Monday, January 28, 2008



A beautiful little song:

Steve Earle - City Of Immigrants


A special afternoon to free an innocent man on Pennsylvania’s death row for 26 years…
Honoring Mumia Abu-Jamal & his Friends
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008, 2:00 pm
ILWU Local 34 Hall, 4 Berry Street, San Francisco
(Near 2nd & King St. immediately to the left of AT&T baseball stadium)
Admission: $15-$10 sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds. Refreshments.
Sponsor: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 415-255-1085 or 510-268-9429

Dennis Bernstein, Producer, KPFA’s Flashpoints
Pam Africa, International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Lynne Stewart, attorney, falsely convicted of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism
Jonathan Richman, singer/songwriter
Jack Heyman,on behalf of Internat’l Longshore &Warehouse Union
Barbara Lubin, Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance
Aundre Herron, ACLU & comedienne, “Wonderwoman”
Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Carlos Villarreal, Exec. Dir., National Lawyers Guild Bay Area
Alan Benjamin, Exec. Board, SF Labor Council
Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10
Derrel Myers, Jo Jo White Solidarity Committee
Gloria LaRiva, International ANSWER/San Francisco
JR, POCC Block Report Radio; KPOO & KPFA Radio producer
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., Prisoners of Conscience Committee
Noelle Hanrahan, Prison Radio
Laura Herrera & Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kiilu Nyasha, Free SF 8 activist; producer, SF Live's TV weekly, "Freedom
Is A Constant Struggle"
plus: Special video showing: NBC Today Show’s incredible coverage of Mumia’s case

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist & innocent Pennsylvania 26 year death row inmate. Framed by a racist criminal “justice” system in a 1982 trial that has been repudiated by Amnesty International, the European Parliament, the California Labor Federation, SF Labor Council, AFSCME, SEIU, ILWU, NUPW, Alice Walker, E.L. Doctorow, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, Angela Davis, the past French President Jacques Chirac and the Detroit, SF, Berkeley city governments, Mumia’s case is rapidly approaching it’s legal conclusion. He has defeated repeated attempts at his execution by state authorities. After presenting to the courts and to millions around the world the irrefutable facts proving his innocence, his appeal for a new trial (that can only lead to his freedom) is pending. A decision is imminent. While the state presses for his murder by lethal injection we fight for his freedom. His struggle for fundamental human and democratic rights, for civil liberties, and freedom is the struggle of all those who cherish social justice. For additional information:
Sponsor: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 415-255-1085 or 510-268-9429
Benefit for: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Contributions to: P.O. Box 10328, Oakland, CA 94610-0328


2017 Mission St (@ 16th), San Francisco


5th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq
End the War NOW!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008, March & Rally
5 p.m. S.F. Civic Center (Polk & Grove Sts.)

Click here to Endorse:

Bring All the Troops Home Now
End Colonial Occupation--Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine
Money for Jobs, Housing, Healthcare & Schools, Not War
Stop the threats against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba . . .
No to racism & immigrant bashing

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545


March 19, 2008, will mark the 5th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in defiance of the U.S. government’s drive for war. Since March of 2003, many millions more people have turned against the war in Iraq. The will of the people of the United States has been represented in many anti-war demonstrations and actions throughout the last 5 years.

Yet, the warmakers in the White House and Congress—acting in direct contradiction to the interests of the people of the United States and the world—have continued to fund and expand the brutal occupation of the Iraqi people.

Just a week ago, Washington unleashed the largest bombing campaign of the war—terrorizing Iraqi people in a Baghdad suburb. More than a million Iraqis have been killed. The U.S. occupation has created a situation of extreme violence in the country. The Iraqi people are denied access to regular electricity, education, health care and many necessary services. Unemployment is rampant.

Four thousand U.S. soldiers have been killed and more than 60,000 wounded, injured or evacuated due to serious illness. The cost of the war is $450,000,000 per day, $5,000 every second. The war has been a success for military-industrial businesses like Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater and McDonnell-Douglas, who are making huge profits from the death and destruction. At the same time, we are told that there is no money for basic human needs housing, food, healthcare, schools and jobs.

March 19, 2008, will see many actions against the war in San Francisco and across the country, including walkouts, teach-ins and civil disobedience on a day of “No Business As Usual.” The ANSWER Coalition along with many other individuals and organizations will join those actions. The ANSWER Coalition is calling for an evening march and rally, starting at the San Francisco Civic Center at 5 p.m.

Help build the March 19th day of action!
There are many ways you can help.

1. Volunteer now to get the word out! Plug into Tues. evening and Sat. afternoon outreach teams to make sure people know about the March 19 march and rally.
This Tues. Jan. 29, 6-9pm meet at 2489 Mission St. at 21st St., (Rm. 28) SF
We will be flyering at BART stations and the Mission campus of City College, postering in different locations in SF, and banner making and alert phone calls in the office. No experience necessary.

Every Saturday, 12noon 3pm from Feb. 2 through March 19
Help with postering and outreach tabling in San Francisco and the East Bay.

SF outreach - meet 2489 Mission St. at 21st. St. (Rm. 24)
East Bay Outreach meet 636 - 9th Street at MLK, Oakland, 510-435-0844

You can also pick up flyers and posters in San Francisco at 2489 Mission St. Rm. 24. Call us at 415-821-6545. In the East Bay, call 510-435-0844

2. Organize on your campus or workplace.
The ANSWER Coalition can send you materials to poster and leaflet at your campus or workplace. Call 415-821-6545 or email to get more information about organizing on your campus or workplace.

3. Schedule a speaker for your class or organization.
Anti-war and anti-racist activists with the ANSWER coalition are available to speak about the war at home and abroad and the organizing for the Mar.19 day of action. We also have videos available on a number of different issues relating to the wars at home and abroad. Contact us to learn more about scheduling a speaker.

4. Donate to build the Mar.19 demonstration. Click here to donate now:


Bay Area United Against War Statement in Response to IVAW

"In response to the Iraq Veterans Against the War Open Letter to the antiwar movement: We oppose any demand on the movement to refrain from mobilizing against the war. This demand has hurt the struggle in the United States to end the war. We support all actions of the movement to end the U.S. war on, and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. We urge the whole movement to come together to organize unified protest actions."


BlogFest to Memorialize Molly Ivins and Demand an End to War in Iraq
WHEN: Thursday, January 31st, 2008, from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM.
(the one-year anniversary of Molly Ivins' passing.)
WHAT: Raise Hell for Molly Ivins BlogFest.
WHERE: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street in San Francisco.
WHO: The BlogFest is being produced by The Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign (
For more information contact:
Robert Manning (925)787-3354

The campaign was inspired by Molly Ivins' words about the war in Iraq, in her last column before her passing. - "Raise hell...Hit the streets...We need people in the streets banging pots and pans and demanding END IT, NOW!"

PURPOSE: This special event will honor the memory of Molly Ivins and carry on her legacy of activism through the Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign, which is organizing people across the United States to demand that Congress act to end the war in Iraq and stop an attack on Iran.

PROGRAM: The BlogFest will feature continuous blogging by activist bloggers and the public, the signing of an on-line petition, and a live netcast of the event. The evening's program will begin with an Interfaith Ceremony, followed by a Labyrinth Walk for Peace, the announcement of the Winner of "The Ballad of Molly Ivins" Songwriting Contest, a video presentation on Molly Ivins' life, a Memorial Pledge to Molly Ivins, by the event's participants, to work tirelessly to end the war in Iraq and stop an attack on Iran, and music and poetry performances.

HOW: People can participate in the BlogFest by adding their comments to the activist blogs during the event. They can also sign the on-line petition and participate in the "Pots and Pans Protests" on the third Friday of the month, to tell their local representatives and senators who voted for the surge and the on-going funding for the war in Iraq to change their vote or lose at the ballot box. The "Pots and Pans Protests" are held on the third Friday of the month to coincide with the monthly events of the Iraq Moratorium.

TICKETS: Tickets are $10.00 with no one turned away for lack of funds. Tickets are available at the door beginning at 5:45 PM. Advanced tickets are available by calling The Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign at (925) 787-3354.





A ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Mumia's case, based on the hearing in Philadelphia on May 17th 2007, is expected momentarily. Freeing Mumia immediately is what is needed, but that is not an option before this court. The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal calls on everyone who supports Mumia‚s case for freedom, to rally the day after a decision comes down. Here are Bay Area day-after details:


14th and Broadway, near the Federal Building
4:30 to 6:30 PM the day after a ruling is announced,
or on Monday if the ruling comes down on a Friday.

Oakland demonstration called by the Partisan Defense Committee and Labor Black Leagues, to be held if the Court upholds the death sentence, or denies Mumia's appeals for a new trial or a new hearing. info at (510) 839-0852 or


Federal Courthouse, 7th & Mission
5 PM the day after a ruling is announced,
or Monday if the decision comes down on a Friday

San Francisco demo called by the Mobilization To Free Mumia,
info at (415) 255-1085 or

Day-after demonstrations are also planned in:

Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver
and other cities internationally.

A National Demonstration is to be held in Philadelphia, 3rd Saturday after the decision

For more information, contact: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal,;
Partisan Defense Committee,;
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC),;


World-renowned journalist, death-row inmate and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is completely innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. Mountains of evidence--unheard or ignored by the courts--shows this. He is a victim, like thousands of others, of the racist, corrupt criminal justice system in the US; only in his case, there is an added measure of political persecution. Jamal is a former member of the Black Panther Party, and is still an outspoken and active critic of the on-going racism and imperialism of the US. They want to silence him more than they want to kill him.

Anyone who has ever been victimized by, protested or been concerned about the racist travesties of justice meted out to blacks in the US, as well as attacks on immigrants, workers and revolutionary critics of the system, needs to take a close look at the frame-up of Mumia. He is innocent, and he needs to be free.




In 1995, mass mobilizations helped save Mumia from death.

In 1999, longshore workers shut West Coast ports to free Mumia, and teachers in Oakland and Rio de Janeiro held teach-ins and stop-works.

Mumia needs powerful support again now. Come out to free Mumia!

- The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610




1) Patriot Act Upheld in Sailor’s Terrorism Case
January 25, 2008

2) Truth as Casualty - A Response to Carol Brightman and Carl Ogelsby on the
By Ralph Schoenman, January 21, 2008
Taking Aim Bulletin - January 26, 2008 - please distribute widely
Taking Aim

3) The Way We Live Now
Old-School Economics
January 27, 2008

4) Beyond the Stimulus Package
January 27, 2008

5) War Torn
In More Cases, Combat Trauma Is Taking the Stand
January 27, 2008

6) Pakistan Shuns C.I.A. Buildup Sought by U.S.
January 27, 2008

7) Arizona Law Takes a Toll on Nonresident Students
January 27, 2008

8) Officers’ Arrests Put Spotlight on Police Use of Informants
January 27, 2008

9) With a Whisper, Cuba’s Housing Market Booms
January 28, 2008

10) Devastating Reports on Police Violence in the Schools:
Children handcuffed in school; what is going on?
Sunday, January 27, 2008
New York City Public School Parents
New York Post
January 27, 2008
5-year-old boy handcuffed in school, taken to hospital for misbehaving
Friday, January 25th 2008, 4:00 AM
Criminalizing the Classroom and NYC Students
March 18, 2007
Advocates Testify on Impact of School Suspensions, Demand Passage of the Student Safety Act
Published by the New York Civil Liberties Union (
January 23, 2008

11) Resegregation of U.S. schools deepening
Districts in big cities of the Midwest and Northeast undergo the most change.
By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the January 25, 2008 edition - Chicago

12) Prayin’ With the Devil
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
January 18, 2008


1) Patriot Act Upheld in Sailor’s Terrorism Case
January 25, 2008

NEW HAVEN (AP) — A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Patriot Act is constitutional, rejecting a claim by a former sailor charged with supporting terrorism that the evidence against him was illegally obtained.

The defendant, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, 31, of Phoenix, pleaded not guilty in April to charges that he provided material support to terrorists with intent to kill American citizens and disclosed classified information relating to national defense. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 25.

The authorities say that Mr. Abu-Jihaad leaked a document describing the location and vulnerabilities of a Navy battle group to suspected terrorism supporters in London.

In challenging intercepted phone calls and searches of e-mail messages that prosecutors want to introduce at trial, Mr. Abu-Jihaad cited a ruling in September by Judge Ann L. Aiken of Federal District Court in Oregon that struck down crucial portions of the Patriot Act as unconstitutional.

Judge Aiken ruled that the act could not be used to authorize secret searches and wiretapping to gather criminal evidence instead of intelligence without violating the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The Bush administration is appealing that ruling.

In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Mark R. Kravitz of Federal District Court here said he disagreed with the Oregon ruling, citing other court decisions and safeguards in the law to protect constitutional rights.

“The balance Congress struck between an individual’s important interest in privacy and the government’s legitimate need to obtain foreign intelligence information remains reasonable and one that complies with the Fourth Amendment,” Judge Kravitz wrote in his decision.

Judge Kravitz acknowledged that the issue might go to a higher appeals court.


2) Truth as Casualty - A Response to Carol Brightman and Carl Ogelsby on the
By Ralph Schoenman, January 21, 2008
Taking Aim Bulletin - January 26, 2008 - please distribute widely
Taking Aim

[Thanks to all of you who have sent messages of support since we sent out
Ralph's recent article "Truth As Casualty - A Response to Carol Brightman
and Carl Ogelsby on the Sixties." Please distribute the article widely
(reprinted again below)

Since many of you have requested that we discuss these issues on Taking Aim,
we shall devote our upcoming program, Tuesday, January 29, to the topic and
shall include a call-in section for listener questions and comments.

As Ralph writes:
U.S. rulers and those who do their bidding have no monopoly on
self-serving falsification of historical events and of the policies, motives
and actions of those involved.

The radicalization that emerged during the 1960¹s unfolded amid uneven
consciousness and important differences in political ideas.

Many were motivated by the illusion that the powers that be could be
influenced and induced to do the right thing. Expectations from the
Democratic Party defined politics in the sixties including the attempt to
substitute dramatic individual action for an anti-capitalist movement
grounded in the working class in America.

At the same time, the enormity of the U.S. genocidal assault upon
Vietnam induced those who had no confidence in the ability of the oppressed
to fight back successfully to seek some form of concession to appease U.S.
imperialism ­ all in the name of practicality and peace.

Many who waged a committed struggle to defeat U.S. imperial war at home
and abroad sought to reclaim the socialist ideal and separate it from the
detritus of Stalinist deformation.

The politics of Stalinism include not merely a political system parallel
to that of fascism but an insistence upon a deal with imperialism, a
partnership that would abort revolutionary transformation by deflecting
movements for change into the arms of the parties of Capital.

The politics that drove the sixties and deformed them are with us as
intensely now as they were forty-five years earlier.

Many who now seek to re-write those years to suit their predilections
and to posture regarding their presumptive roles have made truth a casualty
of their petty ambition and unstated political agenda.

A current memoir on the sixties and a review article about it
encapsulate the theme of this week¹s Taking Aim: Truth As Casualty]

In an article entitled ³Carol Brightman on the Sixties² (Truth-Dig, January
6, 2008) Ms. Brightman reviews three books, including Ravens In the Storm: A
Personal History of the 1960¹s Anti-War Movement by Carl Oglesby.

The article is replete with falsehoods and disinformation concerning the
work of the International Tribunal on U.S. War Crimes in Indo-China, of
which I was Secretary-General, and of my role within it.

Ms. Brightman¹s errors, large and small, embellish the pattern of distortion
in Mr. Oglesby¹s book. The most egregious of these fabrications concerns the
views of Jean-Paul Sartre, Executive President of the Tribunal and of other
Tribunal members on the question of genocide.

Ms. Brightman¹s claims regarding her own role are instructive, not merely
for their petty misrepresentations but for what she conceals. She writes,
³Early in 1967, I had gone on the second of the tribunal¹s two fact-finding
teams to North Vietnam, the only American and only woman.²

In fact, not two but six investigative teams were sent to Cambodia and North
Vietnam, with supplemental investigative work carried out in the liberated
zones of South Vietnam. Ms. Brightman was not the sole American on the
second team, but one of three.

She omits to mention that members of these teams had been briefed about the
sensitivity of our work, notably in countries under agonizingly massive and
continuous attack by overwhelming U.S. air and ground assault.

Each potential participant had been vetted for their qualifications to
examine evidence pertaining to the issues at hand and, in particular, for
responsible discretion with respect to U.S. intelligence efforts to obtain
information about Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian logistics on the ground.

Visas for members of these teams were arranged with the authorities in these
countries based upon such assurances. To our dismay, when we boarded the
plane in Paris for Phnom Penh, accompanying Ms. Brightman was a man unknown
to us who carried an ABC television camera.

Ms. Brightman stated that this was her boyfriend, whom she had invited to
join our investigative team and participate in its work. We explained that
this was not possible, that he was unknown to us, had not been placed on the
team and had not been approved for visas by the governments of Cambodia and
the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We advised her that he would not be
admitted to Phnom Penh unless he had a visa arranged by ABC and that,
regardless, he would have no part in our work.

On arrival, he gained entry by representing falsely that he was a late
inclusion in our investigative team. He shared quarters with Ms. Brightman,
who attempted daily to insinuate him in our work.

This was refused by the team collectively. Members of the investigative team
met to decide how to deal with this situation. The abiding sentiment was to
remove Ms. Brightman from the team and exclude her from its work; there were
concerns that we were in the presence of a provocation intended to discredit
the team itself.

It was agreed that I would consult the Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities
and describe the situation fully. We learned that Ms. Brightman¹s friend had
attempted to interview officials and individuals, presenting himself as
³Bertrand Russell¹s representative.²

He was asked by the Cambodian authorities to leave. He showed up in Saigon
where he conducted interviews with U.S. soldiers, later shown on U.S.
television. These were interviews sympathetic to U.S. policy.

The Vietnamese representatives in Phom Penh alerted Hanoi to the situation
and it was agreed that to avoid a public dispute deployed by U.S. media to
undermine the work of the Tribunal, Ms. Brightman would continue with us to
Hanoi, but that she would not be allowed access to any sensitive zone or

In her article, Ms. Brightman, describes ³drinking and swapping stories² at
the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi. ³Schoenman, it was said, had stood up at a
dinner with North Vietnamese leaders and rebuked them for thinking of peace.
He raised his glass in a victory salute; no one responded.²

The story is risible. I had been meeting with Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong and
party and governmental figures over a period of four years to discuss how
most effectively to wage resistance to the U.S. war internationally,
including our preparations for the Tribunal that had been ongoing since

I was chair at the time of the Vietnamese Solidarity Campaign in Great
Britain, with sixty member organizations. Our public view, and that of
Bertrand Russell during those years, was that we must face U.S. rulers with
the demand ³Out Now,² not pressure the Vietnamese victims of onslaught to
make concessions to U.S. imperial policy in the name of ³peace.²

The occasion of these remarks by Ms. Brightman is an ostensible review of
Carl Oglesby¹s memoir. Ms. Brightman quotes extensively from ³Oglesby¹s
account² which, she states, ³gives a vivid portrait of Ralph Schoenman, the
American expatriate and Russell¹s representative.²

Mr. Oglesby writes as follows: ³Schoenman was about thirty, a tall man with
broad shoulders. He wore his black hair combed straight back and varnished
down. His skin was pale, his dark eyes nervous and darkly shadowed. He was
always in a black turtleneck sweater and dark blue blazer, always stiffly
erect with his chest out Š²

Mr. Oglesby¹s self-description to the Tribunal was as ³a playwright and
political essayist² and perhaps he thinks of himself as entitled to dramatic

My height is under 5¹ 10² and I am of slender build. My shoulders are not
broad nor does my chest protrude. My weight was in the 150¹s in 1967. It is
145 today. My hair is not black, but medium brown. I have never combed it
straight back nor plastered it to my scalp. My hair was combed loosely
forward, Beatles style.

My color now as then is pretty good. I have never been accused of suffering
from pallor. My eyes are light hazel with a touch of green, not black or
even dark. I have never owned a black turtleneck sweater nor attempted to
wear one. My standard dress was a suit or a jacket, dress shirt and necktie.
My preference in pullovers, worn occasionally in less formal settings, has
been those of light colors.

Mr. Oglesby may have someone else in mind. He writes, however, to Ms.
Brightman¹s delectation:

³In one closed meeting of the tribunal during our second session in late
November in a town called Roskilde, about twenty miles from Copenhagen,
Schoenman announced that Russell wanted the tribunal to take an affirmative
position on the genocide question, one of several questions the tribunal was

³The practical question was whether the United States was specifically
targeting Vietnamese population centers. Attacks on civilians constituted a
crime of war, technical genocide. Schoenman told us that Russell believed
such attacks were happening and that the United States was therefore guilty
of genocide.

³Sartre disagreed. He saw American attacks on population centers as a
consequence of the fact that Viet Cong and North Vietnamese combat units
often stationed themselves in cities and villages. As Sartre saw it, such
attacks were deplorable but nonetheless did not constitute genocide. In
Sartre¹s view, one could not use that term without evoking memories of
Hitler¹s assault on the Jews. Compared to the Holocaust, what the United
States was doing in Vietnam was just fighting an ugly war in an ugly way. If
the United States was in the wrong, he felt, that was because its effort to
subdue the Vietnamese resistance was in itself wrong, not because the United
States was trying to exterminate the Vietnamese people.²

The claim by Mr. Oglesby that U.S. saturation destruction of the civilian
population of Vietnam only occurred as an ancillary consequence of the
deliberate placement by the Vietnamese of their soldiers and armed forces
inside population centers is not merely a deeply reactionary and dishonest
claim. It was the lying rationale of the U.S. State Department and of the

Ms. Brightman writes that ³Oglesby was a great admirer of Jean-Paul Sartre,
who together with Simone de Beauvoir and Vlado (sic) Dedijer, a World War II
adjutant of Tito¹s and a hero of the Yugoslav anti-Nazi resistance, presided
over the tribunal. Schoenman represented Lord Russell, who remained a
ghostly figure in Wales.²

Fathering this contemptible lie upon Jean-Paul Sartre is a strange form of
admiration. Mr. Oglesby, cheered on by Ms. Brightman in her review, imputes
to Sartre a defense of U.S. imperialism against the ³baseless² charge of

He places in Sartre¹s mouth the revolting rationale of U.S. rulers
themselves that the mass death of civilians in Vietnam was really the fault
of the callous Vietnamese communists who hid their armies within population
centers to deploy massive civilian deaths (now called Œcollateral damage¹)
as cynical propaganda.

Mr. Oglesby elaborates upon these presumptive views of Sartre, which he
claims Sartre set forth in indignant opposition to my assertions that
genocidal attacks on the Vietnamese population were taking place.

³All day long Schoenman would say, on the one hand, things like, ŒLord
Russell says he expects the tribunal to find the United States guilty of
genocide,¹ where the subtext was that Russell was paying for this damned
thing and did not want to be unhappy with its findings. And then on the
other hand, when Sartre challenged him on the genocide issue, Schoenman
would say, ³ ŒDon¹t expect me to defend Lord Russell¹s positions because I
would not think of speaking for him.¹ ²

This is bizarre. I had been speaking and writing for six years on the
subject. The Student Peace Union in the United States had published Bertrand
Russell¹s writing on the genocidal war in Vietnam in 1963.

Bertrand Russell¹s book War Crimes In Vietnam, written before the Tribunal
took place, set forth evidence we had made public since 1962. The first
chapter, entitled ³The Press and Vietnam ­ March-July 1963² contains our
exchanges with the New York Times regarding our documented evidence of U.S.
saturation bombing of the civilian populace and of insidious chemical
weapons, including gases that explode the pupil of the eye.

It cites our letter to the New York Times referencing ³a year¹s study Š of
the chemicals sprayed in South Vietnam and their effect upon the health of
human beings, animals and crops.² It sets forth data concerning the use of
³white arsenic, various kinds of arsenite sodium and arsenite calcium, lead
manganese arsenates, DNP and DNC (which inflame and eat into human flesh);
and calcic cyanamide Š which has seriously affected thousands of the
inhabitants of South Vietnam; with having spread these poisonous chemicals
on large and densely populated areas of South Vietnam.

³ Š The use of these weapons,² we stated, ³napalm bombs and chemicals,
constitutes and results in atrocities and points to the fact that this is a
war of annihilation.²

This chapter describes how the New York Times published this letter, while
excising the cited evidence and then accused Russell in an editorial of
³spreading communist propaganda, as he in his heart must know.²

It is instructive to note that Mr. Oglesby imputes to Jean-Paul Sartre the
view that Bertrand Russell and I were ³following the line of North Vietnam²
on the subject of genocide.

War Crimes in Vietnam was published in 1967 by Monthly Review Press and by
George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. It included a 48 page essay of mine containing a
detailed eye-witness account of the weaponry used and the effects on the
population of North Vietnam.

It lists the members of the Tribunal. (Mr. Oglesby was not among them.) It
describes the planned convening of the Tribunal in London on November 13,
1966 ³to announce its structure, statement of aims and time table.² It
specified five areas of inquiry for which evidence would be assembled.

The fifth was ³the pursuit of genocidal policies, including forced labor
camps, mass burials and other techniques of extermination in the South.²
This issue and the evidence pertaining to it was on the agenda in Roskilde,
near Copenhagen.

As I described our work in Against The Crime of Silence, ³We proclaimed our
conviction that terrible crimes were occurring and that we were in
possession of evidence of such magnitude that it was essential to
investigate the charges of this accusation.

³Our evidence established that eight million people were placed in barbed
wire internment camps by U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. It showed the
systematic destruction of hospitals, schools, sanatoria, dams, dikes,
churches and pagodas. It demonstrated that the cultural remains of a rich
and complex civilization representing the legacy of generations had been
smashed in a terror of five million pounds of high explosives daily.

³Every nine months, this destruction is roughly equivalent to the total
bombardment of the Pacific theater in World War II. It is as if the Louvre
and the cathedrals had been doused in napalm and pulverized by 1000 pound

Mr. Oglesby does not rest at fathering upon Jean-Paul Sartre a rejection of
my presumptive dogmatic insistence, allegedly without concern for evidence,
that genocide was occurring in Vietnam. Mr. Oglesby attributes a fundamental
division on these matters to the Tribunal members at large:

³Apart from the existential problems between Sartre and Schoenman, this
split over the question of genocide was the one serious split among the
members of the tribunal. In crudest terms, Russell wanted a guilty verdict
on this question, but Sartre was determined to let the evidence speak for
itself. And as Sartre saw it, the evidence did not prove genocide. He
thought it essential that the tribunal demonstrate its independence by
voting to satisfy its own conscience. And he had let it be known that he
thought Russell in the wrong to push North Vietnam¹s line.²

Ms. Brightman, typically, cannot resist embellishing this citation. The word
³propaganda² is not Mr. Oglesby¹s but Ms. Brightman¹s, who slips it into her
citation of his text, writing ³North Vietnam¹s propaganda line.²

Mr. Oglesby resumes his breathless account of a supposed envenomed exchange
on the subject between Jean-Paul Sartre and myself:

³Schoenman didn¹t seem to care terribly about the quality of the evidence.
He had already harangued several closed sessions about this and was now
doing it again.²

Ms. Brightman picks up the theme eagerly from Mr. Oglesby:

³Lord Russell was unhappy to hear of the recent attacks upon him by certain
tribunal members,² Schoenman said, ³He is all the more distressed by these
attacks in that they are occasioned by large differences within the tribunal
on the issue of genocide.¹

³ ŒNo one has attacked Russell,¹ said Dellinger, who acted as the tribunal¹s
secretary and occasional peacemaker. We simply disagree with him on this
question. Why does he consider disagreement a personal attack?¹

³ ŒThat is for Lord Russell to say,¹ said Schoenman, ŒI would not presume to
speak for him. I am here only to say that Lord Russell believes the United
States guilty of genocide in Vietnam, and that he will be disappointed if
the tribunal continues to attack him for this view. He believes it
imperative that Š¹

³ ŒPremiere!¹ thundered Sartre. ŒOur findings will be significant only if
they are supported by facts. Deuxieme! It is you who are under attack,
Schoenman, not Lord Russell! Troisieme! You cannot both stand behind Lord
Russell and put him in your pocket!¹ ²

Ms. Brightman then writes as follows:

³Schoenman bowed his head slightly but kept his composure. ŒI will see that
Lord Russell receives a faithful account of your statement.¹ ³It was not a
Œknockout¹ as Oglesby puts it.²

Revealingly, Ms. Brightman tampers with a quotation once again. Mr. Oglesby
had written actually, ³It was not a knockout² with regard to the putative
denunciation of my views by Jean Paul Sartre.

Ms. Brightman alters Oglesby¹s text and places his ³knockout² comment after
my presumptive rejoinder!

Mr. Oglesby¹s breathless, blow-by-blow dramatization of this imputed
conflict between Jean-Paul Sartre and myself, unfolding as he recounts it in
Roskilde, near Copenhagen during the second session of the International War
Crimes Tribunal, has one fatal flaw to which your readers should be alerted.

I was never there!

The entire drama in Roskilde set forth by Mr. Oglesby never happened. Nor
was my inability to enter Denmark for the session of the Tribunal that Mr.
Oglesby purports to describe, something known only to insiders.

After my imprisonment in Bolivia immediately after the execution of Che
Guevara during October 1967, and following upon a five months sojourn in
Nuancahuazu during the time of Che Guevara¹s Bolivia campaign, I had
escaped, was recaptured and imprisoned again.

After being deported to Peru, Panama and the U.S., my passport was
nullified. The State Department refused to issue another, despite legal
intervention by Leonard Boudin, General Counsel of the Emergency Civil
Liberties Committee.

I secured an international travel document from the Democratic Republic of
Vietnam in a vain attempt to get to Copenhagen and Roskilde to resume my
duties as Secretary General of the Tribunal and to be present at the

My flight first landed in Amsterdam where I was taken into custody by
airport police. My Swedish lawyer, Hans-Joran Franck, who was an active part
of the preparatory team of the tribunal in Stockholm, arranged with the
Swedish government to allow my entry into Stockholm, whose good offices it
was assumed would be invoked to facilitate my admission into Denmark, albeit
on a North Vietnamese travel document.

Instead, the Swedish police took me off the flight and into jail where I was
roughed up, my sternum fractured. I was then placed on a plane bound for
Hamburg. Swedish supporters called in a bomb threat to the plane and it was
compelled to return to Stockholm, to much fanfare in the European press.

From there, I was placed on a flight that stopped in Helsinki, where the
police took me into custody. The name of the interrogating officer was Kafka
­ a touch, one would think, that would suit the theater of the absurd that
so tempts Mr. Oglesby.

For several days I was a ³flying Dutchman,² unable to land in any European
country, placed finally on a flight back to New York sandwiched between two
U.S. federal agents.

All of this received ongoing notice in the media, particularly in Sweden and
Denmark. I was not permitted to enter Denmark and did not attend the Danish
session of the Tribunal nor engage in dialogue with any of its members.

Mr. Oglesby is not fazed. Describing further his ³adventures² in Copenhagen,
he writes:

³Also sitting on the tribunal was the Polish historian Isaac Deutscher,
author of major biographies of Lenin, Trotsky and StalinŠ²

Unfortunately, my close friend, Isaac, died of a heart attack in Rome the
previous August 18th and, like me, was absent from the tribunal session in

The second session of the Tribunal alone examined the sixth question, on
which evidence was presented during that meeting, namely: ³Whether the
combination of the crimes imputed to the government of the United States met
the general qualification of genocide.²

This issue was discussed in Copenhagen, but without me.

What then of the actual opinions of Jean-Paul Sartre on the subject of
genocide and on the judgment appropriate to the Tribunal?

Did he espouse the views ascribed to him by Mr. Oglesby?

Fortunately, although Sartre is no longer with us, his views on the subject
are memorialized in his presentation On Genocide, published in Against The
Crime of Silence: Proceedings of the Russell International War Crimes
Tribunal ­ Stockholm and Copenhagen (Ohare Books, 1968), pages 612 to 626
and expanded upon by tribunal member Lelio Basso in his Summation on
Genocide, pages 626-643. They are entirely consonant with those of Russell
and myself.

Sartre¹s On Genocide states, ³The Americans want to show others that
guerrilla war does not pay: they want to show all the oppressed and the
exploited nations that might be tempted to shake off the American yoke by
launching a peoples¹ war, at first against their own pseudo-governments, the
compradors and the army, then against the U.S. Special Forces and finally
against the G.I.s. Š To Che Guevara, who said ŒWe need several Vietnams,¹
the American government answers ŒThey will all be crushed the way we are
crushing the first.¹²

He continues, ³They do offer an alternative: Declare you are beaten or we
will bomb you back into the stone age. The fact remains that the second term
of this alternative is genocide. They have said: ³genocide, yes, but
conditional genocide.² Is this juridically valid? Is it even conceivable?

³Š. An act of genocide, especially if it is carried out over a period of
several years, is no less genocide for being blackmail. Š And this is all
the more true when, as is the case here, a good part of the group has been
annihilated to force the rest to give in.²

Sartre is clear, specific and passionate:

³In the South, the choice is the following: villages burned, the populace
subjected to massive bombing, livestock shot, vegetation destroyed by
defoliants, crops ruined by toxic aerosols and everywhere indiscriminate
shooting, murder, rape and looting. This is genocide in the strictest sense:
massive extermination. Š What are the Vietnamese people to do to escape this
horrible death? Join the armed forces of Saigon or be enclosed in strategic
or ³New Life² hamlets, two names for the same concentration camps.²

Jean-Paul Sartre continues:

³As the armed forces of the United States entrench themselves firmly in
Vietnam, as they intensify the bombing and the massacres, as they try to
bring Laos under their control, as they plan the invasion of Cambodia, there
is less and less doubt that the government of the United States, despite its
hypocritical denials, has chosen genocide.²

Despite the claims by Ms. Brightman, pace Mr. Oglesby, that Sartre rejected
the evidence of genocide marshaled at the International Tribunal, his actual
words demonstrate where their half-truths lie.

Jean- Paul Sartre was unambiguous.

³The genocidal intent is implicit in the facts. It is necessarily
pre-meditated. Š The anti-guerrilla genocide that our times have produced
requires organization, military bases, a structure of accomplices and budget
appropriations. Therefore, its authors must meditate and plan out their

He continues as follows:

³When a peasant falls in his rice paddy, mowed down by a machine gun, every
one of us is hit. The Vietnamese fight for all men and the American forces
against all. Neither figuratively nor abstractly. And not only because
genocide would be a crime universally condemned by international law, but
because little by little the whole human race is being subjected to this
genocidal blackmail piled on top of atomic blackmail, that is, to absolute
total war.

³This crime, carried out every day before the eyes of the world, renders all
who do not denounce it accomplices of those who commit it, so that we are
degraded today for our future enslavement.²

Here is how Sartre concludes his exposition ³On Genocide²:

³In this sense, imperialist genocide can only become more complete. The
group that the United States wants to intimidate and terrorize by way of the
Vietnamese nation is the human group in its entirety.²

Mr. Oglesby and Ms. Brightman have imputed to Sartre an embrace of the
rationale of U.S. rulers for their genocidal war. In the process, they
reinvent me as a catspaw in furthering this farrago.

Late in 1968, well after the conclusion of the Tribunal sessions, the
Stalinist regime of Brezhnev invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the students
and steel workers who fought to reclaim the socialist ideal during the
Prague Spring.

I flew to Rome to meet Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at the Hotel
Nazionale. We prepared a petition together to summon people to a defense of
socialism with democratic control and content.

Together, with Bertrand Russell, Antonin Liehm, C.L.R James and prominent
others, we prepared an international conference of socialists and
anti-imperialists to defend the Czech worker and student resistance.

That conference also took place in Stockholm ­ in early Spring 1969.

It is not the evil that is new; nor is it the crisis that has changed.

Today, forty-one years later, Ms. Brightman and Mr. Oglesby, reprise their
political role in these matters. In making truth a casualty to their
predilections and petty ambition, they evince, now as then, the dishonest
lengths to which they are prepared to go and, in the process, the limits of


3) The Way We Live Now
Old-School Economics
January 27, 2008

Why do presidential candidates touting their concern for the economy pose with factory workers rather than with ballet troupes? After all, the U.S. now has more choreographers (16,340) than metal-casters (14,880), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More people make their livings shuffling and dealing cards in casinos (82,960) than running lathes (65,840), and there are almost three times as many security guards (1,004,130) as machinists (385,690). Whereas 30 percent of Americans worked in manufacturing in 1950, fewer than 15 percent do now. The economy as politicians present it is a folkloric thing.

If Republicans have had more luck talking about the economy for the last generation or so, it is because they were the less folkloric of the two parties. Broadly speaking, they cut taxes and regulation and trusted that entrepreneurs would hasten the arrival of the economy to come. There were Democrats who did the same, but they shared a party with others who were nostalgic for a disappearing world, reflexively backing unions and fighting management. Republican optimism beat Democratic nostalgia.

This campaign season, Republicans no longer look so confident. Mike Huckabee suggested to a group of Detroit executives that “instead of talking to people in the corporate boardroom, you talk to people on the line.” He aspires to remind Americans “of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off.” The latter guy, in Huckabee’s view, resembles Mitt Romney, who may have triumphed in Michigan, but only after promising to restore 250,000 factory jobs lost to layoffs. Republican rhetoric about trusting the transition to a new economy is not allaying fears as it once did.

The reason is simple. It is that the transition is over. The new economy we have been promised is in place. While the economy of 1998 was a world away from the Internet-less, land-line-dependent, non-Nafta, I.B.M.-Selectric-powered, partly Communist world of 1988, today’s economy is fully recognizable as the one we inhabited in 1998.

Today’s economic anxiety is not the same anxiety that simmered between 1980 and 2000. Back then, recessions and slowdowns were understood as the pangs of a new economy struggling to be born. But the recession we now seem to be entering is to the information age what the recession of, say, 1957-1958 was to the industrial age — a “normal” recession in the midst of an economy with stable bases, an economy that (to use a current cliché) “is what it is.” The “jobs of the future” that were promised 20 years ago are here. Choreographers, blackjack dealers and security guards have replaced factory workers as the economy’s backbone, if not yet its symbol.

New economies have always required a kind of initiation fee of those who would participate fully in them. As the historian Richard Hofstadter showed in “The Age of Reform,” the aftermath of the Civil War was marked by paeans to the prosperity that would arise from technological change. The 19th-century farmer went to great lengths to join it. “His demand for expensive machinery,” Hofstadter wrote, “his expectation of higher standards of living and his tendency to go into debt to acquire extensive acreage created an urgent need for cash and tempted the farmer into capitalizing more and more on his greatest single asset: the unearned appreciation in the value of his land.” These problems will be familiar to many a 21st-century security guard or Wal-Mart cashier. They are the problems not of someone “left behind” in the old economy but of someone struggling in the new.

Economic orders have life cycles. Policies designed to “unleash” business in a fledgling economy offer diminishing returns in a developed one. To have overregulated or overtaxed Bill Gates 20 years ago might have killed a goose that still had many golden eggs to lay. But it seems probable that 20 years hence, regardless of tax policy, Microsoft will be intact, thriving, based in the United States and doing roughly what it is doing now.

Yet Republican prescriptions have changed not a whit. Mitt Romney recently attacked the latest federal energy bill, which mandates average fuel-efficiency of 35 miles per gallon, as an impediment to Detroit’s ability to crank out sport-utility vehicles. He is quite right. But does he mean to say we’re going to get out of our economic doldrums by driving 10-mile-a-gallon cars in a world of $100-a-barrel oil?

All Republican candidates want to make President Bush’s deep tax cuts permanent, and even to expand on them. Rudolph Giuliani has promised to pass the largest tax cut in U.S. history. But this is yesterday’s policy trying to pass itself off as tomorrow’s. Americans are evenly split on whether taxes ought to be raised back to pre-Bush levels. Large majorities would gladly pay more in taxes for various purposes (notably more access to health care). Voters, it seems, have begun asking of entrepreneurs and their champions what they asked of hippies around 1971: Aren’t you liberated enough already?

Cutting taxes and slashing regulations were appropriate strategies for managing a transitional economy. But we no longer live in such an economy. This does not mean that Republicans need to embrace a single-payer health system or subsidized day care. But neither can they go on automatically favoring the hypothetical needs of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs over the real needs of today’s dental hygienists and landscape gardeners. The future is now, as the late Redskins’ coach George Allen used to say. The promise that prosperity is just one more tax cut or one more rescinded regulation away is a rapidly depreciating rhetorical asset.

Christopher Caldwell is a contributing writer for the magazine.


4) Beyond the Stimulus Package
January 27, 2008

All the talk in Washington in the last few days about the $150 billion economic stimulus plan agreed to by the White House and the House obscures a vitally important and very worrisome fact.

The current slowdown is layered on top of deep-rooted economic problems that are not addressed by a stimulus package. If the nation’s leaders do not start showing the political will to do more than dole out popular tax breaks during an election year, short-term fixes could actually make the long-term problems worse.

In the plan agreed to Thursday, the administration’s worst ideas, including a push to deny tax rebates to lower-income Americans, were ditched. Money will reach many of the cash-strapped people most likely to spend it.

Unfortunately, bolstered spending for unemployment benefits and food stamps was also omitted from the plan, in favor of granting businesses outsized tax writeoffs for new investments. That is a blunder because direct relief spending is a more powerful stimulus than business tax breaks, and is better aimed at the neediest. Worse, short-shrifting the jobless and the poor now virtually guarantees that if the economy continues to deteriorate, policy makers will be forced to provide more relief later, driving up the total cost of the stimulus.

Therein lies the bigger problem. Coming to the rescue — whether handing out money or extending jobless benefits — is the easiest thing for any politician to do. The real art and skill of fiscal stimulus is to boost the economy as much as possible in the near term without weakening its long-term prospects.

A package that creates the potential need for continued relief down the line sets the stage for long-term budget problems, not for a healthy recovery.

Stimulus is necessary. But the flip side of fiscal stimulus is fiscal tightening. The economic crises of the moment are built on seven years of Bush-era tax-cut-and-spend policies, which made for worsening budget prospects even before the current slowdown.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, if the nation keeps on the path it is on, federal debt will exceed the size of the economy in the lifetimes of many people reading this editorial, and certainly within their children’s lifetimes. Approaching a debt load that large would slam the brakes on economic activity, making today’s slowdown look benign. How lawmakers — and candidates — act and communicate now will send a signal of their ability to see us not only through the current turmoil but to a more stable future. So far, the signals are about how much they want to dole out.

To be effective leaders, politicians also need to explain that stimulus — which promotes spending — is the opposite of what is needed long term. Going forward, the nation must increase savings, not consumption. That will be painful.

Higher private savings requires delayed gratification by individuals. Higher government savings requires higher taxes or reduced government benefits, or a combination of both. Yet, savings, which have been neglected as a policy imperative throughout the Bush years, are the only means of ultimately digging out of the hole the nation is in already, even before the extent of the slowdown is known.

Our immediate problem — how to best use stimulus to buoy spending — is the easy part.


5) War Torn
In More Cases, Combat Trauma Is Taking the Stand
January 27, 2008

When it came time to sentence James Allen Gregg for his conviction on murder charges, the judge in South Dakota took a moment to reflect on the defendant as an Iraq combat veteran who suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This is a terrible case, as all here have observed,” said Judge Charles B. Kornmann of United States District Court. “Obviously not all the casualties coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan come home in body bags.”

Judge Kornmann noted that Mr. Gregg, a fresh-faced young man who grew up on a cattle ranch, led “an exemplary life until that day, that terrible morning.” With no criminal record or psychiatric history, Mr. Gregg had started unraveling in Iraq, growing disillusioned with the war and volunteering for dangerous missions in the hope of getting killed, he testified.

Nonetheless, the judge found that Mr. Gregg’s combat trauma had not rendered him incapable of comprehending his actions when he shot an acquaintance in the back, fled the scene, and then pointed the gun at himself as a SWAT team approached — the helmeted officers “low crawling,” Mr. Gregg testified, and looking “like my own soldiers turning on me.”

When combat veterans like Mr. Gregg stand accused of killings and other offenses on their return from Iraq and Afghanistan, prosecutors, judges and juries are increasingly prodded to assess the role of combat trauma in their crimes and whether they deserve special treatment because of it.

That idea has met with considerable resistance from prosecutors and judges leery of creating any class of offenders with distinct privileges. In Mr. Gregg’s case, for instance, Judge Kornmann cautioned the jury that nobody got “a free pass to shoot somebody” because they “went to Iraq or Afghanistan or the moon.”

Still, more and more, with the troops’ mental health a rising concern, these defendants are succeeding in at least raising the issue of psychological war injuries. Aggressive defense lawyers, many in the military bar, are insisting that Iraq or Afghanistan be factored into the calculus of justice in these cases. They are arguing that war be seen as the backdrop for these crimes, most of which are committed by individuals without criminal records.

“I think they should always receive some kind of consideration for the fact that their mind has been broken by war,” said Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, Western regional defense counsel for the Marines.

Last year, California became the first state to pass legislation dealing with the small fraction of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who end up entangled with the law. Updating a Vietnam-era statute, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger quietly signed a bill that permitted judges to divert troubled veterans into treatment programs.

“This is going to be on my tombstone, this bill,” said Pete Conaty, a Vietnam veteran who lobbied for it. “It has been a personal crusade of mine to make sure we don’t make the same mistake with Iraqi vets as we did with my generation.”

But the California law applies only to lesser crimes, as, in all likelihood, will any bills that it inspires, like one being debated in Minnesota.

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans facing homicide charges must defend themselves without the benefit of such laws. And in so doing, they often provoke intense moral and legal wrangling, turning local courthouses into unlikely forums for debate on the effects of the war.

Generally that debate takes place behind closed doors during plea negotiations. In cases that go to trial, however, the scene can be surreal, with Iraq commanding center stage as testimony about fingerprints and blood spatter alternates with questioning about mortar attacks in Baquba and civilian casualties in Baghdad.

Service members, sometimes wearing dress uniforms and spit-shined shoes, introduce their psychiatric evaluations into evidence and put their military colleagues on the stand to argue that the crime in question was completely out of character.

Tim Long, for instance, a company first sergeant with the South Dakota National Guard, testified about Mr. Gregg, whom he had nominated for a Bronze Star. “He’s a young farm boy, you know?” he said. “Competent young man. My friend.”

A Disorder Is Recognized

Born during the Vietnam War era, the combat version of what became known as the PTSD defense is being dusted off for a new generation of war veterans.

“I’m seeing it all the time now,” said David P. Sheldon, a civilian lawyer in Washington who represents military personnel. “And I will not be surprised to see this resonate as a consistent theme over the next few decades when people will be committing crimes after suffering repeated traumas in Iraq.”

It was in 1980, five years after the Vietnam War ended, that the psychiatric establishment first recognized post-traumatic stress disorder. Vietnam veterans quickly summoned it as a primary legal defense. In many cases, the veterans argued that they had been rendered temporarily insane as a result of flashbacks to the war while committing their crimes.

One of the first murder defendants to do so successfully was Charles G. Heads, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for killing his brother-in-law a decade after he left Vietnam. Medical experts contended that Mr. Heads believed he was “cleaning out a hooch,” or hut, in Vietnam when he kicked in a door and shot his victim.

As time went on, the PTSD defense met increasing resistance just as the use of the insanity defense was limited by many states.

Taking a more cautious approach, the current generation of war-era defendants is most often using combat trauma not to escape culpability but to explain state of mind.

Were it not for their deployment to Iraq, they argue, they probably never would have committed the crime. Before Iraq, they claim, they were not paranoid, aggressive, jumpy or suicidal; they did not carry around loaded weapons, drink to excess, misread threats or explode in anger.

“In many of these cases, you have a nasty mix: a gun, intoxication and someone inaccurately assessing their environment and the consequences of their behavior,” said Thomas Grieger, a recently retired Navy forensic psychiatrist.

In general, the veterans raise their combat trauma during plea negotiations or in the sentencing phase of trials, hoping for reduced charges or a lesser sentence.

Occasionally it works.

Anthony J. Klecker, a former marine, pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide for a drunken crash that killed a high school cheerleader, Deanna Casey, in Minnesota in 2006. But his lawyer argued that Mr. Klecker, 29, who had already spent a year in jail, should be sentenced to six months of inpatient treatment instead of the 48 months in prison called for by sentencing guidelines.

“Tony would never, ever claim his war experiences, associated psychological injuries and alcoholism should excuse him from responsibility for Ms. Casey’s death,” his lawyer, Brockton D. Hunter, wrote the judge. But, he said, Mr. Klecker was a “psychological casualty of the war in Iraq who unsuccessfully sought treatment from an overstrained Veterans Administration.”

The state judge agreed to impose the alternative sentence, and Mr. Klecker was admitted to a dual program for substance abuse and PTSD at the Veterans Affairs hospital in St. Cloud, Minn.

But then things got complicated. After getting into a verbal fight with another veteran, Mr. Klecker lost his residency privileges. He was returned to jail; the prosecutor is seeking once more to send him to prison.

‘A Tale of Two Places’

“This is really a tale of two places,” James Gregg’s lawyer said during his opening statement in 2005 in the federal courthouse in Pierre, S.D.: the Crow Creek Indian Reservation where the killing took place and “a very, very faraway” place, “a place called Iraq.”

By framing the case this way from the start, the lawyer, Timothy J. Rensch, made it clear that Mr. Gregg’s explanation for the “murder in Indian country,” as the charge read, would be inextricably bound to his year as a National Guardsman in Iraq.

That approach rankled the prosecutor, who referred to it as “waving the flag,” although Mr. Rensch stated that he was not trying to use Iraq “as an excuse” since Mr. Gregg was arguing self-defense.

“But you need to understand about Iraq and what happened to Jim over there for you to be able to see things from his point of view, and understand his thinking, and especially understand, really, his desperation at the end,” Mr. Rensch said.

On the evening of July 3, 2004, Mr. Gregg, then 22, spent the night with friends in a roving pre-Independence Day celebration on the reservation where he grew up, part of a small non-Indian population. They drank at a Quonset hut bar called the Pit Stop, in a trailer community and finally at a mint farm where they built a bonfire, roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

According to the prosecutor, Mr. Gregg got upset because a young woman accompanying him gravitated to another man. This, the prosecutor said, led to Mr. Gregg spinning the wheels of his truck and spraying gravel on a car belonging to James Fallis, 26, a former high school football lineman who grew up performing American Indian dances on what is called the powwow circuit.

Some time later, a confrontation ensued. Mr. Gregg was severely beaten by Mr. Fallis and, primarily, by another man, suffering facial fractures. Later that night, with one eye swollen shut and a fat lip, he drove to Mr. Fallis’s neighborhood.

Mr. Fallis emerged from a trailer, removed his jacket, asked Mr. Gregg if he had come back for more and opened the door to Mr. Gregg’s pickup truck. Mr. Gregg then reached for the pistol that he carried with him after his return from Iraq. He pointed it at Mr. Fallis and warned him to back away.

Mr. Fallis moved toward the trunk of his car, and Mr. Gregg testified that he believed Mr. Fallis was going to get a weapon. He started shooting to stop him, he said, and then Mr. Fallis veered toward his house. Mr. Gregg fired nine times, and struck Mr. Fallis with five bullets.

Mr. Gregg drove quickly away, ending up in a pasture near his parents’ house. From there, he spoke on the phone to his best friend, Jacob Big Eagle, who told him that Mr. Fallis was dead.

According to Mr. Gregg’s testimony, he then put a magazine of more bullets in his gun, chambered a round and pointed it at his chest.

“Jim, why were you going to kill yourself?” his lawyer asked in court, seeking to rebut the prosecutor’s contention that guilt had driven him to suicidal despair.

“Because it felt like Iraq had come back,” Mr. Gregg said. “I felt hopeless. All that happened, no one would believe me. That I didn’t want this to happen. I never wanted to shoot him. Never wanted to hurt him. Never. Everything happened just so fast. I mean, it was almost instinct that I had to protect myself.”

Tense Courtroom Atmosphere

The atmosphere in the courtroom was tense throughout the trial, with American Indians on one side of the aisle and white ranchers on the other. Complicating matters, the participants in Mr. Gregg’s case traveled, in a sense, back and forth between the bluffs of the Missouri River and those of the Tigris as they grappled with the relevancy of his military experience.

Mr. Gregg joined the National Guard at 18. He was studying at a technical school, with the goal of becoming a diesel mechanic, when his combat engineering company, whose expertise resided in bridge building, was shipped to Iraq in the spring of 2003.

“He left for Iraq enthusiastic and energetic and eager to serve his country,” wrote one of four mental health professionals, including two government officials, who diagnosed PTSD in Mr. Gregg. He “returned impaired by PTSD complicated by his disillusionment with the military operation in Iraq.”

After building a bridge across the Tigris River, his National Guard company effectively became an infantry unit. Mr. Gregg estimated that he searched well over 10,000 vehicles and fired over 1,000 rounds.

Mr. Gregg found checkpoint duty unbearable, said Michael Furois, a Department of Veterans Affairs psychologist who treated him after his arrest. According to Mr. Furois’s testimony, Mr. Gregg disliked “standing guard at a gate when the Iraq civilians would bring in their dead or wounded and would be yelling and crying and blaming those at the gate for that occurring.”

After many months in Iraq, Mr. Gregg testified, he began to think about suicide, hoping that his “chance” at death would come if he volunteered for dangerous missions. His superior officer, Sergeant Long, testified that he selected him for a nighttime patrol team, instructing them never to hesitate when they perceived a threat because “if you hesitate, you’re dead.”

Cross-examining Sergeant Long, Mikal G. Hanson, an assistant United States attorney, asked him if he were implying that his instruction about hesitating had caused Mr. Gregg, on his return to the United States, to shoot “an unarmed civilian.”

“I hope not,” Sergeant Long said.

When Mr. Gregg’s tour of duty ended in March 2004, he started drinking heavily to ease his stress and expressed the wish that he had died in Iraq.

Mental health experts for the defense said, as one psychiatrist testified, that “PTSD was the driving force behind Mr. Gregg’s actions” when he shot his victim. Having suffered a severe beating, they said, he experienced an exaggerated “startle reaction” — a characteristic of PTSD — when Mr. Fallis reached for his car door, and responded instinctively.

Mr. Gregg’s trial lawyer put it theatrically: When Mr. Fallis rushed at Mr. Gregg, he said, Mr. Gregg switched into military mode. “What does he think?” the lawyer said. “Lethal threat, lethal threat, lethal threat, neutralize threat, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, continues to shoot.”

The prosecutor, reflecting his skepticism about this explanation, asked Mr. Gregg if he had been a “walking time bomb” since Iraq. “You’re not telling this jury,” Mr. Hanson said, “that National Guard members like yourself that went through that experience are a threat to kill people?”

Mr. Gregg: “I wouldn’t know.”

The prosecutor also referred to Mr. Gregg’s military experiences for his own purposes, asking whether military trainers tried to strengthen soldiers’ minds as well as bodies.

“Not really,” Mr. Gregg said. “They actually break down your mind.”

“Break down your mind,” Mr. Hanson said. “Explain that to the jury.”

“They break down your mind, and then they try to build you back up,” Mr. Gregg said.

“Into a killer?” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes,” Mr. Gregg said.

The jury found Mr. Gregg guilty of second-degree but not first-degree murder. The judge later referred to this as having “dodged a bullet, so to speak.”

The Sentence: 21 Years

Judge Kornmann also said in court that he found the case troubling, calling the sentencing hearing “one of those days” when he wondered whether he should have declined the offer by Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader from South Dakota, to nominate him for a federal judgeship.

“I see these stickers that people have on their vehicles saying, ‘Support the troops,’ ” Judge Kornmann said. “I don’t see much support for the troops as years go on when these people come back injured and maimed.”

Nonetheless, the judge said that Mr. Gregg did not deserve any of the “downward departures” from sentencing guidelines that his lawyers had requested in consideration of his military service, his PTSD and his crime-free record. The mandatory minimum for a federal offense involving a gun is 10 years, and Mr. Gregg’s lawyers indicated that they hoped he would be sentenced to no more than 12.

Judge Kornmann handed down a 21-year sentence.

Through a relative who works for the prominent law firm of WilmerHale, Mr. Gregg secured the company’s services; his case was taken pro bono.

In late June, Mr. Gregg’s lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition, seeing to vacate his conviction on the basis of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Mr. Rensch, they argue, did not demonstrate that Mr. Gregg’s state of mind was heavily influenced by being “vividly aware of specific, dramatic instances of past violent acts” by his victim.

While Mr. Gregg awaits the outcome, he is locked in a federal medical prison in Rochester, Minn., where he tried to kill himself on one occasion and has been placed on suicide watch episodically. If all efforts to free him fail, he is projected to be released on July 22, 2023, a few weeks shy of his 42nd birthday.


6) Pakistan Shuns C.I.A. Buildup Sought by U.S.
January 27, 2008

WASHINGTON — The top two American intelligence officials traveled secretly to Pakistan early this month to press President Pervez Musharraf to allow the Central Intelligence Agency greater latitude to operate in the tribal territories where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups are all active, according to several officials who have been briefed on the visit.

But in the unannounced meetings on Jan. 9 with the two American officials — Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director — Mr. Musharraf rebuffed proposals to expand any American combat presence in Pakistan, either through unilateral covert C.I.A. missions or by joint operations with Pakistani security forces.

Instead, Pakistan and the United States are discussing a series of other joint efforts, including increasing the number and scope of missions by armed Predator surveillance aircraft over the tribal areas, and identifying ways that the United States can speed information about people suspected of being militants to Pakistani security forces, officials said.

American and Pakistani officials have questioned each other in recent months about the quality and time lines of information that the United States has given to Pakistan to use in focusing on those extremists. American officials have complained that the Pakistanis are not seriously pursuing Al Qaeda in the region.

The Jan. 9 meetings, the first visit with Mr. Musharraf by senior administration officials since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, also included the new army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the director of Pakistan’s leading military intelligence agency, Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj. American officials said the visit was prompted by an increasing sense of urgency at the highest levels of the United States government that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are intensifying efforts to destabilize the Pakistani government.

The C.I.A. has fired missiles from Predator aircraft in the tribal areas several times, with varying degrees of success. Intelligence officials said they believed that in January 2006 an airstrike narrowly missed killing Ayman al-Zawahri, the second-ranking Qaeda leader, who had attended a dinner in Damadola, a Pakistani village.

Pakistani authorities, in interviews, say they have more than 100,000 troops operating in the region, including a sizable force conducting what they said was a major offensive in South Waziristan. But in the White House, the Pentagon and the C.I.A., frustrations remain high, and there is concern that Mr. Musharraf’s political problems will distract him from what the administration regards as its last chance to take aggressive action.

Despite the insistence of administration officials that the United States and Pakistan have a common goal in fighting Al Qaeda, Mr. Musharraf has made clear in public proclamations that it is far from his first priority. At the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland last week, Mr. Musharraf said several times that the 100,000 Pakistani troops that he said were now along the border were hunting for Taliban extremists and “miscreants,” but he also said there was no particular effort being put into the search for Qaeda fighters.

In Washington, however, the Bush administration has said that fighting terrorists, chiefly Al Qaeda, is the primary purpose of the $10 billion in American aid that has been sent to Pakistan, mostly for reimbursements for the cost of patrolling the tribal areas. President Bush has often praised Mr. Musharraf for fighting terrorism, pointing out that Al Qaeda has tried to kill the Pakistani leader. But White House officials were silent when Mr. Musharraf said this week that his efforts were focused on the Taliban, and that the main problem the United States faced was in Afghanistan, not Pakistan.

Accounts of the discussions between Mr. Musharraf and the intelligence officials were provided by American and Pakistani officials over the past two weeks after The New York Times inquired about the secret trip. While officials confirmed some details of the discussion, much remains unknown about the continuing dialogue between Islamabad and Washington.

The trip by Mr. McConnell and General Hayden, a 14,000-mile over-and-back visit for one day of discussions, occurred just five days after senior administration officials debated new strategies for dealing with Pakistan. No decisions were made at that meeting of the National Security Council, which gathered all of Mr. Bush’s top national security officials but not the president.

In the ensuing three weeks, however, the debate appeared to be intensifying, as senior American officials said they believed that American forces — whether as combat troops or trainers — could enhance the efforts of Pakistan’s military in the mountainous and lawless Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

“The purpose of the mission,” a senior official said, “was to convince Musharraf that time is ticking away,” and that the increased attacks on Pakistan would ultimately undermine his effort to stay in office.

Other officials said that recent intelligence analysis indicated that Al Qaeda was now operating in the tribal areas with an impunity similar to the freedom that it had in Afghanistan before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The C.I.A. operatives in Afghanistan and the covert Special Operations forces there have made little secret of their desire to move into the tribal areas with or without Mr. Musharraf’s explicit approval. In the administration, there has been discussion of whether Mr. Bush should give orders to allow them more latitude. Mr. Musharraf has explicitly rejected that, and within days after Mr. McConnell and General Hayden’s departure, he told a Singapore newspaper that any unilateral action by the United States would be regarded as an invasion. In Davos, he dismissed the idea that Americans could be effective in the tribal areas.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the United States was willing to send combat troops to Pakistan to conduct joint operations against Al Qaeda and other militants if the Pakistani government asked for American help. Mr. Gates said that Pakistan had not requested American assistance, and that any American troops sent to Pakistan would likely be assigned solely to train Pakistani forces. The top American commander in the region, Adm. William J. Fallon, visited Pakistan last Tuesday to discuss counterterrorism issues with senior Pakistani officials, including General Kayani.

American and Pakistani spokesmen confirmed that the meetings between Mr. Musharraf and American intelligence officials took place, but they declined to offer any details. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Mahmud Ali Durrani, said in an interview that the meetings were about “improving coordination, discussing the war on terror, and filling the gaps between intelligence and operations,” but he declined to provide details.

Last Tuesday, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Lt. Gen. Dell L. Dailey, echoed some of those concerns, telling reporters that there were gaps in what the United States knew about the threat in the tribal areas. “We don’t have enough information about what’s going on there,” said General Dailey, who retired from the Army with extensive experience in military Special Operations. “Not on Al Qaeda. Not on foreign fighters. Not on the Taliban.”

In dealing with the American requests, Mr. Musharraf is conducting a delicate balancing act. American officials contend that now, more than ever, he recognizes the need to step up the battle against extremists who are seeking to topple his government. But he also believes that if American forces are discovered operating in Pakistan, the backlash will be more than he can control, especially because the Taliban and Al Qaeda are trying to cast him as a pawn of Washington. One result appears to be a compromise: Mr. Musharraf is willing, they say, to accept training, equipment, and technical help, but has insisted that no Americans get involved in ground operations.

Pakistani officials insist they are taking the militant threat seriously and have completed major operations in the Swat Valley to drive out extremists. In the past few days, about 1,000 Pakistan Army troops and Frontier Corps paramilitary forces have also begun a three-pronged attack against the South Waziristan stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, a militant leader with links to Al Qaeda who is the main suspect in the assassination of Ms. Bhutto.

Ismail Khan contributed reporting from Peshawar, Pakistan.


7) Arizona Law Takes a Toll on Nonresident Students
January 27, 2008

PHOENIX — When Marco Carrillo, a naturalized American and a high school valedictorian, went to meet with his college counselor, her major worry about his future had little to do with his SAT scores or essay or extracurricular activities.

It had to do with his citizenship.

“The very first question she asked me was whether I was a legal resident here,” said Mr. Carrillo, 20, now an electrical engineering student at Arizona State University in Tempe. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I am.’ And she said, ‘Oh good, that makes things easier.’ ”

Such questions have become commonplace in Arizona, where voters passed a 2006 referendum, Proposition 300, that forbids college students who cannot prove they are legal residents from receiving state financial assistance.

One of several recent immigration statutes passed by Arizona voters and legislators frustrated by federal inaction, the law also prohibits in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Administrators at several campuses fear that the provision has priced some out of their classes, particularly at the state’s popular community colleges.

“When we look at the fall semester that just ended, we saw significant drops in enrollment in English acquisition classes,” said Steven R. Helfgot, vice chancellor for student and community affairs at Maricopa Community Colleges. “And we think that some of that at least is due to Prop 300.”

A report to the Legislature in December found that about 1,700 students had been denied in-state tuition at the Maricopa colleges because they were not able to prove their legal status, though it was unclear how many had dropped out.

Officials at the University of Arizona in Tucson said that some of the 200 to 300 dropouts from last fall were also illegal immigrants. Pima Community College, estimated that as many as 1,000 students may have been affected by the law.

More than enrollment declines, however, what worries some educators here is that nonlegal residents — some of whom have lived in the United States since infancy and attended American high schools — will be afraid to pursue any form of higher education.

“The most frightening thing about the policy in place isn’t necessarily its measurable effect, it’s the immeasurable effect,” said Paul R. Kohn, the vice provost for enrollment management and dean of admission at the University of Arizona.

“It’s likely that there are hundreds of high school senior or college-age students whose plans for college have been compromised,” Dr. Kohn said. “And it’s likely there are thousands in K-12 who will no longer make those plans because the cost of university is now out of reach or they fear deportation if they attempt to attend school.”

The law does not forbid nonlegal residents from attending college or require colleges to report them to the authorities, something the colleges have worked hard to convey. Still, supporters said the law would save the state millions of dollars and provide a powerful disincentive to prospective border-jumpers.

“Arizona has been overwhelmed with illegal immigration and all the negative things that follow — crime, increased public service costs, especially education, and depression of our wages — and the federal government seems barely capable of doing much,” said State Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills, east of Phoenix. “Denying the in-state tuition, besides being fair to residents, also deters illegal immigrants from coming here.”

Arizona lawmakers have been increasingly active on the issue of immigration, moving National Guard troops to the border and passing a law that threatens businesses with the loss of licenses if they hire illegal immigrants.

The moves have disappointed many college-age Mexican-Americans.

“I see it as a very cruel law,” said Teresa Guerra, 26, a fourth-generation Mexican-American who is studying history at Phoenix College, a part of the Maricopa system. “A lot of people I’ve grown up with have gone through that whole thing. They’re raised in the American educational system, and now they have no future. These are people who have basically lived in America their whole lives, know nothing else, and now their shot at the American dream is gone.”

For students who cannot prove legal residency, the difference in cost can be stark. At Phoenix College, for example, a part of the Maricopa system, in-state tuition runs $65 a credit hour. For out-of-state students taking a full course load, the cost is $280.

The difference can be even more jarring at the state’s four-year institutions. Maria Elena Coronado, a student counselor at Arizona State, said out-of-state students could expect to pay $4,000 to $5,000 more a semester than those who proved legal residency.

“I had a girl come in yesterday, who doesn’t have papers, but did really well and carried good grades into college,” Ms. Coronado said. “But now she could only afford to take one class.”

Representative Kavanagh said the law’s intent was not to rob young, assimilated Mexicans of the opportunity to go to college, but merely to try to tame a problem Washington had not solved.

“I would be more than happy to take care of those kids who came here at a young age — they are as American as my kids and would be totally lost if they were deported,” he said, challenging Democrats in Arizona to draft a bill that “doesn’t have amnesty attached to it.”

Mr. Carrillo, the Arizona State student, said he knew of several nonlegal residents considering returning to Mexico for college.

“It’s expensive going to school in Mexico over there because there’s no such thing as financial aid,” he said. “You pretty much have to scrape it. But at least you’re not worried that you’re going to get deported.”


8) Officers’ Arrests Put Spotlight on Police Use of Informants
January 27, 2008

It is sometimes said that snitches are the lifeblood of police work. The question is: Are they also a poison?

Formally known as C.I.’s, for confidential informants, they are a detective’s best friend. They act as eyes and ears. They serve as secret tipsters. They take the police, by proxy, to the dangerous and privileged places where badges cannot go.

At the same time, they present problems of administration — and sometimes of temptation — to those who uphold the law. Petty crime is often tolerated in exchange for information. Detectives can be duped by an informant’s agenda. While cases of corruption are rare, it is fairly common to have more “give” in this delicate give-and-take.

The issue of confidential informants was thrust into the spotlight last week by news that four narcotics officers in Brooklyn had been arrested, in a case that involves accusations of paying informants with drugs seized from dealers the informants had pointed them to.

The officers are not suspected of making any illegal profit, and one law enforcement official has said police officers’ trading of drugs for information in the pursuit of arrests could be described as “noble-cause corruption.” The practice would, however, shatter police policy, break the law and, in the view of police commanders and prosecutors, erode the integrity of officers.

The scandal has led the Brooklyn district attorney’s office to seek the dismissal of about 150 drug cases, with hundreds more under review. Besides the arrests — of a sergeant, a detective and two officers in the Brooklyn South narcotics bureau — six additional officers were suspended and several others were placed on modified or desk duty, barred from doing enforcement work. Four supervisors were transferred and a new commander was assigned to the Police Department’s Narcotics Division.

Confidential sources are generally recruited and managed in secret, and their numbers are hard to determine in large police departments like New York’s.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to its budget request for 2008, maintains more than 15,000 secret informants; the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to an internal audit from 2005, has about 4,000 at a time on its payroll.

The use of informants has been attracting attention in various jurisdictions. In July, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on informants, prompted by the fatal shooting by the police in Atlanta of a 92-year-old woman in a drug case involving an informant. A New York assemblyman has proposed a bill to increase oversight of informants and in effect restrict their use.

The informants themselves have been public targets. A Web site,, is devoted to exposing “rats of the week,” witnesses who cooperate with the government. There is even a street campaign to convince people not to become informants. Popular T-shirts show a stop sign imprinted with the words “Stop Snitchin’.”

The list of what informants do for the police is long and varied: They infiltrate criminal groups that investigators cannot personally approach; they vouch for undercover officers trying to establish credibility on the streets; they identify safe houses, stash houses and cellphone numbers; they help set up surveillance and, in the process, save the police countless hours of work and significant amounts of money.

“With confidential informants we get the benefit of intimate knowledge of criminal schemes by criminals, and that is a very effective way to investigate crime,” said Daniel J. Castleman, chief of the Investigative Division of the Manhattan district attorney’s office. “It’s no secret that people conduct criminal activities not alone but in combination, and if you can flip someone involved in the criminal scheme, it makes it much easier to investigate and to prosecute.”

To avoid problems, it is standard practice in police departments and federal law enforcement agencies to closely vet and watch informants — a process that one official in the New York field office of the Drug Enforcement Administration called “knowing them from womb to tomb.”

In the New York Police Department, once informants are approved for use they are photographed, fingerprinted and entered into a closely guarded registry. Any officer who deals with them is required to log the contact in the registry, with a record of any payments made.

Of course, the habitués of drug dens and dark alleys are not known for their honesty, and several former and current law enforcement officers said they took care to vet their informants often and personally, even after they were entered in the registry.

“The bottom line is you need a back door, as we say, to get in to check once in a while to make sure they are being honest with you,” said a law enforcement official who frequently works with informants. Like several other officials interviewed, he declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue and the secrecy involved in using informants.

William Oldham, a former detective with the elite Major Case Squad and a co-author of “The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia,” gave this procedure for keeping informants honest on the street: Before any operation, search the informant thoroughly. Note all money and any drugs on the informant’s body. Put on the recording device, if one is to be used. Hand over the marked money for the drug buy, making sure it was photocopied in advance for serial numbers. Try not to lose sight of the informant during the deal. Search again when the informant returns.

Mr. Oldham said his own choice in dealing with illegal drugs was to use, in order of preference, an undercover officer, an informant working in exchange for lightening a sentence, and, only as a last resort, an informant who was working for the cash.

“There’s no real upside to a paid informant,” he said. “If they’re working for the money, their heart’s not really in it.”

Beyond logistical concerns, there are moral questions surrounding the use of informants. It is legal to pay an informant with money rather than drugs, but is it right? What if he uses the money to buy drugs? What if he gets high and commits another crime? What if he overdoses, perhaps fatally?

The four officers arrested in the Brooklyn South case stand accused of paying their informants with drugs, an allegation that stunned one former undercover officer currently assigned to a precinct in the district. He said it was relatively easy to secure money from the department to pay informants.

“You index it under who you got it from,” he said, “and then just voucher it.” A lawyer for one of the officers has said the officers were merely trying to make drug arrests and were not being accused of trying to steal for their own benefit.

The American Civil Liberties Union maintains a Web log, titled Unnecessary Evil, tracking news coverage of informants, especially in drug cases.

According to news reports cited on the blog, the authorities in New Jersey decided in November not to prosecute a police detective who impregnated a drug informant in 2005. The same month, a police department in South Carolina was found to have been paying an informant to participate in drug deals even as a local sheriff’s office was chasing the same man for crimes he had committed while on the payroll. And according to The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, a federal judge there decided to free 15 men from prison last week, ruling that their convictions were based on the testimony of a government informant who lied on the stand.

“The practice of using confidential informants in the war on drugs has its own special pathologies,” said Alexandra Natapoff, an associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She said the frequent use of informants can degrade other weapons of law enforcement, like wiretaps and undercover work. In extreme cases, she said, it can result in “the police relying on criminals to tell them who their targets should be.”

At the same time, the dangers of informing are felt in the communities where the cooperators live. Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat, said that the police are relying on informants so heavily in some neighborhoods that residents have become suspicious of one another, giving rise to the “Stop Snitchin’ ” backlash.

“This kind of informing stuff that is going on in the ghettos of today is not unlike what had gone on in the ghettos of Warsaw and Eastern Europe and East Berlin,” Mr. Lentol said.

He proposed a bill in Albany last year to give defense lawyers more power to challenge an informant’s testimony, prohibit or require court approval when prosecutors drop serious charges in exchange for testimony, and require that the police file annual public reports on their use of informants. The bill was not voted on last year but was again referred to committee this month.

“All of these snitches have stopped people from wanting to cooperate with the police because nobody knows who to trust,” Mr. Lentol said. “It’s like a community poisoning.”

While most law enforcement officials would oppose restrictions on the use of informants, they acknowledge its pitfalls. “It’s like playing with fire,” said the law enforcement official who frequently works with them. “Fire, in certain times, is good: if you have to burn something out, kill it, delete it. But if you let it get out of hand, it can destroy the village.”

Cara Buckley and Daryl Khan contributed reporting.


9) With a Whisper, Cuba’s Housing Market Booms
January 28, 2008

HAVANA — Virtually every square foot of this capital city is owned by the socialist state, which would seem sure to put a damper on the buying and selling of property.

But the people of Havana, it turns out, are as obsessed with real estate as, say, condo-crazy New Yorkers, and have similar dreams of more elbow room, not to mention the desire for hot water, their own toilets and roofs that do not let the rain seep indoors.

And although there is no Century 21 here, there is a bustling underground market in homes and apartments, which has given rise to agents (illegal ones), speculators (they are illegal, too) and scams (which range from praising a dive as a dream house to backing out of a deal at the closing and pocketing the cash).

The whole enterprise is quintessentially Cuban, socialist on its face but really a black market involving equal parts drama and dinero, sometimes as much as $50,000 or more.

These days, insiders say, prices are on the rise as people try to get their hands on historic homes in anticipation of a time when private property may return to Cuba. Exiles in Miami are also getting into the act, Cubans say, sending money to relatives on the island to help them upgrade their homes.

Officially, buying or selling property is forbidden. But the island has a dire housing shortage, despite government-sponsored new construction. And that has led many Cubans to subdivide their often decaying dwellings or to upgrade their surroundings through a decades-old bartering scheme known in Cuban slang as permuta.

Some of those housing transactions are simple swaps. Those the government permits, tracking each one to keep an up-to-date record of the location of every last Cuban. Many moves, however, are illegal and involve trading up or down, with one party compensating, with money, another party giving up better property.

A 1983 film, “Se Permuta,” portrays how complex the system can get: A mother scheming to get her daughter away from a boyfriend she dislikes organizes a multipronged property swap. Of course, the deal, which would have involved about a dozen people and taken mother and daughter from a tiny apartment into a spacious colonial-era house, ends up in a mess, as does the mother’s meddling in her daughter’s love life.

“It’s very Cuban,” Juan Carlos Tabío, who wrote and directed the film, said of his country’s real estate bartering process. “There aren’t enough houses, and families can’t buy them. So they trade.”

Mr. Tabío has no personal experience with changing homes, having lived in the same spacious third-floor apartment in the well-heeled Vedado neighborhood since 1957. Many Cubans live in the same dwellings their families owned before the revolution; others have been assigned units by the state.

But almost every Cuban is either plotting to upgrade residences or knows someone in the midst of the labyrinthine process.

Here is how it works. Imagine a married Cuban couple with two children and a baby on the way who find their two-bedroom apartment in the historic Old Havana neighborhood too cramped. What are they to do?

Well, with the help of an agent known as a runner they might start by locating a bachelor from the countryside looking to come to the capital. They could arrange for the newcomer to move into a tiny apartment in Chinatown and move its residents — who also have a house in Miramar where their elderly grandmother lives — to a first-floor unit they sought in Central Havana. The Central Havana flat is available because the residents have divorced; so the former wife would go to the bachelor’s country house, near where her parents live, while her former husband would go to Old Havana. The Old Havana family that started the whole process would then head to their dream house in spacious and quiet Miramar.

Sound complicated? It is. And the government adds even more hurdles by trying to regulate the swaps with a variety of forms and fees as well as inspections of the properties involved to ensure that they are of roughly equal value.

All trades have to be endorsed by the government, but Cubans say slipping money to bureaucrats increases the chances that deals of unequal properties — as in those that involve money and carry the taint of capitalist yearning — will be approved.

“Under the table, there are all sorts of things going on,” Mr. Tabío said.

The Cuban authorities occasionally make busts, but find the trades difficult to control.

“It’s something people shouldn’t do, but they do and we know it goes on,” said José Luis Toledo Santander, a professor of law and a member of the National Assembly. “It’s like saying you have to stop at the red light and you can’t go until it’s green. You ought to do it, but not everybody does.”

The trading occurs in plain sight. Under the watchful eye of a police officer, hundreds of people gather every Saturday under the ficus trees on El Prado, one of Havana’s grand avenues. Some carry cardboard signs describing their units: the neighborhoods, number of bedrooms and whether there are patios, garages, hot water, private bathrooms and gas supplies. Less desirable dwellings use tanks of gas for cooking and require residents to share toilets with others down the hall.

Ricardo Aguiar, 65, who lives in a two-bedroom apartment in the humble Marianao neighborhood with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, is looking for a more spacious place in Vedado, a popular area closer to the center of Havana. “It’s going to be difficult,” he said, scouring the signs on El Prado recently and checking in with the agents who sit on the stone benches trying to make deals.

“I’ve just started looking, but there are people who look for years and then something goes wrong and they never move,” he said.

Nearby, a woman was working the crowd in search of a first-floor apartment near her current third-floor unit in Central Havana so she would not have to climb so many stairs.

“You have your system and we have ours,” she said, identifying herself only by her first name, Alejandra. “I prefer our system. We don’t have mortgages and so we’re not facing foreclosure like so many of you are.”

Alejandra knows about the foreclosure crisis in the United States because her son lives in Florida and is struggling to make his house payments. “I worry about him,” she said. “If he loses his job, he’ll lose his home.”

Property is sometimes seized in Cuba as well, but by the government, not the bank. Property is taken from those who hop on boats to Florida, although most switch their houses to relatives’ names well before leaving. Those fleeing the island also frequently downgrade their accommodations before going into exile, trading big places for small ones and using the money exchanged on the side to pay for their voyages — the Cuban equivalent of a home equity loan.

Although it is not clear how many thousands of swaps take place annually, some of them involve the same people again and again, as in the case of a woman in her 60s who said she had moved 42 times over the last two decades. “I love to move,” she said. “I can’t live in the same place for a year.”

But her movement is about more than seeking new surroundings. She fixes up each place, then turns it over for a profit, she said in a low voice, declining to be identified out of fear that the authorities might catch up with her.

Moving through the crowd with her is a learning experience. She knows the regulars and can spot the deals. When money is discussed, she and the person she is negotiating with fall into whispers.

“There are so many liars here,” she said, surveying the crowd. “They say they have the best place in Havana, and you get there and you don’t even want to go in. I just stop at the door and say, ‘No, thanks.’ ”

She said she used money sent from relatives who fled to Miami years ago to keep her business going.

“It’s a good time to invest,” she said. “If you have family outside, $20,000 is nothing, and you can get a good place here. If change comes, and we all expect it, then you’re set.”

That is the philosophy of another mogul in the making, who also declined to be identified by name.

Standing in the living room of a two-bedroom apartment in Central Havana that he is renovating, the man estimated its current worth at $20,000, a mint in a country where monthly government salaries can be one one-thousandth of that. If private property ever comes to Cuba, he estimates the price will most likely multiply by five.

Through a complicated transaction, the man recently managed to obtain a historic home in Old Havana that he is also renovating. He said he researched the ownership history of the dwelling because he did not want to find one day that it had been expropriated from an American, possibly leading to a court battle in a post-Castro Cuba. As for his apartment, he rents rooms to tourists, which the government allows.

He is also buying up old chandeliers and other historic furnishings to decorate his units. With most people so desperate for money, he said, he pays next to nothing.

“This is the moment to buy,” he said, referring to Fidel Castro’s illness, talk of change by his brother Raúl and many Cubans’ view that their system, a half century old, will not remain as it is forever.


10) Devastating Reports on Police Violence in the Schools:
Children handcuffed in school; what is going on?
Sunday, January 27, 2008
New York City Public School Parents
New York Post
January 27, 2008
5-year-old boy handcuffed in school, taken to hospital for misbehaving
Friday, January 25th 2008, 4:00 AM
Criminalizing the Classroom and NYC Students
March 18, 2007
Advocates Testify on Impact of School Suspensions, Demand Passage of the Student Safety Act
Published by the New York Civil Liberties Union (
January 23, 2008

Children handcuffed in school; what is going on?
Sunday, January 27, 2008
New York City Public School Parents

Two recent incidents provide yet more evidence that the situation with cops in the schools has gotten completely out of control.

Twelve days ago a ten year old girl was handcuffed on a school bus, and on Friday, a five year old boy was handcuffed at his elementary school and taken to a psychiatric hospital -- even after his babysitter came to pick him up. Both these children had serious disabilities which required more sensitive interventions.

According to the Daily News, the Kindergarten student, who suffers from attention deficit disorder, speech problems and asthma, has had nightmares ever since and will start seeing a psychologist soon.

The NYCLU [National Civil Liberties Union] and other advocacy groups have documented in detail repeated abuses of the police and safety agents in our schools-- whose number has grown until they now constitute the tenth largest police force in the country. Several times, even principals have been arrested for coming to the aid of students after they had been manhandled by safety agents.

In 2005, the DOE [Department of Education] suspended more students than the entire student population of New Haven.

New legislation has been proposed, called the Student Safety Act, which would provide more transparency and oversight as regards disciplinary and security policies in our public schools. For more on this important issue, see the NYCLU website here: [see below]

Posted by Leonie Haimson at 1/27/2008 06:54:00 PM

Labels: children arrested, handcuffs, NYCLU, police in the schools, suspensions


New York Post
January 27, 2008

January 27, 2008 -- A disabled 10-year-old Brooklyn girl handcuffed by security outside her elementary school said yesterday she was afraid of the officers and thought they'd never let her go.

"I thought if they arrested me, I would never get out. I thought half of my life would be gone," said little Imecca Burton, as she fought off tears at a news conference outside Police Headquarters.

"I never thought I'd see my brothers and sisters again," said the girl, who attends PS 25 in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Imecca, who suffers from attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, and needs occupational therapy, was handcuffed at 3:15 p.m. on Jan. 15 on a school bus by two NYPD officers who saw some unruly kids on board.

Two days later, another child, 5-year-old Dennis Rivera, was cuffed by a security officer at his elementary school.

"I'm afraid of the police now. I don't ever want this to happen to another child," Imecca said. "It doesn't make me feel good at all."

Her mother, Taneisha Pearson, 34, said she was "devastated that this happened to my daughter.

"She's only 10 and now she's afraid of the police," Pearson said. "She's afraid to go outside. She's crying all the time now."

Civil-rights lawyer Norman Siegel plans to sue. In front of reporters, Siegel told Imecca: "You did nothing wrong. What they did was wrong."

Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) said Velcro-lock handcuffs might be a good way for cops to restrain children.


5-year-old boy handcuffed in school, taken to hospital for misbehaving
Friday, January 25th 2008, 4:00 AM

Kindergartner Dennis Rivera, 5, tells how he was handcuffed to chair at Queens school last week as mom, Jasmina Vasquez, listens. Koester for News

Kindergartner Dennis Rivera, 5, tells how he was handcuffed to chair at Queens school last week as mom, Jasmina Vasquez, listens.

A 5-year-old boy was handcuffed and hauled off to a psych ward for misbehaving in kindergarten - but the tot's parents say NYPD school safety agents are the ones who need their heads examined.

"He's 5 years old. He was scared to death," Dennis Rivera's mother, Jasmina Vasquez, told the Daily News. "You cannot imagine what it's done to him."

Dennis - who suffers from speech problems, asthma and attention deficit disorder - never went back to class at Public School 81 in Queens after the traumatic incident.

His mom and a school source said Dennis threw a tantrum inside the Ridgewood school at 11 a.m. on Jan. 17.

Dennis was taken to the principal's office, where he apparently knocked items off a desk.

Rather than calling the boy's parents, a school safety agent cuffed the boy's small hands behind his back using metal restraints, the school source said.

The agent and school officials then called an ambulance to take the tot to Elmhurst Hospital Center for a mental evaluation.

Vasquez was stunned when a guidance counselor called her at work to say her son was being taken to the psych ward.

Vasquez rushed to the school from her job as a patient representative at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. On the way, she called Dennis' baby-sitter, who was closer to PS 81, and asked her to hurry over to the school.

When baby-sitter Sandy Ortiz arrived, Dennis was still handcuffed, she said. School safety agents also were holding his elbows even though the boy was calm, Ortiz said. Dennis is about 4-feet-3 and weighs 68 pounds.

"I hugged him. I said, 'OK, release the cuffs, I'm taking him,'" she recalled. "They told me, 'No, Miss. You're not taking him anywhere.'"

Ortiz routinely picks up Dennis from class. She said she's never seen him behave in a way that would require him to be restrained.

"I was so upset. There's no reason to handcuff a baby of 5 years old, traumatize him that way," she said.

The handcuffs were removed before Dennis was walked out of the school and driven by ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital Center. He was evaluated at the hospital and released about four hours later, his mom said.

School sources said Dennis had punched an assistant principal the day before he acted out in class. The sources also said he broke glass in an office door a week earlier.

A spokeswoman for the city Education Department declined to comment on why school safety agents needed to handcuff Dennis, saying the incident was under investigation.

The NYPD, which oversees school safety agents, also declined to discuss specifics. Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said, "We hope common sense would prevail and we are looking at what happened."

Vasquez immediately withdrew Dennis from PS 81 and enrolled him in a private school, Grand Street Settlement.

"I asked him, 'Do you want to go back to that school?' He broke down in tears," Vasquez said. "He said, 'I don't want to go! I don't want to go!'"

With Michael White


Criminalizing the Classroom and NYC Students
March 18, 2007

The New York Civil Liberties Union has released a scathing critique of school policing practices, based on over 1,000 interviews and surveys, describing how NYC students have become criminalized as a consequence of overly aggressive policing operations, which in many instances, have led to less safety in schools rather than more.

The documented behavior of the police and School Safety Agents includes derogatory, abusive comments and conduct; intrusive searches; inappropriate sexual attention; physical abuse; and arrests of students for minor violations, or for nothing at all.

Countless armed NYPD officers along with thousands of SSAs patrol our schools every day -- the total number of whom constitute the tenth largest police force in the country -- more than Washington DC, Detroit, Baltimore and many other large cities. San Antonio has only half as many police per resident as NYC schools have per student.

Almost 100,000 students everyday are forced to endure scanners, bag-searches, and pat downs, with no probable cause -- and by personnel who are often abusive and arbitrarily confiscate their possessions, and never return them.

NYC is alone among the largest districts in the country in the manner in which police and agents are assigned to schools who are neither selected, trained or under the authority of the educators in the building, and as a result, our students are suffering.

Here is one story:

Statement of Biko Edwards, Samuel J. Tilden High School

Biko EdwardsIn January of this year I was late to Chemistry Lab because I had been talking with my math teacher after math class. As I was rushing to class, Val Lewis, the Assistant Principal for Security, stopped me in the hallway. Because I was worried that I would be late to Chemistry Lab, which has strict attendance requirements, I asked Officer Lewis let me keep going to class, and I told him that I had been talking with my math teacher. Officer Lewis didn't listen to my explanation and instead told me to go to the "focus room," where we have detention.

I kept begging to go to Chemistry Lab, and Officer Lewis got angry and threatened to send me to the principal's office. Then he ordered a police officer stationed at the school, Officer Rivera, to arrest me. Officer Rivera grabbed me and slammed me against a brick door divider, which cut my face. I was bleeding. Officer Rivera then sprayed Mace in my eyes and face, then called for back-up on his radio and handcuffed me.

Eventually they took me to the hospital, where I spent about two hours handcuffed to a chair and received some treatment for my injuries. Then they took me to the local precinct and to central booking. I missed the rest of my classes that day. Overall I spent more than 28 hours in police custody. I was also suspended for four days.

If it can happen like this in school, imagine what police officers could do to you outside if something like this happened…. Why are they arresting school kids while they're in school? Tensions between students, teachers, principals, and school safety agents wouldn't be as bad if SSAs would do more listening to students and less pushing them around.

Biko Edwards is from Crown Heights and is a seventeen-year-old eleventh-grader at Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn.

An update: in a similar vein, see the new report from NESRI, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, "Deprived of Dignity: The Degrading Treatment and Abusive discipline in New York City And Los Angeles Public Schools."

Posted by Leonie Haimson at 3/18/2007 07:38:00 PM

Labels: NYCLU, police, scanners, School Safety Agents


Anonymous said...

I'm a school safety agent and I've
seen alot of abuse by agents and cops. I want to apologize for whats
happen to you. I want you to know that we're not all the same. I treat all students and staff members with respect.Please tell your fellow students that they must learn their rights,once students and parents know their rights things will go better for every student.
April 28, 2007 4:25 PM


Advocates Testify on Impact of School Suspensions, Demand Passage of the Student Safety Act
Published by the New York Civil Liberties Union (
January 23, 2008

January 23, 2008 -- The New York Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of advocates today called on the City Council to pass the Student Safety Act, legislation that would provide much-needed transparency and scrutiny to the disciplinary and security policies in New York City public schools.

At a City Council hearing on school suspensions, NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said over-policing of the schools combined with an over-reliance on harsh disciplinary methods, such as expulsions and extended suspension, disrupts education and pushes many students into the prison system.

“Schools should be pushing our kids into college and good jobs, not prisons,” Lieberman said. “In many of our schools, though, discipline has been pulled from the hands of educators and taken over by the NYPD. Behavior problems have turned into criminal matters, and youth of color and children with disabilities are paying the price. It is time to break the school to prison pipeline. The Student Safety Act is an important first step toward this goal.”

The Student Safety Act would require quarterly reporting by the Department of Education and NYPD to the City Council on school safety issues, including incidents involving the arrest, expulsion or suspension of students. It would provide the public with raw data to study the impact of disciplinary and security policies and practices, and encourage the crafting of more effective policies.

The act also would extend the jurisdiction of the Civilian Complaint Review Board to include complaints of misconduct levied against school safety agents, NYPD personnel assigned to provide security in the schools. More than 5,000 school safety agents are assigned to the city’s schools, but there is currently no meaningful mechanism for parents and students to report safety agent abuse.

This act is supported by organizations such as Advocates for Children, Correctional Association, Make the Road New York, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, New York Civil Liberties Union, Teachers Unite, the Urban Youth Collaborative and Children’s Defense Fund – New York.

In her testimony at the council hearing, Lieberman noted that students who have been suspended are three times more likely to drop out of school than students who have never been suspended.

“Dropping out in turn triples the likelihood that a person will be incarcerated later in life,” Lieberman said, referencing a 2001 report by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. “By suspending our students en masse, we are pushing more and more young people out of schools and into the streets and even incarceration. And the children impacted by these practices are often the most vulnerable – special ed students and young people of color.”

School suspension rates have soared in the city and throughout the country due to an increase in zero tolerance policies and other harsh disciplinary methods.

New York City students are routinely subject to superintendent suspensions, which can range from 10 days to an entire year. Superintendent suspensions increased by 76 percent between 2000 and 2005, jumping from 8,567 to 15,090.

“The DOE’s discipline policy shifts the focus of educators from teaching our youth to policing our youth,” said Nelson Mar, at attorney with Legal Services for New York City, LSNY – Bronx. “In 2005, New York City suspended more students than the entire student population of New Haven or Camden.”

Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, expressed the need for less punitive behavioral interventions.

“We see students suspended repeatedly without receiving the support they need to turn around their problem behaviors in the classroom,” Sweet said.

The Student Safety Act’s reporting requirements will help policy makers and the public to fully understand and address the impact of the city’s over-reliance on suspensions and expulsions.

“This information will be essential as we attempt to address the educational outcomes of students who are currently lost in the system, either between schools or out of schools,” said Udi Ofer, the NYCLU’s advocacy director. “Improved access to data and increased scrutiny of our school disciplinary system will only expand the educational opportunities of all of our students.”

Click here to read the NYCLU's testimony.


11) Resegregation of U.S. schools deepening
Districts in big cities of the Midwest and Northeast undergo the most change.
By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the January 25, 2008 edition - Chicago

At one time, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District in North Carolina was a model of court-ordered integration.

Today, nearly a decade after a court struck down its racial-balancing busing program, the school district is moving in the opposite direction. More than half of its elementary schools are either more than 90 percent black or 90 percent white.

"Charlotte is rapidly resegregating," says Carol Sawyer, a parent and member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Equity Committee.

It's a trend that is occurring around the country and is even more pronounced than expected in the wake of court cases dismantling both mandated and voluntary integration programs, a new report says. The most segregated schools, according to the report, which documents desegregation trends, are in big cities of the Northeast and Midwest. The South and West – and rural areas and small towns generally – offer minority students a bit more diversity.

Suburbs of large cities, meanwhile, are becoming the new frontier: areas to which many minorities are moving.

These places still have a chance to remain diverse communities but are showing signs of replicating the segregation patterns of the cities themselves.

"It's getting to the point of almost absolute segregation in the worst of the segregated cities – within one or two percentage points of what the Old South used to be like," says Gary Orfield, codirector of the Civil Rights Project and one of the study's authors. "The biggest metro areas are the epicenters of segregation. It's getting worse for both blacks and Latinos, and nothing is being done about it."

About one-sixth of black students and one-ninth of Latino students attend what Mr. Orfield calls "apartheid schools," at least 99 percent minority. In big cities, black and Latino students are nearly twice as likely to attend such schools. Some two-thirds of black and Latino students in big cities attend schools with less than 10 percent white students; in rural areas, about one-seventh of black and Latino students do. Although the South was the region that originally integrated the most successfully, it's beginning to resegregate, as in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district.

While resegregation has been taking place for some time, Orfield says the latest numbers are worrisome both for the degree to which they show the trend is occurring and in light of the US Supreme Court's most recent decision on the issue last June, which struck down several voluntary integration programs and made it more difficult for districts that want to work at desegregating schools to do so.

"If you [as a district] are going to ask your lawyer what's the easiest thing to do, it's to just stop trying to do anything," Orfield explains. "That's a recipe for real segregation."

Not everyone feels that way. Some groups applauded the Supreme Court's decision last summer as another step toward taking race out of school admission policies and allowing parents to send their kids to the schools most convenient for them. If schools start reflecting neighborhood makeup – which often means nearly all-white or all-minority – that doesn't have to matter, they say.

"Segregation means people are being deliberately assigned to schools based on skin color," says Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Falls Church, Va. "If it simply reflects neighborhoods, then it's not segregation."

Mr. Clegg questions some of the resegregation research, noting that the percentage of white students in schools is often going down simply because they're a decreasing portion of the population. He also quibbles with the notion that an all-black, all-Hispanic, or all-white school is necessarily a bad thing.

"I don't think that the education that you get hinges on the color of the person sitting next to you in the classroom," Clegg says. "What educators should focus on is improving schools."

That sounds great in theory, say some experts, but the fact is that segregated schools tend to be highly correlated with such things as school performance and the ability to attract teachers.

"Once you separate kids spacially from more privileged kids, they tend to not get the same things," says Amy Stuart Wells, an education professor at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York. "And we need to start thinking about how a school that's racially isolated can be preparing students for this global society we live in."

Still, many of the programs that worked to achieve integration – such as busing – have been highly unpopular over the years. And in big cities, real integration is often virtually impossible: Many cities have largely minority populations, and the districts don't extend to the suburbs.

Suburbs, though, offer potential. The Civil Rights Project report noted that big-city suburbs educate 7.9 million white students along with 2.1 million blacks and 2.9 million Latinos. "This is the new frontier for thinking about how to make diverse schools work," says Professor Wells.

But so far, the data for suburbs are not encouraging, showing emerging segregation. Some integration advocates say this shows a need for more diversity training for teachers and students and for policies that encourage integrated housing, not just schools.

"Each affects the other," says Erica Frankenberg, the co-author on the Civil Rights Project study. "Unless we think about this jointly, we're probably not going to be able to create stable racial integrated neighborhoods and schools."


12) Prayin’ With the Devil
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
January 18, 2008

In Houston, Texas, those who were the staunchest supporters of the now
embattled D.A. there, Harris County’s Chuck Rosenthal, are now calling for
his resignation.

Among his best, most passionate supporters were Black ministers, many of
whom even considered him to be a close friend.

What changed?

The release of hundreds of e-mails from the D.A. for starters—for they
reveal a man who loved a racist joke, especially those aimed at Blacks. The
e-mails also uncovered sexual improprieties with his co-workers.

It should be more than enough that Rosenthal, and his District Attorney’s
Office, led the nation in death sentences and executions. But, this being
Texas, this didn’t get the Black preachers sufficiently riled up.

What stung them were the racist images circulated on his e-mail, like the
photo of a prone Black man, sprawled on the sidewalk, near large pieces of
watermelon, a cup of soda, and an empty bucket of chicken. The photo is
titled: “Fatal Overdose.”

Robert Jefferson, pastor of the Cullin Missionary Baptist Church (and member
of Houston Ministers Against Crime), responded to news of the e-mails by
observing, “We prayed with him; we have been working with him—I feel
jilted.” The pastor added, “He was smiling with us in one place and
stabbing us in our backs in another.”

Well—welcome to politics, Pastor!

At a recent news conference, the pastor was joined by a number of other
Black ministers who expressed their view that Rosenthal should step down—an
unlikely outcome, given the relative impunity of the prosecutorial system
down there (and elsewhere).

Pastor Jefferson said, “It disturbed me so much, I didn’t know what to do.”
He added, “How deep does this racism go? How many black kids have been
locked up while they laugh at us?”

But the truth of the matter is, this isn’t a Harris County problem, nor
purely a problem of Texas. It’s an American problem that is as deep south of
the Mason-Dixon Line, as it is north of it. Indeed, there are few big-city
D.A.’s who have either come to power, or held on to it, without the eager
support of Black ministers—and their congregations. Is there any wonder why
prosecutors bum-rush the pulpit every election season?

D.A.’s hungry for Black notches on their belts; power-drunk judges blind to
the racism of the systems they oversee—that ain’t a Texas thing.

They just might be a little more juiced about it, is all.

But, as Black activist (then known as) Rap Brown might have said, “It’s as
American as cherry pie.”

(Source: Casimir, Leslie, “Black Leaders urge Rosenthal to Step Down,”
Houston Chronicle, January 12, 2008, pp.A1 - A14)




Mining Agency Finds Penalties Lapse
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The federal agency that regulates the nation’s mining industry says that it has failed to issue penalties for hundreds of citations issued since 2000 and that the problem could extend back beyond 1995.
Matthew Faraci, a spokesman for the agency, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said Sunday, “We would guess it goes back far beyond 1995, but because of a lack of electronic records before that year, I can’t verify that.”
Preliminary data showed that penalties had not been assessed against companies that received about 4,000 citations issued by the agency from January 2000 to July 2006, The Sunday Gazette-Mail of Charleston reported.
The agency’s director, Richard E. Stickler, told the newspaper that a review also showed that penalties had never been assessed for a few hundred citations issued in 1996.
The agency recently discovered the problem after it checked into whether a Kentucky coal operator had been assessed a penalty after a an accident in 2005 in which a miner bled to death after not receiving proper first aid.
January 28, 2008

National Briefing | ROCKIES
Montana: Bad News for Gray Wolves
A new federal rule would allow state game agencies to kill endangered gray wolves that prey on wildlife in the Northern Rockies. An estimated 1,545 wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are scheduled to come off the endangered species list in coming weeks, but the rule is a separate action that would give the three states more latitude to kill wolves even if their removal from the list was delayed. The rule would empower state wildlife agents to kill packs of wolves if they could prove that the animals were having a “major impact” on big-game herds.
January 25, 2008

Wolfowitz to Lead State Dept. Panel
WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul D. Wolfowitz, former president of the World Bank, will lead a high-level advisory panel on arms control and disarmament, the State Department said Thursday.
Mr. Wolfowitz, who has close ties to the White House, will become chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, which reports to the secretary of state. The panel is charged with giving independent advice on disarmament, nonproliferation and related subjects.
The portfolio includes commentary on several high-profile issues, including pending nuclear deals with India and North Korea and an offer to negotiate with Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
Mr. Wolfowitz was replaced as World Bank chief last June after a stormy two-year tenure. He is now a defense and foreign policy studies expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington research organization.
January 25, 2008

World Briefing | The Americas
Cuba: No Surprises, No Losers
Officials said that more than 95 percent of registered voters turned out at the polls on Sunday to endorse a slate of parliamentary candidates, including Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl. Of the 8.2 million voters, 3.7 percent submitted blank ballots and 1 percent voided their ballots in some way. Election officials called the results a success; critics called it a farce. As in past elections in the one-party state, nobody lost. There were 614 candidates and the same number of seats being chosen in the National Assembly.
January 22, 2008

World Briefing | Asia
India: Bird Flu Spread ‘Alarming’
India’s third outbreak of avian flu among poultry is the worst it has faced, the World Health Organization said. The chief minister of West Bengal State, which is trying to cull 400,000 birds, called the virus’s spread “alarming.” Uncooperative villagers, angry at being offered only 75 cents a chicken by the government, have been selling off their flocks and throwing dead birds into waterways, increasing the risk. New outbreaks were also reported this week in Iran and Ukraine.
January 19, 2008

National Briefing | West
California: Thermostat Plan
After an outcry of objections, the California Energy Commission withdrew its proposal to require new buildings in the state to have radio-controlled thermostats that, in a power emergency, could be used to override customers’ temperature settings. Instead of making the proposal part of new state building requirements, the commissioners will discuss the use of the “programmable communicating thermostats” when considering how to manage electrical loads — with the understanding that customers would have the right to refuse to allow the state to override their wishes.
January 16, 2008

PDC Fact Sheet
Murdered by Mumia: Big Lies in the Service of Legal Lynching
Mumia is Innocent! Free Him Now!

Britain: Lethal Bird Flu at Famed Swan Reserve
World Briefing | Europe
The deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu has reached one of England’s most famous swan breeding grounds, the Abbotsbury Swannery on the Dorset coast. Tests on three dead mute swans confirmed the virus, spread by wild birds. The manager said he was working to determine how many swans might be affected.
January 11, 2008

Utah: Cholera Suspected in Bird Deaths
National Briefing | Rockies
About 1,500 dead birds that washed up on the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake may have been killed by avian cholera, an expert said. Dead grebes, ducks and gulls were being sent to the National Wildlife Health Center of the United States Geological Survey in Madison, Wis., for examination. “If I was a betting man,” said the expert, Tom Aldrich of the State Division of Wildlife Resources, “I would bet it was cholera.” The disease, which poisons the blood, spreads when birds are overcrowded and food supplies are short. It does not affect humans. [Doesn't affect humans? How does the death of birds not affect humans?]
January 5, 2008

United Nations: Assembly Calls for Freeze on Death Penalty
In a vote that made for unusual alliances, the General Assembly passed, 104 to 54 with 29 abstentions, a nonbinding resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. Among the countries joining the United States in opposition to the European-led measure were Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Opponents argued that the resolution undermined their national sovereignty. Two similar moves in the 1990s failed, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the new vote was “evidence of a trend toward ultimately abolishing the death penalty.”
December 19, 2007

Carbon Dioxide Threatens Reefs, Report Says
National Briefing | Science and Health
Carbon dioxide in the air is turning the oceans acidic, and without a reduction in emissions, coral reefs may die away by the end of the century, researchers warn in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. Carbon dioxide dissolves into ocean water, changes to carbonic acid, and carbonic acid dissolves the calcium carbonate in the skeletons of corals. Laboratory experiments have shown that corals possess some ability to adapt to warmer waters but no ability to adapt to the higher acidity. “Unless we reverse our actions very quickly, by the end of the century, reefs could be a thing of the past,” said Ken Caldeira, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology and an author of the Science paper.
December 14, 2007

Iraq: Marine Discharged Over Killing
World Briefing | Middle East
A Marine reservist, Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes, 22, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge and reduced in rank to private, a day after being convicted at Camp Pendleton, Calif., of negligent homicide in the 2006 stabbing death of an Iraqi soldier he stood watch with at a guard post in Falluja. He has served 10 months in a military prison and will not spend any more time in custody. The lance corporal’s lawyer has said that the killing was in self-defense. Prosecutors contended that he killed the Iraqi and then set up the scene to support his story. He was also found guilty of making a false official statement.
December 15, 2007

Canada: Mounties Urged to Restrict Taser Use
In a report, the watchdog commission that oversees the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recommended that Taser stun guns be used only on people who are “combative or posing a risk of death or grievous bodily harm,” much like a conventional firearm rather than a nightstick or pepper spray. The report was ordered by the government after a confused and angry Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, left, died at the airport in Vancouver after being stunned at least twice by Mounties. The report found that Tasers were increasingly being used against people who were merely resistant rather than dangerous.
December 13, 2007

Greece: Tens of Thousands March in Strike
A one-day strike by unions representing 2.5 million workers brought Athens to a standstill. Protesting planned government changes to the state-financed pension system, an estimated 80,000 people marched through central Athens. In Thessaloniki, 30,000 people rallied, the police said. The strike shut down hospitals, banks, schools, courts and all public services. Flights were canceled, and public transportation, including boats connecting the mainland with the islands, ground to a halt. More strikes are expected next week.
December 13, 2007




Russell Means Speaking at the Transform Columbus Day Rally
"If voting could do anything it would be illegal!"


Stop the Termination or the Cherokee Nation


We Didn't Start the Fire

I Can't Take it No More

The Art of Mental Warfare

http://video. videoplay? docid=-905047436 2583451279




Port of Olympia Anti-Militarization Action Nov. 2007


"They have a new gimmick every year. They're going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: 'Look how much progress we're making. I'm in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I'm your spokesman, I'm your leader.' While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.

"But how many sitting here right now feel that they could [laughs] truly identify with a struggle that was designed to eliminate the basic causes that create the conditions that exist? Not very many. They can jive, but when it comes to identifying yourself with a struggle that is not endorsed by the power structure, that is not acceptable, that the ground rules are not laid down by the society in which you live, in which you are struggling against, you can't identify with that, you step back.

"It's easy to become a satellite today without even realizing it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of economic dollarism. You can cut out colonialism, imperialism and all other kind of ism, but it's hard for you to cut that dollarism. When they drop those dollars on you, you'll fold though."

—MALCOLM X, 1965


A little gem:
Michael Moore Faces Off With Stephen Colbert [VIDEO]


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


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


YouTube clip of Che before the UN in 1964


The Wealthiest Americans Ever
NYT Interactive chart
JULY 15, 2007


New Orleans After the Flood -- A Photo Gallery
This email was sent to you as a service, by Roland Sheppard.
Visit my website at:


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


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,]




George Takai responds to Tim Hardaway's homophobic remarks




Another view of the war. A link from Amer Jubran


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]


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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])

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