Saturday, December 16, 2006


FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2007, 4:00 - 7:00 P.M.


All human beings have basic, inalienable human rights to life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. If your family is starving and you
can not find work, you have the right to find someplace where you can
feed, clothe and house your family.

If capital can go all over the world exploiting workers, then workers
have the right to move to find work for their family's basic survival.


From South America, Latin America, China, Africa, India--in countries
all over the world, not to speak of the war in Iraq--a war of blood
for oil--U.S. businesses are raking in huge profits off the backs of workers
who earn slave wages and work under the most dangerous working conditions
at best, and under a state of war at worse.

Meanwhile, here at home, they are laying off workers, closing factories, doing
away with benefits and working conditions won by worker's struggles
in the past--installing two, three, many-tiered pay scales--driving down
wages to below the scale parents are earning--leaving our children
with the heritage of a guaranteed life of poverty without union


And now they launch an all-out war against the most vulnerable workers
--who are driven to work in these meatpacking plants. Whether
documented or not, this is brutal, dangerous and difficult work.

And not so coincidentally, these same workers just happen
to be in the midst of a fight to win union recognition!


These mass arrests are terrorist tactics designed as a warning
to all workers that if they struggle for a better life and better
working conditions, they will be persecuted in every way

This is an all-out assault on every worker and it is being
executed by a terrorist government--the U.S. Government--
who uses pre-emptive war based upon outright lies to further
their oil profits; who will stop at nothing to increase their
rate of profit.

The ultimate goal of the U.S. Government is for American big
business to continue to accumulate unimaginable wealth
at the expense of the hardworking majority all over the
world--nothing is off-limits to them in this, their fundamental


An injury to one is an injury to all! We are only as strong as our
weakest link. If we allow these terrorists from ICE to continue
to carry out these assaults against the basic human rights
of any of us--no matter what our immigration status--they
will not hesitate one second to use these same tactics of mass
firings, arrest, etc. against all of us who dare to struggle
in our own defense and in our own, basic human interests and
for our own basic rights as workers and human beings!

It's up to us to organize and fight back! If we are united, we cannot loose!


For more information contact:

Barrio Unido por una Amnistia
General e Incondicional
Cristina Gutierrez,

Bonnie Weinstein,


NOW's Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa takes us inside the
world's largest pork processing plant, located in Tar Heel, North
Carolina. As the first TV journalist ever allowed to film inside the
plant, owned by The Smithfield Packing Company, Hinojosa gives
us an insider's view of what conditions are like in a plant that
slaughters over 33,000 hogs per day.


1) Broken By War, And Ordered Back
Courant Staff Writer
December 10, 2006

2) Mass. Troopers to Detain Illegal Aliens
Filed at 11:15 a.m. ET
December 13, 2006

3) U.S. Raids 6 Meat Plants in ID Case
December 13, 2006

4) CUNY Chief Orders Names Stripped From Student Center
December 13, 2006

5) Broader Inquiries Are Urged on Underpayment of Wages
December 13, 2006

6) Gore Vidal, Prophet and Rebel
Lisandro Otero - Prensa Latina
A CubaNews Translation by Sue Ashdown

7) Sunrise and Sunset
December 14, 2006
Baton Rouge, La.

8) Army, Marine Corps To Ask for More Troops
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; A01

9) Cut Off Funding for the Iraq War
San Francisco Labor Council Resolution -
adopted December 11, 2006 by unanimous vote
[story via]

10) Ships That Don’t Dare to Sail
New York Times Editorial
December 14, 2006

11) Palestinian Leader Blocked From Entering Gaza
December 14, 2006

12) OPEC Calls for 2nd Cut in Oil Output
December 14, 2006

13) Political Drama Re-enacts Moments in a Death Chamber
December 14, 2006

14) Illegal Immigrants at Center of New Identity Theft Crackdown
December 14, 2006

15) Navajo elders blockade power plant site, face arrest
Support is requested from Dine Elders and Youth!
Please send far and wide!!!!
URGENT Support is requested from Dine Elders and Youth!
Enei Begaye
Executive Director
Black Mesa Water Coalition
408 E. Route 66, Suite #1
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Office #: (928) 213-9760
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

16) Sand Creek Massacre
For Immediate Release

17) U.S. Troops Raid Hospital Again
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches

18) This Wickedly Morbid Joke is Making the Rounds in Baghdad
Posted 8 hr. 45 min. ago
http://www.iraqslog php/post/ 194/Iraqi_ Joke_of_the_ Day

19) A Gag on Free Speech
New York Editorial
December 15, 2006

20) Top Commanders Appear Set to Urge Larger U.S. Military
December 15, 2006

21) Florida Death Row Inmate Dies Only After Second Chemical Dose
December 15, 2006

22) Sergeant Felt Gun in Struggle Before Police Shot Man, Kelly Says
December 15, 2006

23) At Chrysler Now, the Fast Track Runs Downhill
December 15, 2006

24) Immigration Raids May Affect Meat Prices
Filed at 11:03 a.m. ET
December 15, 2006

December 13, 2006


1) Broken By War, And Ordered Back
Courant Staff Writer
December 10, 2006

Nothing was stranger for Mary Jane Fernandez than the events of last
Christmas, which had her 24-year-old son, newly returned from the war in
Iraq, downing sedatives, ranting about how rich people were allowed to
sit in recliners in church, and summoning the Waterbury police to come
arrest him.

This Christmas may top that.

Despite being diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and
rated 70 percent disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,
Damian Fernandez has been called back to duty and told to prepare for
another deployment to Iraq.

Two weeks ago, Fernandez, who was discharged from active duty in the
Army last year and was working to settle back into civilian life,
abruptly received orders to report to Fort Benning, Ga., on Jan. 14.

When the FedEx letter from the Army arrived Nov. 28, he calmly told his
mother and girlfriend, "I got my orders," staring hard at them with
vacant eyes.

That night, he snapped. He told his girlfriend, Riella Darko, that he
wanted to die and asked her to take him to the emergency room of St.
Mary's Hospital, where he was placed on a suicide watch. He has since been
transferred to a locked ward in the Northampton VA Medical Center in

His callback orders have not yet been rescinded. Even if they are, his
mother said, simply being told he must go back into combat has set back
his recovery.

"I don't understand why the military would put him through this," Mary
Jane Fernandez said. "He was just starting to come back to reality a
little, and now he's lost again."

Fernandez is one of 8,262 soldiers who have left active duty but have
been ordered back under a policy that allows the military to recall
troops who have completed their service but have time remaining on their
contracts. About 5,700 of those called up have already been mobilized,
with Fernandez among about 2,500 ordered to report in the coming weeks.

The practice of recalling inactive soldiers involuntarily is itself
controversial, with some members of Congress and veterans' advocates
calling it a backdoor draft.

All soldiers have an eight-year military service obligation, but
typically are released from duty after two to six years. The Army, strained
by the war, announced in mid-2004 that it would begin tapping a pool of
about 100,000 soldiers who had time left on their service obligations,
to fill vacancies in Reserve and National Guard units.

The fact that some of those being summoned have been ruled disabled by
the VA or the military, with service-connected PTSD and other medical
problems, is raising alarm among veterans' advocates and families. In
Fernandez's case, the 70 percent disability rating indicated the serious
degree to which doctors had judged his mental state to be impaired.

Steve Robinson, director of government relations for Veterans of
America, said he knew of a number of other war veterans with PTSD who had
been called back to Iraq.

"If you have a war-related injury that you're being compensated for,"
he said, "to be sent back into a situation that might exacerbate the
problem just doesn't make sense."

Going Back

Paul Sinsigalli, 30, of Andover, was just starting the fall semester at
Manchester Community College when he received a letter ordering him
back to duty Nov. 5.

Two years ago, he served a rough tour in Baghdad, where he conducted
house-to-house raids and witnessed a group of women and children being
blown up by a suicide bomb. He has since been diagnosed with PTSD and a
degenerative disk problem in his back.

After sending the Army his medical and college records, he was granted
a two-month delay and now must report to Fort Jackson, S.C., by Jan. 7
or risk criminal prosecution, as the call-up orders warn.

"I've tried really hard to adjust to being out. I thought, `They won't
call me back - I'm disabled,'" said Sinsigalli, who receives
compensation for his PTSD, which the VA has deemed 10 percent disabling.

"If I have to go back [to Iraq], obviously I'm going to do whatever it
takes to get my head back into it. But it's hard - I'm pretty shook
up," he said. "The thing that gets me is, if I tried to re-enlist, they
wouldn't even take me unless I waived my disability."

Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman, acknowledged that recalling
inactive soldiers - many of whom have settled into jobs or college and
have had no association with the military in recent years - was a last

"We do look every other place" to fill combat slots, Hilferty said.
"However, the nation's at war, and it's better for us, and the soldiers,
to send fully manned units."

Hilferty said veterans can seek exemptions from being recalled and
receive medical screenings before being deployed. But he said a physical or
mental disability, including PTSD, was not "an automatic exemption"
from serving.

"Clearly, many soldiers are disabled in some way after war," he said.
"Many of them remain on active duty."

Hilferty said the Army does not have a system for checking every
veteran's disability status before sending out the call-up orders. Soldiers
are picked at random, based on the job specialties that are needed. They
have the responsibility to provide documentation of their medical
conditions, he said.

"You may request a delay or exemption only under circumstances of
extreme hardship or physical inability," the recall notices say.

To date, about 24 percent of the 10,917 soldiers who have received
mobilization orders have been granted exemptions, Army figures show.

Last summer, the Marines also began recalling some inactive reservists
to fill critical jobs.

Mary Jane Fernandez said she already has notified the Army about
Damian's chronic PTSD, and is stunned that he has not been excused. She said
a friend of Damian's, who also has severe PTSD, has opted to go back to
Iraq because "he misses killing people," the friend told her. A
veterans' counselor familiar with the case confirmed that account.

Mary Jane said she cannot picture Damian, whose symptoms include
paranoia and hallucinations, back in a war zone.

"I don't trust him taking out the garbage, let alone watching someone's
back on the battlefield," she said.

Army and Defense Department officials acknowledged to The Courant
earlier this year that they were redeploying soldiers with PTSD - even
though medical standards for enlistment in the armed forces disqualify
recruits who suffer from PTSD. The practice of recycling troops with PTSD
into war has drawn criticism from some combat-stress experts, who say
that re-exposure to trauma increases the risk of serious psychiatric

Last month, Assistant Secretary of Defense William Winkenwerder Jr.
issued a new policy that steps up psychological screening of troops, after
a Courant series detailing gaps in mental health care brought pressure
from Congress for improvements. Among other things, the policy deems
PTSD a "treatable" condition, but directs that troops with psychiatric
disorders should be sent to war only if they are stable and "without
significant symptoms" for at least three months prior to deployment.

Because the policy is new and still allows military clinicians broad
discretion in deciding which mental conditions should preclude
deployment, its impact is uncertain.

A Broken Son

Before he received his recall orders, Damian Fernandez's PTSD symptoms
had just begun to subside, his mother and girlfriend said.

Riella Darko, 24, recently learned that she was pregnant, and Damian's
outlook had brightened slightly at the prospect of becoming a father.
At a baby shower last month, "He actually looked a little happy," Riella

"Happy" hasn't been in Damian's emotional repertoire since he arrived
home in June 2005 from a year in Iraq, Riella and Mary Jane said. The
once-upbeat soldier who went club-hopping with friends, enjoyed writing
and drawing and talked of becoming a state cop never made it back from
Iraq. The man who returned in his place, they barely recognized.

"I used to have to track him down on his cell all the time," said Mary
Jane, who shares a two-family house with her son. "Now, I never have to
call him because I know where he is - upstairs."

Damian had spent most of the last 18 months upstairs, playing video
games or drinking himself to sleep, Mary Jane and Riella said. He attended
community college classes for a few weeks, but abruptly quit after an
incident in which he mistook a noise outside for a gunshot and flew into
a panic because he could not find his gun, they said.

A simple "What do you want for dinner?" can ignite his temper.

"He throws things a lot. We have holes in just about every wall,"
Riella said.

Mary Jane, who is widowed, said she worries that the war has "broken"
her only child. When he first came home from Iraq, his car stereo - a
prized possession - was stolen. He was despondent for weeks, she said.

"He asked me, `These are the people I fought for?'" she recounted,
choking up.

Although Damian has not spoken much about his experiences in Iraq, he
told Mary Jane and Riella about a day a school bus exploded on a bridge,
and children's body parts fell from the sky.

"He said he accidentally stepped on a kid's insides - the liver or
something," Riella said.

After Damian fell apart last Christmas, Mary Jane said she convinced
him to go to the VA to get help. He was diagnosed with PTSD and placed on
an antidepressant. This September, he was admitted to a three-week
inpatient program at the Northampton VA. His discharge records say:
"Suicidal ruminations resolved. Otherwise unchanged from admission."

The recall orders drove him back to the same facility.

Mary Jane and Riella said that while Damian had worried about being
sent back to Iraq someday, he had begun to relax in recent months. That
changed when the letter arrived.

"He feels guilty that if doesn't go back, he'll be deserting his
buddies," Mary Jane said of her son, who received commendations for prior
tours in Korea and Africa. "But if he does go back, he's afraid he won't
be able to do his part.

"He's all torn up now."


Because the Army has no policy exempting soldiers with PTSD from
returning to war, counselors at the New Haven Vet Center have been unable to
offer Damian assurances he will be excused. Mary Jane said one
counselor suggested that Damian's best bet might be to stay "locked up" in the
hospital through January.

Still, Donna Hryb, team leader at the Hartford Vet Center, said she
would be surprised if the Army deploys a soldier as severely impaired as

"It would be counterproductive for the unit and for him," she said.

Hilferty, the Army spokesman, acknowledged that redeploying soldiers
with "severe" psychological problems could jeopardize other troops'
safety. He noted that the Army is not calling back soldiers who have served
in combat within the last 12 months, to allow them time between
deployments. Hilferty also said officials are working to better monitor
soldiers' "readiness."

Robinson and other veterans' advocates said the Defense Department and
the VA should be sharing medical records, so that the call-ups are
targeted to healthy soldiers, not those with psychiatric disorders. Because
many veterans are not even aware that they can be summoned to active
duty, the orders alone can cause panic, the advocates said.

Paul Sinsigalli said he has had trouble sleeping and concentrating
since his orders arrived. Only recently had he gotten comfortable driving
again, without worrying that every stray object on the side of a road
might be a bomb. Now, he wonders if he ever should have let down his

He has put off plans to apply to the University of Connecticut's
nursing program and he has moved up his wedding date.

"I'm going to go down there [to Fort Jackson] with all my medical
records, but I know when I get there, they're going to try to get me to go
over," he said. "It's pretty simple: They need bodies."

Contact Lisa Chedekel at
Copyright 2006, Hartford Courant


2) Mass. Troopers to Detain Illegal Aliens
Filed at 11:15 a.m. ET
December 13, 2006

BOSTON (AP) -- Gov. Mitt Romney, who is weighing a White House
bid, signed an agreement Wednesday that allows Massachusetts
State Police troopers to detain illegal aliens they encounter over
the course of their normal duties.

Under the terms of the agreement, made with the U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement agency, an initial group of 30 troopers
will receive five weeks of specialized training next year, paid
by the federal government.

The troopers will be drawn from the Violent Fugitive Apprehension
Squad, the Criminal Investigation Section, the Anti-Gang Unit,
the Drug Enforcement Unit and the Community Action Team.

''The scope of our nation's illegal immigration problem requires
us to pursue and implement new solutions wherever possible,''
Romney said in a statement. ''State troopers are highly trained
professionals who are prepared to assist the federal government
in apprehending immigration violators without disrupting their
normal law enforcement routines.''

The governor, who has been burnishing his conservative
credentials in anticipation of a campaign for the 2008 Republican
presidential nomination, has advocated building a wall along
the U.S.-Mexico border to check the flow of illegals into the

Yet the duration of the new policy is in doubt, because
Romney leaves office Jan. 4 and his successor, Democrat
Deval Patrick, has said he opposes placing the additional
burden on the troopers.

''I'm going to investigate what power I have,'' the governor-
elect told reporters last week. ''You know that I think it's
a bad idea for state troopers to be involved in immigration
enforcement. They have enough to do as it is, and I said
that consistently.''

The agreement also comes at an embarrassing time for Romney,
who has pledged to announce his decision about a presidential
candidacy early next year.

The Boston Globe reported recently that the landscaper
who maintains the governor's 2.5-acre property in Belmont
has been employing illegal aliens.


3) U.S. Raids 6 Meat Plants in ID Case
December 13, 2006

In simultaneous dawn raids, federal immigration agents swept into
six Swift & Company meatpacking plants in six states yesterday,
rounding up hundreds of immigrant workers in what the agents
described as a vast criminal investigation of identity theft.

More than 1,000 agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement
appeared at 6 a.m. at the Swift plants with warrants to search for
illegal immigrants. Inside, agents separated American citizens from
immigrants, interviewing all the foreign workers and taking hundreds
away in buses to immigration detention centers.

In a new enforcement tactic, federal officials said they planned
to bring criminal charges against some of the immigrants accused
of using stolen identities. They said the raids were tied to complaints
from United States citizens who discovered that their names were
being used by Swift plant workers.

“There are several hundred Americans who were victimized,” said
Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the immigration agency,
known as I.C.E.

Other immigrants who are found to be living illegally in the United
States will be deported, Mr. Raimondi said.

The raids brought protests from Swift, the only business singled
out, and from the United Food and Commercial Workers International
Union, which organizes employees at five of the six plants.

Sam Rovit, chief executive of Swift, said the company learned
of the I.C.E. investigation in March, but had been “rebuffed
repeatedly” when it offered to cooperate. Mr. Rovit said the
company had participated since 1997 in a federal program
known as Basic Pilot, which allows employers to use a federal
database to verify documents presented by job-seekers.

“We have complied with every law that is out there on the
books,” Mr. Rovit said in an interview.

The six plants employ more than 10,000 people, Swift
executives said.

Mr. Rovit said the company had been careful to avoid inquiring
too deeply into backgrounds of job applicants. He said
the Justice Department sued Swift in 2001 charging that
it discriminated against immigrant workers. The case was
settled for $200,000, a company statement said.

Illegal immigrants frequently use false Social Security cards
or residency documents known as green cards when they
apply for jobs. I.C.E. officials said the operation focused
on immigrants who had obtained documents with identity
information corresponding to that of United States citizens,
in some cases by buying them from underground organizations
that traffic in false documents.

Officials at the union called the operation a “wholesale roundup”
and said they would seek injunctions on behalf
of the detained workers.

“Worksite raids are not an effective form of immigration reform,”
said Jill Cashen, a spokeswoman for the union. “They terrorize
workers and destroy families.”

The immigration agency raided plants in Hyrum, Utah; Greeley, Colo.;
Cactus, Tex.; Grand Island, Neb.; Marshalltown, Iowa;
and Worthington, Minn.


4) CUNY Chief Orders Names Stripped From Student Center
December 13, 2006

The chancellor of the City University of New York yesterday directed
the president of City College to remove the names of two fugitives
linked to violent crimes from the entrance to a student clubroom.

Matthew Goldstein, the chancellor, called the designation of the
room as the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and
Student Center “unauthorized and inappropriate.”

Ms. Shakur — once known as Joanne Chesimard — was a member
of the Black Liberation Army convicted in the 1973 killing
of a New Jersey state trooper. She is currently a federal fugitive
living in Cuba. Mr. Morales, also in Cuba, was a leader of the
Puerto Rican independence group known as the F.A.L.N.,
which claimed responsibility for a tavern bombing in Lower
Manhattan that killed four people and injured others.
Both were students at City College.

Students at the center yesterday said the names had been
posted there for 17 years, since a student group won the right
to use the lounge in the aftermath of a campus shutdown over
proposed tuition increases in 1989.

A number of City College students interviewed yesterday —
as well as Gregory H. Williams, the college president — said the
names on the door had meant nothing to them. But one student
who recognized them, Sergey Kadinsky, said he wanted to “raise
awareness and raise a debate.”

The Daily News printed a letter from him on Monday complaining
about the names, and followed up with an article and an editorial
yesterday headlined “Celebrating killers at City College.”
The News said the college had no intention of renaming
the room.

But yesterday the college was hit with complaints. City Council
members James S. Oddo, Dennis P. Gallagher and Andrew J. Lanza,
the council’s three Republicans, said in a letter to CUNY released
publicly, “Unfortunately, this demonstrates that City College
is woefully out of touch with the taxpayers who subsidize
the university.”

They added, “The fact that CUNY employees would attempt
to defend this outrage begs the question: ‘What is going
on over at CUNY?’ ”

They also said, “A terrorist is a terrorist ... period.”

David Jones, president of the New Jersey State Troopers
Fraternal Association, said, “These are criminals, and there
is no way they should be endorsed in a public institution
with their names on the door.”

After receiving Chancellor Goldstein’s directive that the names
be removed, Dr. Williams said yesterday in an interview that
he would do just that and was trying to talk to the students.
“Hopefully they will see the error of their ways, and will take
it down,” he said. “If not, we will take steps to take it down.”

But the students were not ready to acquiesce.

Rodolfo Leyton, a City College senior and the center’s director,
said students planned to speak to a lawyer, Ronald B. McGuire,
and possibly “seek legal remedies.” The center sued college
and university officials in 1998 when it discovered a surveillance
camera in a smoke detector across from it. That suit is still pending.

Mr. Leyton also said that while others view Ms. Shakur as guilty,
“we see her as a leader in her community who was framed and
unlawfully convicted.” He said minutes of college proceedings
in September 1989 dedicated the room to one of the groups still
using the center, Students for Educational Rights. Others also
use the space.

College officials said that they had not been able to track down
the agreement giving the room to the students. Even those
involved at the time were hazy about the 1989 tuition protests
and what followed.

Bernard W. Harleston, City College’s president in 1989, said
yesterday that while he had appointed a committee of student,
faculty and staff after the protests, he did not recall
any specifics about the room.

And Mario M. Cuomo, New York’s governor at the time, whom
the student protesters had demanded to meet to discuss tuition
increases, said yesterday that he did not recall much about
the situation, except that he had vetoed the increase. He
dismissed the debate over the names. “Considering the
problems we have in society,” he said, “I’m not sure this
is one of the major upsets to our tranquillity and equilibrium.”

Rebecca Cathcart contributed reporting.


5) Broader Inquiries Are Urged on Underpayment of Wages
December 13, 2006

Troubled by what they call a proliferation of wage violations in New
York, two dozen immigrant and worker advocacy groups want
Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer to make the state’s Labor Department
move more aggressively against industries with widespread violations.

In a report to be issued today, the groups say that instead of
responding mainly to individual worker complaints, the
department should initiate broad investigations of industries
with a history of violations.

“The Department of Labor needs to shift to a more forceful strategy
that uses investigations of a whole industry to stop unscrupulous
companies so that they don’t drag down the rest of an industry,”
said Annette Bernhardt, one of the report’s authors and the deputy
director of poverty programs at the Brennan Center for Justice
at New York University’s School of Law.

The advocacy groups, including the New York Immigration Coalition
and the Latin American Workers Project, complain that minimum
wage and overtime violations are widespread in many industries,
including restaurants, landscaping, laundries, agriculture and apparel.

“Workplace violations are becoming standard practice in many
of the state’s low-wage industries,” the report said. “Law-abiding
employers are forced into a race to the bottom when unscrupulous
competitors pay below the minimum wage.”

The groups call for legislation that would increase penalties for wage
violations. They also want the state to pursue criminal action against
companies that fire employees for filing wage complaints.

The report urges the Labor Department to speed up investigations
and to insist that violators give workers six years of back pay,
as the law allows.

“Investigations often drag on for more than a year,” said Omar
Henriquez, chairman of the Workplace Project, an immigrants’
rights group based in Hempstead on Long Island. “When low-wage
workers depend on their salaries to survive, it’s obvious they need
their money as soon as possible. And if the employer owes
$10,000, we don’t like it when the Labor Department negotiates
so they only have to pay $5,000.”

Many of the groups behind the report, which also include the
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, MFY Legal
Services and the Tompkins County Workers Center, have
complained that Gov. George E. Pataki’s Labor Department
has been understaffed and unassertive.

Robert M. Lillpopp, a Labor Department spokesman, said his
agency had long pursued violations in the apparel industry
and had recently created a Fair Wages Task Force, focusing
on other low-wage industries.

“We continue to be as aggressive as possible when we pursue
violations,” Mr. Lillpopp said. “When we get tips, we investigate.”

In 2005, the Labor Department collected $10.4 million in back
wages, a 36 percent increase from 2004 and the highest amount
in state history.

Denis Hughes, president of the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O.,
said organized labor would support the coalition’s recommendations.

“We want a Labor Department that is an advocate for those workers
who are most apt to be exploited,” he said. “We want an activist
Labor Department that is reminiscent of Frances Perkins,” who
was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s crusading labor secretary and
before that was New York State’s industrial commissioner.

The coalition urged the department to work closely with
community and immigrant groups to educate low-wage workers
about their rights. The coalition said the department could use
those groups as their eyes and ears because low-wage workers
often approach them first about workplace violations.

The report said the department needed more bilingual investigators
and recommended legislation to make it harder for employers
to bypass minimum wage and overtime laws by classifying workers
as independent contractors.

Mr. Lillpopp said the Labor Department had increased its outreach
efforts, conducting 304 labor law seminars last year for
3,484 people at 309 businesses.

The coalition also urged the Labor Department not to discourage
workers who are illegal immigrants from filing complaints.
Mr. Lillpopp said his department did not take immigration status
into account when deciding whether to pursue a worker’s complaint.


6) Gore Vidal, Prophet and Rebel
Lisandro Otero - Prensa Latina
A CubaNews Translation by Sue Ashdown

The United States was perhaps the only nation to emerge victorious
from World War I. It entered late and its material costs were far
below those of its allies. It emerged however, as an influential
power on the world stage.

A victorious Wilson took over from the isolationists Harding and
Coolidge, who had assumed the new leadership almost as an
embarrassing and undesirable commitment. Hoover's Republican
government brought the country to the breaking point with its
laissez-faire policies.

Speculators enriched themselves on Wall Street with a spectacular
rise in stock market values. In 1929 the bubble burst. The economic
depression and unemployment cast a shadow over North American life
until Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the New Deal.

This period produced a generation of intellectuals conscious enough
to ask what kind of country they were living in, and so U.S.
literature has not lacked for writers committed to social criticism
and political analysis.

Edmund Wilson, Susan Sontag, Lionel Trilling, Joan Didion, Arthur
Miller, James Baldwin, Norman Mailer and Liilian Hellman have been
among the most prominent. But perhaps the one who has practiced it
most has been Gore Vidal.

For many years he lived in the Neapolitan coast of Amalfi, in a
beautiful cliffside villa named "La Rondinaia," Swallow's Nest, where
he accumulated page after written page, consolidating his position as
one of the most prestigious intellectuals in his country as well as
the world.

Gore came from a high-society family. His grandfather had been a
Senator, and in her second marriage, his mother married a rich lawyer
and landowner, Hugh D. Auchincloss, who was also Jacqueline Bouvier's
stepfather, which made them step-siblings.

When Jacqueline married John F. Kennedy, who came to be the country's
president, Vidal was a frequent dinner guest at the White House.

His first novel, "Williwaw" (1946) was based on his experiences in
the Second World War, but in the third person. "The City and the
Pillar" (1948) dealt with the taboo subject of homosexuality, in an
era when it was difficult to discuss and the public didn't tolerate
open airing of such thorny subjects.

The rejection provoked by this work forced him to write television
scripts for some time, at which he was quite successful.

Undoubtedly, his historical novels about the evolution of the United
States were what solidified his position: "Washington D.C." (1967);
"Burr" (1974); "1876" (1976) and "Lincoln" (1984) allowed him to
offer his readers a vision of the ins and outs of government of
recent years through independent epic literature.

In those pages there were affirmations such as: "For the average
North American, freedom of expression is simply the freedom to repeat
whatever everyone is going around saying, and that's all."

And, "It's always seemed strange to me that a nation whose prosperity
is based on the cheap labor of immigrants practices such relentless
xenophobia." And more, "There isn't a single mainstream publication
in the entire United States that merits the attention of an
intelligent man."

Gore Vidal wrote several books of essays in which he developed the
thesis that the United States owed its prosperity to the Second World
War, which followed twelve years of recession, after which the arms
industry magnates came to govern the United States - multiplying
their riches through the conflict and deciding that the best way to
maintain their interests was to keep the country functioning as the
world's policeman and whose finances should be written into a
permanent war economy.

John Foster Dulles figured that in a perpetual arms race, the
Russians would bankrupt themselves first. Albert Einstein had already
taken notice, as early as 1950, that the class leading the United
States had no interest in ending the Cold War.

Vidal attributed to Theodore Roosevelt the original thuggish plans to
take over Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, following Alfred
Thayer Manhan's theories - taken from British history - which
postulate that a country can only be a great power if it has a great
military fleet and acquires overseas possessions.

Gore recalled that at that moment, Mark Twain proposed that a new
banner be substituted for the flag with stars and stripes - that of a
skull and crossbones.

Vidal is one of the United States' most lucid thinkers and his
strategic vision of his country as a shipwreck has granted him a
reputation for fairness and immense influence in the minds of his
fellow citizens.

Lisandro Otero is a writer and journalist, and the Director of the
Cuban Academy of Language.


7) Sunrise and Sunset
December 14, 2006
Baton Rouge, La.

They look for all the world like internment camps. The long rows
of identical white trailers sit on flat, grim, barren expanses of land
that are enclosed by metal fences. Armed guards are stationed
at the entrances around the clock.

More than a year after the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina,
thousands of the poorest victims from New Orleans are still
living in these trailer parks run by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency. They have ironic names, like Mount Olive
Gardens and Renaissance Village. A more accurate name would
be Camp Depression, after the state of mind of most of the residents.

The “parks” are nothing more than vast, dusty, gravel-strewn lots
filled with trailers that were designed to be hitched to cars for brief
vacations or weekend getaways. The trailers, about 200 square
feet each, were never meant to serve as homes for entire families.
But in these FEMA parks, it’s common for families of five or six,
or even more, to be jammed into one trailer.

I stood outside a trailer at the Mount Olive encampment on Monday
afternoon, talking with Geraldine Craig and her 21-year-old daughter,
Danielle Craig. The women, who have been unable to find jobs,
seemed baffled and depleted by their long ordeal. As we talked,
Danielle’s 2-year-old son, Javonta, scampered around in the dust
and gravel.

Danielle’s daughter, Miracle, was 5 months old when Katrina struck.
The baby was ill and receiving oxygen when it became clear that the
family had to evacuate. “The doctors were taking care of her and
she couldn’t hardly breathe,” Danielle said. “After we left we ended
up in a shelter, and I said that my baby needed oxygen but they
told us we had to wait.

“They finally sent us to a medical building and they put her on
oxygen for about two hours, but the doctor said there was nothing
wrong with her.”

Like so many thousands of others left destitute and all but
despondent by Katrina, the family moved on — to Texas, back
to Louisiana, eventually to Baton Rouge. It was too much for Miracle,
who never got the proper medical treatment. She died last March.
Her heart disease wasn’t accurately diagnosed until an autopsy
was performed.

“I felt like it was my fault,” said Danielle. “I’m still depressed.”

When I asked if she’d been treated for depression, she shook
her head.

“That baby was one of the many victims of the storm who were
never officially counted as such,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, president
of the Children’s Health Fund, which has been providing medical
and mental health services to children in the FEMA parks.

Dr. Redlener, a professor at Columbia University and the author
of “Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters
and What We Can Do,” said he was outraged that so many thousands
of the poorest victims of Hurricane Katrina are still stuck in limbo —
unable to find jobs or permanent housing, denied adequate medical
and educational services and with no idea when, or if, they will
be able to return to New Orleans.

“The recovery of this catastrophe in the gulf has been as badly
mangled by the government as the initial response,” he said.
“Fifteen months have gone by and you still have these thousands
of people who in essence are either American refugees living
in other states who have no idea what’s going to happen to them,
or they are living in these trailer camps, or in isolated trailers
on their old property, which has been destroyed. They’re just
waiting for something to happen. And the wait is interminable.”

Geraldine Craig said: “We just recently went down to New Orleans
and they got nothing going yet, not in our neighborhood. So we’re
going to be here for a while.”

The residents of Mount Olive Gardens and the even larger trailer
camp at Renaissance Village in nearby Baker, La., face challenges
that seem almost insurmountable. Even minimum-wage jobs are
very difficult to find and difficult to get to because there is little
public transportation. Many of the residents are elderly, or disabled,
or illiterate. Some are mentally handicapped.

These are encampments of profound stress and sadness.

As I was telling Geraldine and Danielle Craig goodbye, and wishing
them the best for the coming holidays, Danielle shyly handed me
a photograph of her daughter. At the top was written, “Miracle
Breyonne Craig.” At the bottom: “Sunrise: 3-19-05. Sunset: 3-10-06.”


8) Army, Marine Corps To Ask for More Troops
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; A01

The Army and Marine Corps are planning to ask incoming Defense
Secretary Robert M. Gates and Congress to approve permanent
increases in personnel, as senior officials in both services assert
that the nation's global military strategy has outstripped their

In addition, the Army will press hard for "full access" to the 346,000-
strong Army National Guard and the 196,000-strong Army Reserves
by asking Gates to take the politically sensitive step of easing the
Pentagon restrictions on the frequency and duration of involuntary
call-ups for reservists, according to two senior Army officials.

The push for more ground troops comes as the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan have sharply decreased the readiness of Army
and Marine Corps units rotating back to the United States,
compromising the ability of U.S. ground forces to respond
to other potential conflicts around the world.

"The Army has configured itself to sustain the effort in Iraq and,
to a lesser degree, in Afghanistan. Beyond that, you've got
some problems," said one of the senior Army officials. "Right
now, the strategy exceeds the capability of the Army and
Marines." This official and others interviewed for this report
spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not
authorized to talk publicly about the matter.

The Army, which has 507,000 active-duty soldiers, wants
Congress to fund a permanent "end strength," or manpower,
of at least 512,000 soldiers, the Army officials said. The Army
wants the additional soldiers to be paid for not through
wartime supplemental spending bills but in the defense
budget, which now covers only 482,000 soldiers.

The Marine Corps, with 180,000 active-duty Marines, seeks
to grow by several thousand, including the likely addition
of three new infantry battalions. "We need to be bigger.
The question is how big do we need to be and how do we
get there," a senior Marine Corps official said.

At least two-thirds of Army units in the United States today
are rated as not ready to deploy -- lacking in manpower,
training and, most critically, equipment -- according to senior
U.S. officials and the Iraq Study Group report. The two ground
services estimate that they will need $18 billion a year
to repair, replace and upgrade destroyed and worn-out

If another crisis were to erupt requiring a large number of
U.S. ground troops, the Army's plan would be to freeze its
forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and divert to the new conflict
the U.S.-based combat brigade that is first in line to deploy.

Beyond that, however, the Army would have to cobble together
war-depleted units to form complete ones to dispatch to the
new conflict -- at the risk of lost time, unit cohesion and
preparedness, senior Army officials said. Moreover, the
number of Army and Marine combat units available for an
emergency would be limited to about half that of four years
ago, experts said, unless the difficult decision to pull forces
out of Iraq were made.

"We are concerned about gross readiness . . . and ending
equipment and personnel shortfalls," said a senior Marine
Corps official. The official added that Marine readiness has
dropped and that the Corps is unable to fulfill many planned
missions for the fight against terrorism.

Senior Pentagon officials stress that the U.S. military has ample
air and naval power that could respond immediately to possible
contingencies in North Korea, Iran or the Taiwan Strait.

"If you had to go fight another war someplace that somebody
sprung upon us, you would keep the people who are currently
employed doing what they're doing, and you would use the
vast part of the U.S. armed forces that is at home station,
to include the enormous strength of our Air Force and our
Navy, against the new threat," Marine Gen. Peter Pace,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing
last month.

But if the conflict were to require a significant number of
ground troops -- as in some scenarios such as the disintegration
of Pakistan -- Army and Marine Corps officials made clear
that they would have to scramble to provide them. "Is it the
way we'd want to do it? No. Would it be ugly as hell? Yes,"
said one of the senior Army officials. "But," he added, "we
could get it done."

According to Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander
for the Middle East, the Army and Marine Corps today cannot
sustain even a modest increase of 20,000 troops in Iraq. U.S.
commanders for Afghanistan have asked for more troops but
have not received them, noted the Iraq Study Group report,
which called it "critical" for the United States to provide more
military support for Afghanistan.

"We are facing more operational risk than we have for many,
many years," said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a member of the Armed
Services Committee. He called it "shocking and scandalous" that
two-thirds of Army units are rated "non-deployable." He said
the country has not faced such a readiness crisis since the
aftermath of the Vietnam War.

The U.S. military has more than 140,000 troops in Iraq and
20,000 in Afghanistan, including 17 of the Army's 36 available
active-duty combat brigades. When Army and Marine Corps
combat units return from the war zone, they immediately lose
large numbers of experienced troops and leaders who either
leave the force, go to school or other assignments, or switch
to different units.

The depletion of returning units is so severe that the Marines
refer to this phase as the "post-deployment death spiral." Army
officials describe it as a process of breaking apart units and
rebuilding them "just in time" to deploy again.

Training time for active-duty Army and Marine combat units
is only half what it should be because they are spending about
the same amount of time in war zones as at home -- in
contrast to the desired ratio of spending twice as much time
at home as on deployment. And the training tends to focus
on counterinsurgency skills for Iraq and Afghanistan, causing
an erosion in conventional land-warfare capabilities, which
could be required for North Korea or Iran, officials say.

If a conflict with North Korea or Iran were to break out and
demand a medium to large ground force, the Army would
be forced to respond with whatever it had available.

The U.S. military today could cobble together two or three
divisions in an emergency -- compared with as many as six
in 2001 -- not enough to carry out major operations such
as overthrowing the Iranian government. "That's the kind
of extreme scenario that could cripple us," said Michael
E. O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution.

Unable to count on a significant troop withdrawal from Iraq,
the Army seeks to ease the manpower strain by accelerating
plans to have 70 active-duty and National Guard combat
brigades available for rotations by 2011. Next year, for
example, the Army intends to bring two brigades on
a training mission back into rotation. It is investing $36 billion
in Guard equipment in anticipation of heavier use of the Guard.


9) Cut Off Funding for the Iraq War
San Francisco Labor Council Resolution -
adopted December 11, 2006 by unanimous vote

Whereas the war in Iraq is continuing, and

whereas the American people in the last election have clearly
stated their opposition to this war, and

whereas the war can't continue without war funding, and

whereas a major factor in ending the Vietnam war was
the cut-off of funding by Congress, and

whereas the Bush administration will ask for further funding
for war early next year - up to $160 billion on top of the $70 billion
approved by Congress last October; therefore,

Be it resolved that the SF Labor Council communicate its opposition
to continued war funding directly with Representatives Nancy Pelosi
and Tom Lantos and Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein
by setting up delegations to discuss the issue of ending war funding
in order to bring the troops home now.

Submitted by Allan Fisher, David Welsh, and Rodger Scott


10) Ships That Don’t Dare to Sail
New York Times Editorial
December 14, 2006

The Coast Guard, supposedly our first line of defense against water-
borne terrorists and drug smugglers, has been staggered by
a shipbuilding scandal of enormous proportions. A long-term
modernization program to replace nearly all of the Coast Guard’s
ships, planes and helicopters — begun four years ago in the wake
of 9/11 — is foundering while its projected costs are skyrocketing.
In Iraq, lax government oversight and incompetence or profiteering
by contractors have disabled reconstruction efforts. Now the same
disease is undermining our coastal defenses.

The Coast Guard fiasco was laid out in depressing detail by Eric
Lipton in The Times last Saturday, and in a similar article in The
Washington Post. The misjudgments and slipshod work would
be grist for slapstick comedy if the consequences, in cost and
weakened defenses, were not so serious.

As described by Mr. Lipton, the estimated costs of the project,
known as Deepwater, have ballooned from $17 billion when it
started in 2002 to $24 billion today. The plans call for 91 new
ships, 124 small boats, 195 new or rebuilt helicopters and
49 unmanned aerial vehicles. But don’t count on any of the
new vehicles working.

The initial venture — converting the Coast Guard’s rusting patrol
boats into bigger, more versatile cutters — has been canceled
because hull cracks and engine failures made the first eight
ships unseaworthy. Plans for a new class of ships with an innovative
hull design were halted after the design was found to be flawed.
And even the radios placed in small open boats proved faulty;
they shorted out because they had not been made waterproof.

In the latest chapter in this disgraceful performance, Mr. Lipton
reports in today’s paper that the Coast Guard did not inform
Congress that it was warned two years ago by its chief engineer
that a proposed National Security Cutter, meant to be the flagship
of its fleet, had “significant flaws” in its structural design and
should not be started until the problems were addressed. The
Coast Guard began construction anyway. It plans to reinforce
the first two versions that are being built and change the design
on the remaining six.

How could this happen? Mostly because the Coast Guard, in an
astonishing abdication of responsibility, gave two large military
contractors, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, near total
freedom to plan, supervise and deliver the new ships and
helicopters. In some cases, the contractors made boneheaded
decisions, as when their shipyard partner ignored warnings
by Coast Guard engineers that the converted patrol boats
might buckle under the extra weight. In other cases, they
might have put their own interests ahead of the nation’s, as
when they adopted a risky hull material that had never been
tried on a large American military ship but was pushed by
Northrop, which had just opened a new plant to manufacture
the hulls.

No wonder the contractors are ducking for cover as the scandal
reverberates, and are leaving all comment to the hapless Coast
Guard. The Coast Guard seems, belatedly, to be moving in the
right direction by giving its own engineers more supervisory
power over the work and creating a division to oversee
procurement and maintenance of ships and planes. Even so,
the new Congress and the Department of Homeland Security,
which is responsible for the Coast Guard, will need to keep
a sharp eye on the Coast Guard’s performance. The industrial
contractors have proved they were not up to the job.


11) Palestinian Leader Blocked From Entering Gaza
December 14, 2006

JERUSALEM, Dec. 14 — Israel ordered a border crossing between
the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt sealed off today, preventing the
return to Palestinian territory of the Palestinian prime minister, because
he was allegedly carrying tens of millions of dollars in cash, Israeli
security officials said.

The Israeli move immediately sparked a highly charged confrontation,
as dozens of Hamas gunmen loyal to the prime minister, Ismail Haniya,
descended on the Rafah border crossing at the southern end of the
Gaza Strip. The Palestinian side of the border is operated by security
forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in conjunction
with European Union monitors.

Mr. Haniya was returning to Gaza after receiving promises of large
sums of financial aid from Iran and other countries during a trip
abroad. He is a leader of the Hamas group that dominates the
government; Mr. Abbas is from the rival Fatah group.

Israeli military forces are no longer in the Gaza Strip. But the Israeli
defense minister, Amir Peretz, had ordered the European monitors
at the crossing to close it down, the security officials said.

Palestinians may legally carry unlimited sums of money into Gaza
as long as they declare it. But a senior Israeli security official
who spoke on the condition that his name not be used said
that Israel was acting in this case because “we have reason
to believe the money will be used to strengthen Hamas and
will be used for terror.”

The border crossing was expected to remain closed until Friday
morning. The security officials said that Israel has no intention
of stopping Mr. Haniya again, as long as he does not have large
sums of money with him.

Palestinian government employees have received only partial
and sporadic salary payments since Hamas, the militant Islamic
group, came to power in the spring after winning Palestinian
legislative elections in January.

Israel, the European Union and the United States all cut off flows
of money to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas took over.
They have demanded that the Palestinian Authority meet several
conditions, including the recognition of Israel, before restoring
the financial flows; Hamas leaders in the government have
refused to do.

So in order to meet expenses, Palestinian officials have carried
hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars
in cash across the border.

In October, the Palestinian interior minister, Said Siam, took
home $2 million in cash from Muslim countries when he returned
to the Gaza Strip from a trip that included Syria and Iran.

An aide at the time said the Interior Ministry, which is responsible
for various security agencies, planned to spend half the money
by making $50 payments to 20,000 members of the security
forces, and then put the rest toward restoring the Interior
Ministry building.

In June, the foreign minister, Mahmoud Zahar, returned with
$20 million stuffed in suitcases. And in May, a prominent
spokesman for the ruling Hamas faction, Sami Abu Zuhri,
was caught trying to smuggle some $815,000 into Gaza
from Egypt to circumvent the economic blockade.

The Palestinian Authority is desperately short of cash and
has not been able to raise anywhere near the $150 million
or more that it needs each month to pay salaries and cover
basic operating expenses.

Several Arab and Muslim countries have pledged to help.
However, the United States has threatened to impose sanctions
on banks that conduct transactions with Hamas. The banks,
unwilling to risk their access to international financial markets,
have refused to handle such transactions.

Greg Myre reported from Jerusalem and Christine Hauser
reported from New York.


12) OPEC Calls for 2nd Cut in Oil Output
December 14, 2006

[Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries ( OPEC)
"OPEC’s mission is to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies
of Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil prices
in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of
petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and
a fair return on capital to those investing in the petroleum

OPEC said today that it planned to reduce its oil production by
nearly 2 percent in February, the group’s second output cut in
two months and its strongest signal yet that it aims to keep oil
prices above $60 a barrel next year.

Representatives from OPEC nations agreed to pare their production
to 25.8 million barrels a day, from 26.3 million barrels, starting
on Feb. 1. The group had already agreed to cut its production
by 4 percent in October to prop up prices.

“I hope the market appreciates we are working so diligently
to bring supply and demand in balance, to have inventories
at a reasonable level so that we do not have gyrations,” Ali Al-Naimi,
the Saudi oil minister, told reporters at the meeting, held
in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which
already accounts for 40 percent of the world’s oil exports, also
said Angola would join the group next year, becoming its first
new member since 1975. The addition of a second African
country after Nigeria is a powerful boost to the OPEC, which
currently has 11 members. Foreign oil companies have invested
heavily in Angola in recent years and expect its production
to grow dramatically in the coming decade.

OPEC have producers expressed concern that slowing demand
next year might cause prices to fall if production was left
unchecked. But with oil prices still firmly above $60 a barrel
and commercial inventories sharply down over the past
month, analysts were surprised by OPEC’s decision.

“This makes an incredibly tight market even tighter,” said
Edward Morse, the chief energy economist at Lehman
Brothers in New York. “It’s a very aggressive, assertive
move. Clearly, some OPEC members want to keep a $60 floor.”

Oil futures jumped today on the New York Mercantile Exchange
following OPEC’s announcement. This afternoon, crude
oil for January delivery was trading up $1.12, or 1.8 percent,
to $62.49 a barrel.

Oil prices had lost more than $20 a barrel since hitting
a record of $77.03 a barrel this summer. That fall prompted
OPEC to abandon its two-year policy of keeping production
flowing in order to keep markets well supplied.

After hitting a low for the year of about $55 a barrel in November,
prices have since rebounded as a result of OPEC’s policy.

“They are jawboning the market and trying to show they are
being aggressive,” said Roger Diwan, a managing director at
PFC Energy, a consultant in Washington. “The question is,
are they being too aggressive?”

“They want to show they are willing to manage supplies tightly,”
he said. “But are they under-estimating demand and over-estimating
supplies from non-OPEC sources? Are they acting on a too
pessimistic scenario?”

In a statement released at the end of its one-day meeting
in Abuja, OPEC said it expected global oil demand to grow
by 1.3 million barrels a day in 2007. But the group said that
would be more than offset by the growth in supplies from
producers outside of OPEC, which it expects to grown by 1.8
million barrels a day, the largest rise in non-OPEC supplies
since 1984.

In the lead-up to the meeting, Nigeria’s oil minister, Edmund
Daukoru, suggested that there was a general support for
a production cut. The representatives of Algeria, Venezuela,
Iran and Indonesia all agreed about a need to trim
production further.

“We are committed to supplying the market but we want to
establish a balance between supply and demand,” said
Mr. Daukoru, OPEC’s president this year.

According to the latest report from the International Energy
Agency, OPEC production fell by 550,000 barrels a day
in November to 28.9 million. That figure includes the
production of Iraq, which does not have an OPEC quota.

Analysts at the energy agency, which represents consumers,
have warned OPEC not to cut its production more, as higher
energy prices could erode economic growth. The agency
cut its forecast for Chinese demand growth to 5.6 percent
in 2006, from a previous estimate of 6.2 percent.

The backdrop to the OPEC meeting was a sharp reduction
in oil inventories held by consuming nations in recent weeks.
In the United States, the world’s biggest market, oil product
stocks have fallen by 54 million barrels since October,
a drop of nearly 1 million barrels day.

One oil industry analyst said that while OPEC was concerned
about oversupplied oil stocks last September, such concerns
were no longer legitimate. Despite relatively mild weather,
oil markets have tightened considerably in recent weeks as
the impact of OPEC’s production cuts reach consumers.

Lawrence J. Goldstein, the president of the Petroleum Industry
Research Foundation in New York, said OPEC ministers should
be careful about how they manage the market in coming months.

He suggested that high energy costs, which have already
contributed to a slowing global economy, could end up
backfiring on OPEC by reducing consumption.

“That’s a trend OPEC and the Saudis should not be ignoring
because at the end of the day they want to sell, and if you
want to sell, you need a vibrant economy, particularly
in the United States.”


13) Political Drama Re-enacts Moments in a Death Chamber
December 14, 2006

BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 13 — As drama, what happened on stage
at the Black Repertory Theater of Berkeley early Wednesday morning
was not classic theatrical fare. The actors were mostly motionless,
the play had only one line, and everyone in the audience knew how
the story was going to end.

But creating a compelling narrative may not have been the authors’
point. The play was a re-enactment of the execution of the convicted
killer Stanley Tookie Williams, staged on the first anniversary
of his death by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison.

The performance was written and produced by Barbara Becnel
and Shirley Neal, two friends of Mr. Williams and death penalty
opponents, who were unapologetic about their play’s being

“This is political theater in the extreme,” Ms. Becnel told a crowd
of about 150 people who gathered to watch the performance.
“But it’s political theater in the extreme because we need it.”

The execution of Mr. Williams, 51, a founder of the Crips gang
who was convicted of murdering four people in 1979, has
continued to be a rallying point for death penalty opponents
as well as a source of contention about the methods
of lethal injection.

In September, a representative of the state attorney general’s
office acknowledged that prison guards and nurses had botched
Mr. Williams’s lethal injection, failing to hook up a backup
intravenous line to his arm. Ms. Becnel said Mr. Williams was
in agony during his execution, which took 35 minutes to complete.

“I was there, I saw what they did,” Ms. Becnel said. “And I can
tell you it was a 35-minute torture-murder.”

State officials deny that Mr. Williams suffered unnecessarily.
“The execution went exactly as the protocol is designed
to carry it out,” said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Attorney
General Bill Lockyer. “The lack of the extra IV line was definitely
a mistake, but it didn’t affect the execution.”

Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal
Foundation, an advocate for victims’ rights and law enforcement,
said he believed Mr. Williams was a bad role model for a play.

“I think it hurts the anti-death-penalty movement to hold up as
dastardly a criminal as Tookie,” Mr. Rushford said, citing
Mr. Williams’s work with the Crips, a violent gang based
in Los Angeles.

Mr. Rushford added that Wednesday morning’s performance
was simply “preaching to the choir” of Mr. Williams’s supporters,
many of whom rallied in front of San Quentin the night of his

“I don’t expect an accurate portrayal of what happened,” he said.
“But when you’ve made such a big deal of it, you can’t just
let it drop after a year.”

Mr. Williams’s experiences in the death chamber were part of a
Federal District Court hearing in September — stemming from
a lawsuit by Michael Morales, a condemned rapist and killer —
that may affect death penalty methodology in California. The judge
overseeing the hearings, Jeremy Fogel, effectively halted executions
in California until he could hear arguments on whether methods
of lethal injection caused undue pain. Judge Fogel is expected
to issue a ruling soon.

For supporters of Mr. Williams, his execution, which drew
international press attention and a cadre of celebrity protesters,
was unjust, in part because of his post-incarceration work speaking
about the dangers of gangs through a series of children’s books,
lectures and memoirs, many of which were written with Ms. Becnel.
Mr. Williams also claimed to be innocent.

On Wednesday, the theatrical re-enactment began at 12:01 a.m.,
the time Mr. Williams entered the death chamber. It was performed
by six actors, including Darby Tillis, 64, an exonerated death
row inmate from Chicago who played Mr. Williams and said he
had little trouble connecting with the role.

“When you’re on death row, you always have an imaginary scene
that you live out many times: how you would feel if you went
down for an execution,” Mr. Tillis said.

With a simple set — folding chairs, a gurney and a platform —
the play’s action was minimal: three witnesses stood, a guard
strapped Mr. Tillis to a gurney, a nurse fumbled with an IV. Only
once did anyone speak, when Mr. Tillis asked the actor playing
the frustrated nurse whether she knew what she was doing.
The entire performance took about 12 minutes — about a third
of the actual execution time.

And while the audience was silent throughout, some said the
experience had left them shaken. Kirya Traber, 22, who wore
a Save Tookie T-shirt, said she had been outside San Quentin
the year before, but felt a lot closer to the drama on Wednesday.

“Here tonight,” Ms. Traber said, “was a lot more solemn.”


14) Illegal Immigrants at Center of New Identity Theft Crackdown
December 14, 2006

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
on Wednesday announced a broad new plan to crack down on illegal
immigrants who steal the identities of American citizens to get jobs.
The strategy, he warned, would likely have economic consequences
for the industries that rely heavily on illegal workers.

The announcement came one day after homeland security agents
swept into Swift & Company meatpacking plants in six states and
arrested nearly 1,300 workers, almost 10 percent of the company’s
work force, in what Mr. Chertoff hailed as the largest workplace
crackdown on illegal immigration.

Of the 1,282 workers detained, 65 were charged with identity
theft or other crimes, officials said. The rest face administrative
charges for being in the United States illegally and will likely
be deported. The company, which cooperated with the government,
was not charged with any criminal or civil violations.

Mr. Chertoff said illegal immigrants had assumed the stolen
identities of hundreds of American citizens to get jobs at
Swift & Company. And he warned that he intended to aggressively
pursue document-theft rings and the illegal immigrant workers
who use them, even though he acknowledged that “when we
remove the illegal workers, there’s going to be some kind
of a slowdown.”

“Obviously, when — even unwittingly — a business is significantly
built on illegal labor, once we enforce the law, that’s going to
have a ripple effect,” Mr. Chertoff said at a news conference in
response to questions about the impact of the new strategy
on businesses and the economy.

“It’s going to be a deterrent to illegal workers,” he said. “It’s
going to cause them to say that, you know, this happened
in Swift, it could easily happen somewhere else. In fact, I’m
pretty much going to guarantee we’re going to keep bringing
these cases.”

The news sent shudders through the nation’s businesses because
Swift & Company, the world’s second largest processor of fresh
beef and pork, had tried to weed out illegal workers and had
relied on a federal program designed to help employers detect
fake identity documents. Mr. Chertoff acknowledged that the
program, known as Basic Pilot, is unable to detect authentic
identity documents that have been stolen.

In a statement, Swift & Company executives said the raids had
forced the company to temporarily suspend operations on
Tuesday in its plants in Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota,
Iowa and Utah. They said work resumed on Wednesday, but
warned that production was expected to fall “below normal
levels in the short term.” Union officials said that employee
attendance dipped slightly on Wednesday because some
immigrants were afraid to return to work.

Homeland security officials emphasized that only the company’s
workers — not the company — had been charged with wrongdoing,
though the investigation is continuing. They said Swift’s
situation demonstrated the need for a temporary worker
program, such as the one advocated by President Bush,
to ensure that companies have access to foreign workers.

Mr. Chertoff also urged Congress to pass legislation that would
allow Social Security officials to pass along information about
valid Social Security numbers being used in multiple workplaces,
which then would allow the Basic Pilot program to capture such
data and give it to employers.

Homeland security officials also noted that Swift fired scores
of workers it determined were illegal, without informing the
government, which had notified the company of its
investigation. Swift also unsuccessfully sought a court
order to prevent federal officials from conducting raids.
Both instances, officials suggested, raised questions about
the company’s willingness to cooperate with the government.

But that did little to reassure jittery executives.

“This is any business’s nightmare, whether you are in the
meat industry or outside the meat industry,” said Janet Riley,
spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute.

Randy Johnson, a vice president of the United States Chamber
of Commerce, warned that the raids would lead companies
to question the value of participating in the Basic Pilot program.
And Laura Reiff of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition,
said she was deluged on Wednesday with calls from business
owners upset by the Department of Homeland Security’s actions.

“They’re frightened; they’re outraged,” said Ms. Reiff, whose
coalition represents hotels, restaurants, construction
companies and other service industries. “Companies have
tried to work with them in good faith. For them to target
a company that is using a program that they’re trying
to sell is disingenuous.”

This week’s sweep reflects the Bush administration’s continuing
efforts to demonstrate that it is determined to enforce the
nation’s long-neglected immigration laws, even as it works
to revive legislation that would create a temporary worker
program that would legalize most of the 12 million illegal
immigrants believed to be in the United States.

In 2002, immigration officials arrested or charged 25 people
for criminal violation of immigration law. During fiscal year 2006,
which ended on Sept. 30, that number surged to 716. Hundreds
more were arrested and deported for living here illegally.

Richard Siklos contributed reporting from New York.


15) Navajo elders blockade power plant site, face arrest
Support is requested from Dine Elders and Youth!
Please send far and wide!!!!
URGENT Support is requested from Dine Elders and Youth!
Enei Begaye
Executive Director
Black Mesa Water Coalition
408 E. Route 66, Suite #1
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Office #: (928) 213-9760
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sithe Global & DPA are proposing to build the Desert Rock power
plant, a 1,500 MW Coal Fired plant in the Four Corners area on the
Navajo Reservation. This is an area already polluted by 2 other major
coal power plants. Local Navajo residence and community members
oppose this project for many harmful reasons!! This Desert Rock power
plant is still in the environmental review process and has NOT yet
been permitted.

However, Desert Rock company trucks have began moving onto the
backyard of Alice Gilmore, an elderly navajo woman, and her family on
wednesday to begin drilling efforts. Desert Rock officials and police
have not shown any documents or permits to the local residents
stating their purpose or permission to be there. Dine supporters and
community members have joined Alice and her family to blockade the
road. They are elderly women and youth, and they have been camped out
on the road over night since Tuesday! Desert Rock trucks have
repeatedly rushed them and have almost run-over people a number of
times as they attempt to get by. Desert Rock power company is
violating the lease rights of the local Navajo residences and is
harassing elderly Navajo women and youth! This is an urgent time and
support is needed!!!

Please read on to find out how you can help! and Please pass this
onto others!

Lucy A. Willie, right, stands at the proposed Desert Rock Power Plant
site outside of Burnham on Wednesday where she and
several friends and family stayed overnight to stop a contractor for
Desert Rock Energy Company from doing preliminary work.

What they need:
- More People Support
- Fire wood
- $$
- Attention!

how You can Help!

- More People! More people are needed to sit in support! All are
directions to the area are below:
The site is between Gallup, NM and Shiprock, NM (northeastern, NM).
Take the road between Gallup and Shiprock, the 491. at the Mustang
Service Station (one of the only service stations between the two),
turn East on road #5 towards Burnham Chapter. From Burnham Chapter
turn North onto gravel road #5082. About 10-12 miles up the road turn
West until you see the encampment. There will be markers (balloons)
out on the roads. (if you begin to see a dragline, you've gone too far)

- Fire wood! it is cold outside and many of the resisters are elderly
women. if you can get firewood to the site it is very very much
needed! the directions to the site are above.

- $ Money! Resisters are in need of money for gas and food, and also
for bail money if necessary. Please send donations to local resident
and supporter:

Elouise Brown
1015 Glade Lane 34
Farmington, NM 87401
Elouise can also be reached at:

- ATTENTION! the more media and observers are present the least
likely Desert Rock is likely to run people over or harass them.
contact the media, tell them what is going on. Contact Navajo
Authorities, tell them you are extremely concerned. Be a legal
observer. Spread this Alert!

Media Contact: Lori Goodman, cell #: (970) 759-1908, e-mail address:

Contact the Following Authorities! Tell them you have heard about
Desert Rock's harassment of Navajo elders and youth. Tell them you
are extremely concerned! If enough people contact these offices they
will know that the world is watching.

Shiprock Police Department
phone: (505) 368-1350
fax: (505) 368-1293

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley's Office
P.O. Box 9000 Window Rock, Arizona, 86515
phone #: (928) 871- 6352

also: George Hardeen, Navajo Nation Communications Director Office of
the President
Office #: 928-871-7000
Cell #: 928-380-7688

Bureau of Indian Affairs (Gallup Office) they are conducting the
Environmental Impact Statement.
Harrilene Yazzi, NEPA Coordinator Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo
Regional Office
P.0. Box 1060 Gallup, New Mexico 87305
Phone: 505-863-8314
Fax: 505-863-8324

Be a Legal Observer - get to the site and help record/witness what is

Send this Action Alert Far and Wide!

Thank you for your support!!!

Enei Begaye
Executive Director
Black Mesa Water Coalition
408 E. Route 66, Suite #1
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Office #: (928) 213-9760
Wednesday, December 13, 2006


16) Sand Creek Massacre
For Immediate Release

Hello, Everyone,
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.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])



17) U.S. Troops Raid Hospital Again
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches

FALLUJAH, Dec. 14 (IPS) - Iraqi doctors and medical staff are outraged
over yet another U.S. military raid at Fallujah General Hospital.*

The raid followed a roadside bombing Dec. 7 where four Iraqi policemen
were killed and two civilians injured. The injured were taken to
Fallujah General Hospital.

Shortly after this attack, a U.S. Marine who was on a patrol in the city
was wounded by a gunshot.

"U.S. soldiers replied to the source of fire then headed straight to the
general hospital across the (Euphrates) river hoping that they had shot
and injured the sniper," an eyewitness told IPS.

"American soldiers seem to have some imagination to think wounded
fighters might go to that so-called hospital," a retired surgeon told
IPS. "We know that they do not trust that place because of the
continuous raids by the U.S., and lack of everything in that hospital."
The hospital is functioning at minimal capacity due to lack of medicines
and equipment, the surgeon said.

Eyewitnesses at Fallujah General Hospital said U.S. soldiers raided the
hospital "as if it were a military target."

"We panicked at the way they entered, kicking open doors and blasting
locked ones," a nurse told IPS. "A doctor tried to tell them he had keys
for the locked doors, but they pointed their guns to his face. Then they
told us to go out of the building and they kept us under guard in the
garden until the early hours of next morning."

The nurse said the soldiers "would not even allow us to get some
blankets to keep us warm; the temperature was below five degrees

Doctors and medical staff were arrested and insulted, and some were
called terrorists, witnesses said. The hospital was then closed, and
could no longer offer even minimal treatment.

"We are used to that kind of behaviour from American soldiers," a
hospital employee told IPS. "This was the third time I was in handcuffs
with my face down. They have been more vicious with medical staff than
others because they consider us the first supporters of those they call

The U.S. military said that Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5
entered Fallujah General Hospital in order to search for fighters after
two Marines were wounded the previous day in the city.

Lt. Col. Bryan Salas, spokesperson for the Multi-National Forces in
Iraq, told reporters: "Coalition forces searched the hospital to ensure
that it continues to be a safe place for the citizens of Fallujah to
receive the medical treatment they deserve."

This hospital has been raided many times before, particularly in the
U.S. military assault on the city April and November 2004.

Two years back, on Dec 13, 2004, IPS reported that the U.S. military was
impeding Iraqi health workers around and inside Fallujah, and was
deliberately targeting ambulances. In November 2005 IPS reported that
the U.S. military had raided two hospitals in Ramadi.

Many Iraqi doctors have been arrested by U.S. forces for various periods
of time on suspicion of "supporting terrorism" in Iraq. Many have fled
the country for fear of repeated arrests or even killings by U.S.
soldiers or sectarian militia death squads.

The independent Iraq Medical Association announced last month that of
the 34,000 Iraqi physicians registered prior to 2003, over half have
fled the country, and that at least 2,000 have been killed.

Article 12 of the first Geneva Convention states: "(Combatants) who are
sick and wounded...shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Party
to the conflict in whose power they may be..." The article goes on to
state that "any attempts on their lives, or violence to their persons,
shall be strictly prohibited..."

Article 24 of the first Geneva Convention states: "Medical personnel
exclusively engaged in...transport or treatment of the wounded or
sick...(and) staff exclusively engaged in the administration of medical
units and establishments...shall be respected and protected in all

Under the fourth Geneva Convention, Article 18 reads: "Civilian
hospitals organised to care to the wounded and sick, infirm and
maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but
shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


18) This Wickedly Morbid Joke is Making the Rounds in Baghdad
Posted 8 hr. 45 min. ago
http://www.iraqslog php/post/ 194/Iraqi_ Joke_of_the_ Day

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway.

Suddenly a man knocks on his window. The driver rolls down his
window and asks, "What's going on?"

"Terrorists down the road have kidnapped George W. Bush
and Dick Cheney," the man says, "They're asking $100 million
ransom. Otherwise they're going to douse them with gasoline
and set them on fire. We're going from car to car taking
up a collection."

The driver asks, "How much is everyone giving on average?"

The man responds: "Most people are giving about a gallon."

James Starowicz
Blog: Imagine A World Of,
"PTSD: You didn't fight Alone Then,
You needn't fight Alone Now!!"


19) A Gag on Free Speech
New York Editorial
December 15, 2006

The Bush administration is trampling on the First Amendment and
well-established criminal law by trying to use a subpoena to force
the American Civil Liberties Union to hand over a classified document
in its possession. The dispute is shrouded in secrecy, and very little
has been made public about the document, but we do not need
to know what’s in it to know what’s at stake: if the government
prevails, it will have engaged in prior restraint — almost always
a serious infringement on free speech — and it could start using
subpoenas to block reporting on matters of vital public concern.

Justice Department lawyers have issued a grand jury subpoena
to the A.C.L.U. demanding that it hand over “any and all copies”
of the three-and-a-half-page government document, which was
recently leaked to the group. The A.C.L.U. is asking a Federal District
Court judge in Manhattan to quash the subpoena.

There are at least two serious problems with the government’s action.
It goes far beyond what the law recognizes as the legitimate purpose
of a subpoena. Subpoenas are supposed to assist an investigation,
but the government does not need access to the A.C.L.U.’s document
for an investigation since it already has its own copy. It is instead
trying to confiscate every available copy of the document to keep
its contents secret. The A.C.L.U. says it knows of no other case
in which a grand jury subpoena has been used this way.

The subpoena is also a prior restraint because the government is
trying to stop the A.C.L.U. in advance from speaking about the
document’s contents. The Supreme Court has held that prior
restraints are almost always unconstitutional. The danger is too
great that the government will overreach and use them to ban
protected speech or interfere with free expression by forcing
the media, and other speakers, to wait for their words to be cleared
in advance. The correct way to deal with speech is to evaluate
its legality after it has occurred.

The Supreme Court affirmed these vital principles in the Pentagon
Papers case, when it rejected the Nixon administration’s attempts
to stop The Times and The Washington Post from publishing
government documents that reflected badly on its prosecution
of the Vietnam War. If the Nixon administration had been able
to use the technique that the Bush administration is trying now,
it could have blocked publication simply by ordering the newspapers
to hand over every copy they had of the papers.

If the A.C.L.U.’s description of its secret document is correct,
there is no legitimate national defense issue. The document does
not contain anything like intelligence sources or troop movements,
the group says. It is merely a general statement of policy whose release
“might perhaps be mildly embarrassing to the government.” Given
this administration’s abysmal record on these issues, this case could
set a disturbing and dangerous precedent. If the subpoena is enforced,
the administration will have gained a powerful new tool for rolling back
free-speech rights — one that could be used to deprive Americans
of information they need to make informed judgments about their
elected leaders’ policies and actions.


20) Top Commanders Appear Set to Urge Larger U.S. Military
December 15, 2006

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 — The review of Iraq policy by senior
commanders appears to be headed toward a recommendation
to increase the size of the American military, both to sustain
a long-term commitment in Iraq and to leave the United States
better positioned to deal with potential adversaries, in particular
Iran and North Korea, Pentagon and military officials said Thursday.

The latest indication came when the Army chief of staff,
Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, called for expanding the force by adding
more active-duty troops and by making more use of the National
Guard and Reserve.

His statement, on Thursday, came a day after President Bush met
with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon’s secure conference
room to discuss reshaping strategy in Iraq. That session, officials
said, included a detailed discussion of whether the armed services
are large enough to sustain the mission in Iraq and meet other
global security threats.

Officials who took part in the session or who were briefed on it
would not give specific figures that were being discussed for growth
goals. But their descriptions revealed a broad conclusion that has
received increasing support in Washington: that regardless of the
exact shape of President Bush’s new strategy on Iraq, the Army
and Marine Corps are stretched thin by their commitments around
the globe, in particular in Iraq.

That conclusion is being punctuated by the departure of Defense
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who officially leaves his post on
Friday and who was long the champion of the idea that high
technology and better intelligence could substitute for a bigger

Although expanding the Army’s size would be too slow a process
to provide immediate relief for the force in Iraq, several ideas
are being considered to fill the short-term demand for troops
there, especially in Baghdad.

One proposal being studied, according to Pentagon officials,
is accelerating the arrival in Iraq of a handful of combat brigades
already scheduled to deploy there in 2007. Sending troops
in early or keeping soldiers in Iraq past their scheduled
departure has been a way to temporarily increase American
troop presence in Iraq without ordering in forces that had
not been on the deployment roster.

A new study by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative
research group in Washington, that was released on Thursday
also called for a surge of forces to Baghdad over the near
term on the grounds that the nascent Iraqi security force
is not up to the task.

The report was written by the military historian Frederick
W. Kagan and by Jack Keane, the retired general who served
as vice chief of staff of the Army. It calls for adding four
to five additional combat brigades to Baghdad and deploying
them in neighborhoods that have mixed Sunni and Shiite
populations and have been the scene of sectarian violence.

The report argues that this can be done without stretching
the Army and Marines to the breaking point, but it also advocates
increasing both forces by a total of at least 30,000 per year
for the next two years.

At the Pentagon, even those not supporting the surge option
argue that the Army needs to grow to sustain the force levels
required in Afghanistan and Iraq and to meet other national
security threats.

Officials who were briefed on the president’s discussion with
the Joint Chiefs said there was a consensus that the review
of administration strategy in Iraq must be broadened to include
decisions on how to prepare the American military for the global
counterterrorism mission beyond Iraq.

In particular, they said there was a need to show enough force
strength to deter potential adversaries from aggressive moves
based on an assumption that American power was bogged
down in Iraq.

“A lot of it was discussed yesterday with President Bush,” said
a senior Pentagon official who was briefed on the discussions
by one of those in attendance.

The nation faces three choices or “we will break the active
component,” General Schoomaker said in an appearance before
the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. He said
the choices included reducing demand on the military, which
seems unlikely; gaining the guaranteed ability to mobilize the
National Guard and Reserve; and increasing the size of the
active forces.

On the last point, said that “current demand on the force makes
this a wise and prudent action.” He gave no figure on his goal
for the Army, but noted that even in an optimistic best case,
the Army probably could grow by only 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers
per year.

Congress authorized a 30,000-soldier increase in the active-duty
Army after the Sept. 11 attacks in what was described as a temporary
measure. Army officials say they hope to reach that authorized total
troop strength of 512,000 by next year.

Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, the former Army chief of staff who now
heads the Association of the U.S. Army, a private support group,
said in an interview that senior Army officers have told him
in recent months that the service needs an active duty strength
of some 535,000 to 540,000. General Sullivan said that figure
assumed assured access to mobilize the National Guard and

General Sullivan said his personal view was that the Army needed
to have an active duty strength of more than 600,000 if such ability
to mobilize the Guard and Reserves could not be guaranteed.

He noted that there has been a debate over the past few years as
to whether the Army deployments were a “spike” or a “plateau.”

“Surely, we know by now that it is a plateau,” he said. “We are sending
people back with 12 months dwell time. One reason we are doing
it is that we don’t have enough to spread this commitment out.”


21) Florida Death Row Inmate Dies Only After Second Chemical Dose
December 15, 2006

MIAMI, Dec. 14 — A convicted murderer was put to death by lethal
injection on Wednesday, but he took more than a half-hour to die
and required a second dose of the chemicals, prompting Gov. Jeb
Bush to call for a review of the execution.

The convict, Angel N. Diaz, 55, was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m.,
34 minutes after receiving the first lethal injection at the Florida
State Prison in Starke, 23 miles northeast of Gainesville. Normally,
death occurs within 15 minutes.

Witnesses said Mr. Diaz appeared to be moving after the first
injection was administered, seemingly squinting and grimacing,
at times appearing to mouth words.

On Thursday, James R. McDonough, secretary of the state’s
Department of Corrections, asked for an expedited autopsy and
appointed a team of law enforcement and medical professionals
to investigate the execution, at the request of Governor Bush.

“I think it’s appropriate to do so, given the unusual length of time
it took for the process to complete,” Mr. Bush told reporters.
“I’m concerned enough to ask Secretary McDonough to put
together a team to review it thoroughly and quickly, but I don’t
know if anything was done outside of the protocol.”

Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections,
said Mr. Diaz was administered a second dose because he suffered
from liver disease, which slowed his metabolism.

“It was not unanticipated that the metabolism of drugs delivered
would take additional time,” Ms. Plessinger said.

A lawyer for Mr. Diaz filed suit on Thursday with the Florida
Supreme Court on behalf of death row inmates, asking the
court to rule that the state’s lethal injection procedure
is unconstitutional.

Opponents of the death penalty, who have long called the cocktail
of chemicals cruel and unusual punishment, criticized the execution
and the state’s death penalty system.

“This is further proof of the broken death penalty system in Florida,”
Mark Elliott, a spokesman for Floridians for Alternatives to the
Death Penalty, said. “Florida has no business in executions.”

This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
denied Mr. Diaz’s motions for a stay of execution.

Mr. Diaz’s appeal to the United States Supreme Court challenging
the chemicals used by the state in administering the lethal injection
was rejected shortly before his execution.

Florida switched to lethal injection in 2000 after flames shot from
an inmate’s head during his execution by electric chair.

The state uses a combination of three chemicals in lethal injection,
one to anesthetize the inmate, a second to paralyze the body and
a third to stop the heart.

Mr. Diaz was convicted in the 1979 murder of Joseph Nagy, the
manager at a topless bar in Miami that Mr. Diaz and an accomplice
were accused of robbing.

In his final statement, Mr. Diaz insisted on his innocence.

“The State of Florida is committing a crime, because I am innocent,”
Mr. Diaz, who was from Puerto Rico, said in Spanish. “The death
penalty is not only a form of vengeance, but it is also a cowardly
act by humans.”


22) Sergeant Felt Gun in Struggle Before Police Shot Man, Kelly Says
December 15, 2006

In the instant before he was shot, the first man killed by the city’s
police since an unarmed groom-to-be nearly three weeks ago pressed
his gun into a sergeant’s abdomen, the department’s highest official
said yesterday.

The man, Timur Person, 19, of the Bronx, died after the police shot
him five times at close range in the chest during a struggle with officers
Wednesday night, according to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

During the skirmish, the sergeant felt a gun’s barrel pressing through
Mr. Person’s jacket, Mr. Kelly said. The sergeant, who was on top
of Mr. Person, then yelled, “Gun, gun,” and “Shoot him, shoot him,”
to a second police officer, who then fired, Mr. Kelly said.

The police said a loaded semiautomatic gun was found at the scene
but stopped short of saying that the gun was found in Mr. Person’s

Mr. Person was the fourth person to be shot by the city’s police
in the last eight days, and the first they have fatally shot since
Sean Bell, 23, died in a storm of police bullets in Queens on Nov. 25.
But while Mr. Bell was unarmed, guns were seen or recovered in the
four subsequent shootings by officers, according to the police.
In the shooting on Wednesday, a loaded semiautomatic and a full
magazine clip were found near where Mr. Person was shot, in the
vestibule of a sprawling apartment building at 1240 Walton Avenue
in the South Bronx, Mr. Kelly said.

It was not yet clear whether Mr. Person ever took the gun out
of his pocket. Mr. Kelly said the department had not yet questioned
the officers involved, as per the request of the Bronx district attorney,
who was investigating what took place.

About 25 protesters flocked to the building on Walton Avenue yesterday.
Many saw troubling links between the fatal shooting of Mr. Person
and that of Mr. Bell, and said further protests were planned for today.

The Police Department’s account of the shooting contradicted that
of a witness, Hector Suarez, 24, who said he had heard Mr. Person
trying to give the gun up. Mr. Kelly said his department was still
looking into both versions of events. “I’ve given you the facts
as we know it,” Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Person was with three friends Wednesday night when the group
caught the attention of four uniformed police officers, who were
in a marked car and on the lookout for graffiti vandals, Mr. Kelly said.
When the officers approached, the men scattered, running, and the
officers followed Mr. Person into the building’s vestibule, where the
skirmish then broke out, Mr. Kelly said. It was after the sergeant
tackled the man that he felt a gun’s barrel pressing through
Mr. Person’s jacket into his abdomen, whereupon he ordered
another officer to shoot.

One of the men who was in the group with Mr. Person Wednesday
night told the police that the group had planned to rob drug dealers
in the area, Mr. Kelly said. But residents in the area said yesterday
they routinely felt harassed by the police.

Memorials of flowers, candles and pictures were laid outside
and inside the building where the shooting occurred. Several
of the protesters had red bandannas wrapped around their heads,
inscribed with the words “Trap R.I.P.,” a reference to Mr. Person’s
nickname, in black ink.

Ann Farmer and Kate Hammer contributed reporting.


23) At Chrysler Now, the Fast Track Runs Downhill
December 15, 2006

DETROIT, Dec. 14 — Chrysler executives startled investors in late
October when they acknowledged that the company had been
building tens of thousands of cars on spec to keep its factories
humming. Those cars were not included in the company’s
estimates of its backlog of unsold vehicles on dealer lots —
a figure that was already high by industry standards.

But Chrysler’s chief executive, Thomas W. LaSorda, said Thursday
on a company blog that Chrysler would continue to build cars that
dealers had not ordered — just fewer of them.

At the company’s holiday party later, Mr. LaSorda declined to
discuss why the company let the inventories build up.

“Let’s say we did, and we’ll get out of it,” he said. “I took responsibility
for the situation, and I’ll get us out of it.”

As for the turnaround plan that many in Detroit have been expecting
from Chrysler, Mr. LaSorda said he would have more to say after
the first of the year.

And so Chrysler — on a perpetual roller coaster ride in recent
decades from financial crises to surging sales from hit products
like the 300C sedan — will probably have more bad news in
coming months.

There has been plenty of bad news already, beyond the backlog
of unsold cars. This year, Chrysler lost its No. 3 spot in the American
market to Toyota, watched its once-envied profits evaporate,
and faced a near rebellion from dealers who were angry at being
saddled with an oversupply of mostly gas-thirsty vehicles that
were out of step with consumers’ demands for more fuel-efficient

“This year was one to forget for them,” said Jesse Toprak, an
industry analyst with, which provides car-buying advice.

Heads have already rolled. Chrysler’s German-born marketing
chief, Joe Eberhardt, the main target of dealers’ ire, left last week
to run a Mercedes dealership.

Mr. LaSorda could soon be leaving Chrysler, too, for a job at its
parent, DaimlerChrysler, a senior company official said this week.
But at the Thursday night party, Mr. LaSorda said in an interview:
“I’m not worried about my future. It’s solid.”

If Mr. LaSorda is promoted or leaves, that could clear the way for
a Volkswagen executive, Wolfgang Bernhard, Chrysler’s former
president, to return in the top job — an outcome that some industry
analysts have said is likely if Mr. LaSorda vacates his current job.

For now, though, Mr. LaSorda is racing to put together yet another
turnaround plan, which Chrysler is expected to roll out in late January
to stem losses that are expected to top $1.2 billion this year.

The plan, still being written, is expected to include plant closings,
job cuts and reductions in spending — actions that are intended
to trim Chrysler’s costs by $1,000 a vehicle.

“We have to study every part of the company,” Mr. LaSorda said.

Chrysler has pulled off turnarounds before with hit products —
besides the 300C, it has scored big hits through the years with
its minivans, aggressive pickups built to resemble semis and
the PT Cruiser.

But those earlier comebacks occurred when Detroit companies
were still in firm control of the American market. Chrysler must
now battle Asian carmakers like Toyota that are in their strongest
shape since they began selling cars here nearly five decades ago.

This year, Chrysler lost market share that it picked up since it
introduced the 300C two and a half years ago. Through November,
it held just under 13 percent of the American market. At its peak,
in the mid-1990s, Chrysler held nearly 17 percent.

If Mr. LaSorda cannot fix Chrysler, it may find itself with not just
a new leader, but potentially a new owner.

DaimlerChrysler has acknowledged it cannot build a small car at
a profit in North America, and is in talks with Chinese companies
to build one that it can import.

Should Daimler officials run out of patience with Chrysler, analysts
have said, a Chinese owner might be the logical option to take the
company off Daimler’s hands.

A top DaimlerChrysler executive fanned such speculation this
summer when, in response to a question, he declined to rule out
the possibility of selling off Chrysler. Soon after, the company
said Chrysler would not be sold, but the question mark lingers,
and analysts have said a Chinese buyer for Chrysler makes sense
because such a deal would provide access to the American market.

Not long ago, Chrysler was in good shape. It was the only Detroit
carmaker to gain market share and increase sales in 2005, when
it earned a $1.8 billion operating profit, compared with G.M.’s
$10.6 billion loss.

Its previous chief executive, Dieter Zetsche, who now runs DaimlerChrysler,
declared numerous times that Chrysler’s primary competition was
not G.M. or Ford, but Asian auto companies, with their lean operating
styles and loyal customers.

His successor, Mr. LaSorda, declared that 2006 would serve as
a transition from traditional Detroit ways to an Asian approach, with
flexible plants, little waste and open communication with its workers.

Instead, Chrysler fell back into a habit that had hurt the company
badly in the 1970s: it built far more vehicles than its dealers could sell.

This summer, as many as 100,000 vehicles sat on lots around
metropolitan Detroit, unaccounted for in Chrysler’s so-called daily
supply numbers, which had already raised analysts’ eyebrows for
being so high. Incentives have also soared: Chrysler is slicing as
much as $10,000 off the $30,000 price of the Dodge Durango,
a big S.U.V. whose sales have stalled.

Profitable through the first half, Chrysler posted a $1.5 billion
third-quarter loss and is expected to lose money for the year.

Even so, Mr. LaSorda and other Chrysler executives insisted that
the new models Chrysler had coming, 10 in all, would lift sales again.

That has not happened. Chrysler’s newest vehicles are mainly
sport utilities and crossovers, and none have captured the public’s
interest like the 300C, PT Cruiser or other hot models of the past.

Now, said Mr. Toprak, “They have to decide, do we want to be
a company with 10 percent market share, or do we want to go
with volume?”

Chrysler workers, meanwhile, are wondering, yet again, what the
future holds for them. Rumors are rampant at Chrysler’s Windsor,
Ontario, assembly plant, just across the river from Detroit, that
hundreds of jobs are about to be cut as Chrysler installs automation
technology to build its next-generation minivan, which goes
into production next year.

Chrysler officials maintain that fewer than 100 jobs will be eliminated
at the factory, which is scheduled to shut for up to three months
after the first of the year.

Still, it is the latest bad news for workers who agreed to wage cuts
to keep the company afloat in 1979, and who have watched as other
carmakers have closed factories in Windsor.

Jeff Poisson, who has worked at the Windsor assembly plant for more
than 20 years, said the company’s problems were partly a result
of its merger with Daimler-Benz in 1998. “When the Germans took
over, this plant was making millions,” he said.

Other longtime workers are hearing the turnaround talk with

“When it hits us, we’ll feel it,” said Dorothy Simic, who has worked
on the Windsor plant’s assembly line for 30 years.

Still, Ms. Simic described herself as optimistic.

“We’ve been through it before,” she said.

Nick Bunkley contributed reporting from Windsor, Ontario.


24) Immigration Raids May Affect Meat Prices
Filed at 11:03 a.m. ET
December 15, 2006

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- When hordes of police and immigration officials
stormed meatpacking plants in six states this week, the illegal workers
arrested may not have been the only victims.

Consumers and the industry itself may be feeling the repercussions
in a shortage of meatpackers, higher wage costs and, ultimately,
higher prices for the beef that lands on America's tables at home
and in restaurants.

Some analysts see the current emphasis on enforcement in the
meatpacking industry as the precursor to getting an immigration
bill through Congress -- by demonstrating the government's
capability to enforce laws at the work site.

''The meatpacking industry has become dependent on an
unauthorized labor force, and it is not good government to
destroy an entire industry. In some way, there is going to be
a meeting of the minds,'' said Mark Reed, a former immigration
regional director who now runs his own consulting business,
Border Management Strategies, in Tucson, Ariz.

Every labor-intensive industry -- the hotel industry, the construction
industry, agriculture -- will be similarly impacted, he said.

''It just happens the meatpacking industry is in the cross
hairs right now,'' Reed said.

Continued massive immigration raids would cut cattle prices
paid to cattle feeders and cattle producers while raising the cost
of beef for consumers, said James Mintert, an agricultural
economist at Kansas State University.

It would also reduce the available labor supply -- putting the
U.S. meatpacking industry in a position more comparable to the
Canadian slaughterhouses, which have much higher labor costs
because they have less access to cheap immigrant labor.

''You are going to end up paying higher wages,'' Mintert said.

Swift & Co. said its meatpacking plants were running at reduced
levels a day after nearly 1,300 employees were arrested in
a massive immigration sweep that temporarily halted operations.

Cattle slaughter numbers had been running about the same
as a year ago the day prior to arrests. The immigration sweep
on Tuesday cut the nation's daily cattle slaughter numbers
by 9 percent, Mintert said.

Still, Mintert cited preliminary data from the Agriculture Department's
federally inspected slaughter numbers showing that by Wednesday
slaughter numbers nationwide had recovered and were up a fraction
from a week ago as other meatpackers picked up the slack at Swift's plants.

''It looks like what took place had limited impact -- we had
a one-day impact,'' he said.

Swift said in a written statement that its operations had resumed
at reduced levels on Wednesday at the plants in Greeley, Colorado;
Grand Island, Nebraska; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown,
Iowa; and Worthington, Minnesota. Production was expected
to be below normal in the short term, but the company did not
provide further details and did not return a call for comment.

At Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat processor, the
raids did not result in any significant change to the company's
livestock buying efforts, and plants were operating normally at
expected production levels, said Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson.

It is uncertain how much impact increased immigration enforcement
at the nation's slaughter plants would have on consumer meat prices.

''If the price of meat goes up a little bit, so what? There is nothing
as expensive as cheap labor because we pay for this cheap labor
in other ways -- higher insurance costs, higher taxes,'' said Mark
Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

He cited a study his group did a few years ago looking at what
impact the loss of illegal immigrant labor would have on consumer
prices for fresh fruits and vegetables, a far more immigrant-intensive
business than meatpackers.

Their study found that in summer the retail price of fresh fruit would
go up 6 percent for the first couple of years, and then settle
to about 4 percent higher, Krikorian said.

The last time a major shift in the nation's meatpacking industry
occurred was in the 1960s and 1970s when the industry shifted
away from the urban areas in the Midwest and located to the Great
Plains, where they drew more on immigrant labor.

During the 60s and 70s meatpacking wages were relatively higher
than at manufacturing plants, running about 14 to 18 percent above
manufacturing wages at that time, Mintert said. By 2002, meatpacking
wages were running 25 percent below manufacturing wages.

Accompanying the wage drop was the decline of unions in the
plants. In the late 1970s, about 45 percent of the meatpacking
industry was unionized. By the late 1980s, that had dropped
to 21 percent as more immigrants took jobs in the industry,
Mintert said.

Kevin Good, a senior market analyst for Cattle Fax in Denver, said
any disruption to the cattle market from the raids will be short term
as other plants absorb the excess cattle. He said beef prices
so far have been relatively flat.

''It is part of doing business,'' Good said of the raids.


The dance of the millions for the counterrevolution in Cuba
December 14, 2005
[This editorial appears just prior to the
arrival in Cuba of the largest delegation of U.S. congress members
in decades. The delegation will certainly be aware of this front-
page editorial in Cuba's Granma newspaper, taking up half the page.
By the way, there's a good 3.5 minutes NPR report today. Marx says
this hasn't been reported in the Cuban media, but that this large
group will meet with Alarcon tonight and that there's an open time
in their schedule tomorrow where they assume they will meet with
Raul. ...Walter Lippmann ]

Listen to the NPR report:


ON November 15, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the arm
of the United States Congress that investigates how the federal
government and its agencies administer the federal budget and
assesses the degree of effectiveness with which they implement their
functions and programs, published an extensive 63-page report titled
"Foreign Assistance: U.S. Democracy Assistance for Cuba Needs Better
Management and Oversight."

After a painstaking review of the millions allocated by the United
States government to promote subversion in our country, and to
conceive and nurse squalid and discredited mercenary factions in
Cuba, the abovementioned document arrived at the inevitable
conclusion that the funds allocated to that end have been squandered.

The report had been requested by two Congress members, Arizona
Republican Jeff Flake and Massachusetts Democrat William Delahunt,
both members of the House of Representatives International Relations
Committee who have proposed initiatives aimed at easing the blockade
and promoting change in the Bush Administration's anti-Cuba policy.

The report would be cause for ridicule if the facts it reveals were
not so serious: how and on what $73.5 million was spent between 1996
and 2005 to try to subvert the internal order of our country.

Immediately, major U.S. media agencies reported the irregularities
and corrupt waste in the utilization of almost $74 million that -
just via this channel, which is not the only one for financing their
mercenary groups in Cuba - the U.S. government has taken from U.S.
taxpayers' pockets to finance its criminal and failed anti-Cuba
policy, and to maintain active the industry of the anti-Cuban
counterrevolution via programs for promoting so-called "democracy" in
our country, which are directed by institutions like the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State

According to the U.S. media itself, more than half of these funds
never made it to Cuba; instead, they remained in Miami. Likewise,
part of the money was used to buy articles such as video games,
canned crabmeat, bicycles, luxury coats and chocolates and DVD
players, reflecting, in all of its magnitude, the official U.S.
business of the counterrevolution in Cuba, and the enormous dividends
that that it brings to the anti-Cuba industry based in Miami.

The report also reveals that of the total funds wasted, part was
squandered on items that the United States Interests Section in
Havana is trying to distribute in Cuba, to which end that office
handed out, between 1996 and 2006, some 385,000 books, bulletins and
other "informative" material, according to the information in the GAO
document. That was in addition to the correspondence "journalism
courses" for more than 200 mercenaries, the publication of
approximately 23,000 reports by so-called "independent journalists"
on the situation in Cuba, and the financing of the visit to our
country by more than 200 "international experts" to train the
domestic counterrevolution.

This confirms the grounds for the reiterated revelations by our
government of the U.S. Interests Section, which acts as the
headquarters of the counterrevolution, and it also shows in an
irrefutable manner how that Interests Section flagrantly violates the
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, by
bringing into Cuba - abusing its diplomatic privileges - articles and
materials that are not for the official use of that diplomatic
mission, but for supplying the mercenaries who work at the service of
the U.S. government.

The GAO report provides incontrovertible proof of the systematic
revelations by the Cuban government to the effect that the ill-named
dissidence is nothing more than a group financed and directed by the
U.S. government, real mercenaries, on the payroll and at the service
of the historic enemy of the Cuban people: Yankee imperialism, which
today is not concealing its voracious intention of taking over Cuba
again, something for which it spares no resources, despite the fact
that it will never attain its final goal, which is to overthrow the

It is unusual to verify the disdain they have for the very people of
the United States, whom they constantly try to manipulate, to make
them believe in an immoral and failed policy that is aimed at
breaking the independence-loving and sovereign determination of our
people, and the financing for which, moreover, they impose.

Via its subversive anti-Cuba programs, the Bush administration is
providing unlimited travel funds for inciting unpatriotic
individuals, while denying the U.S. people their right to travel to
Cuba and to have relationships with our country, and has cruelly
reduced the number of visits that can be made by Cubans resident in
the United States to once every three years, to those that it has
arbitrarily redefined as their family members in Cuba.

In its turn, the Bush administration is imposing heavier restrictions
on remittances and packages from Cubans resident in the United States
to their relatives in Cuba, while at the same time, maintaining a
wide, dirty pipeline for resources of all kinds, but only at the
disposition of the mercenaries who make a living from the business of

The Bush administration is imposing increasingly heavier restrictions
on Cuba for acquiring in the United States medicines that are vital
for our children and elderly and other vulnerable groups, and
maintains permanent obstacles to the purchase of foodstuffs from the
U.S. market for consumption by our entire population; while at the
same time, cynically, it sends all types of medicines - and even
coats and fine chocolates - to counterrevolutionary elements that
lick the boots of the empire.

The Bush administration is imposing on the Cuban people the longest
and cruelest blockade ever known in human history, while at the same
time, nurturing and carefully maintaining its paid parasites, as
corrupt and immoral as the imperialism that sustains them.

These are the real "humanitarian" and "human rights" policies that
the Miami mafia and the anti-Cuban Congress members in Florida wish
for our people, a policy that allows them to receive the benefits of
an ongoing "dance of the millions" at the cost of the U.S. and Cuban

Without a doubt, by implementing the criminal and genocidal policy
contained in the Bush Plan, the U.S. government is attempting to
improve and continue its financing for internal subversion in our
country, for which it has decided to allocate $80 million in
additional funds over the next two years, and no less than $20
million every year following that, until, according to their
long-desired pretensions, it is able to overthrow our Revolution.

However, they should not delude themselves. The Cuban government and
people will ensure, as they have done to date, the guarantee that
these plans are completely ineffective, and the total rupture of any
macabre plans being hatched in Washington to foster subversion and
internal counterrevolution in our country.

The Cuban government and people are exposing, once again, the
provocative, insulting and unacceptable nature of the constant aid
that the U.S. government, with its criminal political goals, is
attempting to get to its counterrevolutionary cubs, while at the same
time intensifying the iron-fisted economic blockade that it has
maintained against the Cuban people for almost five decades.

For a long time, the imperialist U.S. government has lacked any moral
authority whatsoever in Cuba, and it is increasingly losing what it
does have in many other parts of the world.

With dignity, serenity and courage, Cuba will adopt, at any time, the
measures it deems necessary for confronting this type of aggression.

No matter how much money they waste, they will never be able to break
the determination of the Cuban people.

(Translated by Granma International)


December 13, 2006

(Washington, D.C.) - United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW)
members working in Swift and Company meatpacking plants are reporting that
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents marched into plants
Thursday morning with military weapons, herding, segregating, and
terrorizing workers. Plants and plant gates were locked down.

"The display of force by ICE agents is totally outrageous," said Mark
Lauritsen, International Vice President and Director of the Food
Processing, Packing, and Manufacturing division of the UFCW. "We believe
they are victims of wholesale violations of worker rights. In effect, ICE
is criminalizing people for going to work."

Families have been ripped apart leaving traumatized children stranded at
school waiting to be picked up. In some cases, their parents are being
transported to detention centers in distant cities and denied the
opportunity to call anyone to make arrangements for their children. Workers
at the Swift plant in Grand Island, Neb., have been bussed to Camp Dodge,
Iowa, six hours away from their families, with no guarantee of return

Workers at the Greeley Colo., plant reported that gun shots were fired.
Representatives and attorneys with the UFCW, who have standing to represent
these workers, have been denied access to the detained workers.

"The workers caught in this vice are victims of a failed immigration
system. It's time for the federal government to stop victimizing workers
and reform our immigration system," said Lauritsen. "The last do-nothing
Congress failed to produce its promised immigration reform before recess.
The result is that children have been orphaned, left to sleep in strange
beds and uncertain about their holiday or their future. Worksite raids with
armed agents are not the answer to the nationwide call for immigration
reform. America deserves a humane, systematic and comprehensive immigration
policy immediately."

UFCW local unions are working tirelessly to contact family members to
protect minor children. Union representatives have been denied access to
the facilities to represent workers. UFCW local unions are putting in place
a system to aid the families, contacting relatives of children, setting up
aid funds to supply holiday gifts and whatever long-term assistance they
may need.

The UFCW represents approximately 10,000 workers at the five Swift and
Company plants.

The UFCW represents 1.4 million workers, 250,000 in the meatpacking and
poultry industries. UFCW members also work in the health care, garment,
chemical, distillery and retail industries.



The unknown disheartens family, friends
Published December 14, 2006

Mission to locate nursing mother fails
A priest and nun looking for the woman at Camp Dodge say
an immigration official ‘wouldn’t tell us anything about anybody.’
December 14, 2006
Photo gallery of the raids:

OPEC Sets Reduction in Output
December 15, 2006

Criminal Inquiries Look at U.S. Oil-Gas Unit
December 15, 2006

Texas: Report Criticizes Care Given to Children in State Custody
The medical care for children in state custody is “a bleak picture, and
rooted in profound human suffering,” the state comptroller, Carole
Keeton Strayhorn, said in a report. The report said that the Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services lacked a full-time medical
director, and that effective clinical treatment was further hampered by
inadequate record keeping and an undue reliance on in-patient
psychiatric care and psychotropic drugs. Ms. Strayhorn said she had
referred to the inspector general of the state health commission
several cases of potential fraud and abuse in delivering services
to foster children.
December 15, 2006

Military Considers Sending as Many as 35,000
More U.S. Troops to Iraq, McCain Says
December 15, 2006

Legislators Vote for Gay Unions in N.J.
December 15, 2006

Jason Leopold | Truthout's Sarah Olson Subpoenaed in Watada Case
"A US Army prosecutor subpoenaed Truthout contributing reporter Sarah
Olson Thursday morning, seeking her sworn testimony at the court-martial
of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada. The 28-year-old Army officer refused
deployment to Iraq earlier this year. His trial is expected to begin in
February," writes Jason Leopold.

Racism in the US Farm Program
The Plight of Black Farmers
December 14, 2006

Bankers Report More Mortgages Being Paid Late or Not at All
December 14, 2006

For a Convicted Murderer Who Claims Innocence, Offer of Freedom
Presents a Dilemma
December 14, 2006

Illinois: Court Rejects Slave Reparation Claims
A federal appeals court rejected most claims by slave descendants
that they deserve reparations from some of the nation’s biggest
insurers, banks and transportation companies. The panel affirmed
a lower-court ruling that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue for
reparations based on injustices suffered by their ancestors and
that the statute of limitations ran out more than a century ago.
But the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit,
in Chicago, kept alive a part of the suit that claims corporations
may be guilty of consumer fraud if they hid past ties to slavery.
December 14, 2006

Black History Trove, a Life’s Work, Seeks Museum
December 14, 2006

Assembly Adopts Treaty on Rights of Disabled
The 192-member General Assembly unanimously adopted an
international treaty protecting the rights of the estimated 650 million
disabled people in the world. The convention, which must be ratified
by 20 nations to come into effect, covers civil and political rights,
accessibility and the unrestricted right to education, health and
employment. Ratifying nations must adopt laws prohibiting
discrimination. “We have now reached a global consensus:
The disabled are entitled to the full range of civil rights that
those without disabilities enjoy,” said Haya Rashed al-Khalifa
of Bahrain, the president of the Assembly.
December 14, 2006

Tears of Rage; Tears of Grief
By Chris Floyd
t r u t h o u t | UK Correspondent
Mass death returns to Ishaqi.
I. Rashomon in Iraq
Mass death came again to the Iraqi town of Ishaqi last Friday. Nine
months after an American raid that killed 11 civilians, including five
children under the age of five, another ground and air assault on
suspected insurgents in the area left behind a pile of corpses,
including at least two children. As with the earlier incident, Friday's
attack has produced conflicting stories of what really happened,
but the end result is clear: a multitude of grieving, angry Iraqis
further embittered against the American occupation.
Thursday 14 December 2006

FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein

Gunmen kill Hamas judge
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:33 AM ET

Union Reaches Deal at Philadelphia Papers
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 13 (AP) — The Philadelphia Inquirer and
Philadelphia Daily News reached a tentative contract agreement
Tuesday night with their largest union, the newspaper and union said.
The Inquirer and Daily News, the city’s largest newspapers, and
the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia reached an agreement
at about 10:15 p.m., a union spokesman, Stu Bykofsky, said
in a statement.
“It’s a very difficult agreement,” the union president, Henry J. Holcomb,
was quoted as saying.
After a 14-hour session on Monday, the sides met for three hours
Tuesday before a tentative deal was announced.
Mr. Holcomb said the union would have to make some tough choices
about medical coverage. He did not elaborate on the agreement, which
will be presented to members on Wednesday. He said a ratification
vote would not come before the weekend. The Guild represents
more than 900 news, circulation, advertising and clerical workers
at the newspapers.
A major issue had been control of the pension fund’s investments.
Executives of Philadelphia Media Holdings, which owns the two
newspapers, wanted management to have sole control over pension
fund investments, saying the company was legally responsible
for funding it.
The union wanted to continue the longstanding practice of having
a committee of labor and management decide on investments,
saying it had worked well for 40 years.
Mr. Holcomb said the pension plan would probably be merged
with another union plan with union input.
December 13, 2006

Wall Street Edges Up After Oil Report
Filed at 12:17 p.m. ET
December 13, 2006

Jason Leopold | Army Targets Truthout for Subpoenas in Watada Case

Iraq War Troops Rally Support for GI Rights and Resistance in SF
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist
Muses Don’t Bother Me,
My Country’s Politicians Do,
Says Gore Vidal

The cover-up
At the height of the six-day war in 1967, Israel attacked a US spy
ship, killing 34 men and injuring many more. The Israelis claimed
it was an accident, the Americans backed them up. But, as James
Bamford reveals in his new book, both governments concealed
the horrific truth
Special report: Israel and the Middle East
The Guardian
Wednesday August 8, 2001,,533578,00.html

Olmert's stray comment fuels the nuclear debate
Martin Hodgson
The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, stumbled into controversy
last night after apparently admitting that his country possesses
a nuclear arsenal. Although widely believed to be the only nuclear
power in the Middle East, Israel has for decades refused to confirm
or deny the existence of a nuclear weapons programme.
But arriving in Berlin for talks with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel,
Mr Olmert seemed yesterday to undercut the longstanding policy
of "strategic ambiguity". He is on a three-day trip to Germany and
Italy, to lobby for stronger action to stop Iran developing
nuclear weapons.
Asked by a television interviewer if Israel's alleged nuclear activities
weakened his argument against Iran's atomic plans, Mr Olmert said:
"Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the
map. Can you say that this is the same level - when they are aspiring
to have nuclear weapons - as America, France, Israel, Russia?".
Israeli officials were quick to deny that the comments marked any
policy change. Mr Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said he did
not mean to say that Israel had or aspired to acquire
nuclear weapons.
The CIA first concluded that Israel had begun to produce nuclear
weapons in 1968, but few details emerged until 1986 when
Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Israel's nuclear weapons
facility, gave the Sunday Times detailed descriptions that led defence
analysts to rank the country as the sixth largest nuclear power.
Although Tehran says its nuclear programme is designed solely
to generate electricity, Israel has warned that Iran is intent on
developing atomic weapons. Mr Olmert told Germany's Spiegel
magazine at the weekend that he ruled "nothing out", when
asked about the possibility of an Israeli military strike
against Tehran.,,329660312-103552,00.html

Sheehan Among Four Convicted of Trespassing

Small Nuclear War Would Cause Global Environmental Catastrophe

Iraq Protester Sheehan Cleared of Most NY Charges

Iraq Is Failing to Spend Billions in Oil Revenues
BAGHDAD, Dec. 10 — Iraq is failing to spend billions of dollars
of oil revenues that have been set aside to rebuild its damaged
roads, schools and power stations and to repair refineries
and pipelines.
December 11, 2006

Drug War Facts
Race, Prison and the Drug Laws

Liberal Consensus Hardens for More Troops to Iraq;
Meet Senator Slither; Farewell, Jeane Kirkpatrick
December 9, 2006

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




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!


From Iraq to New Orleans, Fund the People's Needs NOT THE
WAR MACHINE! End Colonial Occupation: Iraq, Palestine, Haiti and
everywhere! Shut Down Guantanamo


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


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


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein


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
Hello, Everyone,
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.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])



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


Immigration video:


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