Wednesday, February 13, 2008



Springsteen "Youngstown" Montage


Sat. Feb. 16, 12noon
Anti-War Mobilizers Meeting
SF Meeting - Centro del Pueblo, 474 Valencia St. at 16th St.
East Bay Meeting - 636 - 9th Street at MLK, Oakland
Get involved in organizing for the Mar. 19 demonstration - the exact fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq - and plug into outreach teams to go out postering and flyering. Call 415-821-6545 or 510-435-0844 for more info.


Call to Action on the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War
Join Cindy Sheehan, Sean Penn and other nationally known speakers in San Francisco on March 16th

March 19th will mark five years of war in Iraq. We must not let this milestone pass without reminding our elected officials that the people of San Francisco opposed this immoral war from the beginning, and continue to oppose it today. Let us join together to demand an end to the Iraq occupation, no attack on Iran and accountability for those in the Administration who misled our country down this misbegotten road. Let us remember the 4000 American lives and countless Iraqi lives lost thus far, as well as the physically wounded and psychologically scarred veterans of this unnecessary conflict.

On March 16th – the Sunday before the fifth anniversary – Cindy Sheehan, Sean Penn and other national speakers will address a memorial event in San Francisco. Our goal is to attract thousands of participants and focus media attention on our agenda. The event is being sponsored by Gold Star Families for Peace and a broad coalition of local peace, religious and community organizations.

We have only a limited amount of time – and limited resources – to organize and publicize this action. If you would like to help, we ask that you join us for an organizing meeting on Sunday, February 17th, at 12 noon, at 1260 Mission Street (between 8th and 9th Streets).


SF Solidarity Rally For "Freightliner Five"
Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 3:00 PM
At: ILWU Local 34
801-2nd St., at Embarcadero next to the ballpark
San Francisco

Five fired union leaders of the UAW Cleveland, North Carolina Freightliner truck
plant are fighting to get their jobs back. This integrated union leadership was standing up for decent health and safety conditions and benefits.
This meeting is also inviting other workers in struggle to participate and speak
about their struggle.

"Freightliner Five" Solidarity Tour
Solidarity Rally For UAW 3520 "Freightliner Five" Fired Workers

In April 2007, UAW 3520 workers at the Cleveland, North Carolina Freightliner truck plant went on strike over health and safety and other conditions and benefits. In retaliation, the Daimler Benz owned company fired 5 strike leaders. They are known as the Freightliner Five and have been fighting for their jobs back for nearly a year. This struggle is not just about the Freightliner workers but union organizing throughout the South.

If Freightliner can get away with this illegal firing, other workers will think twice about joining a union. Allen Bradley and Franklin Torrence, two of the Freightliner fired workers will be speaking about their struggle at this meeting and will also be meeting with other workers in Northern California.

Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 3:00 PM
At: ILWU Local 34
801-2nd St., at Embarcadero next to the ballpark, San Francisco

Initial Speakers For Meeting:
Jack Heyman, Executive Board ILWU Local 10*
Jack Rasmus, President UAW 1982 BA Chapter*
Gloria La Riva, Pres. NC MWU-CWA 39521*
Alan Bradley, Fired UAW Vice Chair Bargaining Committee & Skilled Trades Chair
Franklin Torrence, Fired UAW 3520 Civil Rights Chair and Executive Committee
* for identification only

Please come to this support meeting and learn directly about their struggle
This effort has been recently endorsed by Ken Riley, president of ILA 1422 in Charleston, South Carolina, Donna Dewitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, Labor Video Project, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, Labor Action Coalition, Facts For Working People, Cynthia McKinney, former congress woman, ISO, Joseph Prisco, president of AMFA Local 9*, San Francisco Peace and Freedom Party (* for identification only)

To support these fired workers, you can also send checks payable to:
Justice 4 Five Solidarity Fund, P.O. Box 5144, Statesville, N.C. 28687.

N. California Freightliner Five Support Committee
For information and if you would like your union or organization to endorse call: (415)282-1908
South Carolina AFL-CIO President Urges Labor Movement Support For Freightliner 5 - 01/30/08

By Doug Cunningham

Five UAW Local 3520 bargaining committee members fired by Freightliner in April of 2007, after a one-day strike are getting some support now from the labor movement. The UAW International isn’t supporting the workers' efforts to get their jobs back because the one-day strike was authorized only by the local and not by the International UAW. South Carolina AFL-CIO President, Donna Dewitt supports these five UAW bargaining committee members fired by Freightliner and she says they deserve some solidarity from the entire labor movement.

[Dewitt]: "They weren’t happy with the contract offer, and they were standing up for their rights. And I don’t know exactly what happened with UAW, but all I know is that there are five UAW members and officers of a local that have been out of work now going on ten months. So I would appeal to everyone to reach out to help raise funds for these folks and their efforts to be rehired. They need their jobs back."

The fired UAW Freightliner workers are visiting several cities, including Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco,to tell their story and get support. To support these workers, you can go to to donate money to the Justice 4 Five Solidarity Fund.
Posted 01/29/2008 -


2017 Mission St (@ 16th), San Francisco
For more information on how you can become involved contact:
Bonnie Weinstein, (415) 824-8730
Nancy Macias, (415) 255-7296 ext. 229


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:



March 19, 2008:

* 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq,
* beginning of the 6th year of war and occupation,
* beginning of the 6th year of senseless death and massive destruction.

The presidential candidates, the Congress, the White House and the media all seem to be working hard to push Iraq off the agenda until after the elections this fall -- we can't let that happen! They may be willing to let hundreds more U.S. soldiers and thousands more Iraqis die between now and when the next president and Congress are sworn in, but we are not!

United for Peace and Justice is calling for and supporting a set of activities on and around the 5th anniversary that will manifest the intensifying opposition to the war and help strengthen and expand our movement. We urge you to join with us to ensure the success of these actions:

March 13-16, Winter Soldier: UFPJ member group Iraq Veterans Against the War is organizing historic hearings March 13-16 in Washington, DC. Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqis and Afghans, will tell the nation the real story of this war. UFPJ is helping local groups and individuals plan events that directly link to and amplify the Winter Soldier hearings, from which we hope to have a live video feed available so that communities around the country can gather to watch and listen. Visit for more info.

March 19, Mass Nonviolent Direct Action in Washington, DC: UFPJ is organizing for what we hope will be the largest day of nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience yet against the war in Iraq. We've marched, we've vigiled, we've lobbied -- it's time to put our bodies on the line in large numbers. We encourage anyone who can to join us in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, March 19th, to be part of the civil disobedience, or to assist in support work. We are working to have delegations from all 50 states take part in this massive day of action. Visit for more info and to register to join us in DC.

March 19, Local Actions Throughout the Country: While we are working hard to have a large turnout in DC on March 19, it is also necessary to be visible and vocal in our local communities on that day. Congress will not be in session and so our representatives and senators will be in their home districts/states. We encourage those who are not able to make it to Washington on March 19 to organize and participate in local actions. These events may vary in location or character, but they will all be tied to the actions in Washington and sending the same message to the policy makers: It is time to end this war and occupation! To find an event in your area (more are being posted daily, so keep checking back!) or to sign up to organize a local activity, visit

For further details and info on how to get involved, please visit

Help us make the 5th anniversary the last anniversary of this war! Making the 5 Years Too Many Actions as visible and powerful as they need to be will take substantial resources. Please make the most generous donation you can today to support this critical mobilization.

Join our efforts to build the strongest actions possible in March -- actions that will not only mark the anniversary but will also help propel our movement into the critically important work that must be done throughout the year and beyond. Together, we will end this war and turn our country toward more peaceful and just priorities!

Yours, for peace and justice,

Leslie Cagan
National Coordinator, UFPJ

Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.

To subscribe, visit


Call for an Open U.S. National Antiwar Conference
Stop the War in Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!
Join us in Cleveland on June 28-29 for the conference.
Sponsored by the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation
P.O. Box 21008; Cleveland, OH 44121; Voice Mail: 216-736-4704; Email:

2008 has ushered in the fifth year of the war against Iraq and an occupation “without end” of that beleaguered country. Unfortunately, the tremendous opposition in the U.S. to the war and occupation has not yet been fully reflected in united mass action.

The anniversary of the invasion has been marked in the U.S. by Iraq Veterans Against the War’s (IVAW’s) Winter Soldier hearings March 13-16, in Washington, DC, providing a forum for those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan to expose the horrors perpetrated by the U.S. wars. A nonviolent civil disobedience action against the war in Iraq was also called for March 19 in Washington and local actions around the country were slated during that month as well.

These actions help to give voice and visibility to the deeply held antiwar sentiment of this country’s majority. Yet what is also urgently needed is a massive national mobilization sponsored by a united antiwar movement capable of bringing hundreds of thousands into the streets to demand “Out Now!”

Such a mobilization, in our opinion, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the war—and held on a day agreeable to the IVAW—could have greatly enhanced all the other activities which were part of that commemoration in the U.S. Indeed, a call was issued in London by the World Against War Conference on December 1, 2007 where 1,200 delegates from 43 nations, including Iraq, voted unanimously to call on antiwar movements in every country to mobilize mass protests against the war during the week of March 15-22 to demand that foreign troops be withdrawn immediately.

The absence of a massive united mobilization during this period in the United States—the nation whose weapons of terrifying mass destruction have rained death and devastation on the Iraqi people—when the whole world will mobilize in the most massive protests possible to mark this fifth year of war, should be a cause of great concern to us all.

For Mass Action to Stop the War: The independent and united mobilization of the antiwar majority in massive peaceful demonstrations in the streets against the war in Iraq is a critical element in forcing the U.S. government to immediately withdraw all U.S. military forces from that country, close all military bases, and recognize the right of the Iraqi people to determine their own destiny.

Mass actions aimed at visibly and powerfully demonstrating the will of the majority to stop the war now would dramatically show the world that despite the staunch opposition to this demand by the U.S. government, the struggle by the American people to end the slaughter goes on. And that struggle will continue until the last of the troops are withdrawn. Such actions also help bring the people of the United States onto the stage of history as active players and as makers of history itself.

Indeed, the history of every successful U.S. social movement, whether it be the elementary fight to organize trade unions to defend workers’ interests, or to bring down the Jim Crow system of racial segregation, or to end the war in Vietnam, is in great part the history of independent and united mass actions aimed at engaging the vast majority to collectively fight in its own interests and therefore in the interests of all humanity.

For an Open Democratic Antiwar Conference: The most effective way to initiate and prepare united antiwar mobilizations is through convening democratic and open conferences that function transparently, with all who attend the conferences having the right to vote. It is not reasonable to expect that closed or narrow meetings of a select few, or gatherings representing only one portion of the movement, can substitute for the full participation of the extremely broad array of forces which today stand opposed to the war.

We therefore invite everyone, every organization, every coalition, everywhere in the U.S. – all who oppose the war and the occupation—to attend an open democratic U.S. national antiwar conference and join with us in advancing and promoting the coming together of an antiwar movement in this country with the power to make a mighty contribution toward ending the war and occupation of Iraq now.

Everyone is welcome. The objective is to place on the agenda of the entire U.S. antiwar movement a proposal for the largest possible united mass mobilization(s) in the future to stop the war and end the occupation.

Join us in Cleveland on June 28-29 for the conference.
Sponsored by the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation
P.O. Box 21008; Cleveland, OH 44121; Voice Mail: 216-736-4704; Email:



- Spare the life of journalist Parviz Kambakhsh!
- Free him immediately!

We hold the governments of the NATO occupying troops responsible for his life.

Parviz Kambakhsh, a 23-year-old Afghani student has just been sentenced to death after three months of detention under terrible conditions in the state security's detention centre in Marzar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.

Now in his third year of a journalism course at Balkh University in Mazar-e-Sharif, Parviz Kambakhsh also works as a journalist for the newspaper Jahan-e Naw.
The young journalist was thrown into prison after being characterised as an atheist and an opponent of the regime by the NDS, the Karzai regime's security service. He is also accused of having printed atheist articles off the internet and distributed them among his classmates.

Kambakhsh was tortured continuously during his detention, both physically and mentally, and even threatened with death if he did not admit to the charges leveled against him.

He has not had access to a lawyer. He has not been allowed to see members of his family or friends.

The death sentence was delivered in his absence and in secret by Balkh Province Attorney General Hafizullah Khaliqyar and by the court in Marzar-e-Sharif.
In 2001, when the war started with the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan under the aegis of NATO, the occupying troops from the United States, France, Italy and Germany talked about re-establishing democracy and democratic rights and freedoms.

The Karzai regime that was put in place by the occupying forces has reintroduced Sharia law as the basic law of the land, with the support of all the states participating in the occupation and the war.
It is precisely in the name of the Sharia law that the young journalist Parviz Kambakhsh has been sentenced to death for circulating documents downloaded from the internet.

We, the undersigned journalists and defenders of human rights and fundamental freedoms, call on the Karzai government, NATO and the occupying forces from the United States, France, Italy and Germany, to say:

- Spare the life of journalist Parviz Kambakhsh!
- Free him immediately!
- We hold the governments of the NATO occupying troops responsible for his life.

* * *

Appeal initiated by:

Tristan MALLE General Secretary, on behalf of the General Union of Journalists, Force Ouvrière (France), and Jean Pierre BARROIS Senior Lecturer, University of Paris 12

- Spare the life of journalist Parviz Kambakhsh!
- Free him immediately!

* * * * * * * * * *


[ ] I endorse this appeal to spare the life of Parviz Kambakhsh!


ORG/UNION/TITLE (list if for id. only):




Please fill out and return to
e-mail : with a copy to
Postal Address: Syndicat Général Des journalistes Force Ouvrière, 131 rue Damrémont, 75018 Paris France


Statement in Defense of Free Speech
Rights on the National Mall
Partnership for Civil Justice

Sign the Statement:

We the undersigned are supporting the emergency mobilization of the people demanding that there be no new restrictions on free speech or protest related activities on the National Mall in Washington D.C. This is the real objective of the Bush Administration’s plans for the National Mall.

Unless we take action, the Bush Administration, as one of its final acts, will leave office having dramatically altered access of the people to public lands that have been the site of the most significant mass assembly protests in U.S. history.

The National Mall has been the historic site for the people of the United States to come together to seek equality, justice, and peace. These activities are the lifeblood of a democracy. The National Mall is not an ornamental lawn. The National Mall performs its most sacrosanct and valued function when it serves as the place of assembly for political protest, dissent and free speech.

We oppose any efforts to further restrict protest on the Mall, to relegate protest to a government-designated protest pit or zone, to stage-manage or channel free speech activity to suit the government, or to stifle or abridge our rights to expression upon the public forum that is the National Mall. We call for a moratorium on further actions by the National Park Service that would in any way channel, restrict or inhibit the people's use of the National Mall in furtherance of our First Amendment rights.

Initial signers:

Howard Zinn, professor, author of People's History of the United States
Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General
Cindy Sheehan
Dennis Banks, Co-Founder, American Indian Movement
Malik Rahim, Co-Founder, Common Ground Collective, New Orleans
John Passacantando, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
Mahdi Bray, Exec. Director, Muslim American Society, Freedom Foundation
Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Elias Rashmawi, National Coordinator, National Council of Arab Americans
Heidi Boghosian, Exec. Director of National Lawyers Guild
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Co-Founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Carl Messineo, Co-Founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Jim Lafferty, Exec. Director of the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
Tina Richards, CEO, Grassroots America
Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, killed in Iraq
Dr. Harriet Adams, Esq.
Elliot Adams, President, Veterans for Peace
Jennifer Harbury, Human Rights Attorney
Ron Kovic, Vietnam Veteran, author, Born on the Fourth of July
Juan Jose Gutierrez, Latino Movement USA
Blase and Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Fernando Suarez Del Solar, Guerrero Azteca, father of Jesus Del Solar, soldier killed in Iraq
Chuck Kaufman, Alliance for Global Justice
Frank Dorrel, Publisher, Addicted to War
William Blum, Author
Ed Asner, Actor
Annalisa Enrile, Mariposa Alliance
Sue Udry, Director, Defending Dissent Foundation

For more info or to volunteer with the ANSWER Coalition, call 415-821-6545.

Help with a mass mailing to help spread the word about the march and rally on March 19 the 5th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq. The mailing will continue after the ANSWER Meeting.

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


What's wrong with mine safety czar Richard Stickler?
More than 4,000 mine safety failures in six years.
Send Stickler a note now!

Many of us watched in horror last summer as miners lost their lives in the Crandall Canyon mine collapse in Utah, and before that, the disasters at Sago, Darby and Aracoma mines.

After multiple debacles, you’d think the government would make mine safety a top priority. Think again. Recent reports uncovered a huge failure at the federal agency in charge of mine safety.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) failed to fine more than 4,000 safety & health violations over the last six years for mines that broke regulations.
This is an affront to workers who put their lives at risk every day. Tell the mine safety agency to get its act together:

Richard Stickler, the man responsible for mine safety in this country, used to be a coal mining executive. The mines he managed had injury rates that were double the national average. Senators didn’t find him to be very qualified for the job, and twice rejected his nomination. President Bush twice bypassed the Senate to appoint Stickler, despite loud protests from anyone familiar with his egregiously anti-safety record.
We put together some ideas for how Mr. Stickler can actually do his job. Can you please send him a note for us?

Here are some ideas for how Mr. Stickler can improve mine safety:
--Enforce new mine safety rules as required by Congress

--Fine companies that break the law – all 4,000 incidents and counting – and prosecute those who don't pay

--Push for more and better safety and health regulations and enforcement

--Give miners a say in workplace safety by making it easier for them to form unions

--Think like a miner, not a mine executive

--Listen to miners, not the companies, when it comes to developing better safety regulations

Those are pretty reasonable demands of a man who has not done his job for almost two years. You can send your letter – and write your own demands – right here:

Thank you for standing up for workers everywhere.
Liz Cattaneo
American Rights at Work

P.S. To learn more about mine safety, visit the website of the United Mine Workers of America, and find more ways to take action.

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about American Rights at Work.





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) In Reversal, Courts Uphold Local Immigration Laws
News Analysis
February 10, 2008

2) Global Finance Leaders Warn of Risk From U.S. Housing Woe
February 10, 2008

3) U.S. Presents Charges Against 6 in Sept. 11 Case
February 11, 2008

4) Army Buried Study Faulting Iraq Planning
February 11, 2008

5) Gates Endorses Pause in Iraq Troop Withdrawals
February 12, 2008

6) European Union to Tighten Border Entry Rules
February 12, 2008

7) U.S. Ties Europe’s Safety to Afghanistan
February 11, 2008

8) G.I. Gets 10-Year Sentence in Killing of Unarmed Iraqi
February 11, 2008

9) Chávez Threatens to End Oil Exports to U.S. in Exxon Feud
February 11, 2008

10) High Lead Levels Are Found in Vinyl Plastic Baby Products
February 11, 2008

11) G.M. Reports Quarterly Loss of $722 Million
February 12, 2008

12) Arizona Seeing Signs of Flight by Immigrants
February 12, 2008

13) Where Marines Are Called ‘Intruders’ and Recruiting Office Is Unwelcome
Berkeley Journal
February 12, 2008

14) Economists’ Tea Leaves Point to Recession
February 12, 2008

15) Senate Authorizes Broad Expansion Of Surveillance Act
By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008; A01

16) White House Pushes Waterboarding Rationale
Administration May Be Trying to Shore Up Prosecution of Terrorism Suspects
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008; A03

17) Unnecessary Harm
February 13, 2008

18) Lifeline for Whom?
February 13, 2008

19) Limbo for U.S. Women Reporting Iraq Assaults
February 13, 2008

20) U.S. Program to Verify Worker Status Is Growing
February 13, 2008

21) In Price and Supply, Wheat Is the Unstable Staple
February 13, 2008


1) In Reversal, Courts Uphold Local Immigration Laws
News Analysis
February 10, 2008

After groups challenging state and local laws cracking down on illegal immigration won a series of high-profile legal victories last year, the tide has shifted as federal judges recently handed down several equally significant decisions upholding those laws.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Arizona ruled against a lawsuit by construction contractors and immigrant organizations who sought to halt a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1 imposing severe penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The judge, Neil V. Wake of Federal District Court, methodically rejected all of the contractors’ arguments that the Arizona law invaded legal territory belonging exclusively to the federal government.

On Jan. 31, a federal judge in Missouri, E. Richard Webber, issued a similarly broad and even more forcefully worded decision in favor of an ordinance aimed at employers of illegal immigrants adopted by Valley Park, Mo., a city on the outskirts of St. Louis.

And, in an even more sweeping ruling in December, a judge in Oklahoma, James H. Payne, threw out a lawsuit against a state statute enacted last year requiring state contractors to verify new employees’ immigration status. Judge Payne said the immigrants should not be able to bring their claims to court because they were living in the country in violation of the law.

These rulings were a sharp change of tack from a decision in July by a federal judge in Pennsylvania who struck down ordinances adopted by the City of Hazleton barring local employers from hiring illegal immigrants and local landlords from renting to them. In that case, the judge, James M. Munley of Federal District Court, found that the Hazleton laws not only interfered with federal law, but also violated the due process rights of employers and landlords, and illegal immigrants as well.

Hazleton was the first city to adopt ordinances to combat illegal immigration, laws that the mayor, Louis J. Barletta, said would make it “one of the toughest places in the United States” for illegal immigrants. After the Hazleton decision, many cities and towns that had been considering similar statutes against employers and landlords dropped the effort, fearing legal challenges that they would be likely to lose.

The recent federal decisions will probably give new encouragement to states and towns seeking to drive out illegal immigrants by making it difficult for them to find jobs or places to live.

“These are not equivocal decisions,” said Kris W. Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who was the lead lawyer in the Valley Park case and assisted in the Arizona case. “Both judges gave sweeping victories to the cities and states involved,” said Mr. Kobach, who was also one of the leading lawyers representing Hazleton.

In another earlier, much-watched case, the City of Escondido, Calif., in December 2006 dropped an anti-illegal immigrant housing ordinance and agreed to pay $90,000 in lawyers’ fees to the landlords and illegal immigrants who brought a lawsuit.

By contrast, in the Valley Park decision, Judge Webber wrote that the residents challenging the statutes had failed to “create a genuine issue of material fact on any of the allegations.” He wrote that the city’s employer ordinance “is not pre-empted by federal law.”

That decision was especially notable because earlier versions of the Valley Park ordinances had been struck down in state court. After the state decision, the city dropped its statutes barring illegal immigrants from renting housing, turning to federal court only to defend its sanctions on employers.

Judge Payne of Oklahoma, ruling Dec. 12 on state laws that took effect in November, went furthest in questioning the rights of illegal immigrants.

“These illegal alien plaintiffs seek nothing more than to use this court as a vehicle for their continued unlawful presence in this country,” he wrote. “To allow these plaintiffs to do so would make this court an ‘abettor of iniquity,’ and this court finds that simply unpalatable.”

In Arizona and Missouri, groups challenging the laws have said they will seek new injunctions or appeal; the Hazleton decision is currently under appeal.

Lawyers fighting the local statutes said these were creating a nationwide checkerboard of conflicting laws, and have generated discrimination against Hispanics who are not illegal immigrants. As of November, 1,562 bills dealing with immigration were introduced in state legislatures in 2007 and 244 became law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“What certain states and communities are doing is taking matters into their own hands that should be dealt with on a national level in a consistent manner,” said Ricardo Meza, a lawyer in Chicago for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which brought the Valley Park case. “Where we see the big danger with these laws is that they put a bulls-eye on every Hispanic’s forehead.”

Michael A. Olivas, a University of Houston law professor, said the recent litigation showed the need for Congress to clarify the situation of illegal immigrants. “We lost the big enchilada, which was federal immigration reform that would have trumped all these matters,” he said.


2) Global Finance Leaders Warn of Risk From U.S. Housing Woe
February 10, 2008

TOKYO — Finance leaders from the world’s wealthiest nations warned Saturday that global economic woes could get worse from the slump in the American housing market, but offered few specific remedies.

In a statement issued after meetings in Tokyo, the finance ministers and central bank chiefs of the Group of 7 industrialized nations offered a more pessimistic view of the global economy than they did four months ago, after their last meeting. They also said the fundamental elements of the global economy remained strong and the United States was likely to avoid recession.

The finance leaders from the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada warned that global growth could continue to slow as a result of the credit crisis set off by America’s subprime mortgage problems. The statement also pledged joint action to calm shaken financial markets, but it was short on specifics, especially on steps to rekindle growth.

It did not press member nations to pick up the slack from the slowing United States economy by stimulating their own domestic growth. It also did not contain any dramatic joint action, like a coordinated cut in interest rates, as some had hoped.

“The world confronts a more challenging and uncertain environment than when we met last October,” the statement said. “We will continue to watch developments closely and will continue to take appropriate actions, individually and collectively, in order to secure stability and growth in our economies.”

Members urged China to absorb more imports by raising the value of its currency, which would make foreign goods cheaper for Chinese consumers. They also called on oil-producing nations to help cut energy prices by raising output. Some warned that higher fuel and food costs could cause global inflation.

Members also said their economies were expected to slow by varying degrees and there was no single fix for global economic troubles. They said they spent much time discussing the severity of housing market troubles in the United States and Washington’s efforts to respond.

The United States Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., said after the meeting that he expected market volatility to continue as investors try to assess the fallout from the housing market problems.

He also said the United States economy would keep growing this year and he was confident of its long-term health.

One concrete step to come out of the meeting was a call for banks to fully disclose their losses from the subprime meltdown and quickly rebuild their balance sheets. The German finance minister, Peer Steinbrück, said members agreed that write-offs at banks related to subprime mortgages could reach $400 billion, about four times estimates just a couple of months ago.


3) U.S. Presents Charges Against 6 in Sept. 11 Case
February 11, 2008

WASHINGTON — Six Guantánamo detainees who are accused of central roles in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will be shown all the evidence against them and will be afforded the same rights as American soldiers accused of crimes, the Pentagon said Monday as it announced the charges against them.

Military prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the six Guantánamo detainees on charges including conspiracy and murder “in violation of the law of war,” attacking civilians and civilian targets, terrorism and support of terrorism, Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann of the Air Force, legal adviser to the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, said at a Pentagon news briefing.

General Hartmann said it would be up to the trial judge how to handle evidence obtained through controversial interrogation techniques like “waterboarding,” or simulated drowning. Critics have said the harsh techniques, which are believed to have been used on several of the defendants, amount to torture.

As expected, the six include Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the former Qaeda operations chief who has described himself as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

“The accused are, and will remain, innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” General Hartmann said.

Altogether, the defendants and others not yet charged are believed to have committed 169 “overt acts” in furtherance of the attacks, General Hartmann said. The charges are being translated into the native language of each of the accused and will soon be served on them, he said.

A Defense Department official said in advance of the announcement that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty because, “if any case warrants it, it would be for individuals who were parties to a crime of that scale.” The terror attacks, in which civilian airliners were hijacked and deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, were the deadliest in American history.

The decision to seek the death penalty will no doubt increase the international focus on the case and present new challenges to the troubled military commission system that has yet to begin a single trial. The death penalty is an issue that has caused friction for decades between the United States and many of its allies who consider capital punishment barbaric.

“The system hasn’t been able to handle the less-complicated cases it has been presented with to date,” said David Glazier, a former Navy officer who is a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

In addition to Mr. Mohammed, the other five being charged include detainees who officials say were coordinators and intermediaries in the plot, among them a man labeled the “20th hijacker,” who was denied entry to the United States in the month before the attacks.

Under the rules of the Guantánamo war-crimes system, the military prosecutors can designate charges as capital when they present them, and it is that first phase of the process that is expected this week. The military official who then reviews them, Susan J. Crawford, a former military appeals court judge, has the authority to accept or reject a death-penalty request.

General Hartmann said he could not predict when actual trials would begin, but that pretrial procedures would take several months at least. He said the accused will enjoy the same rights that members of the American military enjoy, and that the proceedings will be “as completely open as possible,” notwithstanding the occasional need to protect classified information.

In no sense will the proceedings be secret, the general said. “Every piece of evidence, every stitch of evidence, every whiff of evidence” will be available to the defendants, General Hartmann said.

Some officials briefed on the case have said the prosecutors view their task in seeking convictions for the Sept. 11 attacks as a historic challenge. A special group of military and Justice Department lawyers has been working on the case for several years.

Even if the detainees are convicted on capital charges, any execution would be many months or, perhaps years, from being carried out, lawyers have said, in part because a death sentence would have to be scrutinized by civilian appeals courts.

Federal officials have said in recent months that there is no death chamber at the detention camp at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that they knew of no specific plans for how a death sentence would be carried out.

The military justice system, which does not govern the Guantánamo cases, provides for execution by lethal injection in death sentence convictions. But the United States military has rarely executed a prisoner in recent times.

The last military execution was in 1961, when an Army private, John A. Bennett, was hanged after being convicted of rape and attempted murder. Currently, there are six service members appealing military death sentences, according to a recently published article by a lawyer who specializes in military capital cases, Dwight H. Sullivan, a former chief military defense lawyer at Guantánamo.

General Hartmann said Mr. Mohammed is believed to have presented the idea of an airliner attack on the United States to Osama bin Laden in 1999 and then coordinated its planning.

The others being charged are Mohammed al-Qahtani, the man officials have labeled the 20th hijacker; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, said to have been the main intermediary between the hijackers and leaders of Al Qaeda; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, known as Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of Mr. Mohammed, who has been identified as Mr. Mohammed’s lieutenant for the 2001 operation; Mr. al-Baluchi’s assistant, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi; and Walid bin Attash, a detainee known as Khallad, who investigators say selected and trained some of the hijackers.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh was supposed to have been a 20th hijacker, and made a videotape portraying himself as a martyr, General Hartmann said. But he was unable to obtain a United States visa, and so had to content himself with helping the eventual hijackers find flight schools and with carrying out financial transactions to further the plot, the general said.

Relatives of the Sept. 11 victims have expressed differing views of potential death sentences, with some arguing that it would accomplish little other than martyring men for whom martyrdom may be viewed as a reward.

But on Sunday, Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles F. Burlingame III was the pilot of the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 that was crashed into the Pentagon, said she would approve of an effort by prosecutors to seek the execution of men she blames for killing her brother. Ms. Burlingame said such a case could help refocus the public’s attention on what she called the calculated brutality of the attacks, which she said has been largely forgotten.

“My opinion is,” she said, “if the death of 3,000 people isn’t sufficient for a death penalty in this country, then why do we even have the death penalty?”

Lawyers said a prosecution move to seek the death penalty in six cases that will draw worldwide attention was risky. They said it would increase the stakes at Guantánamo partly by amplifying the attention internationally to cases that would draw intense attention in any event.

The military commission system has been troubled almost from the start, when it was set up in an order by President Bush in November 2001. It has been beset by legal challenges and practical difficulties, including a 2006 decision by the Supreme Court striking down the administration’s first system at Guantánamo. Although officials have spoken of charging 80 or more detainees with war crimes, so far only one case has been completed, and that was through a plea bargain.

Eric M. Freedman, a Hofstra University law professor who has been a consultant to detainees’ lawyers, said a decision to seek the death penalty would magnify the attention on each of the many steps in a capital case. Intense scrutiny, he said, “would be drawn to the proceedings both legally and politically from around the world.”

Some countries have been critical of the United States’ use of the death penalty in civilian cases, and a request for execution in the military commission system would import much of that criticism to the already heated debates about the legitimacy of Guantánamo and the Bush administration’s legal approach there, some lawyers said.

Tom Fleener, an Army Reserve major who was until recently a military defense lawyer at Guantánamo, said that bringing death penalty cases in the military commission system would bog down the untested system. He noted that many legal questions remain unanswered at Guantánamo, including how much of the trials will be conducted in closed, secret proceedings; how the military judges will handle evidence obtained by interrogators’ coercive tactics; and whether the judges will require experienced death-penalty lawyers to take part in such cases.

“Neither the system is ready, nor are the defense attorneys ready to do a death penalty case in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,” Major Fleener said.

Professor Glazier of Loyola said the military commission system was devised to avoid many of the hurdles that have slowed civilian capital cases. Still, he said, he expected intense scrutiny and criticism of such cases that could slow proceedings.

In any event, vigorous trial battles and appeals would probably mean that no execution would be imminent. “It certainly seems impossible to get this done by the end of the Bush administration,” Professor Glazier said.

General Hartmann said nothing to counter that impression. Asked whether executions would take place at Guantánamo or elsewhere, he noted that a defendant who is convicted will have the right to several levels of appeal. “So we are a long way from determining the details of the death penalty, and when that time comes, if it should ever come at all, we will follow the law at that time and the procedures that are in place at that time,” the general said.

David Stout contributed reporting from Washington.


4) Army Buried Study Faulting Iraq Planning
February 11, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Army is accustomed to protecting classified information. But when it comes to the planning for the Iraq war, even an unclassified assessment can acquire the status of a state secret.

That is what happened to a detailed study of the planning for postwar Iraq prepared for the Army by the RAND Corporation, a federally financed center that conducts research for the military.

After 18 months of research, RAND submitted a report in the summer of 2005 called “Rebuilding Iraq.” RAND researchers provided an unclassified version of the report along with a secret one, hoping that its publication would contribute to the public debate on how to prepare for future conflicts.

But the study’s wide-ranging critique of the White House, the Defense Department and other government agencies was a concern for Army generals, and the Army has sought to keep the report under lock and key.

A review of the lengthy report — a draft of which was obtained by The New York Times — shows that it identified problems with nearly every organization that had a role in planning the war. That assessment parallels the verdicts of numerous former officials and independent analysts.

The study chided President Bush — and by implication Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served as national security adviser when the war was planned — as having failed to resolve differences among rival agencies. “Throughout the planning process, tensions between the Defense Department and the State Department were never mediated by the president or his staff,” it said.

The Defense Department led by Donald H. Rumsfeld was given the lead in overseeing the postwar period in Iraq despite its “lack of capacity for civilian reconstruction planning and execution.”

The State Department led by Colin L. Powell produced a voluminous study on the future of Iraq that identified important issues but was of “uneven quality” and “did not constitute an actionable plan.”

Gen. Tommy R. Franks, whose Central Command oversaw the military operation in Iraq, had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of what the military needed to do to secure postwar Iraq, the study said.

The regulations that govern the Army’s relations with the Arroyo Center, the division of RAND that does research for the Army, stipulate that Army officials are to review reports in a timely fashion to ensure that classified information is not released. But the rules also note that the officials are not to “censor” analysis or prevent the dissemination of material critical of the Army.

The report on rebuilding Iraq was part of a seven-volume series by RAND on the lessons learned from the war. Asked why the report has not been published, Timothy Muchmore, a civilian Army official, said it had ventured too far from issues that directly involve the Army.

“After carefully reviewing the findings and recommendations of the thorough RAND assessment, the Army determined that the analysts had in some cases taken a broader perspective on the early planning and operational phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom than desired or chartered by the Army,” Mr. Muchmore said in a statement. “Some of the RAND findings and recommendations were determined to be outside the purview of the Army and therefore of limited value in informing Army policies, programs and priorities.”

Warren Robak, a RAND spokesman, declined to talk about the contents of the study but said the organization favored publication as a matter of general policy.

“RAND always endeavors to publish as much of our research as possible, in either unclassified form or in classified form for those with the proper security clearances,” Mr. Robak said in a statement. "The multivolume series on lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom is no exception. We also, however, have a longstanding practice of not discussing work that has not yet been published."

When RAND researchers began their work, nobody expected it to become a bone of contention with the Army. The idea was to review the lessons learned from the war, as RAND had done with previous conflicts.

The research was formally sponsored by Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, who was then the chief operations officer for the Army and now oversees Army forces in the Middle East, and Lt. Gen. David Melcher, who had responsibility for the Army’s development and works now on budget issues.

A team of RAND researchers led by Nora Bensahel interviewed more than 50 civilian and military officials. As it became clear that decisions made by civilian officials had contributed to the Army’s difficulties in Iraq, researchers delved into those policies as well.

The report was submitted at a time when the Bush administration was trying to rebut building criticism of the war in Iraq by stressing the progress Mr. Bush said was being made. The approach culminated in his announcement in November 2005 of his “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.”

One serious problem the study described was the Bush administration’s assumption that the reconstruction requirements would be minimal. There was also little incentive to challenge that assumption, the report said.

“Building public support for any pre-emptive or preventative war is inherently challenging, since by definition, action is being taken before the threat has fully manifested itself,” it said. “Any serious discussion of the costs and challenges of reconstruction might undermine efforts to build that support.”

Another problem described was a general lack of coordination. “There was never an attempt to develop a single national plan that integrated humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, governance, infrastructure development and postwar security,” the study said.

One result was that “the U.S. government did not provide strategic policy guidance for postwar Iraq until shortly before major combat operations commenced.” The study said that problem was compounded by General Franks, saying he took a narrow view of the military’s responsibilities after Saddam Hussein was ousted and assumed that American civilian agencies would do much to rebuild the country.

General Franks’s command, the study asserted, also assumed that Iraq’s police and civil bureaucracy would stay on the job and had no fallback option in case that expectation proved wrong. When Baghdad fell, the study said, American forces there “were largely mechanized or armored forces, well suited to waging major battles but not to restoring civil order. That task would have been better carried out, ideally, by military police or, acceptably, by light infantry trained in urban combat.”

A “shortfall” in American troops was exacerbated when General Franks and Mr. Rumsfeld decided to stop the deployment of the Army’s First Cavalry Division when other American forces entered Baghdad, the study said, a move that reflected their assessment that the war had been won. Problems persisted during the occupation. In the months that followed, the report said, there were “significant tensions, most commonly between the civilian and military arms of the occupation.”

The poor planning had “the inadvertent effort of strengthening the insurgency,” as Iraqis experienced a lack of security and essential services and focused on “negative effects of the U.S. security presence.” The American military’s inability to seal Iraq’s borders, a task the 2005 report warned was still not a priority, enabled foreign support for the insurgents to flow into Iraq.

In its recommendations, the study advocated an “inverted planning process” in which military planners would begin by deciding what resources were needed to maintain security after an adversary was defeated on the battlefield instead of treating the postwar phase as virtually an afterthought. More broadly, it suggested that there was a need to change the military’s mind-set, which has long treated preparations to fight a major war as the top priority. The Army has recently moved to address this by drafting a new operations manual which casts the mission of stabilizing war-torn nations as equal in importance to winning a conventional war.

As the RAND study went through drafts, a chapter was written to emphasize the implications for the Army. An unclassified version was produced with numerous references to newspaper articles and books, an approach that was intended to facilitate publication.

Senior Army officials were not happy with the results, and questioned whether all of the information in the study was truly unclassified and its use of newspaper reports. RAND researchers sent a rebuttal. That failed to persuade the Army to allow publication of the unclassified report, and the classified version was not widely disseminated throughout the Pentagon.

Neither General Lovelace nor General Melcher agreed to be interviewed for this article, but General Lovelace provided a statement through a spokesman at his headquarters in Kuwait.

“The RAND study simply did not deliver a product that could have assisted the Army in paving a clear way ahead; it lacked the perspective needed for future planning by the U.S. Army,” he said.

A Pentagon official who is familiar with the episode offered a different interpretation: Army officials were concerned that the report would strain relations with a powerful defense secretary and become caught up in the political debate over the war. “The Army leaders who were involved did not want to take the chance of increasing the friction with Secretary Rumsfeld,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because he did not want to alienate senior military officials.

The Army has asked that the entire RAND series be resubmitted and has said it will decide on its status thereafter.


5) Gates Endorses Pause in Iraq Troop Withdrawals
February 12, 2008

BAGHDAD — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Monday publicly endorsed the concept of holding steady the troop levels in Iraq, at least temporarily, after the departure this summer of five extra combat brigades sent last year as part of “the surge.”

After meeting with top American commanders, Mr. Gates said for the first time that he supported the idea of ordering a pause in troop reductions until the impact on security of the lower force levels could be assessed.

“I think that the notion of a brief period of consolidation and evaluation probably does make sense,” Mr. Gates said. His comments were another strong indication that American troop numbers in Iraq were unlikely to drop far below 130,000 this year, and certainly not to the 100,000 level advocated by some military officials and analysts worried about strain on the army.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior commander in Iraq, previously had hinted that he would recommend freezing troop levels, at least while he conducted further assessments, after the American military presence drops back to 15 combat brigades in July. By that time, the last of five additional brigades ordered to Iraq last year by President Bush would have departed.

President Bush has said he would put great weight on General Petraeus’ formal recommendations, due this spring, and repeatedly has said that he would do whatever is necessary to sustain gains in security made over the months of the troop increase.

Mr. Gates met for two hours Monday with General Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who leaves in coming days after 15 months as the No. 2 commander in Iraq.

After that meeting, Mr. Gates acknowledged that his assessment on whether to recommend Mr. Bush put off additional troop withdrawals had been developing at the same time and along the same lines as that of the commanders’.

“I had been kind of headed in that direction, as well,” Mr. Gates said.

But the defense secretary cautioned that significant questions are still to be decided, including “how long is that period” of a pause in troop cuts, and “what happens after that.”

Mr. Gates stressed that the president still had made no decisions, and that Mr. Bush would receive separate assessments from General Petraeus, from commanders responsible for the broader Middle East, and from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who would evaluate strain on the force and global threats.

Officials worried about stress on the ground forces had expressed hopes that American troop levels in Iraq could begin dropping toward 100,000 this year.

Although Mr. Bush has indicated that he would order no further troop reductions if security gains might be undermined, decisions on the American commitment to Iraq will pass to a new president in January. The top Democratic candidates have said they favor more rapid troop reductions in Iraq, while Senator John McCain, the presidential contender who is leading the Republican Party in convention delegates. is an unwavering supporter of the troop increase.

After his meetings at the military headquarters at Camp Victory, near the Baghdad airport, Mr. Gates visited Forward Operating Base Falcon in the Rashid neighborhood of southern Baghdad.

The troop increase ordered by President Bush last January acknowledged that Baghdad was the center of gravity for security in the nation, and the goal of adding combat forces was to drive terrorists from the city and from a belt of communities surrounding the capital, as well as to suppress insurgent groups and sectarian death squads.

Maj. Gen. Jeffery W. Hammond, commander of Multinational Division-Baghdad, said overall attacks in his area of responsibility had declined 75 percent since a high last June of 1,425, to 353 last month.

He said his goal was to spread American and allied forces even further into the neighborhoods, and that he plans to establish additional forward posts and security stations.

“I want to remove the predictability of being in one place too long,” General Hammond said, vowing to maintain the pressure on terrorists, insurgents and sectarian militias regardless of force levels after the summer. “We are not going to give back any territory. Not in Baghdad.”


6) European Union to Tighten Border Entry Rules
February 12, 2008

BRUSSELS — Non-Europeans would need to submit biometric data before crossing Europe’s frontiers under sweeping European Union proposals to combat illegal migration, terrorism and organized crime that are to be outlined this week.

The plans — arguably the biggest shake-up of border management in Europe since the creation of its internal travel zone — would apply to citizens of the United States and all other countries that now can enter Europe without visas.

They would, however, allow European Union citizens and “low-risk” frequent travelers from outside the bloc to pass through automated, fast-track frontier checkpoints without coming into contact with border guards. Voluntary programs for prescreening such visitors, who would register fingerprints and other data, would be stepped up.

The proposals, contained in draft documents examined by The International Herald Tribune and scheduled to go to the European Commission on Wednesday, were intended to bring the European Union’s visa regime into line with a new era in which passports include biometric data, recognition data based on physical characteristics.

The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, contends that migratory pressure, organized crime and terrorism are obvious challenges to the union and that the bloc’s border and visa policy need to be brought up to date.

It also wants a new European Border Surveillance System to be created, to use satellites and unmanned aircraft to help track the movements of people suspected of being illegal migrants.

If approved by the commission this week, the measures would need the approval of all European Union states.

The United States routinely requires European citizens to submit fingerprints when crossing its borders, and the commission’s document notes that the United States plans to introduce an electronic travel-authorization system for people from countries like Britain, France and Germany that are in its Visa Waiver Program.

The commission’s proposals cover the Schengen zone, Europe’s internal free-travel area named after the village in Luxembourg near where the original agreement among five countries was signed on June 14, 1985. Twenty-four countries are now members.

It is unclear whether Britain and Ireland, which along with Cyprus, are not members of Schengen, would choose to join the program.

Each year more than 300 million travelers cross European Union borders, but there is no obligation for countries inside the Schengen free-travel zone to keep a record of entries and exits of non-European citizens in a dedicated database. Moreover, if the visitor leaves from another Schengen country, it is often impossible to determine whether the visitor overstayed his or her visa.

The proposals, drafted by the European commissioner for justice and home affairs, Franco Frattini, suggest that non-Europeans on a short-stay visa would be checked against a Visa Information System that is already under construction and should be operational in 2012.

Mr. Frattini is also calling for a new database to be set up to store information on the time and place of entry and exit of non-European citizens, using biometric identifiers. If a visitor overstays a visa, an alert would go out to all national authorities that the person had overstayed the allotted time.

Travelers from countries with a visa requirement would need to provide biometric data at European consulates before leaving their home country. Those arriving from nations not requiring visas, like the United States, would also need to submit fingerprints and a digitized facial image.

But the European Union would try to make the system more user-friendly for Europeans and some categories of bona fide visitors by granting them the status of “registered traveler.”

Non-Europeans could gain the same, fast-track status providing they have not overstayed previous visas, have proof of sufficient funds to pay for their stay in Europe and hold a biometric passport.

The draft documents highlight weaknesses in Europe’s efforts to guard its borders. One paper points out that, in the eight European Union countries with external borders in the Mediterranean Sea and southern Atlantic, frontier surveillance is carried out by about 50 authorities from 30 institutions, sometimes with competing competencies and systems.


7) U.S. Ties Europe’s Safety to Afghanistan
February 11, 2008

MUNICH — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued a stark warning on Sunday to Europeans, saying that their safety from terrorist attack by Islamic extremists was directly linked to NATO’s success in stabilizing Afghanistan.

After weeks of calling on NATO governments to send more combat troops and trainers to Afghanistan, Mr. Gates made his case directly to Europe’s inhabitants in a keynote address to an international security conference here. Mr. Gates summoned the memory of Sept. 11, 2001, to say that Europe was at risk of becoming victim to attacks of the same enormity.

“I am concerned that many people on this continent may not comprehend the magnitude of the direct threat to European security,” Mr. Gates said. “For the United States, Sept. 11 was a galvanizing event, one that opened the American public’s eyes to dangers from distant lands.”

In a hall filled with government officials, lawmakers and policy analysts from around the world, Mr. Gates added: “So now I would like to add my voice to those of many allied leaders on the Continent and speak directly to the people of Europe. The threat posed by violent Islamic extremism is real, and it is not going to go away.”

Mr. Gates listed terrorist attacks in Madrid, London, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Paris and Glasgow and said other terrorist plots, some complex, had been disrupted before they could be carried out in Belgium, Germany and Denmark and in airliners over the Atlantic.

“Just in the last few weeks, Spanish authorities arrested 14 Islamic extremists in Barcelona suspected of planning suicide attacks against public transport systems in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Britain,” he said.

“I am not indulging in scare tactics,” Mr. Gates stated. “Nor am I exaggerating either the threat or inflating the consequences of a victory for the extremists. Nor am I saying that the extremists are 10 feet tall.”

He said the task facing Europe, the United States and allies around the world “is to fracture and destroy this movement in its infancy — to permanently reduce its ability to strike globally and catastrophically, while deflating its ideology.”

The “best opportunity as an alliance to do this,” he said, “is in Afghanistan.”

August Hanning, the state secretary at the German Interior Ministry and an outspoken voice in the German government on the threat of terrorism, welcomed Mr. Gates’s address because it “made clear the connection between domestic security in Germany and the deployment in Afghanistan.” He said that Al Qaeda and associated groups in the Afghan-Pakistani border region continued to “strengthen their operational capabilities in order to carry forward attacks.”

In his speech, Mr. Gates said that while many NATO governments “appreciate the importance of the Afghan mission, European public support for it is weak.

Many Europeans question the relevance of our actions and doubt whether the mission is worth the lives of their sons and daughters.”

But they “forget at our peril that the ambition of Islamic extremists is limited only by opportunity,” he added.

Mr. Gates said some terrorist cells in Europe are financed and receive inspiration from abroad. “Many who have been arrested have had direct connections to Al Qaeda,” he said. “Some have met with top leaders or attended training camps abroad. Some are connected to Al Qaeda in Iraq.” He was referring to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the largely local insurgent group that American intelligence officials say is foreign-led.

He said the suspected Barcelona terrorist cell appears to have links with a terrorist network commanded by extremists in Pakistan thought to be affiliated with the Taliban, the former rulers of Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda. Those extremists are also accused by the authorities of being behind the assassination in December of Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister.

Mr. Gates said that in Afghanistan “the really hard question the alliance faces is whether the whole of our effort is adding up to less than the sum of its parts.”

Concerning specific policy initiatives, Mr. Gates called for a common set of training standards for every soldier and civilian deploying into Afghanistan, and for the appointment of a high-level European official to serve as civilian administrator to coordinate international assistance.

Echoing the difficulties the United States faced in trying to suppress insurgents and terrorists in Iraq after the swift invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Mr. Gates said NATO must coordinate military operations and civilian reconstruction better and “put aside any theology that attempts clearly to divide civilian and military operations,” adding, “It is unrealistic.”

The Munich Conference on Security Policy was meeting here with the theme, “The World in Disarray — Shifting Powers, Lack of Strategies.”

In contrast to the contentious tone struck last year by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, the Russian representative to the conference this year, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei B. Ivanov, made his nation’s recent record of economic success the focus of his largely positive address, pointing out that Russia’s economy had grown by 80 percent in the last nine years.

He highlighted cooperation between the United States and Russia, including in fighting nuclear terrorism. But, he added, “some states strive to exploit antiterrorist activities as a pretext to achieving their own geopolitical and economic goals,” and had what he called “a double-standard attitude toward Russia.”

During a lively question-and-answer period after the speech by Mr. Gates, Alexey Ostrovskiy, a member of the Russian Parliament, challenged the United States record in arming anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan — many of whom became Islamic extremists and members of the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

Mr. Gates responded that “If we bear a particular responsibility for the role of the mujahedeen and Al Qaeda growing up in Afghanistan, it has more to do with our abandonment of the country in 1989 than our assistance of it in 1979.”


8) G.I. Gets 10-Year Sentence in Killing of Unarmed Iraqi
February 11, 2008

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq — A military panel on Sunday sentenced an Army Ranger to 10 years in prison for killing an unarmed Iraqi detainee and planting a machine gun near his body to mislead investigators.

The ranger, Sgt. Evan Vela, has already served 225 days in American military detention in Kuwait and will receive a dishonorable discharge. He will be transferred to an American military prison in the United States. The government had sought a prison term of at least 15 years, and Sergeant Vela could have received a life sentence. His lawyer said the family would appeal.

Sergeant Vela, of Idaho, slumped in his chair as he heard the verdict, and his wife, Alyssa Carnahan, broke down in tears.

The eight-member military panel deliberated for three hours before reaching the verdicts on the third day of the court-martial. The murder trial was the third related to the killing of Genei Nesir Khudair al-Janabi, a taxi driver and farmer who stumbled, with his son Mustafa, 17, into Sergeant Vela’s sniper hide-out.

Sergeant Vela and his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley, detained the father and son for about 30 minutes. They released the boy, and Sergeant Vela shot Mr. Janabi in the head with a 9-millimeter pistol, killing him.

Sergeant Vela, who was trained in the field to be a sniper, testified that the point-blank shooting was the only killing that it was certain that he had carried out.

Prosecutors argued in their closing statements that Sergeant Vela “aided and abetted” the planting of the gun and then made false statements to investigators about the killing.

“ ‘Are you ready?’ Those are the words that Sergeant Hensley said to Sergeant Vela,” said a military prosecutor, Maj. Charles Kuhfahl. “Sergeant Vela was at a crossroads. He had two choices. He could have taken a hard right.” Instead, Major Khufahl argued, Sergeant Vela “chose the easy wrong, and he killed him.”

“You know it was murder, plain and simple,” he said. “United States soldiers do not kill unarmed, detained individuals.”

Speaking through an Arabic interpreter, Mustafa said his father’s killing had devastated his family. He told the court one of his four younger brothers had avoided their home because he could not stand the sight of his father’s empty room.

“I know that this criminal has a wife and children,” Mustafa said, addressing the military panel. “And just like they will miss him, we also miss our father. When he goes to jail, convicted by this trial, I hope you will consider that. So please don’t forget about us.” As he spoke, Ms. Carnahan, sitting directly behind her husband, bowed her head, and wept silently.

Seeking leniency for Sergeant Vela, his lawyer, James Culp, recounted testimony that the sergeant and the rest of his sniper squad had slept only a few hours over three days of continuous military operations in triple-digit heat, with little water.

“An armed warrior who operates in the backyard of the enemy without sleep is an accident waiting to happen,” Mr. Culp said. “These men were extremely sleep deprived. No one was thinking clearly; no one was acting clearly. You couldn’t expect anything reasonable from these men anymore.”

Sergeant Vela’s adoptive father, Curtis Carnahan, and the sergeant’s wife described a compassionate family man who had never used violence until he became so proficient at it in Iraq. Sergeant Vela used his father’s surname until he joined the military.

Several members of Sergeant Vela’s platoon called on the military panel to factor in his performance in the Army and the often confusing conditions on the battlefield.

Sgt. Anthony G. Murphy, a member of Sergeant Vela’s sniper team and his best friend, said they had gone on at least 45 combat missions together and had been shot at five times.

“It’s a terrible war out there,” Sergeant Murphy said. “And you have to make tough decisions. This war doesn’t provide that luxury to be perfect.”

Sergeant Vela’s former platoon commander, Sgt. First Class Steven Kipling, said the shooting of Mr. Janabi was a result of Iraq’s violent environment and the often difficult and confusing choices that servicemen make daily. He said that if the actions of every combat serviceman in Iraq were subjected to the same scrutiny as Sergeant Vela’s, “we would have thousands” of cases.

Sergeant Vela’s conviction follows two unsuccessful murder prosecutions of fellow platoon members. Sergeant Hensley and Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval Jr. were acquitted of murder, but found guilty of planting a gun to mislead investigators. Both men were reprimanded and demoted.

Sergeant Vela testified Saturday that when Mr. Janabi entered their sniper lair, Sergeant Vela and Sergeant Hensley detained him. Sergeant Hensley radioed their patrol base with fake reports of an approaching Iraqi gunman, then asked his subordinate, “Are you ready?”

Then, each man testified, Sergeant Hensley ordered Sergeant Vela to shoot the man. Sergeant Vela said he immediately fired his 9-millimeter handgun, killing Mr. Janabi with one shot in the head and missing him with a second shot.

Sergeant Hensley testified that he placed an AK-47 that they had carried to the sniper hide-out near the body to make it seem that Mr. Janabi had been killed because he was armed.

Sergeant Hensley said on the first day of the trial that he and his men often carried items “as insurance,” in case they needed to create a cover story for American investigators after a shooting. He testified that he had issued the order to shoot.

The conviction is the latest of several scandals involving American forces and Iraqi victims. Servicemen have been convicted or reprimanded in atrocities and criminal homicides, including an episode at Haditha in 2005, when Marines killed 24 men, women and children; one at Mahmoudiya in 2006, in which three Iraqi family members were killed; and in Ishaqi in 2006, when 11 Iraqi family members were killed.


9) Chávez Threatens to End Oil Exports to U.S. in Exxon Feud
February 11, 2008

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez threatened Sunday to halt oil exports to the United States if the oil giant Exxon Mobil succeeds in freezing billions of dollars of foreign petroleum assets controlled by Venezuela.

The warning ratchets up a fierce legal dispute between Venezuela and Exxon after Mr. Chávez’s move to exert greater state control over the nation’s oil industry last year. Rather than submitting to Venezuela’s terms, Exxon withdrew from a major production venture, intensifying the feud.

“The bandits of Exxon Mobil will never rob us again,” Mr. Chávez said in comments broadcast Sunday on his weekly television program. He accused Exxon, one of the largest publicly traded oil companies, and the United States of mounting a conspiracy to destabilize Venezuela.

“I speak to the American empire, because that’s the master,” Mr. Chávez said. “Continue, and you will see that we won’t send one drop of oil to the empire of the United States.” Referring to Exxon, he said, “They are imperialist bandits, white-collar criminals, corruptors of governments, overthrowers of governments.”

Venezuela’s government has been seething since Exxon recently won orders in British, Dutch and American courts freezing as much as $12 billion in Venezuelan oil assets abroad — refineries and other oil-related infrastructure that Venezuela owns. Venezuela vowed to overturn the decisions before arbitration over Exxon’s attempts to win compensation for its nationalized oil project.

“We have no comment,” said Margaret Ross, a spokeswoman for Exxon, based in Irving, Tex., after Mr. Chávez spoke.

Mr. Chávez has repeatedly threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States, but has never done so.

In fact, despite a deterioration in political relations, the United States remains Venezuela’s top trading partner. Venezuela is the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, sending 1.2 million barrels a day to American refineries, according to the Energy Information Administration in Washington.

The dispute with Exxon is focusing attention on Petróleos de Venezuela, the national oil company, which Mr. Chávez has purged of his political opponents and reconfigured to finance social welfare projects. The company faces steeper borrowing costs after the price of its bonds plunged by 3 percent on Friday, to 66.75 cents on the dollar.

Declining oil production at Petróleos de Venezuela has allowed other countries in the OPEC oil cartel, notably Saudi Arabia, to gain a greater share of the market in meeting the expanding global demand for oil. The problems at Petróleos de Venezuela, a major revenue source for Mr. Chávez, are occurring amid growing discontent over food shortages and galloping inflation.

The tension with Exxon was just one of Mr. Chávez’s subjects on Sunday. He also accused the United States and neighboring Colombia of bringing paramilitary squads to Venezuela to traffic in weapons and cocaine. And he said his political opponents were plotting to “reconvert Venezuela into a North American colony.”


10) High Lead Levels Are Found in Vinyl Plastic Baby Products
February 11, 2008

High levels of lead were found in a handful of well-known baby products made of vinyl plastic by an environmental group based in California that spread the word about lead on vinyl baby bibs and lunchboxes.

The products include a Medela-brand cooler for storing breast milk, a carrying case sold with the First Years breast pump manufactured by RC2, a Playtex baby bottle cooler and a vinyl pacifier carrying case made by Skip Hop.

The Center for Environmental Health, the group that did the tests, purchased the products in January and tested them first with a hand-held metal detector and then at a laboratory. The products were found to have from 1,100 parts per million of lead to 5,500 parts per million of lead, the group says.

Still, the findings are bound to be criticized within the plastics and children’s products industries, which claim that lead in plastic is not a health concern. Federal law bans lead from paint used on toys and other children’s products, but there is no mandatory federal rule about lead inside other materials in children’s products.

Legislators are considering new laws about product safety, and one provision in the proposed law would put a limit on the total amount of lead that could be in children’s products, no matter the materials. If enacted, that limit might forbid lead in plastic at the levels found by the California group. The group contends that no level of lead is safe in children’s products.

“It’s a product for a baby. It just shouldn’t have lead in it,” said Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the group, which is releasing its findings Monday. The toy and plastics industries say that lead in plastic is not a health hazard and that the lead in the plastic is not accessible.

“This is really an attempt to tag on to the lead-in-paint issue, but it’s a very different issue because this is not something that chips off,” said Frederick B. Locker, general counsel for both the Toy Industry Association and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.

In November, Consumer Reports magazine found lead in the arm band of the toy blood-pressure cuff made by Mattel. The toy maker is accepting returns of the blood-pressure toy, but it did not issue a recall. Toys “R” Us was among the companies that pulled the blood-pressure toy from its shelves after the finding.

Medela, Skip Hop and RC2 said on Friday that they were investigating the California group’s finding. Playtex could not reached for comment. RC2 is the company that manufactured the Thomas and Friends toys that were recalled for lead paint last summer.

Allen Blakey, a spokesman for the Vinyl Institute, an trade group based in Arlington, Va., said it was unclear how lead could have gotten in plastic children’s products. The vinyl industry in the United States stopped using lead in plastic years ago, he said, and instead uses tin, calcium, barium or zinc as a stabilizer to provide durability.


11) G.M. Reports Quarterly Loss of $722 Million
February 12, 2008

DETROIT — General Motors reported a $722 million fourth-quarter loss on Tuesday and offered more buyouts to all 74,000 of its unionized employees in another bid to keep its turnaround from stalling.

The loss translated into $1.28 a share, compared with a profit of $950 million, or $1.68 a share, in the period a year earlier. The swing was attributed to a drastically slowing vehicle market and big losses at its finance arm, the General Motors Acceptance Corporation.

Fourth-quarter revenue was $47.1 billion, down from $50.8 billion in 2006, because the company has since sold 51 percent of G.M.A.C. and now only counts revenue from its remaining stake. Automotive revenue was $46.7 billion in the quarter, up $3 billion from a year ago.

Excluding what G.M. said were one-time items, profit was $46 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with an adjusted profit of $180 million, or 32 cents a share, in the period a year earlier.

“Clearly, G.M. isn’t standing idle,” Peter Nesvold, an analyst with Bear Stearns, wrote to clients Tuesday. “However, we believe something’s happening that continues to erode G.M.’s earnings power faster than the restructurings can offset.”

For all of 2007, G.M. lost $38.7 billion, the biggest loss ever for an automaker. The loss, equal to $68.45 a share, is about the same amount as a noncash charge of $38.3 billion that the company took in the third quarter to write down deferred tax assets, meaning that G.M. almost broke even otherwise after losing $2 billion in 2006. Excluding special items, the company lost $23 million, or 4 cents a share.

Shares of the company were up 37 cents, to $27.49, in morning trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We’re pleased with the positive improvement trend in our automotive results, especially given the challenging conditions in important markets like the U.S. and Germany, but we have more work to do to achieve acceptable profitability and positive cash flow,” G.M.’s chief executive, Rick Wagoner, said in a statement.

Worldwide, G.M.’s automotive operations lost $1.6 billion in 2007, including $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $6.1 billion a year earlier. Sales grew 3 percent in 2007, to almost 9.4 million, barely enough to retain its title as the world’s largest automaker over its surging Japanese rival Toyota.

In North America, the company cut its losses by more than half, to $3.3 billion from $7.5 billion in 2006. But the worsening economy in the United States led to higher fourth-quarter losses in the region: $1.1 billion, compared to $30 million in 2006.

“Despite progress and buoyant markets outside the U.S., falling volumes and competitive pressures in the U.S. will continue to pressure G.M. North America and hence overall G.M. operational results,” Brian A. Johnson, an analyst with Lehman Brothers, wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

Still, G.M. executives maintained that the company’s North American turnaround plan, which calls for reducing annual expenses by another $4 billion to $5 billion by 2010, remains on track. The company has refused to say when it expects to earn a profit in North America.

“In order to get North America sustainably profitable and generating cash,” said G.M.’s chief financial officer, Frederick A. Henderson, “we must get the job done on both sides — revenue as well as cost.”

To cut costs further in the United States, G.M. said employees represented by the United Automobile Workers union can elect to take buyouts of up to $140,000.

Those eligible to retire can do so with full benefits and a payout of $45,000 for production workers or $62,500 for skilled tradespeople. Those amounts are $10,000 and $27,500 higher than what the company offered in 2006, when 30,000 U.A.W. workers agreed to leave their jobs.

Other options include an early retirement program for workers with slightly less than 30 years of seniority or a cash buyout of either $70,000 or $140,000 in exchange for giving up health care and other post-retirement benefits.

Some of the amounts are less than similar offers recently made available to workers at the Ford Motor Company and Chrysler, although G.M. is giving its workers the option to roll their buyout into a retirement account to reduce taxes.

The Detroit automakers are each hoping to persuade more workers to leave so that they can replace some with new hires earning half as much money, as permitted by two-tier wage provisions in the four-year contracts that they signed with the union last fall. None of the three has said how many workers it wants to leave under the new program.


12) Arizona Seeing Signs of Flight by Immigrants
February 12, 2008

PHOENIX — The signs of flight among Latino immigrants here are multiple: Families moving out of apartment complexes, schools reporting enrollment drops, business owners complaining about fewer clients.

While it is too early to know for certain, a consensus is developing among economists, business people and immigration groups that the weakening economy coupled with recent curbs on illegal immigration are steering Hispanic immigrants out of the state.

The Arizona economy, heavily dependent on growth and a Latino work force, has been slowing for months. Meanwhile, the state has enacted one of the country’s toughest laws to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, and the county sheriff here in Phoenix has been enforcing federal immigration laws by rounding up people living here illegally.

“It is very difficult to separate the economic reality in Arizona from the effects of the laws because the economy is tanking and construction is drying up,” said Frank Pierson, lead organizer of the Arizona Interfaith Network, which advocates for immigrants’ rights and other causes. But the combination of factors creates “ a disincentive to stay in the state.”

State Representative Russell K. Pearce, a Republican from Mesa and leading advocate of the crackdown on illegal immigration, takes reports of unauthorized workers leaving as a sign of success. An estimated one in 10 workers in Arizona are Hispanic immigrants, both legal and illegal, twice the national average.

“The desired effect was, we don’t have the red carpet out for illegal aliens,” Mr. Pearce said, adding that while “most of these are good people” they are a “tremendous burden” on public services.

On Monday, state lawmakers, concerned about shortages of workers and the failed revamping of immigration law in Congress, which was pushed by Senator John McCain of Arizona, pledged action.

Bills were announced that would create a state-run temporary worker program, though it would need Congressional authorization. And last week Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, offered to help the United States Labor Department rewrite regulations designed to streamline visas for agricultural workers, who growers say are increasingly hard to find.

While data for the last month or so are not available, there were already signs of migration out of Arizona at the end of last year. In the fourth quarter of 2007 the apartment-vacancy rate in metropolitan Phoenix rose to 11.2 percent from 9 percent in the same quarter of 2006, with much higher rates of 15 percent or more in heavily Latino neighborhoods.

“You have many people moving out, but they are not all illegal,” said Terry Feinberg, president of the Arizona Multihousing Alliance, a trade group for the apartment and rental housing industry. “A lot of people moving are citizens, or legal, but because someone in their family or social network is not, and they are having a hard time keeping or finding a job, they all move.”

Elizabeth Leon, a legal immigrant and day care worker, said the families of two of her charges abruptly left, forcing the state to take custody of the children. Ms. Leon’s brother, a construction worker who is not authorized to be in the country, plans to leave, unable to find steady work; families at the neighborhood school have pulled children out, Ms. Leon said, fearful of sheriff’s deputies.

“It is like a panic here,” she said. “This is all having an effect on the community, mostly emotional.”

Juan Jose Araujo, 44, is here legally. His wife, however, is not and is pressing for the family to return to Mexico because of the difficulty in finding a job and what the family considers a growing anti-immigrant climate.

Although prosecutors in the state do not plan to begin enforcing the sanctions against employers until next month, several employers have reportedly already dismissed workers whose legal authorization to work could not be proved, as required by the law.

“We don’t have family or anything in Mexico,” said Mr. Araujo, who has lived in the United States for 24 years. “I wouldn’t have anywhere to go there, but we have to consider it.”

Property managers report that families have uprooted overnight, with little or no notice. Carlos Flores Vizcarra, the Mexican consul general in Phoenix, said while he could not tie the phenomenon to a single factor, the consulate had experienced an “unusual” five-fold increase in parents applying for Mexican birth certificates for their children and other documents that often are a prelude to moving.

Several school districts in heavily Latino areas have reported sudden drops in enrollment. Official explanations are elusive because school officials have not been able to interview families about why they left, but, anecdotally, people point to the sour economy and the immigration crackdown among other factors.

The Cartwright Elementary School District in west Phoenix, for instance, reported a loss of 525 students this school year (dropping the enrollment to 19,845), while in previous years enrollment had grown or remained stable among its 23 schools. Meri Simmons, a spokeswoman for the district, said word of mouth suggested that the economy and sanctions on employers played a role.

“We know we have a lot of empty houses,” Ms. Simmons said.

Jobs in the construction industry, a major employer of immigrants, are growing scarce, declining 8.6 percent in December compared with the previous year.

Juan Leon, a construction subcontractor and the husband of Elizabeth Leon, the day care worker, said illegal immigrants had made it harder for legal residents like him to find work. Companies that employ them can bid much lower on projects than he can because they pay workers much less, Mr. Leon said.

“I hate to see families torn apart,” he said of the current flight, “but there is no money to be made sometimes because some contractors who employ illegal workers can do the job dirt cheap.”

Dawn McLaren, an economist at Arizona State University in Tempe who studies the state’s economic and migration trends, said it was likely that lack of work is forcing people to move, probably to nearby states. But Ms. McLaren also theorized that the slowing economy had caused a reduction in the flow of new immigrants over the border.

Analyzing data back to the early 1990s, she said, a drop in Border Patrol arrests — they have been steadily declining the last couple of years — typically preceded an economic downturn or slowing.

“It’s a highly networked community,” she said of border crossers. “It costs a lot to get here, and they generally have a job lined up here. People say, ‘We need people on the crew.’ And they tell friends and relatives to come over.”

A persistent decline in the immigrant population could damage the overall Arizona economy, Ms. McLaren said. A study by the Pew Hispanic Center released in January said illegal workers made up close to 11 percent of the state’s work force of 2.9 million people in 2006, double the national estimate.

“What it looks like now is that a little bump in the economic road, especially with the sanctions law, is looking like it might last a year or more,” she said.

Even as the economy slows and people leave, the matter of the state’s sanctions on employers is not settled.

The legal fight over the law, which a federal judge upheld Thursday, is headed for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The law punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants by suspending their business license for 10 days on the first offense and revoking it for a second infraction.

Opponents call it an unconstitutional intrusion by the state on federal immigration authority but the federal judge, Neil V. Wake, disagreed.

At the same time, signatures are being gathered for two ballot initiatives, one that would toughen the law and another meant to soften it. If both end up on the November ballot, the one with the most votes would prevail.

Ms. McLaren, the economist, said that in the end history showed it was difficult to stop illegal immigration so long as jobs paid better in the United States than at home. An economic rebound would probably draw people back here, no matter the laws.

“They will find a way to adjust,” she said.


13) Where Marines Are Called ‘Intruders’ and Recruiting Office Is Unwelcome
Berkeley Journal
February 12, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. — On Tuesday night, the nine members of the Berkeley City Council are expected to do something they, or the Marines, for that matter, very rarely do: retreat in the face of fierce opposition.

“The staff are supposed to be there to protect us from our stupidity,” said Councilwoman Betty Olds, who is 87, as feisty as a cornered rattlesnake and a leader of the retrenchment. “And they didn’t do any better than we did.”

For weeks, the Council has been at the heart of a mess related to its proclamation that the Marines — them that stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima — were not welcome to run their three-person recruiting office downtown.

The Council, with its staff’s concurrence, apparently, also set aside a parking spot one day a week in front of the office for Code Pink, an antiwar group that aims to disrupt the recruiters and, like all Californians, loves a good parking spot.

The parking and the proclamation, which called the Marines “uninvited and unwelcome intruders,” sparked an angry response in the form of hundreds of telephone calls, thousands of e-mail messages and countless hours of “How dare they!” on the radio and elsewhere.

Typical of the outrage was a posting on Monday on, a conservative Web site, that decried “patchouli-smelling Berkeley hippies” and “radical antimilitary haters.”

“Groups like Code Pink and the Berkeley City Council don’t care about freedom,” a poster, Sgt. Seth Conner, blogged. “They only care about saddling another generation — my generation — with their hippie-loving propaganda.”

The shock and awe extended to Washington and Sacramento, where Republican elected officials proposed withholding millions in state and federal money for Berkeley for programs like school lunches and transportation.

So it is that on Tuesday, amid the glare of television cameras and protesters on both sides, the Council is scheduled to consider another resolution that affirms its opposition to the Iraq war but also expresses support for the “men and women who voluntarily serve this country.”

Mayor Tom Bates, who was in the Army and seems slightly bewildered by the backlash, said the resolution would be “a substitute for what we’ve had out there.”

“Actually I wouldn’t even call it a substitute,” Mr. Bates said a moment later. “I think it’s just a restating of our policy.”

The proclamation, drafted by Ms. Olds and another Council member, Laurie Capitelli, will also back off a request to the city manager to send a letter to the Marine Corps commandant with the “uninvited and unwelcome” language.

In another concession, Mr. Bates said other groups would be invited to apply for parking spots for their protests. “If someone wants a Monday or a Tuesday,” he said, “they would be entitled to get it.” None of which is likely to appease critics.

“It would be astonishing if they did something meaningful like apologize, not only to the military, or the Marines, but to the families of service members,” said Melanie Morgan, host of a conservative talk show and leader of Move America Forward, which backs troops. “They are finding out that the rest of America doesn’t go along with their kooky politics.”

Ms. Morgan said her supporters would protest on Tuesday at City Hall with a poster board depicting a marine with his mouth taped shut.

Code Pink also plans a vigil. A co-founder, Medea Benjamin, said she welcomed the fight. “They’ll come from out of town and stage their show and then they’ll go home, and we’ll have a galvanized base,” Ms. Benjamin said. “They’ve helped us draw a line in the sand.”

It is not completely surprising that line is in this liberal enclave of 100,000 people. The Council regularly takes up foreign policy and other faraway issues. But even veterans of the scene say the Marine hoopla is one for the books.

Ms. Olds, who voted for the parking spot but not the language about the Marines, said she had never seen such a response. Not that the Council did not deserve it, she added.

“I live in the hills,” Ms. Olds said. “And they don’t like this one bit.”


14) Economists’ Tea Leaves Point to Recession
February 12, 2008

According to Wall Street’s forecasters, the recession of 2008 is now unavoidable.

That is, if you read between the lines of their predictions.

In a survey released Tuesday morning by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, forecasters said on average that there was a 47 percent chance the economy would shrink in the first quarter of this year. But the economists surveyed, many working for investment banks or Wall Street research firms, are a notoriously optimistic bunch, and every time they have gotten so worried over the last four decades, the economy has ended up in recession.

There have been six recessions since 1968, the year that the quarterly survey of economists began. At the start of every one, economists put the odds that the economy would shrink in the current quarter at 40 percent or more.

At times, the economists have either jumped the gun or said that a recession would last longer than it did. In late 1979, for example, the forecasters said the economy was already likely to be shrinking; the National Bureau of Economic Research — widely considered the arbiter of business cycles — later said that the recession began in January 1980.

But the recession-probability index — which the Philadelphia Fed calls the Anxious Index — has yet to miss a recession entirely or to signal one that never happened. Its biggest blemish came in the first quarter of 1988, when forecasters put the odds of a negative quarter at 35 percent. The economy then continued to grow for more than two years, before entering a recession in the summer of 1990.

In the latest survey, the forecasters also said there was a 43 percent chance that the economy would shrink in the following quarter — the second quarter of 2008. That measure’s record is just as good over the last four decades: Every time it has risen above 40 percent, the economy has gone into recession.


15) Senate Authorizes Broad Expansion Of Surveillance Act
By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008; A01

The Senate yesterday approved a sweeping measure that would expand the government's clandestine surveillance powers, delivering a key victory to the White House by approving immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that cooperated with intelligence agencies in domestic spying after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

On a 68 to 29 vote, the Senate approved the reauthorization of a law that would give the government greater powers to eavesdrop in terrorism and intelligence cases without obtaining warrants from a secret court.

The Senate's action, days before a temporary surveillance law expires Friday, sets up a clash with House Democrats, who have previously approved legislation that does not contain immunity for the telecommunications industry. The chambers have been locked in a standoff over the immunity provision since the House vote Nov. 15, with President Bush demanding the protection for the industry.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the president "will not sign another extension" of the temporary law, a decision that could force congressional leaders to reconcile their differences this week.

"The House is risking national security by delaying action," Fratto said. "It's increasingly clear Congress will not act until it has to, and a second extension will only lead to a third."

But House leaders vowed again yesterday to oppose the telecom immunity provision until the White House releases more information about the controversial warrantless surveillance program it initiated shortly after the terrorist attacks.

Bush applauded the Senate bill and warned House Democrats to put aside "narrow partisan concerns" on the immunity issue and approve the Senate's version.

"This good bill passed by the Senate provides a long-term foundation for our intelligence community to monitor the communications of foreign terrorists in ways that are timely and effective and that also protect the liberties of Americans," Bush said.

The House and Senate bills both include major revisions to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to issue warrants for domestic spying on suspects in terrorism and intelligence cases. The National Security Agency, however, secretly bypassed the court for years as it obtained information from telecommunication companies, until media reports revealed the arrangement.

The most important change approved by the Senate yesterday would make permanent a law approved last August that expanded the government's authority to intercept -- without a court order -- the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States communicating with others overseas. U.S. intelligence agencies previously had broad leeway to monitor the communications of foreign terrorism suspects but needed warrants to monitor calls intercepted in the United States, regardless of where they originated.

The House and Senate versions of the new FISA provisions differ slightly, but leaders on both sides acknowledged that the major stumbling block is immunity for the telecommunications industry, which faces dozens of lawsuits for providing personal information to intelligence agencies without warrants.

Senate Democrats' split on immunity echoes past party divisions over national security issues, including how strongly to confront Bush on the tools the administration uses to target suspected terrorists and their allies.

"This is the right way to go, in terms of the security of the nation," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the intelligence committee, which wrote the Senate bill.

Rockefeller was one of 17 Democrats who joined 49 Republicans and one independent to reject an amendment offered by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) that would have stripped the immunity provision from the bill.

Two-thirds of the Democratic caucus opposed immunity. "It is inconceivable that any telephone companies that allegedly cooperated with the administration's warrantless wiretapping program did not know what their obligations were. And it is just as implausible that those companies believed they were entitled to simply assume the lawfulness of a government request for assistance," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who co-sponsored the amendment.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who is locked in a tight race with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the Democratic presidential nomination, opposed immunity for the industry, along with the entire elected Democratic leadership team. Clinton, who has publicly opposed immunity in the past, was campaigning during yesterday's primaries and did not attend the vote.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the front-runner for the GOP nomination, supported the overall bill and the immunity provision. Neither Clinton nor Obama was on hand for the vote on final passage of the bill. McCain was.

Congressional leaders have until Friday -- when a two-week extension of the temporary law that authorizes expanded surveillance powers expires -- to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions. House Democratic leaders introduced a bill for another 21-day extension of the law, the Protect America Act, to provide sufficient time.

Republican leaders in both chambers have pushed for passage of the Senate bill without a House-Senate conference.

"I don't think there's a need to do a conference. This bill has been vetted and vetted and vetted," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the Republican whip.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, warned Democrats not to expect a softening of the administration's position.

"I think the Democrats would be making a mistake if they felt the president was not going to be serious about vetoing any further extension or insisting that the immunity provisions be in there," Smith said.

But House Democratic leaders continued pushing for more information about the warrantless spying that telephone companies aided after the 2001 attacks.

Available documents on the program "raise important questions, and it will take some time to gather enough information to make a determination on the issue of retroactive immunity," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.) said yesterday.

Staff writer Michael Abramowitz and staff writer Ben Pershing contributed to this report.


16) White House Pushes Waterboarding Rationale
Administration May Be Trying to Shore Up Prosecution of Terrorism Suspects
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008; A03

After years of refusing public comment on a particularly harsh CIA interrogation method, top Bush administration officials have suddenly begun pressing a controversial argument that it was legal for the CIA to strap prisoners to a board and pour water over their face to make them believe they were being drowned.

The issue promises to play a role in the historic military prosecution of six al-Qaeda detainees for allegedly organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in cases described by the Defense Department on Monday. One of the six detainees, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, was subjected to the technique known as waterboarding after his capture in 2003, and four of the others were subjected to different "enhanced interrogation" tactics by the CIA.

If the information the CIA collected is used in court, defense attorneys may attack it as tainted and unlawful. If the government relies instead on evidence the FBI collected in voluntary interrogations -- using the CIA information as a road map -- defense attorneys could still allege that the material is the "fruit of a poisonous tree" and unlawful.

The government's defense of the waterboarding episodes, laid out in congressional testimony and administration statements over the past two weeks, relies on a complex legal argument that many scholars and human rights advocates say is at odds with settled law barring conduct that amounts to torture, at any time or for any reason. It also leaves open the possibility that, under the right conditions, the CIA could decide to use the tactic again.

The strategy appears to be aimed primarily at ensuring that no CIA interrogators face criminal prosecution for using harsh interrogation methods that top White House and Justice Department lawyers approved in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Because waterboarding was deemed legal at the time by the Justice Department, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey told lawmakers, he has no grounds to launch a criminal probe of the practice.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin M. Scalia echoed the administration's view when he said in a BBC Radio interview yesterday that some physical interrogation techniques could be used on a suspect in the event of an imminent threat, such as a hidden bomb about to blow up. "It would be absurd to say you couldn't do that," Scalia said. "And once you acknowledge that, we're into a different game: How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?"

White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters last week: "Any technique that you use, you use it under certain circumstances. It was something that they felt at that time was necessary, and they sought legal guidance to make sure that it was legal and that it was effective."

Such detailed commentary on a classified interrogation program marks a departure for the administration, which for years had refused to confirm the use of waterboarding. Officials asserted that American lives would be put at risk if information about such an aggressive interrogation method were disclosed.

Controversy quickly followed CIA Director Michael V. Hayden's confirmation last week that three al-Qaeda prisoners were subjected to waterboarding in 2002 and 2003. Hayden, Fratto and other Bush administration officials left open the possibility that President Bush could authorize the use of simulated drowning again, but conceded that recent court rulings and legislation might not allow it.

The flurry of statements prompted fierce criticism from Democrats as well as strong condemnations from abroad. Manfred Nowak, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said last week that the administration's use of waterboarding is "unjustifiable" and "absolutely unacceptable under international human rights law."

Waterboarding usually involves pouring water over a captive's mouth and nose while he is strapped to an inclined board, with his head lower than his feet and a piece of cloth or cellophane placed over his face. Use of the tactic and its variations has long been condemned by the State Department, and it is explicitly barred by the U.S. Army Field Manual for the handling of military prisoners.

But White House and Justice Department officials have said that the CIA was acting lawfully when it used the tactic. At the time, they noted, administration lawyers, led by then-White House counsel and future attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales, had concluded that al-Qaeda prisoners were not covered by protections of the Geneva Conventions.

As a result, lawyers who reviewed the tactic at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel looked narrowly at whether the technique constituted torture, which is defined by statute as infliction of "severe" physical or mental pain or suffering on a captive.

A pair of memos by that office concluded that waterboarding was not torture, possibly because its use was monitored and limited by someone with medical training whose role was to limit the severity of the pain. Those memos, one of which is still secret, paved the way for the CIA to use waterboarding.

But as Mukasey and other officials acknowledged, the legal landscape has changed since 2003. The Supreme Court ruled in 2005, for example, that the Geneva protections apply to al-Qaeda prisoners, and subsequent legislation from Congress barred cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of captives. The net effect was to require the Bush administration, which had opposed the Supreme Court's position, to adhere to legal standards barring conduct that is less severe than torture as legally defined.

In Senate testimony last month, for example, Mukasey emphasized that while waterboarding might be prohibited under some circumstances, it might be allowed if it did not "shock the conscience." That phrase was coined by the Supreme Court in a 1952 ruling against police brutality, which provoked criticism because it imposed an inherently subjective due-process standard. But it was implicitly embraced in legislation approved last year.

Mukasey described the matter as "a balancing test of the value of doing something as against the cost of doing it," and refused lawmakers' demands that he render an absolute verdict on its legality. Fratto, in remarks to reporters last week, amplified the point by asserting that waterboarding could be legal if the government believed it was under imminent threat.

But many legal experts say that such a "sliding scale" approach applies only to proscriptions against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, which ranks a step below torture in U.S. and international human rights law. Philip B. Heymann, who was a deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration and now teaches at Harvard Law School, said the Bush administration is "trying to act as if they have wiggle room even if they don't."

"There's a plausible argument that there's a sliding scale, but only if you have arrived at the position that it's not torture," Heymann said. "There is no sliding scale for torture."

Unlike less severe abuse, torture is clearly banned by federal statute and international treaty, a fact that Mukasey acknowledged in testimony last week. "The torture statute applies across the board," he said, adding later that the prohibition is a "bright line."

The Military Commissions Act of 2006, which governs the trial that is being sought for Mohammed and the other Sept. 11 defendants, also expressly bars the use of evidence obtained through torture. But the term is undefined in the statute, and it is unclear whether the commission would side with the Bush administration, which defends waterboarding, or the military, which forbids it.

Most human rights groups and many lawyers who specialize in interrogation and detention laws maintain that waterboarding is torture, regardless of how carefully it is done -- because some pain is inflicted and victims are essentially coercively threatened with imminent death. "Virtually the entire rest of the world, including . . . every legislator who has spoken to the question, has concluded that waterboarding is categorically unlawful," former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer Martin S. Lederman said in a blog posting Friday.

But David B. Rivkin Jr., a Justice Department official in the Reagan era, said officials may be justified in using the tactic to prevent terrorist attacks in a time of imminent danger. "If you do something when you've suffered a horrible attack and you are expecting another attack any day, that is a very different context than something that you do for 20 years consistently," Rivkin said.

The CIA said last week that it had been five years, almost to the day, since it last used waterboarding and that it has not been on its list of approved techniques since 2006. But the Bush administration has said it opposes bills pending in Congress to explicitly bar any future use of the tactic.


17) Unnecessary Harm
February 13, 2008

The Bush administration’s decision to put six detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on trial before military tribunals and to seek the death penalty is both a betrayal of American ideals and simply bad strategy. Instead of being what they could and should be — a model of justice dispensed impartially, surely and dispassionately — the trials will proceed under deeply flawed procedures that violate this country’s basic fairness. The intense negative attention they will receive will do enormous damage to what is left of America’s standing in world opinion.

There is good reason to believe that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the five others may have been responsible for horrific acts. If convicted, they should be jailed for life, but that should happen under due process. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the administration has made clear that it wants to give people accused of terrorism as few rights as the Supreme Court will let it get away with.

This week’s announcement is a reminder that those rights will be so limited in the military tribunals that the credibility of any verdict will be undermined. Prosecutors will be able to use evidence obtained by improper means, including by torture. The rules will be stacked in the government’s favor, so hearsay evidence that would not be allowed in civilian courts may be allowed. Prosecutors may rely on classified evidence that the defendants will not be able to challenge. Defendants may not be allowed to call important witnesses.

Hanging over it all is the Kafkaesque fact that even if the defendants were somehow to beat the charges, they would not be set free. They would simply go back to being detainees in Guantánamo.

Trying these men this way is sure to raise international hackles. Injecting the death penalty, which is unpopular internationally in the best of circumstances, will only increase the bad feeling. Alienating the world, as the Bush administration still does not seem to understand, is not simply loutish behavior. It has very real implications for national security. The United States relies on other nations to monitor terrorism suspects and track down leads, and to apply pressure to nations like Iran. It relies on the support, or at least the absence of inflamed hatred, of the citizens of countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to keep friendly governments in place. It is reckless to needlessly act in ways that outrage the rest of the world.

In this case, the offense is indeed needless. The administration can and should proceed against these six, and other terrorism defendants, in ordinary federal courts. That was what was done with Zacarias Moussaoui, Jose Padilla and others. Those trials protected the constitutional rights of the defendants, which protects the constitutional rights of every American. And, in the cases of Mr. Moussaoui and Mr. Padilla, resulted in convictions and long prison sentences that had credibility that verdicts in these current cases are sure to lack.

This is just what we feared would happen as a result of President Bush’s decision to go outside the law in dealing with terrorism: men who may well have committed crimes against humanity are being put on trial in a system so flawed that the results will seem unjust.


18) Lifeline for Whom?
February 13, 2008

When pressed by government officials, the mortgage industry has repeatedly pledged to modify the loans of at-risk borrowers.

In May last year, Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, convened a group of major banks and loan servicers that promised to “create a permanent solution,” wherever possible, for troubled subprime borrowers. Then there was Hope Now, created last October and, now, as of Tuesday, Project Lifeline, both created at the urging of the Bush administration and both involving mortgage industry honchos promising to help hard-pressed borrowers.

If the industry had kept the promises they made last May, the other two efforts might not have been needed. So it’s unclear why the administration continues to believe that urging the industry to do more is the most effective way to cope with the foreclosure crisis. The industry, for its part, has earned the skepticism that has greeted its serial promises.

Under Hope Now, the industry has said it would freeze the interest rates on many subprime loans starting this year. But the group is not expected to report reliable results until sometime in March, at the earliest. Under Project Lifeline, banks are promising to delay foreclosure proceedings for 30 days for delinquent borrowers with both subprime and higher-quality loans. During the pause, the banks would presumably try to modify the loans to make them affordable over the long run. What they actually will do is anybody’s guess.

We do know that 1.6 million borrowers defaulted on their home loans last year and millions more are anticipated in the next few years. Even if the industry-led efforts were very successful, a big if, they’re not expected to be anywhere near enough help to stop the damaging fallout from widespread foreclosures — on neighborhoods, cities and the broader economy.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Paulson, who took a leading role in creating Hope Now and Project Lifeline, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking Committee. The members of the committee should quickly disabuse him of any notion he may have that he’s doing enough. He should be asked to explain, specifically, what will be different at the end of Project Lifeline’s 30-day timeout. The only acceptable answer would be widespread modifications that reduce loan balances, reduce interest rates or extend the terms of the loans. And the committee should make clear that it is moving ahead with other more forceful solutions.


19) Limbo for U.S. Women Reporting Iraq Assaults
February 13, 2008

WASHINGTON — Mary Beth Kineston, an Ohio resident who went to Iraq to drive trucks, thought she had endured the worst when her supply convoy was ambushed in April 2004. After car bombs exploded and insurgents began firing on the road between Baghdad and Balad, she and other military contractors were saved only when Army Black Hawk helicopters arrived.

But not long after the ambush, Ms. Kineston said, she was sexually assaulted by another driver, who remained on the job, at least temporarily, even after she reported the episode to KBR, the military contractor that employed the drivers. Later, she said she was groped by a second KBR worker. After complaining to the company about the threats and harassments endured by female employees in Iraq, she was fired.

“I felt safer on the convoys with the Army than I ever did working for KBR,” said Ms. Kineston, who won a modest arbitration award against KBR. “At least if you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the Army and they would come and help you out. But when I complained to KBR, they didn’t do anything. I still have nightmares. They changed my life forever, and they got away with it.”

Ms. Kineston is among a number of American women who have reported that they were sexually assaulted by co-workers while working as contractors in Iraq but now find themselves in legal limbo, unable to seek justice or even significant compensation.

Many of the same legal and logistical obstacles that have impeded other types of investigations involving contractors in Iraq, like shootings involving security guards for Blackwater Worldwide, have made it difficult for the United States government to pursue charges related to sexual offenses. The military justice system does not apply to them, and the reach of other American laws on contractors working in foreign war zones remains unclear five years after the United States invasion of Iraq.

KBR and other companies, meanwhile, have required Iraq-bound employees to agree to take personnel disputes to private arbitration rather than sue the companies in American courts. The companies have repeatedly challenged arbitration claims of sexual assault or harassment brought by women who served in Iraq, raising fears among some women about going public with their claims.

The issue gained national attention when Jamie Leigh Jones, a 23-year-old former employee of KBR, testified at a Congressional hearing in December that she had been gang-raped by co-workers in Iraq in 2005. She appeared again on Tuesday and talked in detail about the episode, urging lawmakers to make it easier for crime victims to sue employers.

“Victims of crime perpetrated by employees of taxpayer-funded government contracts in Iraq deserve the same standard of treatment and protection governed by the same laws whether they are working in the U.S. or abroad,” she said.

Since she spoke out publicly in December, other women have begun to step forward.

Ms. Jones and her lawyers said 38 women who worked as contractors in Iraq, Kuwait and other countries had contacted her since she testified to discuss their own experiences. Now, Congressional leaders are seeking answers from the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies to try to determine the scope of the threats facing women who are contractors.

Paul Brand, a Chicago psychologist who counsels contractors who have served in Iraq, said the harassment of female workers by male colleagues was common. “The extent of the harassment varies greatly from contractor to contractor, depending on how diligently they screen job candidates and management’s willingness to encourage women to report problems,” he said. “In many instances, very little or nothing is done.”

Comprehensive statistics on sexual assaults in Iraq are unavailable because no one in the government or the contracting industry is tracking them. Court documents, interviews with those who were victims, their lawyers and other professionals, along with the limited data made available by the Bush administration, suggest a troubling trend.

The Criminal Investigation Command of the Army has reported that it investigated 124 cases of sexual assault in Iraq over the last three years. Those figures, provided to Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who has taken the lead in the Senate on the issue, include cases involving both contractors and military personnel, but do not include cases involving contractors or soldiers investigated by other branches of the military.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the State Department has separately reported that it has investigated four cases of rape or sexual assault involving female contractors, including Ms. Jones’s case. But the Pentagon has so far failed to respond to a request from Mr. Nelson for more comprehensive data, including the number of rape examinations done by military doctors in Iraq on behalf of female contractors. What is more, the Bush administration has not offered to develop a coordinated response to the problem, aides to Senator Nelson and experts have said.

Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for KBR, said the company would protect women working in Iraq. “KBR’s commitment to the safety and security of all employees is unwavering,” she said in a statement. “One instance of sexual harassment or assault is too many and unacceptable.” The company declined to say how many female employees had reported that they were victims of sex crimes in Iraq.

The administration’s decision to rely so heavily on outside contractors — about 180,000 contractors work in Iraq, significantly outnumbering United States military personnel in the country — probably made it inevitable that contractor crime would emerge as a problem as the war dragged on. KBR, by far the largest military contractor in Iraq, says that it now has 2,383 women there, of a total work force of 54,170.

A shooting in Baghdad last September involving Blackwater guards that left 17 Iraqis dead highlighted the lack of clarity in the laws governing contractors. In cases involving sexual assault, for example, soldiers and other military personnel can be prosecuted under the military justice system, but that system does not apply to contractors.

Instead, a little-used law, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, seems to be the closest statute that could apply to contractors charged with rape, but its legal reach has been under wide debate since the Blackwater shootings.

Women who worked as contractors in Iraq say that while on the job they encountered sexual discrimination and harassment, which sometimes veered dangerously to sexual assaults and even rapes.

Linda Lindsey, of Houston, who worked for KBR in Iraq from 2004 until early 2007, said that she often saw evidence of sexual harassment or discrimination, and that male supervisors often tried to force female employees to grant sexual favors in exchange for promotions or other benefits.

She added that the company’s management seemed unwilling to take action to improve working conditions for women in Iraq. “We filed complaints against one supervisor, and the complaints disappeared,” Ms. Lindsey said in an interview. “The impression you got was that they really didn’t want to hear it, because the money was coming in. Most of it was bad management on-site.”

Pamela Jones, of Texas, a KBR logistics coordinator in Kuwait in 2003 and 2004, was sexually assaulted by a supervisor. “It was known that if you started complaining that you could lose your job,” said Ms. Jones, who added that she reported it to management. “They give you an 800 number to report. But then they shoved it under the rug, and they told me I was a pest.”

She later won an arbitration award from KBR, according to her Houston lawyer, Peter Costea.

Lawyers for women who have reported that they were raped or assaulted while working in Iraq say that one of the biggest obstacles they face is the arbitration requirement.

That means that women who say they were victimized have had great difficulty taking KBR to court for failing to better protect its female employees in Iraq.

KBR defended the arbitration process, saying it is fair. The fact that Ms. Kineston and Pamela Jones won awards is an indication that the system works, said Ms. Browne, the KBR spokeswoman.

Jamie Leigh Jones said she had been fighting to get her case out of the arbitration process and into a federal court, and she testified before a House committee on Tuesday in support of the need to change the laws governing private arbitration. KBR says it “disputes Ms. Jones’s version of the incident she alleges.”

After her Congressional testimony in December, she also testified before a federal grand jury in Florida, which has begun a criminal inquiry into her case more than two years after she first reported the rape.

Her lawyer, Todd Kelly, says he believes that the government has finally been prodded into action only because of the public attention brought by her case. “Her case came out on television before they said anything about a grand jury,” he said.


20) U.S. Program to Verify Worker Status Is Growing
February 13, 2008

LOS ANGELES — The number of businesses taking part in a voluntary program that allows them to verify electronically their newly hired employees’ legal authorization to work in the United States is soaring, the federal government said Tuesday.

About 52,000 employers are now using a Web-based system, known as E-Verify, compared with 14,265 a year ago. The system has been growing in the past year by 1,000 employers a week, said the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services, which runs the program with the Social Security Administration.

Although the tally is a small fraction of the 5.7 million employers nationwide, program officials said it proved the system was catching on.

“This program is proving to be a key component in promoting the integrity of the employment verification process of our workforce,” Emilio Gonzalez, the director of citizenship and immigration services, said in a statement.

The system, which is free, verifies documentation like Social Security cards and immigration papers that people need to work in the United States.

About a third of the employers, 18,000, are in Arizona, where a new state law requires businesses to use the program to verify the right to work for new employees.

Business and immigrant rights groups in Arizona have sued to block the law, saying in part that E-Verify prompts employers to dismiss workers who may be authorized to work but do not have their paperwork in order. A federal judge upheld the law, but the groups have appealed.

In a separate case, a federal judge in December issued a stay in a lawsuit filed by the federal government against Illinois, which had passed a law prohibiting employers from using the system over questions about its accuracy.

About 93 percent of the employees checked in the program receive authorization in a manner of seconds.


21) In Price and Supply, Wheat Is the Unstable Staple
February 13, 2008

CHICAGO — For decades, wheat was a commodity no American needed to think much about, except the farmers who grew it. The grain was usually plentiful and prices were low.

All of a sudden, those assumptions have been turned upside down. With demand soaring abroad and droughts crimping supply, the world’s wheat stockpiles have fallen to their lowest level in 30 years, and stocks in the United States have dropped to levels unseen since 1948.

Prices have been gyrating in recent days as traders tried to figure out what to make of the situation. On Tuesday, prices for a sought-after variety, spring wheat, jumped to $16.73 a bushel on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, the latest of several records.

Prices for common wheat are up nearly 50 percent since August, and they are up even more for the most sought-after varieties, leaving buyers, growers and longtime commodity traders shaking their heads.

“Anyone who tells you they’ve seen something like this is a liar,” said Vince Boddicker of the Farmers Trading Company in Mitchell, S.D.

Though this week’s prices were nominal records, the inflation-adjusted record for wheat was set in the mid-1970s, when it exceeded $20 a bushel in today’s dollars after huge sales to the Soviet Union.

Foreign buying is driving this market, too, but these buyers include South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela. Economic growth abroad has given people the means to improve their diets, and they are developing a taste for products made from wheat.

“We haven’t hit a price that has slowed the international interest,” said Joe Victor of the commodity research firm Allendale. “That is something that definitely has the market excited.”

Among the consequences are stretched wallets at home and abroad as food processors pass along higher costs.

“When the price of your raw material quadruples, you can’t afford not to raise your prices,” said Timothy Dodd, president and chief executive of the Dakota Growers Pasta Company in Carrington, N.D. “Otherwise you’re out of business.”

In a Jan. 30 conference call, the chief executive of Kellogg, A. D. David Mackay, said, “Everyone is feeling these inflationary pressures.” General Mills cited rising ingredient costs when it increased cereal prices last June.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that world wheat production will rise this year to nearly 664 million tons, from about 655 million tons — not enough to replenish stocks and push down prices. In December, the organization noted that high international grain prices were causing food shortages, hoarding and even riots in some places.

To damp volatility, three United States exchanges that trade wheat futures contracts have raised the daily limit on price movements from 30 cents to 60 cents during the past week.

For the moment, the mania appeared to be halted in Chicago and Kansas City. March prices for soft red winter wheat, a low-protein wheat that is less favored than spring wheat, fell 41 cents Tuesday, to $10.07, in Chicago.

Egypt put out an offer for a large wheat purchase on Monday, but chose not to buy any. That prompted speculation that it was waiting for prices to fall. But Japan was reported to be bidding for 85,000 tons of American spring wheat.

“When the last person who has to buy in a market does so, you have a top,” Mr. Boddicker said. “We’re quickly approaching that point, if we haven’t hit it already.”

Few farmers have enough wheat on hand to take advantage of the recent increases, the trader said. Most sold last fall for prices that seemed good at the time.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s 10-year forecast, released Tuesday, sees the wheat shortage as temporary. Stockpiles were predicted to fall this year to 312 million bushels, from 456 million bushels, before rebounding to about 700 million bushels by the end of the decade.

Higher prices “will encourage additional acreage and production,” the report said. Wheat plantings will rise to 65 million acres in the 2008-9 season, from 60.4 million this year, the Agriculture Department said, though it predicted the number would then fall because of competition from other crops.




Tactic Called Torture
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) — Waterboarding, an interrogation technique that has been used by the United States, qualifies as torture, the United Nations human rights chief said Friday.
February 9, 2008

Halliburton Profit Rises
HOUSTON (AP) — Halliburton, the oil field services company, said Monday that its emphasis on Middle Eastern markets had contributed to a nearly 5 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.
The company has been adding people and equipment to the Middle East and elsewhere — even moving its top executive overseas — which it says helped Eastern Hemisphere sales grow 27 percent in the fourth quarter versus a year ago.
Halliburton said results were squeezed by higher costs and lower pricing in North America, a trend that also hindered a rival, Schlumberger, and could persist.
Net income in the fourth quarter rose to $690 million, or 75 cents a share, compared with $658 million, or 64 cents a share, in the period a year ago.
January 29, 2008

Colombia: Guerrilla Leader Is Sentenced
Ricardo Palmera, a top leader of the Marxist-inspired Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was sentenced by a federal court in Washington to 60 years in prison for taking part in the kidnapping of three American military contractors in 2003. Mr. Palmera, 57, the most senior Colombian guerrilla leader extradited to the United States, had justified the abductions as a tactic of war by the FARC, Latin America’s largest rebel group. At the courtroom where he was sentenced, Mr. Palmera, known by the nom de guerre Simón Trinidad, accused the United States of improperly intervening in Colombia’s affairs and shouted, “Long live the FARC!”
January 29, 2008
World Briefing | The Americas

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!




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
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[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,]


"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]


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]


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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