Saturday, June 09, 2007



Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

"JR" interviewed William Singletary on Dennis Bernstein's KPFA Flashpoints program Thursday 7 June at 5 P.M. You can listen to the audio archive of the program on the url above. The Singletary interview is about 22 minutes into the program.

William Singletary insisted that he is the "only" witness to the events that night when police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot. He states that Mumia Abu-Jamal did not arrive on the scene until about 4 or 5 minutes after Faulkner was shot.



Check it out!"



Note: Because of the importance of this call, I am keeping
it on the list as number 1 for the next couple of

1) What Should the Anti-War Movement Do Now?
A Proposal from the ANSWER Coalition
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

2) Bush's Lies and Cons
By Fidel Castro Ruz
June 7, 2007
VIA Email from: Walter Lippmann

3) David R. Montgomery's Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
By Jesse Lichtenstein
June/July/August 2007

4) Italy Braces for Legal Fight Over Secret C.I.A. Program
June 8, 2007

5) Secret Prisons in 2 Countries Held Qaeda Suspects, Report Says
June 8, 2007

6) New Hampshire to Repeal Parental Notification Law
June 8, 2007

7) Arrests of 31 in U.S. Sweep Bring Fear in New Haven
June 8, 2007

8) Lifestyles of the Rich
RE: "A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich.
By Robert Frank.
277 pp. Crown Publishers. $24.95.
June 10, 2007

9) Forgetting May Be Part of the Process of Remembering
June 5, 2007

10) Sea Lions Hit by High Levels of Acid Poison in California
June 6, 2007

11) Memorials of Madness
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

12) Death & Texas: The Kenneth Foster Case
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

13) School to Prison Pipeline
Op-Ed Columnist
June 9, 2007

14) Ruling Likely to Spur Convictions in Capital Cases
June 9, 2007

15) A Castro Strives to Open Cuban’s Opinions on Sex
June 9, 2007

16) Rights Group Offers Grim View of C.I.A. Jails
June 9, 2007

17) Actor and Comedian Roseanne Barr Urges End to Israeli Occupation
"In a videotaped message to be played at the June 10th rally in Washington, actor and comedian Roseanne Barr says an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the key to a just and lasting peace.
In a videotaped message to be played at the June 10th rally in Washington, actor and comedian Roseanne Barr says an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the key to a just and lasting peace."
Friday, June 8th, 2007


1) What Should the Anti-War Movement Do Now?
A Proposal from the ANSWER Coalition
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

[Please note: I endorse this call wholeheartedly and
encourage everyone to sign on! --Bonnie Weinstein,]

It is an absolute responsibility of the anti-war movement
to make an honest and straightforward assessment of the
current situation and to craft a strategy that can really
make a difference. Every serious organization, and especially
those with the greatest mobilizing reach, must be asked
to avoid posturing, make an assessment and develop an
action plan that will change the political landscape
in a decisive way.

This document does not seek to address or detail the
political differences between organizations and groups.
They exist and they have been detailed often. At this
moment, there needs to be an effort at clear perspective
that focuses on one simple question: What will end the
war and occupation of Iraq and what should the US anti-
war movement do?

It is clear that the anti-war movement is not sufficiently
strong at the moment to bring this criminal and despised
war to an end. Every organization must ask why is this
so and most importantly what can be done to change the
situation immediately.

The first question to ask and answer is: Can a people's
movement in the United States overcome the commitment
of the White House, Congress and the Pentagon to authorize,
extend and finance the war and occupation in Iraq?

If you or your organization answers the question negatively
then the rest doesn’t really matter. Perhaps, individuals
can bear witness and continue to protest, but it will
be little more than an individual statement.

If the answer to the question is yes, however, we must
assess various factors and craft a strategy that will be
fundamentally different from the current path of the
anti-war movement.

Historically, wars come to an end either because one side
wins and one side loses, or the people rise in revolution
(usually as a result of a military defeat or pending defeat),
or both sides exhaust each other over a protracted period.

What is the military situation in Iraq? The US cannot
achieve military victory in Iraq. Its multiple opponents
in Iraq are not militarily strong enough to decisively
defeat the US military in the short term. If the Iraqi
population, however, were able to overcome sectarian
divisions introduced with the US occupation it is possible
that Iraq could witness a repeat of a nationwide uprising
such as the 1958 Revolution that drove the British military
out of Iraq. But the flames of division are being whipped
up every day and function as a deterrent to such a spontaneous
national uprising against the occupiers. Finally, the
US military is stretched thin but is clearly able to
continue the occupation for some time, and the anti-U.S.
opponents in Iraq are not exhausted yet by the protracted
conflict. If anything they are gathering strength and
energy as the occupation forces cannot take the strategic
initiative away from guerrilla forces.

Given this complex reality, or realities, we believe that
the U.S. antiwar movement must take strategic and bold
initiatives that change the political climate in this
country. To succeed, these initiatives must be based
on a correct assessment of where we are.

The ANSWER Coalition wants to offer its own brief assessment
of the political equation in the United States. We are
also offering a proposal to all of the major anti-war
coalitions and groups and to all of those organizations
that function on a local level

Assessment of the political situation as it regards
the Iraq war

1) The people of the country have turned decisively against
the continuation of the war. Most recognize that the war was
based on lies and most no longer believe the president and
the generals when they assure them that victory is still

2) The military situation is worsening rather than improving
in light of the so-called surge. The number of US war dead
in May 2007 spiked to the third highest month since the
initial invasion in 2003. The numbers of Iraqi dead is about
3,000 each month. Two million Iraqis have fled the country
and another two million are internal refugees.

3) The US is unable to secure its political control over
the region as is evident by what is happening in Lebanon,
Iran and Syria and its intensified destabilization campaign
towards the Palestinian people.

4) The Bush administration is increasingly isolated, at home
and abroad, because of its failure in Iraq and its inability
to regain the military initiative even with tens of thousands
of more troops. The Pentagon anticipates occupying Iraq for
decades, as it has Korea and other countries.

5) More and more U.S. soldiers, marines, veterans and the
families of service members are either disillusioned or
completely opposed to the continuation of the war and

6) The Democratic-controlled Congress voted overwhelmingly
to extend and finance the war and occupation. The calculation
of the Democratic Party leadership and the vast majority
of its elected officials in Congress is based on avoiding
at all costs taking responsibility for a pullout from Iraq
which will be perceived as a defeat for the United States
in this strategic oil-rich region. They believe that they
can secure an electoral advantage in 2008 by having the war
drag on and have the public hold the Republicans responsible
for the war. Moreover, the Democratic Party is feeding from
the same corporate financing trough as the Republicans and
they share the Bush government’s broad objective of U.S.
domination in the Middle East. Congress, under the current
circumstances, is completely committed to not ending the war
in Iraq in the next two years and probably for much longer
than that.

Assessment of the weakness and strength of the antiwar

1) There have been a growing number of anti-war protests
on the national, regional and local level during the past
six months.

2) The antiwar protests are being joined and, in some
cases, initiated by the people who have not been involved
in past demonstrations.

3) A growing sentiment of opposition and disgust to the war,
occupation (and the politicians) is building among rank and
file service members and some officers.

4) A large amount of energy and activity was directed at
Congress with the hope that the Congress would heed their
constituents' desire to end the war. When the Congress
instead voted against its constituents and with Bush
to extend the war there was a huge wave of anger, frustration
and desperation but with few available or recognized channels
for effective action.

5) Although the antiwar sentiment is growing among the
general population, the size and intensity of the
demonstrations, protests and acts of resistance does
not at all measure up to the vast magnitude of feelings
against the Iraq war among the general population.

6) The single biggest reason for this dichotomy is the
fact that the anti-war movement is badly splintered rather
than working together or in a united fashion so as to marshal,
stimulate and mobilize a truly massive outpouring of the people.

Proposal to build a truly mass outpouring of the people

If every anti-war coalition and organization came together
on a particular day, and with enough advance notice, under
the simple demand End the War Now it would be easily possible
to mobilize one million people. The political mood in the
country exists to make this happen.

So as to facilitate the greatest degree of coordination between
organizations to build a massive outpouring, the ANSWER Coalition
is not unilaterally setting a date for this potentially million-
strong march and rally. However, we recommend holding it sometime
in November of 2007, or on March 22, 2008--the fifth anniversary
of the war." In order to have such a huge demonstration, enough
time must be given to allow the organizations and coalitions
to come together and for intensive national outreach and

This period of time between now and the demonstration would
not be a period of quiet, it would be a time of intensifying
anti-war activity and education at the local and regional level
culminating in this mass action. Unfortunately, unless the
political relationship of forces changes inside the United
States or in Iraq, the war and occupation will continue
through November and beyond. We are proposing a specific
tactic that can contribute to shifting the equation.

The aim is not just one more demonstration but the largest
antiwar demonstration in US history.

A mobilization of one million people marching on Washington
DC would be the best possible trigger for an avalanche
of grassroots organizing throughout the country and among
service members and their families and veterans. It is time
for something bold and broad. Something that sends an
unmistakable message to the powers that be that the people
of the United States have entered the field of politics in
such a way as to become an irresistible force.

Each group and movement should maintain its political
independence. Each group can inscribe on its banners
a variety of slogans or ideas or demands but what will allow
us to unite for the largest mobilization of all the people
is the simple unifying demand. Whatever differences that
exist between groups, and there are many and they are important,
are not sufficient justification for preventing us from coming
together in a show of force that will change the direction
of this country. The lives of too many people, all victims
of a criminal war, are too precious for our movement to tolerate
anything that prevents us from reaching our potential
to end the war in Iraq. With determination, maturity and mutual
respect our diverse anti-war movement can unite.

We would like to hear from everyone in consideration of this
proposal. If you, your friends, or your organization support
the proposal for a unified mass demonstration aiming to bring
1 million people onto the streets of Washington DC, please
join with us and sign on, which you can do by clicking
this link or visiting
This movement has grown strong because of its grassroots
base. Let’s hear from everyone who supports this exciting

During the next week, people like you and thousands of others
can circulate this proposal, discuss it with your organization,
family and friends, and be part of the effort to make it
a reality. We look forward to hearing from you and working

Proposal by the A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism)
Coalition, May 31, 2007


2) Bush's Lies and Cons
By Fidel Castro Ruz
June 7, 2007
VIA Email from: Walter Lippmann

I don’t like the idea of seeming to be a vengeful person, someone wishful to relentlessly pursue an adversary. I had promised myself to wait a bit and see how the contradictions between Bush and his European allies would unfold on the vital subject of climate change. But George W. Bush went too far when he made a declaration that we read in an AP piece last Friday. The President of the United States stated that he would go to the Vatican "with a very open mind and ready to listen" to the Pope, and he assured that they share a "common respect for human life and human dignity" and freedom.

"History has demonstrated that democracies don't go to war with each other and therefore the best way to reinforce peace is to promote freedom," he added.
"This will be the American leader’s first visit to Pope Benedict XVI. His last trip to Italy was in April 2005 for the funeral of Pope John Paul II," the agency reported.

In one of my reflections I said that I wouldn’t be the first or the last person that Bush would order or authorize his agents to remove. Having seen his unusual declaration, I think that if Bush had ever read any history book, he would be aware that there, in Rome itself, an empire was born that nourished the vocabulary of political language for almost two thousand years; the Vatican City was also born there as time went by, after Constantine's Edict of Milan which officially removed obstacles to the practice of Christianity at the beginning of the fourth century A.D.
Historians tell us that the Caesar Nero who ordered the capital of the empire to be set on fire was heard to exclaim in satisfaction while the tragedy was in progress: "What a great poet is perishing!"

If only the historians were right! If only Bush were a poet! If only the inhabitants of the planet were those belonging to those times! If only nuclear, chemical, biological and mass destruction weapons did not exist! Even though it was a sad occurrence, including the death of the poet, who would be alarmed by a fire consuming what today would be just a great village?

Evidently Rome is not yet included among the 60 or more dark corners of the world that the United States military must be ready to preemptively attack, as Bush proclaimed at West Point on June 1, 2002.

Bush would now like to con Pope Benedict XVI. The Iraq War doesn’t exist, it doesn’t cost a cent, not one drop of blood has been spilled, nor have hundreds of thousands of innocent people died as part of a shameless bartering of lives for oil and gas, imposed by force of arms on the peoples of the Third World. Nor does the danger of another war against Iran exist, including possible tactical nuclear strikes to impose the same infamous formula. We are all required to believe that Russia does not feel threatened by a possible shower of annihilating and accurate nuclear missiles giving rise to a new and ever more dangerous arms race.

Following the chronic course of his rude lies, we might well wonder: why did Bush free an infamous, self-confessed terrorist like Posada Carriles on the same day that the 45th anniversary of the imperialist defeat at the Bay of Pigs was commemorated? Worse still, would he feel even a smidgen of pain about the injustice of keeping five Cuban heroes prisoners, some serving two life sentences, because they were informing their country about terrorist plans? Banish the thought that Bush didn’t know who funded the countless assassination plots on Castro!

We have seen Bush making strange and disturbed grimaces while making official speeches to United States senators and representatives, boasting about the enemies he has had removed by issuing personal orders. He created official torture centers in Abu Ghraib and at the Guantánamo Naval Base; his agents, acting illegally, kidnapped people in many countries where CIA planes would secretly fly in, with or without permission from the corresponding authorities. Information would have to be extracted with well-studied physical torture methods.

How could he possibly think that Pope Benedict XVI would share values with him about respect for life, human dignity and freedom?

What does the Spanish language dictionary tell us?

Tall tale: an artfully disguised lie.

To con: to deceive, to hallucinate, taking advantage of someone’s naiveté.

I promised brief reflections and I am keeping my word.


3) David R. Montgomery's Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
By Jesse Lichtenstein
June/July/August 2007

["If small-scale landownership creates a class of barbarians standing
half outside society, combining all the crudity of primitive social
forms with all the torments and misery of civilized countries, large
landed property undermines labor-power in the final sphere to which its
indigenous energy flees, and where it is stored up as a reserve fund for
renewing the vital power of the nation, on the land itself. Large-scale
industry and industrially pursued large-scale agriculture have the same
effect. If they are originally distinguished by the fact that the former
lays waste and ruins labour-power and thus the natural power of man,
whereas the latter does the same to the natural power of the soil, they
link up in the later course of development, since the industrial system
applied to agriculture also enervates the workers there, while industry
and trade for their part provide agriculture with the means of
exhausting the soil."

Karl Marx, Capital V. 3]

“Predictably—and understandably— more pressing problems than saving dirt
usually carry the day,” writes David R. Montgomery. But as his new book,
Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, details, we are losing the brown
stuff far, far too quickly. Unlike maritime dead zones and radical
climate change, cases in which we have little historical knowledge on
which to draw, we do have some sense of what happens to civilizations
that abuse and lose their dirt. The book’s conclusion takes little
comfort in history: “Unless more immediate disasters do us in, how we
address the twin problems of soil degradation and accelerated erosion
will eventually determine the fate of modern civilization.” (Never mind
the echoes of that useful old tip “If nothing else kills you, cancer will.”)

For terrestrial life forms, dirt is where it all begins. It is “the skin
of the earth—the frontier between geology and biology,” a thin, fragile
living blanket that covers a hard, rock planet. Early on, Montgomery, a
professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington
and author of King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon (2003),
examines the organic and geologic processes that produce soil and cause
it to erode. Given enough time, these competing tendencies tend to bring
about an equilibrium in soil characteristics and soil type specific to a
given place. Agriculture, of course, alters things.

With more thoroughness than narrative snap, much of Dirt is given over
to an environmental history of civilizations, which wax and wane over
hundreds and thousands of years as they plow up their topsoil, push
their land to its limits in order to feed burgeoning populations, and
watch the exposed dirt wash or blow away. It then becomes a matter of
moving on to steeper, poorer land, importing food (as in the case of
imperial Rome), melting away into the jungle, or slaughtering one
another over rare arable land. This dirt’s-eye-view of history provides
an interesting perspective on a vast range of topics, from the vanishing
commons and the rise of private estates in Europe to the drive to
colonize the Americas, from slavery and the Industrial Revolution to
floods and famines in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century China. And
no book on dirt can pass lightly over the Depression-era Dust Bowl or
its lesser-known Soviet counterpart.

Montgomery decries the loss of soil husbandry, the intelligent and
long-term stewardship that good dirt requires if we are continuously to
extract food from it. Instead, factors such as population growth, a
variety of economic ideologies, absentee land ownership, and the
profit-driven imperatives of fossil-fuel, agrochemical, and machinery
producers continue to press— worldwide—for maximum immediate yield,
leading to erosion rates orders of magnitude higher than that at which
soil is formed. What is needed, writes Montgomery, is agroecology in
place of agrochemistry—a matching of practice to place, an intelligent
mimicry of nature in place of genetic jiggering and the
ever-less-effective application of ever-dwindling petrochemicals. Urban
agriculture, efficient small-scale organic farms, and no-till methods on
large-scale farms point a way forward. With the world losing an
astonishing 1 percent of its arable land each year (that’s from a 1995
study, so say good-bye to 11 percent of it and add another billion
mouths to feed), Montgomery warns that it is time to treat soil “as a
valuable inheritance rather than a commodity—as something other than dirt.”


4) Italy Braces for Legal Fight Over Secret C.I.A. Program
June 8, 2007

ROME, June 7 — There is no dispute over the central event of Feb. 17, 2003, on Via Guerzoni in Milan: an imam, known as Abu Omar and eyed as a terrorism suspect, vanished while walking to his mosque.

And no one is seriously denying what he and Italian prosecutors now allege: that this was the work of the Central Intelligence Agency, part of the contentious American program of “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects are seized and sent for interrogation to other countries, including some in which torture is practiced. A hundred or more terrorism suspects have similarly disappeared worldwide since the 9/11 attacks.

The real dispute has played out over the attempt here in Italy to call this a crime.

On Friday, the same day that President Bush arrives here, a trial opens in Milan charging not only 25 C.I.A. operatives but Italy’s former intelligence chief with breaking Italian laws by abducting the imam. If it goes ahead — legal challenges could delay the start until the fall — it will be the first such trial anywhere.

But even if it does go ahead, it is far from certain that there will ever be any legal conclusion to a secretive and complicated case that risks poisoning ties between the United States and Italy, deep embarrassment for both countries and, possibly, full-scale scandal here.

American officials have stated blankly that they will never extradite the C.I.A. operatives. And the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi, trying to derail the case, has charged that the chief prosecutor, Armando Spataro, overstepped his bounds and violated state secrecy laws as he gathered evidence. The suggestion is that a trial risks exposing Italy’s most closely held security secrets.

Mr. Spataro fired back, saying he had an obligation to prosecute law-breaking even in the name of fighting terrorism. Investigators say the abduction also ruined a long investigation by the Italian police into Abu Omar, whose real name is Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, and a suspected network of militants.

“Kidnapping Abu Omar was a serious crime,” Mr. Spataro said, “and did serious damage to our fight against terrorism.”

Now, the nation’s Constitutional Court is deciding whether Mr. Spataro did, indeed, violate secrecy laws by wiretapping Italian secret agents and using documents from a safe house used by agents. Mr. Spataro contends that his work complied fully with the law.

The decision could have a decisive impact on the trial, suppressing crucial evidence or halting the proceedings.

With a decision not expected until the fall, one of the first orders of business on Friday will be arguments on whether to suspend the criminal trial in the abduction until then.

If the trial does go forward, it will tantalize with a possible glimpse of the darker side of the American fight against terrorism — broadly, whether the Bush administration overreached, overstepping the laws of allies like Italy, since the 9/11 attacks. There has been no similar trial, and for the United States, it risks exposing details of a program it has acknowledged only broadly and refuses to discuss specifically.

For Italy, the stakes are perhaps more immediate. Among those charged is Nicolò Pollari, who was in charge of the nation’s military intelligence, a powerful defendant whose job was roughly equivalent to that of the C.I.A. director.

As might be expected from such a figure, Mr. Pollari is playing for keeps. His list of potential witnesses includes Silvio Berlusconi, who was prime minister at the time of the abduction, and Mr. Prodi, along with top aides to the two men.

Mr. Berlusconi and three aides could testify, Mr. Pollari’s lawyer wrote in a legal brief, that Mr. Pollari opposed, “with absolute firmness, any possibility of projects for illegal activity even with the aim of fighting terrorism (and particularly any activity of renditions).”

Asked whether someone higher in the Italian government than Mr. Pollari had assented to the abduction, the lawyer, Titta Madia, said dryly, “Evidently, it wasn’t the doorman.”

In fact, the case here is the only documented rendition in Western Europe in which suspects were not handed over outright to American officials. The reason it seems to have happened only in Italy is not clear, and officials here broadly agree that there were more dangerous militants in Europe at the time.

But Mr. Nasr represented enough of a threat that he also was under investigation by the Italian antiterrorism police at the time. Suspected of being a veteran of Afghan training camps and the Balkan wars, he was said to have had a role in recruiting and financing militants in Europe.

“He was involved in activity that represented a serious danger to our national security,” said Claudio Scajola, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the secret services.

On Feb. 17, 2003, Mr. Nasr disappeared on his way to a mosque considered then to be the center of radical Islamic activity in Milan. There was little news of him until he was released from prison in Egypt in February. He said he had been jailed all that time, apart from a few weeks in 2004. He said he was tortured after the C.I.A. flew him to Cairo.

“Egypt’s government did what it always does: carry out Washington’s orders,” Mr. Nasr told the German magazine Der Spiegel. “The dirty work to get me to talk was to be done here. That is why they tortured me, hooked up electric wires to my genitals, hung me on the wall in a solitary cell for days, subjected me to unbearably loud music through headphones.

“In the first 14 months, I would have confessed to anything,” he said.

(Shortly after his release, Mr. Nasr agreed to a request from The New York Times for an interview but then canceled the night before because, he and his lawyer said, an Italian television station had offered to pay for an exclusive interview.)

But during the time Mr. Nasr’s whereabouts were unknown, prosecutors in Milan, led by Mr. Spataro, a veteran of domestic terrorism cases, meticulously pieced together the case. In the end, he won the indictment of 25 C.I.A. operatives, plus an American Air Force colonel, Mr. Pollari and other Italian agents.

The work was simplified to some degree by the sloppiness of the American intelligence operatives, who were traced through cellphones, bills for rental cars, expensive meals and $500-a-night hotels.

Legal experts speculate that this sloppiness was a sign that the Americans had no fear of getting caught, meaning that there was high-level permission from the Italian government for Mr. Nasr’s abduction.

But secret recordings and testimony made public have not provided concrete suggestions of the culpability of any official higher than Mr. Pollari. He contends that other documents exist proving his innocence, which the government says cannot be released on state secrecy grounds.

Testimony also shows some resistance in the C.I.A., specifically from the station chief in Milan at the time, Robert Seldon Lady. A deposition from a military intelligence agent, Stefano D’Ambrosio, recounts a conversation he said he had with Mr. Lady before the abduction, in which Mr. Lady said he opposed the rendition. Mr. Lady’s stated reason was that the Italian police, already investigating Mr. Nasr, could keep watching him for more information.

Some bureaucratic infighting appeared to exist, too. In the conversation, Mr. Lady blamed the top C.I.A. officer in Italy at the time, Jeffrey Castelli, for the rendition.

“I believe that he spoke to me about it as a personal outlet and to manifest to me, for future reference, his objection,” Mr. D’Ambrosio said in his deposition about Mr. Lady’s conversation with him.

Mr. Lady, through his lawyer, refused a request for an interview.

Given the level of detail that could emerge about one of America’s most secret programs, the trial has potentially deep ramifications for ties between the United States and Italy.

Mr. Berlusconi’s staunchly pro-American government refused to demand the extradition of the C.I.A. operatives, but so, too, has Mr. Prodi’s government, which has generally cooler relations with Washington.

Some Italian critics argue that it is not in the national interest to have such a trial, and they hope that the Constitutional Court kills the case.

“No foreign secret services will speak to Italian secret services, because the Italian secret services are no longer secret,” argued Luigi Pannella, a lawyer for one of the Italian defendants.

Others argue that the C.I.A. operatives, and possibly Mr. Pollari, were merely acting on orders, and that any trial should focus on those who ordered the abduction.

But many say the trial must go forward on one basic ground: an Italian law may have been broken in the case of Mr. Nasr’s disappearance, and the question of any links Mr. Nasr had to terrorism groups should have been settled in a trial by the laws of Italy, not by a foreign power kidnapping him.

“It’s a question of principle,” said Caterina Interlandi, the judge who issued the indictments. “Today, it’s Abu Omar. Tomorrow, it could be my daughter. These are fundamental human rights, and we have to respect them.”

Paolo Biondani contributed reporting from Milan, and Elaine Sciolino
from Florence.

5) Secret Prisons in 2 Countries Held Qaeda Suspects, Report Says
June 8, 2007

LONDON, June 7 — Investigators have confirmed the existence of clandestine C.I.A. prisons in Romania and Poland housing leading members of Al Qaeda, contends a new report from the Council of Europe, the European human rights monitoring agency.

Dick Marty, the Swiss senator leading the inquiry, said in a recent interview that his conclusions were based on information from intelligence agents on both sides of the Atlantic, including members of the C.I.A. counterterrorism center. The report is to be released on Friday.

The report says the jails operated from 2003 to 2005. “Large numbers of people have been abducted from various locations across the world and transferred to countries where they have been persecuted and where it is known that torture is common practice,” it says.

These suspects included Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed master planner for the Sept. 11 attacks; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a member of the Hamburg, Germany, cell that organized the conspiracy; and Abu Zubaida, believed to have been a senior figure in Al Qaeda.

The report says that some of the information comes from trusted intelligence agents, who reported directly to former President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland and to two former Romanian leaders, Ion Iliescu and Traian Basescu.

The governments of Poland and Romania have denied the existence of such prisons, and officials could not be reached for comment on Thursday. Poland has criticized Mr. Marty and his investigators in the past for not traveling there to investigate the compound that the report describes as a prison.

The current president, Lech Kaczynski, has said that since he came to power in December 2005 “there has been no secret prison — I am 100 percent sure of it,” adding, “I am assured there never were any in the past either.”

Romania has repeatedly denied the presence of a secret prison there.

But last year, President Bush acknowledged for the first time that terrorism suspects had been held in C.I.A.-run prisons overseas, without specifying where.

Paul Gimigliano, a C.I.A. spokesman, said Thursday that, “While I’ve yet to see the report, Europe has been the source of grossly inaccurate allegations about the C.I.A. and counterterrorism,” and he added, “People should remember that Europeans have benefited from the agency’s bold, lawful work to disrupt terrorist plots.”

The report contends, “What was previously just a set of allegations is now proven.” An advance copy of the report was obtained by the British Channel 4 program “Dispatches” and provided to The New York Times.

Apart from the statements of what his report describes as former and serving intelligence agents, Mr. Marty quotes aviation records that he suggests provide detailed evidence of clandestine visits by C.I.A. planes to Szymany, in Poland; as well as the text of confidential military agreements signed between the United States and Romania that, he suggests, allowed the establishment of a C.I.A. base in the country.

Mr. Marty said the C.I.A.’s partners in establishing the secret prisons were the military intelligence agencies of both countries, which reported only to their presidents and defense ministers. Neither the countries’ prime ministers nor the two Parliaments’ intelligence committees were consulted or informed.

Prisoners in the secret jails were subjected to sleep deprivation and water-boarding, or simulated drowning, said Mr. Marty, who also said that the two jails had been divided into two categories.

The main C.I.A. jail was centered in a Soviet-era military compound at Stare Kjekuty, in northeastern Poland, where about a dozen high-level terrorism suspects were jailed, the report concludes. Lower-level prisoners from Afghanistan and Iraq were held in a military base near the Black Sea in Romania, the report contends.

Jails were staffed entirely by the C.I.A., and local guards secured the perimeters, the report says. “The local authorities were not supposed to be aware of the exact number or the identities of the prisoners who passed through the facilities — this was information that they did not ‘need to know,’ ” the report said.

Mr. Marty said last month in an interview with the Swiss newspaper La Liberté that the report relied on information from disaffected C.I.A. agents and other intelligence officials on the other side of the Atlantic. Many of the agents said they were surprised that the prisons remained a secret for so many years. “They spoke to me because they found what was happening to be disgusting,” he was quoted as saying.

The report includes more specific conclusions than a study issued in June last year that contended that at least 14 European countries had accepted secret transfers of terrorism suspects by the United States. That report listed a web of landing points around the world that it said had been used by American authorities for its air network.

The new report contends that the C.I.A. took extraordinary measures to cover its activities. When C.I.A. jets flew to the Szymany airport in Poland, they used flight plans with “fictitious routes,” it says, giving no indication that the airport was the destination. Polish air traffic controllers — working with military intelligence — completed the cover-up, the report says.

Although the report singled out Poland and Romania, it said that it could not rule out the possibility that other European countries permitted these jails to operate.

Among its accusations, this report said NATO agreements, under the guise of waging a “war on terror,” provided the framework that the C.I.A. used to expand its European operations after Sept. 11.

The Marty report says it would be pointless for researchers to visit the Polish compound because “we have no doubts about the capability of those who would have removed any traces of the prisoner’s presence.”

Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting from Washington.


6) New Hampshire to Repeal Parental Notification Law
June 8, 2007

BOSTON, June 7 — New Hampshire will become the first state to repeal a law requiring teenage girls to notify their parents before having an abortion, under a bill that won final passage in the State Senate on Thursday.

Gov. John Lynch has said he would sign the measure. The vote in the Senate was 15 to 9. The House vote, in March, was 217 to 141.

The parental notification law was the strictest in the nation when it was passed in 2003. The vote to repeal it reflects, in part, a sea change in New Hampshire politics since the 2006 elections, which swept a Democratic majority into the legislature for the first time in over a century.

“Having this Democratic legislature and Democratic governor for the first time really does change the playing field,” said Dean Spiliotes, director of research at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. “However, New Hampshire has always been a little bit of an outlier, somewhat libertarian and increasingly kind of moderate, with less of a focus on these social issues where you have government getting involved.”

Soon after the law passed, it was challenged by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and other groups, which argued that it was unconstitutional because it did not allow an exemption from parental notification if the girl’s health was in danger. The law’s supporters had intentionally omitted such a medical exception, saying that it could be used as a loophole to allow many girls to skip telling their parents.

Just before the law was supposed to take effect, Judge Joseph A. DiClerico Jr. of Federal District Court in Concord, N.H., struck it down. The United States Supreme Court heard the case and ruled unanimously last year that an exception for medical emergencies had to be included. The justices sent the law back to Judge DiClerico, instructing him to see if it could be retooled to include a medical exception or if it needed to be thrown out altogether.

Soon after the November election, Democrats began an effort to repeal the law, and Judge DiClerico delayed his decision. If the repeal passed, the court case would be moot; if it failed, the judge would decide the law’s fate.

That gave repeal advocates an edge in lobbying lawmakers — they were able to persuade even some legislators who favored parental notification that it would be better to remove the matter from the courts.

“Our opponents said, ‘If you vote for repeal, you’re voting against parental notification,’ ” said Dawn Touzin, vice president for public policy and governmental affairs at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “We said, ‘No, you’re not.’ The issue is, do you want to leave it in the hands of the judge or shouldn’t it be something that’s decided by the legislature?”

State Senator Joseph A. Foster, the majority leader, said he favored a law similar to those in Maine and Connecticut, which do not require parental notification, but require abortion providers to counsel girls to consider involving a parent or a trusted adult in their decision. He said he did not believe the 2003 law should be retrofitted: “I think we ought to wipe the slate clean, start from scratch.”

Repeal opponents said they would push for a notification law when the legislature reconvenes in January.

“We’re not going to give up on this,” said State Representative Fran Wendelboe, a Republican. “I’ve had teenagers. My kids are grown and they were boys, but I know if they did something they were ashamed of, if they could figure out a way to cover it up, they’d do it.”

State Senator Robert J. Letourneau, a Republican, said: “You can’t get your daughter or son’s ears pierced under the age of 17 without parental consent; you can’t get a tattoo without parental consent. To me it’s unconscionable that you can’t give an aspirin to a child in school without parental consent, but they can have major surgery without parental notification.”

A spokesman for Mr. Lynch, Colin Manning, said the governor “would like to see parents involved if possible” and “is open to having a discussion” about a law like Maine’s and Connecticut’s.

But anything more restrictive seems unlikely to succeed, said Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire.

“I think it’s going to take a Republican resurgence to get that put back on the front burner,” he said.


7) Arrests of 31 in U.S. Sweep Bring Fear in New Haven
June 8, 2007

NEW HAVEN, June 7 — Over the last several years, this city has gone to great lengths to turn itself into a kind of haven, quite literally, for illegal immigrants. It was not that new immigrants were pouring in, but that there were thousands already living here, and the officials who have long run the city wanted to bring them out of the shadows.

The police adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for dealing with immigrants, and the mayor backed a plan for municipal identification cards. Within the borders of this liberal college town, there was hardly a whiff of opposition.

But starting at 6 a.m. Wednesday, two days after the Board of Aldermen overwhelmingly approved the identity card plan, federal agents swept into the largely Hispanic Fair Haven community and arrested some 31 people suspected of being illegal immigrants, many in their homes.

Within hours, any sense of sanctuary that the city and advocates for immigrants advocates had developed over the years was turned upside down, replaced with fear.

“There is truly no safe haven for fugitive aliens,” said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that conducted the raid.

Afterward, local officials’ cellphones lighted up with dozens of frantic phone calls from residents and community leaders saying that people were missing. There were rumors of a mass arrest at a supermarket. Fair Haven resembled a ghost town, with residents huddling inside their houses, afraid that they, too, could be arrested at any moment.

“At 10 in the morning, the streets were just empty,” said John Lugo, an organizer for Unidad Latina en Acción, an advocacy group. “People were really very afraid all of the sudden. They still are. They think it will happen again.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Lugo and others passed out hundreds of fliers outlining immigrants’ rights, instructing them not to give federal authorities any information without a lawyer present and advising them to not answer their doors.

Mayor John DeStefano and other city leaders angrily accused the federal government of “terrorizing” the immigrant community. Many of them speculated that the mass arrests — the first of their kind in recent memory here — were retaliation for the acceptance of municipal identification cards and other immigrant-friendly city policies.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials emphatically denied that charge, saying that the arrests had been planned since April. (The identity-card program, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, was first suggested by Mr. DeStefano in 2005.)

The details of the arrests are still somewhat unclear. Federal officials said that they were “targeting fugitives,” not conducting a widespread sweep. Twenty nine men and two women — most of them from Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Guinea and Ecuador — were arrested. City officials said on Thursday that of the 16 arrest warrants the federal agents had, only four were executed, meaning that most of the 31 arrested were swept up in what they called a dragnet, and that 12 people the federal officials were looking for remained at large.

Lawyers and advocates for immigrants who interviewed several relatives of those who were arrested said that in most cases, the immigration officials knocked on their doors and demanded to speak with every adult in the house, then asked for identification.

In several instances, they said, the agents separated the men from the women and asked which of the women had children. Those who did were left behind, while those who did not were taken into custody, the advocates said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have conducted hundreds of similar sweeps in the last year. In 2006, a spokesman said, they deported more than 221,000 illegal immigrants, many of them after proceedings that began with such arrests. Last fall, an operation in Danbury led to the arrest of 11 men who worked at a local factory.

Immigration advocates in Connecticut were fond of referring to Danbury and New Haven as two poles on the spectrum — the same immigrants who were shunned in the former were welcomed in the latter.

Like many other local leaders, Mayor DeStefano said he had to deal with the practical reality of illegal immigrants, rather than spend his time worrying about proposals to revamp the federal immigration system. But while some mayors were cracking down on housing codes and loitering laws to discourage illegal immigrants from getting too comfortable, Mr. DeStefano said he was more concerned about public safety for the 10,000 of them estimated to live in his city of 125,000.

That was how the identification cards were supposed to help: by giving immigrants an official document that could be used in banks, rather than having to carry hundreds of dollars in cash, which made them targets for theft.

Above all, Mr. DeStefano said, immigrants should feel comfortable contacting the police and receiving basic city services. And when the city’s aldermen approved the plan on Monday night, advocates hailed it as a model for other municipalities.

“We’ve gotten to the point where the community trusts the city and trusts the police,” said Kica Matos, the city’s community services administrator, who spearheaded the identification card plan.

The arrests on Wednesday, she said, have the potential to reverse much of that.

The city still plans to begin issuing the identification cards early next month. Several community leaders said that the immigrants’ arrests had outraged many residents, and that more would be likely to obtain the cards as a sign of solidarity.

But what about immigrants themselves?

“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Mr. DeStefano said in an interview Thursday. “But we cannot get to a point where people are driven underground.”

As his thoughts turned to the current immigration debate in Congress, Mr. DeStefano sounded a bit resigned.

“They’ll do whatever they are going to do, but my job is to deal with the situation here,” he said.

“People aren’t going to come here for a piece of plastic, they are going to come here for jobs and because the federal government lets them come here. The law is only enforced episodically. Yesterday was our day.”


8) Lifestyles of the Rich
RE: "A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich.
By Robert Frank.
277 pp. Crown Publishers. $24.95.
June 10, 2007

All good journalism is really travel writing. You prepare for a serious story the way a foreign correspondent would. You buy the maps, you learn the language, you hang out with the locals — not just the taxi drivers! — and then you write.

That’s what Robert Frank has done. He writes the Wealth Report column for The Wall Street Journal. (Who writes the Euchred by Capitalism column, I wonder?) In his new book, “Richistan,” he posits the existence of a little-known country within our country. This “parallel country of the rich was once just a village, he argues, but now it’s an entire nation.

The data bear Frank out. It was a huge deal when John D. Rockefeller became the country’s first billionaire. Adjusted for inflation, he had $14 billion — less than the net worth of each of Sam Walton’s five children today. There were an estimated 13 American billionaires in 1985. Now there are more than 1,000. In 2005, America minted 227,000 new financial millionaires, men and women with more than $1 million in investible assets. There are as many millionaires in North Carolina as there are in India. And so on.

Frank argues that the rich are “financial foreigners” within their own country. They have their own health care system, staffed by “concierge doctors.” They have their own travel network of timeshare (or private) jets and destination clubs. For her birthday, one 11-year-old “aristokid” pleads to fly commercial, “to ride on a big plane with other people. I want to see what an airport looks like on the inside.”

Like an anthropologist in the Amazon basin, Frank goes native. Except instead of a loincloth, he dons a white tuxedo to attend the International Red Cross Ball in Palm Beach, where he meets “Jackie Bradley, a buxom blonde squeezed into a jewel-encrusted Joy Cherry gown.” Bradley is chatting up her new book, “The Bombshell Bible.” “It’s really more about my inner life,” she says. “I’m hoping to use it to help other women like me.”

And Frank learns the lingo. Most Richistanis earn their citizenship through a “liquidity event,” when someone buys out their company, rather than through inheritance. Hedge fundies prowl the nether regions of Manhattan for trendy paintings, or “noncorrelated assets.” “Affluent” is Richistani code for “not really rich.” According to Frank, you need about $10 million to be considered entry-level rich.

Frank also plumbs Richistan’s secret status codes. You might have thought that a Mercedes SLK or a Rolex were flash possessions. Wrong! In Richistan, they are reverse status symbols. The affluent drive Mercedes; the rich drive Maybachs. Franck Muller hardly advertises their bejeweled watches, which top out around $600,000, because they might attract the wrong kind of attention. Like yours.

If you experience status anxiety, this book isn’t for you. You can’t avoid the conclusion that everyone is a lot richer than you are, whether he deserves to be or not. Here’s a guy, Ed Bazinet, who got rich making little ceramic villages with light bulbs inside them. How hard can that be?

On a more reassuring note, it’s nice to learn that the rich suffer status anxiety, too. When Richistanis are asked how much money would make them feel secure, they inevitably choose a figure that is double their own net worth. Because so many newly enriched entrepreneurs hail from middle-class backgrounds, they hate being called rich. Chauffeurs, for instance, are out. Rolls-Royce says 95 per cent of its customers drive the cars themselves. Tim Blixseth, the founder of the Yellowstone Club and other gated hideaways, tells Frank: “I don’t like most rich people. They can be arrogant.” This from a man who owns two Shih Tzus named Learjet and G2. As in Gulfstream G2. If you were rich, you would get it.

These aren’t people who spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. Because if they did, they would see, as Frank does, the contradictions behind their middle-class protestations and high-profile philanthropic ventures on the one hand, and their ordering alligator-skin toilet seats for their private jets on the other. Frank is not a flashy writer, but he is smart enough to let the material come to him. When he sits down with the inflatable-pool-toy magnate Simon Fireman for lunch at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fireman pulls “from his jacket pocket a two-page spreadsheet of all his charitable donations for over a decade, which he said I was free to publish.”

If “Richistan” is travel journalism, then ... do we want to go there? Not much. The people sound dreadful and not very happy, to boot. But consider the alternative. Frank gets a glimpse of the world outside when he attends Fort Lauderdale’s International Boat Show, right after Hurricane Wilma has plowed through town. “Thousands of residents in the poorer sections of Fort Lauderdale (most of them black or Hispanic) were left homeless,” Frank writes, “sweating through the tropical heat, without electricity.” Meanwhile, at the Bahia Mar Marina, a chocolate fountain gurgled and the $20 million yachts and vendor pavilions were “perfectly chilled.”

Look out the window: It’s Pooristan. Hmmm. I wonder who lives there. And will anyone be writing a book about them?

Alex Beam is a columnist at The Boston Globe and the author, most recently, of “Gracefully Insane.”


9) Forgetting May Be Part of the Process of Remembering
June 5, 2007

Whether drawing a mental blank on a new A.T.M. password, a favorite recipe or an old boyfriend, people have ample opportunity every day to curse their own forgetfulness. But forgetting is also a blessing, and researchers reported on Sunday that the ability to block certain memories reduces the demands on the brain when it is trying to recall something important.

The study, appearing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, is the first to record visual images of people’s brains as they suppress distracting memories. The more efficiently that study participants were tuning out irrelevant words during a word-memorization test, the sharper the drop in activity in areas of their brains involved in recollection. Accurate remembering became easier, in terms of the energy required.

Blocking out a distracting memory is something like ignoring an old (and perhaps distracting) acquaintance, experts say: it makes it that much harder to reconnect the next time around. But recent studies suggest that the brain plays favorites with memories in exactly this way, snubbing some to better capture others. A lightning memory, in short, is not so much a matter of capacity as it is of ruthless pruning — and the new study catches the trace of this process at it happens.

“We’ve argued for some time that forgetting is adaptive, that people actively inhibit some memories to facilitate mental focus,” as when they are trying to recall a friend’s new phone number or the location of a parking space, said Michael Anderson, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Oregon.

Dr. Anderson, who was not involved in the new research, said it was “ important new work because it maps out how this is happening neurobiologically.”

The researchers, neuroscientists at Stanford University, used a memory test intended to gauge how well people can recall studied words from among many similar words they have also seen. They had 20 young men and women, mostly Stanford students, view in quick succession a list of 240 word pairs. These included 40 capitalized words, each paired with six related, lower-case words: For example, “ATTIC-dust,” “ATTIC-junk,” and so on.

After studying the pairs, the participants were instructed to memorize three selected pairs from each of 20 capitalized words. In effect, this forced them to flag individual pairs, like ATTIC-dust, while trying to tune out very similar, distracting ones, like ATTIC-junk, for half of the total list of pairs they saw. They were told not to memorize any pairs from the other half of the list.

The researchers tested each person’s memory several times, and found that scores ranged from about 30 percent accuracy to 80 percent. They also measured how well each person suppressed the distracting word pairs, by comparing recall of those pairs with recall of the half of the list that was studied at first but later ignored. All the testing was done while participants were having their brains scanned by an M.R.I. machine.

“We found that the magnitude of the decrease in activity on M.R.I. was correlated to the amount of weakening of these competing memories” when the subjects were recalling the target words, said Brice Kuhl, a graduate student in the psychology department at Stanford and the study’s lead author. His co-authors were Anthony Wagner, Nicole Dudukovic and Itamar Kahn.

In particular, the researchers found that the more a study participant had suppressed the memory of distracting word pairs, the steeper the decrease in activity in a region of the brain called the anterior cingulated cortex. This neural area is especially active when people are engaged in weighing choices, say, in choosing which card to play in a game of hearts with two or more good options.

“From a broader point of view, given what we know about this area, the activity decreases as the task becomes more automatic, less demanding,” said Dr. Wagner, the senior author.

People blank on new passwords so often because of the distracting presence of old or other current passwords. The better the brain can block those distracting digits, the easier it can bring to mind the new ones, Dr. Wagner said.

This process is extremely familiar to people who have been immersed in a foreign language. In a recent study of native English speakers led by Dr. Anderson, researchers showed that beginners being drilled in Spanish were very slow to link pictures and words in English, compared with more bilingual participants. Those fluent in both languages had resolved the competition between the two tongues, inhibiting the encroachment, for example, of the word “zapato” on the word “shoe.”

In all, this research suggests that memories are more often crowded out than lost. An ideal memory improvement program, Dr. Anderson said, “would include a course on how to impair your memory. Your head is full of a surprising number of things that you don’t need to know.”

The findings should also reduce some of the anxiety surrounding “senior moments,” researchers say. Some names, numbers and details are hard to retrieve not because memory is faltering, but because it is functioning just as it should.


10) Sea Lions Hit by High Levels of Acid Poison in California
June 6, 2007

LOS ANGELES, June 5 — A distressed, possibly pregnant sea lion was wheeled recently into the Marine Mammal Care Center here, just as two other lions were herded into cages in preparation for their return to the ocean.

“That’s just the way it is,” said Lauren Palmer, the chief veterinarian at the center. “Two go out and more come in.”

Peter Wallerstein of the Whale Rescue Team, a private group authorized by Los Angeles to rescue whales and other marine mammals, said he had found the sea lion on the sand in nearby Manhattan Beach. Mr. Wallerstein said he feared she could have been poisoned by domoic acid, a toxin released by large blooms of algae that causes seizures in sea lions.

Southern California marine mammal hospitals have been overwhelmed by sea lions sick from the acid, which appeared in record levels off the coast of Los Angeles in April. Domoic acid poisoning has killed hundreds of the animals across Southern California this spring and thousands since a major outbreak in 2002, and has also afflicted animals in Monterey Bay, south of San Francisco.

“In over 22 years of marine mammal rescues, I’ve never seen such distress of marine mammals,” Mr. Wallerstein said. “The stress and the fright, it’s kind of shocking.”

The center here has taken in about 120 sea lions since March 1 and about 70 of those are suspected of having domoic acid poisoning, Dr. Palmer said. So far, about 35 percent of those who were found to have the poisoning have died; others have recovered and have been released, she said.

Some sea lions at the center were young, emaciated pups, tiny bones poking through their sleek coats.

On April 26, domoic acid toxin levels in plankton along the Los Angeles coast were twice the previous recorded high, said Astrid Schnetzer, a research professor at the Caron Lab for Marine Environmental Biology at the University of Southern California. The toxin levels have since dissipated, but Ms. Schnetzer said a recurrence was possible.

With an estimated population of 200,000 to 300,000, California sea lions are nowhere near endangered, but the deaths and the high toxin levels have scientists and environmentalists concerned. Ms. Schnetzer said scientists at the Caron Lab could not explain the high levels but were studying a combination of factors like climate change, pollution and nutrients in the water.

Dr. Palmer and others emphasized that the commercial fish available in grocery stores and restaurants was safe because of government monitoring. Joe Cordero of the National Marine Fisheries Service, however, did urge anyone fishing off piers in Southern California to think twice before eating the catch (although he said the toxins generally appear in fish guts, not the flesh).

About 50 dolphins, a minke whale and scores of sea birds have also been killed by this season’s toxic algae bloom, said Mr. Cordero, who had also monitored the two wayward humpback whales in the Sacramento River and dismissed suggestions that they were affected by domoic acid.

Mr. Wallerstein said he had seen a change this season with more male sea lions and pups becoming sick. Normally, domoic poisoning affects pregnant sea lions, mainly because blooms come at the same time as the spring breeding season, when pregnant sea lions eat more.

Last month, on the rocky beach in the Los Angeles district of San Pedro, Mr. Wallerstein watched proudly as the two rehabilitated sea lions and two abandoned elephant seal pups clambered awkwardly into the sea.

“I very rarely get to see that,” Mr. Wallerstein said of the two lions, frolicking in the surf before heading out to sea.


11) Memorials of Madness
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Every Memorial Day, the US media dons red, white and blue bunting, and war movies are blared from dozens of channels.

Newspapers print maudlin photos of serene cemetery scenes.

War, that most wretched of human endeavors, becomes a holy sacrament in the civil religion of nationalism. Ever lost in this effusive moment, is the whys of war, and the motives of the nations’ deep, abiding militarism.

What is extolled is duty, obedience and an unthinking , unquestioning patriotism.
It occurred to me that such thinking would be right at home in Germany’s Third Reich; and that more than a few Americans would’ve made good Germans. Imagine attacking, bombing, invading a nation because your leader doesn’t like their leader; or your leader claims their country has weapons that your leader doesn’t like. Or.... Or....(fill in the blanks).

We needn’t imagine, of course. And if it weren’t the US doing this, but any other nation, what would the US media be calling any other leader, but dictator, despot—- or Fuehrer?

But Fuehrer wasn’t a term of derision. It was the title of office conferred on Adolph Hitler; of Fuehrer-Reichskanzler (or Leader-Chancellor) of the Third Reich after the passing of German President Paul von Hindenberg-Beneckendorff in Aug. 1934.

Iraq is a shattered, splintered state today, where millions have fled into the uncertainties of exile, and the humiliations of refugees. A puppet government squirms under the thumb of the US government, presiding over chaos and al all-but declared civil war.

All because of a madcap dream of imperially planting democracy in the heart of the Middle East (to better sell off oil assets, no doubt).

In Shakespeare’s play Henry V, there is a rumbling and grumbling in the English army before the battle is joined with the French. One soldier says to the other: “If these med do not die well, it’ll be a black matter for the King, who led them to it.”
Consider, this Memorial Day (and perhaps many to come) if these men -- and women--sent to kill and die in Iraq for a silly-assed slogan (‘War on Terror’) died well.

Consider then, the petroleum princes who led them to it.

Happy Memorial Day.

‘07 maj


12) Death & Texas: The Kenneth Foster Case
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

For a decade Kenneth Foster, Jr. has languished on one of the worst Death Rows in the U.S.—Texas. He now faces an execution date (of August 30, 2007) despite the fact that even the trial judge, the DA, and the jury that sentenced him to die admit he never killed anyone. —The author


I know that it sound funny (or fishy), but it’s not. It’s just a fluke of Texas law.
In Texas, that fluke is called the Law of Parties—a variant on conspiracy law, but like most things Texas—this law takes a bigger chunk out of the accused.

In essence, the Law of Parties criminalizes presence, not actions.

Under U.S. Law, as announced by the Supreme Court in its 1982 Edmunds vs. Florida decision, a death sentence for one who killed no one, nor intended to, nor assisted in such a killing was a violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
But again—this is Texas.

This is the same state that ruled in the Herrera case that innocence is irrelevant; that poisoned the Black activist Shaka Sankofa (born Gary Graham); that twice violated court orders from the US Supreme Court in the Miller-El cases; and that sent George W. (as in Warmonger) Bush to the White House.

These items are noted, of course, to make clear the very real danger that Kenneth Foster, Jr. faces. A young Black man—an innocent man—on Death Row—in Texas!

If you wish to read more about his amazing case on the web, go to: or write:
Kenneth Foster Support Group
P.O. Box 14268
San Antonio, TX 78214

Kenneth (also known by his adopted name, Haramia KiNasser) is a talented writer, poet, and father of an adorable 10-year-old girl named Nytesha.

Help free her dad.

May 31, 2007


13) School to Prison Pipeline
Op-Ed Columnist
June 9, 2007

The latest news-as-entertainment spectacular is the Paris Hilton criminal justice fiasco. She’s in! She’s out! She’s — whatever.

Far more disturbing (and much less entertaining) is the way school officials and the criminal justice system are criminalizing children and teenagers all over the country, arresting them and throwing them in jail for behavior that in years past would never have led to the intervention of law enforcement.

This is an aspect of the justice system that is seldom seen. But the consequences of ushering young people into the bowels of police precincts and jail cells without a good reason for doing so are profound.

Two months ago I wrote about a 6-year-old girl in Florida who was handcuffed by the police and taken off to the county jail after she threw a tantrum in her kindergarten class.

Police in Brooklyn recently arrested more than 30 young people, ages 13 to 22, as they walked toward a subway station, on their way to a wake for a teenage friend who had been murdered. No evidence has been presented that the grieving young people had misbehaved. No drugs or weapons were found. But they were accused by the police of gathering unlawfully and of disorderly conduct.

In March, police in Baltimore handcuffed a 7-year-old boy and took him into custody for riding a dirt bike on the sidewalk. The boy tearfully told The Baltimore Examiner, “They scared me.” Mayor Sheila Dixon later apologized for the arrest.

Children, including some who are emotionally disturbed, are often arrested for acting out. Some are arrested for carrying sharp instruments that they had planned to use in art classes, and for mouthing off.

This is a problem that has gotten out of control. Behavior that was once considered a normal part of growing up is now resulting in arrest and incarceration.

Kids who find themselves caught in this unnecessary tour of the criminal justice system very quickly develop malignant attitudes toward law enforcement. Many drop out — or are forced out — of school. In the worst cases, the experience serves as an introductory course in behavior that is, in fact, criminal.

There is a big difference between a child or teenager who brings a gun to school or commits some other serious offense and someone who swears at another student or gets into a wrestling match or a fistfight in the playground. Increasingly, especially as zero-tolerance policies proliferate, children are being treated like criminals for the most minor offenses.

There should be no obligation to call the police if a couple of kids get into a fight and teachers are able to bring it under control. But now, in many cases, youngsters caught fighting are arrested and charged with assault.

A 2006 report on disciplinary practices in Florida schools showed that a middle school student in Palm Beach County who was caught throwing rocks at a soda can was arrested and charged with a felony — hurling a “deadly missile.”

We need to get a grip.

The Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union has been studying this issue. “What we see routinely,” said Dennis Parker, the program’s director, “is that behavior that in my time would have resulted in a trip to the principal’s office is now resulting in a trip to the police station.”

He added that the evidence seems to show that white kids are significantly less likely to be arrested for minor infractions than black or Latino kids. The 6-year-old arrested in Florida was black. The 7-year-old arrested in Baltimore was black.

Shaquanda Cotton was black. She was the 14-year-old high school freshman in Paris, Tex., who was arrested for shoving a hall monitor. She was convicted in March 2006 of “assault on a public servant” and sentenced to a prison term of — hold your breath — up to seven years!

Shaquanda’s outraged family noted that the judge who sentenced her had, just three months earlier, sentenced a 14-year-old white girl who was convicted of arson for burning down her family’s home. The white girl was given probation.

Shaquanda was recently released after a public outcry over her case and the eruption of a scandal involving allegations of widespread sexual abuse of incarcerated juveniles in Texas.

This issue deserves much more attention. Sending young people into the criminal justice system unnecessarily is a brutal form of abuse with consequences, for the child and for society as a whole, that can last a lifetime.


14) Ruling Likely to Spur Convictions in Capital Cases
June 9, 2007

A decision by the Supreme Court on Monday that made it easier for prosecutors to exclude people who express reservations about the death penalty from capital juries will make the panels whiter and more conviction-prone, experts in law and psychology said this week.

The jurors who remain after people with moral objections to imposing the death penalty are weeded out, studies uniformly show, are significantly more likely to vote to find defendants guilty than jurors as a whole.

It has long been the law in every state with capital punishment that only people who are prepared to apply the death penalty may serve on capital juries. Monday’s decision, which involved a juror’s equivocation about the death penalty on learning that life without parole was an option, has the potential to make capital juries even less representative.

“It could give judges the authority to exclude about half the population from service in death penalty cases,” said Samuel R. Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan. That is because support for the death penalty drops from more than 60 percent to about half when life in prison is the alternative.

Even before Monday’s decision, a significant minority of Americans were ineligible to serve as jurors in death penalty cases. According to a poll to be released today by the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group in Washington that is critical of the death penalty as currently applied, 39 percent of Americans say they have a moral objection to the death penalty that would disqualify them from serving in a capital case. The poll’s margin of sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points.

Most of the research in this area is conducted by people and groups opposed to the death penalty. But prosecutors do not dispute the finding that capital juries are more apt to convict, arguing instead about the magnitude of the effect.

In a series of recent cases, the Supreme Court has narrowed the availability of the death penalty, barring its use on the mentally retarded and juvenile offenders, and has overturned death sentences based on flawed jury instructions, racial bias in choosing jurors and defense lawyers’ incompetence.

Some death penalty opponents found it hard to reconcile those cases with Monday’s decision on the jury selection process that lawyers call death qualification.

“We may have a line of jurisprudence that is at war with itself,” said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University. “You can’t simultaneously keep expanding the bounds of death qualification and also manifest a special concern for innocence in capital cases. As a brute matter of statistics, the farther you go in death qualification, the more wrongful convictions you will get.”

Prosecutors say that death qualification is a necessary and narrowly tailored requirement that prevents only people who are unable to follow the law from serving as jurors.

“We don’t have jury nullification in this country,” said Joshua Marquis, the district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore., and a vice president of the National District Attorneys Association. “If you have jurors who cannot look at the evidence fairly given their moral and philosophical beliefs, the state is not going to receive a fair trial.”

But Mr. Marquis conceded that the process of excluding opponents of the death penalty also conferred an advantage on prosecutors.

“I won’t deny,” he said, “that a death-qualified juror is probably more likely to be willing to look at a guilty verdict. I think that the difference is negligible.”

Robert Blecker, a professor at New York Law School who supports the death penalty, agreed that “death-qualified jurors are slightly more conviction prone” than people opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, whom he referred to as abolitionists.

“It makes sense and is consistent with human nature that abolitionists as a class are more pro-defendant in general and less willing to convict,” Professor Blecker said. But the many safeguards in the system, he said, outweigh that slight distorting effect. “On balance, the system is, as it should be, skewed to prefer sentencing to life those who really deserve to die, rather than condemning those who deserve to live.”

Jurors eligible to serve in capital cases are “demographically unique,” said Brooke Butler, who teaches psychology at the University of South Florida. Professor Butler has interviewed more than 2,000 potential jurors over the past seven years and has written several articles on the topic.

“They tend to be white,” she said. “They tend to be male. They tend to be moderately well-educated — high school or maybe a little college. They tend to be politically conservative — Republican. They tend to be Christian — Catholic or Protestant. They tend to be middle socioeconomic status — maybe $30,000 or $40,000” in annual income.

In a study to be published in Behavioral Sciences and the Law, a peer-reviewed journal, Professor Butler made an additional finding. “Death-qualified jurors,” she said, “are more likely to be prejudiced — to be racist, sexist and homophobic.”

A 2001 study in The University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, drawing on interviews with 1,155 capital jurors from 340 trials in 14 states, found that race played an important role in the willingness of jurors to impose death sentences.

In cases involving black defendants and white victims, for instance, the presence of five or more white men on the jury made a 40 percentage point difference in the likelihood that a death sentence would be imposed. The presence of a single black male juror had an opposite effect, reducing the likelihood of a death sentence to 43 percent from 72 percent.

On its face, the legal standard that produces capital jurors is neutral. Prosecutors who wish to exclude jurors must demonstrate that their views on the death penalty would prevent or substantially impair their ability to follow the law. Disagreement with the death penalty as a policy matter or a reluctance to impose it is not sufficient.

“They only have to say they’re willing to consider it,” Mr. Marquis said. “I realize the recent decision fine-tuned that a bit.”

Monday’s decision, Uttecht v. Brown, reversed a decision of the federal appeals court in San Francisco and injected new flexibility into the standard for excluding jurors.

The appeals court decision, written by Judge Alex Kozinski, whose views are generally conservative, would have granted a new trial to a condemned inmate in Washington State, Cal C. Brown. Judge Kozinski wrote that one potential juror at Mr. Brown’s trial was excluded only because “he did not perhaps show the kind of bloodthirsty eagerness” to impose the death penalty “that the prosecutor may have preferred.”

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in the 5-to-4 decision on Monday, said the juror, Richard Deal, “stated six times that he could consider the death penalty or follow the law” but “these responses were interspersed with more equivocal statements.” Given that, Justice Kennedy said, the trial judge was in the best position to make the judgment about whether Mr. Deal should have been excluded.

In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority had “gotten it horribly backwards” by creating the impression that “trial courts should be encouraging the inclusion of jurors who will impose the death penalty rather than only ensuring the exclusion of those who say that, in all circumstances, they cannot.”

The decision, said David R. Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston, will have lasting consequences.

“It is a dagger through the heart of any death row inmate’s claim that he was sent to death by an unfairly selected jury,” Professor Dow said.

Opponents of the death penalty have occasionally made proposals to limit the effects of death qualification. “You could have two juries,” Professor Butler said, for instance, “one to hear guilt and one to hear sentencing.”

Prosecutors resist those ideas.

“The logistics of that are almost overwhelming,” Mr. Marquis said of Professor Butler’s proposal. “The only way to do it is to seat the two juries in the same courtroom.” Mr. Marquis said that would add needless complication and expense.

Monday’s decision revived a debate about whether the effects of death qualification are an incidental consequence of the necessary requirement that jurors agree to follow the law, or a distortion of the principle that juries reflect the overall moral sentiments of the community.

Justice William H. Rehnquist, writing for the majority in a 1986 case, said the Constitution does not bar the exclusion of groups of people based on their shared attitudes from either phase of a capital trial.

“ ‘Death qualification,’ ” Justice Rehnquist wrote, “unlike the wholesale exclusion of blacks, women or Mexican-Americans from jury service, is carefully designed to serve the state’s concededly legitimate interest in obtaining a single jury that can properly and impartially apply the law to the facts of the case at both the guilt and sentencing phases of a capital trial.”

In dissent, Justice Thurgood Marshall objected. The exclusion of jurors opposed to the death penalty, he said, “allows the state a special advantage in those prosecutions where the charges are most serious and the possible punishments the most severe.”


15) A Castro Strives to Open Cuban’s Opinions on Sex
June 9, 2007


TWENTY or so transsexuals sat in a circle recently discussing their woes: harassment, boyfriend troubles, the challenge of removing hair from their legs. Empathizing with them was Mariela Castro Espín, Cuba’s premier sexologist.

“I know, I know,” she said, putting her hand on one of her own legs to show she could relate.

Then the conversation took an interesting turn. The transsexuals, who are receiving training as AIDS counselors at the National Center for Sexual Education, which Ms. Castro directs, brought up sexual liaisons some of them had had with soldiers. Maybe counseling in the barracks was needed, the transsexuals said.

Ms. Castro smiled, raised her eyebrows but did not dismiss the suggestion out of hand. Homosexuality is illegal in Cuba’s military. In fact, some Cubans have avoided military service altogether by claiming to be gay.

Making the proposal even more delicate, everyone in the circle knows, is the fact that Ms. Castro, 44, is the daughter of Raúl Castro, the commander of Cuba’s armed forces and, with the recent health problems of his brother, Fidel, the temporary leader of the government.

Despite Ms. Castro’s pedigree in Cuba’s most famous family, however, no one seems to hold his — or her — tongue around her. While her father is known for his strait-laced bearing, Ms. Castro has a more down-to-earth air. A mother of three who is married to an Italian photographer, she speaks of topics that might make others blush.

“Sexuality does not just have a reproductive function,” she declared in an interview on the front porch of a Havana mansion, where the center is located, noting that sex is also about love and pleasure and discovery and experiment. “Human beings are much more diverse than we think.”

CUBA, like many islands around the Caribbean, is a sexually liberal place where relationships out of wedlock are commonplace and taboos seem to be few, but only within heterosexual relationships. Homosexuality, transvestitism and transsexuality, however, are another matter.

Historically, Cuba’s gays have experienced the wrath of the government, with many sent off to labor camps. The climate has greatly improved in recent years, most seem to agree. Still, transvestites and transsexuals continue to complain of police harassment, and those with AIDS remain stigmatized, making prevention programs a challenge.

“I suggest you take a stroll on La Rampa to see how freely people express their sexual orientation,” Ms. Castro said, mentioning a popular gathering spot for gays in Havana. “This doesn’t mean we don’t have to work in the political arena and in the education of all of society.”

Ms. Castro said she felt no pressure to enter the family business of politics. She studied psychology in college, she said, and is now on the forefront of Cuba’s effort to make sex, in all its variety, as natural a discussion topic as it is a physical act. Her center helped produce a soap opera on state television last year featuring a married man who discovered he was attracted to other men. It was hugely popular.

Ms. Castro, who is writing her Ph.D. dissertation on transvestitism, is also pushing for an overhaul of Cuban laws so that, among other things, the government health care system covers surgery for transsexuals and that new official identification documents are issued after the operation.

Already, a government panel reviews individual cases of those wishing to change their sex and refers some transsexuals to therapy and hormone treatment. Currently, 26 transsexuals have been approved for treatment by the committee, with another 50 under review, Ms. Castro said.

She recalled several years ago her discomfort when some transvestites and transsexuals first approached her at the center to raise their difficulties with the authorities. “At the beginning, I didn’t understand them,” she said.

But the more she listened, the more she began to believe that Cuba’s Communist state, in which she is a committed believer, ought to accept transvestites and transsexuals as comrades along with everyone else.

NO sex-related topic is off limits in the center’s publication, Sexology and Society, which features artwork and poetry with sexual themes and academic articles dealing with subjects like gay bashing, domestic violence and hormone therapy for transsexuals.

Her magazine publishes research from scientists around the world regardless of their nations’ relations with Cuba. That means American sex research sometimes finds its way onto the pages of Sexology and Society.

Ms. Castro attended a sexology conference in California several years ago, which was her only trip to the United States. A return trip seems unlikely any time soon, though, she said with a smile and a shrug, since she cannot get a visa.

Ms. Castro, who has two sisters and a brother, insists her family name “doesn’t help me at all.” To the contrary, she said, when she has tried to work with the Cuban military, commanders were so concerned about nepotism that they were uncooperative.

But Ms. Castro acknowledges that she has access to the very top of Cuba’s bureaucracy, which certainly does not hurt in pressing her agenda.

She said she puts a copy of her center’s magazine on her father’s bedside table and briefs him on her work whenever she can. “He has told me he supports me, that he supports the personal rights of homosexuals,” she said of her father, who is 75 and spent his life as a military man. “He always says go slowly, though, so you don’t build walls.”

Making the case to her uncle, Fidel, has been even more of a challenge. He is known for firing back questions at those briefing him and expecting knowledgeable answers. “I was terrified he would ask me something I didn’t know,” she said.

Now she gives him informal briefings whenever she can. He is a busy man, though, she said, so getting an audience is not easy.

Ms. Castro views her work as a continuation of that of her mother, Vilma Espín, who has been the head of the Cuban Women’s Federation for nearly half a century. The sexual education center, like just nearly every other group in Cuba, is part of the government bureaucracy. But Ms. Castro said she participated in politics as an everyday citizen, not as the niece of El Commandante, whom she recently described as being in “stupendous” condition.

Despite her government’s restrictions on political speech, Ms. Castro is an outspoken advocate for more open sexual discourse. The more young people learn about sexuality, she contends, the less they will pick up from the streets. And politicians, too, need to be briefed on the topic, she said, to lead to more enlightened public policy.

“If you suppress things, they will become hidden,” she said. “It has been proven in scientific research in Cuba and other countries that the more education you give adolescents and adults, the more people are free to make their own decisions.”


16) Rights Group Offers Grim View of C.I.A. Jails
June 9, 2007

PARIS, June 8 — In a report on Friday, the lead investigator for the Council of Europe gave a bleak description of secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency in Eastern Europe, with information he said was gleaned from anonymous intelligence agents.

Prisoners guarded by silent men in black masks and dark visors were held naked in cramped cells and shackled to walls, according to the report, which was prepared by Dick Marty, a Swiss senator investigating C.I.A. operations for the Council of Europe, a 46-nation rights group.

Ventilation holes in the cells released bursts of hot or freezing air, with temperature used as a form of extreme pressure to wear down prisoners, the investigators found. Prisoners were also subjected to water-boarding, a form of simulated drowning, and relentless blasts of music and sound, from rap to cackling laughter and screams, the report says.

The report, which runs more than 100 pages, says the prisons were operated exclusively by Americans in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2006. It relies heavily on testimony from C.I.A. agents.

Critics in Poland and Romania attacked Mr. Marty’s use of anonymous sources and issued categorical denials, as they have done repeatedly. Denis MacShane, a British member of Parliament and longtime critic of Mr. Marty, complained that the investigator “makes grave allegations to two European Union member states, Poland and Romania, without any proof at all.”

Tomasz Szeratics, a spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “We shall not make any comments on Dick Marty’s latest report until we receive it officially and analyze the evidence presented. The Polish position remains unchanged and it is very clear: There were no secret C.I.A. detention centers on the territory of the Republic of Poland.”

But Mr. Marty said at a news conference in Paris that anonymous testimony was backed by thousands of flight records showing prisoner transfers, including private planes linked to the C.I.A. that made 10 flights from Afghanistan and Dubai to the Szczytno-Szymany International Airport in Poland between 2002 and 2005.

That was the closest airport to a Soviet-era military compound where about a dozen high-level terror suspects were jailed, the report charges. The local authorities formed secure buffer zones around the jails, which were operated exclusively by Americans, Mr. Marty reported.

Lower-level prisoners from Afghanistan and Iraq were held at a military base near the Black Sea in Romania, the report says. The Romanians were restricted to the buffer zone.

“Our Romanian officers do not know what happened inside those areas because we sealed them off and we had control,” the report cites a senior military agent as saying.

The details of prison life were given by retired and current American intelligence agents who had been promised confidentiality, the report says.

Their motives were varied, Mr. Marty said. “For 15 years, I have interviewed people as an investigating magistrate and I have always noticed that at a certain point, people with secrets need to talk,” he said.

Others justified the grim treatment, the reports said, saying, in one instance: “Here’s my question. Was the guy a terrorist? ’Cause if he’s a terrorist, then I figure he got what was coming to him.”

According to the report, suspects were often held for months with no contact except with masked, silent guards who would push meals of cheese, potatoes and bread through hatches.

When prisoners resisted, the report says, one investigator considered it a welcome sign. “You know they are starting to crack,” he said, “So you hold out. You push them over the edge.”


17) Actor and Comedian Roseanne Barr Urges End to Israeli Occupation
"In a videotaped message to be played at the June 10th rally in Washington, actor and comedian Roseanne Barr says an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the key to a just and lasting peace.
In a videotaped message to be played at the June 10th rally in Washington, actor and comedian Roseanne Barr says an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the key to a just and lasting peace."
Friday, June 8th, 2007

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to the words of the actor and comedian Roseanne Barr. She recently recorded a message on the 40th anniversary that will be played at Sunday's rally in Washington.

ROSEANNE BARR: Hi everybody. This is Roseanne Barr. And I'm here to add my voice to all of your voices. I'm here speaking as a citizen of the world, as an American, as a Jew and as a grandmother. All of us who gather here today are united in our desire to seek a just peace in the Middle East, instead of the vicious cycle of revenge and recriminations that benefit only those who profit from a distance. They never actually themselves experience the violence and terror and suffering inflicted upon those human beings who pay the actual price in terms of their family's lives. Those people who do pay that price want change, as well as all of us here who care about them. That change starts with our calling for the end of the American taxpayer support of, as well as the United States government's support of, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. All of us, regardless of our nationalities or our religious affiliations seek a new policy in the Middle East based on equal rights for all. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Yeah, that was the comedian Rosanne Barr. Phyllis, as we wrap up - she hasn't weighed in in this discussion publicly, that we know of. Will she be at Sunday's protest?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: She is not able to be with us physically because she is performing that night, but she has sent this message. She has been weighing in on this issue, Amy - I was on her radio program for an hour last week discussing it. She has become very public, and she is not the only one. More and more Americans, more and more Jewish-Americans among so many others, are joining this campaign to say no to US support for Israeli occupation. It is our government's support - our billions of dollars in tax money that goes to support Israel every year; the military support; the uncritical diplomatic embrace that protects Israel from being held accountable for these violations of international law. That's what our government's support for occupation means in the real world on the ground. The boycott by the United States of - not the Israeli occupation - but of the Palestinian people who are living under occupation on the grounds that they elected a government the US doesn't like, has made the conditions on the ground profoundly worse. We now have 87% of the people of Gaza living below the international poverty line of $2 a day. That's a tragedy that our government is responsible for. That's why people are gonna be gathering in the thousands on Sunday at 2:00 in front of the Capitol, marching to the White House to say to our government, to say to the rest of our citizens, to say to all of us, this is the time to stop. 40 years is too long. Military occupation has to end, and the way to end it is to stop US military support, to stop US economic support, to stop US corporate and diplomatic support and all support, to end the Israeli occupation.




Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells
June 7, 2007

Report Confirms CIA Secret Prisons in Europe

The Dirty Water Underground
May 31, 2007

A Hot-Selling Weapon, an Inviting Target
June 3, 2007

Surf’s Up, but the Water Is Brown
June 3, 2007
Los Angeles

When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?
June 3, 2007

After Sanctions, Doctors Get Drug Company Pay
June 3, 2007

Somalia: The Other (Hidden) War for Oil
by Carl Bloice; Black Commentator
May 07, 2007




LAPD vs. Immigrants (Video)


Dr. Julia Hare at the SOBA 2007


"We are far from that stage today in our era of the absolute
lie; the complete and totalitarian lie, spread by the
monopolies of press and radio to imprison social
consciousness." December 1936, "In 'Socialist' Norway,"
by Leon Trotsky: “Leon Trotsky in Norway” was transcribed
for the Internet by Per I. Matheson [References from
original translation removed]


Wealth Inequality Charts


MALCOLM X: Oxford University Debate


Animated Video Preview
Narrated by Peter Coyote
Is now on YouTube and Google Video

We are planning on making the ADDICTED To WAR movie.
Can you let me know what you think about this animated preview?
Do you think it would work as a full length film?
Please send your response to:
Fdorrel@sbcglobal. net or Fdorrel@Addictedtow

In Peace,

Frank Dorrel
Addicted To War
P.O. Box 3261
Culver City, CA 90231-3261
fdorrel@sbcglobal. net
www.addictedtowar. com

For copies of the book:

Frank Dorrel
P.O. BOX 3261
CULVER CITY, CALIF. 90231-3261
$10.00 per copy (Spanish or English); special bulk rates
can be found at:


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



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])