Saturday, January 06, 2007




We make a call to the immigrant community and all those who are
in solidarity with our struggle to join us in front of the Federal Building
to protest the raids that we have been victims of and that are occurring
in different parts of the country.

They harass us as though we are animals of prey.
They lock us up in prisons for working for a miserable salary.
They steal our salaries that we earn with the sweat of our brow.
They separate us from our children leaving them traumatized for life......

We denounce the North American government for treating us like garbage
to be thrown away and taking advantage of our search for our daily bread
for their own political reasons.

We denounce the Mexican and Latin American governments for being
accomplices with the North American government for our misery and
for this involuntary exodus that has been forced upon us because
of the political, social, and economic conditions of our countries

We demand.......
To cease the immigration raids now!
To free all detained workers!
To return jobs to all those detained!
The right to all undocumented immigrants to unionize!

We demand a General and Unconditional Amnesty for all!

Protest the United States government

When: Friday, January 12, 2007
Where: 450 Golden Gate (Federal Building)
Time: 4pm to 7pm
Join in the struggle!

For more information call 415-431-9925

In Spanish:

Hace un llamado a la población emigrante y a todos las que se
solidarizan con ella a un piquete enfrente del Edificio Federal
en protesta a las redadas de que estamos siendo victimas
en diferentes partes del país.
Se nos acosa como si fuéramos animales de caza.

Se nos encierra en prisiones para trabajar por sueldos de miseria.

Se nos roban los sueldos que hemos ganado con el sudor de
nuestra frente...

Se nos separa de nuestros hijos dej*ndolos traumados de por vida......

Denunciamos al gobierno Norte Americano por tratarnos como
basura desechable y utilizar nuestra búsqueda por el pan de cada
día para sus propósitos políticos...

Denunciamos a los gobiernos de México y América latina por ser
cómplices con el gobierno de Estados Unidos de nuestra miseria
y de este éxodo involuntario que las condiciones políticas,
sociales, y económicas de nuestros países nos ha obligado
a emprender.


¡Cese a las redadas de la migra ahora!
¡Libertad a todos los trabajadores detenidos!
¡Regreso a su puesto de trabajo a todos los detenidos!
¡Derecho de los indocumentados a sindicalizarse!
¡Demandamos una Amnistía General e Incondicional para todos!

Piquete al Gobierno de Estados Unidos
Cuando: Viernes, 12 de Enero 2007
Dónde: 450 Golden Gate
Hora: 4pm a 7pm
Únete a la lucha
Para mas información llame a 415-431-9925


1) Chávez Plans One Big Venezuela Leftist Party, Led by Him
January 4, 2007

2) In Padilla Wiretaps, Murky View of ‘Jihad’ Case
January 4, 2007

3) Exxon Accused of Trying to Mislead Public
January 4, 2007

4) A Mother Fights for a Soldier Who Said No to War
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 4, 2007; C01

5) A drop into the abyss
Saddam jailed me but his hanging was a crime. Iraq's misery is now far
worse than under his rule
Haifa Zangana
Thursday January 4, 2007
The Guardian,,1982437,00.html

6) Behold Marx's twitch
By John Thornhill
Financial Times, Dec. 28, 2006

7) Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Next planning meeting for Lynne Stewart tour:
Saturday, January 6 at 10:30 AM
Socialist Action Bookstore
298 Valencia Street (14th and Valencia)
San Francisco
[Message via]

[Col. Writ. 12/14/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

9) In War of Vague Borders, Detainee Longs for Court
January 5, 2007

10) F.B.I. Lent Help on 2 Occasions to Nomination of Rehnquist
January 5, 2007

By Jack A. Smith
Hudson Valley (NY) Activist Newsletter, Jan. 4, 2007

12) Execution Memories Refuse To Go Away
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

13) A New Commander, in Step With the White House on Iraq
January 6, 2007

14) Bush Plan for Iraq Requests More Troops and More Jobs
January 7, 2007

Hudson Valley Activist Newspaper,
Jan. 4, 2007

[Col. Writ. 12/24/06] Copyright '06
Mumia Abu-Jamal


1) Chávez Plans One Big Venezuela Leftist Party, Led by Him
January 4, 2007

CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 3 — President Hugo Chávez has begun
forging a single Socialist party among his varied supporters, one
of his recent efforts to create momentum for far-reaching changes
to Venezuela’s political system that analysts say will effectively
concentrate greater political power in his hands.

Mr. Chávez formally announced the plan for the single party,
called the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, in a speech last
month to supporters here. He reminded them of his 23-percentage
-point margin of victory when he was re-elected last month
to a six-year term.

“Those votes don’t belong to any party.” Mr. Chávez said. “They
belong to Chávez and the people.”

Since then the swiftness and boldness of Mr. Chávez’s attempt
to create such a large party tied so closely to his personal leadership
have created concern, even among sympathetic political analysts,
that the step would effectively turn Venezuela into a one-party state.

In an essay published on Aporrea, an influential pro-Chávez blog,
Edgardo Lander, a sociologist at the Central University of Venezuela,
questioned the reasoning behind forming a single political party
described as Socialist when the definition of the “21st-century
Socialism” that Mr. Chávez aspires to build remained extremely

“Isn’t the cart being placed in front of the ox?” Mr. Lander wrote.
“What future, from the point of view of pluralism and democracy,
lies ahead for a political organization decreed in this fashion?”

Analysts more critical of Mr. Chávez have drawn a parallel with
Fidel Castro’s successful effort to create a single ruling party
in Cuba in the early 1960s.

Mr. Chávez has tried to assuage concerns that his project would
lead to authoritarianism by saying party leaders would largely
be chosen by his rank-and-file supporters, an idea lambasted
by critics here. “His tireless finger won’t stop singling out those
who are going to be the bosses,” said Teodoro Petkoff, the
editor of the opposition-aligned newspaper Tal Cual.

Some of Mr. Chávez’s supporters say the creation of a single
party would strengthen the government’s hand in combating
excessive bureaucracy and corruption stemming from the need
to distribute political spoils to an array of different parties.
Others view the new party as a way to remain ahead of
a fractious opposition.

The move has already revealed tensions within the coalition
of more than 20 political parties that currently supports the
president. Critics of the plan say it could marginalize relatively
small pro-Chávez parties that support an open economy,
existing government institutions and a pluralistic political

By contrast, much of the support comes from more hard-line
members of Mr. Chávez’s own party, the Fifth Republic Movement,
which was dissolved last month to make way for its larger successor.

Some of those supporters want to strengthen parallel political
institutions created by Mr. Chávez, like a system of health
clinics and universities closely tied to the president and his
Socialist project for the nation.

For instance, he has announced a plan to build as many as
50 new universities, expected to be modeled on the three-year-
old Bolivarian University of Venezuela, which provides Socialist-
inspired, tuition-free classes to more than 170,000 students.

“We’re witnessing a struggle between two ideological currents
within the Chavista movement,” said Steve Ellner, a political
scientist at University of the East in Venezuela.

Some of the strongest resistance comes from Mr. Chávez’s
allies on the far left. The Communist Party, in particular, stands
to lose considerable stature if it folds into the new party, though
it is expected to do so.

The Communists have weathered decades of persecution and
the collapse of the Soviet Union. “The Communist Party was
created to defend the workers and should continue this struggle,”
Jerónimo Carrera, a senior party official, told the newspaper
El Nacional.

Mr. Chávez’s critics on the left and right regularly say he is
carrying out a “fake revolution” exemplified by a boom in
consumer spending on imported goods and the distribution
of economic favors and government contracts to those
who support his oil-financed administration.

But Mr. Chávez has also created thousands of agricultural
and industrial cooperatives. And he has expanded the
influence of “communal councils,” groups of 20 or so people
in poor areas who make routine planning decisions and
are financed by small communal banks. He said recently
that he would put $2 billion at the disposal of these
councils in 2007.

He still runs the risk, however remote, of losing one or
two smaller but important parties in his coalition. These
parties, which include Podemos and Fatherland for
All, are expected to decide this month whether to join
the new party.

As Mr. Chávez presses forward with that party, he seems
eager to imbue senior officials with a greater understanding
of Socialist ideology, as well as closer allegiance to his
own wishes.

Late last year, legislators in the National Assembly,
controlled by supporters of Mr. Chávez, were enrolled
in classes on Marxist analysis and socialist thinking
taught by professors from the National Armed Forces
Experimental University.

Signaling a desire for even his highest-ranking allies
to fall into step with what he calls his Bolivarian Revolution,
Mr. Chávez publicly dressed down Vice President José
Vicente Rangel and Interior Minister Jesse Chacón last

The reason? They let an orchestra omit the Panamanian
anthem from an act honoring Simón Bolívar, the South
American independence leader, who died 176 years ago.

“We have to struggle against such inefficiency,” Mr. Chávez
said in comments broadcast on the state television. “What
a shame to have such disorganization for such a sublime
event,” he added, as a small crowd in attendance applauded.


2) In Padilla Wiretaps, Murky View of ‘Jihad’ Case
January 4, 2007

In 1997, as the government listened in on their phone call, Adham
Hassoun, a computer programmer in Broward County, Fla., proposed
a road trip to Jose Padilla, a low-wage worker there. The excursion
to Tampa would be his treat, Mr. Hassoun said, and a chance
to meet “some nice, uh, brothers.”

Mr. Padilla, 36, a Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican who had converted
to Islam a few years earlier, knew Mr. Hassoun, an outspoken
Palestinian, from his mosque. Still, according to a transcript
of the conversation obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Padilla
equivocated as Mr. Hassoun exhorted.

“We take the whole family and have a blast,” Mr. Hassoun said.
“We go to, uh, our Busch Gardens, you know ... You won’t
regret it. Money-back guarantee.”

Mr. Padilla, laughing, suggested that they not discuss
the matter over the phone.

“Why?” Mr. Hassoun said. “We’re going to Busch Gardens.
What’s the big deal!”

That conversation took place five years before Mr. Padilla,
a United States citizen accused of plotting a “dirty bomb”
attack against this country, was declared an enemy combatant.
Given that Mr. Padilla and Mr. Hassoun are now criminal
defendants in a terrorism conspiracy case in Miami,
it sounds suspicious, as if Mr. Hassoun were proposing
something more sinister than a weekend at the amusement
park. He well may have been — but maybe, too, he was
sincere or joking about a Muslim retreat.

Deciphering such chatter in order to construct a convincing
narrative of conspiracy is a challenge. Yet, prosecutors say,
the government will rely largely on wiretapped conversations
when it puts Mr. Padilla, Mr. Hassoun, and a third defendant,
Kifah Jayyousi, on trial as a “North American support cell”
that sent money, goods and recruits abroad to assist
“global jihad.”

Tens of thousands of conversations were recorded. Some 230
phone calls form the core of the government’s case, including 21
that make reference to Mr. Padilla, prosecutors said. But
Mr. Padilla’s voice is heard on only seven calls. And on those
seven, which The Times obtained from a participant in the
case, Mr. Padilla does not discuss violent plots.

But this is not the version of Mr. Padilla — Al Qaeda associate
and would-be bomber — that John Ashcroft, then the attorney
general, unveiled in 2002 when he interrupted a trip to Moscow
to trumpet Mr. Padilla’s capture. In the four and a half years
since then, as the government tested the limits of its power
to deal with terrorism outside the traditional law enforcement
system, Mr. Padilla is the only accused terrorist to have gone
from enemy combatant to criminal defendant.

His criminal trial, scheduled to begin late this month, will
feature none of the initial claims about violent plotting with
Al Qaeda that the government cited as justification for detaining
Mr. Padilla without formal charges for three and a half years.
Those claims came from the government’s overseas interrogations
of terrorism suspects, like Abu Zubaydah, which, the government
said, Mr. Padilla corroborated, in part, during his own questioning
in a military brig in South Carolina.

But, constrained by strict federal rules of evidence that would
prohibit or limit the use of information obtained during such
interrogations, the government will make a far more circumscribed
case against Mr. Padilla in court, effectively demoting him from
Al Qaeda’s dirty bomber to foot soldier in a somewhat nebulous

The initial dirty bomb accusation did not disappear. It quietly
resurfaced in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The government filed the
dirty bomb charges against Mr. Padilla’s supposed accomplice,
an Ethiopian-born detainee, at about the same time it indicted
Mr. Padilla on relatively lesser offenses in criminal court.

A Change in Strategy

The change in Mr. Padilla’s status, from enemy combatant to
criminal defendant, was abrupt. It came late in 2005 as the
Supreme Court was weighing whether to take up the legality
of his military detention and the Bush administration, by filing
criminal charges, pre-empted its review. In a way, Mr. Padilla’s
prosecution was a legal maneuver that kept the issue of his
detention without charges out of the Supreme Court. After
apprehending him at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago
in May 2002, the Bush administration made a choice: to detain
Mr. Padilla militarily, in order to thwart further plotting, rather
than to follow him in order to gather evidence that might serve
a criminal prosecution.

Now that Mr. Padilla has ended up a criminal defendant after
all, the prosecution’s case does not fully reflect the Bush
administration’s view of who he is or what he did.

Senior government officials have said publicly that Mr. Padilla
provided self-incriminating information during interrogations,
admitting, they said, to undergoing basic terrorist training,
to accepting an assignment to blow up apartment buildings
in the United States, and to attending a farewell dinner with
Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected master planner
of the Sept. 11 attacks, before he flew to Chicago in 2002.

But any confessions by Mr. Padilla while he was detained
without charges and denied access to counsel — whether
or not he was mistreated, as his lawyers claim — would
not be admissible in court.

And it is unlikely that information obtained during the harsh
questioning of Al Qaeda detainees would be admissible, either —
and, further, the government is disinclined to expose sensitive
intelligence or invite further scrutiny of secret jails overseas.

Probably as a consequence, the current criminal case zeroes
in on what the government sees as an earlier stage of
Mr. Padilla’s involvement with terrorism. It focuses primarily
on the other defendants’ support during the 1990s for Muslim
struggles overseas, especially in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya.
Mr. Padilla, who was appended to their pre-existing case,
in which he had been an unnamed co-conspirator, is depicted
as their recruit.

Although prosecutors have declined to discuss the government’s
strategy, their filings and statements in court provide a picture
of the case they are expected to present at trial.

The most tangible allegation against Mr. Padilla is that in 2000
he filled out, under an alias, an Arab-language application to attend
a terrorist training camp. That application is expected to be offered
into evidence alongside the wiretapped conversations, but
Mr. Padilla’s lawyers say they will contest its admissibility,
challenging the government’s assertion that the “mujahideen
data form” belonged to their client.

Robert Chesney, a specialist in national security law at Wake
Forest University, called the prosecution a pragmatic one,
analogous to “going after Al Capone on tax evasion.”

But Deborah Pearlstein, a lawyer with Human Rights First
who has consulted with Mr. Padilla’s defense, said that his
will never be an ordinary, pragmatic prosecution. “If Jose
Padilla were from Day 1 just charged and tried, then maybe,”
she said. “But this is a case that comes after three and a half
years of the most gross deprivation of human rights that
we’ve seen in this country for a long time.”

Further, Ms. Pearlstein noted, the government has reserved
the option, should the prosecution fail, of returning Mr. Padilla
to the military brig. This, she said, “casts a shadow” over the
current prosecution.

The Bush administration’s military case against Binyam Mohamed,
28, the Ethiopian detainee at Guantánamo, put the current
proceedings in a different light, too.

In December 2005, Mr. Mohamed was referred to the military
commission in Guantánamo on accusations that he conspired
with Mr. Padilla on the dirty bomb plot. It was little noticed
at the time.

But accusations against Mr. Padilla that are nowhere to be found
in the indictment against him filled the pages of Mr. Mohamed’s
charging sheet, with Mr. Padilla repeatedly identified by name.
The sheet referred to the two men meeting in Pakistan after
Sept. 11, 2001, studying how to build an improvised dirty bomb,
discussing the feasibility of a dirty bomb attack with Al Qaeda
officials and agreeing to undertake the mission to blow up

Mr. Mohamed’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said that these
charges were based on a forced confession by Mr. Mohamed,
who, he said, was tortured overseas into admitting to a story
that was fed to him. “Binyam was told all along that his job was
to be a witness against Padilla, Abu Zubaydah and Khaled Sheikh
Mohammed,” Mr. Stafford Smith said, adding that his client “has
no conscious knowledge that he ever met” Mr. Padilla.

The charges against Mr. Mohamed and other Guantánamo detainees
who were headed for prosecution there have been suspended
temporarily as a result of the Military Commissions Act passed
by Congress in October. Those charges are likely to be reinstated,
a Pentagon official said yesterday.

That Mr. Mohamed faced dirty bomb charges and Mr. Padilla
does not speaks to the central difference between being a terrorism
suspect in Guantánamo and a criminal defendant charged with
terrorism offenses in the United States.

In Guantánamo, the military commission system that deals with
foreign-born terrorism suspects is expected to allow, with some
exceptions, the use of information obtained through coercion.

“Federal court rules are restrictive,” Professor Chesney of Wake
Forest University School of Law said. “The very essence of why
they’re trying to have that separate military system was to create
rules to use information that is deemed by the intelligence
community to be trustworthy but wouldn’t make it under
the federal rules of evidence.”

David Cole, a professor of law at Georgetown University and
author of books on terrorism and civil liberties, sees the difference
between the two systems more critically: “What this says clearly is
that they feel that they can get away with using tainted evidence
in the military commission system that they can’t use in the criminal
court system.”

The Wiretapping Case

The criminal case against Mr. Padilla has its roots in the prosecution
of Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric who
was convicted in 1995 of conspiring to blow up the United Nations
and other New York landmarks.

In the early 1990s, Sheikh Rahman’s telephone was tapped, and
Mr. Hassoun and Dr. Jayyousi, a Jordanian-born American citizen
who holds a doctorate in civil engineering, came to the government’s
attention through phone calls to or from his line. Then the government,
under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, began to eavesdrop
on them, which eventually pulled Mr. Padilla into their net, too.

The government presents the three defendants as “joined at the hip,”
as one prosecutor put it in a hearing last summer. But Judge
Marcia G. Cooke of Federal District Court, noting that Mr. Padilla
was appended to a case well under way, asked the government,
“If they are so joined at the hip, why is Mr. Padilla so late to the dance?”

Dr. Jayyousi, a former school system administrator in both Detroit
and Washington, D.C., never met Mr. Padilla, his lawyer, William Swor, said.

It is Mr. Hassoun, the government said, who recruited Mr. Padilla.
But both Mr. Hassoun’s and Mr. Padilla’s lawyers deny that
Mr. Padilla was recruited.

Seven Taped Phone Calls

Mr. Padilla’s lawyers and relatives say that he left South Florida
for Egypt in September 1998 on a spiritual journey. A former juvenile
offender, he converted to Islam as part of an effort to straighten out his
life, they say. His mosque in Fort Lauderdale sponsored his travel, he told
friends, relatives and F.B.I. agents who interviewed him in 2002.
Mr. Hassoun belonged to that mosque, and the telephone transcripts
seem to indicate that Mr. Hassoun helped, at the least, with
Mr. Padilla’s travel plans.

The seven taped phone calls that bear Mr. Padilla’s voice involve
conversations with Mr. Hassoun from 1997 to 2000.

On those calls, Mr. Padilla, unlike some of the other defendants,
does not employ what the government says is coded language.
According to the government, other defendants refer to their jihad-
related plans as “getting some fresh air,” “participating in tourism,”
“opening up a market,” “playing football,” and so on. This leads
to silly-sounding exchanges where “the brothers” discuss going
on “picnics” in order “to smell fresh air and to eat cheese” or using
$3,500 to buy “zucchini.”

In contrast, Mr. Padilla’s seven conversations with Mr. Hassoun range
from straightforward — Mr. Hassoun tells Mr. Padilla that his grandmother
has died; Mr. Padilla tells Mr. Hassoun that he has found himself
an 18-year-old Egyptian bride who is willing to wear a veil —
to vaguely suggestive or just odd.

In one phone call, the two men talked about a dream. It appeared
to be the dream that Mr. Padilla, according to his relatives, cites
as having played a crucial role in inspiring him to convert
to Islam: the vision of a man in a turban, surrounded by the
swirling dust of a desert.

Mr. Hassoun brought it up and told Mr. Padilla that he himself had
experienced the same vision. “What do you mean you saw the
same dream?” Mr. Padilla asked.

“I saw the dream of the uh ... person with the turban,” Mr. Hassoun

Mr. Hassoun explained how, in his dream, the turban was wrongly
wrapped and so he thought the man might be a spy, in which
case, he was prepared “to split his body apart.” But then, he
said, he understood that “the brother ... was a good one.”

“Yeah?” Mr. Padilla said.

In three of the seven conversations, Mr. Padilla made statements
that the government has identified as “overt acts” in furtherance
of the accused conspiracy.

In the first, Mr. Hassoun asked, “You’re ready, right?” and
Mr. Padilla said, “God willing, brother, it’s going to happen soon.”
That was the summer of 1997, a year before Mr. Padilla left South
Florida for Egypt.

In the second, Mr. Padilla told Mr. Hassoun, during a 1999
conversation from Egypt, that he had asked his ex-wife in the
United States to arrange for him to receive an army jacket, a book
bag and a sleeping bag, supplies that he had requested because
“there was a rumor here that the door was open somewhere.”
In the third, Mr. Padilla told Mr. Hassoun in April 2000, that he
would need a recommendation to “connect me with the good
brothers, with the right faith” if he were to travel to Yemen.

Prosecutors say Mr. Padilla is mentioned, although by his Muslim
name Ibrahim or by another alias, on 21 additional tapes. One of
them refers to Ibrahim as being “in the area of Usama,” which
the government takes to mean that he was near Osama bin
Laden. But Mr. Padilla’s lawyers contest that interpretation.

“That is just nonsensical, Your Honor, that these men who for
years, according to the government, have been talking in code
all of a sudden are going to throw Osama bin Laden’s name around,”
Michael Caruso, a federal public defender, said in court.

Mr. Padilla has pleaded not guilty. But before his case goes before
a jury, his fitness to stand trial will be evaluated. On the basis
of Mr. Padilla’s lawyers’ assertion that he is mentally damaged as
a result of his prolonged isolation and his interrogation in the
brig, Judge Cooke has ordered a psychiatric evaluation by a Bureau
of Prisons doctor to be completed this week.


3) Exxon Accused of Trying to Mislead Public
January 4, 2007

HOUSTON, Jan. 3 — The Union of Concerned Scientists released
a report on Wednesday accusing Exxon Mobil of spending millions
of dollars to manipulate public opinion on the seriousness of global

“Many of the tactics, and even some of the same organizations
and actors used by Exxon Mobil to mislead the public, draw
upon the tobacco industry’s 40-year disinformation campaign,”
the report said.

The report said that a task force that Exxon Mobil helped create
on global climate science in 1998 included someone who had
led a nonprofit organization called the Advancement of Sound
Science Coalition, “which had been covertly created by the
tobacco company Philip Morris in 1993 to manufacture
uncertainty about the health hazards posed by secondhand

Many of the accusations in the report have been made before
by the scientists’ organization and environmental groups.
But the organization, a liberal advocacy group, said this report
more completely detailed connections between money donated
by Exxon Mobil and the scientists in groups that question
the degree to which humans are contributing to climate change.

The release of the report comes as Democrats take control
of Congress, and the organization said it hoped incoming
committee chairmen investigate the links detailed in the report.

“The relatively modest investment of about $16 million between
1998 and 2004 to select political organizations has been
remarkably effective at manufacturing uncertainty about
the scientific consensus on global warming,” the report said.

Exxon Mobil released a statement responding to the report,
saying “many of the conclusions are inaccurate.” It added,
“Our support extends to a fairly broad array of organizations
that research significant domestic and foreign policy issues
and promote discussion on issues of direct relevance
to the company.”


4) A Mother Fights for a Soldier Who Said No to War
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 4, 2007; C01

Carolyn Ho is a mother on a mission.

She came to Washington in mid-December to build support for her son, Army
1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment
to Iraq.

Barring some kind of miracle, he will be court-martialed on Feb. 5 at Fort
Lewis, about 45 miles south of Seattle. If convicted, he could be sent to
military prison for six years. There's going to be a pretrial hearing today.

Like many Americans, she believed she could come to the capital city and
change the world. Or at least her small part of it.

She was acting purely on instinct, wanting to do everything in a mother's
power to protect her son. "I'm here to get what I can," said Ho, who is
from Honolulu. Dark hair pulled back. Dark eyes that moisten when she
speaks of her son. Soft voice. "I'm going to put it out there."

At the very least, she hoped for some kind of letter of support before
today's hearing. Late yesterday afternoon, a letter arrived. After a lot of
worry and work.

Lobbying Congress is no day at the spa.

During her Capitol Hill quest, she was accompanied by several seasoned
lobbyists, but they let her do the talking. She moved along the halls,
sitting down with staffers in the offices of Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and aides from the offices of Reps. Lynn
Woolsey (D-Calif.), John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

In closed-door meetings, Ho told the same story. She sees her efforts as
part of a larger, multifaceted wave that is challenging the Bush
administration from every angle. At the same time the president is
advocating an increase in the number of soldiers in Iraq, there is on the
home front an increase in the number of vocal opponents of the war. "I
believe my son is part of this movement," Ho said.

Phoebe Jones of Global Women's Strike, an international antiwar network
that supports Ho and Watada, was at Ho's side on Capitol Hill. "The work of
mothers is protecting life, beginning with their children," Jones
explained. "And that is really the opposite of the obscenity of war."

On the Hill, Ho handed out information packets. She passed around photos of
Watada, who is taller, fuller of face than his mother, but shares her smile.

Her son "based his decision on facts," she said. He studied the war in Iraq
and decided it was illegal. He tried to resign and leave the service with
dignity, but the Army wouldn't let him. He asked to be shipped to
Afghanistan; his request was denied. He was offered a noncombat position in
Iraq; he said no thanks.

Because the United States entered the war based on false premises, Ho said,
the war is illegal. It is thus her son's constitutional duty to disobey orders.

So she asked that members of Congress get involved. She said that ideally
she would prefer that the military accept her son's resignation and dismiss
all charges against him. "He shouldn't be in a military prison," she said.
His voice "will be totally squelched."

She asked, "Just who is the criminal here? The one who is refusing to
participate in war crimes?"

From the Army's standpoint, the case is simple. Tens of thousands of
soldiers have passed through Fort Lewis on their way to the war and have
not asked for special treatment, said Army spokesman Joe Piek. Watada, 28,
signed on for military service in 2003 with full knowledge that he might
have to fight an unpopular war, Piek said. "This is a case about a soldier
who refused orders to deploy to Iraq. . . . That is the bottom line."

Watada has been charged with one count of "missing movement," which means
he did not board one of the planes that were taking his 3rd Brigade to
Kuwait on June 22. In Kuwait the brigade's 4,000 soldiers received their
equipment and their marching orders.

He also is charged with "conduct unbecoming an officer," for subsequent
statements he made. For now he is assigned to a special troops battalion
and has been doing everyday soldierly duties while awaiting his court

Piek said, "He joined the Army and swore an oath, and that includes
following the orders of the officers appointed over him. His unit was
placed in a stop-loss category, which meant that everybody currently in
that unit would deploy. You don't get to pick and choose, especially if you
are a junior officer, which places you get to go to."

To Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, the situation is more complicated. "The
United States talks out of both sides of its mouth," he said. "We've
prosecuted soldiers in other countries for following orders to commit war
crimes. But God forbid you should use that refusal as a defense in this

The Watada defense: Questioning the war publicly is not "conduct
unbecoming" but an exercise of freedom of speech. And he had the right to
miss movement because he was refusing to participate in what he deems an
illicit enterprise.

To Carolyn Ho, congressional staffers were polite and receptive. She came
at an inopportune time, she was told several times. Congress had adjourned
for the holidays and there was not much time before the court-martial.

There were flashes of hope: Along the way, someone suggested that a
"sign-on letter" sent by members of Congress to the secretary of the Army
might be a way to galvanize support for Watada. Or a "dear colleague"
letter that would alert others in Congress to Watada's situation. One
staffer brought up the idea of a "private resolution," an arcane move in
which Congress passes a bill that affects one person. "Those are
possibilities," Ho said. But as the day wore on, fatigue showed on her face.

She left with little more than encouragement and good wishes. A high school
counselor, Ho had been on leave since the end of September. She had to get
back to work.

She is divorced. Her ex-husband, Bob Watada, has also been out drumming up
support, speaking to churches and civic organizations around the country.
She spent October and November on the West Coast and much of December on
the East. At one event she shared a podium with Cindy Sheehan, who refers
to the moms-against-bombs instinct as "matriotism."

Ho went back to Hawaii for Christmas, but is in the Seattle area this week
for the hearing.

On the phone from Fort Lewis, Ehren Watada explained how he decided while
still in college -- in the aftermath of 9/11 -- that he wanted to serve his
country in the military. He walked into a recruitment office in Honolulu
and said he wanted to go to officer candidate school. He failed the
physical because of childhood asthma. "I was heartbroken," he said. "I paid
out of pocket for a breathing test to prove I had no breathing problems. I
passed the test with flying colors and was eventually accepted at the end
of March 2003."

Though Watada's father did not serve in the military, several uncles were
in World War II. One of his uncles was killed in Korea. Another relative
was in Vietnam. "There is a history of service in our family," he said.

When he signed up, "I didn't know the things I know today. I believed the
military and the government when they told me that Iraq posed an imminent

Watada said it took him a couple of years to realize that the United States
should not be in Iraq. He submitted his resignation in January 2006. "The
commanders of my unit were not too happy about it," he said. They were
surprised, he said, because until that point he had received positive

"I can't stop the war," said Watada. "But if Americans believe the war is
wrong, they should be doing everything they can to stop it."

His mother is doing what she can. "People are stepping gingerly," she said
yesterday about legislative action. "There's a wait-and-see approach."

She was in Tacoma, Wash., yesterday for a press conference when she
received a personal letter from Rep. Maxine Waters. Ho read an excerpt over
the phone:

"The issue that [1st Lt. Ehren Watada] has raised deserves to be publicly
debated and considered. And I will use my platform as a member of Congress
and chair of the 'Out of Iraq' caucus to highlight the failed policies of
this administration and stimulate discussion. . . . Your son has shown
great integrity and dignity in his objection to the war in Iraq, and I
commend you for working so hard on his behalf."

Ho sighed and said she found the letter to be "disappointing."

But it was something.


5) A drop into the abyss
Saddam jailed me but his hanging was a crime. Iraq's misery is now far
worse than under his rule
Haifa Zangana
Thursday January 4, 2007
The Guardian,,1982437,00.html

At 3.30am last Saturday, I was abruptly woken by the phone ringing. My
heart sank. By the time I reached the phone, I was already imagining bodies
of relatives and friends, killed and mutilated.

It was 6.30am in Baghdad and I thought of the last time I spoke to my
sister. She was on the roof of her house trying to get a better signal on
her mobile phone, but had to end the call as an American helicopter started
hovering above. Iraqis know it is within the US "rules of engagement" to
shoot at them when using mobiles, and that US troops enjoy impunity
whatever they do. But the call was from a Turkish TV station asking for
comments on Saddam's execution. I drew a deep sigh of relief, not for the
execution, but because I did not know personally anyone killed that day.

Death is now so commonplace in Iraq that we end up ranking it in these
personal terms. Last month, I attended the a'azas (remembrance events) of
three people whose work I highly respected. One was for Dr Essam al-Rawi,
head of the university professors' union who documented the assassination
of academics. A week before his killing his office at Baghdad University
had been ransacked and documents confiscated by US troops. The others were
for Dr Ali Hussain Mukhif, an academic and literary critic, and Saad
Shlash, professor of journalism in Baghdad University and editor of the
weekly journal Rayet Al Arab, who insisted on resisting occupation
peacefully - offering writers, including myself, a space to criticise the
occupation and its crimes, despite all the risks involved.

About 500 academics and 92 journalists have been murdered since the
invasion of Iraq. Hundreds more have been kidnapped, and many others have
fled the country after receiving threats against their lives. The human
costs are so high that many Iraqis believe that had there been a
competition between Saddam's regime and the Bush-Blair occupation over the
killing of Iraqi minds and culture, the latter would win by far. Sadly, I
am becoming one of them.

I am speaking as one who has been, from the start, a politically active
opponent of the Ba'ath regime's ideology and Saddam Hussain's dictatorship.
At times that was at the high personal cost of prison and torture. In 1984,
during the Iran-Iraq war, my family had to pay for the bullets used to
execute my cousin Fouad Al Azzawi before being allowed to collect his body.
But I find myself agreeing with many Iraqis, that life now is not just the
continuity of misery and death under new guises. It is much, much worse -
even without the extra dimensions of pillage, corruption and the total ruin
of the infrastructure.

Every day brings with it, due to the presence of occupation troops to
protect US citizens' safety and security, less safety and security for Iraqis.

The timing and method of the execution of Saddam Hussein proves that the US
administration is still criminally high on the cocktail of power,
arrogance, and ignorance. But above all racism: what is good for us is not
good for you. We are patriots but you are terrorists.

The US and their Iraqi puppets in the green zone chose to execute Saddam on
the first day of Eid al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice. This is the most
joyous day in the Muslim calendar when more than 2 million pilgrims in
Mecca start their ancient rituals, with hundreds of millions of others
around the world focused on the events. They then further humiliated
Muslims by releasing the official video of the execution, with the
69-year-old having a noose placed around his neck and being led to the
drop. The unofficial recording shows Saddam looking calm and composed, and
even managing a sarcastic smile, asking the thugs who taunted him "hiya hiy
al marjala?" ("is this your manliness?"), a powerful phrase in Arabic
popular culture connecting manliness to acts of courage, pride and
chivalry. He also managed to repeatedly say the Muslim creed as he was
dying, thus attaching himself in the last few seconds of his life to one
billion Muslims. Saddam had literally the final say. From now on, no Eid
will pass without people remembering his execution.

This was the climax of a colonial farce with the court proceedings' blatant
sectarian overtones welcomed by Bush and the British government as a "fair
trial". The occupation also welcomed the grotesque public execution as
"justice being done". Contrast this with the end of our hopes, as Iraqis in
opposition, of persuading our people of the humanity of democracy and how
it would, unlike Saddam's brutality, put an end to all abuses of human
rights, to execution in public, and to the death penalty.

It is no good the deputy prime minister John Prescott now condemning the
manner of Saddam's execution as "deplorable" when, as a representative of
one of the two main occupying powers, his government is both legally and
morally responsible for what took place.

It is hell in Iraq by all standards, and there is no end in sight to the
plight of Iraqi people. The resistance to occupation is a basic human right
as well as a moral responsibility. That was the case during the Algerian
war of independence, the Vietnamese war of independence, and it is the case
in Iraq now.

· Haifa Zangana is an Iraqi-born novelist and former prisoner of Saddam's


6) Behold Marx's twitch
By John Thornhill
Financial Times, Dec. 28, 2006

What does it take to kill an idea whose time has passed?

One would have thought--that several decades of experimentation with
communism would have convinced most observers that--it was a murderous and
economically sub-optimal creed. Even its most fervent supporters could
scarcely contest the view that it has spectacularly failed to live up to
its creators' utopian expectations.

According to the Black Book of Communism, published in 1997 by a group of
French scholars, communist regimes were responsible for the "class
genocide" of almost 100m people during the 20th century. Apologists for
Joseph Stalin used to justify such brutality by arguing that you could not
make an omelette without breaking eggs. But, as George Orwell once famously
responded: where's the omelette?

Leszek Kolakowski, one of the world's foremost students - and critics - of
Marxism, thought he had buried the communist idea as long ago as 1974. "The
only medicine communism has invented - the centralised, beyond social
control, state ownership of the national wealth and one-party rule - is
worse than the illness it is supposed to cure," he wrote in a damning open
letter published in the Socialist Register. Arguing that the communist idea
could never be successfully modified or revived, he concluded: "This skull
will never smile again."

His view seemed to be vindicated when China reverted to capitalism in the
1980s as the best means of promoting prosperity and the Soviet Union came
crashing down in 1991. The communist diehards in impoverished Pyongyang and
Havana who survive today are hardly the brightest advertisements for the
vitality of the Marxist faith.

Yet, it seems, the edges of Karl Marx's lips are beginning to twitch again
in Europe as fresh attempts are made to reanimate his ideas. Marx should
not be held accountable for those who acted on his (often contradictory)
analysis, his latter-day supporters claim. Besides, it is wrong to equate
Marxist theory with communist practice. As Marx himself declared, he was
not a Marxist. It would be as unfair to blame Marx for the excesses
committed in his name, they claim, as it would be to condemn Jesus for the
evils of the Spanish inquisition.

The latest surge of globalisation, which is in so many ways reminiscent of
the era in which Marx lived, has undoubtedly led to renewed interest in his
critique of capitalism. Globalisation may be lifting millions of people out
of absolute poverty, but it has also led to startling divergences in
relative wealth. How can it be, as a United Nations report recently
estimated, that the richest 2 per cent of the world's adult population own
more than 50 per cent of global assets while the poorest 50 per cent own
only 1 per cent? How can one understand capital without Das Kapital?

"Far from being buried under the rubble of the Berlin Wall, Marx may only
now be emerging in his true significance. He could yet become the most
influential thinker of the twenty-first century," Francis Wheen, his
British biographer, concludes in a recent essay on Das Kapital.

The eloquent Mr Wheen even helped to persuade BBC listeners that Marx was
the most important philosopher of all time in a radio poll conducted last year.

Across the Channel, Marx has never really gone out of fashion - even if
Marxist ideas have become an internalised rhetorical reflex among
politicians more than a meaningful programme for action.

François Bayrou, the leader of the centrist UDF party, argues that the
French left has never been properly demarxisée. Just look at the 2002
presidential elections in which two rival Trotskyist candidates, the head
of the Communist party of France, and the leader of the Revolutionary
Communist League won 17 per cent of the vote between them in the first round.

Much of the rhetoric from mainstream French politicians ahead of next
year's presidential elections has a decidedly Marxist ring to it.

Ségolène Royal, the presidential candidate of the opposition Socialist
party, constantly talks about the need to rebalance capital and labour
declaring it is her intention to "frighten the capitalists". Even Nicolas
Sarkozy, the presidential contender from the ostensibly centre-right ruling
UMP party, rails against "rogue bosses" who pay themselves obscene bonuses
while shifting jobs offshore.

One prominent socialist politician says that the new class divide in France
and elsewhere in the developed world is between the rich - including most
French people - and the super-rich.

This new globalised "aristocracy" of financiers, industrialists and
policymakers now spans the globe preaching "market fundamentalism". Its
members have more allegiances to each other than to any nation state. While
telling their employees that job insecurity, reduced welfare benefits and
lower salaries are the condition of the modern world, they don golden
parachutes to protect themselves from failure.

Jacques Attali, the polymath French financier, has also been busily buffing
up Marx's reputation as a prophet of our globalised times. In a recent
biography of Marx, Mr Attali argues that the 19th century philosopher still
has much to teach us about the nature of capitalism, the shocks that
modernisation inflicts on traditional societies, the rise of competitive
individualism and the spread of insecurity.

According to Mr Attali, Marx answers questions that are only now being
asked. It is only in our days that we can see Marx in his true light,
unencumbered by his association with the experience of communism.

However, Marx would surely have been grumpy about his new-found status as
an analyst of our times rather than as an agitator for revolutionary
change. "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways;
the point, however, is to change it," he wrote.

The skull may not be smiling so much as frowning.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006


7) Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Next planning meeting for Lynne Stewart tour:
Saturday, January 6 at 10:30 AM
Socialist Action Bookstore
298 Valencia Street (14th and Valencia)
San Francisco
[Message via]

Lynne Stewart and Michael Ratner have 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 through March 1.

Michael is the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights
and among the leading U.S. figures in the fight for fundamental
constitutional rights for those illegally detained and tortured
by U.S. authorities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Ratner has also
been involved in filing war crimes charges in a German court
against several figures in the Bush Administration.

Lynne Stewart is in the process of preparing her appeal to the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She was falsely
convicted of conspiracy to aide and abet terrorism in a trial
replete with constitutional violations including the government's
use of some 80,000 wiretaps, phone taps and other infringements
on the attorney client privilege. Lynne's appeal and her similarly
framed co-defendants Ahmed Sattar and Mohammed Yousry,
will be combined with a defense against government efforts
to reverse and lengthen the two-year jail sentence jail imposed
by District Court Judge John Koeltl. The government originally
asked for a 30-year sentence and is insisting that it be imposed.

In addition to Lynne and Michael, Jeff Mackler, a national
coordinator of the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal will speak
on the final stages in the fight for Mumia's life and freedom.
Oral arguments to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit are expected to be presented in Mumia's case in the
coming months. The government continues to seek a re-imposition
of the death penalty, while Mumia fights for a new trial and freedom.

To date the tour includes mass meetings in Palo Alto, Berkeley,
San Francisco and Marin. We need your help to schedule additional
meetings at colleges and universities, law schools, legal organizations,
new communities, etc. We need dedicated activists to help with
media work, publicity, outreach and all the other ingredients that
make for a successful tour in terms of political gains, new support
for Lynne, Mumia and Michael and serious fundraising. Lynne's last
visit raised in excess of $15,000. We expect to significantly top this
figure with the present tour. Your participation is essential. Your
attendance is required for the kind of effort that is vital to the
breakthrough victories we seek.

We have scheduled the next planning meeting for:

Saturday, January 6 at 10:30 AM
Socialist Action Bookstore
298 Valencia Street (14th and Valencia)
San Francisco

This will be a joint planning meeting of the tour co-sponsors
and friends including:
The Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
The National Lawyers Guild, Bay Are Chapter
The Middle East Children's Alliance
The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center

Everyone is welcome!
By agreement with Lynne and Michael, the tour proceeds are
to be divided by the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee and the
Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The basic themes
of the tour will be defense of civil liberties and democratic rights.

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


[Col. Writ. 12/14/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

It actually may be too early to tell, but are you getting the vibe that
Congress is going to betray you -- again?

The Congress -- both the House and the Senate -- are seen as honest and
trustworthy by an astonishingly low 14-and-16%, respectively, by most
Americans according to a recent poll. The converse of this, of course,
is that 84-86% of most Americans don't trust their Congress.

A term like that just ended at least partially explains that gap; for
Congress routinely sells its collective soul to the lobbyists and
corporate powers-that-be.

Only these wealthy forces could explain the actions and inactions of
Congress in its most recent term; complete servility to the
military-industrial-complex; the bankruptcy bill; their unbridled
hostility to a minimum wage -- you name it.

If you could afford their services -- cool; if you were a regular Joe
(or Joanna), working-class, or -- heavens forfend! -- poor -- forget it.

The Congress, in violation of the Constitution, ceded its power to the
President, and the executive has made a complete mess of every power it
was granted.

The mid-term elections, thought by many to have been a partial remedy of
this disaster, was predicated upon the wide public will to get out of Iraq.

The new congress was not yet in their seats, and already there are
whispers in the air of sending *more* troops to Iraq!

The march towards betrayal of the public will may have already begun.

As journalist Richard Swift explained in his book, *The No-Nonsense
Guide to Democracy* (Toronto, Ontario: New Internationalist Publ,
Ltd./Between the Lines, 2002), today's political parties strive to
actually be less and less *representative*:

"Such parties run the ideological spectrum from Right to Left (although
here differences between them are certainly narrowing). ... Such parties
have loose ideological commitments and use a vaguely populist rhetoric
(often of the Left) while campaigning. They typically contain a number
of powerful factions and interest groups each of which stakes a claim on
policy and economic awards once the party is in power ...

"Under most present circumstances these 'representatives' are only
answerable to us in a very general sense. Once they have been elected
any number of factors may weigh more heavily for them than the wishes of
their constituents; their own views, Party discipline, personal ambition
*or the influence of powerful lobbies*. Voters by-and-large do not get
to hold them accountable until the next general election. In the
meantime they form a virtual dictatorship -- particularly if they are
part of a majority government." [pp. 102-3]

For millions of people, especially those who voted for Democrats, there
is the expectation that this new class (or new majority) would headline
an Iraq withdrawal.

Now, it looks less so.

As the new congressional majority forms, lobbyists are bellying up to
the bar to make new and lucrative deals -- and with money comes influence.

Americans may learn that, in politics, faces may change, and parties may
swap -- but the same game goes on.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal


9) In War of Vague Borders, Detainee Longs for Court
January 5, 2007

Ali al-Marri, whom the government calls a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda
and who is the only person on the American mainland still held
as an enemy combatant, spends his days in a small cell in solitary
confinement at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. When he
is in an ironic mood, his lawyers say, he calls the cell his villa.

Mr. Marri waits there for word from his wife, two sons and three
daughters, whom he last saw in 2001, just before his arrest in
Peoria, Ill., where he was studying computer science at Bradley

Letters arrive, but they are late and have words and sentences
blacked out. A note his wife sent to him 10 months ago landed
recently. It began with a standard Muslim invocation, but
a word was missing. Mr. Marri is pretty sure it was “Allah.”

But mostly Mr. Marri waits for word from a federal appeals
court, which will soon rule on one of the most urgent questions
in American law, one his case presents in stark form: May the
government indefinitely detain a foreigner living legally in the
United States, without charges and without access to the courts?

Mr. Marri, who is 41 and a citizen of Qatar, wants the right
to challenge President Bush’s assertion that he is a terrorist and
“a grave danger to the national security of the United States.”

The Bush administration says the courts cannot second-guess
the president when he decides that someone is an enemy
combatant, at least when noncitizens are involved. Detaining
combatants is a military rather than a criminal matter, the
administration says, adding that its purpose is not to punish
the prisoner but to stop him from returning to the battlefield.

The implications of that position are startling, according to
a brief filed last month in Mr. Marri’s case by some 30
constitutional scholars. “The government’s interpretation
would be vastly threatening to the liberty of more than 20
million noncitizens residing in the United States,” the brief
said, “exposing them to the risk of irremediable indefinite
detention on the basis of unfounded rumors, mistaken
identity, the desperation of other detainees subject to
coercive interrogation, and the deliberate lies of actual

Kathleen M. Blomquist, a spokeswoman for the Justice
Department, disputed that contention.

“Of all the terrorists currently in the custody of the United
States military, al-Marri is the only one who was captured
in the United States,” Ms. Blomquist said, adding that the
notion that millions of people are at risk is “unfounded
and absurd.”

Mr. Bush’s determination that Mr. Marri is an enemy combatant,
she said, was based on substantial evidence, including “his
association with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, mastermind of the
9/11 attacks, and files found on his computer concerning
chemical weapons of mass destruction.”

Mr. Marri maintains his innocence, his lawyers say. But they
have refused to offer point-by-point rebuttals of the
government’s detailed assertions, calling instead for
prosecutors to offer evidence to back them up in court.

“In a civilized society and under American law and tradition,”
said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer for Mr. Marri with the Brennan
Center for Justice at New York University School of Law,
“the government has the obligation to prove its case.”

One of Mr. Marri’s brothers, Mohammed Marri, in a telephone
interview from Qatar, rejected the charge that Mr. Marri is
a terrorist. “For sure it’s not true,” he said.

A third brother, Jarallah, is at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, held
as an enemy combatant based on accusations that he had
visited a Qaeda camp. “This is not a proper way to treat
other people from other countries,” Mohammed Marri said
of his brothers and other detainees. “If they are guilty,
let them prove it in court.”

An Exclusive Club

The Charleston brig can hold 288 military prisoners and 6 enemy
combatants, but there have never been more than 3 in the exclusive
enemy combatant club. Two of them are now gone.

One of them, Yaser Hamdi, was freed and sent to Saudi Arabia
after the United States Supreme Court allowed him to challenge
his detention in 2004. Jose Padilla was transferred to the criminal
justice system last year just as the Supreme Court was considering
whether to review his case. That leaves only Mr. Marri.

Mr. Hamdi and Mr. Padilla are American citizens, but Mr. Marri
is not. They were seized abroad or on their way back to the United
States, while Mr. Marri was living what seemed to be an ordinary life,
in Peoria, a city often caricatured as the nation’s most ordinary,
with a family and a minivan.

The government contends in a partly declassified declaration
from a senior defense intelligence official, Jeffrey N. Rapp, and
in a recent book by former Attorney General John Ashcroft, that
Mr. Marri was a Qaeda sleeper agent sent to the United States
to commit mass murder and disrupt the banking system.

The assertions have not been tested in court, and human rights
groups say they are based on unreliable evidence “There is
substantial reason to believe,” lawyers for two of the groups
wrote in a brief in November, “that the allegations of the Rapp
declaration are derived from the torture of two men interrogated
at Guantánamo Bay and other detention sites: Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.”

The government says that Mr. Hawsawi was one of the
financiers of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. Rapp’s declaration cites the personal views of Mr. Mohammed,
who is often referred to as K.S.M. “K.S.M. considered al-Marri an
ideal sleeper agent,” Mr. Rapp wrote.

Kept in Isolation

Mr. Marri was kept in isolation at the brig and, according to his
court filings, subjected to tough interrogation. Interrogators
threatened to send him to Egypt or Saudi Arabia, according
to a lawsuit filed on his behalf in 2005, “where, they told him,
he would be tortured and sodomized and where his wife would
be raped in front on him.”

“By winter ’05,” Andrew J. Savage, who also represents Mr. Marri,
said in a recent interview, “I genuinely thought he was losing his
mind. He told me in this sort of indirect way that he might not
be able to hold on, that his mind was playing tricks on him.”

Mr. Padilla’s lawyers have said that their client’s time in the brig
was so grueling that he is not fit to stand trial. But while Mr. Padilla
was passive, Mr. Marri pushed back. He put wet toilet paper
on the video camera, for instance. The brig responded by taking
away his mattress, Koran and hygienic products, including his
toilet paper.

“There is almost nothing to distract him from his torment,” his
lawyers wrote in the lawsuit, “and he therefore becomes
preoccupied with his pain and the degradation he suffers.”

Perhaps as a consequence of the lawsuit, conditions have

When Mr. Marri’s lawyers were first allowed to see him in
October 2004, after the decision in Mr. Hamdi’s case, Mr. Marri
was behind a transparent barrier and bound in leg-irons and
handcuffs that were linked to a belly-chain and fastened
to the floor. Officials from the Defense Intelligence Agency
and the brig were present, and the conversation was

On a recent visit, Mr. Savage said, he met his client in a visiting
lounge. Mr. Marri, who was not restrained, was wearing stylish
bifocals rather than institutional prison glasses. He was also
wearing a watch, which makes it easier for him to know when
to pray.

Mr. Savage brought hummus and pita bread. “We sat down, we
broke bread, and we had a three-and-a-half hour conversation,
unmonitored,” Mr. Savage said.

Mr. Marri is now allowed to watch television in the evening, but
not the news. He reads newspapers and magazines, but they
are edited. “Brig staff remove all materials associated with the
war on terror from them,” Cmdr. Stephanie L. Wright, the brig’s
commanding officer, said in court filing in July.

Sometimes that makes for a thin newspaper. “All I get is sports
and obits,” Mr. Marri has complained, Mr. Savage said.
He is critical of the former, saying there is not enough
soccer coverage.

The Defense Department has allowed journalists and others
to tour the Guantánamo facility, where Mr. Marri’s brother Jarallah
and 400 other men are being held. All of the Guantánamo prisoners
are foreigners who were seized abroad. The government has
not asserted that the brothers were working together.

The Defense Department refused a recent request to inspect
the Charleston brig. A spokesman, Cmdr. J. D. Gordon, cited
“operational security concerns surrounding the detention of
an alleged al Qaeda-linked operative in the U.S. mainland,”
a reference to Mr. Marri. Commander Gordon added that
“it has always been our policy to treat all detainees humanely.”

Return to the United States

Mr. Marri spent eight years in the United States as a young man,
graduating from Bradley with an undergraduate degree in business
administration in 1991. When he returned to the United States
10 years later, he brought his family.

In his declaration, Mr. Rapp noted that Mr. Marri’s profile “differed
significantly from that of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers.” Those
differences, Mr. Rapp said, made Mr. Marri all the more attractive
to Al Qaeda.

The years between Mr. Marri’s two stints at Bradley are a mystery.
The government says he trained at a Qaeda camp in Afghanistan
for about a year and a half between 1996 and 1998, specializing
in poisons. The government also says that Mr. Marri visited the
United States briefly in 2000, which Mr. Marri has denied.

In the summer of 2001, Mr. Rapp wrote, Mr. Mohammed introduced
Mr. Marri to Osama bin Laden. Mr. Marri “offered to be an
Al Qaeda martyr,” Mr. Rapp wrote.

“Al Qaeda instructed al-Marri that it was imperative that he arrive
in the United States prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and that if al-Marri
could not do so, that he should cancel all his plans and go
to Pakistan,” Mr. Rapp wrote.

The Marris arrived in Peoria on Sept. 10, 2001.

Mr. Marri soon came to the attention of the F.B.I., which first
interviewed him less than a month later. In December, agents
searched his laptop, finding “research consistent with the tradecraft
and teachings associated with Al Qaeda,” Mr. Rapp wrote. Mr. Marri
was arrested on Dec. 12, 2001, and held as a material witness
at the request of prosecutors in New York. He was indicted two
months later on charges of credit card fraud. In January 2003, the
government added charges of lying to federal agents and financial
institutions, and identity theft. Mr. Marri pleaded not guilty.
His family has since returned to the Middle East.

For a year and a half, the government pursued a conventional criminal
case. Mr. Ashcroft, in his book “Never Again,” which was published
in October, wrote that Mr. Marri “rejected numerous offers to improve
his lot” by cooperating with investigators. “He insisted,” Mr. Ashcroft
wrote, “on becoming a ‘hard case.’ ”

In June 2003, as the case was nearing trial, the government abruptly
changed course, taking Mr. Marri out of the criminal system and moving
him into indefinite military detention. That means, Mr. Ashcroft later
wrote, that Mr. Marri can be held “at least until the war against
Al Qaeda was over.”

In its rush to move Mr. Marri, the government short-circuited its
criminal case. On hearing that a federal judge in Peoria would allow
Mr. Marri’s lawyers to file papers opposing the transfer as long
as the criminal case was alive, the government agreed to dismiss
the criminal charges with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled.

The decision, however, would not prevent the government from
charging Mr. Marri with other crimes outlined in Mr. Rapp’s

The declaration has served the purpose for which it was designed.
In August, it persuaded Henry F. Floyd, a federal judge in Spartanburg,
S.C., to deny a habeas corpus petition challenging Mr. Marri’s detention.
Saying that Mr. Marri had “offered nothing more than a general denial”
of the assertions in the declaration, Judge Floyd dismissed the petition.

Neither side was happy with the ruling. Mr. Marri has appealed
to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in
Richmond, saying that the president does not have the power
to detain him as an enemy combatant.

A foreigner living legally in the United States, his lawyers say, is not
the same as a soldier captured on a battlefield. Even if the president
does have the power, they say, he should be required to support his
assertions with evidence.

The government argues that Judge Floyd gave Mr. Marri too full
a hearing. It cited the recent Military Commissions Act, which says
that the courts have no jurisdiction to hear challenges from any alien
“who has been determined by the United States to have been properly
detained as an enemy combatant.”

The case will be heard Feb. 1

The government offered Mr. Marri a sort of consolation prize should
the appeals court dismiss his case. It said he could try to persuade
a combatant status review tribunal, convened by the Defense
Department, that he was not an enemy combatant. That would
apparently be the first such proceeding on the mainland; all of the
others known to have been conducted were at Guantánamo Bay.

A Different View

In a brief filed in November, eight former Justice Department officials,
including Janet Reno, the attorney general in the Clinton administration,
said that taking Mr. Marri out of the criminal system as his case
approached trial “has given to the appearance of manipulation
of the judicial process.” The brief listed several criminal statutes
available to prosecute people accused of terrorism along with many
successful prosecutions under them.

“The criminal justice system has proven that it can make the cases,”
Ms. Reno said in an interview. “For the president to be able to
designate someone as an enemy combatant, without process
and without regulation, just doesn’t make any sense and
isn’t necessary.”

Ms. Blomquist, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said, “While
we respect the views of former law enforcement officials, the
United States cannot afford to retreat to a pre-September 11
mind-set that treats terrorism solely as a domestic law
enforcement problem.”

Mr. Marri shared a fantasy with one of his lawyers not long ago.
“I’d love to be taken back to Saudi Arabia and they would beat the”
— here, he swore — “out of me for six months,” Mr. Marri said,
according to Mr. Savage. “It would be brutal, but it would be finite.”


10) F.B.I. Lent Help on 2 Occasions to Nomination of Rehnquist
January 5, 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (AP) — The F.B.I.’s file on former Chief Justice
William H. Rehnquist, made public more than a year after his death,
indicates that the Nixon and Reagan administrations enlisted
the bureau’s help in blunting criticism of him at Senate confirmation

Administration officials apparently hoped to prevent any surprises
from derailing his confirmation, both when he was nominated
an associate justice by President Richard M. Nixon in 1971 and
when he was named chief justice by President Ronald Reagan
in 1986.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released 1,561 pages of
Rehnquist documents on Wednesday to The Associated Press,
other news organizations and scholars in response to requests
that were made under the Freedom of Information Act after the
chief justice’s death in September 2005. An additional 207
pages were withheld under federal law, and the bureau said
an entire section of his file could not be found.

In 1971, the papers show, Deputy Attorney General Richard G.
Kleindienst directed the F.B.I. to investigate witnesses who were
planning to testify against the Rehnquist confirmation at
a Senate hearing. Fifteen years later, during the Reagan
administration, the bureau was enlisted to conduct similar
background checks.

Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina,
was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when
Justice Rehnquist was nominated to be chief justice, and
John R. Bolton was an assistant attorney general. In a
memorandum found in the file, a Justice Department
official told a counterpart at the bureau, “Thurmond just
gave these names to Bolton they will testify for the Democrats
and we want to know what they are going to say.”

The file also offers insight into the hallucinations and other
symptoms of withdrawal that occurred when Justice Rehnquist,
suffering from back problems, stopped using a prescription
painkiller in 1981. A doctor was quoted as saying that Justice
Rehnquist had tried to escape a hospital in his pajamas and had
imagined that the Central Intelligence Agency was plotting
against him.


By Jack A. Smith
Hudson Valley (NY) Activist Newsletter, Jan. 4, 2007

This month, on Jan. 17, marks the 16th anniversary of the U.S. war against
Iraq. So far, a total of 2.25 million Iraqis have died, the great majority
of them civilians, in all three connected phases of the war. U.S. battle
deaths throughout these years amount to about 3,200.

PHASE ONE: “Desert Storm” lasted from Jan. 17 to March 2 of 1991 after a
six-month buildup. This is the war that put Pentagon Inc. back in the
destruction business after declaring bankruptcy in Vietnam.

The U.S. Army hung its head for 15 years after Vietnam while a select group
of generals led by Colin Powell figured out how to win the next unjust war
without encountering massive resistance from the American people. Powel
invented the doctrine named after him which was tested in Iraq 1991: Use
overwhelming force to bomb the civilian and state infrastructure to kingdom
come until the enemy died from within; avoid ground fighting, especially in
a guerrilla environment; use professionals, not politically unreliable
conscripts; make the war very short; keep the press away from the front
lines except under Pentagon supervision; enlist plenty of allies to convey
the impression the war is popular and moral; keep U.S. casualties very low
so the civilians back home don’t get upset by American deaths; and pile up
the dead on the other side so there can be victory parades, backslapping and
spirited chanting of USA!, USA!, USA!

Desert Storm resulted in the deaths of between 150,000 to 200,000 Iraqis,
soldiers and civilians. Over 500,000 U.S. military personnel were engaged
in Desert Storm. The Pentagon lists 148 as battle deaths, including 37 who
died from “friendly fire.” The U.S. never occupied Iraq but bombed it
continuously for 42 days with 110,000 aircraft sorties dropping almost
90,000 tons of explosives. Thousands of missiles were launched from the sea.

Iraq was decimated. Iraq’s entire civil and state infrastructure was
shattered — transportation, telephone service, water supplies, hospitals,
military facilities, schools, stores, farms, everything. More than 90% of
Iraq’s electrical power was destroyed the first day of the bombing. In some
cases it took years to restore electrical power; in some cases, because the
war never ended, it’s still not operating. Ramsey Clark told the whole real
story about Desert Storm in “The Fire This Time.” It’s so honest and
revealing it will never be on a high school reading list.

On Feb. 26, 1991, the U.S. Air Force vindictively attacked Iraqi soldiers,
mostly very young draftees, after they withdrew from Kuwait to southern
Iraq, backs to the war, heading home. Clark wrote “Iraqi forces began
retreating along the Basra Road. U.S. planes bombed both ends of the road
[so the vehicles and troops couldn’t move] and proceeded to attack the long
rows of cars along a 7-mile stretch. The U.S. killed thousands in the
‘turkey shoot,’ including many civilians fleeing Kuwait.“ On Feb. 28 the
U.S. agreed to a ceasefire, but on March 2, the 24th Mechanized Infantry
Division slaughtered thousands more Iraqi soldiers in a post-ceasefire

Asked how many Iraqi civilians died, Powell, then Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, answered disdainfully, “It’s not a number I’m terribly
interested in.” And why should he — the proud symbol of resurgent American
militarism, the man who made it possible for the officer corps to once again
strut and preen — why should he have an interest in counting yet another
superfluous Iraqi family torn apart by cluster bombs?

Dick Cheney was President George H. W. Bush’s Defense Secretary at the time.
A few days after Desert Storm ended the man who now functions as White
House puppet master told the Los Angeles Times, in regard to Iraqi deaths,
“If anybody is curious about what we think happened, we think there were a
lot of Iraqis killed.” Great joke, Dick. Great little war.

PHASE TWO : The draconian U.S.-UN sanctions against Iraq actually began in
August of 1990, soon after Iraqi troops entered Kuwait, but didn’t become
seriously effective until the day Desert Storm ended. The deaths caused by
the war were but a prelude to much worse horrors caused by the sanctions,
which ultimately killed at least 1.5 million Iraqi civilians, according to
UN estimates. We look back at that “moderate” sector of the U.S. antiwar
movement which in the days leading up to Desert Storm put forward the
demand, “Sanctions , Not War,” and can only shake our heads.

One of the main purposes of the sanctions was to force the Baghdad regime
to hand over its weapons of mass destruction. Remember them? Another purpose
was to prevent Iraq from ever rebuilding its civil infrastructure or its
military prowess. It still hasn’t. Baghdad was denied the ability to import
materials to reconstruct the electrical grid, to clean up and pump potable
water supplies, to repair wrecked transportation, to rebuild factories, to
import fertilizers, medicines and foodstuffs. Much of Iraq is desert. It
always imported food. But its ability to sell oil, its one big export, was
severely curtailed by the sanctions. Children starved. America watched, and
all it saw was the White House Propaganda Department’s larger than life,
demonized figure of the Arch-Fiend, the Devil Himself, Hitler Incarnate, the
Baby-Killer-of-Baghdad, and he’s coming after us — SADDAM !

During the mid-1990s the UN officially estimated that half the Iraqi
civilian dead from the sanctions were very young children suffering from
malnutrition, water-borne diseases, and lack of medications due to U.S.
embargo. It was at this time, in May 2006, when U.S. UN Ambassador Madeline
Albright was asked by “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl, “We have
heard that half a million children have died [in Iraq]. I mean, that is more
children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”
Albright replied: “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we
think, the price is worth it.” President Bill Clinton, the iron-willed
enforcer of killer sanctions and the original champion of regime-change in
Iraq, soon named Albright Secretary of State, and not one senator at her
confirmation hearing inquired about her well-known remark.

Untold thousands more Iraqis, who are not included in our death count
because no figures exist, were killed in continuous bombings by U.S. and
British fighter planes from the spring of 1991 until the invasion of March
2003. They attacked at least once a month, sometimes in murderous attacks
for several days. The Clinton Administration recalled the weapons inspectors
from Iraq before launching a long series of deadly bombing raids starting in
December 1998. We held a small protest in Kingston, about 100 people. A
passing motorist shouted “Go Back to Iraq.” Clinton’s bombings lasted to the
summer of 1999, amounting to 10,000 sorties that killed hundreds of Iraqis.
The newspapers to this day say President Saddam Hussein kicked the
inspectors out but he just didn’t let them back in after it was revealed in
January 1999 that Clinton planted spies among the inspectors who secretly
informed Washington about what targets to bomb.

Interviewed about the long bombing campaign by the Washington Post on Aug.
30, 1999, U.S. Brig. General William Looney declared: “If they turn on the
radars we're going to blow up their goddamn SAMs [surface-to-air missiles].
They know we own their country. We own their airspace.… We dictate the way
they live and talk. And that's what's great about America right now. It's a
good thing, especially when there's a lot of oil out there we need.”

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter began speaking out frequently about
Iraq in 2000. He insisted that all Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction had
been destroyed by the end of 1997. He even said this information was in
Washington’s possession for two years. Few paid attention. Only the left
seemed to be listening, as it always does when it senses the warmakers are
about to run amok once again.

President George W. Bush, Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the
neocons almost attacked Iraq before the smoke cleared from the World Trade
Center on 9/11, but decided to hit poor, bedraggled Afghanistan first
because nobody in the rest of the world would care enough to complain, and
they needed more time to plan for the Big Oil Grab. Everything was flags and
yellow ribbons in those dreadful days. We held another demonstration in
Kingston against the new war. A passing motorist in a two-flag SUV yelled,
“Go back to Afghanistan.”

During the nine months leading up to the 2003 invasion, while President Bush
was insisting he had “no plans” to attack Iraq, the U.S. flew nearly 22,000
sorties over Iraqi territory, destroying Iraqi air defenses in preparation
for the impending new war that had been on the neoconservative hit list
since late 1991.

PHASE THREE: The antiwar movement was wonderful then, in the months leading
up to phase 3. ANSWER brought over 100,000 antiwarriors to Washington in
October 2002 and then came back with a million more of us in January 2003,
among many pre-emptive peace protests against an impending pre-emptive war.
We got 2,000 peace people to Kingston that October as well, and of course
some clown suggested that we “go back to Iraq,” but we were strong then, and
laughed as we marched through uptown streets.

The details about the Bush Administration’s fabrications that paved the way
for the March 2003 invasion need not be repeated. The U.S. assertion of its
imperial imperative started with the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting
in air, producing those abrupt flashes of bright light exploding over the
Baghdad night, illuminating the grinning skull of Rumsfeld the Great,
mumbling “bubble, bubble toil and trouble” as he savored the shock, the awe,
the magnificence of his plan, his war, his triumph.

Congress wrapped itself in red, white and blue bunting as always, and caved
in as always, so it ended up a bipartisan war as always, and it still is
bipartisan once we examine the tiny print on the back of the ballots many so
hopefully cast last November, reading in the case of 90% of the candidates:
“Redeemable in deeds at one one-hundredth of expressed value.”

Bush ended the sanctions shortly after the U.S. toppled the Baghdad
government, planning to have Iraqi oil money pay for the entire “three-week
war.” Rummy forgot the Powell Doctrine — crush ‘em fast and get out before
the roof collapses — and three weeks turned into the three years and 10
months to reach where we are today, and there is still a long war to go.

The number of Iraqi dead in this the latest phase of the war is over
600,000, mostly civilians of course. Iraq is still a ruin from 1991
compounded by the attacks of 1992, ‘93, ‘94, ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, 2000,
‘01, ‘02, ‘03,’ 04, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07….

So Happy New Year Baghdad! Revel in your new democracy. Please, please,
don’t thank us. We have been only too glad to help out. And we have a
surprise New Year present for you: All together now — Ding-Dong, Saddam is
dead, the Wicked Saddam is dead! — killed on the orders of George W. Bush,
our hangin’ president, and Prime Minister al-Quisling of your
collaborationist government. [Boisterous applause]

Bush had the effrontery to describe President Hussein’s murder, accompanied
as it was by taunting and humiliation from a death-squad of official
executioners, as “an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a
democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself.” The trial of Saddam
Hussein was a sham and a shame. The European Union, the UN Human Rights
Commission and hundreds of human rights and progressive groups denounced the
execution as barbaric and many also slammed the trial as a mockery of

Bush has chosen to ignore the verdict for peace in the November elections
and to continue the quest for victory and its spoils. The White House is
planning to increase the number of troops in Iraq and to authorize a
substantial permanent jump in the size of the Army, Marines and Special
Forces. The new Democratic-controlled Congress will push aside its small
minority of progressives and refuse to erect any barriers Bush cannot easily
sidestep in terms of funding the war, or enlarging the size of he Armed

In a statement on the war in late December, Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice, with words reminiscent of an earlier Secretary of State, said Bush’s
fiasco in Iraq was “worth the investment” in American lives and dollars,
reminding us of the Vietnam War slogan, “War is good for business, invest
your son.” She didn’t mention Iraqi lives. Hardly anyone does now. It’s
always American lives that count. Even many in our peace movement seem to
express public grief only for their own. Maybe it’s unpatriotic in these
conservative and ultra-nationalist times to mourn the victims of American
aggression, when they have had the gall over these 16 years to kill one of
our troops for every 703 of their children, women and men. Iraq is
bleeding to death as America watches on TV, yawns and turns and switches

Today we’re learn that Bush’s speech next week “will reveal a plan to send
more U.S. troops to Iraq.” Today we learn that “American Generals agree:
Bush doesn’t want withdrawal, he wants victory.” Today we learn that the
Democratic Congressional leadership has reaffirmed its commitment not to
block the next “emergency” war appropriation. Today we learn from the
latest opinion poll in Iraq that “90% of those polled said life was better
before the American invasion.” Today we learn that Baghdad has “ordered an
investigation into the abusive behavior at the execution of Saddam Hussein.”
Today we learn that the new U.S.-backed UN Secretary-General “Defends Death
Penalty for Hussein.” Today we are told that “more than 108,000 Iraqis left
their homes and registered as refugees last month.” Today we learn that “in
the last 10 months, 432,000 Iraqis have left their homes.”

We can’t wait for tomorrow’s headlines: Bush Ponders New War Moves; Dems
Ponder New War Moves; Blair Ponders New War Moves. Paris Hilton Ponders New
War Moves; Gerald Ford Arises From Dead, Ponders New War Moves.

Every day it gets worse for the Iraqi people, just when it seems it can get
no worse. Every day for almost 16 years these people have suffered as a
result of actions taken by our government in our name and with our money.

If an American baby was born on Jan. 17, 1991, that child will be 16 in a
few days. Happy Birthday, kid, and don’t forget to thank God you are an
American because we’re number one. It’s a great age to be, 16, unless that
baby was born in Iraq and may be long dead by now — starved, bombed, caught
in a crossfire. Who knows, who mourns, who cares, in the home of the brave
and the land of the free in the midst of an endless war for profit and
plunder to benefit corporate tycoons and a ruling class that wouldn’t even
think of having us at their dinner table.

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. You got 16. Wanna try for 32?


12) Execution Memories Refuse To Go Away
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

*BAGHDAD, Jan. 5 (IPS) - The footage of the execution of Saddam Hussein
has generated controversy in Iraq that is refusing to die down.*

Footage of Saddam's last moments, taken by an onlooker with a mobile
phone, shows the former dictator appearing calm and composed while
dealing with taunts from witnesses below him. The audio reveals several
men praising the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Mohammed Bakr al-Sadr,
founder of the Shia Dawa Party, who was killed by Saddam in 1980.

"Peace be upon Muhammad and his followers," shouted someone near the
person who filmed the events. "Curse his enemies and make victorious his
son Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada." These chants are commonly used by
members of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia..

There has been a huge international backlash to the footage. In India
millions of Muslims demonstrated against the execution being carried out
during the sacred festival of Eid.

Across Iraq, Shias seem mostly pleased. "Of course things will be better
now that Saddam is dead," Saed Abdul-Hussain, a cleric from the Shia
dominated city Najaf told IPS in Baghdad. "It is like hitting the snake
on the head and I hope his followers will hand over their weapons and
accept the fact that they lost."

But few believe that Saddam was inspiring the armed resistance.

"Who is Saddam and why would he affect anything after his death," a
55-year-old teacher from Fallujah told IPS. "The idea of his leading the
resistance from jail is too ridiculous for a sane man to believe. We
know that Mujahideen (holy warriors) are the only ones who will kick the
occupation out of the country."

Others believe unity between Iraqis is the only answer to the occupation.

"Saddam was terminated the day he was captured by occupation forces,"
Salah al-Dulaimy from Ramadi told IPS. "Things will continue to be as
bad as they are for both Iraqis and Americans because nothing has really
changed. A president who was removed from power four years ago is just
an ordinary man although the way he was executed and the timing of the
execution was a blessing to so many Iraqis, who realised the necessity
of being united no matter what religion and sect they belong to."

Facing broadening criticism over release of the mobile phone footage,
the Iraqi government arrested a guard accused of filming the execution.
Iraqi officials said on Wednesday that the execution chamber was
infiltrated by outsiders bent on inflaming sectarian tensions.

"Whoever leaked this video meant to harm national reconciliation and
drive a wedge between Shias and Sunnis," National Security Adviser
Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, who was among 20 officials and other witnesses
present at the execution at dawn last Saturday told reporters.

Rubaie later insisted that there was nothing improper about the shouting
from the crowd, or the fact that executioners and officials danced
around Saddam's body. "This is the tradition of the Iraqis, when they do
something, they dance around the body and they express their feelings,"
he said in an interview to CNN.

A senior Interior Ministry official told reporters that the hanging was
supposed to be carried out by hangmen employed by the Interior Ministry
but that "militias" had managed to infiltrate the executioners' team.

The airing of the footage has further damaged the government of
embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and possibilities of
reconciliation between political and sectarian groups in Iraq.

On Thursday the Iraqi government postponed the hanging of two of Saddam
Hussein's companions. Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikrit, Saddam's half brother
and former intelligence chief, along with Awad Ahmed al-Bandar, head of
Saddam's revolutionary court, were to have been hanged Thursday.

A senior official from Maliki's office told a reporter that the
executions were postponed "due to international pressure."

U.S. Presidential press secretary Tony Snow, formerly of Fox News,
dismissed calls to join international condemnation of Saddam Hussein's
execution. "The government is investigating the conduct of some people
within the chamber and I think we'll leave it at that," Snow told
reporters. "But the one thing you got to keep in mind is that you got

The U.S. military claims it had no control over the events at the
execution, despite handing Saddam over to Iraqi authorities just minutes
before the footage was taken. The U.S. military then transported the
body to Tikrit where it was later buried.

Many Iraqis simply want the bloodshed and chaos that has engulfed their
country to end.

"I just pray to Allah to stop the bleeding that started when those
strangers came into our country," 65-year-old Ahmed Alwan from Baghdad
told IPS. "There is no future for us to think about under such a mess,
and killing Saddam will just add more hatred between Iraqis, especially
with the savage comments that appeared on the video."

Most Iraqis seem skeptical of the current U.S.-backed Iraqi government,
which has been unable to restore even basic services, let alone security.

"Our government thought they could fool us again by killing the man,"
30-year-old grocer Atwan in the Hurriya district of Baghdad told IPS.
"We have had enough and what we demand is a real change, or else we will
take another course regardless of what our religious and political
leaders tell us. What we want is a better life and real brotherhood
between Iraqis."

(Ali al-Fadhily is our Baghdad correspondent. Dahr Jamail is our
specialist writer who has spent eight months reporting from inside Iraq
and has been covering the Middle East for several years.)

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.


13) A New Commander, in Step With the White House on Iraq
January 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 — The selection of Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus to
serve as the senior American commander in Iraq signals an important
turn in United States strategy.

As a supporter of increased forces in Iraq, General Petraeus is expected
to back a rapid five-brigade expansion, in sharp contrast to his
predecessor, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who has been openly
skeptical that additional troops would help stabilize the country.

Having overseen the recent drafting of the military’s counterinsurgency
manual, General Petraeus is also likely to change the American military
operation in Baghdad. American forces can be expected to take up
positions in neighborhoods throughout the capital instead of limiting
themselves to conducting patrols from large, fortified bases
in and around the city.

The overarching goal of the American military operation may be
altered as well. Under General Casey, the principal focus has been
on transferring security responsibilities to the Iraqi security forces,
so American troops could gradually withdraw. Now, the emphasis
will shift to protecting the Iraqi population from sectarian strife
and insurgent attacks.

Since his appointment was disclosed Thursday, General Petraeus
has not spoken publicly about his plans for Iraq. But the doctrine
he has advocated suggests that he will want all five of the combat
brigades slated to go to Iraq as quickly as possible instead
of waiting for them to be phased in.

Before the selection of General Petraeus, there was some doubt
about whether the top Iraq commander would be an enthusiastic
executor of the new strategy President Bush is preparing to unveil
next week — one that could send 20,000 new troops to Iraq.
Now, the White House will have an articulate officer to champion
and shape that strategy, an important asset for an administration
that has decided to buck the tide of public opinion by deepening
the American military involvement in Iraq. While some Democratic
lawmakers have insisted that any increase be limited to a few
months, neither the While House nor General Petraeus would
support such a deadline.

To many civilians, the military seems monolithic. But in fact, there
has been a lively debate behind the scenes about the best way
to achieve the United States’ objectives in Iraq — or at least
to preserve a measure of stability as sectarian passions threaten
to engulf the country.

At one end of the spectrum have been General Casey, Gen. John P.
Abizaid, the head of the United States Central Command, and Lt. Gen.
Martin Dempsey, who is in charge of training Iraqi security forces.

They have advocated plans to hand over security responsibilities
to the Iraqis while gradually reducing American forces and shrinking
the number of American bases in Iraq, as conditions permit. Their
argument has been that a lengthy expansion of American forces
in Iraq will simply put off the day when Iraqis take more responsibility
for their security.

Taking a different view, other officers have argued for sending more
troops while stepping up economic efforts, the better to apply the
military’s new counterinsurgency doctrine. Progress in stabilizing
Iraq, they argue, will come only when the Iraqi public does not feel
that it needs militias or insurgent groups to ensure its security, and
when it concludes that its basic economic needs are being met.

Training and advising the Iraqi forces should continue to be an
important priority, these officers have argued, but the Iraqis cannot
be expected to shoulder the brunt of the security effort so quickly.

General Petraeus has been squarely in this camp, as was reflected
in the military’s new counterinsurgency field manual.

The United States has sought to apply the basic lessons of
counterinsurgency operations in Baghdad before — most notably
during Operation Together Forward II, the second phase of an
effort begun over the summer to reduce violence in Baghdad.

But that effort foundered when the United States and Iraqi
authorities failed to marshal sufficient forces to hold neighborhoods
after they were cleared of insurgents and militias, and when the Iraqis
failed to follow through with the job and reconstruction programs
that were intended to win over Iraqi citizens.

By all accounts, Mr. Bush plans to announce an expanded military
and economic push. But the United States will still have to contend
with the political realities in Iraq, including a Shiite-dominated
government that has often seemed more sectarian than inclusive,
and may not prove enthusiastic about a larger and more visible
role for the Americans.

At 54, General Petraeus has a long Army record and a diverse array
of contacts and supporters. Having earned a Ph.D. in international
relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, he
invited experts from Harvard, nongovernmental organizations and
policy groups to review an early draft of the counterinsurgency manual.

During the invasion, he led the 101st Airborne Division, which
sought to emphasize economic and political reconstruction efforts
in northern Iraq.

When L. Paul Bremer III, the second American civilian administrator
of Iraq, formally abolished the Iraqi Army without announcing a plan
to pay the former soldiers, General Petraeus approached one
of Mr. Bremer’s aides and delivered a clear message. The decision
to leave Iraqi soldiers without a livelihood was prompting angry
protests and putting the lives of American soldiers at risk.
Mr. Bremer later decided to pay the Iraqi troops.

In June 2004, General Petraeus was charged with training the new
Iraqi Army, a position he held for more than a year. It is a mission
that is critical to American efforts in Iraq but which is as yet a mixed

As the senior American officer in Iraq, General Petraeus will work with
Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, a subordinate who has day-to-day
command of the forces and who also supports a troop increase.

Instead of immediately confronting the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia
led by the cleric Moktada al-Sadr, the initial strategy is likely
to be more subtle: by trying to tamp down sectarian killings, American
troops — and the Iraqi forces they are partnered with — will try to
reduce the population’s reliance on militias for security, making
it easier for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki
to take the long-promised step of limiting the role of the militias.

Whether a modicum of stability can be achieved amid the violence
and sectarian agendas in Iraq is uncertain at best. But General Petraeus
seems determined to give the military’s new counterinsurgency plan
its most ambitious field test.


14) Bush Plan for Iraq Requests More Troops and More Jobs
January 7, 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 — President Bush’s new Iraq strategy calls for
a rapid influx of forces that could add as many as 20,000 American
combat troops to Baghdad in coming months, supplemented with
a jobs program costing as much as $1 billion intended to employ
Iraqis in projects painting schools and cleaning up streets, according
to American officials who are piecing together the last parts
of the initiative.

The American officials said that Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal
al-Maliki, formally agreed in a long teleconference on Thursday with
Mr. Bush to match the American troop increase, made up of five
combat brigades, by sending three additional Iraqi brigades to
Baghdad over the next month and a half.

Nonetheless, even in outlining the plan, some American officials
acknowledged deep skepticism about whether the new Iraq plan
could succeed. They said that two-thirds of the promised Iraqi
force would consist of Kurdish pesh merga units to be sent from
northern Iraq, and they said that some doubts remained about
whether they would show up in Baghdad or were truly committed
to quelling sectarian fighting.

Mr. Bush is expected to make the plan public in coming days,
probably in a speech to the country on Wednesday that will
cast the initiative as a joint effort by the United States and
Iraq to reclaim control of Baghdad neighborhoods racked
by sectarian violence. Officials said Mr. Bush was likely to be
vague on the question of how long the additional American forces
would remain on the streets of Baghdad. But they said American
planners intended for the push to last for less than a year.

The call for an American troop increase would put Mr. Bush
in direct confrontation with the leaders of the new Democratic
Congress, who said in a letter to the president on Thursday that
the United States should move instead toward a phased
withdrawal of American troops, to begin in the next four months.

A crucial element of the plan would include more than a doubling
of the State Department’s reconstruction efforts throughout the
country, an initiative intended by the administration to signal
that the new strategy would emphasize rebuilding as much

But previous American reconstruction efforts in Iraq have failed
to translate into support from the Iraqi population, and some
Republicans as well as the new Democratic leadership in
Congress have questioned whether a troop increase would
do more than postpone the inevitable and precarious moment
when Iraqi forces have to stand on their own.

When Mr. Bush gives his speech, he will cast much of the
program as an effort to bolster Iraq’s efforts to take command
over their own forces and territory, the American officials said.
He will express confidence that Mr. Maliki is committed to bringing
under control both the Sunni-led insurgency and the Shiite militias
that have emerged as the source of most of the violence.

Some aspects of the plan were reported by The Wall Street
Journal on Friday.

An increase of 20,000 troops would add significantly to the total
now assigned to Baghdad, though the phased escalation being
planned by the Bush administration would take several months
to carry out, the officials said. They would not say specifically
whether the American troop increase would be carried out
if the Iraqis failed to make good on their commitment to add
to their own ranks, but they emphasized that the American
influx could be re-evaluated at any point.

The American officials who described the plan included some
who said they were increasingly concerned about Mr. Maliki’s
intentions, and his ability to deliver. They said senior Bush
administration officials had been deeply disturbed by accounts
from witnesses to last Saturday’s hanging of Saddam Hussein,
who said they believed that guards involved in carrying
out the execution were linked to the Mahdi Army, the Shiite
militia that is headed by Moktada al-Sadr, whose name some
of the executioners shouted while Mr. Hussein stood
on the gallows.

“If that’s an indication of how Maliki is operating these days,
we’ve got a deeper problem with the bigger effort,” said one
official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing
internal administration deliberations over a strategy that
Mr. Bush has not yet publicly announced.

The White House has refused to talk publicly about any of the
decisions that Mr. Bush has made about his plan, which
is tentatively entitled “A New Way Forward.” Even though
speechwriters are already drafting Mr. Bush’s comments,
several of the crucial elements are not finalized, officials
warned. That apparently includes the exact amounts of money
Mr. Bush will ask of Congress to finance the jobs program,
or a longer-term job-training effort that will also be part
of the strategy.

Mr. Bush has previously promised to remake American
reconstruction efforts in Iraq, most notably in December 2005
when he said that the United States had learned from the failure
of efforts to rebuild major infrastructure, mostly run by American
companies. But subsequent efforts to focus on programs
that would bring more immediate benefits to Iraqis have
also faltered.

The details of Mr. Bush’s latest military, economic and political
initiatives were described by several sources, including some
who said they were doubtful that it would work. The jobs
program, noted one, “would have been great in 2003
or even 2004, but we are trying it now in a very different Iraq,”
one in which the passion for fighting for sectarian control
of neighborhoods may outweigh interests in obtaining

The American officials who described the program included
both advocates and critics of Mr. Bush’s new strategy, and
included representative of three different executive branch
departments. They would speak only on condition of anonymity
because they were discussing internal deliberations about
a plan that Mr. Bush had not yet announced.

The most immediate element of the new jobs program will
amount to a major expansion of what is known in the military
as the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which
provides funds to local officers to put civilians to work as
a way of reducing resistance to the American presence
in neighborhoods. While the effort has had some successes,
they have largely been temporary. As one senior White
House official noted in an interview recently, “You’d go
into a neighborhood, clear it, try to hold it, and come back
later and discover that it’s all been shattered.”

The new effort, officials said, would cost between a half-billion
and a billion dollars, some of which would be spent on other
efforts to achieve stability and train Iraqis for more permanent
jobs. Both the State Department and the Treasury Department
have been brought into that effort.

The plan also calls for a more than doubling of the “Provincial
Reconstruction Teams,” relatively small groups of State
Department officials who are empowered to coordinate
local reconstruction efforts, chiefly hiring Iraqi firms.
For much of the first half of 2006, the State Department
was engaged in a bureaucratic dispute with the Defense
Department about how these teams would be protected,
including exploration of a plan to hire private protective
forces that one White House official said “was too expensive.”
Now those teams will be expanded and embedded with the
combat brigades, officials said, in what would amount
to the latest effort to demonstrate to Iraqis that the American
forces in their midst were not simply occupiers.

Mr. Bush’s speech is widely expected to make the case that
Americans needed to commit to greater national sacrifice
as part of what Bush administration officials acknowledge
amounted to a last-ditch effort to salvage the mission in Iraq.

But almost as soon as his speech is done, a series of hearings
will begin on Capitol Hill that Democrats intend to use to
pick apart the details of the plan, with lawmakers questioning
administration officials about whether a troop increase
of any size can be successful this late in the war. Those
hearings will also likely focus on whether the expanded
American military commitment is linked to Iraqi military
performance, a point that Bush administration officials

would not address directly.

As described by those officials, Mr. Bush is stopping well short
of declaring that the beefed-up American force will be sent only
to Baghdad and Anbar Province, the seat of the Sunni Arab
insurgency, if the Iraqis also boost their own forces. But under
the phased increase being contemplated, the reality is that
every month between now and April or May, Mr. Bush will
have a chance to decide whether to send an additional
combat brigade into the country. “That’s our moment
of leverage,” one White House official said.

Officials said that a larger American troop commitment to Iraq
also would be used to illustrate Washington’s increased resolve
to deter adventurism by regional adversaries, especially Iran.
Mr. Bush’s speech is expected to include talk of a new diplomatic
initiative to shore up confidence among Washington’s Islamic
allies in the region as well as to warn its adversaries, officials
said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to begin
that initiative almost immediately after the speech, leaving for
the Middle East by next weekend.

In parallel to an enlarged Baghdad security operation, Mr. Bush
has already signaled his desire to expand the number of American
military trainers working with Iraqi security forces.

Thom Shanker contributed reporting.


Hudson Valley Activist Newspaper,
Jan. 4, 2007

Cuba is the only country in the world that enjoys “sustainable development,”
according to the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) “The Living Planet Report

In addition, despite unrelenting U.S. enmity, Cuba registered a 12.5%
increase in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the last 12 months, the
highest such indicator in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2006, according
to a Dec. 22 disclosure by Economy and Planning Minister Jose Luis
Rodriguez. The average GDP growth for the region was 5.3%.

In 2007, according to year-end figures supplied by the Havana government,
“Cuba will assign 22.6% of its GDP for public health and education, a figure
that is four times the standard of the Latin American nations for those
sectors.” Spending for health, education, culture, sports, security and
social assistance represent 69% of the 2007 budget.

Sustainable development, the WWF’s 44-page report points out in its section
on Human Development and Ecological Footprints, is “a commitment to
improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying
capacity of supporting ecosystems.”

The progress of countries toward sustainable development can be assessed
using the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development
Index (HDI) as an indicator of well-being, and the ecological footprint as a
measure of demand on the biosphere. The HDI is calculated from life
expectancy, literacy and education, and per capita GDP. UNDP considers an
HDI value of more than 0.8 to be high human development. A footprint lower
than 1.8 global hectares per person, the average biocapacity available per
person on the planet, could denote sustainability at the global level.

Successful sustainable development requires that the world, on average,
meets at a minimum these two criteria. As world population grows, less
biocapacity is available per person. In 2003, the latest period available
for measuring, Asia-Pacific and Africa regions were using less than world
average per person biocapacity, while the European Union countries and North
America had crossed the threshold for high human development. No region, nor
the world as a whole, met both criteria for sustainable development. Among
all countries, only Cuba qualified, the WWF pointed out in its October

Despite Washington’s economic and political subversion (see below), the
Havana government has organized a socialist society with a high level of
literacy, education, long life expectancy, low infant mortality (the lowest
rate in Latin America and the Caribbean), and efficiently low energy
consumption — the principal factors contributing to its sustainable

Cuba is a relatively poor developing country which emerged less than a
half-century ago from nearly 450 years of Spanish colonialism followed by 60
years of U.S. neocolonialism until the Cuban Revolution of Jan. 1, 1959 —
but it is the world’s undisputed leader in organic agriculture, and it is
making significant contributions to medical research, not to mention that
Cuban doctors are serving the people in poor developing countries throughout
the world. Also, according to the authoritative scientific journal Nature,
“Cuba has developed a considerable [scientific] research capability—perhaps
more so than any other developing country outside of Southeast Asia.”

In a message from his sick bed to the Cuban people on the 48th anniversary
of the revolution, ailing President Fidel Castro declared: “Humanity is
going through difficult times, marked by wars and dangers that arise
everywhere, plus a non-stop consumption process — typical of the globalized
imperialist system — which is exhausting important natural resources and
polluting the environment. That alone justifies our heroic struggle.”


[Col. Writ. 12/24/06] Copyright '06
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Within days the Bush regime is expected to announce its so-called "new
strategy" in Iraq -- the most talked-about plan being a surge in U.S.
forces in Iraq.

By 'surge' is meant the significant increase in troop size in that
beleaguered country, a plan meant to address the obvious failures in Iraq.

In light of the rumored 'surge', one wonders, what does it take for the
administration to listen to the voices of the People?

In February and March, 2003, the U.S. and much of the world spoke, with
millions marching in the streets of cities the globe over, against the
scourge of war.

The Bush regime ignored them. No -- "ignored" isn't right. President
Bush belittled the protests as 'a focus group.' As journalism professor
Robert Jensen notes in his book, *The Citizens of the Empire: The
Struggle to Claim Our Humanity* (San Francisco: City Lights Publ., 2004)
Bush's response to the "single largest public political demonstration in
history", was unbelievable:

"When asked a few days later about the size of the protest, he said:
'First of all, you know, size of protest, it's like deciding, well, I'm
going to decide policy based on a focus group. The role of a leader is
to decide policy based upon the security -- in this case, the security
of the people.'

"A focus group? Perhaps the leader of the free world was not aware that
a focus group is a small number of people who are brought together
(and typically paid) to evaluate a concept or product. Focus groups are
primarily a tool of businesses, which use them to figure out how to sell
things more effectively. Politicians also occasionally use them, for
the same purpose. That's a bit different from a coordinated gathering
of millions of people who took to the streets because they felt
passionately about an issue of life and death. As is so often the case,
Bush's comment demonstrated his ignorance and condescension, the
narrowness of his intellect and his lack of respect for the people he
allegedly serves." [pp. xi-xii]

Decades ago, during the height of the Vietnam War, presidents and their
military advisors extended the hostilities long after it was abundantly
clear that the conflict could not be won.

President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated it, but could not bring himself to
rein it in, for fear that history would judge him one who 'lost' Vietnam.

His successor, Richard M. Nixon further escalated the conflict, by

ordering bombing of neighboring countries. Some historians now say that
the escalation and continuation of the Vietnam war cost some 20,000
Americans lives; the numbers of Vietnamese, and other southeast Asians
are unknown to us.

The point is, the war and its needless carnage was extended for years,
at a horrific cost: to save U.S. face.

It seems that this not-so-distant history is repeating itself.

In a few weeks, we shall hear what "the Decider" has decided. You can
bet that it will conflict with the will of most Americans. What kind of
democracy is this?

Demonstrations don't matter. Elections don't matter. Study groups
don't matter.

No matter what most Americans think -- it doesn't matter.

Nothing matters -- but what the decider decides.

There's a word for that -- and it sure ain't democracy!

Americans have seemingly settled for a dictatorship of one -- in fact, a
dictatorship of disaster.

Like good little sheep, they plan to silently acquiesce as more of their
young people are slain on an altar slick with oil.

This isn't patriotism. It's the very essence of subservience.

There's another word for it.


Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal



The real Iraq Study Group
Forget Jim Baker's crew. The neocon hawks who sold the war, joined by
John McCain and Joe Lieberman, unveiled their new plan for "victory":
At least 25,000 new troops in combat roles well into 2008.
By Mark Benjamin

With Each Fallen Soldier, a Field of Flags Grows
January 6, 2007

Watada hearing tackles free speech
for soldiers, relevancy of truth
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist.
January 5, 2007

FOCUS | Images of Hanging Make Hussein a Martyr to Many

FOCUS | In Iraq New General, New Escalation

Fund banks on Cuba
A Miami-based closed-end fund focusing on companies that may
eventually benefit from trade ties with Cuba produced high returns,
as investors bet change is coming soon to the communist island.
Posted on Fri, Jan. 05, 2007

Bill Moyers | For America's Sake
In an adaptation of remarks made by Bill Moyers to a December 12
gathering in New York sponsored by The Nation, Bill Moyers says, "Everywhere
you turn you'll find people who believe they have been written out of
the story. Everywhere you turn there's a sense of insecurity grounded in
a gnawing fear that freedom in America has come to mean the freedom of
the rich to get richer even as millions of Americans are dumped from
the Dream. So let me say what I think up front: The leaders and thinkers
and activists who honestly tell that story and speak passionately of
the moral and religious values it puts in play will be the first
political generation since the New Deal to win power back for the people."

SOA Watch Activists Face Prison
[Formerly School of the Americas - renamed the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 (SOA/WHINSEC),
the controversial U.S. Army run school that trains
Latin American military and security]

Canada: Goodyear to Change Tire Plant
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company will stop producing tires
at its Valleyfield, Quebec, plant and turn it into a materials mixing
center by the end of June, cutting 800 jobs, the company said. Goodyear
expects to save about $40 million a year under the plan, which will cut
the hourly and salaried work force at the unionized plant to 200 from
about 1,000. Goodyear expects to take charges of $115 million to
$120 million, or $165 million to $170 million after tax, for
restructuring and accelerated depreciation at Valleyfield, with
most of the charges in the fourth quarter.
January 5, 2007

Living the New Year's Raid on Ramallah
By Dana Shalah, Live from Palestine,
5 January 2007
I never thought I would be so happy to come back home. I
am still disoriented and traumatized, and though I had
taken pain killers, and coffee after coffee, I just can't
bring myself to sleep. Early this morning while walking in
Ramallah, I took a road that brought awful memories into
my head. Last year, I witnessed one of the Israeli forces'
raids in Ramallah. Though it was from a distance, it was a
chilling experience to be totally surrounded by bullets
and blood. I have just come back from Ramallah where
together with my sister I was locked inside a building at
Al Manara, Ramallah's city center, for four hours.

With the New Year, will Ha'aretz's op-ed page be any
By Zachary Wales, The Electronic Intifada,
3 January 2007
On New Year's Day, notions of resolve, reform, or
reflection come as no surprise on newspaper editorial
pages. Similarly unsurprising are the op-eders that carry
on with business as usual. Things were no different on
Ha'aretz's opinion page, which kept an even keel of New
Yearisms. Rather untypical, however, was the limited role
that honesty played in the mix. The most curious example
was the lead editorial, -- often viewed as any paper's
mouthpiece -- entitled, "Our obligation to refugees, as

Why an academic boycott of Israel is necessary
By Lawrence Davidson, The Electronic Intifada,
3 January 2007
Let me begin by stating that any successful academic
boycott imposed upon Israeli institutions of higher
education will assuredly have an impact on the academic
freedom of Israeli scholars and teachers, at least in
terms of its expression beyond their national borders. Is
this acceptable? After all, other teachers and scholars
who obviously have a stake in academic freedom, will have
to cooperate with the boycott if it is to have an impact.
As one of those academics, my answer to this question is
that it is not only acceptable but absolutely necessary.

Boulevard in Newark Runs From Decline to Rebirth
January 5, 2007

Remain Silent? Some in Custody Spell It All Out
January 5, 2007

Bush Signing Statement Claims Power to Open Americans' Mail
President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open
Americans' mail without a judge's warrant. The president asserted his new
authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on December 20,
followed by a "signing statement."

Israel’s use of biological weapons in 1948
By Yossi Schwartz and Fred Weston
Thursday, 04 January 2007

Bush Issues Signing Statement, Declares Right to Open Mail

Iraq Vets Left in Physical and Mental Agony

2007 Predicted to Be World's Warmest Year

Meatpacking Laborers Victimized
By David Bacon, The American Prospect
Posted on January 3, 2007, Printed on January 3, 2007

A Challenge to the Supreme Court
Can the US Kill Iraqi Children Legally?
January 4, 2007

France: Bill to Redress Homelessness
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin introduced legislation that would
give the homeless an enforceable right to housing. The move was
in response to a yearlong campaign on behalf of the homeless that
included the distribution of tents for people living on the street.
A concentration of the tents in the 10th Arrondissement in Paris
brought the issue to a head, and on New Year’s Eve, President Jacques
Chirac promised to ask the government to work on legislation.
The proposed law, Mr. de Villepin said, would “put the right to
housing on the same level as the right to medical care or education.”
January 4, 2007

Were pleas of Marine ignored?
Friends of Walter Smith say he had post-traumatic stress and that
the VA repeatedly brushed off his cries for help
By Matthew D. LaPlante
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:12/31/2006 04:28:26 AM MST

Crime and punishment -- California's conundrum:
Behind the state's prison boom
Reviewed by Tony Platt
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Golden Gulag
Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California
By Ruth Wilson Gilmore




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,
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,


7:00 PM Saturday, January 13
522 Valencia Street , 3rd Floor Auditorium
Hear about:
-Factories run by workers
-The election turnout for Hugo Chavez
-Occupied factories
-Socialism of the 21st Century
See: A short film on current developments
in Venezuela .
-John Peterson, National Secretary
of US Hands Off Venezuela (recently
returned from Venezuela )
-A speaker from Global Exchange
-A speaker from Global Women’s
Strike, San Francisco Bay Area
-An opportunity for discussion will follow
the presentations.
Sponsored by Hands Off Venezuela
Hands Off Venezuela is an international
organization dedicated to the principle
that the people of Venezuela have the
right to determine their own destiny
without interference from foreign
Contact info:
phone (415) 786-1680


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


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])



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.


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.

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

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/

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the Campaign to
Shut Down the Guantanamo Torture Center
Go to:
to send a letter to Congress and the White House:
Shut Down Guantanamo and all torture centers and prisons.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
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.