Saturday, April 21, 2007



"There comes a times when silence is betrayal."
--Martin Luther King


Free Shaquanda Cotton
[Shaquanda Cotton is a 14-year-old Texas
teenager sentenced to seven years in prison
for shoving a hall monitor--she needs our
help. While she is currently free, many others
like her are still incarcerated by this racist
system. See Articles in Full numbers 6 and 7]


This just in (see Article in Full number 9,

9) U.S. Releases Cuban Bombing Suspect
April 20, 2007




1) Lordstown test case: Nonunion janitors,
10-hour straight-time
Jamie LaReau and Dave Barkholz | Automotive News / April 16, 2007
[Via Email from: This is from a subscription site,,
which is why I am posting the entire piece.
--Steven Matthews]

2) Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
"Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame
for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees..."
By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross
Published: 15 April 2007

3) Young People and the War in Iraq
NY Times, April 17, 2007

4) Denying the Right to Choose
April 19, 2007

5) Frolicking Visitor Delights Hearts, Then Dies
April 19, 2007

6) About Shaquanda Cotton: an interview with Terry Howcott
John Calvin Jones
"Editor's note: The recent story of Shaquanda Cotton,
sentenced to seven years in a juvenile prison for her
first offense, pushing a hall monitor at her high school
in Paris, Texas, raises a number of social policy issues.
Though Ms. Cotton was just released, given the revelations
of abuses in the Texas Penal System, where youths were
forced to have sex with guards, thousands of others are
trapped behind bars and are being tracked for prison as
we speak. Many people sought to shed light on the Shaquanda
Cotton case and secure her release. One such woman was
Terry Howcott. I was able to interview Ms. Howcott and
get her thoughts on the Shaquanda Cotton affair and more."

7) Girl in prison for shove released
By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
March 31, 2007, 8:41 PM CDT,1,2079171,print.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=2&cset=true

8) The Plot Against Medicare
Op-Ed Columnist
April 20, 2007

9) U.S. Releases Cuban Bombing Suspect
April 20, 2007

10) Union, in Organizing Fight, Tangles With Celebrity Cook
April 20, 2007

11) Statement from the revolutionary government of Cuba
Translated by Granma International
Havana, April 19, 2007

12) U.S. Erects Baghdad Wall to Keep Sects Apart
April 21, 2007

13) Marine Officer to Testify on Iraq Killings
in Exchange for Immunity
April 21, 2007

14) Growing Unrest Posing a Threat to Nigerian Oil
April 21, 2007


1) Lordstown test case: Nonunion janitors,
10-hour straight-time
Jamie LaReau and Dave Barkholz | Automotive News / April 16, 2007
[Via Email from: This is from a subscription site,,
which is why I am posting the entire piece.
--Steven Matthews]

General Motors' Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant has become the
test site for a companywide cost-cutting effort that could save
hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

As part of an ambitious productivity strategy dubbed "True North,"
GM is asking local UAW leaders at all plants to consider a variety
of once-taboo efficiency measures.

In late February, GM opened negotiations with Lordstown's union
officials. GM wants the union to accept nonunion janitors, work
10-hour shifts without overtime pay, allow nonunion workers to
replenish parts bins and let nonunion truckers deliver and unload
parts shipments.

The unstated threat: If the workers reject GM's proposals,
production of the 2009 Cobalt might move to Mexico.

If the union allows it, True North could generate big savings.
According to a knowledgeable source, the companywide use of
nonunion janitors -- who would earn about $12 per hour instead of
$28 per hour -- alone could save GM $300 million to $500 million a

Each UAW GM local would have to negotiate its own deal, but
sources say the Lordstown talks could become an important
precedent. Says a source close to GM: "The changes you see in
Lordstown could foreshadow what you see in the rest of GM's

Unprecedented concessions

Traditionally, local union leaders negotiate each plant's work
rules in the same year the UAW bargains new labor contracts with
GM, Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler group.

The national negotiations, which cover wages and benefits, get all
the media attention. But local work rules have a big effect on
each plant's productivity. And this year the Detroit 3 are
demanding unprecedented concessions.

"There's a lot of negotiating going on right now -- not just at
GM, but Ford and Chrysler as well," says Laurie Harbour-Felax, a
manufacturing consultant who is president of Harbour-Felax Group
in suburban Detroit. "They need to get their labor agreements to
be as competitive as possible."

A similar plant-by-plant cost-cutting program launched last year
by Ford could generate more than $600 million in annual savings.
An agreement signed last year at just one plant -- Ford's Rouge
assembly plant in Dearborn, Mich. -- will save $100 million a

A GM source confirmed True North's existence, but declined an
on-the-record interview. Lordstown appears to be a test site in
part because it produces small cars -- a product segment that has
not been profitable for the Detroit 3.

No guarantees

UAW Local 1112, which represents about 2,600 workers at Lordstown
assembly, already has accepted some changes on behalf of some
members who make headliners for Lear Corp. The Lear workers
accepted a five-year pay freeze and eased work rules, and agreed
to $12 weekly benefit co-pays.

Those workers also agreed that skilled-trades workers would assume
additional duties, such as sweeping the floors, without any change
in pay.

But Rich Rankin, Local 1112's Lear shop chairman, says he still is
worried that Lordstown might lose the next-generation Cobalt.
"Everybody is very nervous and on edge," Rankin says. "We're just
fed up. We keep giving and giving with no guarantees."

Other plants face similar cuts. At the Fairfax assembly plant in
Kansas City, Kan., GM's cost-cutting target is $54 million.

GM wants to shift about 20 percent of the work now performed by
UAW members to outside contractors, says Jeff Manning, president
of UAW Local 31. That would affect about 500 of the plant's 2,500
union jobs, he said.

Outside workers would assemble doors, wheels and engines.
Outsiders also would operate forklifts and handle janitorial jobs.

In exchange for the loss of those high-paying jobs, Fairfax would
get a shot at a replacement vehicle when the plant stops producing
the Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx and Saturn Aura in 2011.

Management sacrifice?

But Manning says the rank-and-file might not approve True North
unless GM management shares the financial sacrifice. "It's going
to be tough," he said. "It'd be far easier if management shared in
the $54 million."

GM has been cagey about its future plans for each assembly plant.
Even if workers at Fairfax and Lordstown embrace True North, GM is
not guaranteeing that those plants will stay open, union officials

GM has not threatened to shut Lordstown if the plant's hourly
workers refuse to budge. But UAW leaders know they're in a

"They're asking us to come up with these new work rules, but with
no guarantee of a product," says Dave Green, president of UAW
1714, which represents Lordstown's stamping plant. "That's one of
the sticking points. Everybody is on pins and needles."


2) Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
"Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame
for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees..."
By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross
Published: 15 April 2007

It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror
film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile
phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's
harvests fail.

They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off
by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer
to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the
natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that
pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed
that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread
to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.

The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes
with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously home
loving species from finding their way back to their hives.
Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back
this up.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's
inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens,
eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary
Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought
to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and
other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left
behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the
abandoned hives.

The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit
half of all American states. The West Coast is thought
to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population,
with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain,
Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple,
one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23
of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.

Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales
and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs insisted: "There is absolutely no
evidence of CCD in the UK."

The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the
world's crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein
once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only
four years of life left".

No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites,
pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed,
but all have drawbacks.

German research has long shown that bees' behaviour changes
near power lines.

Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees
refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed
nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could
provide a "hint" to a possible cause.

Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government
and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the
Nineties, said: "I am convinced the possibility is real."

The case against handsets

Evidence of dangers to people from mobile phones is increasing.
But proof is still lacking, largely because many of the
biggest perils, such as cancer, take decades to show up.

Most research on cancer has so far proved inconclusive. But
an official Finnish study found that people who used the phones
for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get
a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset.

Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that
radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells,
suggesting that today's teenagers could go senile in
the prime of their lives.

Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility
that men who use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm
counts. And, more prosaically, doctors have identified
the condition of "text thumb", a form of RSI from constant

Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official
inquiries, warned that children under eight should not use
mobiles and made a series of safety recommendations, largely
ignored by ministers.


3) Young People and the War in Iraq
NY Times, April 17, 2007

The younger generation is opposed to the war in Iraq, right? Wrong.
Actually, they're divided on the war, far more so than their
grandparents, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll in March.
Seems younger people are more supportive of the war and the president
than any other age group.

Forty-eight percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old said the United
States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq,
while 45 percent said the United States should have stayed out. That
is in sharp contrast to the opinions of those 65 and older, who have
lived through many other wars. Twenty eight percent of that age group
said the United States did the right thing, while 67 percent said the
United States should have stayed out.

This is nothing new, said John Mueller, author of "War, Presidents
and Public Opinion," and a professor of political science at Ohio
State University. "This is a pattern that is identical to what we saw
in Korea and Vietnam, younger people are more likely to support what
the president is doing," he said.

A review of the March poll suggests Mr. Mueller has a point. Overall,
34 percent of Americans said they approved of the way the president
was handling his job, and 58 percent disapproved. But younger
Americans were more approving than older Americans. Forty percent of
18-29 year olds said Mr. Bush was doing a good job, while 56 percent
said he was not. While 29 percent of people 65 and older said they
approved of the way Mr. Bush was handling his job as president, 62
percent said they did not.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted March 7-11 with 1,362
adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three
percentage points.

A look back at the Vietnam years showed a similar divide between
young and old. Older Americans were defined as 50 and older, but the
comparison is still apt. In October 1968, when Hubert Humphrey,
Richard Nixon and George Wallace were running for president, a Gallup
poll found that about half, 52 percent, of people under the age of 30
supported the war in Vietnam. But among those 50 and older, 26
percent supported the war.

Some of the respondents to the March poll were called back to talk
about the differences between the young and the not so young.
"Experience," "the draft," "other wars," were mentioned by
respondents on both sides of the generational divide.

Mildred Jenkins, 68, a retired telephone operator from Somerville
Tennessee, said: "We've experienced more than the younger people.
Older people are wiser. We've seen war and we know." Ms. Jenkins said
she usually votes Republican but "may go Democratic this time."

More than one person who lived through the Vietnam war mentioned the
draft and the absence of one for this war. "It's because of life
experience," said Jimmie Powell, 73, a bartender and factory worker
from El Reno, Oklahoma. "I don't think younger people really know a
whole lot about anything. They don't care because there is no draft.
If there were a draft, we'd finally have the revolution we need."

Mr. Powell describes himself as a political independent.

Some of the younger respondents said they were more aggressive than
their elders by virtue of age.

"I think old people tend to want to solve things more diplomatically
than younger, more gung ho types," said Mary Jackson, 28 a homemaker
from Brewton, Alabama. "Younger people are more combative."

Younger people are also more optimistic. Forty-nine percent of them
said the United States was either very likely or somewhat likely to
succeed in Iraq, while only 34 percent of older people said the same


4) Denying the Right to Choose
April 19, 2007

Among the major flaws in yesterday’s Supreme Court decision
giving the federal government power to limit a woman’s right
to make decisions about her health was its fundamental

Under the modest-sounding guise of following existing
precedent, the majority opinion — written by Justice Anthony
Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices
Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito — gutted
a host of thoughtful lower federal court rulings, not to
mention past Supreme Court rulings.

It severely eroded the constitutional respect and protection
accorded to women and the personal decisions they make about
pregnancy and childbirth. The justices went so far as to
eviscerate the crucial requirement, which dates to the 1973
ruling in Roe v. Wade, that all abortion regulations must
have an exception to protect a woman’s health.

As far as we know, Mr. Kennedy and his four colleagues
responsible for this atrocious result are not doctors.
Yet these five male justices felt free to override the
weight of medical evidence presented during the several
trials that preceded the Supreme Court showdown. Instead,
they ratified the politically based and dangerously dubious
Congressional claim that criminalizing the intact dilation
and extraction method of abortion in the second trimester
of pregnancy — the so-called partial-birth method — would
never pose a significant health risk to a woman. In fact,
the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
has found the procedure to be medically necessary in
certain cases.

Justice Kennedy actually reasoned that banning the
procedure was good for women in that it would protect
them from a procedure they might not fully understand
in advance and would probably come to regret. This way
of thinking, that women are flighty creatures who must
be protected by men, reflects notions of a woman’s place
in the family and under the Constitution that have long
been discredited, said a powerful dissenting opinion by
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justices John
Paul Stevens, David Souter and Stephen Breyer.

Far from being compelled by the court’s precedents,
Justice Ginsburg aptly objected, the new ruling is so at
odds with its jurisprudence — including a concurring opinion
by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (who has now been succeeded
by Justice Alito) when a remarkably similar state abortion
ban was struck down just seven years ago — that it should
not have staying power.

For anti-abortion activists, this case has never been
about just one controversial procedure. They have correctly
seen it as a wedge that could ultimately be used to undermine
and perhaps eliminate abortion rights eventually. The court
has handed the Bush administration and other opponents of
women’s reproductive rights the big political victory they
were hoping to get from the conservative judges Mr. Bush has
added to the bench. It comes at a real cost to the court’s
credibility, its integrity and the rule of law.


5) Frolicking Visitor Delights Hearts, Then Dies
April 19, 2007

A 12-foot-long whale that had surfaced and frolicked near
the mouth of the Gowanus Canal on Tuesday, delighting and
surprising even the most hardened of Brooklyn residents,
died yesterday, officials said.

The whale — a minke, the second-smallest whale species —
had been thought to be in good health because it was not
surfacing erratically. Like other ocean mammals, whales
must surface to breathe.

Shortly before 5 p.m., during low tide, it was seen churning
in the water. Teri Frady, a spokeswoman for the Fisheries
Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
said, “It swam by a bulkhead” near the canal’s mouth, “thrashed
a little, and then expired.” Neither its age nor sex were known.

Earlier in the day, biologists speculated that the whale
might have followed krill or another food source into the
Gowanus Canal, whose polluted waters have cleared somewhat
in recent years.

Kim Durham, the rescue program director for the Riverhead
Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, which arranges
for rescues of dolphins and other sea animals, said the dying
whale apparently beached itself after hitting rocks near a Hess
oil refinery.

Ms. Durham said she received an urgent phone call from
researchers at the scene. “ ‘Kim, there’s a lot of splashing
going on across the waterway,’ ” Ms. Durham recalled the
researchers saying. “ ‘We’re going to check it out.’ Our
team got on scene and the animal was dead.”

The Riverhead team secured the whale’s carcass with ropes
so it would not float out to sea, Ms. Durham said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to transport the
carcass, which weighs several tons, to its Caven Point center
in New Jersey, across from Liberty Island. A necropsy is
scheduled for today, Ms. Durham said.

Word of the whale’s death reached Ms. Frady minutes after
in a telephone interview in which she described the difficulties
of rescuing an ill or hungry animal the size of a whale.

“The animal’s not going to sit there and let you net it,”
she said.

Big nets might pull human rescuers into the water, Ms. Frady
said. A flotilla of boats might not be able to coax the whale
back to sea. And if the whale is sick, the trauma of the rescue
attempt may hasten its death, Ms. Frady said.

A minke (pronounced MINK-ee) is the smallest of the whales,
except for the pygmy whales, according to Diana Reiss, a senior
research scientist at the New York Aquarium.

The largest whale, the blue whale, can reach 100 feet and
weigh more than 100 tons. The minke is a fast-swimming and
inquisitive species, and adult males can reach 26 feet and
females 33 feet.

For two days, the whale had been an object of admiration.
Parents brought small children, whale watchers brought
binoculars and photographers brought long lenses to the
areas overlooking the canal.

Debra Clarke, 36, an apartment and office organizer, arrived
in the early evening yesterday only to learn of the whale’s

“We just came hoping for good news,” she said, noting that
she and her friends had spent most of the day watching
broadcast news of the Virginia Tech massacre. “After Virginia,
you come here rooting for the whale. You hope that something g
ood has to happen, because it turns out these are days
for tears.”


6) About Shaquanda Cotton: an interview with Terry Howcott
John Calvin Jones
"Editor's note: The recent story of Shaquanda Cotton,
sentenced to seven years in a juvenile prison for her
first offense, pushing a hall monitor at her high school
in Paris, Texas, raises a number of social policy issues.
Though Ms. Cotton was just released, given the revelations
of abuses in the Texas Penal System, where youths were
forced to have sex with guards, thousands of others are
trapped behind bars and are being tracked for prison as
we speak. Many people sought to shed light on the Shaquanda
Cotton case and secure her release. One such woman was
Terry Howcott. I was able to interview Ms. Howcott and
get her thoughts on the Shaquanda Cotton affair and more."

Terry Lynn Howcott, MSW, is an educator and activist.
She lives in Detroit, constantly working on matters of
social justice and resisting discrimination and bigotries
against people based upon their race, culture gender,
what she calls “attractional orientation” and any number
of other areas of oppression. She is the founder,
co-builder and host of the website,

John Calvin Jones: Ms. Howcott, tell us about your
orientation on the topic of social justice and where
you see that we need to work, in order to improve the
lives of us all?

Terry Howcott: Thank you and I appreciate your thinking
of me for this interview. A discussion of social justice
or lack thereof is so vast that one’s orientation almost
requires one be somewhat disoriented or off balance.
There are so many paths that the oppressor uses to clamp
down on so many of us that it’s hard even for those
of us who think we know a little something to wrap our
brains around the magnitude. Somewhere I decided that
too many people were preaching to the choir, i.e.
activists, intellectuals, and others talking to themselves
about racism, sexism, intra race bigotry and other forms
of oppression, and that not enough work was being done
to plant some seeds with folk who really don’t “get it.”

I don’t have any magical ideas as to how we move from
gathering together and agreeing with one another into
a more mature community organizing model – but out of
desperation was born which, in a nutshell,
says that Black unity has to be unconditional. So far,
we have placed so many barriers and controls against
African people that we never even hear the word “unity”
uttered anymore. Too many have actually pulled back
from Black unity concepts that authentic unity might
never be realized. To insist upon a partial coming
together is an unhealthy thing and is not a valid
approach to Black liberation. So, with my website,
I hope to forge ahead as my numbers grow – and things
are looking good – toward the planning of the first
annual “Broad and Black” Family Reunion.

JCJ: I had the pleasure of hearing you during an
interview you had on KPFT (, the Pacifica
Radio station of Houston, Texas. You were discussing
the case of Shaquanda Cotton, what can you tell us
about Ms. Cotton and her current circumstances?

TH: Shaquanda Cotton is a 15 year-old Black girl-child,
who was sentenced and imprisoned for shoving a hall monitor
at her school in Paris, Texas. Having heard about it,
and perusing online I saw other people writing on the
subject, but thought there were some additional points
that ought to be raised.

Of course, we know intuitively that the environment
in Texas and in the South is especially oppressive.
So a child who might already have social difficulties
growing up in a racist, unsupportive environment would
naturally be a prime candidate to act out, by pushing
or shoving someone. But why was she picked out and
given such a harsh sentence? We know that her mother,
Ms. Creola Cotton, had long been an outspoken resister
to racist practices, and the elder Ms. Cotton has
reported problems in Paris, Texas for some time.
And we also know the effects of racism and oppression
on Shaquanda, since her incarceration we know that
`Shaquanda has tried to hurt herself in prison.

JCJ: Before we go further, tell us why you care about
what happened to Shaquanda or her future. I mean,
she is not related to you is she?

TH: For me, Shaquanda is closer than kin. This
teenage girl is a reflection of who I am, and vice
versa. Her Black girlhood is my history just as much
as I want to believe that my Black womanhood
is her future.

Let me give an anecdote. I was at a grocery store
today, and after I got to the line, I realized I had
forgotten something. I laid my stuff down and ran
back to the aisle. When I returned, two women had
joined the line, the one in front with a few items
and the gracious one in the rear granted me space
to get back to my place after I explained. The one
in front, rolled her eyes and said “we don’t use
food to hold our place in line here.”

When I posed to her a quick diagnosis of her problem
(that being that she was suffering some control dilemmas
combined with old-time racism) she took her little hand
basket and proceeded to slam it on top of my food,
three times! The sister almost turned my grapes
to grape juice. At that very moment, I felt Shaquanda’s
spirit pass through me as I explained angrily to that
woman “violence is no fun unless all parties get to
participate.” I calmed down, but these kinds of
incidents that we have suffered in some form or
fashion inform us that Shaquanda might have experienced
harassment, or some social intrusion that she might
not be able to identify given her age and socio-
political unawareness. I see Shaquanda and her case
as an example where a young girl reacted in a manner
that was meant to push away, shove and reject these
types of subtle or overt acts of indignity and attitudes
on our behalf.

JCJ: When I heard your interview, you said that few
details are known about the incident involving Shaquanda.
Then you added, we do not know the background of the
White man whom she supposedly pushed. From your
perspective, as Black woman, as a Social Work Practitioner
with a critical eye, tell us why you see questions
of background as significant?

TH: A person’s background and the social context, just
as is the case with history, means everything. All events
leading to a particular offense can change and rearrange
our perceptions of what we think we know. Investigation
of the facts is critical to our ability to reason and make
proper decisions. We should know why Shaquanda chose to
shove that particular guard. What did this hall monitor
say to Shaquanda just before Shaquanda reacted? What,
if any, past issues or incidents did these two have?
What is the history of this hall guard with other Black
and Brown students? I submit that a less than thorough
exploration or law enforcement and school or organizational
decision-making often mean that the officials in charge
are exercising a deliberate misuse of power. They manipulate
events or hide relevant facts that in turn generate criminal
convictions that can destroy people’s lives.

JCJ: On Democracy Now, Amy Goodman alluded to the fact
that Shaquanda was singled out because her mother complained
about racism in the schools in Paris, Texas, what do you
know about that?

TH: I only know of various press accounts about how
Shaquanda’s mother, Creola, complained to the school
board about racism in the schools in Paris, Texas.
But from a larger perspective, I know first-hand of
the overt and subtle reactions we receive when we
challenge White superiority and racism, be it with
institutions like schools or in private relationships
with colleagues and friends.

We know that even the most progressive White people
can be incapable of evaluating their own bigotries
unless they have discovered them on their own – which
is often rare. We also know that too frequently,
White people will pull back, become cold, stone like,
emotionally unavailable if you raise issues of race
or White Supremacy.

If Creola Cotton pushed these school officials, and
they reacted as most do, becoming defensive and
resentful for hearing about their own bigotries, it
is likely that they retaliated and Shaquanda was
punished as a result. Instead of considering the
complaints of the Cotton family in earnest, and
accepting criticism in a way to construct an authentic
learning environment, they retaliated, and struck out
with the tool of punishment instead of healing.

JCJ: What about Shaquanda, and the message the school
administrators and the courts sent to her directly?

TH: We can presume that Shaquanda is in tune with
her mother’s questions and concerns. As such, we can
suspect that Shaquanda might have also accused her
hall monitors, teachers or school personnel of being
racist. As we know, the status quo in this country
is weak with fear of debate – especially over the top
of racism and White Supremacy.

So much of this fear manifests as discussions about
control and regulating behavior of others. For example,
recently the National Institute of Mental Health provided
a report that gave suggestions as to what parents could
do to keep their children “from being bad.” Authors of
the NIMH report actually considered evidence of children
being “bad” to include their being “argumentative.”
So the position from government officials and Mental
Health professionals is that a child who is smart enough
to ask questions is “bad.” We will never find cures
for cancer and AIDS if we allow schools to farm our
children like ears of corn – depriving them of a sense
of inquisitiveness and ability to challenge status quo
positions on a given issue. From what I can see, this
is how Shaquanda’s schools is and was operating.
Any allegations by the school system that they were
concerned about Shaquanda’s conduct, so much so, that
they had to have this girl who had no criminal record,
arrested and sent to prison, probably had more to do
with this child claiming her right to share her thoughts.

Fighting for the right of our children to speak their
minds is our duty. As we can tell, even from the “Bong
Hits for Jesus” case in the Supreme Court, no school
administrators will ever side with children and their
creativity and independence.

JCJ: Shaquanda Cotton is from Paris, Texas (Northeast
of Dallas and close to the Oklahoma border), but she
is housed in a prison in Brownwood, Texas (275 miles
to the Southwest), in the middle of Texas Brownwood
is not even near a major airport. Hence Creola Cotton,
Shaquanda’s mother, could not visit her often.
My understanding is that such a practice is common,
namely housing prisoners as far from their families
as possible. Tell us what you know about the practice
in general and how it affects both the incarcerated
and the families.

TH: I am glad that you raise that issue. We see
similar conduct where I live in Michigan. In Detroit
we had a Police Chief, Jerry Oliver, who proposed, on
behalf of Detroit’s Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a program
that would transport Detroit-area prisoners to other
states. I had never seen such a vengeance-hearted policy.
Of course we know that this practice of commodifying
prisoners feeds the very corporations that strive to
humiliate and victimize prisoners beyond the basic
circumstances of imprisonment. In her particular case,
the further away that Shaquanda is and was from her
family and community, the less love and support she
had via her Grandmother, Mother and other loved ones
and friends.

Shipping Shaquanda or any prisoners, so far from home,
is an attempt to damage her psychologically, and serves
as a microcosm of what is happening to our community
at-large. Shaquanda and youths like her are considered
future crop for corporate devils who work to create
a steady flow of younger and younger Black bodies into
their private prison system.

I once wrote a paper on prisons. Through my research
I learned that these private-prison corporations and
their parent companies lobbies Congress against Head
Start Programs, knowing full well that studies suggest
children who engage Head Start are less likely to go
to prison. Those who prey on Black and Brown and the
poor actually lobby against good social policy and
educational opportunities for Brothers and Sisters
who are particularly at risk of being netted into
prison. Thus the retaliation against the resistance
offered by Creola Cotton came with the same message:
“not only will we will get you, but we will get you
by isolating Shaquanda and making it as unlikely as
possible that she will be a success in her future.”

JCJ: I see Shaquanda Cotton as a symbol for a larger
complex of pathologies. That is, she attended
a public school, in a system that is run more like
a prison than a sanctuary for learning, and the State
of Texas – like others, forces students to learn thousands
of unintegrated facts and prepare to take multiple choices
tests, which is really about teaching obedience over
creativity. From your experience and perspective,
comment about what you see happening in our schools
and to masses of young people?

TH: Our young people are rightfully unhappy in today’s
public schools. We should point out that schools were
never really made for us, Black and Browns. The highest
ideal, of the public school as a place to develop future
leaders through a classical or liberal arts education
was not intended to benefit us. Further as the school
system has split and created the Black and Brown, mindless
skill track – designed to create a vocational class of
passive workers – is not made for our styles of learning.
Moreover, the schools have never been structured in a way
that allows for truth telling.

Black children are born to tell truths because truth is
a reflection of their intelligence. However, Black
children are acculturated to telling lies after matriculating
into these schools. That is, we learn to discount our own
reality and encouraged to believe that Martin Luther King, Jr.
said that race is unimportant or should not be recognized
or that the U.S. is not an imperialist nation. Like Kanye
West said after Katrina, “George Bush doesn’t care about
Black people.” We all see it. New Orleans and the entire
Gulf Region have not been rebuilt, but billions are spent
on war in Iraq and Afghanistan. When our public schools do
not incorporate this neglect of our people into their lessons
and truths, Black children learn that they are undervalued.
I am not saying there aren’t some children, Black and White
who learn dishonesty before they enroll in school, but I think
you get my drift.

JCJ: Your website is massive and has hundreds of links,
news articles, stories, and commentaries. How did you put
it together and what do you hope to do with it?

TH: Well, I did that with a lot of help from some special
people – a committee I formed to help prop me up and advise
me, some of whom were Detroiters and others were monitoring
and loving the process from afar. I envisioned its parts and
researched and wrote artists and museums and photographers
around the world begging for use of their wares, found an
amazing site builder who saw the vision, loved what I had
collected - and the rest is history.

JCJ: Returning to the specifics and generalities of
Shaquanda Cotton, I know that a few web pages encourage
others to write to the judge who sentenced her, asking
for mercy. But it seems to me, that such is like asking
a member of the KKK to remove the rope during a lynching.
Are there not a host of other strategies that are more
practical and far reaching? What do you think?

TH: I believe in the art of protest, and I strongly
believe that it is important to protest and keep old
anger flowing out to make room for what will enrage
us soon thereafter. I also think that oppressive people
generally only listen to other oppressive people.
So one of them is going to have to say “Buck” or “Jeb”
I think we gotta’ let that old Black girl go.” This is
why at my page, I suggested contacting some of the folks
who will be spending money in Texas this Spring Summer.

Also, I think a day off from work from all the Black
folk and their allies in Texas could cripple that state.
That could help draw that first wave of attention to
a national strike. As working people we hold the purse
strings, much like a legislature, except we have the
potential to have an immediate effect and we have much
more courage than any legislators to stand up against
economic power and oppression.

JCJ: Is there anything more that you would like to add
when you reflect on the Shaquanda Cotton case, and
a wide range of social, economic and political issues
that are manifest in her ordeal? Thankfully, due to
social pressure and public scrutiny, Shaquanda was
recently released.

TH: Well, perhaps the most important thing is that
I hope Shaquanda Cotton’s Mother, Creola, and Grandmother
are holding themselves together with what must be a
devastating and heartbreaking experience for them.
The school system, the prosecutors and all those involved
with this case must pay reparations to this family.
Shaquanda Cotton needs some good strong professional
support, cultural engagement and loads of tender loving
care after this experience.

I think that Shaquanda’s situation and the quality of
response to her case with Black bloggers, radio hosts
and others is indicative of the larger matter that people
are really tired. Hopefully, the redress given Shaquanda
can egg on Black people and other activists in this country
to take the offensive saying: “We’re going to shoot back
at oppression. We can take your best shot, and we will
come back.”

Lastly, I think that this nation is in a dangerous position
considering that the president has made moves so that he can
declare Martial Law more easily. G. W. Bush is a deeply
troubled ideologue who might want to lock this country down
and recreate it in his own image. I hope that we don’t fall
for what appears to be exactly what he and his handlers want
– that is violence. Bush is a man who has proven that he has
no problem with ordering the killing a whole lot of innocent
people, issuing orders for torture, and who is as ruthless
and heartless as I have seen in my lifetime.

Thank you.


7) Girl in prison for shove released
By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
March 31, 2007, 8:41 PM CDT,1,2079171,print.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=2&cset=true

HOUSTON -- After spending a year behind bars, Shaquanda
Cotton walked out of a central Texas youth prison Saturday
pretty much like many 15-year-olds would: eager for a hug
from her mom and pining for a Big Mac.

So McDonald's was the first stop for the soft-spoken black
teenager, who was abruptly released by Texas officials
after nationwide civil rights protests erupted over her
sentence of up to 7 years for shoving a teacher's aide
at her high school.

"I feel like I have a second chance," she said, moments
after devouring her hamburger. "I'm going to be a better
person now. I'm a good person, but I want to be a better

Soon after the restaurant stop, though, Cotton and her
mother Creola headed out on the five-hour drive from the
prison in Brownwood back home to Paris, the small northeast
Texas town that has been roiled by protests and racial
acrimony over her case and broader allegations of racial
discrimination in the town's schools and courts.

What reception awaits the teenager there in coming days
is anyone's guess, but her mother says she is concerned.

"I don't want to place my daughter in danger," Creola
Cotton said. "I hope we can stay in Paris because this
is where my family is. I would hate to have to pick up
and leave."

At the heart of the controversy, which exploded across
hundreds of Internet blogs and then scores of newspapers
and radio and TV stations in the last three weeks, was
the seeming severity of the teenager's sentence for
an offense that caused no documentable injury to the
teacher's aide.

Three months before Cotton, who had no prior criminal
record, was sentenced by Paris Judge Chuck Superville
in March, 2006, to up to seven years in youth prison
for the shoving incident, Superville sentenced a 14-year
-old white girl convicted of the more serious crime of
arson to probation. Later, when the white teenager
violated her probation, Superville gave her yet another
chance and declined to send her to prison. Only when
the youth violated her probation a second time did the
judge order her locked up.

School officials, the Paris district attorney and the
judge have all strongly denied that race played a role
in the prosecution and sentencing of Cotton. But her
case has coincided with an ongoing investigation of
the Paris school district by the U.S. Department of
Education, which is examining allegations that the
district systemically discriminates against black
students by disciplining them more frequently and
more harshly than whites.

The furor over Cotton's case caused the special
conservator now in charge of the Texas Youth Commission,
the state's juvenile prison system, to examine it more
closely last week, at the urging of civil rights leaders.

The conservator, Jay Kimbrough, who is charged with
completely overhauling the Texas Youth Commission
because of a spreading sex scandal involving prison
officials who allegedly coerced sex from inmates,
decided Friday that Shaquanda merited immediate release.

Kimbrough said his decision was not based on the
circumstances of the teenager's prosecution and sentence
but rather on the arbitrary way in which her indeterminate
sentence had been extended by prison authorities since
she had been incarcerated. Authorities penalized her
because she was found with "contraband" in her cell—an
extra pair of socks.

"The TYC staff brought that file in to me [Friday] morning
and were so surprised by what they saw that they felt like
immediate action was justified, and I supported that
wholeheartedly," Kimbrough said.

Cotton was the first of an estimated 400 juveniles
incarcerated across the state whom Kimbrough has ordered
released, beginning Monday. Those youths have all satisfied
their minimum sentences and have committed no serious
violations while in custody.

Kimbrough has also convened a special review panel to examine
the sentences of all 4,700 juveniles in Texas Youth Commission
custody, with the goal of releasing any whose sentences have
been unjustly extended by prison authorities.

"This is the right thing to do and TYC could have and should
have done it long before Mr. Kimbrough took over," said
Will Harrell, executive director of the Texas chapter
of the ACLU. "Shaquanda was the first domino, but there
will be hundreds if not thousands to follow."


8) The Plot Against Medicare
Op-Ed Columnist
April 20, 2007

The plot against Social Security failed: President Bush’s
attempt to privatize the system crashed and burned when
the public realized what he was up to. But the plot
against Medicare is faring better: the stealth privatization
embedded in the Medicare Modernization Act, which Congress
literally passed in the dead of night back in 2003,
is proceeding apace.

Worse yet, the forces behind privatization not only continue
to have the G.O.P. in their pocket, but they have also been
finding useful idiots within the newly powerful Democratic
coalition. And it’s not just politicians with an eye on
campaign contributions. There’s no nice way to say it:
the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens
have become patsies for the insurance industry.

To appreciate what’s going on, you need to know what has
been happening to Medicare in the last few years.

The 2003 Medicare legislation created Part D, the drug
benefit for seniors — but unlike the rest of Medicare,
Part D isn’t provided directly by the government. Instead,
you can get it only through a private drug plan, provided
by an insurance company. At the same time, the bill sharply
increased payments to Medicare Advantage plans, which
also funnel Medicare funds through insurance companies.

As a result, Medicare — originally a system in which the
government paid people’s medical bills — is becoming,
instead, a system in which the government pays the insurance
industry to provide coverage. And a lot of the money never
makes it to the people Medicare is supposed to help.

In the case of the drug benefit, the private drug plans
add an extra, costly layer of bureaucracy. Worse yet, they
have much less ability to bargain for lower drug prices
than government programs like Medicaid and the Veterans
Health Administration. Reasonable estimates suggest that
if Congress had eliminated the middlemen, it could have
created a much better drug plan — one without the notorious
“doughnut hole,” the gap in coverage once your annual
expenses exceed $2,400 per year — at no higher cost.

Meanwhile, those Medicare Advantage plans cost taxpayers
12 percent more per recipient than standard Medicare. In
the next five years that subsidy will cost more than $50 billion
— about what it would cost to provide all children in America
with health insurance. Some of that $50 billion will be passed
on to seniors in extra benefits, but a lot of it will go to
overhead, marketing expenses and profits.

With the Democratic victory last fall, you might have expected
these things to change. But the political news over the last
few days has been grim.

First, the Senate failed to end debate on a bill — in effect,
killing it — that would have allowed Medicare to negotiate
over drug prices. The bill was too weak to have allowed Medicare
to get large discounts. Still, it would at least have
established the principle of using government bargaining
power to get a better deal. But in spite of overwhelming public
support for price negotiation, 42 senators, all Republicans,
voted no on allowing the bill to go forward.

If we can’t even establish the principle of negotiation,
a true repair of the damage done in 2003 — which would
require having Medicare offer seniors the option of getting
their drug coverage directly, without involving the insurance
companies — seems politically far out of reach.

At the same time, attempts to rein in those Medicare
Advantage payments seem to be running aground. Everyone
knew that reducing payments would be politically tough.
What comes as a bitter surprise is the fact that minority
advocacy groups are now part of the problem, with both
the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens
sending letters to Congressional leaders opposing plans
to scale back the subsidy.

What seems to have happened is that both groups have been
taken in by insurance industry disinformation, which falsely
claims that minorities benefit disproportionately from
this subsidy. It’s a claim that has been thoroughly debunked
in a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities —
but apparently the truth isn’t getting through.

Public opinion is strongly in favor of universal health
care, and for good reason: fear of losing health insurance
has become a constant anxiety of the middle class. Yet even
as we talk about guaranteeing insurance to all, privatization
is undermining Medicare — and people who should know better
are aiding and abetting the process.


9) U.S. Releases Cuban Bombing Suspect
April 20, 2007

A 79-year-old anti-Castro Cuban exile and former C.I.A.
operative linked to the bombing of a Cuban airliner was
released on bail yesterday and immediately returned to
Miami to await trial on immigration fraud charges.

The man, Luis Posada Carriles, was released from the
Otero County Prison in Chaparral, N.M., after posting
a $350,000 bond on the immigration charges.

His release infuriated the authorities in Cuba and Venezuela,
who have been trying to extradite him to stand trial over
the 1976 airliner bombing, which killed 73 people, including
several teenage members of Cuba’s national fencing team.

The United States Justice Department had tried unsuccessfully
to prevent his release, arguing that his escape from
a Venezuelan prison in 1985 increased the risk that he
might flee before the scheduled start of his trial on
immigration charges on May 11.

The court rejected the Justice Department’s argument, but
it increased security measures by ordering Mr. Posada to
be fitted with an ankle bracelet to track his whereabouts.
He was ordered to remain under house detention with his
wife in Miami until the immigration trial begins.

Mr. Posada, a gray-haired former intelligence operative
and United States Army officer, has been detained since
May 2005, when he entered the United States illegally.

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela said Thursday in Caracas,
“We demand that they extradite that terrorist and murderer
to Venezuela, instead of protecting him.”

Dagoberto Rodríguez Barrera, the chief of the Cuban
Interests Section, Cuba’s diplomatic representation
in Washington, told Agence France-Presse yesterday,
“Cuba forcefully condemns this decision and holds the
government of the United States totally responsible for
the fact that Posada Carriles is free in Miami.”

Prensa Latina, the Cuban news agency, reported last night
that 50,000 people had gathered at a demonstration in Bayamo,
a city in southeastern Cuba, to protest the release of
Mr. Posada and to demand that he be tried for the jetliner

The Cuban government has also accused Mr. Posada, an avowed
opponent of the island’s Communist rule, of plotting to
assassinate the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, in Panama in
2000, and of planning a series of explosions in tourist
hotels in Havana in 1997.

Mr. Posada was jailed in Panama in connection with the
attempt on Mr. Castro’s life but was later pardoned by
Panamanian officials. He admitted, then later denied, that
he had directed the wave of hotel bombings in 1997.

He has also repeatedly denied responsibility for the bombing
of the plane, known as Cubana Airlines Flight 455. The jet
blew apart and crashed off the coast of Barbados
on Oct. 6, 1976.

Investigators in Venezuela, where Mr. Posada had been
chief of operations in the secret intelligence police,
traced at least one of the bombs to the plane’s luggage
compartment. The investigators found that two Venezuelans
had checked bags through to Havana but got off the plane
at a scheduled stop in Barbados.

The men had worked for Mr. Posada, who was arrested in
Venezuela and charged with the bombing. He escaped from
prison in 1985 dressed as a priest after associates bribed
a guard.

Cuban officials have accused the United States of hypocrisy
in battling terrorists by not prosecuting Mr. Posada or
deporting him to stand trial on terrorism charges in another
country. They routinely refer to Mr. Posada as “the bin
Laden of the Americas.”

Mr. Posada’s shadowy past as a Central Intelligence Agency
operative put the United States in a politically delicate
position. In his early years, he had received military
training in the United States and worked for the C.I.A.
to bring down the Castro government. He participated in the
failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Later he was involved
in supplying arms to rebels in Nicaragua.

The United States has acknowledged his long record of
violent acts. In court papers filed in his immigration
fraud case, the Justice Department described him as “an
unrepentant criminal and admitted mastermind of terrorist

Mr. Posada was detained in 2005 after he entered the
United States on false pretenses. According to an indictment
unsealed this year, he lied when he told border officials
he had paid a smuggler to drive him from Mexico to Texas.
He actually entered the country on a small boat. He also
lied about using an alias.

An immigration judge has blocked Mr. Posada’s extradition
to Cuba or Venezuela, ruling that he could be subject
to torture in those countries. Efforts to deport him
to another country have failed because so far no other
country has been willing to take him.

His arrival in Miami yesterday afternoon set off mixed
reactions among the area’s many Cuban exiles, who see
him as both a patriot and an embarrassment.

“We have been fighting this war on terror, and here we
are releasing a man who has a history of terrorist acts
and is a fugitive of justice in other countries,” said
Elena Freyre, executive director of the Cuban-American
Defense League, a moderate exile group in Miami.
“It’s absolutely appalling.”

But Miguel Saavedra, president of Vigilia Mambisa,
a small, hard-line anti-Castro exile group, said he
felt vindicated by Mr. Posada’s release on bail.

“The only ones accusing him are the governments of Cuba
and Venezuela,” Mr. Saavedra said. “They can only accuse
him because they haven’t been able to prove anything.
If he is sent to Cuba or Venezuela, it would be the
equivalent of executing him.”

Terry Aguayo contributed reporting from Miami.


10) Union, in Organizing Fight, Tangles With Celebrity Cook
April 20, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 19 — Paula Deen, the Food Network’s
ebullient queen of butter-drenched Southern cooking,
has found herself in the middle of a dispute between
Smithfield Foods Inc. and a union that has long tried
to organize one of the company’s pork processing plants.

As part of a national campaign to win support for its
effort, the union, the United Food and Commercial Workers,
is trying to get Ms. Deen to sever her ties to Smithfield,
for which she has been a paid spokeswoman since last fall.

Within the growing world of food-celebrity endorsements,
Ms. Deen is the first personality to have become entangled
in such a fight.

The latest round of it took place on Wednesday night
at the National Museum of Natural History here, where
Ms. Deen, on a national book tour, made an appearance
before a sold-out crowd.

Outside, as promised, about two dozen people supporting
unionization of the huge plant, in Tar Heel, N.C., held
a prayer vigil as the audience arrived. Inside, as Ms. Deen
responded later to questions that had been submitted
to her in writing, a member of the union tried to speak
to her from the audience and deliver a letter. That woman,
Leila McDowell, and a former Smithfield worker, Lenore
Bailey, were swiftly ushered out by museum guards.

Ms. Deen, for her part, issued a news release in which
she said, “Now, I’m not an expert on the union situation
but here’s what I do know: I know the folks at Smithfield
care about their employees and work hard to support the
communities where they live, work and raise their families.”

In 2004, the National Labor Relations Board found that
Smithfield, through threats, spying and firings, had
prevented fairness in a 1997 election in which the union
failed to organize the Tar Heel plant. A federal appeals
court upheld the decision last year, concluding that
Smithfield had engaged in “intense and widespread coercion”
and ordering reinstatement of four fired workers, one of
whom had been beaten by the plant’s police on the day
of the election.

The effort to speak with Ms. Deen on Wednesday followed
a letter to her from the North Carolina Council of Churches
describing conditions at the plant and suggesting that she
would not have signed with Smithfield if she had known about
them. Quoting a report based on data from the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, it said worker injuries
were up 200 percent since 2003. The company says its
injury rate is no different from the industry average.

The union says it will continue to demonstrate against
Ms. Deen, though on a larger scale, wherever she goes
on her book tour.


11) Statement from the revolutionary government of Cuba
Translated by Granma International
Havana, April 19, 2007

Cuba condemns the shameful decision to release terrorist
Luis Posada Carriles and points to the United States
government as the only one responsible for this cruel
and despicable action, which seeks to buy the terrorist’s
silence regarding his crimes in the service of the CIA,
particularly during the time when Bush Sr. was that
agency’s general director.

With this decision, the U.S. government has ignored
the clamor that has arisen throughout the world,
including in the United States, against the impunity
and political manipulation involved in this action.

This decision is an insult to the people of Cuba and
other nations who lost 73 of their sons and daughters
in the abominable 1976 attack that brought down a
Cubana de Aviación civilian airliner off the coast
of Barbados.

This decision is an insult to the people of the United
States themselves, and a categorical refutation of the
so-called "war on terrorism" declared by the government
of President George W. Bush.

The U.S. government had only to certify Luis Posada
Carriles as a terrorist to prevent his release and,
in line with Section 412 of the U.S. Patriot Act, to
acknowledge that his release would "threaten the national
security of the United States or the safety of the
community or any person."

The U.S. government could also have implemented the
regulations enabling Immigration and Customs Enforcement
to detain a foreigner who is not admissible to U.S.
territory and subject to deportation.

For that, it would have sufficed for U.S. authorities
to have determined that Posada Carriles is a threat to
the community, or that releasing him would involve
a flight risk on his part.

Why did the U.S. government allow the terrorist to
enter U.S. territory with impunity, despite the warnings
sounded by President Fidel Castro?

Why did the U.S. government protect him during the months
he remained illegally in its territory?

Why, having all the elements to do otherwise, did it
limit itself this past January 11 to charging him with
lesser crimes, essentially immigration-related, and not
with what he actually is: a murderer?

Why is he being released, when Judge Kathleen Cardone
herself, in her April 6 ruling ordering the release of
the terrorist, admitted that he was accused of "...having
been involved in, or associated with, some of the most
infamous events" of the 20th century? Some of the events
include "the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Iran-Contra affair,
the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455, the tourist bombings
of 1997 in Havana, and even — according to some conspiracy
theorists — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy."

Why is the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Immigration
and Customs Enforcement agency not using the mechanisms it
has at its disposal for maintaining the terrorist in prison,
with the irrefutable argument, already used by the U.S.
Attorney General’s office on a date as recent as this past
March 19, that if he were released, there is a risk that
he could flee?

Why has the U.S. government ignored the extradition
application submitted, in line with all relevant requirements,
by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela?

How is it possible that today, the most notorious terrorist
who has ever existed in this hemisphere is being released
while five Cuban men remain in cruel imprisonment for the
sole crime of fighting terrorism?

For Cuba, the answer is clear. The terrorist’s release has
been organized by the White House as compensation so that
Posada Carriles will not divulge what he knows, so that he
won’t talk about the countless secrets he holds in relation
to his long career as an agent of the U.S. special services,
in which he acted as part of Operation Condor, and in the
dirty war against Cuba, Nicaragua and other nations in
the world.

The full responsibility for the terrorist’s release and
the consequences deriving from it, fall directly on the
United States government, and most particularly on the
president of that country.

Even now, after his release, the U.S. government has all
the information and legal mechanisms to re-arrest him. All
that is lacking is the political will to seriously combat
terrorism, and to recall that, according to President Bush,
"if you harbor a terrorist, if you support a terrorist,
if you feed a terrorist, you will be as guilty as the


12) U.S. Erects Baghdad Wall to Keep Sects Apart
April 21, 2007

BAGHDAD, April 20 — American military commanders in Baghdad
are trying a radical new strategy to quell the widening
sectarian violence by building a 12-foot-high, three-mile-
long wall separating a historic Sunni enclave from Shiite

Soldiers in the Adhamiya district of northern Baghdad,
a Sunni Arab stronghold, began construction of the wall last
week and expect to finish it within a month. Iraqi Army
soldiers would then control movement through a few checkpoints.
The wall has already drawn intense criticism from residents
of the neighborhood, who say that it will increase sectarian
tensions and that it is part of a plan by the Shiite-led Iraqi
government to box in the minority Sunnis.

A doctor in Adhamiya, Abu Hassan, said the wall would
transform the residents into caged animals.

“It’s unbelievable that they treat us in such an inhumane
manner,” he said in a telephone interview. “They’re trying
to isolate us from other parts of Baghdad. The hatred will
be much greater between the two sects.”

“The Native Americans were treated better than us,” he added.

The American military said in a written statement that “the
wall is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition
and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence.”

As soldiers pushed forward with the construction, Defense
Secretary Robert M. Gates insisted to the Iraqi government
that it had to pass by late summer a series of measures
long sought by the White House that were aimed at advancing
reconciliation between the warring Sunni Arabs and Shiite

Whether Parliament meets that benchmark could affect
a decision that the Bush administration plans to make in
late summer on extending the nearly 30,000 additional troops
ordered to Iraq earlier this year, Mr. Gates said.

His words were the bluntest yet by an American official
in tying the American military commitment here to the
Iraqi political process. It reflected a growing frustration
among Bush administration officials at Iraq’s failure
to move on the political elements of the new strategy.
President Bush’s new security plan here is aimed at
buying time for the feuding Iraqi factions to come
to political settlements that would, in theory, reduce
the violence.

In recent weeks, Democrats in Congress have been intensifying
pressure on the president, through negotiations on financing
for the war, to set political deadlines for the Iraqis and
tie them to the withdrawal of American troops.

Speaking to reporters after talks with the Iraqi prime
minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Mr. Gates urged Parliament
not to adjourn for a planned summer recess without passing
legislation on sharing oil revenues, easing the purges of
former Baath Party members from government positions and
setting a date for provincial elections.

“Our commitment to Iraq is long term, but it is not
a commitment to have our young men and women patrolling
Iraq’s streets open-endedly,” he said, adding that he
told Mr. Maliki that “progress in reconciliation will
be an important element of our evaluation in the late

This is not the first time the Bush administration has
set a timetable for Iraq to pass the reconciliation
measures. Late last year, the White House gave the Iraqi
government a goal of March to pass the legislation. March
came and went, and senior administration officials shrugged
off the missed target, saying it was counterproductive
to press the Iraqis on the issue.

Mr. Gates’s demand, with its strong hint of conditions
attached, could force the Bush administration into a corner.

If progress on the reconciliation measures proves impossible
before the target date, as many Iraqi politicians say they
believe, American officials will have to decide whether
to follow through with the veiled threat. American military
commanders have already indicated privately that it may be
necessary to extend the troop reinforcements because the
time between now and August is not be long enough for the
new strategy to work.

A senior White House official in Washington said that
Mr. Gates had not threatened to remove American troops
if Mr. Maliki cannot act by midsummer. Instead, the official
argued, “He simply said what everyone has said, which
is that the process of political accommodation has
to speed up.”

President Bush spoke with Mr. Maliki in a secure video
conference on Monday morning and also emphasized the need
to pass the legislation, aides said.

Mr. Maliki’s office issued a statement on Friday saying
that the prime minister was confident that steps toward
reconciliation could be achieved this year.

Mr. Gates delivered his message at the end of a week of
major political turmoil and security setbacks for
Mr. Maliki’s government. Mr. Maliki’s strongest political
supporter, the firebrand Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr,
withdrew his six ministers from the cabinet. Car bombs
in Baghdad killed at least 171 people on Wednesday,
puncturing Iraqi confidence in the security plan.

Ceaseless violence is what led American commanders in
Adhamiya to build a wall to break contact between Sunnis
and Shiites. It is the first time the Americans have
tried a project of that scope in Baghdad. The soldiers
jokingly call it “The Great Wall of Adhamiya,” according
to military officials.

Commanders have sealed off a few other neighborhoods
into what they call “gated communities,” but not with
a lengthy wall. In the earlier efforts, American and
Iraqi soldiers placed concrete barriers blocking off
roads leading into the neighborhoods and left open
one or more avenues of egress where people and vehicles
were searched.

Soldiers did that to a degree in the volatile district
of Dora during a security push there last summer. More
recently, American and Iraqi Army units have closed
off almost all roads into the western Sunni Arab
neighborhoods of Amiriya and Daoudi. Residents of
Amiriya say violence dropped when the roads were first
blocked off late last year, but has gradually increased

Adhamiya is different, because it involves the building
of a three-mile wall along streets on its eastern flank.
It consists of a series of concrete barriers, each weighing
14,000 pounds, that have been transported down to Baghdad
in flatbed trucks from Camp Taji, north of the city.
Soldiers are using cranes to put the barriers in place.

Once the wall is complete, Iraqi Army soldiers will
operate entry and exit checkpoints, Capt. Marc Sanborn,
a brigade engineer for the Second Brigade, 82nd Airborne
Division, said in a news release on the project issued
this week by the American military.

The wall “is on a fault line of Sunni and Shia, and
the idea is to curb some of the self-sustaining violence
by controlling who has access to the neighborhoods,”
Captain Sanborn said.

Adhamiya has been rife with violence throughout the
war. It is a stalwart Sunni Arab neighborhood, home
to the hard-line Abu Hanifa mosque, and the last place
where Saddam Hussein made a public appearance before
he went into hiding in 2003. Shiite militiamen from
Sadr City and other Shiite enclaves to the east often
attack its residents, and Sunni insurgent groups battle
there among themselves.

“Shiites are coming in and hitting Sunnis, and Sunnis
are retaliating across the street,” Capt. Scott McLearn,
an operations officer in the area, said in a written

Abu Hassan, the doctor in Adhamiya, said his neighborhood
“is a small area.”

“The Americans and Iraqi government should be able to
control it” without building a wall, he said.

Many Sunnis across Baghdad complain that the Shiite-led
government has choked off basic services to their
neighborhoods, allowing trash to pile up in the streets,
banks to shut down and health clinics to languish.
So the wall raises fears of further isolation.

A spokesman for the American military, Maj. Gen. William
B. Caldwell IV, said at a news conference on Wednesday
that the military did not have a policy of sealing off

The American military has tried sealing off entire
cities during the war. The most famous example is
Falluja, in the insurgent stronghold of Anbar Province,
where marines began operating checkpoints on all main
roads into and out of the city after laying siege to
it in late 2004.

On Friday, a child was killed and nine people were
wounded in a mortar attack in Baghdad, and 19 bodies were
found across the capital. Hospital officials in Mosul
said they were treating 130 Iraqi Army trainees suffering
from stomach illness, in a possible case of mass poisoning
at a training center north of the city.

An American soldier was killed and two wounded in a rocket
attack on a base in Mahmudiya on Thursday night,
the military said.

Sahar Nageeb and Ahmad Fadam contributed reporting from
Baghdad, and David E. Sanger from Washington.


13) Marine Officer to Testify on Iraq Killings
in Exchange for Immunity
April 21, 2007

The officer in immediate command of three marines accused
of killing civilians in a house-to-house attack in Haditha,
Iraq, in 2005 has been granted immunity to testify at his
subordinates’ military hearings, lawyers involved in the
case said.

In exchange, the officer, First Lt. William T. Kallop, agreed
to answer all questions that prosecution or defense lawyers
ask him, the lawyers said. The immunity granted to Lieutenant
Kallop, who gave an order to take control of a house where
several civilians were killed, could bolster the defense
of the three enlisted men charged with murder in the case,
lawyers said, because it would show that they were following

Lieutenant Kallop, 25, is one of at least eight marines
granted immunity to testify about the attack on Nov. 19, 2005,
that killed 24 people after the marines’ convoy was struck by
a roadside bomb that killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas. Four
officers also face charges of dereliction of duty for the way
they dealt with the initial report of what happened in Haditha.

Earlier this month, Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, the Marine
officer overseeing the prosecution of the case, dismissed
charges against a fourth enlisted marine, Sgt. Sanick
P. Dela Cruz, 24.

General Mattis granted immunity to Lieutenant Kallop
on April 3, days after lawyers for another marine facing
murder charges asked the Marine Corps to grant immunity
to Lieutenant Kallop so he could testify at hearings for
the men, said Kevin B. McDermott, a civilian lawyer for
an officer charged in the case. The grant of immunity
was first reported in The Washington Post yesterday.

Several lawyers for the marines charged in the case said
the deal strengthened the arguments of the three enlisted

“It’s central to the case if an officer is telling marines
to take the house,” said Brian J. Rooney, a civilian lawyer
for Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, the highest-ranking
officer charged in the case.

Mr. McDermott, who represents Capt. Lucas McConnell,
the company commander who was not present during the
killings, said the immunity deal bolstered his client’s

“If the government’s not going to charge the lieutenant
that was at the scene and gave the order to clear the
house,” Mr. McDermott said, “I don’t know how he’s not
in the same boat as McConnell.”

At least seven other marines have also been granted
immunity to testify at preliminary hearings scheduled
for next month, lawyers said.


14) Growing Unrest Posing a Threat to Nigerian Oil
April 21, 2007

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria — There are few safe places left for
oil companies in the Niger Delta, the epicenter of this
country’s petroleum industry.

Armed rebel gangs have blown up pipelines, disabled pumping
stations, and kidnapped over 150 foreign oil workers in the
last year. Companies now confine employees to heavily
fortified compounds, allowing them to travel only by
armored car or helicopter.

One company has fitted bathrooms with steel bolts to turn
them into “panic” rooms, if needed. Another has coated the
pylons of a giant oil-production platform 80 miles offshore
with waterproof grease to prevent attackers from climbing
the rig.

The violence in the Niger Delta is likely to be one of the
thorniest political problems for Nigeria’s new president,
to be chosen in the election April 21. Oil, after all,
is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, providing 65 percent
of its revenue.

The events in Nigeria, the world’s eighth-largest oil
exporter, have rippled across energy markets, contributing
to higher prices and tighter supplies.

[On Friday, gunmen attacked a boat carrying oil workers
to an offshore rig in the delta, pushing up oil prices by
more than $1.50, to $63.38 a barrel.]

The United States imports more than one million barrels
of crude oil from Nigeria every day.

Many analysts warn that tensions here could derail plans
to boost oil production in this country of 140 million people.
Already, a quarter of Nigeria’s oil output has been shut down,
costing an estimated $12 billion in lost sales in over the last
year. Some foreign operators have abandoned oil fields,
or left the country altogether.

“I can’t think of anything worse right now,” said Larry Johnson,
a former United States Army officer who was recently hired
to toughen security at a site here operated by Eni, an Italian
oil producer. “Even Angola during the civil war wasn’t as bad.”

Violence is not new to the Niger Delta, a vast area of 40,000
square miles of swamps and creeks where the Niger River washes
out into the Atlantic Ocean. The region, which produces most
of the country’s oil, is also one of the nation’s poorest.

In the 1990s, there were occasional kidnappings. But at the
time, recalled Chris Haynes, a senior Shell executive, “you
could usually get them released for a few bags of rice or
a cow.”

Since January 2006, however, violence in the delta has surged.
So far in 2007, there have been at least 18 attacks against
oil facilities or bases in the delta, according to Bergen Risk
Solutions, a consultancy based in Bergen, Norway.

And about 70 foreigners have been abducted in 2007, although
most have been released within weeks in exchange for ransoms,
typically hundreds of thousands of dollars. Oil companies
find themselves in an uneasy position, stuck in a crisis
that they, in a sense, helped create. For years, human rights
groups accused them of turning a blind eye to the corruption
of Nigeria’s successive military regimes while damaging the
environment in the delta.

Some companies have acknowledged these past grievances but
say they changed after Nigeria returned to civilian rule
in 1999.

Still, gas flaring into the atmosphere remains a serious
problem despite a government deadline to end the practice
by 2008; few expect that deadline will be met. Also, oil
spills continue to spoil the delta’s fragile environment.
Energy executives blame locals for sabotaging their pipelines
either to steal the oil or to gain lucrative cleanup contracts.

By all accounts, petroleum profits have brought huge benefits
to this country’s rulers, but few to its people. Oil companies
typically keep 7 percent of the profits from oil sales; the
government gets 93 percent.

Nigeria ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the
world according to Transparency International, a Berlin-
based anti-corruption group; 70 percent of the country’s
population lives on $1 a day or less. Life expectancy
is 47 years.

Between 1960 and 1999, more than $380 billion was stolen
or wasted, according to Nuhu Ribadu, Nigeria’s top anti-
corruption official. In that period, the country produced
over $400 billion worth of oil.

In an effort to redistribute wealth, the government now
gives 13 percent of the proceeds from oil sales to the
producing states but there is little accountability of
how these funds are spent. Much of it simply disappears,
wasted by inefficient or corrupt local officials, according
to a recent Human Rights Watch report.

The River States government, for example, had a budget
of $1.3 billion in 2006, the report said. It includes
transportation fees of $65,000 a day for the governor’s
office; $10 million for catering, entertainment, gifts
and souvenirs; and $38 million for two helicopters.
Health services received $22 million.

“Oil companies are caught in an impossible situation,”
said Chris Albin-Lackey, a researcher with Human Rights
Watch. “They cannot meet the expectations of the communities
in which they operate. At the same time, you have
a government unwilling to do anything about the delta.”

Oil companies have all set up programs to build roads,
hospitals or schools in their communities. Shell, for
example, said it spends over $100 million each year on
social and health programs in the Niger Delta. Exxon, which
has set aside $21 million for similar projects in 2007,
noted it had built 95 percent of the roads in the town
of Eket, close to one of its operations.

But in the absence of government services, executives
say their programs alone cannot buy them sustained peace.

“The government should really be the one who looks after
everybody else,” said Basil Omiyi, Shell’s managing director
in Nigeria. “I don’t think the capital program of oil and g
as companies can be the government in the Niger Delta.”

John Chaplin, Exxon’s top executive in Nigeria, said “The
demands are limitless.”

Critics say governments in Abuja, the country’s modern capital,
have neglected the delta region and blame oil companies for
being complicit in a system that ignores the communities
where the oil is produced.

“The situation here is deplorable,” said John Owubokiri,
an advocate for the rights of the delta states in Port
Harcourt. “The people are being shortchanged.”

That message is now being delivered in a more forceful way
than the largely nonviolent militancy of the past decade.
A new group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger
Delta, has emerged in the past year and claimed responsibility
for many of the kidnappings and attacks against oil companies.

MEND wants more money for the delta states and has vowed
to bring Nigeria’s oil exports to a stop if its demands
are not met.

“We are more than capable of escalating the violence,”
the MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, who regularly sends e-mail
messages to the media, wrote in response to e-mailed
questions. The group, he said, is prepared for “a protracted
military confrontation.”

The violence has driven some companies away. Willbros,
one of the world’s largest independent contractors, left
Nigeria last summer after nearly 45 years, because nine
of its employees were held in the swamps for weeks. After
their release, Willbros said the dangers in Nigeria “exceed
our acceptable risk levels.”

After one of Shell’s big export sites was bombed in February
2006, the company abandoned its operations in the Western
part of the delta and shut half its production, or 500,000
barrels a day. In early April, Shell outlined plans to
restart production within six months. Meanwhile, the
government has been unable to quell the unrest, security
consultants said. “Nigeria’s security forces are ill
equipped, poorly led, unmotivated, and outgunned,” said
Ian Pilcher, the head of Nigerian operations for ArmorGroup,
a British security consultant.

But Nigerian officials say they do not want to escalate
tensions by sending more troops to the region.

“It’s definitely not a first option,” said Edmund Daukoru,
Nigeria’s oil minister, referring to a more forceful
military response.

The lack of security has created demand for private
security firms to help oil companies make conditions
safer for their workers who are adjusting to a new lifestyle.
For example, Triple Canopy, an American security firm founded
shortly after the Iraq invasion, opened its first office
outside of the Middle East in Lagos last summer.

While the attacks against oil companies have slowed recently,
replaced largely by election violence, few analysts believe
the militant movement will disappear soon.

Just a few months ago, foreign employees in Port Harcourt,
the center for oil operations in the delta, lived in
apartments with their families and could relax at local
bars, including one popular pub, Goodfellas.

But after a rash of attacks around town last year, families
have packed up and gone home, while workers and executives
have retreated inside fortified bases surrounded by high
walls and razor wire.

On a recent evening, about a dozen men, mainly Italians,
settled at the mess inside one such campus here operated
by Eni to watch a live soccer game from Rome on satellite
television. The 50-acre compound houses offices, dormitories,
and some guest houses; there are tennis courts and manicured
lawns, a swimming pool and a new gym.

There is also a large field for soccer games between the
company team and local soldiers. The cook, the food and
the wine come from Italy.

The Eni campus is an oasis compared with the rest of town,
a chaotic cluster of five million people. But violence can
visit here at any moment, as it did a few months ago when
a cellphone-activated car bomb blew up just across the

“It’s sad what is going on here,” said Marco Castelli,
a manager at Eni, who moved to Nigeria last June. After
years living alone in far-flung places like Kazakhstan,
Congo and Iran, Mr. Castelli was looking forward to
a quiet family assignment in Nigeria. His wife was about
to quit her job as a marketing executive for a drug
company in Italy to join him.

But soon after he arrived, gunmen entered a bar in Aker
Base, a slum outside of Port Harcourt, and kidnapped
an Italian worker. An army sergeant was shot dead as
he tried to stop the attackers. Later that day, soldiers
returned to the scene and razed the village.

The hostage was released the same week, but shortly
after that event Mr. Castelli’s wife scrapped her
plans to join him.

“The more the situation worsened,” he said, “the more
the restrictions became tough.”

Still, many workers here say they are undeterred by the
violence and few are considering leaving.

Antonio Fiore, an engineer with Eni, has been confined
to the Port Harcourt base since December. In his three
decades with the company, Mr. Fiore helped build
a refinery in Iraq in the 1970s, worked on a petrochemical
plant near the Iranian town of Isfahan in 1989, and spent
time in Kuwait after the first gulf war. He has been posted
in Nigeria for the last three years.

“What we’re doing here is important,” he said. “I have been
in many critical areas. But for us, what happened last
year was a nightmare.”




War Resister Agustin Aguayo Released
"Army medic Agustin Aguayo was released this week after
more than six months in military custody for refusing
to deploy to Iraq a second time.
Aguayo went AWOL for weeks after refusing the order.
He was taken into military custody and jailed after
turning himself in. We speak with Agustin Aguayo's
wife, Helga."

Mike Farrell of M*A*S*H on His Journey to Actor and
"Actor Mike Farrell is perhaps best known for his role
as Captain B.J.Hunnicutt in the popular TV series
M*A*S*H. But aside from that, he is also
known for his decades of social justice activism.
Farrell has just come out with a new book called "Just
Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and

VIDEO | Depleted Uranium: Poisoning Our Planet

FOCUS | Soldier Says He Was Deployed With Head Injury

Ongoing Defiance/Political Gridlock in Lebanon
April 20, 2007

Maryland: Bodies of Miners Are Found
Workers found the bodies of two miners trapped when a wall
section collapsed in an open-pit coal mine in western Maryland,
a federal mine official said. The official, Bob Cornett,
acting regional director for the federal Mine Safety and
Health Administration, said the men, one of whom was found
in a backhoe, and the other, found in a bulldozer, appeared
to have died instantly. The cause of the collapse was under
investigation. Mr. Cornett said heavy rain and the ground’s
freezing and thawing could be a factor. The mine, about
150 miles west of Baltimore, has had no fatal injuries since
at least 1995 and was not cited for violations in its most
recent inspection, which began March 5, according the federal
mine agency.
April 21, 2007

Fish-Killing Virus Spreading in the Great Lakes
"CHICAGO, April 20 — A virus that has already killed tens
of thousands of fish in the eastern Great Lakes is spreading,
scientists said, and now threatens almost two dozen aquatic
species over a wide swath of the lakes and nearby waterways."
April 21, 2007

Army’s Documents Detail Secrecy in Tillman Case
April 21, 2007

Anger and Alternatives on Abortion
April 21, 2007

World Opposed to U.S. as Global Cop

Supreme Court Backtracks on Abortion Rights

Report: World Needs to Axe Greenhouse Gases by 80 Pct

Iraq Refugees: The Hidden Face of the War

World Bank May Target Family Planning

2 Miners Trapped in Maryland Under Up to 100 Feet of Rock
April 20, 2007

Leading Article: A global warning from the dust bowl of Australia
Published:?20 April 2007

General strike in the Spanish province of Cadiz to support
employees of Delphi
April 18, 2007

Graffiti Figure Admired as Artist Now Faces Vandalism Charges
April 19, 2007

Pet Food Recall Expanded
April 19, 2007

Pet Food Recall
Updated: April 19, 2007

Gates Reassures Israel About Arms Sales in Gulf
April 19, 2007

A Lot of Uninvited Guests
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail
"DAMASCUS, Apr 18 (IPS) - The massive influx of Iraqi refugees
into Syria has brought rising prices and overcrowding, but most
Syrians seem to have accepted more than a million of the
refugees happily enough."

Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Abortion Procedure
Filed at 12:53 p.m. ET
April 18, 2007

Almost Human, and Sometimes Smarter
April 17, 2007

Housing Slump Takes a Toll on Illegal Immigrants
"HURON, Calif. — Some of the casualties of America’s housing
bust are easy to spot up and down California’s Central Valley."
April 17, 2007



The National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) demands the immediate
release of political prisoner, Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Although
Dr. Al-Arian is no longer on a hunger strike we must still demand
he be released by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). After an earlier
plea agreement that absolved Dr. Al-Arian from any further questioning,
he was sentenced up to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify before
a grand jury in Virginia. He has long sense served his time yet
Dr. Al-Arian is still being held. Release him now!



We ask all people of conscience to demand the immediate
release and end to Dr. Al- Arian's suffering.

Call, Email and Write:

1- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Fax Number: (202) 307-6777

2- The Honorable John Conyers, Jr
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
(202) 225-0072 Fax

3- Senator Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

4- Honorable Judge Gerald Lee
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314
March 22, 2007
[No email]

National Council of Arab Americans (NCA)

Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami Al-Arian and the War of
By Charlotte Kates, The Electronic Intifada, 4 April 2007


Robert Fisk: The true story of free speech in America
This systematic censorship of Middle East reality
continues even in schools
Published: 07 April 2007
http://news. independent. fisk/article2430 125.ece


[For some levity...Hans Groiner plays Monk]

Excerpt of interview between Barbara Walters and Hugo Chavez

Which country should we invade next?

My Favorite Mutiny, The Coup

Michael Moore- The Awful Truth

Morse v. Frederick Supreme Court arguments

Free Speech 4 Students Rally - Media Montage


'My son lived a worthwhile life'
In April 2003, 21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head
in Gaza by an Israeli soldier as he tried to save the lives of three
small children. Nine months later, he died, having never
recovered consciousness. Emine Saner talks to his mother
Jocelyn about her grief, her fight to make the Israeli army
accountable for his death and the book she has written
in his memory.
Monday March 26, 2007
The Guardian,,2042968,00.html


Introducing...................the Apple iRack


"A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind."
[A T-shirt worn by some teachers at Roosevelt High School
in L.A. as part of their campaign to rid the school of military
recruiters and JROTC--see Article in Full item number 4,]




Defend the Los Angeles Eight!


George Takai responds to Tim Hardaway's homophobic remarks




Another view of the war. A link from Amer Jubran


Petition: Halt the Blue Angels


A Girl Like Me
7:08 min
Youth Documentary
Kiri Davis, Director, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, Producer
Winner of the Diversity Award
Sponsored by Third Millennium Foundation


Film/Song about Angola


"200 million children in the world sleep in the streets today.
Not one of them is Cuban."
(A sign in Havana)
View sign at bottom of page at:
[Thanks to Norma Harrison for sending]



"Cheyenne and Arapaho oral histories hammer history's account of the
Sand Creek Massacre"

CENTENNIAL, CO -- A new documentary film based on an award-winning
documentary short film, "The Sand Creek Massacre", and driven by
Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho people who tell their version about
what happened during the Sand Creek Massacre via their oral
histories, has been released by Olympus Films+, LLC, a Centennial,
Colorado film company.

"You have done an extraordinary job" said Margie Small, Tobient
Entertainment, " on the Colorado PBS episode, the library videos for
public schools and libraries, the trailer, etc...and getting the
story told and giving honor to those ancestors who had to witness
this tragic and brutal is one of the best ways."

"The images shown in the film were selected for native awareness
value" said Donald L. Vasicek, award-winning writer/filmmaker, "we
also focused on preserving American history on film because tribal
elders are dying and taking their oral histories with them. The film
shows a non-violent solution to problem-solving and 19th century
Colorado history, so it's multi-dimensional in that sense. "

Chief Eugene Blackbear, Sr., Cheyenne, who starred as Chief Black
Kettle in "The Last of the Dogmen" also starring Tom Berenger and
Barbara Hershey and "Dr. Colorado", Tom Noel, University of Colorado
history professor, are featured.

The trailer can be viewed and the film can be ordered for $24.95 plus
$4.95 for shipping and handling at

Vasicek's web site,, provides detailed
information about the Sand Creek Massacre including various still
images particularly on the Sand Creek Massacre home page and on the
proposal page.

Olympus Films+, LLC is dedicated to writing and producing quality
products that serve to educate others about the human condition.


Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
7078 South Fairfax Street
Centennial, CO 80122,+Don


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


[The Scab
"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad,
and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with
which he made a scab."
"A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul,
a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten
principles." "When a scab comes down the street,
men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and
the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out."
"No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there
is a pool of water to drown his carcass in,
or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab.
For betraying his master, he had character enough
to hang himself." A scab has not.
"Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of
a commision in the british army."
The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife,
his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled
promise from his employer.
Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor
to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country;
a scab is a traitor to his God, his country,
his family and his class."
Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)...Roland Sheppard]


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


Sand Creek Massacre
(scroll down when you get there])

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])