities united.”

And in Tripoli today, tens of thousands of pro-government
demonstrators rallied.

This fight between Lebanese factions, defined primarily along
sectarian lines, is a fight for control of the government that will
help determine Lebanon’s future, whether it will eventually lean
toward Iran and Syria, as would like, or toward the United States
and Europe, as the governing alliance would like.

“We are today at the last phase of our struggle before we consolidate
our independence, freedom and sovereignty because the government
has proven to be a failure at all levels,” said the former Gen. Michel
Aoun in a live video broadcast to the demonstrators in Beirut. “They
have failed to isolate the Lebanese people from one another and
we are here today to represent unity and we are leading this struggle
together.” He has aligned his Christian party, the Free Patriotic
Movement, with Hezbollah.

He said that within a few days, the allied groups would press to
form an interim cabinet and then early parliamentary elections.
There have been rumors flying around Beirut that the next step
will be attempts to block roads, the airport, and the ports, to grind
the country to a halt. But there has so far been nothing official.

Hezbollah and its allies have managed for 10 days to control the
center of Beirut with a loud, peaceful, organized protest. In many
ways, Hezbollah has adopted a strategy that has been cheered
by the White House in the past, in places like Ukraine, and even
Lebanon itself, leaning on large, peaceful crowds to force unpopular
governments to resign and pave the way for elections. But this time
Washington and its allies have said the protest amounts to
a coup d’état, fueling charges that America supports democratic
practices only when its allies are winning.

“Does Bush want national expression in Lebanon?” Sheik Qassem
said to the crowd. “Does the West and Arabs want the voice of the
people in Lebanon? Tell them, ‘Death to America.’ Tell them,
‘Death to Israel.’ Tell them, ‘Glory to a free Lebanon.’ ”

The Hezbollah alliance took its protests to the streets after the
governing coalition refused its demands to give Hezbollah and
its allies more power, including the ability to veto all government
action. The current demonstration began on Friday, with hundreds
of thousands of people pouring into the center of the city, many
bused in from the poor, war-ravaged Shia communities of the
south. The government appeared to hope that the protesters would
grow weary and go back to the negotiating table.

But today, there was the huge crowd, a vista of humanity pressed
shoulder to shoulder, flying flags and calling for the government
to resign.

“We want a clean cabinet,” read one banner.

“Victory, change, is coming,’ read another.

The gravity of the situation was underlined by roads sealed by
soldiers and razor wire, and the many shops and restaurants
that remained closed.

But high spirits seemed dominant. “I am having fun overthrowing
the cabinet,” said Hassan Katteya, 10, as he walked with his mother,
Reema, through the crowd.

“We feel that we are the strong party,” Mrs. Katteya said. “The
government is the weak party. They are hiding up there in the
Grand Serail.”

Nada Bakri contributed reporting.


15) Signs of Lean Times for Home Equity, the American Piggy Bank
December 9, 2006

MUCH of the growth of the United States in recent years has been
financed by homeowners’ rising wealth. But now the growth in that
wealth has almost vanished.

The government reported this month that it estimated the equity
of Americans in their homes — what the homes are worth less
the money owed on mortgages — rose a scant 0.1 percent
in the third quarter. At an annual rate, that was just 0.5 percent,
the smallest gain in more than a decade.

From late 2003 through the first quarter of this year, the gain
in home equity was running at more than 10 percent a year, more
than enough to keep Americans feeling richer and to provide cash —
through refinancings or home equity loans — for other uses.

The amount of money being borrowed has also begun to slow,
although not nearly as rapidly as the increase in the value
of real estate might indicate. In the third quarter, the outstanding
balances of mortgage loans rose at an annual rate of 7.9 percent.
That is less than half the pace of just two years ago, and the lowest
figure for any quarter since early 2001, when the economy
was going into recession.

That American homes face more leverage than they once did
is clear from the chart showing mortgages as a percentage
of value over the last half century.

Over all, homes are still worth more than twice what is owed
on them, which hardly sounds alarming even if relative debt
levels doubled over the 50 years.

The real issue is the spread of that debt. There is no question
that more homes now have very high loan-to-value ratios,
or that more mortgages have features that could cause monthly
payments to soar. Either could cause severe distress for some
homeowners if home prices fall or a recession threatens
incomes. Owners could find they own homes worth less
than they owe or that they cannot afford the new monthly
payment. A wave of defaults could come even when most
homeowners have ample financial flexibility.

It used to be that in eras when home values rose rapidly,
the amount of outstanding mortgages rose more slowly. That
stood to reason, because most homes were not sold in any given
year and mortgages were primarily used to buy homes. Those
who owned homes might have felt wealthier, but they did
not take on additional debt.

That stayed true even in the late 1990’s, when home prices
were rising at a good clip and mortgage balances rose more
slowly. But the relationship has vanished. For the best two
and a half years of the real estate boom — ending this past
March — the value of home equity in America rose at a very
impressive annual rate of 11.8 percent. But the total amount
of mortgages outstanding rose at a rate of 13.5 percent.

Some of that borrowing came from home buyers who needed
to borrow to pay the high prices, and some from homeowners
refinancing their homes. But a lot also came from an increased
willingness of Americans to use home equity lines of credit —
and from the expansion of the asset-backed securities market
that funds many such loans. The amount outstanding under
them rose at a compounded annual rate of 22.9 percent
over that period.

It seems like a paradox: the more homes are worth, the more
many owners owe, even if they purchased the homes many years
before for far less than they are now worth.


16) U.S. Imprisons More People Than Any Other Nation
By James Vicini, Reuters
"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population
and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population.
We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens,"
[The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people
is the highest in the world.
[But the article doesn't break down the disproporionate r
ates for Blacks and Latinos.
[U.S. incarceration rates by race, June 30, 2004:
[-Whites: 393 per 100,000
[-Latinos: 957 per 100,000
[-Blacks: 2,531 per 100,000
[-Females: 123 per 100,000
[-Males: 1,348 per 100, ]
December 9, 2006

WASHINGTON (Dec. 9) -- Tough sentencing laws, record numbers
of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the
United States having the largest prison population and the
highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal
justice experts.

A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed
that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults
-- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last
year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's
College in London, more people are behind bars in the United
States than in any other country. China ranks second with
1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.

The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people is the
highest, followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and
Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western
industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.

Groups advocating reform of U.S. sentencing laws seized
on the latest U.S. prison population figures showing admissions
of inmates have been rising even faster than the numbers
of prisoners who have been released.

"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population
and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We rank
first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan
Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports
alternatives in the war on drugs.

"We now imprison more people for drug law violations than
all of western Europe, with a much larger population,
incarcerates for all offenses."

Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group
advocating sentencing reform, said the United States has
a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries.

"We send more people to prison, for more different offenses,
for longer periods of time than anybody else," he said.

Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million
in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that
other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.

Commenting on what the prison figures show about U.S.
society, King said various social programs, including those
dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health
care and child care, have failed.

"There are a number of social programs we have failed
to deliver. There are systemic failures going on," he said. "
A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal
Foundation in California, said the high prison numbers
represented a proper response to the crime problem in the
United States. Locking up more criminals has contributed
to lower crime rates, he said.

"The hand-wringing over the incarceration rate
is missing the mark," he said.

Scheidegger said the high prison population reflected
cultural differences, with the United States having far higher
crimes rates than European nations or Japan. "We have more
crime. More crime gets you more prisoners."

Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory
Minimums, cited the Justice Department report and said drug
offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system.

"Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing
laws and the record number of nonviolent drug offenders
subject to them," she said.


“three strike and you’re out” targets Blacks and Poor
"There are more Black youth in the prison system than there are
in college (even though it now costs twice as much to send
a person to prison as it does to send a person to college.) "
By Roland Sheppard

1994 Fact: Due to institutionalized racism of American society,
Blacks are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.
The rate for whites is 289 per 100,00; the rate for African
Americans is 1860 per 100,00

In the aftermath of the rebellion in South Central L.A. two years
ago, there has been a massive media blitz to make "violent crime"
the major issue of the day. After all the hype, polls have been
taken that show crime as the "major" issue—ahead
of unemployment, health, taxes, etc.

According to a recent survey by the Center for Media and Public
Affairs, the three major TV networks aired more than twice
as many crime stories last year than in 1992. Meanwhile the
crime rate has remained virtually the same.

President Clinton and most of the political representatives
of the rich have taken the proper cue and picked up the call
for a "three strikes and your out" solution to the problem
of crime. Both California and the state of Washington have
already passed "three strikes" legislation.

The California law stipulates that after a third conviction,
a defendant will receive 25 years to life imprisonment or
triple the usual sentence for the offense, which ever is greater.
Second-time offenders will get double the usual sentence.
Even first-time offenders will have time off for good behavior
reduced from 50 percent to 20 percent.

The California law will face challenges in court. Most controversial
are the provisions that extend the penalties to youth; many
youth have been convicted without even a jury trial.

Nevertheless, according to California Gov. Pete Wilson,
"There’s 30 other states who are watching closely to see
how this goes." "Three strikes" will be the main campaign
issue during the election year, as the Democrats and
Republicans try to outdo each other as being the hardest
on crime.

The causes of crime--ie., uneployment, lack of education,
poverty, homelessness and lack of hope--will not be addressed.
That’s because these are permanent features of capitalism
in the United States and, consequently, neither the Republicans
nor the Democrats have any solutions.

Since the middle 1970s, the established pattern at all levels
of government has been to cut public education, social services,
and welfare programs; to shift the tax burden from the capitalist
class to the working class and the poor; and to increase
the budget for police--with a consequent expansion
in prisons and length of prison terms.

With the largest prison system in the United States, California's
state funding for incarcerating people was $300 million
in 1980; by 1995 it will expand to $3 billion per year.
The prison population in California has risen 460 percent
since 1977. California’s "three strikes and you’re out" policy
is expected to add 81,000 new prisoners by the year 2000.
It will cost an estimated additional $21.8 billion for prison
construction during the next 30 years, with operating costs
increasing up to $5.7 billion per year.

These estimates are based upon the space needed for the
number of additional prisoners receiving longer sentences.
It doesn’t take into account the additional people who will
be sent to prison as a consequence of the rise in poverty
due to government cutbacks in education and social services.

The federal government has projected similar bills, which
also presume that imprisonment is the solution to crime.
Proposed legislation will increase federal prison expenditures
by $6 billion this year along.

The United States leads the world when it comes to the ratio
of imprisonment for its citizens--455 prisoners per 100,000 people.
Due to the institutionalized racism of American society, Blacks
are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.
(The rate for whites is 289 per 100,000, and the rate for African
Americans is 1860 per 100,000.)

There are more Black youth in the prison system than there are
in college (even though it now costs twice as much to send
a person to prison as it does to send a person to college.)

This disparity greatly increased as the United States launched
its "war on drugs," which has accurately been called a war
on the poor in general and the Black and Hispanic communities
in particular.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, while
Blacks make up only 12 percent of those who regularly
use drugs, Black men compose 38 percent of those arrested
for drug convictions.

The victims of drug addiction have been targeted as "criminals."
As a result, 60 percent of all federal prisoners have been
convicted of drug charges. This "war" has not been waged
against those who bring drugs into the country or those
who profit the most from drug dealing.

In fact, one of the biggest drug pushers in this country
is the government. Neither the war on drugs nor the
current war on crime applies to the federal government’s
own operations.

Recent revelations about "Contragate" and the role of the
CIA in Panama and Haiti, have revealed the the CIA is one
of the largest importers of cocaine into the United States.
It has been estimated that the CIA has imported over one
ton of cocaine through Haiti in the recent period.
(One ton of cocaine would have the potential
to imprison 896,000 people, since possession of one
gram is worth a year in jail.)

The United States has carried out a "carrot and stick
(rewards followed by repression) policy toward the
Black ghettos and Hispanic barrios.

In the 1960s, government agencies used the "carrot"
of the "war on poverty" in response to the inner-city
rebellions. In the meantime, the "stick" of police repression
and brutality was kept ready. Today they do not have the
funds for the carrot; the new war on crime is the big stick
approach to set back the gains won by the civil rights movement
during the 1960s.

The "three strikes and you’re out" policy is in reality an escalation
of the repression of Blacks and the poor. In the process, a virtual
police state is being established in the ghettos and barrios
to prevent any organized resistance to the increased poverty
that is being imposed by the present economic crisis.

It is in this context that New York City Mayor Giuliani, the
newly elected "law and order" candidate, launched his war
on crime with a police attack upon the Nation of Islam's Harlem
Mosque. It was done to demonstrate that the police are trying
to establish their "right" to do as they please in violation
of the Bill of Rights.

Under the rubric of the "war on crime" America’s rulers are
out to establish a climate in which they can move against
any organization in the ghetto that opposes the real crimes
of racism, police brutality,l unemployment, homelessness,
and poverty imposed by the capitalist system.

April, 1994


Recently a new factor has been added to the equation --
"The Drug Trade". In his article, War on Drugs Dirty Money
Foundation of US Growth and Empire Size and Scope of Money
Laundering by US Banks
James Petras, Professor of Sociology, Binghamton
University, explains that 500 Billion to a Trillion dollars
gets added to world capitalist economy through “illegal
means.” he concludes the article with the following:

"The increasing polarization of the world is embedded
in this organized system of criminal and corrupt financial
transactions. While speculation and foreign debt payments
play a role in undermining living standards in the crisis regions,
the multi-trillion dollar money laundering and bank servicing
of corrupt officials is a much more significant factor, sustaining
Western prosperity, U.S. empire building and financial stability.
The scale, scope and time frame of transfers and money laundering,
the centrality of the biggest banking enterprises and the complicity
of the governments, strongly suggests that the dynamics of growth
and stagnation, empire and re-colonization are intimately related
to a new form of capitalism built around pillage, criminality,
corruption and complicity. 'This Goes Straight to the Top.'"

An article written in Counterpunch titled, Race and the Drug War
during the last presidential election campaign, points out
another factor of the "Drug War:"

"..... Domestically, the 'drug war' has always been a pretext
for social control, going back to the racist application of drug
laws against Chinese laborers in the recession of the 1870s when
these workers we reviewed as competition for the dwindling
number of jobs available. The main users, middle-class white
men and women taking opium in liquid form as 'tonics', weren't
harassed. By 1887 the Chinese Exclusion Act allowed Chinese
opium addicts to be arrested and deported. In the 1930s the
racist head of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs,
Harry Anslinger, was renaming hemp as 'marijuana' to associate
it with Mexican laborers and claiming that marijuana 'can arouse
in blacks and Hispanics a state of menacing fury or homicidal attack.'
By the 1950s Anslinger had pushed through the first mandatory
drug sentences.

"As so often, Nixon was helpfully explicit in his private remarks.
H.R.Haldeman recorded in his diary a briefing by the president
in 1969,prior to launching of the war on drugs: '[Nixon]
emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole
problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system
that recognizes this while not appearing to.'

"So what was 'the system' duly devised? On June 19, 1986,
Maryland University basketball star Len Bias died from an overdose
of cocaine. As Dan Baum put it in his excellent Smoke and Mirrors,
The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure, 'In life, Len Bias was
a terrific basketball player. In death he became the Archduke
Ferdinand of the Total War on Drugs.' It was falsely reported that
Bias had smoked crack cocaine the night before his death.
In fact he had used powder cocaine and there was no link
between this use and the failure of his heart, according t
o the coroner. Bias had signed with the Boston Celtics and
amid Boston's rage and grief Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill,
a Boston rep, rushed into action. In early July he convened
a meeting of the Democratic Party leadership: 'Write me
some goddamn legislation,' he ordered. 'All anybody in Boston
is talking about is Len Bias. They want blood. If we move fast
enough we can get out in front of the White House.' In fact the
White House was moving pretty fast. Among other things the
DEA had been instructed to allow ABC News to accompany
it on raids against crackhouses. 'Crack is the hottest combat-
reporting story to come along since the end of the Vietnam
war," the head of the New York office of the DEA exulted.

"All this fed into congressional frenzy to write tougher
laws. House Majority Leader Jim Wright called drug abuse
'a menace draining away our economy of some $230 billion
this year, slowly rotting away the fabric of our society and
seducing and killing our young.' Not to be outdone, South
Carolina Republican Thomas Arnett proclaimed that 'drugs
are a threat worse than nuclear warfare or any chemical
warfare waged on any battlefield.' The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse
Act was duly passed. It contained 29 new minimum mandatory
sentences. Up until that time in the history of the Republic there
had been only 56 mandatory minimum sentences. The new law
had a death penalty provision for drug 'king pins' and prohibited
parole for even minor possession offenses. But the chief focus
of the bill was crack cocaine (mainly used in the inter-cities).
Congress established a 100-to-1 sentencing ratio between
possession of crack and powder cocaine (mainly used in the
suburbs). Under this provision possession of five grams
of crack carries a minimum five-year federal prison sentence.
The same mandatory minimum is not reached for any amount
of powder cocaine under 500 grams. This sentencing disproportion
was based on faulty testimony that crack was 50 times
as addictive as powdered coke. Congress then doubled
this ratio as a so-called 'violence penalty'."

This email was sent you, as a service, by Roland Sheppard


18) Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC calls on Human Rights Watch
to Re-evaluate its Criticism of the Nonviolent Action
of Palestinian Civilians in Gaza Refugee Camp
Hayward, California, December 7, 2007
For Immediate Release:

[The Ecumenical Peace Institute has approved this statement in reply
to HRW's criticism of recent nonviolent actions in Gaza. I have sent
the statement to Human Rights Watch, various media outlets and
religious groups and am in the process of sending it to more peace
and justice groups and media. Please feel free to use it to send to
Human Rights Watch, your media contacts, legislators, etc. I think
it is especially important for as many people and groups as possible
to send it to HRW. I sent it by email to 10 HRW offices and faxed
it to three. I got an automatic response to one of the emails stating
that they get thousands of emails a day and can't answer all of them,
so it would probably be more effective to send faxes if you can.
I'll write here the email and faxes of three offices:
San Francisco -; fax:415-362-3255
NYC -; fax:212-736-1300
DC -; fax:202-612-4333

Yours for nonviolent resistance,
Esther Ho]


Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC calls on Human Rights Watch to
Re-evaluate its Criticism of the Nonviolent Action of Palestinian
Civilians in Gaza Refugee Camp

Hayward, California, December 7, 2007 -- Ecumenical Peace
Institute/CALC concurs with the statement of the International
Solidarity Movement in response to the Human Rights Watch
criticism of the November 19 action of Palestinian civilians
in Jabalya refugee camp who were seeking to protect the homes
of two families from Israeli military attack.

We are deeply disturbed by Human Rights Watch's suggestion
that the voluntary action of citizens to protect homes with their
own bodies is a violation of international humanitarian law.
In fact, these Palestinians were following an age-old revered
practice of nonviolently resisting attack. In addition to the
examples of such actions given in the International Solidarity
Movement statement, we would call attention to a few additional
examples out of the multitude of instances of such actions:

Voices in the Wilderness and Christians Peacemaker Teams
traveled to Iraq prior to the current war in the hope of staving
off U.S. attacks on essential civilian infrastructure. A generation
ago Witness for Peace members and others accompanied various
projects in Central America and the Philippines to protect labor
leaders and others under attack by repressive governments.
During the civil rights struggle in this country numerous
civilians risked their lives to travel to the South to try to protect
those struggling for their rights. Many of them were attacked
and several were killed. Indeed, the statement by Human Rights
Watch is essentially attacking the entire tradition of nonviolent
resistance which came into world prominence under the
leadership of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson

We respectfully request that Human Rights Watch re-evaluate
the question of the legality under international humanitarian
law of the nonviolent intervention of unarmed civilians in deterring
military attacks in populated areas. We are convinced that nonviolent
actions such as that of the Palestinians in Jabalya Camp are key
to bringing about a reduction in the high percentage of civilians
among the casualties of war in Palestinian lands and advance
the cause of human rights in areas of conflict around the world.


for additional information contact: Esther Ho, 510-785-9509,

Statement of International Solidarity Movement:

From: ISM Media Group wrote:
To: "International Solidarity Movement"
Subject: [ISM Updates] Nonviolent Resistance is not Illegal: HRW Should
Retract Statement
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2006 22:32:28 -0000

On Sunday, Nov. 19, hundreds of Palestinian civilians crowded into the
building where the family of Mohammed Baroud and a number of other
families live in Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Israeli
military forces had warned that the building would be attacked. The
planned Israeli attack was deterred by this action. Two hours later,
the scene was replicated at the family home of Mohammed Nawajeh, with
the same results.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) applauds the people of
Jabalya for their courageous and effective use of nonviolent
resistance, and we express our full solidarity with their actions,
which are positive initiatives in the struggle to defend Palestinian
rights. We encourage international volunteers to participate in these
actions, as did Father Peter Dougherty and Sister Mary Ellen Gundeck of
the Michigan Peace Team.

We note with disappointment that Human Rights Watch (HRW) chose to
condemn these actions, suggesting that they could constitute a "war
crime." In a November 22, 2006 press release entitled, "OPT:
Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks"
HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson said, "There is no excuse
for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack. Whether or not
the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to
stand in harm's way is unlawful."

HRW's press release is factually, legally, and morally flawed.

HRW based its statement on contested factual information. HRW claimed
that "Palestinian armed groups" and Mohammed Baroud encouraged
civilians to gather around the homes. However, while some press
accounts mention Baroud's role, numerous other press and participant
accounts from Gaza suggest that the mobilizations resulted from calls
by civilian leaders and a groundswell of popular anger against Israeli
home demolitions.

As just one example, Eyad Bayary, a head nurse at Jabalya Hospital who
went to Baroud's home with another twenty of his neighbors, told ISM
that he did not hear a call from Baroud asking people to protect his
home. He and his neighbors went to support Baroud and his family and to
protest the shelling out of their own volition. "I live next to Mr.
Baroud's family home. If his home is shelled at best my home would be
damaged. My wife is in the six month of her pregnancy. God forbid, a
shelling of the house next door could endanger her and the child she is
carrying. All our children would be affected. We went to the Baroud
family house because we were scared and angry. No one asked us to

In addition to this factual weakness, we believe that HRW's position
reflects serious errors in the interpretation and application of
international humanitarian law (IHL), in two fundamental respects: (1)
HRW's position explicitly rejects considering the legitimacy of the
target as relevant to the legal analysis; and (2) HRW's position
erroneously places the burden of protecting civilian lives on the
population being attacked instead of on the belligerents carrying out
the attack.

According to HRW, "In the case where the object of attack is not a
legitimate military target, calling civilians to the scene would still
contravene the international humanitarian law imperative for parties to
the conflict to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from
the effects of attack." IHL clearly makes target legitimacy central to
the determination of lawful vs. unlawful conduct. Protocol I of the
Geneva Convention, Article 51(7) provides that "Parties to the conflict
shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual
civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from
attacks or to shield military operations." Article 52 of the same
Protocol makes clear that a civilian home is a civilian object and not
a military objective. Even if Mohammed Baroud and Mohammed Nawajeh are
military commanders, their families, their family homes and the homes
of other families in the same buildings are not military objectives.

Therefore, the Geneva Convention's prohibition on the use of civilians
to shield military objectives does not apply to the voluntary gathering
of Palestinian civilians to protect civilian objects like the homes of
Baroud and Nawajeh from a pending Israeli attack. Rather, Israel's
targeting of these homes constitutes a violation of numerous provisions
of IHL that proscribe attacks on civilian property, and of Article 33
of the Fourth Geneva Convention, strictly prohibiting the destruction
of property for the purpose of collective punishment.

While IHL places obligations on all parties to a conflict to take "all
feasible precautions" to protect civilians from the effects of attack,
HRW does not cite support for its claim that encouraging civilians to
defend their homes from military strikes constitutes a violation of
this imperative. In fact, Protocol I, Article 57 relating to
precautions in attack, specifically places the obligation to protect
civilians on "those who plan or decide upon an attack." (Protocol I,
Art. 57(2)(a)). Furthermore, providing warning does not absolve Israel
of its responsibility not to attack civilian objects, nor does it make
the civilian objects legitimate military targets.

The error of HRW's interpretation of IHL is even more obvious when we
consider that HRW statements like "Civilians Must Not Be Used to
Shield Homes Against Military Attacks" and "knowingly asking
civilians to stand in harm's way is unlawful" would proscribe many
completely legitimate forms of nonviolent resistance in occupied
peoples' struggles. The Fourth Geneva Convention and its Additional
Protocols were never intended to permit an aggressor to choose his
targets at will, while putting the onus on the civilian victims to get
out of the way. Nor were these laws created to prevent civilians from
exercising their right to defend their property.

The condemnation of nonviolent efforts by civilians to prevent the
destruction of civilian homes also represents a failure of moral
judgment on the part of HRW. To condemn nonviolent actions in this way
is to confuse civil resistance with the forcible use of "human shields"
by military combatants, such as those documented by the Israeli human
rights organization B'Tselem in its November, 2002 report "Human
Shield". The report describes Israeli military seizures of Palestinian
civilians, forcing them to walk in front of soldiers and sometimes
placing them on the hoods of their vehicles to deter attacks against
their military personnel. These Israeli military actions are clearly
war crimes (though HRW failed to label them as such in its April, 2002
report, "In a Dark Hour: The Use of Civilians during IDF Arrest
Operations"). It is a mistake to extend this principle to the
courageous voluntary participation of unarmed individuals in mass
nonviolent actions in defense of their human rights.

By condemning nonviolent civilian resistance in this way, HRW endangers
those practicing it, and undermines the work of other human rights
groups and the credibility of HRW itself. ISM calls upon HRW to
retract its November 22 press release and to recognize the courage and
the legitimacy of the actions of the Palestinian community in Jabalya.


19) Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
December 9, 2006

*FALLUJAH, Dec 9 (IPS) - People living in areas where resistance to
U.S.-led occupation is mounting are facing increased levels of
collective punishment from the occupation forces, residents say.*

Siniyah town 200 km north of Baghdad with a population of 25,000 has
been under siege by the U.S. military for two weeks.

IPS had earlier reported unrest in Siniyah Jan. 20 when the U.S.
military constructed a six-mile sand wall in a failed attempt to check
resistance attacks.

Located near Beji in the volatile but oil-rich Salahedin province,
Siniyah has become a vivid example of harsh tactics used by occupation
forces, who have lost control over most of the country.

"Thirteen children died during the two-week siege due to U.S. troops'
disallowance for doctors to open their private clinics as well as
closure of the general medical centre there," a doctor from the city
reported to IPS via satellite phone.

The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from the
U.S. military. IPS had to reach him by phone since the military blockade
has cut the city off from the outside world.

"This is not the first time U.S. troops have conducted such a siege
here, but this time it represents murder," the doctor said.

A U.S. military public relations officer in Baghdad told IPS on phone
that the military was doing "what it had to do to fight the terrorists
in and around Siniyah" and that "no medical aid is being interfered with."

When IPS told him it had received contradictory information from a
doctor in that city, he replied, "that is just not true."

The siege has generated resentment against the Shia-dominated Iraqi
government led by Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki, who has failed to
comment on the deaths. Sunnis have not missed the sharp contrast to his
order to U.S. troops to lift their checkpoints around the Shia area of
Sadr City in Baghdad.

Sectarian conflict has been rising between Shias and Sunnis, two
differing followings within Islam. Sunnis are the majority worldwide,
but Shias are said to be the majority within Iraq.

Abdul Kareem al-Samarrai'i, a leading member of the Islamic Party that
participates in the Maliki government, stated on Baghdad Space Channel
that the 13 children died in Siniyah "because of the siege and the U.S.
army orders to deprive the town of any medical care."

Duluiyah, another small town roughly 60 km north of Baghdad has been
under siege by the U.S. military for the last three weeks.

"They (U.S. military) applied the siege upon Duluiyah (close to Samarra)
many times, the last of which partially ended last week," Samir Muhammad
of the Samarra municipality council told IPS.

The Geneva Conventions forbid use of collective punishment.
International law says the occupying power in a country is responsible
for safeguarding the civilian population.

Fallujah in al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad continues to face
attacks and harassment by the U.S. military, according to local residents.

"Why don't those people admit their failure and leave," 55-year-old
Khalaf Dawood from Fallujah told IPS. "They are being hit and their
soldiers are getting killed all over the city. All they are doing is
killing civilians and suffocating the city economically as revenge."

Electricity supply in Fallujah was recently cut off for three days after
resistance snipers launched attacks on U.S. soldiers. U.S. military
vehicles are attacked regularly around the city.

Several local people told IPS that on average one civilian a day is
killed by U.S. gunfire in Fallujah, while raids on houses have been
stepped up heavily.

The U.S. military commander in Fallujah admitted to local media last
month that at least five attacks on average were being conducted
everyday against his troops and Iraqi army units. The vast majority of
the population of Fallujah continues to demand unconditional withdrawal
of U.S. troops from their city.

Meanwhile, the situation in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar
province where Fallujah is also located, has deteriorated further.
Residents told IPS that bombardment from U.S. warplanes and helicopters
has killed many civilians.

IPS reported Nov. 17 that U.S. military had shelled several houses in
Ramadi, killing 35 civilians.

A partial siege of the city continues, and residents are complaining
that a new militia formed by Maliki's government in the name of
"fighting terror" has been rounding up young men from the city.

The militia recently took control of the University of Anbar in Ramadi
and started harassing students. U.S. soldiers blocked the main road to
the university before the militia entered the campus.

"They even harassed the president (principal) of the university and
accused him of being an al-Qaeda leader," a university professor
speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "The principal is a
professor in chemistry and a very peaceful man who has dedicated his
life to science and supervising PHD and MSC graduates."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.



Federal tactics under assault
Prosecutors' tool to investigate fraud draws corporate fire
Jessica Guynn, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, December 9, 2006

Pink elections in Nicaragua
By: Celia Hart
Special for
Date: 16/11/2006
A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela.
Edited by Walter Lippmann

Religion for a Captive Audience, Paid For by Taxes
Life was different in Unit E at the state prison outside Newton, Iowa.
The toilets and sinks — white porcelain ones, like at home — were
in a separate bathroom with partitions for privacy. In many Iowa
prisons, metal toilet-and-sink combinations squat beside the bunks,
to be used without privacy, a few feet from cellmates.
The cells in Unit E had real wooden doors and doorknobs, with locks.
More books and computers were available, and inmates were kept
busy with classes, chores, music practice and discussions. There
were occasional movies and events with live bands and real-world
food, like pizza or sandwiches from Subway. Best of all, there were
opportunities to see loved ones in an environment quieter
and more intimate than the typical visiting rooms.
But the only way an inmate could qualify for this kinder mutation
of prison life was to enter an intensely religious rehabilitation
program and satisfy the evangelical Christians running it that he
was making acceptable spiritual progress. The program — which
grew from a project started in 1997 at a Texas prison with the
support of George W. Bush, who was governor at the time —
says on its Web site that it seeks “to ‘cure’ prisoners by identifying
sin as the root of their problems” and showing inmates “how God
can heal them permanently, if they turn from their sinful past.”
December 10, 2006
story continues:

Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution
December 10, 2006

Oppose FY07 EPA Library Budget Cuts
The proposed EPA budget slashes library system funding, hindering
agency scientists from doing their jobs effectively.
Tell your Senators to restore funds for continued access to the
collections and services of EPA Libraries.
I am writing to protest plans by the Bush administration to close
libraries at the Environmental Protection Agency. I ask that you
intervene now to ensure that EPA’s network of 27 technical libraries
remains intact and open to both the public and agency staff.
The Bush administration is already moving ahead with library
closures, without waiting for Congress to act on the plan
contained in its proposed FY 2007 EPA operations and
administration budget.
The proposed cuts, while small in the context of an $8 billion
EPA budget, will be devastating:
-An estimated 50,000 documents on environmental issues that are
available nowhere else will be boxed up and inaccessible;
-Public access to invaluable EPA collections will end; and
-EPA’s own staff will find it harder to do their jobs without access
to their libraries.
More than 10,000 EPA scientists have protested the impending
closure of technical research libraries because it would hinder their
work. EPA’s enforcement arm has concluded that library closures
will hamper investigation and prosecution of corporate polluters.
The administration’s own studies show that the cuts will actually
lose money due to the added professional staff time that will be
diverted to tracking down research materials now assembled
by the libraries.
I urge you to stop these proposed cuts and instead restore the
EPA libraries. Please demonstrate your commitment to the power
of information and public education as indispensable tools
for safeguarding our environment.
Sign the petition at:

A Young Marine Speaks Out
by Philip Martin

Army Provides Context After Radio Story on Soldiers' Mental Health
Dec 08, 2006 mil/-newsrelease s/2006/12/ 08/912-army- provides- context-after- radio-story- on-soldiers- mental-health/

From Diallo to Sean Bell
NYPD's Death Squads

Prosecutor Admits Mumia Had No "True Defense"
Mumia Abu-Jamal Case Goes to Third Circuit
December 7, 2006

Dwindling Docket Mystifies Supreme Court
December 7, 2006

Strongest Proof Yet of Water Flow on Mars
December 7, 2006

Bakiyev Wants to Revoke Troops' Immunity
Filed at 11:25 a.m. ET
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) -- President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
on Thursday called for U.S. troops deployed in the former
Soviet nation to be stripped of diplomatic immunity after
a U.S. serviceman fatally shot a Kyrgyz civilian.
December 7, 2006

Panel Calls for New Approach to Iraq
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — A bipartisan commission warned
on Wednesday that “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating,”
and handed President Bush both a rebuke of his current strategy
and a detailed blueprint for a fundamentally different approach,
including the pullback of all American combat brigades over the
next 15 months.
December 6, 2006

Recommendations of the Iraq Study Group
A bipartisan commission today urged stepped-up diplomatic and
political efforts to stabilize that country, coupled with a shift
in the mission of U.S. forces to allow the United States to
“begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly.”

Soldiers Say Army Ignores, Punishes Mental Anguish
by Daniel Zwerdling

Army bulldozes farmlands and stops school
students from going home near Bethlehem
Israeli army bulldozers started on Monday
morning to bulldoze farmlands, and barred
school students from leaving their school in
Al Khader village south of the West Bank city
of Bethlehem. Troops and army bulldozers
stormed the village on Monday morning, around
10:00, and started to bulldoze and uproot farmlands
in the village to build a road and underground tunnel
to separate the Palestinian used roads from the
Jewish only roads, villagers reported.
http://www.imemc. org/content/ view/23054/ 1/

Settlers uproot Olive trees in Hebron
The sources stated that armed extremist settlers
of the Hagai illegal settlement, uprooted and cut
more than 70 olive trees that belong to Mohammad
Abdul-Hamid Al Tubassi, and Rateb Al Tubassi,
while (JEWISH) soldiers did not attempt to stop them.
http://www.imemc. org/content/ view/23060/ 1/

Manhattan: Raises for Elected Officials Approved
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
signed a bill yesterday raising elected
city officials’ salaries for the first
time since 1999. The measure
increases salaries to $225,000 from
$195,000 for the mayor;
to $190,000 from $150,000 for the
district attorneys; to $185,000
from $160,000 for the comptroller;
to $165,000 from $150,000
for the public advocate; to $160,000
from $135,000 for the borough
presidents; and to $112,500 from
$90,000 for City Council members.
The mayor noted that the pay raises
were recommended by an advisory
commission he appointed and were
in line with inflation and raises
for other city workers.
December 6, 2006




please circulate:

Leonard Peltier Court Hearing December 7, 2006
From: abeltranjurisdr @
Subject: Dec 7th Peltier argument Second Circuit, Manhattan
Date: Nov 30, 2006 12:24 PM
To: Leonard Peltier Supporters

From: Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Subject: Court hearing on December 7, 2006

Location: U.S. Court of Appeals 500 Pearl Street, 9th Floor,
Ceremonial Courtroom, Manhattan.

On December 7, 2006 at 10:00 a.m., Buffalo attorney Michael Kuzma will
be arguing before a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit for the full release of all documents maintained
by the Buffalo field office of the FBI relating to Leonard Peltier and RESMURS.

As a result of this lawsuit, and a similar case brought against the FBI in
Minnesota under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we have learned
that the *FBI actually possesses 142,579 pages* of material pertaining
to Leonard Peltier and RESMURS. Although these documents are over
30 years old, the Government continues to block release of this
information on the basis that disclosure would, among other things,
hamper the "war on transnational terrorism" and reveal the identities
of confidential sources.

Come out on December 7, 2006 to show your solidarity and support
in our struggle to pry loose these secret FBI files and, in the process,
come one step closer to liberating Leonard from federal prison!

Thank you,

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee


Protest unionbusting Hornblower
Next Saturday morning, December 9, 10:00 A.M.,
there will be another show of public support at the
picket line at Pier 33, SF.

From: []
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2006 10:38 AM
Subject: Letter to Quake Radio re Hornblower ads

Kudos for bringing back Mike Malloy, and for allowing Bob Linden to buy
airtime. Those two shows are the only reason I tune to your station anymore.
(If you were to bring back Marc Maron, I'd listen to that too). Shame on
you, though, for taking money from unionbusting Hornblower, who are defying
a federal court order to abide by the MMP/IBU's Service Contract negotiated
with Hornblower's predecessor.
See today's Chronicle story:

Next Saturday morning there will be another show of public support at the
picket line at Pier 33 at 10am (Dec. 9). Will you send someone from your
news dep't. to cover it? Have you already, or will you interview IBU
regional director Marina Secchitano about what Hornblower's refusal to abide
by the Contract means to those workers?
I urge you not to take anymore advertising from Hornblower, until they agree
to abide by the Contract completely.
I also am appalled that you carry advertising from Working Assets, who have
participated in a smear campaign against Cynthia McKinney, by publishing an
attack article on her from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by a rightwing
writer. After years of service with WA, I cancelled my account, and have
urged all my friends to do the same. I'm also urging them to write to you
and to not listen to your station anymore until you stop carrying Hornblower

I am sending this letter to my contacts and asking them to write and call
the station (advertising director Perry Adams: 415.972.1119; comments line

Janice Rothstein
AFSCME 3299; SF Chapter California Peace and Freedom Party


Please forward widely:

Join military resisters, their families, veterans and concerned
community members taking public action!

National Days of Action to:

SAT DEC. 9, 1pm

War Memorial Veterans Building
401 Van Ness Ave at McAllister St
(Civic Center BART)

Iraq War Resisters:
Darrell Anderson, Iraq War Veteran and War Resister
Kyle Snyder, AWOL Iraq Veteran and War Resister
Anita Dennis, mother of Darrell Anderson
Bob Watada & Rosa Sakanishi, father and stepmother of Lt. Ehren Watada
Jeff Paterson, Gulf War 1 Marine resister
Also joining us will be members of IVAW and their cross-country bus!
more TBA

Performance and word by:
Local High School Student activists with AWE Youth Action Team

Also join us earlier for a

GI Rights, GI Resistance and Ending the War
War Memorial Veterans Building
401 Van Ness Ave at McAllister St
(Civic Center BART)

In-depth stories and discussion with:
Maxine Hong Kingston, author,poet and co-author of
the new book, "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace"
Darrell Anderson, Iraq War Veteran and War Resister
Anita Dennis, mother of Darrell Anderson
Kyle Snyder, AWOL Iraq Veteran and War Resister
Bob Watada & Rosa Sakanishi, father and stepmother of Lt. Ehren Watada
more TBA!

It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of
the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women GI's who have
in many different ways followed the their conscience, upholding
international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and
occupation and stood up for their rights. Widespread public support and pressure
will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and
repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights. We
call for the following: 1) Support for War Objectors 2) Protect the
Right to Conscientious Objection 3) Protect the Liberties & Human Rights of
GI's 4) Sanctuary for War Objectors.

Your participation in these days of action—and beyond-- is crucial to
realizing these goals: together, we do have the power to end this war
and prevent the next one. As the antiwar movement builds its support for
these brave people and their important actions, we hope more will take a
stand if we show them they won't be alone.

Sponsored by: Courage to Resist, Watada Support Group (San Francisco),
Veterans for Peace-Chapter 69, AWE Youth Action Team

Days of Action Sponsored by (partial list):
Iraq Veterans Against the War, War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada),
Gold Star Families for Peace, and the Central Commitee for
Conscientious Objectors

Other Bay Area Events:

Fri Dec 8, 7:30pm:
College of Marin, Student Center
College Avenue, Kentfield, California, $5-10
Iraq Combat Veteran, turned war resister, Darrell Anderson
Plus segments of the new film "The Ground Truth"
Sponsored by Courage to Resist; College of Marin, Students for Social
Responsibility; and Marin Peace & Justice Coalition
Info: 415-454-5470
Campus map:

Fri Dec 8, 7:30pm:
Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda, CA 94501
7:30 Film, "The Ground Truth"
8:30 Panel, Rev. Michael Yoshii moderator, with Bob Watada and Rosa

Sat Dec 9, NOON - 4pm:
San Jose
Peace Vigil to Support Lt. Watada!
Gather in front of MLK, Jr. Library
150 E. San Fernando St.
San Jose, CA
Sponsors: South Bay Mobilization, UFPJ in San Jose

For more info about the "National Days of Action to Support GI
Resistance and GI Rights" and an updated list of participating events nationwide
visit: or contact:


"Ode to Joy and Struggle"
Event for Lynne Stewart and co-defendants
Saturday, December 9th ,
6:30 or 7:00 pm [I'm looking into that. -t.]
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
From: PatLevasseurP @
Subject: Govt. seeking authorization to appeal Lynne Stewart‚s
Govt. seeking authorization from Solicitor General to appeal
Lynne Stewart's sentence (and that of her co-defendants)

Hello All,

I am writing to update you on that status of Lynne Stewart's
case after her sentencing on October 16th. While we were all
relieved that Lynne did not get 30 years, the Government has
announced that it has gone to the Solicitor General of the
United States Justice Department for authorization to appeal
her sentence and that of her co-defendants. They are not
challenging the bail pending appeal but state that they will
only agree to one 30 day adjournment of the filing of the
appeal because they want everyone serving their sentences
as soon as possible. What does all this mean for Lynne?
Lynne's attorneys are not surprised that the government wants
to appeal her sentence. Although sentences are not usually
appealed it does happen and case law in the 2nd Circuit
which governs Lynne's case shows that although rare, when
a sentence is appealed and the Circuit sends the case back
for resentencing the result is a far longer sentence. We are
hopeful that Judge Koeltl‚s meticulous sentencing decision
will carry the day but we have no guarantees and must
continue our vigilance in the face of this latest move
by the government. Of course Lynne's attorneys
will be filing the appeal of her conviction within the year.

Remember to save the date and join us in an
"Ode to Joy and Struggle
December 9th 6:30 to ?

The evening will be held at the beautifully renovated Judson
Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
(near Thompson St.) in the West Village, New York City.
The event is mostly one of joy but of course the struggle
continues. We will also be commemorating Mumia Abu Jamal's
25 years behind bars and to that end we will hear from:

Lynne Stewart - her case and current legal status

Pam Africa
Chair of International Concerned Family
and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is currently
determining whether Abu-Jamal will be granted a new trial
or sent back to death row, which is the district attorney's
preference. Speaking about this at our event is Pam Africa,
who will be joining us after the annual rally in Philadelphia,
which recognizes the day Mumia Abu Jamal was shot and framed.


Robert Meeropol
Executive Director, Rosenberg Fund for Children


Robert Meeropol is the founder and Executive Director of the
Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC). For the last 30 years he
has been an activist, writer and public speaker. He has
successfully sued the federal government and through the
RFC, has assisted hundreds of children whose parents also
have been attacked for their social activism. Robert is also
the author of AN EXECUTION IN THE FAMILY (now available
in paperback from St. Martin's Press.) This political memoir
chronicles Meeropol's journey from childhood victim of
McCarthy-era repression; to 1960's militant activist; to politically
engaged parent and law student; to founder and leader of the
Rosenberg Fund for Children. ODE TO JOY AND STRUGGLE

Join Lynne Stewart and the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee in


for your support over these last 4+ years
and uniting for the struggle ahead

Saturday, December 9th , 7pm till .......
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
New York, NY


Lynne Stewart
Pam Africa, International Concerned
Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Robert Meeropol. Executive Director,
Rosenberg Fund for Children

Music by:

Selah Eric Spruiell and The Fort Greene Project
Urbano Sanchez, Latin Jazz
Professor Louie and Fast Eddy
Professor Irwin Corey and Randy Credico
and MUCH more
(comedy, Latin jazz, rap)

Great Food & Drink provided

Judson Memorial Church resides on the southern edge
of Washington Square Park between Thompson
and Sullivan Streets. Accessible by subway.

Trains: A, C, E, F to West 4th; R to 8th St.; 1 to
Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.

Mobility Handicapped please enter through
Thompson Street entrance.

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
350 Broadway, Suite 700
New York, NY 10013


12/16 Solidarity Sleigh To Support UAW364 Conn Selmer Elkhart,
Indiana Strikers
Solidarity Sleigh On Beethoven's Birthday
Good Union brothers, sisters and concerned activists,
UAW Local 364 has been on strike for eight months.

Join Solidarity Caravan!!!


SATURDAY DECEMBER 16TH 2006 1:00 P.M. TO 4:00 P.M.


North Side Church of the Nazarene
Fellowship Hall
53569 County Rd. 7
ELKHART, IN. 46514

Members have worked together in unprecidented ways
to galvanize support for our brothers and sisters. Join
together for an old fashioned Solidarity revival that made
the Union strong. Sponsors have contributed to purchase
gifts for the children. Bring support for food bank,
contributions, etc. or just bring a heart filled with
Solidarity and Holiday cheer!!!!

UAW Local 364 struggle information

Make Music With
Solidarity Caravan On 12/16 to Elkhart, Indiana To Support
UAW364 Conn-Selmer Strikers
"They'll Never Break Us Down"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The 230 members and their families of UAW 364 of Conn-Selmer's
Vincent Bach musical instrument factory in Elkhart, Indiana
have been on strike for over 7 months. It is time to rally to their
support and help them with food, funds and solidarity.

On Saturday December 16, 2006 there will be caravans
from throughout the mid-west going to Elkhart, Indiana
to join the picket line and rally for their struggle.

Picketing will take place before 3:00 PM when a rally
will be held.

Collections are being taken to purchase toys for the kids
so they can have a happy holiday and efforts are also being
made to expand the struggle to all musicians in the US
and internationally. Please contact the AFM musicians
union in your area and ask that they boycott all Steinway Inc.
products until the striking workers return to their jobs and
the 120 scabs are removed from the plant. You can also call
these phone numbers and ask why this union busting
company continues to seek to break the union with scabs.
It has also been reported that the Sheriff is now using
prisoners to do the work of some of the strikers.
OR ROB WILSON 309-224-7840

Steinway Inc has total sales of $375 million a year and is the
largest seller of professional trumpets and horns in the world.
Steinway PI Long IL, NY 718-721-2600
Steinway Piano 305-774-9878
Steinway, DM News 212-344-8759
Steinway and Sons 617-426-1900
Owner Messina Irish Stock

Send Contributions of food or money to the Food Bank at

Food 4 Strikers
58558 Ardmore Dr.
Elkhart, IN 46517

Endorsed by UAW364 Strike Support Committee, Labor Action
Coalition and other unionists.

Bach says it'll keep substitutes--South Bend Tribune

Bach Strike: Real Marketplace Facts

Bach workers picket outside courthouse after judge's
ruling--South Bend Tribune

Bach plant gets order restraining strikers--South
Bend Tribune

Striking union members in Elkhart reject 'last, best
offer'--Bach workers will stay on strike into 7th month
--SouthBend Tribune


Phone- a- con for Solidarity

6 months later, still on strike at UAW Local 364
--South Bend Tribune

Labor activists to picket Bach--Chance encounter
bringing LAWS founder to Elkhart. UAW Local 364

Thanks from UAW Local 364

On Strike at Local 364--Steinway is trying to take our
horns to China--Deneen Seigler

Phone- a- con for Solidarity

Workers of UAW Local 364 in Elkhart Indiana have been
on strike for seven months. There is no information about
this strike on the UAW web site but the company's product
is advertised on the International Web Site. Conn-Selmer
is the parent company of Steinway where these workers
make musical instruments. There has been no gate
collections to assist these workers no food banking,
the most basic of survival skills for striking workers.
There are 230 workers on strike they ask us to call
these numbers at let them know we support them.

UAW Local Officers UAW 364
313-962-5000 Jerry Stayton
317-632-9147 Bill Buzzard
UAW Officers Region #3
Connie Thurman- CAP Bob Allen
317-547-0614 574-295-4266

Mo Davison - Director

Brenda Upchurch


Drums Across America for Peace
December 16, 2006 simultaneously across
the country at 11:00 to 11:30 A.M. PST
For More Information contact:
Marilyn Sjaastad
Jade Screen Clinic


Dear Defenders of Women's Rights,

While California voters rejected Proposition 85, the
parental notification act in last month‚s elections,
the fight for reproductive rights continues and your
help is needed.

The rightwing remains on the offensive and for the
third year running will be coming to San Francisco on
Saturday, January 20 for their annual „Walk for
Life˜West Coast‰. But, as in previous years, Bay Area
Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR)
activists will be organizing a multi-issue response to
the anti-abortionists. We are initiating a January
20th Coalition to bring together local and national
community groups and activists to organize a counter
demonstration with one united voice. We need you to
join this important effort and to send the message
that the San Francisco Bay Area stands for
reproductive rights and that Roe v. Wade must be
defended and expanded.

In past years our efforts were endorsed by the San
Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Labor
Council, ACCESS, East Bay NOW, Watsonville Brown
Berets, California Coalition for Women Prisoners,
Radical Women, Code Pink, Women of Color Resource
Center, GABNet, the Women‚s International League for
Peace and Freedom, and many more. This year‚s theme is
„Forward, Not Back˜Reproductive Justice for All!‰

Here‚s what we need you to do:

1. If in the Bay Area: Attend the upcoming January
20th Coalition meetings: Wednesday, December 13 from
6:30-8:30 p.m. at 1908 Mission Street, San Francisco
(at 15th Street), Wednesday, December 20, 6:30-8:30
p.m. at 369 15th Street, Oakland (near 12th
St./Downtown Oakland BART) and at these addresses on
January 3 (San Francisco), January 10 (Oakland) and
January 17 (San Francisco)

Contact BACORR for subcommittee meetings or to arrange
meetings in other locations.

2. Endorse the counterprotest of the „Walk for
Life˜West Coast‰. We ask for a $25 donation, but any
amount is appreciated. Please make checks out to:
Women‚s Choice Clinic and mail to 570 14th Street,
Suite 3, Oakland, CA 94612-1080 with Jan. 20th
endorsement in the memo line.

3. Commit to bringing folks to the counterprotest on
Saturday, January 20, 2007. Meet at 10:30 a.m., Pier
#5 on the Embarcadero (to the left of the Ferry
Building at Embarcadero and Market Streets) in San
Francisco. Wear green, bring signs, and defend women‚s
right to choose!

Please call 415-864-1278, email,
or visit for more information.

BACORR stands for: free, accessible abortion on
demand; no forced sterilizations; universal
healthcare; pre- and post-natal care and childcare for
all; safe and accessible contraceptives; an end to
discrimination against people of color, queer,
immigrant, and youth communities; embracing (not
controlling or denying) sexuality; providing
reality-based sex education in our public schools, and
more. Fight back with BACORR!

In solidarity,

Anita O‚Shea
Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights


Washington, D.C.
VOLUNTEER Live in NYC or DC? We need your help
before and during the protest. Call 212-868-5545
updated information and to sign up for our action alerts
DONATE Whether you can contribute $10, $100, or
$1000, we need your support to help end the war!
Call 212-866-5545 or visit
Join us for a massive
march on Washington
to tell the new Congress:
unitedforpeace&justice (212)868-5545
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic,
unmistakable mandate for peace. Now it's time for action.
On Jan. 27, 2007, help send a strong, clear message to
Congress and the Bush Administration:
Bring the troops home now!


UFPJ calls for march on DC Sat, Jan. 27, local
actions on March 17
www.unitedforpeace. org
Please forward widely!
Tell the New Congress:
Act NOW to Bring the Troops Home!
Join United for Peace and Justice in a massive march on Washington ,
D.C. , on Sat., January 27, to call on Congress to take immediate
action to end the war.
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic, unmistakable mandate
for peace. Now it's time for action. On January 27, 2007, we will
converge from all around the country in Washington , D.C. to send a
strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: The
people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and
we want the troops brought home now!
Congress has the power to end this war through legislation. We call on
people from every congressional district in the country to gather in
Washington, DC -- to express support for those members of Congress who
are prepared to take immediate action against the war; to pressure
those who are hesitant to act; and to speak out against those who
remain tied to a failed policy.
The peace and justice movement helped make ending the war in Iraq the
primary issue in this last election. The actions we take do make a
difference, and now there is a new opportunity for us to move our work
forward. On Election Day people took individual action by voting. On
January 27 we will take collective action, as we march in Washington ,
DC , to make sure Congress understands the urgency of this moment.
Join United for Peace and Justice in this crucial push for peace!
1) Make a donation right now to support the January 27 mobilization and
help give us the funds we need to make this a truly massive outpouring
for peace.
2) Pass this email along to everyone you know, post it on blogs and
websites -- do everything you can to help us get the word out about
January 27th.
3) Make sure your organization endorses the January 27th mobilization.
Click here to add your endorsement.
4) Start making plans to bring people from your congressional district
to Washington on January 27. We will soon have a form on our website,
where you or your group can sign up to be the coordinator for people
coming to DC from your area, so you can meet up, coordinate
transportation, housing, etc.
5) Keep checking the UFPJ website for more details in the coming weeks!
You might have also heard that United for Peace and Justice was calling
for a demonstration in Washington to commemorate the 4th anniversary of
the war in Iraq on March 17. Because of the new developments and our
decision to organize the January 27th mobilization, we are now calling
for local and regional antiwar actions that weekend instead. We will
soon be issuing more information about the plans for the 4th
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ
www.unitedforpeace. org | 212-868-5545
To subscribe, visit www.unitedforpeace. org/email


FEBRUARY 23-25 (Lynne and her husband Ralph will
stay on several more days. Stay tuned for complete
schedule of events.)
Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart,
I am pleased to announce that Lynne Stewart and Michael Ratner have
just accepted our invitation to tour the Bay Area. The confirmed
dates are February 23-25, 2007. Lynne, accompanied by her husband
Ralph Poynter, will stay on several more days for additional meetings.
In solidarity,
Jeff Mackler,
West Coast Coordinator, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Co-Coordinator, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
O: 415-255-1080
Cell: 510-387-7714
H: 510-268-9429


http://www.pephost. org/site/ PageServer? pagename= ANS_homepage

---------*-- -------*- --------* --------- *-------- -*------- -

May Day 2007
National Mobilization to Support Immigrant Workers!
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!
New York: (212)330-8172
Los Angeles: (213)403-0131
Washington D.C.: (202)595-8990



Join us in a campaign to expose and stop the use of these illegal weapons


You may enjoy watching these.
In struggle


Call for action to save Iraq's Academics
A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic
liquidation of the country's academics. Even according to conservative
estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many
hundreds more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country
in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain,
the secular middle class - which has refused to be co-opted by the
US occupation - is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences
for the future of Iraq.


Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.


March 17-18, 2007

Please circulate widely


Sand Creek Massacre
On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado troops savagely slaughtered
over 450 Cheyenne children, disabled, elders, and women in the
southeastern Colorado Territory under its protection. This act
became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This film project
("The Sand Creek Massacre" documentary film project) is an
examination of an open wound in the souls of the Cheyenne
people as told from their perspective. This project chronicles
that horrific 19th century event and its affect on the 21st century
struggle for respectful coexistence between white and native
plains cultures in the United States of America. Purchase the
DVD of the film and watch the trailer at:
There is also curriculum, lesson plans and an educational video
available for school classrooms.
In case you're interested, you can view the award-winning Sand Creek
Massacre documentary short film at:
(TV Movie of the Week). The web site is under
construction, just about finished, but the film is featured as Movie
of the Week.


Rights activist held in Oaxaca prison
Three students arrested and held incommunicado in Oaxaca



The following quote is from the 1918 anti-war speech delivered
in Canton, Ohio, by Eugene Debs. The address, protesting World War I,
resulted in Debs being arrested and imprisoned on charges of espionage.
The speech remains one of the great expressions of the militancy and
internationalism of the US working class.

His appeal, before sentencing, included one of his best-known quotes:
"...while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal
element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Read the complete speech at:


My Name is Roland Sheppard
This Is My `Blog'
I am is a retired Business Representative of Painters District
Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been a life long social activist
and socialist. Roland Sheppard is a retired Business Representative
of Painters District Council #8 in San Francisco. I have been
a life long social activist and socialist.
Prior to my being elected as a union official, I had worked
for 31 years as a house painter and have been a lifelong socialist.
I have led a unique life. In my retire age, I am interested in writing
about my experiences as a socialist, as a participant in the Black
Liberation Movement, the Union Movement, and almost all social
I became especially interested in the environment when I was
diagnosed with cancer due to my work environment. I learned
how to write essays, when I first got a computer in order to put
together all the medical legal arguments on my breakthrough
workers' compensation case in California, proving that my work
environment as a painter had caused my cancer. After a five-year
struggle, I won a $300,000 settlement on his case.
The following essays are based upon my involvement in the
struggle for freedom for all humanity. I hope the history
of my life's experiences will help future generations
of Freedom Fighters.
For this purpose, this website is dedicated.


The Corporate Looting of the Gulf Coast
Robin Hood in Reverse
More Info:
For a detailed report:
Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast
by Rita J. King, Special to CorpWatch
August 15th, 2006




Communist Manifesto illustrated by Disney [and other cartoons) with
words by K. Marx and F. Engels--absolutely wonderful!]


Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc


Homer Simpson Joins the Army
Another morale-booster from Groening and company. [If you get
a chance to see the whole thing, it's worth]


A Look at the Numbers: How the Rich Get Richer
Clara Jeffery (May/June 2006 Issue
IN 1985, THE FORBES 400 were worth $221 billion combined.
Today, they re worth $1.13 trillion more than the GDP of Canada.
THERE'VE BEEN FEW new additions to the Forbes 400.
The median household income
has also stagnated at around $44,000.
AMONG THE FORBES 400 who gave to a 2004 presidential
campaign, 72% gave to Bush.
IN 2005, there were 9 million American millionaires,
a 62% increase since 2002.
IN 2005, 25.7 million Americans received food stamps,
a 49% increase since 2000.
ONLY ESTATES worth more than $1.5 million are taxed.
That's less than 1% of all estates


Do You Want to Stop PREVENT War with Iran?

Dear Friend,

Every day, pundits and military experts debate on TV when, how and where
war with Iran will occur. Can the nuclear program be destroyed? Will the
Iranian government retaliate in Iraq or use the oil weapon? Will it take
three or five days of bombing? Will the US bomb Iran with "tactical"
nuclear weapons?

Few discuss the human suffering that yet another war in the Middle East
will bring about. Few discuss the thousands and thousands of innocent
Iranian and American lives that will be lost. Few think ahead and ask
themselves what war will do to the cause of democracy in Iran or to
America's global standing.

Some dismiss the entire discussion and choose to believe that war simply
cannot happen. The US is overstretched, the task is too difficult, and
the world is against it, they say.

They are probably right, but these factors don't make war unlikely. They
just make a successful war unlikely.

At the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), we are not going to
wait and see what happens.

We are actively working to stop the war and we need your help!

Working with a coalition of peace and security organizations in
Washington DC, NIAC is adding a crucial dimension to this debate - the
voice of the Iranian-American community.

Through our US-Iran Media Resource Program , we help
the media ask the right questions and bring attention to the human side
of this issue.

Through the LegWatch program ,

we are building opposition to the war on Capitol Hill. We spell out the
consequences of war and the concerns of the Iranian-American community
on Hill panels

and in direct meetings with lawmakers. We recently helped more than a dozen
Members of Congress - both Republican and Democrats - send a strong
message against war to the White House

But more is needed, and we need your help!

If you don't wish to see Iran turn into yet another Iraq, please make a
contribution online or send in a check to:

2801 M St NW
Washington DC 20007

Make the check out to NIAC and mark it "NO WAR."

ALL donations are welcome, both big and small. And just so you know,
your donations make a huge difference. Before you leave the office
today, please make a contribution to stop the war.

Trita Parsi
President of NIAC

U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)

PMB 153
1718 "M" Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Voicemail: 202/521-5265

Co-convenors: Gene Bruskin, Maria Guillen, Fred Mason,
Bob Muehlenkamp, and Nancy Wohlforth
Michael Eisenscher, National Organizer & Website Coordinator
Virginia Rodino, Organizer
Adrienne Nicosia, Administrative Staff


Enforce the Roadless Rule for National Forests
Target: Michael Johanns, Secretary, USDA
Sponsor: Earthjustice
We, the Undersigned, endorse the following petition:
This past September, Earthjustice scored a huge victory for our roadless
national forests when a federal district court ordered the reinstatement
of the Roadless Rule.
The Roadless Rule protects roadless forest areas from road-building
and most logging. This is bad news for the timber, mining, and oil
& gas industries ... And so they're putting pressure on their friends
in the Bush Administration to challenge the victory.
Roadless area logging tends to target irreplaceable old growth forests.
Many of these majestic trees have stood for hundreds of years.
By targeting old-growth, the timber companies are destroying
natural treasures that cannot be replaced in our lifetime.
The future of nearly 50 million acres of wild, national forests
and grasslands hangs in the balance. Tell the secretary of the
USDA, Michael Johanns, to protect our roadless areas by enforcing
the Roadless Rule. The minute a road is cut through a forest, that
forest is precluded from being considered a "wilderness area," and
thus will not be covered by any of the Wilderness Area protections
afforded by Congress.


Mumia Abu-Jamal - Reply brief, U.S. Court of Appeals (Please Circulate)

Dear Friends:

On October 23, 2006, the Fourth-Step Reply Brief of Appellee and
Cross-Appellant, Mumia Abu-Jamal was submitted to the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. (Abu-Jamal v. Horn,
U.S. Ct. of Appeals Nos. 01-9014, 02-9001.)

Oral argument will likely be scheduled during the coming months.
I will advise when a hearing date is set.

The attached brief is of enormous consequence since it goes
to the essence of our client's right to a fair trial, due process
of law, and equal protection of the law, guaranteed by the Fifth,
Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The issues include:

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process
of law and a fair trial because of the prosecutor's "appeal-after
-appeal" argument which encouraged the jury to disregard the
presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt, and err
on the side of guilt.

Whether the prosecution's exclusion of African Americans
from sitting on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal's right
to due process and equal protection of the law,
in contravention of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal
protection of the law during a post-conviction hearing
because of the bias and racism of Judge Albert F. Sabo,
who was overheard during the trial commenting that
he was "going to help'em fry the nigger."

That the federal court is hearing issues which concern
Mr. Abu-Jamal's right to a fair trial is a great milestone
in this struggle for human rights. This is the first time
that any court has made a ruling in nearly a quarter
of a century that could lead to a new trial and freedom.
Nevertheless, our client remains on Pennsylvania's death
row and in great danger.

Mr. Abu-Jamal, the "voice of the voiceless," is a powerful
symbol in the international campaign against the death
penalty and for political prisoners everywhere. The goal
of Professor Judith L. Ritter, associate counsel, and
I is to see that the many wrongs which have occurred
in this case are righted, and that at the conclusion
of a new trial our client is freed.

Your concern is appreciated

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan

Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Antiwar Web Site Created by Troops
A small group of active-duty military members opposed to the war
have created a Web site intended to collect thousands of signatures
of other service members. People can submit their name, rank and
duty station if they support statements denouncing the American
invasion. "Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price,"
the Web site,, says. "It is time for U.S. troops
to come home." The electronic grievances will be passed along
to members of Congress, according to the Web site. Jonathan
Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web
site a month ago, said the group had collected 118 names and
was trying to verify that they were legitimate service members.
October 25, 2006


Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Child Rape Photos
Submitted by davidswanson on Mon, 2006-10-23 20:54. Evidence
By Greg Mitchell,


Profound new assault on freedom of speech and assembly:
Manhattan: New Rules for Parade Permits
After recent court rulings found the Police Department's
parade regulations too vague, the department is moving
to require parade permits for groups of 10 or more
bicyclists or pedestrians who plan to travel more than
two city blocks without complying with traffic laws.
It is also pushing to require permits for groups of 30
or more bicyclists or pedestrians who obey traffic laws.
The new rules are expected to be unveiled in a public
notice today. The department will discuss them at
a hearing on Nov. 27. Norman Siegel, a lawyer whose
clients include bicyclists, said the new rules
"raise serious civil liberties issues."
October 18, 2006
http://www.nytimes. com/2006/ 10/18/nyregion/ 18mbrfs-002. html

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Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer's View of America
Jessica Murray
Format: Paperback (6x9)
ISBN 1425971253
Price: $ 13.95
About the Book
Astrology and geopolitics may seem strange bedfellows, but
Soul-Sick Nation puts the two together to provide a perspective
as extraordinary as the times we are living in. Using the principles
of ancient wisdom to make sense of the current global situation,
this book invites us to look at the USA from the biggest possible
picture: that of cosmic meaning. With a rare blend of compassion,
humor and fearless taboo-busting, Soul-Sick Nation reveals
America's noble potential without sentiment and diagnoses
its neuroses without delusion, shedding new light on troubling
issues that the pundits and culture wars inflame but leave
painfully unresolved: the WTC bombings, the war in Iraq,
Islamic jihad, media propaganda, consumerism and the
American Dream.
In her interpretation of the birth chart of the entity born
July 4, 1776, Murray offers an in-depth analysis of America's
essential destiny--uncovering , chapter by chapter, the greater
purpose motivating this group soul. She shows how this
purpose has been distorted, and how it can be re-embraced
in the decades to come. She decodes current astrological
transits that express the key themes the USA must learn
in this period of millennial crisis—including that of the
responsibility of power—spelling out the profound lessons
the nation will face in the next few years.
Combining the rigor of a political theorist with the vision
of a master astrologer, this keenly intelligent book elucidates
the meaning of an epoch in distress, and proposes a path
towards healing—of the country and of its individual citizens.
Murray explains how each of us can come to terms with this
moment in history and arrive at a response that is unique
and creative. This book will leave you revitalized, shorn
of illusions and full of hope.
About the Author
"Jessica Murray's Soul-Sick Nation raises the symbol-system
of astrology to the level of a finely-honed tool for the critical
work of social insight and commentary. Her unflinching,
in-depth analysis answers a crying need of our time. Murray's
application of laser beam-lucid common sense analysis
to the mire of illusions we've sunken into as a nation is
a courageous step in the right direction... Just breathtaking! "
--Raye Robertson, author of Culture, Media and the Collective Mind
" Jessica Murray,..a choice-centered, psychospiritually- oriented
astrologer.. . has quietly made a real difference in the lives of her
clients, one at a time. In "Soul Sick Nation," she applies exactly those
same skills to understanding America as a whole. Starting from
the premise that the United States is currently a troubled adolescent,
she applies an unflinching gaze to reach an ultimately compassionate
conclusion about how we can heal ourselves and grow up."
- Steven Forrest, author of The Inner Sky and The Changing Sky
http://www.authorho e/ItemDetail~ bookid~41780. aspx

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Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Interested in furthering your knowledge about Palestine
and its people?
Want to help make the Palestinian Right to Return a reality?
Looking for ways to show your support for Palestine and
Palestinian refugees?
Why not shop for a donation at Al-Awda
http://al-awda. org/shop. html
and help support a great organization and cause!!
Al-Awda offers a variety of educational materials including interesting
and unique books on everything from oral histories, photo books
on Palestinian refugees, to autobiographies, narratives, political
analysis, and culture. We also have historical maps of Palestine
(in Arabic and English), educational films, flags of various sizes,
and colorful greeting cards created by Palestinian children.
You can also show your support for a Free Palestine, and wear with
pride, great looking T-shirts, pendants, and a variety of Palestine pins.
Shop for a Donation at Al-Awda!
Visit http://al-awda. org/shop. html for these great items, and more!
The Educational Supplies Division
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568
E-mail: info@al-awda. org
WWW: http://al-awda. org
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC), is a broad-
based, non-partisan, democratic, and charitable organization of
grassroots activists and students committed to comprehensive public
education about the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their
homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution for all their confiscated
and destroyed property in accordance with the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, International law and the numerous United Nations
Resolutions upholding such rights (see FactSheet). Al-Awda, PRRC
is a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3)
organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the
United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations
to Al-Awda, PRRC are tax-deductible.

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Before You Enlist
Excellent flash film that should be shown to all students. com/watch? v=ZFsaGv6cefw

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In an interview in March 1995 entitled, "Jesse Helms: Setting the
Record Straight" that appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Helms
said, "I have long believed that if the United States is going to give
money to Israel, it should be paid out of the Department of Defense
budget. My question is this: If Israel did not exist, what would
U.S. defense costs in the Middle East be? Israel is at least the
equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without
Israel promoting its and America's common interests, we would
be badly off indeed."
(Jesse Helms was the senior senator from North Carolina and the
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.)
http://www.meforum. org/article/ 244

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These pdf files can be found on Michael Schiffmann's web site at:

http://againstthecr imeofsilence. de/english/ copy_of_mumia/ legalarchive/

The first brief is from the National Lawyers Guild.
The second brief is from the NAACP Legal Defense
and Educational Fund, Inc.

Howard Keylor
For the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Asylum Street Spankers-Magnetic Yellow Ribbon com/watch? v=bfMgRHRJ- tc


I urge everyone to get a copy of "Sir! No Sir!" at:
http://www.sirnosir .com/
It is an extremely informative and powerful film
of utmost importance today. I was a participant
in the anti-Vietnam war movement. What a
powerful thing it was to see troops in uniform
leading the march against the war! If you would
like to read more here are two very good

Out Now!: A Participant' s Account of the Movement
in the United States Against the Vietnam War
by Fred Halstead (Hardcover - Jun 1978)


GIs speak out against the war;: The case of the
Ft. Jackson 8; by Fred Halstead (Unknown Binding - 1970).

Both available at: com/gp/search/ 103-1123166- 0136605?search- alias=books&
+availability, -proj-total- margin&field- author=Fred% 20Halstead

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

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Endorse the following petition:
Don't Let Idaho Kill Endangered Wolves
Target: Fish and Wildlife Service
Sponsor: Defenders of Wildlife
http://www.thepetit takeaction/ 664280276?
z00m=99090&z00m= 99090<l= 1155834550

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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:
https://secure2. pep/site/ Advocacy?
JServSessionIdr003= cga2p2o6x1. app2a&cmd= display&page= UserAction& id=177

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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 !
http://mysite. vzeo9ewi/ idrissstelleyfou ndation/
http://groups. group/isf23/
Report Police Brutality
24HR Bilingual hotline
(415) 595-8251
http://groups. group/Justice4As a/

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Appeal for funds:
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailir
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.

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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.
http://www.workers. org/2006/ us/mumia- 0810/

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Contact: Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace

Howard Zinn joins Kathy Kelly, Dahr Jamail, Ann Wright and Neil MacKay in
endorsing "War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and
Mechanisms for Accountability."

The report was published internationally by 10 organizations in October.

"This report on the war crimes of the current administration is an
invaluable resource, with a meticulous presentation of the
evidence and an astute examination of international law.
- Howard Zinn.

The 37 page report, written by Consumers for Peace with the
consultation of international humanitarian law expert Karen
Parker, JD, is available for free download at

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

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Oklahoma U's First African-American Speaker

Dear Representative Johnson:

Congratulations on your bill for creating an
African-American Centennial Plaza near the

I have a suggestion for including an important
moment in Oklahoma African-American
history in the displays.

The first African-American speaker at the
University of Oklahoma was Paul Boutelle,
in 1967.

He is still alive but has changed his name
to Kwame Somburu. I believe it would be
very appropriate also to invite Mr. Somburu
to attend the dedication ceremony for
this plaza. I correspond with him by email.

Here is a 1967 Sooner magazine article about his appearance:


Mike Wright

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Interesting web site with many flash films. The site is managed
by veteran James Starowicz, USN '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In-Country
'70-'71 Member: Veterans For Peace as well as other Veterans
and Pro-Peace Groups. Also Activist in other Area's, Questioning
Policies that only Benefit the Few, supporting Policies that Benefit
the Many and Move Us Forward as a Better Nation and World!
Politics: Registered Independent

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Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone has a new Internet

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 for free at the
new Taking Aim web address:

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For those of you who don't know who Lynne Stewart is, go to
www.lynnestewart. org 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
www.lynnestewart. org

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Visit the Traprock Peace Center Video Archive at:
Visit the Traprock Peace Center
Deerfield, MA

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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.

Gerardo Hernández, 2 Life Sentences
Antonio Guerrero, Life Sentence
Ramon Labañino, Life Sentence
Fernando González, 19 Years
René González, 15 Years

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

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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:
http://www.mexico. indymedia. org/oaxaca

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http://www.indybay. org

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Iraq Body Count
For current totals, see our database page.
http://www.iraqbody press/pr13. php

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The Cost of War
[Over three-hundred- billion so]
http://nationalprio index.php? optionfiltered=com_
wrapper&Itemid= 182

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

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"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
- Emilano Zapata
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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
http://www.ANSWERco http://www.actionsf .org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

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“It is reasonable and honorable to abhor violence and preach
against it while there is a visible and rational means of obtaining,
without violence, the indispensable justice for the welfare of man.
But, if convinced by the inevitable differences of character, by the
irreconcilable and different interests, because of the deep diversity
in the sea of the political mind and aspirations, there is not a peaceful
way to obtain the minimum rights of a people (…) or it is the blind
who against the boiling truth sustain peaceful means, or it is those
who doesn’t see and insist on proclaiming it that are untrue
to their people.”[2]
[2] José Martí “ Ciegos y desleales Obras Escogidas in III volumes;
Editorial Política 1981 Volume III p182

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Great Counter-Recruitment Website
http://notyoursoldi php?list= type&type= 14

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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,
visit www.nomoredeaths. org.

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According to "Minimum Wage History" at
http://oregonstate. edu/instruct/ anth484/minwage. html "

"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."

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Public Law print of PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 [1.8 MB]
http://www.ed. gov/policy/ elsec/leg/ esea02/index. html
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
http://www.usatoday .com/news/ education/ 2006-02-13- education- panel_x.htm

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The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies uslawdocs/ declaration. html decind.html
http://www.usconsti declar.html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805195. php

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Bill of Rights constitution/ constitution. billofrights. html
http://www.indybay. org/news/ 2006/02/1805182. php


"The International"
Lots of good information over at Wikipedia, as often the case:

What I've always found fascinating is the wide variety of translations (or
perhaps it would be better to call them "interpretations" or "variations")
that exist, even in English. It's also fascinating to read all the different
verses of the song.

One thing I learned at Wikipedia is that the original intention was that the
song would be sung to the tune of the Marseillaise, but that shortly
thereafter different music was written. Good thing, in my opinion, I'd hate
to see the identities of two stirring songs be confused. Each deserves their
own place in history.

Lyrics to the Marseillaise are here - pretty stirring in their own right. As
with the Internationale, all sorts of unknown verses:

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News