Saturday, August 09, 2008



Bay Area United Against War Presents a Benefit Performance of:

Howard Zinn's MARX IN SOHO

Author of “A People’s History of the United States,” Howard Zinn, humanizes the man behind the ideas in his one-man play. The premise of the play is that Marx dies in 1883 but is able to see what happens on Earth for the next 100 years and then comes back to talk about it. Imagine what Karl Marx would have to say after 100 years of just being able to watch...

Starring Veteran Actor: Jerry Levy

Charged with a mighty talent and a bottomless love of the play, Levy has been teaching sociology at Marlboro College and has been acting with the Actors’ Theater of Brattleboro since he moved there from Chicago in 1975.

Saturday, August 30, 2:00 P.M.
Brava Studio Theater
2781 24th Street (at York Street)
San Francisco, CA 94110

Advance Tickets: $10.00
Door: $20.00
For Advance tickets call ahead to:
or email:
(Please use the words Marx in Soho in the subject.)
Your name will be placed on a list at the door and you can pick up your advance tickets at the reduced price the day of the performance.

P.O. Box 318021
S.F., CA 94131-8021


Yet Another Insult: Mumia Abu-Jamal Denied Full-Court Hearing by 3rd Circuit
& Other News on Mumia

This mailing sent by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal


1. Mumia Abu-Jamal Denied Full-Court Hearing by 3rd Circuit
2. Upcoming Events for Mumia
3. New Book on the framing of Mumia

1. MUMIA DENIED AGAIN -- Adding to its already rigged, discriminatory record with yet another insult to the world's most famous political prisoner, the federal court for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia has refused to give Mumia Abu-Jamal an en banc, or full court, hearing. This follows the rejection last March by a 3-judge panel of the court, of what is likely Mumia's last federal appeal.

The denial of an en banc hearing by the 3rd Circuit, upholding it's denial of the appeal, is just the latest episode in an incredible year of shoving the overwhelming evidence of Mumia's innocence under a rock. Earlier in the year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also rejected Jamal's most recent state appeal. Taken together, state and federal courts in 2008 have rejected or refused to hear all the following points raised by Mumia's defense:

1. The state's key witness, Cynthia White, was pressured by police to lie on the stand in order to convict Mumia, according to her own admission to a confidant (other witnesses agreed she wasn't on the scene at all)
2. A hospital "confession" supposedly made by Mumia was manufactured by police. The false confession was another key part of the state's wholly-manufactured "case."
3. The 1995 appeals court judge, Albert Sabo--the same racist who presided at Mumia's original trial in 1982, where he said, "I'm gonna help 'em fry the n....r"--was prejudiced against him. This fact was affirmed even by Philadelphia's conservative newspapers at the time.
4. The prosecutor prejudiced the jury against inn ocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, by using a slimy tactic already rejected by the courts. But the prosecutor was upheld in Mumia's case!
5. The jury was racially skewed when the prosecution excluded most blacks from the jury, a practice banned by law, but, again, upheld against Mumia!

All of these defense claims were proven and true. But for the courts, these denials were just this year’s trampling on the evidence! Other evidence dismissed or ignored over the years include: hit-man Arnold Beverly said back in the 1990s that he, not Mumia, killed the slain police officer (Faulkner). Beverly passed a lie detector test and was willing to testify, but he got no hearing in US courts! Also, Veronica Jones, who saw two men run from the scene just after the shooting, was coerced by police to lie at the 1982 trial, helping to convict Mumia. But when she admitted this lie and told the truth on appeal in 1996, she was dismissed by prosecutor-in-robes Albert Sabo in 1996 as "not credible!" (She continues to support Mumia, and is writing a book on her experiences.) And William Singletary, the one witness who saw the whole thing and had no reason to lie, and who affirmed that someone else did the shooting, said that Mumia only arriv ed on the scene AFTER the officer was shot. His testimony has been rejected by the courts on flimsy grounds. And the list goes on.

FOR THE COURTS, INNOCENCE IS NO DEFENSE! And if you're a black revolutionary like Mumia the fix is in big-time. Illusions in Mumia getting a "new trial" out of this racist, rigged, kangaroo-court system have been dealt a harsh blow by the 3rd Circuit. We need to build a mass movement, and labor action, to free Mumia now!


NEW YORK CITY & PHILADELPHIA -- Join the Free Mumia Coalition NYC and International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, organizing to free Mumia, and remembering the August 8, 1978 military style attack on MOVE. Free Mumia! Free the MOVE 9! Saturday, August 9, 12 Noon, at the AFSCME 1199 union hall, 1319 Locust (near Juniper) in Philadelphia. Arrange group transport, or reserve a set on the bus, from NYC by calling 212 330-8029, or email

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA -- Speaking Tour by J Patrick O'Connor, the author of THE FRAMING OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, in the first week of October 2008, sponsored by the Mobilization To Free Mumia. Contributing to this tour, the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia will hold a public meeting with O'Connor on Friday October 3rd, place to be announced. San Francisco, South Bay and other East Bay venues to be announced. Contact the Mobilization at 510 268-9429, or the LAC at 510 763-2347, for more information.


Efficiently and Methodically Framed--Mumia is innocent! That is the conclusion of THE FRAMING OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, by J Patrick O'Connor (Lawrence Hill Books), published earlier this year. The author is a former UPI reporter who took an interest in Mumia's case. He is now the editor of Crime Magazine (

O'Connor offers a fresh perspective, and delivers a clear and convincing breakdown on perhaps the most notorious frame-up since Sacco and Vanzetti. THE FRAMING OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL is based on a thorough analysis of the 1982 trial and the 1995-97 appeals hearings, as well as previous writings on this case, and research on the MOVE organization (with which Mumia identifies), and the history of racist police brutality in Philadelphia.

While leaving some of the evidence of Mumia's innocence unconsidered or disregarded, this book nevertheless makes clear that there is a veritable mountain of evidence--most of it deliberately squashed by the courts--that shows that Mumia was blatantly and deliberately framed by corrupt cops and courts, who "fixed" this case against him from the beginning. This is a case not just of police corruption, or a racist lynching, though it is both. The courts are in this just as deep as the cops, and it reaches to the top of the equally corrupt political system.

"This book is the first to convincingly show how the Philadelphia Police Department and District Attorney's Office efficiently and methodically framed [Mumia Abu-Jamal]." (from the book jacket)

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal has a limited number of THE FRAMING ordered from the publisher at a discount. We sold our first order of this book, and are now able to offer it at a lower price. $12 covers shipping. Send payment to us at our address below:

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • 510.763.2347 •


Excellent YouTube video on recruiting youth to the military including from JROTC:
Financial incentives boost US Army enlistment - 23 Mar 08

NEXT Meeting to defeat pro-JROTC referendum set for November Ballot in SF
TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 7:15-9:00 pm
Friends Meeting House
65 9th St, San Francisco (between Mission and Market Sts)
To RSVP or for additional information, please contact Alan Lessik at AFSC at 565.0201, x11 or

See below:

10) Pushing Back at Pushy Recruiters
“They say there’s not a draft,” said Katie Yamasaki, an art teacher who is
directing the project. “But when they say they can’t afford to fund college
because 40 percent of our tax dollars go to war, a lot of youths feel
By David Gonzalez
August 7, 2008, 1:47 pm


Labor Beat: National Assembly to End the War in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Highlights from the June 28-29, 2008 meeting in Cleveland, OH. In this 26-minute video, Labor Beat presents a sampling of the speeches and floor discussions from this important conference. Attended by over 400 people, the Assembly's main objective was to urge united and massive mobilizations in the spring to “Bring the Troops Home Now,” as well as supporting actions that build towards that date. To read the final action proposal and to learn other details, visit Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is affiliated with IBEW 1220. Views expressed are those of the producer, not necessarily of IBEW. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video or YouTube and search "Labor Beat".

Open Letter to the U.S. Antiwar Movement

The following “Open letter to the U.S. Antiwar Movement” was adopted by the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations on July 13, 2008. We urge antiwar organizations around the country to endorse the letter. Please send notice of endorsements to

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

In the coming months, there will be a number of major actions mobilizing opponents of U.S. wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to demand “Bring the Troops Home Now!” These will include demonstrations at the Democratic and Republican Party conventions, pre-election mobilizations like those on October 11 in a number of cities and states, and the December 9-14 protest activities. All of these can and should be springboards for very large bi-coastal demonstrations in the spring.

Our movement faces this challenge: Will the spring actions be unified with all sections of the movement joining together to mobilize the largest possible outpouring on a given date? Or will different antiwar coalitions set different dates for actions that would be inherently competitive, the result being smaller and less powerful expressions of support for the movement’s “Out Now!” demand?

We appeal to all sections of the movement to speak up now and be heard on this critical question. We must not replicate the experience of recent years during which the divisions in the movement severely weakened it to the benefit of the warmakers and the detriment of the millions of victims of U.S. aggressions, interventions and occupations.

Send a message. Urge – the times demand it! – united action in the spring to ensure a turnout which will reflect the majority’s sentiments for peace. Ideally, all major forces in the antiwar movement would announce jointly, or at least on the same day, an agreed upon date for the spring demonstrations.

The National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations will be glad to participate in the process of selecting a date for spring actions that the entire movement can unite around. One way or another, let us make sure that comes spring we will march in the streets together, demanding that the occupations be ended, that all the troops and contractors be withdrawn immediately, and that all U.S. military bases be closed.

In solidarity and peace,

National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations


A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Film Series
American Ethnic Cleansings
Thurs. Aug. 14, 7:30pm
ATA, 992 Valencia St. at 21st, SF $6 donation

Between 1860 and 1920 the Black residents of hundreds of U.S. cities, towns and entire counties were expelled from their homes. “Banished” vividly recovers the too-quickly forgotten history of racist “ethnic cleansing,” when thousands of African Americans were driven from their communities by violent, racist mobs.

“Banished” raises the larger question: Will the United States ever make meaningful reparations for the human rights abuses suffered, then and now, against its African American citizens? Can the long and terrible history of racism and national oppression be overcome without them? 2007, 84 min.

Sponsored by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, 415-821-6545.

Volunteers Needed!
Upcoming Outreach Worksessions

Help with postering, flyering and making alert phone calls for upcoming events. You can also pick up flyers and posters for upcoming events anytime at the SF office. Call for East Bay Office hours.

East Bay
Thurs. Aug. 7, 6pm and Sat. Aug. 9, 1pm
meet at 636 9th St. at MLK, Oakland. (near 12th St. BART)
Call 510-435-0844 for more info.

San Francisco
Tues. Aug. 12, 5-8pm
meet at 2489 Mission St. #24, at 21st St., SF (near 24th St. BART/#14, #49 MUNI)
Call 415-821-6545 for more info.

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

Make a tax-deductible donation to A.N.S.W.E.R. by credit card over a secure server, learn how to donate by check.
Unsubscribe from this list - if you experience a problem please email


Thursday, August 14 - 7:30 pm
David Rovics Concert
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1924 Cedar St. at Bonita, a block east of MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley 948709
The "musical version of Democracy Now" per Amy Goodman! "The peace
poet and troubador for our time" per Cindy Sheehan!
Rovics is a radical and progressive singer and songwriter.
co-sponsored by BFUU's Social Justice Committee
wheelchair accessible
510 528 4941


Iraq Moratorium Aug. 15 -- new website and links

The Iraq Moratorium will mark its 12th month of locally-based, grassroots actions on August 15, the Third Friday of the month, with events across the country. There have been more than 1,200 events in 41 states and 240 communities, and the list keeps growing. Rice Lake, Wisconsin just announced yesterday that it would begin monthly vigils in August.

We have a new website address, We hope you'll like the new look and new logo. Please check it out, and while you're, there make sure that if you are planning an August event,it is on the list. If it's not listed, please email the details to and we'll get it posted for you.

We'd also ask that you change any links from your website, bookmark the new site, and feel free to use the new logo, which is attached as a jpg file.

Your comments, suggestions and reactions to the changes are most welcome. We'd like to hear from you.

Thank you for all that you do.

The Iraq Moratorium Committee


OCTOBER 11, 2008 End the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Now!

Dear Readers,

The date of October 11, 2008 was designated as a day of localized national actions against the war at the National Assembly to End the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this past June. Demonstrations are already being planned. Here is the call from the Greater Boston area--hopefully we can pull something together for October ll here in San Francisco.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War

Hi all,

Below is an outreach letter that will be going out to various organizational lists
and individuals all over the Greater Boston area. Please feel free to circulate
this letter as an example of what is happening in Boston as you seek support
for October 11 in your various localities.

Adelante (forward),
John Harris
Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition

Dear Friends,

March, 2008 ushered in the sixth year of war and occu pati on “without end” on Iraq . In an act of arrogance and impunity, Congress in a bipartisan vote approved another
$162 billion in funding for the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan . Stepped up threats against Iran and the increased likelihood of a U.S. troop “surge” into Afghanistan point to an imperative for action and an independent voice from the peace and justice movement.

In light of these developments, grass roots forces from around the country gathered together at the end of June for the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation in Cleveland, Ohio. At the conference an action plan for the months ahead was discussed and approved in a democratic vote. As part of this plan, over 95 percent voted in favor of supporting pre-election protests being organized in cities and localities around the country on October 11, 2008.

It was on October 11, 2002 that Congress approved the “ Iraq War Resolution” granting the Bush administration authorization to invade Iraq . The weeks ahead promise to be filled with debate as the election campaigns gear up. Instead of being spectators who watch the media pundits put their spin on the political pronouncements of the candidates, the October 11 protests present us with an opportunity to be engaged in injecting our agenda, the antiwar agenda, into the intensifying debate.

Please join us in an initial planning meeting as we prepare a Boston protest demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all occupation forces from Iraq and the closing of all military bases. All are invited. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, August 9, 3:00 PM
Encuentro 5
33 Harrison Avenue, 5th Floor
Boston (in Chinatown )

In Peace and Solidarity,

Marilyn Levin
*Arlington/Lexington United for Justice with Peace, New England United

Liam Madden
*IVAW – Boston Chapter

Suren Moodliar
Mass Global Action

Ann Glick
Newton Dialogues for Peace

Nate Goldshlag
Smedley D. Butler Brigade, Chapter 9 Veterans for Peace

Paul Shannon
American Friends Service Committee

John Harris
Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition

* Organization for identification purposes only



Despite calling itself a "sanctuary city", S.F. politicians are permitting the harrassment of undocumented immigrants and allowing the MIGRA-ICE police to enter the jail facilities.

We will picket any store that cooperates with the MIGRA or reports undocumented brothers and sisters. We demand AMNESTY without conditions!

project of BARRIO UNIDO


Iraq War resister Robin Long jailed, facing three years in Army stockade

Free Robin Long now!
Support GI resistance!

* Donate to Robin's defense
* Write to Robin in jail

By Courage to Resist
August 7, 2008

Last month 25-year-old U.S. Army PFC Robin Long became the first war resister since the Vietnam War to be forcefully deported from Canadian soil and handed over to military authorities. Robin is currently being held in the El Paso County Jail, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, awaiting a military court martial for resisting the unjust and illegal war against and occupation of Iraq. Robin will be court martialed for desertion “with intent to remain away permanently”—Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice—in early September. The maximum allowable penalty for a guilty verdict on this charge is three years confinement, forfeiture of pay, and a dishonorable discharge from the Army.

In order to expedite Robin’s trial, it appears that his unit command, the Fourth Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry Division is opting to not charge Robin with speech-related violations of military discipline; opting to try and convict Robin as fast as possible.

Jennifer Johnson, Ryan Johnson, and Dale Landry rally for Robin Long in Toronto, Canada

Robin went absent without leave (AWOL) from the Army in 2005, realizing that he had significant moral opposition to the war and the lies he had been told regarding the reason for invasion and occupation of Iraq. After being transferred to an Iraq bound combat unit, Robin went to Boise, Id. (his home town) where he stayed for several months, before traveling to Canada.

Robin recently talked to Courage to Resist about why he enlisted. “When the U.S. first attacked Iraq, I was told by my president that it was because of direct ties to Al-Qaida and weapons of mass destruction.” Robin explained that while he was uneasy about his personal role in fighting, the Iraq War seemed justified. So when his recruiter promised him a non-combat position within the U.S., he took it. Regarding his decision to resist later, Robin explained, “I made the best decision. Regardless of what hardships I go through, I could have put Iraqi families through more hardships. I have no regrets.” When asked by the Boise Weekly, in May of 2006, if he was prepared to go to jail, Robin replied, “Yeah if it came down to that, I'd be willing to go to prison because I know I did the right thing and I can sleep at night and my conscience is still good.”

Garrett Reppenhagen of IVAW speaks to a reporter about Robin Long, Pioneer Park, Colorado Springs 7/27/08

On July 27th, 2008 Garrett Reppenhagen of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Lee Zaslofsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada), members of the Springs Action Alliance and more joined James Branum, Robin Long’s civilian lawyer in Pioneer Park to demand Robin Long’s freedom. Garrett praised Robin, declaring “I support Robin Long because he is a Soldier of Conscience. There is a huge propaganda campaign in this country to get young men to join the military. He bought the hype. He signed up for a promised [non-combat] job, but it turned out not to be so. He decided to go to Canada and follow his conscience instead.”

As Robin awaits trial by military tribunal, a general court martial, he sits in the El Paso County Jail – surrounded by other military inmates, as well as civilians serving time on convictions or awaiting criminal prosecution. In the past Robin would have been held in pretrial confinement in an Army stockade, but with rising troop level needs, the Army has chosen to shut down many stockades and outsource confinement of soldiers to civilian authorities. With the exception of Robin’s Lawyer, James Branum, all of Robin’s visitors must communicate with him via a camera and real time video screen. Robin is allowed out of doors for only one hour a day, and even then cannot see anything but a thin strip of sky, directly overhead.

Robin's lawyer James Branum (right) rallies for his client., Pioneer Park, Colorado Springs. 7/27/08

Despite the deprivations of the El Paso county jail, Mr. Branum reports that Robin is “…in considerably good spirits, especially considering all that he is going through.” In a recent phone interview with Courage to Resist Robin reported that he was very happy with Mr. Branum calling him “awesome” as well as his military assigned defense lawyer “a smart cookie” in Robin’s words. He has received many visitors – pastors and members of local congregations, members of the IVAW among them. He wants everyone to know that the cards and the letters of support he receives are most welcome and give him of true sense of the support that is swelling for him, outside the confines of his cell. Lee Zaslofsky, of the Canadian WRSC reports that Robin is “..aware of what he might have to face, and is prepared to face it with courage and without bitterness.”

The fact remains, however, that the Iraq War is unjust and illegal. The U.N. Charter, the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg principles all bar wars of aggression. The U.S. Constitution makes such treaties part of American law as well. Robin Long is a hero for not only recognizing these truths, but putting his future on the line to courageously resist participating in an immoral occupation. The least we can do is support Robin, and demand his immediate freedom.

What you can do now to support Robin

1. Donate to Robin's legal defense


By mail: Make checks out to “Courage to Resist / IHC” and note “Robin Long” in the memo field. Mail to:

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave #41
Oakland CA 94610

Courage to Resist is committed to covering Robin’s legal and related defense expenses. Thank you for helping make that possible.

Also: You are also welcome to contribute directly to Robin’s legal expenses via his civilian lawyer James Branum. Visit, select "Pay Online via PayPal" (lower left), and in the comments field note “Robin Long”. Note that this type of donation is not tax-deductible.

2. Send letters of support to Robin

Robin Long, CJC
2739 East Las Vegas
Colorado Springs CO 80906

Robin’s pre-trial confinement has been outsourced by Fort Carson military authorities to the local county jail.

Robin is allowed to receive hand-written or typed letters only. Do NOT include postage stamps, drawings, stickers, copied photos or print articles. Robin cannot receive packages of any type (with the book exception as described below).

3. Send Robin a money order for commissary items

Anything Robin gets (postage stamps, toothbrush, shirts, paper, snacks, supplements, etc.) must be ordered through the commissary. Each inmate has an account to which friends may make deposits. To do so, a money order in U.S. funds must be sent to the address above made out to "Robin Long, EPSO". The sender’s name must be written on the money order.

4. Send Robin a book

Robin is allowed to receive books which are ordered online and sent directly to him at the county jail from or Barnes and Noble. These two companies know the procedure to follow for delivering books for inmates.


Sami Al-Arian Subjected to Worst Prison Conditions since Florida
Despite grant of bail, government continues to hold him
Dr. Al-Arian handcuffed

Hanover, VA - July 27, 2008 -

More than two weeks after being granted bond by a federal judge, Sami Al-Arian is still being held in prison. In fact, Dr. Al-Arian is now being subjected to the worst treatment by prison officials since his stay in Coleman Federal Penitentiary in Florida three years ago.

On July 12th, Judge Leonie Brinkema pronounced that Dr. Al-Arian was not a danger to the community nor a flight risk, and accordingly granted him bail before his scheduled August 13th trial. Nevertheless, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) invoked the jurisdiction it has held over Dr. Al-Arian since his official sentence ended last April to keep him from leaving prison. The ICE is ostensibly holding Dr. Al-Arian to complete deportation procedures but, given that Dr. Al-Arian's trial will take place in less than three weeks, it would seem somewhat unlikely that the ICE will follow through with such procedures in the near future.

Not content to merely keep Dr. Al-Arian from enjoying even a very limited stint of freedom, the government is using all available means to try to psychologically break him. Instead of keeping him in a prison close to the Washington DC area where his two oldest children live, the ICE has moved him to Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover, VA, more than one hundred miles from the capital. Regardless, even when Dr. Al-Arian was relatively close to his children, they were repeatedly denied visitation requests.

More critically, this distance makes it extremely difficult for Dr. Al-Arian to meet with his attorneys in the final weeks before his upcoming trial. This is the same tactic employed by the government in 2005 to try to prevent Dr. Al-Arian from being able to prepare a full defense.

Pamunkey Regional Jail has imposed a 23-hour lock-down on Dr. Al-Arian and has placed him in complete isolation, despite promises from the ICE that he would be kept with the general inmate population. Furthermore, the guards who transported him were abusive, shackling and handcuffing him behind his back for the 2.5-hour drive, callously disregarding the fact that his wrist had been badly injured only a few days ago. Although he was in great pain throughout the trip, guards refused to loosen the handcuffs.

At the very moment when Dr. Al-Arian should be enjoying a brief interlude of freedom after five grueling years of imprisonment, the government has once again brazenly manipulated the justice system to deliver this cruel slap in the face of not only Dr. Al-Arian, but of all people of conscience.

Make a Difference! Call Today!

Call Now!

Last April, your calls to the Hampton Roads Regional Jail pressured prison officials to stop their abuse of Dr. Al-Arian after only a few days.
Friends, we are asking you to make a difference again by calling:

Pamunkey Regional Jail: (804) 365-6400 (press 0 then ask to speak to the Superintendent's office). Ask why Dr. Al-Arian has been put under a 23-hour lockdown, despite the fact that a federal judge has clearly and unambiguously pronounced that he is not a danger to anyone and that, on the contrary, he should be allowed bail before his trial.

- If you do not reach the superintendent personally, leave a message on the answering machine. Call back every day until you do speak to the superintendent directly.
- Be polite but firm.

- After calling, click here to let us know you called.

Don't forget: your calls DO make a difference.


Write to Dr. Al-Arian

For those of you interested in sending personal letters of support to Dr. Al-Arian:

If you would like to write to Dr. Al-Arian, his new
address is:

Dr. Sami Al-Arian
Pamunkey Regional Jail
P.O. Box 485
Hanover, VA 23069

Email Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace:




1) After Years in Prison, Now a Break
About New York
August 6, 2008

2) Less Crime in Schools Last Year, City Reports
August 6, 2008

3) Guilty as Ordered
August 7, 2008

4) Leaving Baghdad: Culture Shock in America
By Ahmad Fadam
Ahmad Fadam left the Baghdad Bureau in May to take up a visiting fellowship at the University of North Carolina.
August 6, 2008, 10:29 am

5) 500: Deadly U.S. Milestone in Afghan War
August 7, 2008

6) Back to Court, Decades After Atomic Tests
August 7, 2008

7) Minorities Often a Majority of the Population Under 20
August 7, 2008

9) August 8th
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
August 4, 2008

10) Pushing Back at Pushy Recruiters
“They say there’s not a draft,” said Katie Yamasaki, an art teacher who is
directing the project. “But when they say they can’t afford to fund college
because 40 percent of our tax dollars go to war, a lot of youths feel
By David Gonzalez
August 7, 2008, 1:47 pm

11) Gates Pushing Plan for Afghan Army
August 8, 2008

12) Indians Gain a Slim Victory in Suit Against Government
August 8, 2008

13) As Program Moves Poor to Suburbs, Tensions Follow
August 9, 2008

14) Immigrants’ Speedy Trials After Raid Become Issue
August 9, 2008


1) After Years in Prison, Now a Break
About New York
August 6, 2008

In May 1994, Kareem Bellamy stood outside his home on Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway, Queens, drinking a beer. He was violating the “open container” law. A detective car pulled up. Mr. Bellamy was handcuffed.

Without being asked more than his name, one of the detectives later testified, Mr. Bellamy blurted: “This must be a mistake — someone must have accused me of murdering someone.”

If that was a guess, it was a good one.

Six weeks earlier, a man named James Abbott had been stabbed to death outside a C-Town supermarket a few blocks away. What led detectives to Mr. Bellamy was a call from one of the supermarket cashiers. She said that a man who had been in the store with the victim just before the killing was, at that very moment, drinking a beer on Beach Channel Drive.

No one ever said Mr. Bellamy had any motive for the killing, or any real connection with the victim beyond his supposed presence in the supermarket that day. The sole eyewitness to the stabbing was not able to identify him with much certainty.

Even so, the words Mr. Bellamy uttered in the car effectively put him in prison, a judge ruled, because they showed a jury his “consciousness of guilt” and buttressed what was otherwise thin evidence.

The jurors struggled with their deliberations for four days, then returned to court — every man and woman weeping — and pronounced Mr. Bellamy, then 26, guilty of murder. He was sentenced to 25 years to life.

Many years ahead of schedule, Mr. Bellamy, now 41, is due back in court on Thursday, no longer guilty of the murder. His conviction was vacated on June 27 by Justice Joel L. Blumenfeld of State Supreme Court in Queens. Mr. Bellamy will be seeking bail while prosecutors decide whether to try him again.

That Mr. Bellamy will have a second chance to fight the murder charge is due not to any particular diligence by law enforcement authorities, but rather because the final link in a chain of lucky breaks delivered him a secret tape recording. On it, a man says that he and another man actually did the killing.

Over the last two decades, DNA tests have been a powerful force in setting right many wrongs, but they were not a factor in Mr. Bellamy’s case. In fact the vast majority of crimes do not involve biological evidence, so DNA tests are of no use.

However Mr. Bellamy’s case turns out, the sequence of events that brings him back to court this week shows how many pieces must fall into place for most wrongly convicted people to get another meaningful day in court.

Four years ago, Thomas Hoffman, a defense lawyer in Manhattan, got a letter pleading for help from Mr. Bellamy.

He tossed it in the trash, thought better of it, then asked some of the city’s big law firms to help for no fee. Darin P. McAtee of Cravath, Swaine & Moore took on the case and hired private investigators.

In January 2008, word spread around Far Rockaway that those investigators, a retired homicide detective, Edward Hensen, and a retired F.B.I. agent, Joseph O’Brien, were trying to scare up evidence that would reopen Mr. Bellamy’s case. As they canvassed a housing project, a man rode up on a bicycle. He knew Mr. Hensen from his years as a detective. He said he had to talk to them.

Inside his home, he told the investigators that an old friend, Leon Melvin, had been upset that his girlfriend had become too cozy with Mr. Abbott. According to the informant, Mr. Melvin confided that he and another man had stabbed Mr. Abbott.

In fact, those same two men had been implicated 14 years earlier by another person — a woman who called the detective bureau to give their names. At the trial, the detectives said they couldn’t find the woman.

After the new informer surfaced this year, the private investigators wired him with a hidden tape recorder. On Feb. 2, the informer met with his jealous friend, and they spoke about a stabbing that took place somewhere near 40th Street in Far Rockaway. A partial transcript of the conversation was included in Judge Blumenfeld’s ruling.

“You mean you told him to leave her alone, and he wouldn’t leave her alone,” the informer says.

“Yeah, he wouldn’t listen to me, so I had to do what I had to do,” Mr. Melvin said.

“So you stabbed him?” the informer asks.

“Yeah,” Mr. Melvin says.

“How many times you stabbed him?” the informer asks.

“Stabbed him about seven times or something like that,” Mr. Melvin said.

No charges have been brought against Mr. Melvin. The district attorney’s office argued that it wasn’t clear in the taped conversation that they were referring to the murder of Mr. Abbott, but Justice Blumenfeld dismissed that. The police files showed, he said, that the killing of Mr. Abbott “was the only stabbing homicide in the Beach 40s for many years.”

Mr. Bellamy says that he was guilty only of drinking a beer.



2) Less Crime in Schools Last Year, City Reports
August 6, 2008

Major and violent crimes in New York City’s public schools have dropped significantly in the last six years, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Tuesday, using the statistics to bolster his argument that his control of the school system has been effective.

The statistics, which were collected by the New York Police Department, reflect the number of felony crimes and violent misdemeanors reported at schools, as well as more minor fights and sexual assaults. They are part of a much broader list of misdeeds that each school is required to report separately to the state’s Education Department.

During the 2007-8 school year, 1,906 violent crimes were reported, compared with 2,117 the previous year, a 10 percent drop. Felonies — grand larceny, assault, burglary — dropped 11 percent from the 2006-7 school year, to 1,042, the mayor said. There were no homicides or rapes on school property last year or the year before, city officials said. In 2001 1,577 felonies were reported in schools, and 2,765 violent crimes.

At a news conference with Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, Mr. Bloomberg praised the police officers and school safety agents for working with teachers and principals.

The Education Department has been widely criticized for the way it collects and reports information on school safety. Last fall, City Comptroller William C. Thompson, a likely mayoral candidate, issued an audit showing that in a sampling of schools, several crimes that were recorded in school records were never reported to the state or the police.

Betsy Gotbaum, the public advocate and a frequent critic of Mr. Klein, said in a statement on Tuesday that she applauded the mayor and chancellor for the work to reduce crime, but added: “What has been done in the past year to address the problem of chronic underreporting and the questionable school safety data that results from it?”

At Tuesday’s news conference, Chancellor Klein said: “You certainly don’t want to suggest that there’s violent or major crime in the schools” that has gone unreported.

“Am I going to tell you that a single one hasn’t escaped report? I don’t know,” Mr. Klein added. “But I can assure you that these numbers are accurate.”

The most common crime in schools is assault. There were 248 felony assaults — typically, those involving a weapon or a serious injury — and 1,308 misdemeanor assaults reported last year, according to the numbers released on Tuesday.

Mr. Bloomberg attributed much of the change to the Impact School program, which he started four years ago to identify some of the most violent schools and provide them with extra police officers and other procedures to increase safety.

Since the program began, 19 of the 28 schools that have appeared on the so-called impact list have been removed after sharp drops in crime. The current list of nine schools will probably change before school begins again in September, officials said.

But those efforts and the policy, begun by the Giuliani administration, of placing school safety agents employed by the Police Department — as opposed to the school system handling its own security — has also led to complaints from City Council members and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“Every few months, the city releases statistics to support their claim that everything is fine, but they continue to refuse to release the raw data about what happens in a school on a daily basis,” said Udi Ofer, the director of advocacy for the civil liberties union, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain individual school data in 2006 but has received no response. “School discipline has been taken from educators and handed over to the Police Department, and in some cases that is a real problem.”

Some parents and advocates, including the civil liberties union, have also complained that the school safety agents are often too aggressive, causing minor behavior problems to escalate into confrontations that end in an arrest.

Mr. Bloomberg dismissed such criticism on Tuesday, saying, “We have every reason to be proud of the protections that we’re giving to everyone.”

Fernanda Santos contributed reporting.


3) Guilty as Ordered
August 7, 2008

Now that was a real nail-biter. The court designed by the White House and its Congressional enablers to guarantee convictions of high-profile detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — using evidence obtained by torture and secret evidence as desired — has held its first trial. It produced ... a guilty verdict.

The military commission of six senior officers (whose names have not been made public) found Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who worked as one of Osama bin Laden’s drivers until 2001, guilty of one count of providing material support for terrorism.

The rules of justice on Guantánamo are so stacked against defendants that the only surprise was that Mr. Hamdan was actually acquitted on the more serious count of conspiring (it was unclear with whom) to kill Americans during the invasion of Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.

The charge on which Mr. Hamdan was convicted seemed logical since he did work as Mr. bin Laden’s driver. But it was still an odd prosecution. Drivers of even the most heinous people are generally not charged with war crimes.

It is impossible, in any case, to judge the evidence against Mr. Hamdan because of the deeply flawed nature of this trial — the blueprint for which was the Military Commissions Act of 2006, one of the worst bits of lawmaking in American history.

At these trials, hearsay and secret documents are admissible. Mr. Hamdan’s defense was actually required to began its case in a secret session. The witness was a camp psychologist, presumably called to back Mr. Hamdan’s account of being abused by his interrogators.

Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor in Guantánamo, put the trial in a disturbing light. He testified that he was informed by his superiors that only guilty verdicts would be tolerated. He also said that he was told to bring high-profile cases quickly to help Republicans score a pre-election public relations coup.

Colonel Davis gave up his position on Oct. 4, 2007. That, he wrote in The Los Angeles Times in December, was “the day I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system.”

In his article, Colonel Davis described a highly politicized system in which people who were supposed to be neutral decision-makers were allied with the prosecutors. According to Colonel Davis, Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed out a fair-minded “convening authority” — the official who decides which cases go to trial, which charges will be heard and who serves on the jury.

That straight-shooting administrator was replaced by Susan Crawford who, Colonel Davis said, assessed evidence before charges were filed, directed the prosecution’s preparation and even drafted charges. This “intermingling” of “convening authority and prosecutor roles,” Colonel Davis argued, “perpetuates the perception of a rigged process.”

Colonel Davis said the final straw for him was when he was placed under the command of William J. Haynes, the Defense Department’s general counsel. Colonel Davis had instructed prosecutors not to offer evidence obtained through the torture technique known as waterboarding. Mr. Haynes helped draft the orders permitting acts, like waterboarding, that violate American laws and the Geneva Conventions.

We are not arguing that the United States should condone terrorism or those who support it, or that the guilty should not be punished severely. But in a democracy, trials must be governed by fair rules, and judges must be guided by the law and the evidence, not pressure from the government. The military commission system, which falls far short of these standards, is a stain on the United States.


4) Leaving Baghdad: Culture Shock in America
By Ahmad Fadam
Ahmad Fadam left the Baghdad Bureau in May to take up a visiting fellowship at the University of North Carolina.
August 6, 2008, 10:29 am

It has been more than two months since I arrived in the United States, and I’m starting to wake up from the culture shock everyone warned me about. Or at least this is what I’m thinking, because there is still so much for me to see and learn in this country. I have been seeing things and learning about things that no one in my country will believe. Some of it is so beautiful and some is so crazy that even I, the one who saw it, cannot believe it.

Being in another country makes you get acquainted with a new culture, traditions, habits. Most of the time, it is very different than what you have experienced all your life when you still lived back home. You were used to doing things there that you cannot do here, because you know it is different. You have to force yourself not to do so now and to start acting like the people in this country. You don’t want to be looked at as a stranger. No one wants to be in this position.

I was talking to a journalist from Pakistan named Umar. He is very smart and polite, very thoughtful too. We were talking about how a person starts to behave differently when he leaves his country. He starts saying things and doing things that he didn’t do when he was still there. You become very polite and sweet when talking, very organized, obeying the rules and dressing well. You would do anything to make others look at you in a good way, to have the same respect that you had in your country even if it is in a different way.

It is amazing how we act when we are out of our country. We start to feel like we were assigned to represent it, to show the good image of our culture, to try to make people know about the best of us. If people have heard bad things about our countries — and that is the position I am in now — we start explaining that what they have heard is not the full truth and in fact it is very different. We try to defend the name of our country and feel sad whenever we hear someone saying bad things about it.

At the same time we have to live with the fact that this is a total different civilization than ours.

Both Umar and I were thinking in the same way and we both were finding it strange. Why didn’t we act the same when we were back home? Why didn’t we look at our culture, traditions and history in the same way as we look at it now? Why didn’t we defend it when we were there rather than wait to come here to do it? Umar is from Pakistan and I’m from Iraq , and we both felt the same way.

But I can talk about myself and my country. I have been trying to reflect a good picture of Iraq since I first came here. But at the same time, I’m fighting myself because I’m basically in the country that invaded mine. It’s complicated, and I have to live with it. I talk to Americans – who mostly don’t know much about Iraq, except that their troops are there, and there is killing and violence going on - and I answer their questions. I cannot help but feel many of our problems were the result of that invasion, and I try to explain to them what a great history and culture we have and how we used to be before 2003.

And this tears me apart, because I have to remember all of this and keep smiling to them. How more difficult can it be?

To be honest, I had some doubts because when I first came to the United States, I had this fear inside me about the way I was going to be treated. In Iraq, Iraqis are often treated as possible enemies by American soldiers. You cannot get close to them or talk to them until they check you out and make sure that you are OK. I myself was shot at several times in Baghdad just because I was driving my car close to an American convoy. So I thought that I might be treated the same here in America.

But I found it surprisingly different. Ordinary Americans are kind and welcoming. Many of them in fact don’t like what their government is doing in Iraq. Many of them feel sorry and sad for what is happening and some of them apologized to me when they learn that I’m an Iraqi.

But still, they are all busy with their lives, their work, how to spend their day and decorate their kitchens. Iraq is their last concern. Maybe those who have lost friends or relatives in Iraq or even still have someone serving there would care.

So how can an Iraqi like me live in America? I came here looking for peace, and this means to forget even for awhile about the violence I lived through in the last five years in Iraq. I have to find myself again and to know who I am. I have to find the part that I lost because of getting used to the violence. I want to find the human inside me again. But this time, in another world, I have to belong to something and have an identity. But how? How can I find my identity? What is a man’s identity? Could it be by what he does? Like being a journalist? Or could it be by his religion or nationality? Like saying that he is a Muslim Arab? These are all possible. But the greatest of all is when he belongs to a country, like to say that he is Chinese, or French, or Pakistani. For me I will always say that I’m an Iraqi, and I’m proud of it.


5) 500: Deadly U.S. Milestone in Afghan War
August 7, 2008

Not long after Staff Sgt. Matthew D. Blaskowski was killed by a sniper’s bullet last Sept. 23 in eastern Afghanistan, his mother received an e-mail message with a link to a video on the Internet. A television reporter happened to have been filming a story at Sergeant Blaskowski’s small mountain outpost when it came under fire and the sergeant was shot.

Since then, Sergeant Blaskowski’s parents, Cheryl and Terry Blaskowski of Cheboygan, Mich., have watched their 27-year-old son die over and over. Ms. Blaskowski has taken breaks from work to watch it on her computer, sometimes several times a day, studying her son’s last movements.

“Anything to be closer,” she said. “To see what could have been different, how it — ” the bullet — “happened to find him.”

For months, the Blaskowskis felt alone in watching their son die in an isolated and nearly forgotten war. And then, in June, the war in Afghanistan roared back into public view when American deaths from hostilities exceeded those in Iraq. In the face of an expanding threat from the Taliban, the conflict is becoming deadlier and much more violent for American troops, who three weeks ago reached their highest deployment levels ever, at 36,000.

June was the second deadliest month for the military in Afghanistan since the war began, with 23 American deaths from hostilities, compared with 22 in Iraq. July was less deadly, with 20 deaths, compared with six in Iraq. On July 22, nearly seven years after the conflict began on Oct. 7, 2001, the United States lost its 500th soldier in the Afghanistan war.

(The Pentagon says that 563 American service members have died in Operation Enduring Freedom, the umbrella term for the global American-led antiterror campaign that has the Afghanistan war at its center and includes deployments in the Philippines and Africa. Of those deaths, according to an analysis by The New York Times, 510 have occurred in Afghanistan or are directly linked to the war there.)

Now, a war that had long been overshadowed by the one in Iraq is back in public view, at the forefront of both news media attention and the presidential campaign. The use of the Afghanistan war for political purposes disheartens the Blaskowskis, they say, but has at least one positive aspect.

“The good thing about the heightened awareness now is that at least some of these soldiers’ names are getting out there,” Ms. Blaskowski said recently. “If anything good is coming out of that media attention, it’s that people see that they are truly human. It’s not just numbers. It’s actually brothers and sons and fathers. They’re human.”

The numbers, as impersonal as they may be, are quickly mounting, and more families each week are joining the Blaskowskis in their grief.

During the first three years of the war, about two-thirds of all American casualties came under so-called nonhostile conditions — illnesses, vehicle crashes and accidental discharges of weapons, for example.

But that pattern flipped in 2005. Since then, about 70 percent of American casualties in Afghanistan have occurred under hostile conditions, like small-arms fire, rocket attacks and, increasingly, improvised mines and bombs.

In 2007, 111 American service members were killed, the highest annual toll so far in the war. So far this year, 91 Americans have died, a rate faster than last year. At least 78 of those deaths have come in combat; by comparison, 50 were killed during the same period last year.

Though Afghan security forces have suffered the vast majority of fatalities in the war, exact numbers are hard to come by. The Defense Ministry said that nearly 600 Afghan soldiers were killed from March 2005 to March 2008, the only period for which it provided statistics. The Afghan Interior Ministry, which began recording police deaths in March 2007, said 1,119 police officers were killed from March 2007 to March 2008.

Late last month, the military released data showing that insurgent activity had soared, with attacks in eastern border regions up nearly 40 percent from last year.

“Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan,” the Atlantic Council of the United States, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to fostering ties between North America and Europe, warned in a report in January. “Unless this reality is understood and action is taken promptly, the future of Afghanistan is bleak.”

The report was actually one of the more positive assessments among a deluge of critical reports on the war’s progress issued this year by international study groups.

Such dark warnings, along with years of low interest in the conflict among many Americans and even political candidates, have led the families and friends of fallen American service members to wonder whether they perished for a winning cause, a losing one or, worse, a meaningless one.

“It’s like people forget about us being in Afghanistan; Larry would tell me that all the time,” said David Rougle, whose brother, Staff Sgt. Larry I. Rougle, 25, of West Jordan, Utah, was killed in a Taliban ambush last October in Kunar Province. “You always hear about Iraq, but you never hear about Afghanistan.”

“People have forgotten,” Mr. Rougle said. “There’s a real war going on. People are dying all the time in Afghanistan.”

The War Begins to Change

On Oct. 10, 2001, three days after American and British warplanes began bombing Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan to open the war, Master Sgt. Evander E. Andrews, 36, was part of a military work crew building a runway at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which was being used to stage American troops and warplanes.

Sergeant Andrews was a hard-working man who grew up on his family’s farm in the small town of Solon in central Maine. “He loved the farm and he loved the cows, and he’d come home from leave and go out in the barn and take a deep breath and say, ‘Oh, that smells good!’ ” recalled his mother, Mary Andrews. “Now, who else would say that?”

As a boy, he had developed a fascination for trucks and other big equipment. He joined the military to further his goal of becoming a civil engineer and was assigned to the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron of the Air Force.

On that October day, a forklift was removing the tailgate of a large truck when the gate fell from the forklift’s grasp and hit Sergeant Andrews, killing him. He became the first American fatality in the war.

It was a war of retaliation and pursuit. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration demanded that the Taliban government surrender Osama bin Laden, who was commanding the Qaeda network from Afghanistan. The Taliban’s refusal prompted the start of the American bombing campaign on Oct. 7.

By that time, an American force numbering in the tens of thousands had been marshaled across a military theater stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea to fight the new war on terror, an amorphous campaign with Afghanistan at its heart. But during the first few months, the actual American presence within Afghanistan was sparse, with much of the fighting conducted by anti-Taliban opposition groups supported by American advisers on the ground and by coalition airpower.

Not only were most of the first 100 Americans to die in the war killed in accidents or illnesses rather than attacks, but almost half also died outside the main theater, across a regional network of supply bases and refueling outposts. It would be many months before combat deaths began to take a heavy toll.

Mary Andrews said it had been easier to deal with her son’s death because it came as a result of an accident rather than from enemy fire.

“We were thankful that he died at the hands of his own men that he loved, and not at the hands of those who hated him and hated all Americans,” she said. “If someone out of hate killed him, it’s kind of a double grief. But it wasn’t someone out of hate. It was someone who loved him, someone who cared about him.”

“I’m not saying it’s easy getting along without him,” she continued, “but it’s easier to think about it that way.”

After the initial bombing campaign, Afghan militia forces backed by American and other foreign troops swept the Taliban from power and, by the end of March 2002, had driven most of the surviving Qaeda and Taliban fighters across the border into Pakistan or into hiding in southern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan then appeared to enter a period of relative stability. In April, President Bush made a speech promising a vast American-led reconstruction effort in the style of the Marshall Plan, and in the summer, a transitional administration was established under Hamid Karzai. American generals increased American troop levels in Afghanistan to about 9,700 by the end of the year, most with a mandate to hunt for the remnants of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

In total, 11 Americans died in connection with the war in 2001, 49 in 2002, and 46 in 2003.

But meanwhile, the Taliban was quietly regrouping. Through recruitment drives in the Pashtun-dominated communities of southern Afghanistan and the madrassas of Pakistan, and low-key infiltration from Pakistan into southern Afghanistan, the Taliban began to rebuild its shrunken forces and prepare for a renewed jihad against Afghan and foreign troops.

Guerrilla attacks against American troops and their allies steadily increased throughout 2002 and 2003, and in 2004, the nature of the war, and of American casualties, began to shift. Nonhostile causes continued to inflict the majority of deaths that year, including the accident from American fire in eastern Afghanistan that killed Pat Tillman, the former safety for the Arizona Cardinals and arguably the most famous American casualty in the war. But an increasing percentage of soldiers was dying from insurgent gunfire, rockets and bombs.

One was Specialist Joseph A. Jeffries of the Army Reserve’s 320th Psychological Operations Company. When Specialist Jeffries was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2004, he told his family little about the danger he was facing.

“He kind of led me to believe that it was more cushy than it was,” said his wife, Betsy Jeffries, who lives in Beaverton, Ore. They had married shortly before his deployment, and she was pregnant when he shipped off. His obfuscation “was his way of sheltering me,” Ms. Jeffries said, adding that her husband had joined the military to improve people’s lives.

Specialist Jeffries was sent to southeastern Afghanistan to work with Special Forces soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C. Citing secrecy rules, military officials would not reveal the details of his assignments, though Special Forces units have often been engaged in dangerous tasks like hunting down the chief Taliban and Qaeda operatives.

As a psychological operations expert, Specialist Jeffries would have had a variety of duties with Special Forces teams, said Tina Beller, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command at Fort Bragg. Such experts acted as liaisons between the Green Berets and local residents they encountered, and distributed leaflets and other information that discouraged support for the insurgency and urged support for the coalition.

On May 29, 2004, Specialist Jeffries was in a Humvee returning to his base in Kandahar Province from an undisclosed mission when a series of mines planted in a mountain pass exploded near his vehicle, Ms. Jeffries said. He and three other American servicemen, including a Navy Seal and two Green Berets, were killed. Specialist Jeffries was 21.

May 2004 was the beginning of a stretch of six months during which hostile acts were to blame for the majority of American deaths. Looking back, that period now appears to be something of a tipping point for American forces in the war. Nearly half of the 51 Americans killed that year died as a result of hostile action, up from about 37 percent in 2002 and 2003.

And the battle was about to get far deadlier for the Americans.

The Taliban Return

Back home, a sense of victory in Afghanistan, however premature or misguided, had taken hold, and the war had begun to fade from the American consciousness, eclipsed by the much larger, newer American-led effort in Iraq, which began in March 2003.

When Sgt. Michael J. Kelley, 26, of Scituate, Mass., announced in early 2005 that he was going to Afghanistan, members of his family were heartened that it was not Iraq, where the insurgency was already virulent and widespread, and the conflict seemed far more dangerous. Relief was a common response among parents and relatives of American soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.

“You don’t hear as much about Afghanistan,” said Sergeant Kelley’s mother, Karen Kelley.

Sergeant Kelley was a quiet man who read a lot, liked to draw and talked about becoming a graphic artist when he had fulfilled his military obligations. Uninterested in college, he had joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard after graduating from high school and, in his civilian life, held a series of jobs including landscaper and cellphone salesman.

His mother maintained a brave face as her son left for Central Asia, accepting his assurances that he would be all right, but silently harboring a grim premonition that he would not return home.

Sergeant Kelley was deployed to a small, rugged Special Forces outpost in Shkin, in the eastern border province of Paktika, where the Green Berets had been in frequent combat with Taliban rebels. As a field artillery radar operator, his duty was to use radar to locate the source of enemy mortars and rockets to guide accurate counterfire.

On June 8, 2005, the base was hit with a barrage of mortars. But Sergeant Kelley had no chance to do his job. At the moment of attack, he was part of a team unloading a Chinook helicopter. The mortar hit the helicopter landing zone, spraying shrapnel and killing Sergeant Kelley and another soldier, Pfc. Emmanuel Hernandez, 22, of Yauco, P.R.

“We were just fortunate that we were able to have an open casket,” Ms. Kelley said. “It brought some kind of closure because we didn’t have to wonder whether he was really in there. Other families aren’t so lucky.”

The two deaths came amid a surge of fatalities. At least 27 Americans died that June, 25 from hostile causes, making it the deadliest month of the war up to that point for American service members. It remains the second deadliest month in the war for American troops, and the deadliest ranked by those who died in hostile conditions.

The month also saw the single deadliest attack of the war so far for Americans: the downing of a Chinook helicopter by an insurgent’s rocket-propelled grenade, which killed all 16 service members on board. The men were on a mission to rescue a team of Navy Seals that had been reported missing in Kunar Province near the Pakistan border.

In all, 95 Americans died in Afghanistan in 2005, up from 51 in 2004, and for the first time in the war, hostile deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom outpaced nonhostile deaths. The year 2005 also saw a leap in the Taliban’s use of homemade bombs — improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s, in military parlance — most often buried in dirt roads. They were no less deadly than they were proving to be in Iraq.

The terrain was ideal for laying traps and hiding bombs. Many American troops were based in mountainous areas that lacked paved roads, and were vulnerable to mines buried in the dirt roadways. They were often forced to conduct their patrols on foot, walking from village to village along goat paths and dried riverbeds, and through narrow rocky passes susceptible to ambushes. (This year, for the first time, more than half of all hostile deaths have been attributed to improvised explosive devices.)

Beginning in 2006, the United States would begin to share the burden of casualties with its foreign partners in greater numbers than ever.

That year, NATO expanded its range of military operations in Afghanistan, and thousands of British, Canadian and Dutch troops under NATO command — supplemented by Australian, Estonian, Danish and Romanian soldiers — replaced the several hundred American troops that had been trying to fend off a return of the Taliban to its former strongholds in the Pashtun heartland of the south.

As the newly arriving troops began to enter the most insecure areas, they encountered a reconstituted Taliban.

At least 39 British troops and 36 Canadian troops died in 2006; in the four previous years, the British had suffered five fatalities and the Canadians seven.

The death toll remained high for American troops, who, by the end of 2006, numbered about 22,100, most concentrated in the east and southeast. That year, 87 Americans were killed, most in insurgent attacks, and an additional 111 in 2007.

Many of the American casualties during the last two years came where American troops, with the support of the Afghan army, were pushing into areas that were under the sway of Taliban insurgents.

“The areas we moved into had not had a large constant U.S. presence,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Carabello of the 10th Mountain Division. His battalion, the First Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, had responsibility for the security of a large mountainous swath of eastern Afghanistan from the spring of 2006 to the summer of 2007.

Over the course of its deployment, the battalion established a constellation of bases and outposts in a series of rugged valleys that had served as corridors for insurgents moving men and supplies from western Pakistan. The 10th Mountain Division soldiers also built roads, schools and medical clinics, and brought government services to villages that had seen none, Sergeant Major Carabello said. The improvements stimulated local economies and began to reconnect the central government to the people of the region.

But the gains came at great sacrifice to the troops. Twenty of his battalion’s soldiers were killed in the campaign, most in fighting against the Taliban, and more than 120 were wounded, Sergeant Major Carabello said.

“It was a tough fight,” he said. “It was hard, tough soldiering.”

Sgt. First Class Jeffrey D. Kettle, 30, of Texas City, Tex., was deployed with the Second Battalion, Seventh Special Forces Group into this same region in early 2006. It was his second rotation in Afghanistan. Sergeant Kettle was a construction and demolition engineer, his family said, and had hoped to join the elite Delta Force.

He joined the Army after graduating from high school, following several relatives into the armed services, including his grandfather, who had participated in the D-Day landings in World War II. When he was a boy, he was fascinated by the military. He and one of his brothers, Clayton, would don camouflage clothes and face paint and wage mock battles against imaginary guerrillas in their neighborhood.

“They would be in the bushes, in trees, on roofs,” recalled their mother, Cynthia Kettle. “I would get phone calls. ‘Cindy, don’t panic or anything, but Jeffrey is on the roof again.’ He had no fear.”

Like so many other service members deployed to war zones, he tried to shield his parents from the harsher realities of his life. But during one phone conversation he revealed to his mother that the Taliban was growing stronger.

“He told me, ‘Mom, they’re rebounding.’ That was the word he used, I believe,” Ms. Kettle recalled. “He said, ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ So I knew things weren’t as tame as it was put out to be.”

On Aug. 12, 2007, a bomb buried by the roadway exploded near Sergeant Kettle’s vehicle in the eastern Afghanistan province of Nangarhar, killing him and two other American soldiers.

“There weren’t I.E.D.s when Jeff was there the first time,” Ms. Kettle said. “And now they’re getting all the things that Iraq has and they’re bringing in those heinous ways of killing. As I gather, this I.E.D. was ridiculously large. It’s the easiest and most cowardly way of doing things.”

A Search for Meaning

Louis Brewster’s son, Sgt. Bryan A. Brewster, 24, of Fontana, Calif., died with nine others in May 2006 after their Chinook helicopter developed a mechanical failure and plunged into a deep ravine in Kunar Province. Ever since, Mr. Brewster has scoured the news media in a determined search for news of his son’s distant war.

“Outside the Pat Tillman thing, people don’t remember it,” Mr. Brewster said. “As a father it angers me some. It angered me when he was there, especially since Iraq gets all the attention, Iraq gets all the money.”

But for Mr. Brewster and many other parents and relatives, the sense of a forgotten loss is more than personal. Many are convinced that the public’s neglect of the war in Afghanistan is actually hurting the soldiers’ chances of success.

“It is my sense that it is a pivotal time in this thing,” Mr. Brewster said. “I think it’s a valid war, but because it doesn’t get the attention, it doesn’t get all it needs. Consequently, I think the guerrilla war will be going for a long time.”

NATO commanders have said they need at least three more brigades — more than 7,500 troops — to turn the conflict decisively in the American-led coalition’s favor. And numerous analysts, international study groups and nongovernmental organizations have warned that in the absence of a redoubled commitment by the United States’ allies, the American-led coalition’s chances of success look poor.

“Afghanistan is not lost, but the signs are not good,” said the International Crisis Group, a nonpartisan group that tries to prevent global conflict, in a February report. “As a reinvigorated insurgency threatens the gains that have been made, and Western capitals, pressured by publics unwilling to accept military casualties, begin to explore endgames and exit strategies, the risk of losing Afghanistan is very real.”

On the video clip from last year that the Blaskowskis have seen so many times, Sergeant Blaskowski is standing calmly with two other men at the dirt-filled bastions of their outpost, near the Pakistani border. They are wearing full body armor and their backs are to the camera as they survey the valley below, a hideout of Taliban insurgents and the scene of some of the fiercest fighting American troops had experienced in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001.

The camera cuts away from the men, then the sound of gunfire erupts, sending soldiers scrambling for cover. In the next shot, the gunfire has stopped and a lieutenant standing near the gabions screams for a medic. A soldier has been hit: Sergeant Blaskowski. A medevac helicopter swoops in to evacuate him to a larger base, but he is declared dead en route.

The images have provided Ms. Blaskowski with “some peace,” she said, yet in the same breath she admitted to a hope that her son would come back someday.

“I think it isn’t true, and he will call in the middle of the night like he used to,” she said. “We would sleep lightly to listen for that blessed phone call.”

“Now,” she added, “we don’t sleep well at all.”


6) Back to Court, Decades After Atomic Tests
August 7, 2008

The Bikini islanders are coming to court. Again.

The latest round in a series of long-running lawsuits will be heard on Thursday at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The former residents of Bikini Atoll agreed to be removed from their homes in the 1940s so the United States could test atomic weapons there. The tests at Bikini took place from 1946 to 1958, when the atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, was an American trust territory. The residents, fewer than 200 at the time, were placed on nearby Pacific islands.

Although it has been 50 years since the testing ended, Bikini Atoll will be radioactive for years. Many of the islanders have developed illnesses resulting from the fallout of the testing, and from an attempt to resettle the atoll in the 1970s after the government mistakenly told them it was safe to go home.

The United States granted sovereignty to the Marshall Islands, including Bikini, in the 1980s. Part of the diplomatic compact included a $150 million payment that Congress, in ratifying the compact, called a “full and final settlement” of claims across the Marshall Islands.

But the compact also seemed to leave a door open to further payments as another part of the agreement created a tribunal to judge legal claims as “a means to address past, present and future consequences of the nuclear testing program including the resolution of resulting claims.” It includes a provision that allows the tribunal to petition Congress for additional financing in the case of “changed circumstances.”

The tribunal, after hearing years of evidence, said in 2001 that the islanders deserved $563 million. The figure includes money for soil remediation.

At the time, however, the tribunal only had about $2 million to pay out to the islanders, so the Bikinians and their lead lawyer for 33 years, Jonathan Weisgall, went to federal court to ask for the rest of the money.

“They want to go home,” said Mr. Weisgall, who wrote a book on their fight, “Operation Crossroads: The Atomic Tests at Bikini Atoll,” and produced a documentary in 1998, “Radio Bikini.”

Last August, the United States Court of Federal Claims dismissed the suit seeking the rest of the $563 million. In her decision, Judge Christine Odell Cook Miller said that the islanders had brought their lawsuit past the six-year statute of limitations for filing claims under the Tucker Act, a law pertaining to suits against the United States, and that they had jumped the gun by filing a suit in a case that Congress might still act upon.

Mr. Weisgall hews to the basic language of the Fifth Amendment, which states that private property cannot be taken without just compensation. He brought in an appellate lawyer, Patricia Millett, to take the case to the appeals court. When Ms. Millett read the judge’s opinion, she recalled, she phoned him, aghast.

“Did she say, ‘You filed too late and too early?’ That can’t be right.” That was the reasoning of the judge, who was appointed in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan, along with a determination that the case involved political issues that the courts have no jurisdiction over. The seeming Catch-22, Ms. Millett said, “really encapsulates what’s been going on for half a century.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment specifically on the case but sent the government’s briefs, which lay out arguments similar to those made in Judge Miller’s decision. The briefs state that in creating the compact with the Marshall Islands, “Congress intended the agreement to accomplish a full and final settlement of claims.”

Meanwhile, the community ages. Of the original 167 islanders who were moved in 1946, 45 are alive. The community has grown, however, and now numbers more than 4,000, most living on the Marshall Islands.

Mr. Weisgall said he was committed to the fight, which he began as a 25-year-old lawyer.

“It’s a long black eye against the United States,” he said.

A leader of the Bikinians, Tomaki Juda, said in a telephone interview that his people had been moved from island to island over the years and just wanted to return safely to a place that they think of as paradise and a homeland.

“We are like the people of Israel,” he said. “We wander in the desert with Moses for 40 years, until the return to the promised land.”


7) Minorities Often a Majority of the Population Under 20
August 7, 2008

Foreshadowing the nation’s changing makeup, one in four American counties have passed or are approaching the tipping point where black, Hispanic and Asian children constitute a majority of the under-20 population, according to analyses of census figures released Thursday.

Racial and ethnic minorities now account for 43 percent of Americans under 20. Among people of all ages, minorities make up at least 40 percent of the population in more than one in six of the nation’s 3,141 counties.

The latest population changes by race, ethnicity and age, as of July 1, 2007, were generally marginal compared with the year before. But they confirm the breadth of the nation’s diversity, and suggest that minorities — now about a third of the population — might constitute a majority of all Americans even sooner than projected by census demographers, in 2050.

In 2000, black, Hispanic and Asian children under age 20 were at or near a majority in only about one-fifth of the counties and, over all, blacks, Hispanics and Asians accounted for 40 percent or more of the population in about one in seven counties.

Even with the growing diversity, all but one of the 82 counties where blacks make up a majority are in the South (except St. Louis), all but two of the 46 where Hispanics are in the majority are in the South or the West (except the Bronx and Seward, Kan., home to giant meatpacking plants), and four of the five counties with the largest proportion of Asians are in Hawaii (San Francisco rounds out the top five with 33 percent).

Except for two counties in New Mexico and South Dakota with large American Indian populations, the 10 counties with the highest proportion of minorities were along or near the Mexican border.

From 2006 to 2007, according to the bureau’s revised estimates, the counties that became majority-minority included Rockdale, near Atlanta.

An analysis by Kelvin Pollard and Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau found 489 counties where a majority among people younger than 20 are racial and ethnic minorities and another 274 where they account for 40 percent to 50 percent of people in that age group.

The latest figures confirm the sweep of America’s growing diversity, outside central cities and beyond black and white. In 109 of the 302 majority-minority counties, no single minority made up more than half the total population.

In the New York metropolitan area, the changes suggested that the city was experiencing a racial equilibrium while the suburbs were becoming more diverse.

The number of Asians rose in every county in the New York area. Only Manhattan lost Hispanics. Non-Hispanic whites declined in every county except those that make up Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, and in New Jersey, Monmouth.

An analysis by William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, found that since 2000 the top 10 gainers of non-Hispanic whites were all counties in the South or West, except for Manhattan and Will County, near Chicago.

Since 2000, Mr. Frey said, only one in six counties recorded an increase in the number of non-Hispanic white children under 15.

While half the counties recorded losses of non-Hispanic whites, Dr. Frey found, almost five times as many counties are losing white children as gaining them. A growing number of minority families with children are clustering in suburban and Sun Belt counties.

At the other extreme, he said, “are counties in the nation’s industrial heartland, inner suburbs and Great Plains that are losing their largely white child and young adult populations.”

Meanwhile, nine times as many counties are gaining mature adults as losing them.

People 65 or older made up 25 percent or more of the population in 24 counties, led by La Paz, Ariz., home to the Colorado River Indian Reservation, where they make up 32 percent. Most of the counties with disproportionately high populations 65 and older are in Florida, Texas and Michigan. Children under 5 make up 10 percent of the population in 26 counties, led by Webb County, Tex., on the Mexican border, where they constitute nearly 13 percent.


8) Pushing Back at Pushy Recruiters
“They say there’s not a draft,” said Katie Yamasaki, an art teacher who is directing the project. “But when they say they can’t afford to fund college because 40 percent of our tax dollars go to war, a lot of youths feel stuck.”
By David Gonzalez
August 7, 2008, 1:47 pm

A mural that is slowly going up on the industrial edge of Sunset Park is shaping up to be one huge Do Not Disturb sign directed at military recruiters. Its creators? A group of young women — barely out of high school — who are still smarting from what they saw as repeated and unwanted come-ons from recruiters who would stop them on the street, in school or call them at home.

“If you go to some Manhattan schools or places where the families have a higher income, you don’t see the recruiters there,” said Ebony Thurman, 18, who was once approached by recruiters at the Atlantic Avenue subway station. “But if you’re in Brooklyn or in lower income neighborhoods, that’s where you really find them trying to recruit people. They tell you that you’ll get job skills or college money. And if you’re a girl they’ll flirt with you and say there a lot of cute guys you could meet if you enlist.”

She and her friends have been clambering up a scaffolding set up on the side of a building on 23 Street and Third Avenue, where it hugs the Gowanus Expressway, since last week. But many of them have been together for a few summers already, painting murals as part of Voices Her’d, a group for young women, that meets under the auspices of Groundswell Community Mural Project, which has painted many murals in Brooklyn.

Amy Sananman, Groundswell’s director, works with them each year to select a theme, research it and then paint it. They had started thinking about this year’s theme in the winter, tossing about ideas a bimonthly dinners.

Given what was happening in the world, the idea of women, the military and recruiting soon became their choice. What was unexpected was a few of the young women had been thinking of enlisting themselves.

“I was thinking of joining because with an 80 average, I didn’t think I would get a scholarship to go to college,” said Elizabeth Yanes, 17, who just graduated from John Dewey High School. “The recruiters had a table at my high school. Every time we had a college day, they were there.”

As they have done with previous murals, they did research and invited speakers, including female veterans, to talk to them. They visited shows at P.S. 1 in Queens that examined themes of power and violence. They also delved into the uses of propaganda in previous conflicts.

Many of them learned for the first time that the No Child Left Behind Act allowed military recruiters to have access to high-school student’s contact information (which explained those calls to their homes). They also learned families could opt out from receiving those calls, information they plan on including on stickers they will print up as part of the project.

Part of what they want to point out is the connection in some neighborhoods between recruiting and career choices.

“They say there’s not a draft,” said Katie Yamasaki, an art teacher who is directing the project. “But when they say they can’t afford to fund college because 40 percent of our tax dollars go to war, a lot of youths feel stuck.”

The walls of their basement studio, where they meet at a long table, are covered with their own sketches and data for the mural, which will show women clutching pencils, brushes and diplomas declaring “We Are Not Government Issued”. Smaller details include women in red gently easing parachuting soldiers back onto their feet. At street level, there will be facts and figures about the war.

Ms. Yamasaki said you can view the design in two different ways. While the bottom part can be filled with details for people who can walk by and stop, the top part has to be quickly and easily understood for drivers on the Expressway.

“It has to be something bold,” she said. “They might be stuck in traffic, but more likely they’ll be moving by at 40 miles an hour.”

The mural will be finished by mid-August. But it has already had an impact on some of its creators - especially those who flirted with enlisting - after they spoke with female veterans.

“What is shocking to me is how little time it took to get the girls to change their minds,” Ms. Sananman said. “That blew me away. Once they had the information, it took them 45 minutes to decide.”


9) August 8th
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
August 4, 2008

For most people, August 8th is merely a reference to the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Because of the sheer passage of time, most people have forgotten August 8th, 1978, when police in Philadelphia unleashed a blitzkrieg against members of the MOVE Organization.

There, police fired hundreds of rounds into the house, fired tons of water, and after people were flushed from their house, several were beaten on the street. The cops who beat one man, Delbert Africa, for example, were ordered acquitted by a local judge, despite videotape!

When MOVE members went to trial, nine men and women were railroaded on dubious charges for killing a cop who almost certainly was the subject of so-called friendly fire.
The city of Philadelphia made sure that this question couldn't be resolved by literally tearing down MOVE's house -- allegedly an active crime scene -- by nightfall.

But none of this mattered, for there was a railroad in process, and 9 MOVE people were sent to state gulags for 30 to 100 years!

Behind the attack on MOVE was certainly their radical lifestyle and opposition to state power, but there was also the dynamic of powerful real estate interests which wanted to expand their holdings to create a greater University City.

For MOVE, August 8th isn't 30 years ago; it's yesterday. It's that close.
They need your support to end this injustice!

For More Information: write the MOVE Organization, P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA 19143; or contact them on the web at:


10) Pushing Back at Pushy Recruiters
“They say there’s not a draft,” said Katie Yamasaki, an art teacher who is
directing the project. “But when they say they can’t afford to fund college
because 40 percent of our tax dollars go to war, a lot of youths feel
By David Gonzalez
August 7, 2008, 1:47 pm

A mural that is slowly going up on the industrial edge of Sunset Park is
shaping up to be one huge Do Not Disturb sign directed at military
recruiters. Its creators? A group of young women — barely out of high school
— who are still smarting from what they saw as repeated and unwanted
come-ons from recruiters who would stop them on the street, in school or
call them at home.

“If you go to some Manhattan schools or places where the families have a
higher income, you don’t see the recruiters there,” said Ebony Thurman, 18,
who was once approached by recruiters at the Atlantic Avenue subway station.
“But if you’re in Brooklyn or in lower income neighborhoods, that’s where
you really find them trying to recruit people. They tell you that you’ll get
job skills or college money. And if you’re a girl they’ll flirt with you and
say there a lot of cute guys you could meet if you enlist.”

She and her friends have been clambering up a scaffolding set up on the side
of a building on 23 Street and Third Avenue, where it hugs the Gowanus
Expressway, since last week. But many of them have been together for a few
summers already, painting murals as part of Voices Her’d, a group for young
women, that meets under the auspices of Groundswell Community Mural Project,
which has painted many murals in Brooklyn.

Amy Sananman, Groundswell’s director, works with them each year to select a
theme, research it and then paint it. They had started thinking about this
year’s theme in the winter, tossing about ideas a bimonthly dinners.

Given what was happening in the world, the idea of women, the military and
recruiting soon became their choice. What was unexpected was a few of the
young women had been thinking of enlisting themselves.

“I was thinking of joining because with an 80 average, I didn’t think I
would get a scholarship to go to college,” said Elizabeth Yanes, 17, who
just graduated from John Dewey High School. “The recruiters had a table at
my high school. Every time we had a college day, they were there.”

As they have done with previous murals, they did research and invited
speakers, including female veterans, to talk to them. They visited shows at
P.S. 1 in Queens that examined themes of power and violence. They also
delved into the uses of propaganda in previous conflicts.

Many of them learned for the first time that the No Child Left Behind Act
allowed military recruiters to have access to high-school student’s contact
information (which explained those calls to their homes). They also learned
families could opt out from receiving those calls, information they plan on
including on stickers they will print up as part of the project.

Part of what they want to point out is the connection in some neighborhoods
between recruiting and career choices.

“They say there’s not a draft,” said Katie Yamasaki, an art teacher who is
directing the project. “But when they say they can’t afford to fund college
because 40 percent of our tax dollars go to war, a lot of youths feel

The walls of their basement studio, where they meet at a long table, are
covered with their own sketches and data for the mural, which will show
women clutching pencils, brushes and diplomas declaring “We Are Not
Government Issued”. Smaller details include women in red gently easing
parachuting soldiers back onto their feet. At street level, there will be
facts and figures about the war.

Ms. Yamasaki said you can view the design in two different ways. While the
bottom part can be filled with details for people who can walk by and stop,
the top part has to be quickly and easily understood for drivers on the

“It has to be something bold,” she said. “They might be stuck in traffic,
but more likely they’ll be moving by at 40 miles an hour.”

The mural will be finished by mid-August. But it has already had an impact
on some of its creators - especially those who flirted with enlisting -
after they spoke with female veterans.

“What is shocking to me is how little time it took to get the girls to
change their minds,” Ms. Sananman said. “That blew me away. Once they had
the information, it took them 45 minutes to decide.”


11) Gates Pushing Plan for Afghan Army
August 8, 2008

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will endorse a $20 billion plan to substantially increase the size of Afghanistan’s army and will also restructure the military command of American and NATO forces in response to the growing Taliban threat, senior Pentagon and military officials said Thursday.

Taken together, the two decisions are an acknowledgment of shortcomings that continue to hinder NATO- and American-led operations in Afghanistan. With the war in Iraq still an obstacle to any immediate American troop increase in Afghanistan, the plan was described by officials as an attempt to increase allied and Afghan capabilities in advance of deploying the additional American brigades that Mr. Gates and his commanders agree are necessary.

The additional American troops are unlikely to be available until next year.

Under a plan initially proposed by the Afghan government and now endorsed by Mr. Gates, the Afghan National Army will nearly double in size over the next five years, to more than 120,000 active-duty troops.

Such a large increase would not be possible without American funds, which will pay for trainers and for equipment, food and housing for Afghan forces. But Pentagon officials said that Mr. Gates would seek contributions from allies to help underwrite the $20 billion cost over five years.

In a closely related decision, Mr. Gates plans to reshape a command structure that has divided the NATO and American missions in Afghanistan, a system now viewed as unwieldy in the face of increasing insurgent violence, senior Pentagon and military officials said. Under an order expected to be signed by Mr. Gates before the end of August, Gen. David D. McKiernan, the four-star Army officer who leads the 45,000-member NATO force, would be given command of most of the 19,000 American troops who have operated separately. (The NATO force already includes about 15,000 other Americans.)

The moves come nearly seven years into the war in Afghanistan, a conflict that has claimed more than 500 American lives. The last two months have been among the deadliest in Afghanistan for American forces, who are trying to contend with a sharp increase in attacks by Taliban militants, some of them staged with support from insurgents based in the remote tribal areas of neighboring Pakistan.

Pentagon officials say they hope the creation of a more unified command structure under General McKiernan will help to coordinate all forces in Afghanistan — most notably American units near the Pakistani border in eastern Afghanistan, which have operated independently of the NATO-led force in charge in southern Afghanistan.

“General McKiernan is in the best possible position to most efficiently and effectively deploy all of the resources to the benefit of the overall mission,” said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary. “This creates one commander in country and in charge of all forces, and establishes a structure to deploy them as best suits the mission and to improve synchronization among all military assets.”

In the months ahead, NATO and the United States will nevertheless continue to pursue somewhat different missions in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials said, and the new command structure will not result in a merger of the two missions.

NATO took command of the nationwide mission to stabilize Afghanistan in 2006. The allies expected to face little direct combat and to focus on reconstruction and on maintaining security in areas that were relatively calm.

In contrast, the American-led mission in Afghanistan has focused from the start of the war on combat operations to capture or kill insurgents and terrorists, as well as on training Afghan security forces, counter-insurgency and reconstruction.

Although the situation has significantly changed, some allied units operate under strict constraints placed by their home governments that prevent them from participating in certain kinds of combat missions, which American officials have said is a major obstacle to beating back the Taliban.

Pentagon policy makers said one goal of the command restructuring would be to allow the movement of American and allied troops — including the British, Canadian and Dutch soldiers who participate in a full range of combat missions — to support one another in a more seamless fashion. It remains unclear if the change will persuade the militaries operating under restrictions to take on additional battlefield responsibilities.

Because of the constraints on allied forces, Pentagon officials said, two kinds of missions will remain under a separate American command: running prisons and counterterrorism operations to capture or kill high-value Taliban and Qaeda leaders. Many of those counterterrorism missions are classified, so it is not publicly known how many troops will remain under American command.

The command reorganization implies that an American officer will be in charge of the NATO and American missions for the foreseeable future.

The restructuring would also be intended to streamline the American-led training mission, which to a large extent has been outside the NATO structure.

But Pentagon and military officials said the new approach was crafted with attention to the sensitivities of NATO allies, and Mr. Gates and other officials consulted with the NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and with the governments that have the largest number of troops in Afghanistan.

Mr. Gates has pledged that the United States will work to send up to two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan next year, a force that would number 6,000 to 10,000 troops.

Previously, the goal had been to expand the Afghan Army to 80,000 from 63,000 troops, and funds had already been allocated for that. The $20 billion will pay for the additional increase in soldiers.

Pentagon officials expect that they will need an estimated $5 billion per year for the first three years of the expansion, and then about $3 billion for each of the final two years of the expansion.

The United States will work with allies to help pay for the effort, Mr. Morrell said. Any new American money for the expanded Afghan Army, or proposals to divert money currently in the budget to that effort, would have to be approved by Congress.


12) Indians Gain a Slim Victory in Suit Against Government
August 8, 2008

DENVER — For decades, American Indians have argued that the federal government swindled them under a trust account system created in the closing days of the American frontier more than 120 years ago.

On Thursday, a federal judge agreed, up to a point.

The judge, James Robertson of Federal District Court in Washington, ruled that the plaintiffs, however much they had prevailed in proving government failure, were entitled to only a fraction of the billions of dollars they sought. Judge Robertson said that trust law is applied differently to government trustees than it would be to private citizens, and that instead of the $48 billion that the descendants of the original trust holders claimed, the government was only liable for about $455 million.

“He basically accepted the government’s argument that not that much money is missing,” said Bill McAllister, a spokesman for the plaintiffs, who are led by a member of the Blackfoot tribe in Montana, Elouise Pepion Cobell. “He rejected our methodology and our theory of the case.”

Ms. Cobell said in a statement that lawyers were studying whether to appeal. Lawyers representing the Interior Department, the defendant, did not return a telephone call.

Judge Robertson did not actually order the government to pay; hearings on that question are scheduled for later this month. And he was scathing at times in describing how the case had illuminated government mismanagement, including a long trail of lost or destroyed records about money owed to Indians for timber leases, oil leases and other activities.

“Historical wrongs,” the judge wrote, “could have been — and should have been — settled by the same political branches in recognition of their own failure.”

But the judge disagreed with the argument by lawyers for an estimated 500,000 descendants of the original trust holders, who argued that the accounting should factor in how much the government improperly gained — by using the Indian money for its own benefit, in lower borrowing costs or interest earned, for example — over decades.

The class-action suit was filed in 1996 after other suits by Indian descendants were dismissed.


13) As Program Moves Poor to Suburbs, Tensions Follow
August 9, 2008

ANTIOCH, Calif. — From the tough streets of Oakland, where so many of Alice Payne’s relatives and friends had been shot to death, the newspaper advertisement for a federally assisted rental property in this Northern California suburb was like a bridge across the River Jordan.

Ms. Payne, a 42-year-old African-American mother of five, moved to Antioch in 2006. With the local real estate market slowing and a housing voucher covering two-thirds of the rent, she found she could afford a large, new home, with a pool, for $2,200 a month.

But old problems persisted. When her estranged husband was arrested, the local housing authority tried to cut off her subsidy, citing disturbances at her house. Then the police threatened to prosecute her landlord for any criminal activity or public nuisances caused by the family. The landlord forced the Paynes to leave when their lease was up.

Under the Section 8 federal housing voucher program, thousands of poor, urban and often African-American residents have left hardscrabble neighborhoods in the nation’s largest cities and resettled in the suburbs.

Law enforcement experts and housing researchers argue that rising crime rates follow Section 8 recipients to their new homes, while other experts discount any direct link. But there is little doubt that cultural shock waves have followed the migration. Social and racial tensions between newcomers and their neighbors have increased, forcing suburban communities like Antioch to re-evaluate their civic identities along with their methods of dealing with the new residents.

The foreclosure crisis gnawing away at overbuilt suburbs has accelerated that migration, and the problems. Antioch is one of many suburbs in the midst of a full-blown mortgage meltdown that has seen property owners seeking out low-income renters to fill vacant homes. The most recent Contra Costa County records available show that from 2003 to 2005, the number of Section 8 households in Antioch grew by 50 percent, to about 1,500 from 1,000. Many new residents are African-American; Antioch’s black population has grown to about 20 percent, from 3 percent in 1990.

Federally assisted tenants in Antioch brought a class action lawsuit against the police department last month, claiming racial discrimination, intimidation and illegal property searches. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California, claims that the police routinely questioned Section 8 residents about their housing status and wrote letters to the county’s housing authority recommending termination of subsidies. They say the police also threatened Section 8 landlords for infractions by tenants. A December 2007 study of Antioch police records by Public Advocates, a law firm in San Francisco, counted 67 investigations of black households, compared with 59 of white families; black households, it found, are four times as likely to be searched based on noncriminal complaints and to be contacted by the police in the first place.

Chief James Hyde of the Antioch Police Department denied that his officers routinely asked whether tenants were Section 8 recipients and said that the police department did not have information about which homes were on federal assistance. But Chief Hyde also said that the local housing authority was not meeting its obligation to screen tenants properly, and that as his department focused on nuisance issues, the police had become a de facto enforcement arm of the federal government.

“Other cities have come asking us for guidance,” Chief Hyde said.

The Section 8 program is designed to encourage low-income tenants to settle in middle-income areas by subsidizing 60 percent of their rent. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development issued 50,000 more vouchers for suburban relocations in 2007 than in 2005, bringing the total number of renter families to 2.1 million.

Federal officials and housing experts say that the increase in vouchers was offset by people being forced out of federal housing projects that closed and by renters moving into foreclosed properties. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy and research group, 30 percent to 40 percent of residents in foreclosed properties were renters, many of whom have since sought federal assistance.

Linda Couch, the coalition’s deputy director, said families often waited a decade or more for housing vouchers.

Demand for subsidized suburban housing, meanwhile, is outstripping supply. In Salinas, Calif., applicants circled an entire block around a housing authority office earlier this month. Mobile, Ala., has 3,400 Section 8 families, and 2,000 more awaiting homes.

Sociologists have long claimed that leaving behind high-crime, low-employment neighborhoods for the middle-class suburbs buoys the fortunes of impoverished tenants. An article in the July/August edition of The Atlantic Monthly, however, cited findings by researchers at the University of Memphis that crime in Memphis appeared to migrate with voucher recipients. More broadly, a 2006 Georgia Institute of Technology study found that every time a neighborhood experienced three foreclosures per 100 owner-occupied properties in a year, violent crime increased by approximately 7 percent.

As Antioch’s population grew to 101,000 in 2005, from 73,386 in 1995, the city built about 4,000 housing units in the early years of this decade.

Now it has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the state, with about 23 of every 1,000 homeowners losing their homes as of June, according to DataQuick, a real estate information clearinghouse.

While total crime in Antioch declined by 15 percent in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period in 2007, violent crime increased by about 16 percent, according to city statistics. Robberies and assaults accounted for most of that rise.

In an incident report filed with the Antioch Police Department, Natalie and Darin Rouse complained of constant problems with gang members’ blaring car stereos and under-age drinking on the street. In a written account, they blamed “gross community overdevelopment, affirmative action loopholes and incompetent state government management of federal affordable housing programs” for the problems.

Several white women, all professionals who attend the same church and have lived in Antioch for 12 years or more, recently sat outside a Starbucks coffee shop and discussed how their declining home equity had trapped them in a city they no longer recognize.

“My father got held up at gunpoint while he was renting a car to a young African-American man,” said Rebecca Gustafson, 35, who owns a graphics and Web design company with her husband. Ms. Gustafson said her car had also been broken into three times before being stolen from her driveway.

Laura Reynolds, 36, an emergency room nurse, said that she often came home to her Country Hills development tract after working a late-shift to find young black teenagers strolling through her neighborhood.

“I know it sounds horrible, but they’re scary. I’m sorry,” said Ms. Reynolds, who like her two friends said she was conflicted about her newfound fear of black youths. “Sometimes I question myself, and I think, Would I feel this way if they were Mexican or white?”

Housing advocates argue that the impact of Section 8 in Antioch and other communities is exaggerated and that Section 8 houses make up only a small amount of the real estate market. Section 8 homes rarely exceed more than 2 percent of available housing in any metropolitan area; in Antioch the average is 8 percent, according to housing officials.

Brad Seligman, a lawyer with the Impact Fund, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group based in San Francisco that is representing Section 8 tenants in Antioch, along with groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Advocates, accused the city’s police department of racially profiling black subsidized tenants. The N.A.A.C.P. has made similar accusations.

“Instead of driving while black, it’s renting while black,” Mr. Seligman said.

Thomas and Karen Coleman and their three children were the only black family on their street when they moved to Antioch in 2003 with a housing voucher.

In June 2007, a neighbor told the police that Mr. Coleman had threatened him. Officers from the police community action team visited the house and demanded to be allowed in.

“I cracked the door open, but they pushed me out of the way,” Ms. Coleman said.

The officers searched the house even though they did not have a warrant, said the Colemans, who are now part of the class-action suit against the department. The police questioned Mr. Coleman, a parolee at the time, about his living arrangement. He explained that he and his wife were separated but in the process of reconciling. The police accused the family of violating a Section 8 rule that only listed tenants can live in a subsidized home.

After the raid, officers made repeated visits to the Coleman home and to Mr. Coleman’s job at a movie theater. They also sent a letter to the county housing department recommending that the Colemans be removed from federal housing assistance, a recommendation the authority rejected.

“They kept harassing me until I was off parole,” Mr. Coleman said.


14) Immigrants’ Speedy Trials After Raid Become Issue
August 9, 2008

Immigration and criminal defense lawyers were stunned in May when nearly 300 illegal immigrant workers who had been detained in a raid at an Iowa meatpacking plant were convicted on criminal charges and sentenced to prison — all in just four days.

Now the legal blueprint for those extraordinarily swift proceedings has come to light, and it is raising questions about the close collaboration in the months before the raid between the federal court in Iowa and the prosecutors who pressed the charges.

The blueprint is a 117-page compendium of scripts, laying out step by step the hearings that would come after the raid at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, the largest immigration enforcement operation ever carried out at a single workplace.

The United States attorney’s office in Iowa said the documents, recently posted on the Web site of the American Civil Liberties Union, were not binding and were prepared to assist defense lawyers with a sudden crush of defendants. Most of the immigrants pleaded guilty to document fraud and were sentenced to five months in prison. Some Iowa lawyers said they did find the scripts helpful.

But some critics of the proceedings say the documents suggest that the court had endorsed the prosecutors’ drive to obtain the guilty pleas even before the hearings began. The scripts included a model of the guilty pleas that prosecutors planned to offer as well as statements to be made by the judges when they accepted the pleas and handed down sentences.

“This was the Postville prosecution guilty-plea machine,” said Lucas Guttentag, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the A.C.L.U. “The entire process seemed to presume and be designed for fast-track guilty pleas.”

One defense lawyer who received the scripts from prosecutors on the day of the raid said he became convinced that the hearings had been organized to produce guilty pleas for the prosecution. As a result, the lawyer, Rockne Cole, declined to represent any of the arrested immigrants and “walked out in disgust,” he wrote in a letter to a Congressional subcommittee that is scrutinizing the raid and the legal proceedings that followed.

Mr. Cole wrote that he was most dismayed to see that the scripts specified the particular plea agreements that would be offered to the defendants. “What I found most astonishing,” he wrote, “is that apparently Chief Judge Reade had already ratified these deals prior to one lawyer even talking to his or her client.”

Preparations for the hearings were overseen by Linda R. Reade, the chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa court, who declined to comment for this article. In an interview in May during the hearings, Judge Reade said she had begun to organize them in December, when she was advised by the immigration authorities to expect a “major law enforcement initiative.”

The hearings were conducted in emergency courtrooms set up in the National Cattle Congress, a fairground in Waterloo. Magistrate judges took guilty pleas from immigrants in groups of 10, then the immigrants were immediately sentenced, five at a time. Only a handful of the workers, mostly illegal immigrants from Guatemala, had prior criminal records.

The scripts were compiled before the raid by court officials under the supervision of Robert Phelps, the clerk of court, with input from the office of United States Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth, prosecutors said. Iowa defense lawyers said they were not included in any discussions before the raid.

Mr. Phelps declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Dummermuth said the intention was not “pushing people into pleading guilty.”

“These documents were there to make sure people were fully advised of their rights and fully understood the consequences of their decisions to plead guilty,” said the spokesman, Bob Teig.

In the May interview, Judge Reade, a former federal prosecutor who was nominated by President Bush in 2002, said she was surprised by how many Agriprocessors defendants had pleaded guilty rather than contest the charges. She said she had planned to spend the summer presiding over trials in those cases.

The scripts were presented by prosecutors to about two dozen defense lawyers who were summoned by the court in meetings at the Cedar Rapids courthouse on May 12 while the raid was under way. Several lawyers who were present said prosecutors told them that they might each be assigned more than two dozen clients.

The scripts specified that prosecutors would offer a particular type of plea agreement that leaves no discretion to judges to raise or lower sentences. Some defense and immigration lawyers said the inclusion of these plea agreements was a sign of overly close cooperation between the court and prosecutors.

“Here you have a court communicating with one side and not the other about substantive issues,” said Robert R. Rigg, a Drake University law professor who is president of the Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “The court had bound itself to the agreement before the plea was accepted.”

Professor Rigg and other legal scholars said such plea agreements were generally negotiated between prosecutors and defense lawyers after a defendant was charged, and were later approved by the judge. The rule governing the plea bargaining says, “The court must not participate in these agreements.”

Stephanos Bibas, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who is an expert on federal criminal procedure, reviewed the scripts at the request of The New York Times. He said that they contained nothing “legally questionable,” but gave an appearance that “raises eyebrows.”

“It does make it look like the prosecutor and the judge have worked it out ahead of time and made it a fait accompli,” Professor Bibas said. “The defense can think the judge is behind this.”

The Agriprocessors hearings have become a national test case for the Bush administration’s crackdown strategy of bringing criminal charges against illegal immigrants caught in workplace raids. Until recently, most illegal immigrant workers, if they had no prior records, were swiftly deported on civil immigration violations.

The hearings were the highest profile use of an expedited procedure, known as fast track, in a court in the American interior. Such fast-track criminal immigration proceedings, on a smaller scale, have become common in the last year in courts near the Mexican border.

Prosecutors and judges said the Iowa court had used scripts in past criminal hearings and had posted them on the court’s Web site. Paul A. Zoss, a magistrate judge who presided in the Agriprocessors hearings, said the court was seeking to help defense lawyers prepare their cases.

Iowa defense lawyers said they had seen scripts, but never a complete playbook like the one they were handed in May, describing a guilty plea process from start to finish. But some lawyers who represented immigrant defendants said they found the scripts useful.

“Whether the court prepared them or the prosecution prepared them does not change the fact that they were helpful,” said Christopher Clausen, a lawyer who represented 23 immigrant defendants.




Arizona: Court Allows Fake Snow Opposed by Tribes
National Briefing | Southwest
A federal appeals court has ruled that a ski resort’s plan to use recycled wastewater for making snow would not violate the religious freedom of Indian groups who had claimed that the practice would be blasphemous to a mountain they hold sacred. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ruling in a lawsuit against the Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff that was filed by 13 tribes and the Sierra Club, overturned a ruling by a smaller panel of the court that said the plan would violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The 1993 act is intended to ensure that government actions do not infringe on religious freedom. Lawyers for the tribes and the Sierra Club said they expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
August 9, 2008

Bolivia: Tin Miners Die in Clashes
World Briefing | The Americas
At least two miners were killed and many more were injured Tuesday in clashes between the police and workers at the country’s largest tin mine, Huanuni, local radio reported. The violence erupted when police officers clashed with groups of striking miners who had blocked a road, Interior Minister Alfredo Rada said. The strike is in support of a drive by a labor federation for higher pensions and a lowering of the retirement age to 55.
August 6, 2008

Proposed Kosher Certification Rules
Conservative Jewish leaders are seeking to protect workers and the environment at kosher food plants like the one raided this spring in Iowa. They issued draft guidelines for a kosher certification program meant as a supplement to the traditional certification process that measures compliance with Jewish dietary law. The proposed “hekhsher tzedek,” or “certificate of righteousness,” would be awarded to companies that pay fair wages, ensure workplace safety, follow government environmental regulations and treat animals humanely, among other proposed criteria. Support for the idea has been fueled by controversies at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, Iowa, the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant. In May, immigration officials raided the plant, arresting nearly 400 workers.
August 1, 2008
National Briefing | Immigration




On the Waterboard
How does it feel to be “aggressively interrogated”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantánamo and elsewhere. has the footage. Related: “Believe Me, It’s Torture,” from the August 2008 issue.


Alison Bodine defense Committee
Lift the Two-year Ban

Watch the Sept 28 Video on Alison's Case!


The Girl Who Silenced the World at the UN!
Born and raised in Vancouver, Severn Suzuki has been working on environmental and social justice issues since kindergarten. At age 9, she and some friends started the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. They traveled to 1992's UN Earth Summit, where 12 year-old Severn gave this powerful speech that deeply affected (and silenced) some of the most prominent world leaders. The speech had such an impact that she has become a frequent invitee to many U.N. conferences.
[Note: the text of her speech is also available at this]




"Dear Canada: Let U.S. war resisters stay!"

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


Stop the Termination or the Cherokee Nation


We Didn't Start the Fire

I Can't Take it No More

The Art of Mental Warfare

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




Port of Olympia Anti-Militarization Action Nov. 2007


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

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

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

—MALCOLM X, 1965


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


LAPD vs. Immigrants (Video)


Dr. Julia Hare at the SOBA 2007


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


Wealth Inequality Charts


MALCOLM X: Oxford University Debate


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


YouTube clip of Che before the UN in 1964


The Wealthiest Americans Ever
NYT Interactive chart
JULY 15, 2007


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


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


Which country should we invade next?


My Favorite Mutiny, The Coup


Michael Moore- The Awful Truth


Morse v. Frederick Supreme Court arguments


Free Speech 4 Students Rally - Media Montage


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


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


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


"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]



"Award-Winning Writer/Filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek Launches New Sand
Creek Massacre Website"

May 21, 2008 -- CENTENNIAL, CO -- Award-winning filmmaker, Donald L.
Vasicek, has launched a new Sand Creek Massacre website. Titled,
"The Sand Creek Massacre", the site contains in depth witness
accounts of the massacre, the award-winning Sand Creek Massacre
trailer for viewing, the award-winning Sand Creek Massacre
documentary short for viewing, the story of the Sand Creek Massacre,
and a Shop to purchase Sand Creek Massacre DVD's and lesson
plans including the award-winning documentary film/educational DVD.

Vasicek, a board member of The American Indian Genocide Museum
( Houston, Texas, said, "The website was launched
to inform, to educate, and to provide educators, historians, students
and all others the accessibility to the Sand Creek Massacre story."

The link/URL to the website is

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC