Saturday, June 26, 2010

BAUAW NEWSLETTER - SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 2010

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LYNNE STEWART:

Prosecutors Ease Stance, but Still Seek Long Prison Term for Radical Lawyer
By BENJAMIN WEISER
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/nyregion/26stewart.html?ref=nyregion

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have changed their view on how long Lynne F. Stewart should go to prison.

They once said 30 years. Now they say as few as 15. Her lawyers say that is still too much.

The battle over an appropriate sentence for Ms. Stewart, a disbarred lawyer who was known for defending unpopular clients, has been going on for several years.

In 2005, she was convicted of assisting terrorism by smuggling information from an imprisoned client to his violent followers in Egypt. Judge John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court imposed a sentence of 28 months in 2006.

Prosecutors appealed, and last year a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the sentence, sending the case back to Judge Koeltl to determine if Ms. Stewart deserved more time because of the seriousness of her crime and the possibility she had lied during her trial.

The panel also ordered Ms. Stewart, who had undergone treatment for breast cancer before she was first sentenced, to begin serving her time. Ms. Stewart, 70, has been imprisoned since last November.

Now the case will be back before Judge Koeltl for resentencing in July. Ms. Stewart's lawyers asked him this month to impose no more than the original 28-month term.

The lawyers, Elizabeth M. Fink and Jill R. Shellow, cited their client's "extraordinary history" and other factors, and said the judge "was clearly in the best position" to decide an appropriate sentence.

Late Friday, the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, filed a memorandum with the judge, arguing that a term of 28 months would be unreasonable and would create sentencing disparities with similar cases.

A sentence of 15 to 30 years, the prosecutors wrote, would be "commensurate with the deadly serious nature" of her terrorist crimes.

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Is it raining oil
in Metro New Orleans?
River Ridge, LA
Just south of the airport
[The question mark isn't appropriate in this title. The video clearly shows that it's raining oil in River Ridge--no question about it...bw]
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/874.html

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. SPECIAL APPEALS, VIDEOS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
C. ARTICLES IN FULL

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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Thursday, July 1, 9:00am

Free theSAN FRANCISCO 8!

Come to the hearing at Superior Court to support Francisco Torres, the last of the SF8 still on charges of a frame-up of Black elders. Join the FSP and others to demand that charges be dropped.

850 Bryant St., San Francisco

For more information, call (415) 226-1120 or email: freethesf8@gmail.com

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After the historic Oakland port victory, time to intensify the struggle
Netanyahu in U.S.-Protest in the Streets!
at Israeli Consulate, 456 Montgomery St., SF
Tuesday, July 6, 4:30-6:30pm

Bring down the blockade of Gaza and Israel's apartheid wall!
Free Palestine-End colonial occupation!
Justice for the victims of Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla!
End U.S. aid to Israel-Boycott Israeli Ships and Goods!

The 24-hour shutdown of the SSA terminal at the Port of Oakland where an Israeli Zim lines ship docked on June 20 was an historic victory. More than 1,000 people joined the morning and afternoon mass picket lines, which were honored by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10. June 20 was the first time ever that an Israeli ship was boycotted in a U.S. port. Norwegian, Swedish and South African dock workers have called protests refusing to handle Israeli cargo.

The worldwide BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israeli apartheid is rapidly gaining momentum. Just last week, the largest British public workers union, UNISON, which has more than 1.4 million members passed a motion at it's national conference reading, in part: "Conference reaffirms the support for an economic, cultural and sporting boycott of Israel and call on Unison to join the scores of unions around the world who have endorsed the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Further to that as an immediate sanction for the illegal attack on the flotilla, we call on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador."

Demonstrations are planned in Washington DC, San Francisco and other cities on July 6.
Join the protest at the Israeli consulate on July 6 and bring your friends, neighbors, fellow workers and students.

Initiated by: A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition-Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. Please reply to this email if your organization would like to be listed as a co-sponsor.

Volunteers and donations needed!
Call 415-821-6545 to volunteer or come by the ANSWER office to pick up leaflets and posters, 2489 Mission St. #24, SF. Volunteers are needed to help hand out leaflets, put up posters for the action and make alert phone calls to other activists. Click here to make a much-needed donation:

https://secure2.convio.net/pep/site/Donation?ACTION=SHOW_DONATION_OPTIONS&CAMPAIGN_ID=1443&JServSessionIdr004=k47yaqohk3.app202a

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERcoalition.org http://www.answersf.org
answer@answersf.org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

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United National
Peace Conference
July 23 - 25, 2010, Albany, NY
Unac2010@aol.com or UNAC at P.O. Box 21675, Cleveland, OH 44121
518-227-6947 www.nationalpeaceconference.org

Call to Action!
United National Antiwar Conference (UNAC)
Join us in Albany, New York!
July 23-25, 2010

The National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now will take place against the backdrop of major developments in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Our planet is aflame with unending wars, threats of new wars and horrendous sanctions against Iran, atrocious attacks on innocent Freedom Flotillas bringing humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Palestinians of Gaza, and with an unprecedented corporate-driven environmental catastrophe.

With U.S. acquiescence, a humanitarian flotilla in international waters, carrying 10,000 tons of food, medical, construction and educational supplies and toys for children, has been brutally attacked by the Israeli military - nine killed and six others missing and/or presumed dead. The 750 peace activists aboard, including NGO members, pacifists, journalists, and members of the European Parliament, were kidnapped, then arrested - their cargo seized. As we write, Iranian and Turkish ships, also loaded with humanitarian supplies, have announced plans to head for beleaguered Gaza to challenge the illegal blockade and Israeli siege. Will the Israeli government once again attack with deadly force bringing the world closer to yet another war?

We are witness to seven years of war against Iraq, a war whose every pretext has been discredited and whose people demand U.S. withdrawal. War for oil, occupation and plunder does not sit well with Iraqis who have suffered 1.4 million dead. "Phased withdrawal" is designed to assuage the U.S. public, and Iraqi majority opposition notwithstanding, there is no end in sight.

Meanwhile, 60,000 barrels of oil daily for the past two months, barely impeded, pour into the Gulf of Mexico, wreaking death, destruction and massive loss of income in adjacent states and north to the Atlantic and beyond. Corporate greed and the absence of a semblance of serious government regulation threaten long-term destruction of the ocean's ecosystem. British Petroleum, the Transocean corporation, and subcontractor Halliburton Industries demonstrate once again that oil profits, whether in the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Mexico, trump human life and indeed life on earth in all forms. The insatiable drive for "black gold," the very resource that with continued use threatens all life, has brought us to the brink of what Mother Earth and its inhabitants can endure.

At the same time, our movement has registered some impressive gains while the government is registering important setbacks.

• Public opposition to the Afghanistan War is on the rise!
• The "victory" in Marja has proven ephemeral!
• The economic and political crises have awakened millions to the government's twisted priorities!
• Congressional debates reflect doubts about the war's objectives and costs!
• 24 Guantanamo torture protesters have been acquitted!

History demonstrates time and again that united, democratic and principled mass movements open the door to fundamental social change. That is the lesson of the fight against the Vietnam War, the broad civil rights movements, the struggles for equal rights for women and gays, and labor's struggle to unionize and advance the well-being of tens of millions.

And that's why the Albany conference is so timely. One hundred and twenty-five plenary and workshop speakers are scheduled! They include national and international leaders in the fight against war and for social justice. Twenty-nine national organizations are equal co-sponsors. (See nationalpeaceconference.org). For the first time in many years, a broad and diverse range of U.S. antiwar forces will be in the same room. Joined by social activists across the country and from around the world, they will lay plans to mobilize the American people to Bring the Troops and War Dollars Home Now! and to Fund Human Needs Not War!

The time to act is now! All antiwar and social justice activists welcome! One person one vote! See Draft Action Program online. Related amendments and resolutions are welcome.

The need now is to find common ground in the fight for life itself. The crisis-ridden system cries out for a challenge the world over. Let us be among the first to chart a winning course for the U.S. and for all humanity.

We say, "Massive funds for jobs, education, housing, pensions, the environment and health care! Bring the Troops, Mercenaries, War Profiteers and War Dollars Home Now! Close the 860 Military Bases! Bail Out the People, Not the Banks!"

United we can change the world!

JOIN US IN ALBANY, NEW YORK, JULY 23-25, 2010!

For more information: www.nationalpeaceconference.org or call 518-227-6947. A registration form is attached. Brochures announcing the conference can be ordered by writing UNAC2010@aol.com

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Education 4 the People!
October 7 Day of Action in Defense of Public Education - California

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference at SFSU on OCT 16th
Posted on May 24, 2010 by ooofireballooo
Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference
@ San Francisco State University on October 16th

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

Proposal: Form a conference organizing listserve immediately!

Please join the google group today.

* Group home page: http://groups.google.com/group/fallconferencesfsu

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B. SPECIAL APPEALS, VIDEOS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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SOME GOOD NEWS FOR TROY ANTHONY DAVIS - INNOCENT MAN ON DEATH ROW:
http://www.troyanthonydavis.org/call-to-action.html

Georgia: Witnesses in Murder Case Recant
By SHAILA DEWAN
June 23, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/us/24brfs-WITNESSESINM_BRF.html?ref=us

In an unusual hearing ordered by the Supreme Court that began in Savannah on Wednesday, several witnesses said they had concocted testimony that Troy Anthony Davis killed a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989. Last August, the Supreme Court ordered a federal district court to determine if new evidence "clearly establishes" Mr. Davis's innocence, its first order in an "actual innocence" petition from a state prisoner in nearly 50 years, according to Justice Antonin Scalia, who dissented. Seven of the witnesses who testified against Mr. Davis at his trial have recanted, and some have implicated the chief informer in the case. Mr. Davis's execution has been stayed three times.
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Troy Davis Hearing Week of Action Schedule of Activities Hour of Prayer:
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 12 noon Call Number: (712) 432-1000 Access Code: 481005918# Join NAACP leaders for an hour of prayer. Community Mass Meeting - Tuesday, June 22 at 6:30pm New Life Apostolic Temple, 2120 West Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31415 Join National leaders of Amnesty International, Larry Cox, the NAACP, Benjamin Todd Jealous, Martina Correia (sister of Troy Davis), death row exonerees and other dynamic leaders. Wednesday & Thursday, June 23 & 24 Wright Square Vigil for Restorative Justice, 9am - 5pm Show your support by joining with others in Wright Square, across from the courthouse during the hearing. Drop by all day, or at the beginning, middle or end for prayer and meditation, opportunity for artistic expression, learning about restorative justice, stories from former death row prisoners who were innocent and exonerated, and more information about human rights. Evidentiary Hearing - Wednesday, June 23 at 10am Tomochichi Federal Courthouse (125 Bull St. in Savannah) Open to the public on a first come-first served basis. Please follow the courthouse rules and dress formally. Note: the hearing could last one or more days. During your weekly prayer and Bible study, please keep the Davis and MacPhail families in your prayers. JOIN US ON THE EVE OF HIS HISTORIC HEARING TO PRAY THAT JUSTICE IS FINALLY SERVED
For more info: www.iamtroy.com | www.justicefortroy.org | troy@aiusa.org Savannah Branch NAACP: 912-233-4161

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Two Pensacola Beach Scenes: Dying Baby Dolphin and Ocean "Water Bubbling "...Like It's Got Acid In It. God Help Us All"
opednews.com
For OpEdNews: theWeb - Writer
Two scenes from Pensacola--one of a dying baby dolphin, the other of water bubbling like there's acid in it.
A dying, oil-covered baby dolphin is taken from Pensacola waters. It died shortly after being discovered.
http://www.youtube.com/user/pcolagregg
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Video-Pensacola-Ocean-Wa-by-the-web-100624-933.html

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THE SHORT FILM BP DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE ABOUT WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING TO THE PEOPLE IN THE GULF
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRl6-o8CpXA

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ROV films oil leak coming from rock cracks on seafloor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2RxIQP0IBU

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Oil Spill Threatens Native American "Water" Village
The town of Grand Bayou, Louisiana, has no streets and no cars, just water and boats. And now the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatens the very existence of the Atakapa-Ishak Indians who live there. "We're facing the potential for cultural genocide," says one tribe member.
(c) 2010 National Geographic; videographer and field producer: Fritz Faerber
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/06/100608-us-oil-gulf-indians-video/

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Mumia Abu-Jamal - Legal Update
June 9, 2010
Robert R. Bryan, Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117
www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

Dear All:

There are significant developments on various fronts in the coordinated legal campaign to save & free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The complex court proceedings are moving forward at a fast pace. Mumia's life is on the line.

Court Developments: We are engaged in pivotal litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. At stake is whether Mumia will be executed or granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. Two years ago we won on that issue, with the federal court finding that the trial judge misled the jury thereby rendering the proceedings constitutionally unfair. Then in January 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that ruling based upon its decision in another case, & ordered that the case be again reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

The prosecution continues its obsession to kill my client, regardless of the truth as to what happened at the time of the 1981 police shooting. Its opening brief was filed April 26. Our initial brief will be submitted on July 28. At issue is the death penalty.

In separate litigation, we are awaiting a decision in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on prosecutorial abuses, having completed all briefing in April. The focus is on ballistics.

Petition for President Barack Obama: It is crucial for people to sign the petition for President Barack Obama, Mumia Abu-Jamal & the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty, which was initially in 10 languages (Swahili & Turkish have since been added). This is the only petition approved by Mumia & me, & is a vital part of the legal effort to save his life. Please sign the petition & circulate its link:

www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

Nearly 22,000 people from around the globe have signed. These include: Bishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa (Nobel Peace Prize); Günter Grass, Germany (Nobel Prize in Literature); Danielle Mitterrand, Paris (former First Lady of France); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Colin Firth (Academy Award Best-Actor nominee), Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher & author); Ed Asner (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); & Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); Robert Meeropol (son of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953); Fatima Bhutto, Pakistan (writer); Noam Chomsky, MIT (philosopher & author); Ed Asner (actor); Mike Farrell (actor); Michael Radford (director of the Oscar winning film Il Postino); members of the European Parliament; members of the German Bundestag; European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights; Reporters Without Borders, Paris.

European Parliament; Rosa Luxemburg Conference; World Congress Against the Death Penalty; Geneva Human Rights Film Festival: We began the year with a major address to the annual Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin, Germany, sponsored by the newspaper junge Welt. The large auditorium was filled with a standing-room audience. Mumia joined me by telephone. We announced the launching of the online petition, Mumia Abu-Jamal & the Global Abolition of the Death Penalty.

A large audience on the concluding night of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Geneva, Switzerland, February 25, heard Mumia by telephone. He spoke as a symbolic representative of the over 20,000 men, women & children on death rows around the world. The call came as a surprise, since we thought it had been canceled. Mumia's comments from inside his death-row cell brought to reality the horror of daily life in which death is a common denominator. During an earlier panel discussion I spoke of racism in capital cases around the globe with the case of Mumia as a prime example. A day before the Congress on February 23, I talked at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival on the power of films in fighting the death penalty & saving Mumia.

On March 2 in the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, members Søren Søndergaard (Denmark) & Sabine Lösing (Germany) announced the beginning of a campaign to save Mumia & end executions. They were joined by Sabine Kebir, the noted German author & PEN member, Nicole Bryan, & me. We discussed the online petition which helps not only Mumia, but all the condemned around the globe.

Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense & Online Petition: The complex litigation & investigation that is being pursued on behalf of Mumia is enormously expensive. We are in both the federal & state courts on the issue of the death penalty, prosecutorial wrongdoing, etc. Mumia's life is on the line.

How to Help: For information on how to help, both through donations & signing the Obama petition, please go to Mumia's legal defense website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org .

Conclusion: Mumia remains on death row under a death judgment. He is in greater danger than at any time since his arrest 28 years ago. The prosecution is pursuing his execution. I win cases, & will not let them kill my client. He must be free.

Yours very truly,

Robert
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Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
www.MumiaLegalDefense.org

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Please forward widely

Dear Friends of Lynne Stewart,

Forgive this hasty note updating Lynne's situation. I am off to Brazil shortly and must catch a plane soon.

I just spoke with Lynne's husband Ralph Poynter last night and learned the following.

A regularly scheduled follow up test to check on whether Lynne's breast cancel had reappeared revealed that Lynne now had a spot on her liver. Lynne struggled with prison authorities to have a required biopsy and related tests conducted at her regular, that is, non-prison, Roosevelt Hospital. Her requests were denied and she was compelled to have the biopsy done in a notoriously inferior facility where the results could not be determined for a week as compared to the almost immediate lab tests available at Roosevelt.

During Lynne's prison hospital stay she was shackled and handcuffed making rest and sleep virtually impossible. A horrified doctor ordered the shackles removed but immediately following his departure they were fastened on Lynne's feet and hands once again.

She is now back in her New York City prison cell. Her attorneys have filed for a postponement of her scheduled July 15 court appearance where Federal District Court sentencing Judge John Koeltl is to review the original 28-month jail sentence that he imposed last year.

This sentence was appealed by government prosecutors, who sought to order Koelt to impose a 30-year sentence. The U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, was sympathetic to the government's position and essentially stated that Koeltl's 28-month sentence exceeded the bounds of "reasonableness." Koeltl was ordered to reconsider. A relatively recent Supreme Court decision granted federal district court judges wide discretion in determining the length of internment. Koeltl's decision took into consideration many factors that the court system allows in determining Lynne's sentence. These included Lynne's character, her service to the community, her health and financial history and more. He ruled, among other things that Lynne's service to the community was indeed a "credit to her profession and to the nation."

Contrariwise, the government and prison authorities see Lynne as a convicted terrorist. Lynne was the victim of a frame-up trial held in the post-911 context. She was convicted on four counts of "aiding and abetting terrorism" stemming from a single act, Lynne's issuance of a press release on behalf of her client, the "blind" Egyptian Shreik Omar Abdel Rachman. The press release, that the government claimed violated a Special Administrative Order (SAM), was originally ignored as essentially trivial by the Clinton administration and then Attorney General Janet Reno. But the Bush administration's Attorney General John Ashcroft decided to go after Lynne with a sledge hammer.

A monstrous trial saw government attorney's pulling out all the stops to convince an intimidated jury that Lynne was associated in some way with terrorist acts across the globe, not to mention with Osama bin Laden. Both the judge and government were compelled to admit in court that there were no such "associations," but press clippings found in Lynne's office were nevertheless admitted as "hearsay" evidence even though they were given to Lynne by the government under the rules of discovery.

It is likely that Lynne's request for a postponement will be granted, assuming the government holds to the law that a prisoner has the right to partake in her/his own defense. Lynne's illness has certainly prevented her from doing so.

In the meantime, Lynne would like nothing more than to hear from her friends and associates. Down the road her defense team will also be looking for appropriate letters to the judge on Lynne's behalf. More later on the suggested content of these letters.

Please write Lynne to express your love and solidarity:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY
150 Park Row
New York, New York 10007

In Solidarity,

Jeff Mackler, West Coast Coordinator
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee

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Lynne Stewart and the Guantanamo Lawyers: Same Fact Patterns, Same Opponent, Different Endings?
Lynne Stewart will be re-sentenced sometime in July, in NYC.
By Ralph Poynter
(Ralph Poynter is the Life partner of Lynne Stewart. He is presently dedicated 24/7 to her defense, as well as other causes.)
Ralph.Poynter@yahoo.com

In the Spring of 2002, Lynne Stewart was arrested by the FBI, at her home in Brooklyn, for materially aiding terrorism by virtue of making a public press release to Reuters on behalf of her client, Sheik Abdel Omar Rahman of Egypt. This was done after she had signed a Special Administrative Measure issued by the Bureau of Prisons not permitting her to communicate with the media, on his behalf.

In 2006, a number of attorneys appointed and working pro bono for detainees at Guantanamo were discovered to be acting in a manner that disobeyed a Federal Judge's protective court order. The adversary in both cases was the United States Department of Justice. The results in each case were very different.

In March of 2010, a right wing group "Keep America Safe" led by Lynne Cheney, hoping to dilute Guantanamo representation and impugn the reputations and careers of the volunteer lawyers, launched a campaign. Initially they attacked the right of the detainees to be represented at all. This was met with a massive denouncement by Press, other media, Civil rights organizations ,and rightly so, as being a threat to the Constitution and particularly the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

A second attack on the Gitmo lawyers was made in the Wall Street Journal of March 16. This has been totally ignored in the media and by civil and human rights groups. This latter revelation about the violations, by these lawyers, of the Judge's protective orders and was revealed via litigation and the Freedom of Information Act. These pro bono lawyers serving clients assigned to them at Gitmo used privileged attorney client mail to send banned materials. They carried in news report of US failures in Afghanistan and Iraq . One lawyer drew a map of the prison. Another delivered lists to his client of all the suspects held there. They placed on the internet a facsimile of the badges worn by the Guards. Some lawyers "provided news outlets with 'interviews' of their clients using questions provided in advance by the news organizations." When a partner at one of the large Wall Street law firms sent in multiple copies of an Amnesty International brochure, which her client was to distribute to other prisoners, she was relieved from her representation and barred by the Military Commander from visiting her client.

This case is significant to interpret not because of the right wing line to punish these lawyers and manipulate their corporate clients to stop patronizing such "wayward" firms. Instead it is significant because, Lynne Stewart, a left wing progressive lawyer who had dedicated her thirty year career to defending the poor, the despised, the political prisoner and those ensnared by reason of race, gender, ethnicity, religion , who was dealt with by the same Department of Justice, in such a draconian fashion, confirms our deepest suspicions that she was targeted for prosecution and punishment because of who she is and who she represented so ably and not because of any misdeed.

Let me be very clear, I am not saying that the Gitmo lawyers acted in any "criminal" manner. The great tradition of the defense bar is to be able to make crucial decisions for and with the client without interference by the adversary Government.

I believe that they were acting as zealous attorneys trying to establish rapport and trust with their clients. That said, the moment the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice tried to remove Julia Tarver Mason from her client, the playing field tilted. Ms Tarver Mason was not led out of her home in handcuffs to the full glare of publicity. There was no press conference. The Attorney General did not go on the David Letterman show to gloat about the latest strike in the War on Terror, the purge of the Gitmo lawyer...NO.

Instead an "armada" of corporate lawyers went to Court against the Government. They, in the terms of the litigation trade, papered the US District Courthouse in Washington D.C. They brought to bear the full force of their Money and Power-- derived from the corporate world--and in 2006 "settled" the case with the government, restoring their clients to Guantanamo without any punishment at all, not to say any Indictment. Lynne Stewart, without corporate connections and coming from a working class background, was tried and convicted for issuing, on behalf of her client, a public press release to Reuters. There was no injury, no harm, no attacks, no deaths.

Yet that same Department of Justice that dealt so favorably and capitulated to the Gitmo corporate lawyers, wants to sentence Lynne Stewart to thirty (30) YEARS in prison. It is the equivalent of asking for a death sentence since she is 70 years old.

This vast disparity in treatment between Lynne and the Gitmo lawyers reveals the deep contradictions of the system ---those who derive power from rich and potent corporations, those whose day to day work maintains and increases that power--are treated differently. Is it because the Corporate Power is intertwined with Government Power???

Lynne Stewart deserves Justice... equal justice under law. Her present sentence of 28 months incarceration (she is in Federal Prison) should at least be maintained, if not made equal to the punishment that was meted out to the Gitmo lawyers. The thirty year sentence, assiduously pursued by DOJ under both Bush and Obama, is an obscenity and an affront to fundamental fairness. They wanted to make her career and dedication to individual clients, a warning, to the defense bar that the Government can arrest any lawyer on any pretext. The sharp contrasts between the cases of Lynne and the Gitmo lawyers just confirm that she is getting a raw deal--one that should be protested actively, visibly and with the full force of our righteous resistance.

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Roger Waters - "We Shall Overcome" for Gaza
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnMMHepfYVc

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Bernadette McAliskey Quote on Zionists:

"The root cause of conflict in the Middle East is the very nature of the state of Israel. It is a facist state. It is a international bully, which exists not to protect the rights of the Jewish people but to perpetuate a belief of Zionist supremacy. It debases the victims of the holocaust by its own strategy for extermination of Palestine and Palestinians and has become the image and likeness of its own worst enemy, the Third Reich.

"Anyone challenging their position, their crazed self-image is entitled, in the fascist construction of their thinking, to be wiped out. Every humanitarian becomes a terrorist? How long is the reality of the danger Israel poses to world peace going to be denied by the Western powers who created this monster?"

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Rachel Maddow: Disgraceful response to the oil itself
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#37563648

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It Ain't My Fault by Mos Def & Lenny Kravitz | stupidDOPE.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnR1BrGgRVM

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Gulf Oil Spill?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAHS5z6QKok

Dear Readers,

If you are wondering why an antiwar newsletter is giving full coverage to the oil spill, it's because:

(1) "Supplying the US army with oil is one of BP's biggest markets, and further exploration in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico is part of its long-term strategy."*
(2) "The Senate on Thursday, [May 27, 2010] approved a nearly $60 billion measure to pay for continuing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq..."**

The two are inextricably entwined and interdependent.

--Bonnie Weinstein

*The black hole at the bottom of the Gulf
No one seems to know the extent of the BP disaster
By David Randall and Margareta Pagano
Sunday, 23 May 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-black-hole-at-the-bottom-of-the-gulf-1980693.html

**Senate Approves Nearly $60 Billion for Wars
By CARL HULSE
May 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/us/politics/28cong.html?ref=us

Watch BP Live Video Webcam Camera Feed of Gulf Oil Spill Here! (Update 7)
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/05/20/live-video-feed-webcam-gulf-oil-spill/

What BP does not want you to see:
ABC News went underwater in the Gulf with Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau, and he described what he saw as "one of the most horrible things I've ever seen underwater."

Check out what BP does not want you to see. And please share this widely -- every American should see what's happening under the surface in the Gulf.
http://acp.repoweramerica.org/page/invite/oilspillvideo?source=sprd-fwd&utm_source=crm_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=oilspillvideo20100527&utm_content=link1

Live BP Gulf Oil Spill Webcam Video Reveals 5 Leaks
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/05/24/live-bp-gulf-oil-spill-webcam-video-reveals-5-leaks/

Stop Shell Oil's Offshore Drilling Plans in the Arctic
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/308597489?z00m=19844689

Sign the Petition to Ban Offshore Drilling Now!
http://na.oceana.org/en/stopthedrill?key=31522015

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POEM ON WHAT ISRAEL DOES NOT ALLOW INTO GAZA - FROM THE IRISH TIMES / CARDOMAN AS A BIOLOGICAL WARFARE WEAPON

[ The poem does not mention that the popular herb cardamom is banned from importation into Gaza. Israel probably fears that cardamom can be used as a biological weapon. Rockets with cardamom filled projectiles landing in Israel could cause Israeli soldiers 'guarding' the border to succumb to pangs of hunger, leave their posts to go get something eat, and leave Israel defenseless. - Howard Keylor]

Richard Tillinghast is an American poet who lives in Co Tipperary. He is the author of eight books of poetry, the latest of which is Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2010 ), as well as several works of non-fiction

*

No tinned meat is allowed, no tomato paste,
no clothing, no shoes, no notebooks.
These will be stored in our warehouses at Kerem Shalom
until further notice.
Bananas, apples, and persimmons are allowed into Gaza,
peaches and dates, and now macaroni
(after the American Senator's visit).
These are vital for daily sustenance.

But no apricots, no plums, no grapes, no avocados, no jam.
These are luxuries and are not allowed.
Paper for textbooks is not allowed.
The terrorists could use it to print seditious material.
And why do you need textbooks
now that your schools are rubble?
No steel is allowed, no building supplies, no plastic pipe.
These the terrorists could use to launch rockets
against us.

Pumpkins and carrots you may have, but no delicacies,
no cherries, no pomegranates, no watermelon, no onions,
no chocolate.

We have a list of three dozen items that are allowed,
but we are not obliged to disclose its contents.
This is the decision arrived at
by Colonel Levi, Colonel Rosenzweig, and Colonel Segal.

Our motto:
'No prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.'
You may fish in the Mediterranean,
but only as far as three km from shore.
Beyond that and we open fire.
It is a great pity the waters are polluted
twenty million gallons of raw sewage dumped into the sea every day
is the figure given.

Our rockets struck the sewage treatments plants,
and at this point spare parts to repair them are not allowed.
As long as Hamas threatens us,
no cement is allowed, no glass, no medical equipment.
We are watching you from our pilotless drones
as you cook your sparse meals over open fires
and bed down
in the ruins of houses destroyed by tank shells.

And if your children can't sleep,
missing the ones who were killed in our incursion,
or cry out in the night, or wet their beds
in your makeshift refugee tents,
or scream, feeling pain in their amputated limbs -
that's the price you pay for harbouring terrorists.

God gave us this land.
A land without a people for a people without a land.
--
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

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This is just inspiring! You have to watch it! ...bw
Don't Get Caught in a Bad Hotel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-79pX1IOqPU

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SEIZE BP!

[While this is a good beginning to a fight to put safety first--for workers and the planet--we must recognize that the whole thrust of capitalism is to get the job done quicker and cheaper, workers and the world be damned!

It is workers who are intimately aware of the dangers of production and the ways those dangers could be eliminated. And, if, say, a particular mine, factory, industry can't be made to be safe, then it should be abandoned. Those workers effected should simply be "retired" with full pay and benefits. They have already been subjected to the toxins, dangers, etc., on the job.

Basically, safety must be under worker's control. Workers must have first dibs on profits to insure safety first.

It not only means nationalizing industry--but internationalizing industry--and placing it under the control and operation of the workers themselves. Governmental controls of safety regulations are notoriously ineffectual because the politicians themselves are the corporation's paid defenders. It only makes sense that corporate profits should be utilized--under the worker's control--to put safety first or stop production altogether. Safety first has to be interpreted as "safety before profits and profits for safety first!" We can only hope it is not too late! ...bw]

SEIZE BP!

The government of the United States must seize BP and freeze its assets, and place those funds in trust to begin providing immediate relief to the working people throughout the Gulf states whose jobs, communities, homes and businesses are being harmed or destroyed by the criminally negligent actions of the CEO, Board of Directors and senior management of BP.

Take action now! Sign the Seize BP petition to demand the seizure of BP!

200,000 gallons of oil a day, or more, are gushing into the Gulf of Mexico with the flow of oil growing. The poisonous devastation to human beings, wildlife, natural habitat and fragile ecosystems will go on for decades. It constitutes an act of environmental violence, the consequences of which will be catastrophic.

BP's Unmitigated Greed

This was a manufactured disaster. It was neither an "Act of God" nor Nature that caused this devastation, but rather the unmitigated greed of Big Oil's most powerful executives in their reckless search for ever-greater profits.

Under BP's CEO Tony Hayward's aggressive leadership, BP made a record $5.6 billion in pure profits just in the first three months of 2010. BP made $163 billion in profits from 2001-09. It has a long history of safety violations and slap-on-the-wrist fines.

BP's Materially False and Misleading Statements

BP filed a 52-page exploration plan and environmental impact analysis with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service for the Deepwater Horizon well, dated February 2009, which repeatedly assured the government that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities." In the filing, BP stated over and over that it was unlikely for an accident to occur that would lead to a giant crude oil spill causing serious damage to beaches, mammals and fisheries and that as such it did not require a response plan for such an event.

BP's executives are thus either guilty of making materially false statements to the government to obtain the license, of consciously misleading a government that was all too ready to be misled, and/or they are guilty of criminal negligence. At a bare minimum, their representations constitute gross negligence. Whichever the case, BP must be held accountable for its criminal actions that have harmed so many.

Protecting BP's Super-Profits

BP executives are banking that they can ride out the storm of bad publicity and still come out far ahead in terms of the billions in profit that BP will pocket. In 1990, in response to the Exxon Valdez disaster, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Oil Pollution Act, which immunizes oil companies for the damages they cause beyond immediate cleanup costs.

Under the Oil Pollution Act, oil companies are responsible for oil removal and cleanup costs for massive spills, and their liability for all other forms of damages is capped at $75 million-a pittance for a company that made $5.6 billion in profits in just the last three months, and is expected to make $23 billion in pure profit this year. Some in Congress suggest the cap should be set at $10 billion, still less than the potential cost of this devastation-but why should the oil companies have any immunity from responsibility for the damage they cause?

The Oil Pollution Act is an outrage, and it will be used by BP to keep on doing business as usual.

People are up in arms because thousands of workers who have lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of BP's actions have to wait in line to compete for lower wage and hazardous clean-up jobs from BP. BP's multi-millionaire executives are not asked to sacrifice one penny while working people have to plead for clean-up jobs.

Take Action Now

It is imperative that the government seize BP's assets now for their criminal negligence and begin providing immediate relief for the immense suffering and harm they have caused.

Seize BP Petition button*: http://www.seizebp.org/

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Rachel Carson's Warnings in "The Sea Around Us":
"It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself. . ." http://www.savethesea.org/quotes

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Operation Small Axe - Trailer
http://www.blockreportradio.com/news-mainmenu-26/820-us-school-district-to-begin-microchipping-students.html

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Please sign the petition to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal and
and forward it to all your lists.

"Mumia Abu-Jamal and The Global Abolition of the Death Penalty"

http://www.petitiononline.com/Mumialaw/petition.html

(A Life In the Balance - The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, at 34, Amnesty Int'l, 2000; www. Amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/001/2000.)

[Note: This petition is approved by Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lead attorney, Robert R. Bryan, San Francisco (E-mail: MumiaLegalDefense@gmail.com; Website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org).]

Committee To Save Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 2012
New York, NY 10159-2012

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Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense in the U.S. Our legal effort is the front line of the battle for Mumia's freedom and life. His legal defense needs help. The costs are substantial for our litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court and at the state level. To help, please make your checks payable to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation indicate "Mumia" on the bottom left). All donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Code, section 501c)3), and should be mailed to:

It is outrageous and a violation of human rights that Mumia remains in prison and on death row. His life hangs in the balance. My career has been marked by successfully representing people facing death in murder cases. I will not rest until we win Mumia's case. Justice requires no less.

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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FREE LYNNE STEWART NOW!

Lynne Stewart in Jail!

Mail tax free contributions payable to National Lawyers Guild Foundation. Write in memo box: "Lynne Stewart Defense." Mail to: Lynne Stewart Defense, P.O. Box 10328, Oakland, CA 94610.

SEND RESOLUTIONS AND STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT TO DEFENSE ATTORNEY JOSHUA L. DRATEL, ESQ. FAX: 212) 571 3792 AND EMAIL: jdratel@aol.com

SEND PROTESTS TO ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER:

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Department of Justice Main Switchboard - 202-514-2000
AskDOJ@usdoj.gov
Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line - 202-353-1555

To send Lynne a letter, write:
Lynne Stewart
53504-054
MCC-NY
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007

Lynne Stewart speaks in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOQ5_VKRf5k&feature=related

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On June 30, an innocent man will be given a second chance.

In 1991, Troy Davis was sentenced to death for allegedly killing a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. There was no physical evidence tying him to the crime, and seven out of nine witnesses recanted or contradicted their testimony.

He was sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit. But it's not too late to change Troy's fate.

We just learned today that Troy has been granted an evidentiary hearing -- an opportunity to right this wrong. Help give him a second chance by telling your friends to pledge their support for Troy:

http://www.iamtroy.com/

Troy Davis may just be one man, but his situation represents an injustice experienced by thousands. And suffering this kind of injustice, by even one man, is one person too many.

Thanks to you and 35,000 other NAACP members and supporters who spoke out last August, the U.S. Supreme Court is granting Troy Davis his day in court--and a chance to make his case after 19 years on death row.

This hearing is the first step.

We appreciate your continued support of Troy. If you have not yet done so, please visit our website, sign the petition, then tell your friends to do the same.

http://www.iamtroy.com

I will be in touch soon to let you know how else you can help.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
NAACP

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Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT!
FLASHPOINTS Interview with Innocent San Quentin Death Row Inmate
Kevin Cooper -- Aired Monday, May 18,2009
http://www.flashpoints.net/#GOOGLE_SEARCH_ENGINE
To learn more about Kevin Cooper go to:
savekevincooper.org
LINKS
San Francisco Chronicle article on the recent ruling:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/13/BAM517J8T3.DTL
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and dissent:
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/05/11/05-99004o.pdf

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COURAGE TO RESIST!
Support the troops who refuse to fight!
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/
Donate:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/21/57/

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C. ARTICLES IN FULL

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1) In India, BP Response Feeds Outrage Over Bhopal
"'The victims will get hardly 10 percent of the money and rest will go to the pockets of ministers and bureaucrats,' said Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action an advocacy group. 'Indian people have to pay for the crimes committed by the U.S. corporations.'"
By LYDIA POLGREEN
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/world/asia/25bhopal.html?ref=world

2) Pfc Bradley Manning arrested for leaking "Collateral Murder" video
By Courage to Resist
"From what I've heard so far of (Wikileaks co-founder Julian) Assange and (Army Pfc Bradley) Manning,... they are two new heroes of mine," Daniel Ellsberg, famous whistle-blower of the Pentagon Papers
June 23, 2010
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/846/1/

3) Venezuela Seizes Oil Rigs Owned by US Company
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/06/24/business/AP-LT-Venezuela-Oil-Rigs.html?src=busln

4) Extension of Jobless Aid Still Stalled
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/us/politics/25jobs.html?ref=business

5) The Oil Spill's Worst-Case Scenario?
Efforts to stop the flow may have set the stage for an even bigger catastrophe.
by Jeneen Interlandi
June 23, 2010
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/23/the-oil-spill-s-worst-case-scenario.html

6) Advances in Oil Spill Cleanup Lag Since Valdez
"Beyond regulatory obstacles, a major reason for the dearth of new technologies has been a lack of money for research. Programs that were flush with cash in the 1990s after the Exxon Valdez spill and the subsequent creation of the Oil Pollution Act have had their appropriations dry up over the past decade. And research money from oil companies has declined in the same period.
"'Funding goes up and down like a roller coaster' as public and political interest builds after a spill and then wanes, said Mervin Fingas, a consultant in Edmonton, Alberta, who has written a book on cleanup technologies.
"'It's really a big problem trying to do proper research during these cycles,' Mr. Fingas said."
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/us/25clean.html?ref=us

7) Witnessing Against Torture: Why We Must Act
By Kathy Kelly
June 25, 2010
http://www.zcommunications.org/witnessing-against-torture-why-we-must-act-by-kathy-kelly

8) Troy Davis: Death Row inmate gets rare chance to prove his innocence!
By Benjamin Todd Jealous (president and CEO of the NAACP)
Special to CNN
June 22. 2010
http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/06/22/jealous.death.penalty/index.html

9) Environmental Engineer: Dispersants Have to Stop Now
by Bill Riales
Published:
Thu, June 17, 2010
http://www.wkrg.com/gulf_oil_spill/article/environmental-engineer-dispersants-have-to-stop-now/897155/Jun-17-2010_6-43-pm/

10) Genetically Altered Salmon Get Closer to the Table
By ANDREW POLLACK
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/business/26salmon.html?hp

11) Canada: Judge Finds Oil Company Guilty in Deaths of 1,600 Ducks
By REUTERS
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/world/americas/26briefs-Canada.html?ref=world

12) American Jews Who Reject Zionism Say Events Aid Cause
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26religion.html?ref=world

13) Storm Could Disrupt Effort in Gulf
By LIZ ROBBINS
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26spill.html?ref=politics

14) New Hampshire: Woman Using Oxygen Dies After Utility Shuts Off Power
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26brfs-WOMANUSINGOX_BRF.html?ref=us

15) What the Gulf Can’t Afford
NYT EDITORIAL
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/opinion/26sat1.html?hp

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1) In India, BP Response Feeds Outrage Over Bhopal
"'The victims will get hardly 10 percent of the money and rest will go to the pockets of ministers and bureaucrats,' said Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action an advocacy group. 'Indian people have to pay for the crimes committed by the U.S. corporations.'"
By LYDIA POLGREEN
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/world/asia/25bhopal.html?ref=world

NEW DELHI - The contrast between the disasters, more than a quarter-century and half a world apart, could not be starker.

In 1984, a leak of toxic gas at an American company's Indian subsidiary killed thousands, injured tens of thousands more and left a major city with a toxic waste dump at its heart. The company walked away after paying a $470 million settlement. The company's American chief executive, arrested while in India, skipped bail, never to return. This month seven senior officials from the company were convicted of negligence, but the sentence - two years in jail - seems paltry to many here compared to the impact of their crime.

No matter how halting the Obama administration's response to the gushing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico might look to Americans, Indians cannot help but marvel - and envy - the alacrity with which the United States government has acted.

BP's $20 billion cleanup fund, as vast a sum as it seems from here, is in all likelihood merely a down payment on what the company will probably pay for the damage caused by the explosion of its oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. A criminal investigation has begun. And while the environmental toll is massive, the cost in human lives, compared with Bhopal, has been minimal.

Now, 26 years later, in the face of public outrage prompted by the light criminal sentences and the inescapable contrast with the BP disaster, the Indian government is trying shake off the shadow of Bhopal, an incident that has become synonymous with of ineffectual governance and humiliation at the hands of Western capital.

Indeed, the disaster and its aftermath are a stark reminder that even as India aspires to superpower status it still struggles to provide its 1.2 billion people with some of life's most basic necessities.

"This is one case where every organ of the state failed," said Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Center for Policy Research. "An event like this is actually does remind you that India is a weak state."

Analysts and historians say that the entire episode reeks of the humiliation of a poor and powerless country at the hands of a rich and resourceful Western corporation. India sought $3.3 billion in damages from Union Carbide, but in 1989 settled for less than half a billion dollars. Charges of culpable homicide against the company's senior officials were later reduced by India's Supreme Court to a charge most often used against reckless drivers in auto accidents.

Many Indian commentators have taken the BP comparison further, arguing that the Obama administration cares more about fish and birds in the Gulf of Mexico than it does about Indians maimed by an American company. But the onus, others argued, lies with the Indian government.

"If we in India aspire to sup with those at the high-table in the world, then the Indian government cannot be allowed to undervalue Indian lives so contemptuously," wrote Sitaram Yechury, a member of the upper house of Parliament representing the Communist Party, in The Hindustan Times.

At a news conference late Thursday evening, government officials announced a raft of new measures, from increased compensation for victims to a fresh effort to extradite Warren Anderson, the octogenarian former chairman of Union Carbide, the company that owned the pesticide factory in Bhopal, from the United States.

The government approved compensation of about $22,000 for the families of people killed by the leak, and about $4,000 for those diagnosed with cancer or total renal failure linked to the toxic gas. It also pledged that it would clean up the abandoned factory. Activists have long sought to make Dow Chemical, the company that bought the now-defunct Union Carbide, pay for the cleanup. The Indian government said Thursday that it will pay and seek reimbursement if a court finds Dow liable.

Some of the measures, like increased compensation and a cleanup of the site, are simply a matter of money. But others will be much harder to accomplish. The government said it will ask the Supreme Court to revisit its 1996 decision to reduce the criminal charges against the men convicted this month. Because the charges were reduced to negligence, the men faced a maximum sentence of 2 years rather than 10 years under the previous charges.

Mr. Anderson, the former Union Carbide chairman, traveled to India in the wake of the disaster in 1984. He was arrested and released on bail, then fled the country. He is still considered an absconder, but has retired comfortably on Long Island.

Indeed, his hasty departure, along with what many see as the meager price the company paid in compensation to the victims, became symbols of India's impotence, confirmation that it was a soft state unable to protect its citizens.

The new measures did little to quell anger among victims and activists.

"The victims will get hardly 10 percent of the money and rest will go to the pockets of ministers and bureaucrats," said Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action an advocacy group. "Indian people have to pay for the crimes committed by the U.S. corporations."

Hari Kumar contributed reporting.

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2) Pfc Bradley Manning arrested for leaking "Collateral Murder" video
By Courage to Resist
"From what I've heard so far of (Wikileaks co-founder Julian) Assange and (Army Pfc Bradley) Manning,... they are two new heroes of mine," Daniel Ellsberg, famous whistle-blower of the Pentagon Papers
June 23, 2010
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/846/1/

In April, Wikileaks.org released a notorious video depicting a U.S. helicopter attack resulting in the killing of 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters employees. The video, titled "Collateral Murder" was widely posted and reported on. Last week, the U.S. military arrested 22-year-old Pfc Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst who allegedly took credit for leaking the video. Lawyers for Wikileaks have not yet been allowed access to Bradley, who is currently being held in pretrial confinement in Kuwait. Courage to Resist's primary concern is that Bradley has access to civilian legal representation to fight what are expected to be very serious charges at court martial. We expect to collaborate with many concerned organizations and individuals in order to best support Bradley legally and politically.

Wired reports that Bradley claimed to have been rummaging through classified military and government networks for more than a year and said that the networks contained "incredible things, awful things ... that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC."

News reports about this case include:

* "The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks"
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com. June 18, 2010
* Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman. June 17, 2010
* "Wikileaks Commissions Lawyers to Defend Alleged Army Source"
By Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter, Wired.com. June 11, 2010

More from Wired.com that, if true, underscores Bradley courage to expose the truth:

Manning had already been sifting through the classified networks for months when he discovered the Iraq video in late 2009, he said. The video, later released by Wikileaks under the title "Collateral Murder," shows a 2007 Army helicopter attack on a group of men, some of whom were armed, that the soldiers believed were insurgents. The attack killed two Reuters employees and an unarmed Baghdad man who stumbled on the scene afterward and tried to rescue one of the wounded by pulling him into his van. The man's two children were in the van and suffered serious injuries in the hail of gunfire...

"At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter," Manning wrote of the video. "No big deal ... about two dozen more where that came from, right? But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer's directory. So I looked into it..."

"He would message me, Are people talking about it?... Are the media saying anything?" Tyler Watkins, a close civilian friend in Boston, said. "That was one of his major concerns, that once he had done this, was it really going to make a difference?... He didn't want to do this just to cause a stir.... He wanted people held accountable and wanted to see this didn't happen again."

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3) Venezuela Seizes Oil Rigs Owned by US Company
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/06/24/business/AP-LT-Venezuela-Oil-Rigs.html?src=busln

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's government has seized control of 11 oil rigs owned by U.S. driller Helmerich & Payne, which shut them down because the state oil company was behind on payments.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez announced that Venezuela would nationalize the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company's rigs. He said in a statement Wednesday that Helmerich & Payne had rejected government demands to resume drilling operations for more than a year.

Helmerich & Payne announced in January 2009 that it was halting operations on two of its drilling rigs, because Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, owed the company close to $100 million. It said it would halt the rest of its rigs by the end of July as contracts expired unless PDVSA began to make good on its debts.

Referring to Helmerich & Payne, Ramirez said: ''There's a group of drill owners who have refused to discuss service prices and have preferred to have this equipment put away for a year.''

President and CEO Hans Helmerich said in a statement on Thursday the company's position has remained clear: ''We simply wanted to be paid for work already performed.''

''We stated repeatedly we wanted to return to work, just not for free,'' he said. ''We are surprised by yesterday's announcement only because we have been in ongoing efforts in a good faith attempt to accommodate a win-win resolution, including a willingness to sell rigs.''

The company has worked in Venezuela for 52 years, Helmerich added.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he hopes Helmerich & Payne is compensated and suggested the takeover, along with other recent nationalizations, are scaring off private investment in Venezuela.

''We would just call on them, if they did make such a move, to compensate the owners of those wells,'' Toner said. ''This is the latest in such an instance where international investors, their investments are being nationalized by the government of Venezuela. It doesn't speak or bode well for the investment climate there.''

Helmerich & Payne is not the only oil services company to have complained about a delay in payments. Dallas-based Ensco International Inc. said last year that it had suspended oil drilling operations off Venezuela's Caribbean coast because Venezuela owed it $35 million -- prompting the state oil company -- PDVSA -- to take over the company's operations.

The government of President Hugo Chavez has nationalized dozens of privately owned companies in recent years as the socialist leader seeks to expand the state's role in the economy. Government critics and many business owners argue the takeovers violate private property rights.

Helmerich & Payne, Inc. is primarily a contract drilling company. As of June 8, 2010, the company's existing fleet included 214 U.S. land rigs, 39 international land rigs and nine offshore platform rigs.

Associated Press writers Justin V. Juozapavicius in Tulsa and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

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4) Extension of Jobless Aid Still Stalled
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/us/politics/25jobs.html?ref=business

WASHINGTON - The Senate remained at an impasse on Thursday over legislation that would extend unemployment subsidies for hundreds of thousands of Americans who have exhausted their jobless benefits, as Democrats and Republicans traded bitter accusations about who was to blame for the legislative stalemate.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, introduced yet another version of the legislation on Wednesday night, including important tax changes, in his continuing bid to persuade at least a few Republicans to support the bill. But even as he unveiled the new package, aides conceded that Mr. Reid did not have the votes to pass it.

Still, after eight weeks of deadlock, Democrats said they would once again test the resolve of the bill's opponents by pushing for a procedural vote on Thursday evening.

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has insisted that any measure to extend benefits not add to the federal deficit, and he disparaged the new proposal on Thursday. "It has one thing in common with every other version they've offered: it adds new taxes and over $30 billion to an already staggering $13 trillion national debt," Mr. McConnell said.

Some centrist Republicans who have been negotiating with Democrats, including Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, have shown more flexibility. But they, too, called on Democrats to do more to cover the cost of the legislation.

In response, the Democrats pared a provision to extend higher Medicaid reimbursement for the states, to $16 billion from $24 billion, and they found spending reductions to offset its cost. House Democrats omitted the extra Medicaid money for states from its version of the legislation out of concern for the price tag; Senate Democrats restored it at the urging of governors and state legislatures.

The only provision of the Senate bill that remains unpaid for is the extension of unemployment benefits, estimated at $35.5 billion.

Citing data by the National Employment Law Project, Democrats say that without Congressional action, 1.2 million Americans will exhaust their jobless benefits by the end of the month.

The bill would reinstate a number of expired tax breaks and provide an array of safety-net spending. To help cover the cost, Democrats proposed using some unspent funds from last year's economic stimulus program, a move that prompted Republican cheers.

Mr. McConnell cited that as an indication that the two sides have found some common ground. "Now we even agree on redirecting untimely and untargeted money from the failed stimulus bill," he said.

Even some Democrats have expressed deep reservations about adding to the nation's fast-growing deficit. Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats, have joined with Republicans in opposing the bill.

At a news conference on Thursday, Senate Democratic leaders voiced exasperation at the way the legislation has stalled, and Mr. Reid said that if the next vote fails, he will move on to other legislation, beginning with a bill intended to help small businesses create jobs.

"We're where we are because Republicans have said 'no' to helping America," Mr. Reid said.

Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington and a member of the leadership, said she held out hope that some Republicans would change their position.

"This is a critical piece of legislation for thousands of families in our country, who want to know whether their United States Senate and Congress is on their side or is going to turn their back on them, right at a critical time when our economy is just starting to get around the corner," Mrs. Murray said.

"We're going to be on their side, fighting today," she added. "I hope that a few Republicans will join us in that vote, so American families can go to sleep tonight and sleep through the night."

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the assistant majority leader, said, "For eight weeks, the majority leader and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, have tried every conceivable approach to win Republicans' support."

Mr. Durbin added, "This party of 'no' is saying no over and over again, and the American people hear it."

The Democrats suggested that the Republican opposition was rooted not in concern about the deficit but in an effort to protect wealthy corporate interests from paying more taxes. The bill would increase a tax on crude oil to 49 cents a barrel, from 8 cents. It would curtail favorable tax treatment for the earnings of investment managers, and it would raise taxes on some small professional-services corporations.

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5) The Oil Spill's Worst-Case Scenario?
Efforts to stop the flow may have set the stage for an even bigger catastrophe.
by Jeneen Interlandi
June 23, 2010
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/23/the-oil-spill-s-worst-case-scenario.html

The grim video feed of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico got even worse on Wednesday after BP had to remove the containment cap because a robotic submarine collided with a vent. Even before this setback to contain the massive flow of oil into the gulf, online speculation has fueled fears that the leaks could be much greater than what's been shown. According to these theories, such leaks at the bottom--that is, below the sea floor--could present a new "worst-case scenario" for the disaster, which has now stretched past its second month.

It's possible that hydrocarbons are leaking out the bottom or sides of the well. If so, they might erode surrounding sediments and undermine the foundation upon which the 450-ton blowout preventer sits. If such leaks aren't sealed off in time, the entire structure could topple over. "After that, it goes into the realm of 'the worst things you can think of,'" writes a commenter on the oil--and energy-focused website The Oil Drum. It was this commenter's post that has become the subject of wider speculation. "The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well that could literally come flying out ... at the very least we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more."

This comment has since spread online, causing widespread fear and speculation. But not everyone is convinced that such a scenario is probable, or even possible. "The BOP is rigidly connected to all the pipe below," says Roger Anderson, an oil geophysicist at Columbia University. "It would be like knocking the top off a coke bottle, except the bottle top has already been fully breached." Other experts have agreed with him, but point out that the pipe below may have been significantly compromised by initial recovery efforts. "The blowout preventer should be well anchored, with about 2,900 feet of full string casing and cement," says Don Van Nieuwenhuise, director of geosciences at the University of Houston. "However, the well has received some exceptional pressure jolts or kicks, and that has been a concern to BP from the very start."

The likelihood of a complete collapse is difficult to assess, in part, engineers and legislators say, because BP hasn't shared enough information to evaluate the situation. But a handful of clues suggest that the company is concerned. On Friday, BP spokesperson Toby Odone acknowledged that the 45-ton stack of the blowout preventer was tilting noticeably, but said the company could not attribute it to down-hole leaks. "We don't know anything about the underground portion of the well," he said. But, the stack "is tilting and has been tilting since the rig went down. We believe that it was caused by the collapse of the riser." The company is monitoring the degree of leaning but has not announced any plans to run additional supports to the structure.
SAUL LOEB

Photo Gallery: View images of road signs highlighting the rage against the oil spill.
Road Sign Rage Against BP Oil Spill:

http://www.newsweek.com/photo/2010/06/21/road-signs-of-rage-against-bp-oil-spill.html

As many have speculated, and as the New Orleans Times Picayune reported Friday, concerns over structural integrity are what led BP to halt "top kill" efforts late last month. When it was digging this particular well, the company ran out of casing-the pipe that engineers send down the hole-and switched to a less durable material called liner. This may have created several weak spots along the well that would be particularly vulnerable to excessive pressure or erosion. So instead of sealing the well, the company has been focused on trying to capture the oil as it flows out the top.

At this point, some experts say, additional leaks wouldn't matter much. "It's very possible that there are subfloor leaks," says Anderson. "But that doesn't change the strategy moving forward." The linchpin of that strategy involves drilling relief wells that would absorb all possible leaks, both at the top and the bottom of the hulking, teetering structure. Relief wells are drilled straight down into the sea bottom. After running parallel to the existing well for a few thousand meters, they cut in and intersect the original well bore. BP is drilling two such wells, one on either side of the main well. Once they are complete, the company will use them to pump heavy fluid and cement into the main well, stopping the oil at its source. The approach usually has a 95 percent success rate.

But to work, the well must be sealed as far down as possible-if it's sealed too high, oil could still escape through any leaks beneath the seal. In this case, relief wells will have to drill down to 5,500 meters, and that takes time, at least until August. The real question now is whether the entire structure can hold out long enough.

-Additional reporting by Ian Yarett

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6) Advances in Oil Spill Cleanup Lag Since Valdez
"Beyond regulatory obstacles, a major reason for the dearth of new technologies has been a lack of money for research. Programs that were flush with cash in the 1990s after the Exxon Valdez spill and the subsequent creation of the Oil Pollution Act have had their appropriations dry up over the past decade. And research money from oil companies has declined in the same period.
"'Funding goes up and down like a roller coaster' as public and political interest builds after a spill and then wanes, said Mervin Fingas, a consultant in Edmonton, Alberta, who has written a book on cleanup technologies.
"'It's really a big problem trying to do proper research during these cycles,' Mr. Fingas said."
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
June 24, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/us/25clean.html?ref=us

Two decades after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, cleanup technology has progressed so little that the biggest advancement in the Gulf of Mexico disaster - at least in the public's mind - is an oil-water separator based on a 17-year-old patent and promoted by the movie star Kevin Costner.

Experts say there have been some improvements in skimmers and other existing technologies since the 1989 Exxon accident in Alaska. Dispersants to break up oil have been far more widely used in the Deepwater Horizon leak in the gulf than in any previous spill, and they have been used for the first time underwater. Controlled burns of oil - only tested in 1989 - have been conducted regularly in the gulf.

But more significant advances have been hampered by a lack of money for research and laws and regulations that make it difficult to test new ideas and introduce improved equipment. In the gulf spill, the laying of boom and the skimming of oil remain a last, and not completely effective, line of defense for coastal areas. Skimming, for instance, cannot be done in rough seas and is often limited to daylight hours because of the difficulties in detecting oil at night.

Even officials with BP, the company responsible for the gulf spill and cleanup, acknowledge that most of the equipment in use represents improvements in old technology, and cite the lack of major spills in the past two decades as one reason.

"The events haven't driven the technology change that's out there," Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, told a TV interviewer recently. "I think this event probably will."

BP said last week that it would buy 32 of Mr. Costner's machines to help clean the oil spill. But the machines work much better on fresh oil than weathered oil, so it is unclear how much of a contribution they will make.

Experts in cleanup technologies say that there are no magic-bullet approaches on the horizon and that in some ways, cleanup is limited by a basic fact of nature: oil and water do not mix.

"I'm not saying there aren't ways to improve or tweak the system," said Nancy E. Kinner, co-director of the Coastal Response Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, which seeks to develop new approaches to spill response. "But you're not going to change the laws of physics."

Ms. Kinner and others cite many other reasons why cleanup technologies lag.

In testimony this month before Congress, Mr. Costner told of years of woe trying to market his separator, a centrifuge originally developed and patented in 1993 by the Idaho National Laboratory, for use in oil spills. One obstacle, he said, was that although his machines are effective, the water they discharge is still more contaminated than environmental regulations allow. He could not get spill-response companies interested in his machines, he said, without a federal stamp of approval.

Beyond regulatory obstacles, a major reason for the dearth of new technologies has been a lack of money for research. Programs that were flush with cash in the 1990s after the Exxon Valdez spill and the subsequent creation of the Oil Pollution Act have had their appropriations dry up over the past decade. And research money from oil companies has declined in the same period.

"Funding goes up and down like a roller coaster" as public and political interest builds after a spill and then wanes, said Mervin Fingas, a consultant in Edmonton, Alberta, who has written a book on cleanup technologies.

"It's really a big problem trying to do proper research during these cycles," Mr. Fingas said.

Kurt Hansen, project manager for spill research with the Coast Guard's Research and Development Center in New London, Conn., said that in the 1990s, his group's budget was $5 million to $6 million a year.

"Now we're spending about three-quarters of a million," Mr. Hansen said.

Research is hampered in other ways. For example, there is only one place in the United States - a center in New Jersey operated by the Minerals Management Service - where cleanup technologies can be tested, at full scale, on spilled oil. Other countries, notably Norway and Canada, allow occasional testing involving intentional spills into the environment, although only after an exhaustive permitting process.

In the United States, just obtaining oil for use in small-scale laboratory research can be extremely difficult, said Scott Pegau, research program director of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute, a research center established in Cordova, Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez spill. Mr. Pegau said it recently took him months to obtain less than a gallon of crude.

"Companies are concerned that I use it properly," he said.

Oil spill experts also say that much of the research that has been conducted may have, in retrospect, focused on the wrong target. For years scientists and environmentalists have been concerned about the possibility of a spill in Arctic and near-Arctic areas, with their fragile ecosystems and extreme drilling conditions.

But with a runaway gusher 5,000 feet under the surface of the gulf, "now we know it's quite extreme there," Ms. Kinner said.

Ken Lee, executive director of a Canadian government center for offshore gas and oil research, said scientists had made progress in developing better ways to cope with spills in cold environments. One approach, Mr. Lee said, is to introduce fine mineral particles that help the oil naturally disperse, after which it can be degraded by bacteria.

But the research is not particularly useful for the current spill, he said, because the Gulf of Mexico is naturally full of fine mineral particles, so presumably much natural dispersion is happening anyway.

For years after the Exxon Valdez disaster, scientists studied the possibility of improving bacterial degradation by adding different, perhaps even genetically engineered, bacteria to the water in the vicinity of a spill. A more voracious microbe, the thinking went, would eat more oil.

"In reality, adding bacteria is sort of a dream," Mr. Lee said.

Since no one bacterium degrades all the components of oil, he said, "there's no net advantage in adding one bug." And studies showed that natural bacteria often quickly beat out any new designer microbes added to the mix.

Ms. Kinner and others said that with all the attention being paid to the gulf spill, the prospects for more research money had brightened considerably. This month, for instance, the Coast Guard issued a call for research proposals related to the gulf disaster, including ideas for "innovative applications not commonly used for oil response."

"It's totally turned around, and there's a kind of chaos," Ms. Kinner said. "It's one of those things where we've gone from feast to famine, and now from famine to feast."

An earlier version of this article misstated the impact of the Jones Act, a 90-year-old law requiring that ships operating between American ports be American owned and built and have American crews, on the use of advanced cleanup technology in the gulf. The United States Coast Guard said last week it would issue waivers if needed to allow more foreign-made skimmers to be used in the gulf, but so far, with 15 foreign vessels working on the spill, no waivers have had to be issued.

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7) Witnessing Against Torture: Why We Must Act
By Kathy Kelly
June 25, 2010
http://www.zcommunications.org/witnessing-against-torture-why-we-must-act-by-kathy-kelly

Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- U.S. Constitution Amendment I

An old cliché says that anyone who has herself for a lawyer has a fool for a client. Nevertheless, going to trial in Washington, D.C., this past June 14, I and twenty-three other defendants prepared a pro se defense. Acting as our own lawyers in court, we aimed to defend a population that finds little voice in our society at all, and to bring a sort of prosecution against their persecutors.

Months earlier, on January 21st, we had held a memorial vigil for three innocent Guantanamo prisoners, recently revealed to have been in all probability tortured to death by our government with what would turn out to be utter impunity - and because we had wished the culpable parties to take notice, we'd staged a vigil where they worked, specifically on the Capitol Steps and in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building. We had been charged with causing a "breach of the peace," a technical legal term for a situation that might risk inciting people to violence. In abetting Administration use of torture, Congress had been inciting others to horrendous violence, and we'd been protesting perhaps one of the gravest imaginable breaches of the peace. Now we were making our small attempt to take these crimes to court, in the course of defending ourselves against what we felt to be a misdirected charge.

At the time of our arrest, we were on the final day of a 12-day fast organized by Witness Against Torture, aiming to help end the U.S. practice of torturing prisoners. Calling for the long-promised and long-delayed closure of Guantanamo, release of all detainees held without charge there, and an actual end to U.S. usage of torture, we had considered it our duty under international law, and our right under the Constitution, to assemble peaceably at the seat of government for redress of extremely serious grievances.

"And what were those grievances," Ed Kinane asked me, as we teamed up for a "dress rehearsal" in preparation for our trial. Ed, my fellow pro se defendant, planned to question me, as a witness, about our actions.

I recited our reasons for taking action on January 21st:

We harbored a grievance against the U.S. government for violating the rights of detainees held in Guantanamo, some of whom have been detained for over eight years without charge; still others are being held even though there has been a U.S. court order for their release. On October 7, 2008, a U.S. federal judge ordered the release of 17 prisoners held in Guantanamo. They still have not been freed.

We harbored a grievance on behalf of three men whom U.S. military officials claimed committed suicide in an exercise of "asymmetrical warfare," but who may well have been murdered in custody. In light of credible evidence that has yet to be analyzed in a court of law, they may have been tortured to death.

Ed had designed his questions so that I could deliver as much information as possible regarding our motives for being in the Capitol.

Each of us, when introducing ourselves to the court, would speak our own name and then give the name of a particular Guantanamo detainee on whose behalf we were speaking. Ed, (speaking for Fahmi Salem Said Al-sani), asked me to tell the court something about the man whom I was representing.

"Ahmed Mohamed is a 32 year old citizen of China," I said. "He was captured near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in December 2001. As of June 11, 2010, he has been held at Guantanamo for eight years and one month. He is a detainee from the Uighur Muslim minority in western China and is one of 17 Uighurs who were approved for release from Guantanamo on October 7, 2008. However, a federal appeals court stayed the order after the U.S. government appealed."

We were also keenly aware of three men who supposedly had committed suicide in Guantanamo. Two days before going to the Rotunda to protest the Guantanamo nightmare, we had read, on the Harper's Magazine website, a January 18, 2010 article "The Guantanamo 'Suicides': A Camp Delta Sergeant Blows the Whistle."

In this article, investigative journalist Scott Horton reports on interviews with Army Staff Sgt. Joe Hickman and Specialist Tony Davila, both of whom had been deployed to Guantanamo, and establishes a strong case that three men reported as having committed suicide, ---37-year-old Salah Ahmed al-Salami, 30-year-old Mani Shaman al-Utaybe, and 22-year-old Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, ---were suffocated to death in the interrogation chair. In 2006, these three prisoners had been brought, dead, to the medical clinic at Guantanamo, and a Navy medical corpsman had told Hickman that the men, one of them severely bruised, had died from having had rags stuffed down their throats.

At our trial rehearsal, I told Ed that I'd believed I had a responsibility and a duty to demand an accounting for what had happened to these men. I believed that no U.S. citizen, whatever the consequences, should choose the convenience of political silence in the face of grievous crimes against humanity still being committed at Guantanamo, Bagram and other U.S. detention sites.

In the Rotunda, Jerica Arents, (speaking for Saaid Fahri), now one of our co-defendants, had entered into the area where a recently deceased President's body is laid in state, an area marked by a white circle, and silently placed a mourning cloth upon that spot, bearing the names of Mr. Al-Salami, Mr. Al-Utaybe and Mr. Al-Zahrani. Our co-defendant, Carmen Trotta, (speaking for Shaker Aamer), had explained the purpose of our action to onlookers, after assuring the nearby Capitol guard that we were raising important questions. Other members of our group, myself included, had poured different colored rose petals over the banner bearing these names.

We had knelt to express our remorse. We had recited brief biographies of each of the three victims. Then we had sung the verses to a song that had been sung by South African prisoners under Apartheid, when other prisoners were being taken away for interrogation, torture or execution. We had, however, adapted the song to embrace our brothers and sisters in U.S. bondage:

"Courage, Muslim brothers, you do not walk alone. We will walk with you, and sing your spirit home."

Many people come to the capitol every day of the year. They are free to ask questions and to make comments. But, if you raise questions and comments of a political nature, police officials believe they must enforce a law to restrict your enactment of this right, even though the Constitution insists that Congress shall make no law to abridge the right of people to assemble peaceably for redress of grievance. We believed that expression of grief and remorse for the lost lives of these three men should properly happen in a place where U.S. people mourn the loss of a president's life. While a U.S. president possesses near-unimaginable power, the men whom we mourned suffered from unimaginable powerlessness. Earnest mourning of these lost lives was crucial for truthful recognition that the U.S. government has used torture as a means of punishment, possibly even lethal punishment, in violation of international law and basic human rights.

The prosecution claimed that those who had assembled in the center of the Rotunda were "noisy and boisterous," yelling prayers and hymns. Officers who arrested other defendants, on the capitol steps, claimed that a group of people were shouting in a way that tried to "imitate an Arabic dialect." In cross-examination, Clare Grady and Malachy Kilbride, both co-defendants, helped clarify that these defendants were reading the names of people imprisoned in Guantanamo and Bagram. By mid-afternoon, the prosecution rested its case.

Judge Russell Canan had asked the prosecutors, several times, to help him understand how our actions at the Capitol building would have been likely to produce violence on the part of others. At one point, he cautioned all present that he wouldn't tolerate any noisy outbursts in the courtroom. Ed and I exchanged surprised glances. "He's going to acquit us," I murmured. About ten minutes later, Judge Canan granted our motion for acquittal, and the trial was abruptly over.

Of course we are not, in good conscience, acquitted from our duty to stop the Pentagon from engaging in further war crimes at Guantanamo, Bagram and other places where the U.S. military is holding people without charge, places where torture has been routinely practiced, - and may still be. We still bear responsibility, every day, to fulfill our duties under international law and expose the practices, at Guantanamo and Bagram, which constitute a horrendous breach of the peace and are likely to produce even more violence. Understanding the difference between law and justice, we must try to narrow the gap between justice and the enforcement of U.S. laws.

"If you act like there is no possibility of change," Bill Quigley, one of our attorney-resource people, told the court, "you guarantee there will be none. These people have acted like there is a possibility for change and they are trying to bring about that change." Bill, who is the Center for Constitutional Right's Legal Director, said that those who won't adjust to injustice bring hope into the world. He quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's "Beyond Viet Nam speech, delivered in April, 1967, at the Riverside Church: "We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

Dr. King's Riverside church speech will guide us, as we plan our next action.

We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls 'enemy.' For no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.
We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence, or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

We hope Dr. King's words can help convey our remorse and sorrow to the families and friends of detainees imprisoned, tortured and in some cases killed because we have not yet succeeded in ending U.S. practices of torture and illegal detention. We long to acquit ourselves justly by closing not only Guantanamo, but every military base that prolongs the foolish agony of war in our world.

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org) and a participant in the Witness Against Torture campaign ( www.witnesstorture.org)

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8) Troy Davis: Death Row inmate gets rare chance to prove his innocence!
By Benjamin Todd Jealous (president and CEO of the NAACP)
Special to CNN
June 22. 2010
http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/06/22/jealous.death.penalty/index.html

(CNN) -- On Wednesday the saga of death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis will begin its last chapter. In an extremely rare ruling last summer, the United States Supreme Court ordered a federal judge in Georgia to grant Troy an evidentiary hearing to prove his innocence.

The ruling is unusual in that the Supreme Court has not granted this writ of habeas corpus in more than 50 years. Their decision is a strong indication that they are concerned about the constitutionality of executing the innocent -- as am I.

Although much work still must be done in our justice system to ensure the innocent do not pay the price of the guilty, the granting of this evidentiary hearing is a major step for Troy Davis and for many other likely innocent prisoners sitting on death row; Troy Davis will have an opportunity to tell his side of the story and new evidence will be considered in this nearly 20-year-old case.

The hearing will allow the testimony of witnesses who have recanted or contradicted their original eyewitness testimonies to be heard and examined in a court of law. At long last, the courts will hear critical testimony that they were prevented from hearing in the original trial.

Troy's journey to death row began in the summer of 1989, when he was arrested in connection with the killing of an off-duty police officer outside a Burger King restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. Two years later he was convicted and sentenced to death for a crime many believe he did not commit.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Davis almost a year ago, and I was convinced of his innocence. My sense of his innocence is impressionistic, but a close examination of the case indicates there was no physical evidence that tied him to the crime, no weapon was ever recovered and seven of the nine eyewitnesses have recanted or changed their original testimony in sworn affidavits, citing alleged police coercion.

One of the witnesses, a teenager, said the police threatened to hold him as an accessory to murder, warning that he would "go to jail for a long time" and would be lucky to ever get out because a police officer had been killed.

Since that trial, several members of the jury have delivered sworn statements to the court, indicating that their decision was based on incomplete and unreliable evidence. Given the murky timeline of the events in the dead of night, eyewitnesses who changed their stories, the pressure placed on the Savannah police department to promptly arrest and convict a "cop killer," and the alleged coercion of witnesses, it is easy to understand why some jurors have admitted their uncertainty.

For nearly twenty years, Mr. Davis's life has hung in the balance. Despite the prevalence of evidence and thousands of people rallying to save him from execution, including the NAACP, Amnesty International, former President Jimmy Carter, actor/activist Danny Glover, former FBI director William Sessions and conservative Congressman Bob Barr, the courts stubbornly refused to hear Davis's claims of innocence... until now.

It is the unjust reality of the death penalty that in our nation that there are more than 3,300 people withering on our nation's death rows, men and women who are almost universally poor, disproportionately African-American and in some cases innocent. Since 1973, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, 138 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. Executing an innocent person is a mistake that cannot be rectified.

We still have a long way to go before Troy has a chance at life off death row. The standard of proof in the evidentiary hearing turns our criminal justice system on its head. Mr. Davis will be expected to prove his innocence rather than for the state to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is especially challenging given that the crime happened more than 20 years ago and there is no physical evidence, such as DNA.

The Troy Davis case is the most compelling case of innocence in decades and on June 23, 2010, I will join leaders from NAACP, Amnesty International and other faith and community organizations in Savannah, Georgia, lending our support to Troy and his family and offering prayers for a favorable outcome at the hearing. We continue to work tirelessly on behalf of Troy and the MacPhail family to bring the real killer of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail to justice and to bring closure to both families.

Whatever the outcome of the hearing, we will be in the trenches, knocking on doors and holding prayer vigils in the churches of Georgia and across the country until justice prevails for Troy Davis and for all Americans who have been caught in the painful web of injustice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Benjamin Todd Jealous.

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9) Environmental Engineer: Dispersants Have to Stop Now
by Bill Riales
Published:
Thu, June 17, 2010
http://www.wkrg.com/gulf_oil_spill/article/environmental-engineer-dispersants-have-to-stop-now/897155/Jun-17-2010_6-43-pm/

DAPHNE, Alabama - Joe Taylor, an environmental engineer in Daphne, says BP's use of the dispersant Corexit is wrong, and they will kill the Gulf of Mexico. And Taylor has the scientific knowledge to back up his claim. He's been cleaning up petroleum contamination for many years.

He says the sulfur and sulfuric acid based dispersant makes the oil spewing into the gulf sink, where its impossible to clean up--and where it depletes oxygen levels under the water, killing plankton and everything above plankton in the food chain. "Corexit is toxic, petroleum is toxic, and its depleting the oxygen levels," he says.

What's worse says Taylor, is that if he knows this information, so does BP. "They have a lot of chemists who are a lot smarter than I am, and they know this," he says.

Taylor says Corexit is a very good dispersant, but its being used by BP the wrong way. He says using it on the bulk of the crude bubbling out of the gulf is not what it was meant to do. Their efforts should be letting the oil rise to the surface, then skimming and collecting as much as possible. He says the dispersant should be used on what's left.

Taylor says there are several other products that are bio-friendly and work well with bacteria that naturally eat oil. But Corexit is killing those bacteria too. He says the dispersant Biosolve is bio-friendly and could even be used on the beaches. He said it would separate the oil from the sand, then a spray of oil-eating bacteria could be laid down to ingest the solid oil that is left.

Unfortunately, like so many others, Taylor has had a hard time getting the ear of any decision makers at BP. He vows to keep trying.

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10) Genetically Altered Salmon Get Closer to the Table
By ANDREW POLLACK
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/business/26salmon.html?hp

The Food and Drug Administration is seriously considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat - salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate.

The developer of the salmon has been trying to get approval for a decade. But the company now seems to have submitted most or all of the data the F.D.A. needs to analyze whether the salmon are safe to eat, nutritionally equivalent to other salmon and safe for the environment, according to government and biotechnology industry officials. A public meeting to discuss the salmon may be held as early as this fall.

Some consumer and environmental groups are likely to raise objections to approval. Even within the F.D.A., there has been a debate about whether the salmon should be labeled as genetically engineered (genetically engineered crops are not labeled).

The salmon's approval would help open a path for companies and academic scientists developing other genetically engineered animals, like cattle resistant to mad cow disease or pigs that could supply healthier bacon. Next in line behind the salmon for possible approval would probably be the "enviropig," developed at a Canadian university, which has less phosphorus pollution in its manure.

The salmon was developed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies and would be raised in fish farms. It is an Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon as well as a genetic on-switch from the ocean pout, a distant relative of the salmon.

Normally, salmon do not make growth hormone in cold weather. But the pout's on-switch keeps production of the hormone going year round. The result is salmon that can grow to market size in 16 to 18 months instead of three years, though the company says the modified salmon will not end up any bigger than a conventional fish.

"You don't get salmon the size of the Hindenburg," said Ronald L. Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty. "You can get to those target weights in a shorter time."

AquaBounty, which is based in Waltham, Mass., and publicly traded in London, said last week that the F.D.A. had signed off on five of the seven sets of data required to demonstrate that the fish was safe for consumption and for the environment. It said it demonstrated, for instance, that the inserted gene did not change through multiple generations and that the genetic engineering did not harm the animals.

"Perhaps in the next few months, we expect to see a final approval," Mr. Stotish said.

But the company has been overly optimistic before.

He said it would take two or three years after approval for the salmon to reach supermarkets.

The F.D.A. confirmed it was reviewing the salmon but, because of confidentiality rules, would not comment further.

Under a policy announced in 2008, the F.D.A. is regulating genetically engineered animals as if they were veterinary drugs and using the rules for those drugs. And applications for approval of new drugs must be kept confidential by the agency.

Critics say the drug evaluation process does not allow full assessment of the possible environmental impacts of genetically altered animals and also blocks public input.

"There is no opportunity for anyone from the outside to see the data or criticize it," said Margaret Mellon, director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. When consumer groups were invited to discuss biotechnology policy with top F.D.A. officials last month, Ms. Mellon said she warned the officials that approval of the salmon would generate "a firestorm of negative response."

How consumers will react is not entirely clear. Some public opinion surveys have shown that Americans are more wary about genetically engineered animals than about the genetically engineered crops now used in a huge number of foods. But other polls suggest that many Americans would accept the animals if they offered environmental or nutritional benefits.

Mr. Stotish said the benefit of the fast-growing salmon would be to help supply the world's food needs using fewer resources.

Government officials and industry executives say the F.D.A. is moving cautiously on the salmon. "It's going to be a P. R. issue," said one government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the issue.

Some of these government officials and executives said that F.D.A. officials had discussed internally whether the salmon could be labeled to give consumers the choice of avoiding them.

The government has in the past opposed mandatory labeling of foods from genetically engineered crops and animals merely because genetic engineering was used. Foods must be labeled, it says, only if they are different in their nutritional properties or other characteristics.

It would seem difficult for the government to change that policy. And experts say the administration may not have the legal authority to do so.

One possibility could be voluntary labeling by those who sell the fish.

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, the principal deputy commissioner of the F.D.A., said in a statement: "Labeling is one of many issues involved with the review of genetically engineered animals for use in food. As has been publicly reported, the AquAdvantage Salmon is under review by the agency, and as we move forward, we will share information with the public."

Mr. Stotish of AquaBounty said his company was not against voluntary labeling, but the matter was not in its hands because it would only be selling fish eggs to fish farms, not grown salmon to the supermarket.

He said the company had submitted data to the F.D.A. showing that its salmon was indistinguishable from nonengineered Atlantic salmon in terms of taste, color, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins and other nutrients.

"Our fish is identical in every measurable way to the traditional food Atlantic salmon," Mr. Stotish said. "If there's no material difference, then it would be misleading to require labeling."

Virtually all Atlantic salmon now comes from fish farms, not the wild.

The F.D.A. must also decide on the environmental risks from the salmon. Some experts have speculated that fast-growing fish could out-compete wild fish for food or mates.

Mr. Stotish said the salmon would be grown only in inland tanks or other contained facilities, not in ocean pens where they might escape into the wild. And the fish would all be female and sterile, making it impossible for them to mate.

The F.D.A. is expected to hold a public meeting of an advisory committee before deciding whether to approve the salmon. Typically at such advisory committee meetings, much of the data in support of the drug application is made public and there is some time allotted for public comment.

But Gregory Jaffe, biotechnology project director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said such meetings often do not give the public enough time to analyze the data.

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11) Canada: Judge Finds Oil Company Guilty in Deaths of 1,600 Ducks
By REUTERS
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/world/americas/26briefs-Canada.html?ref=world

An Alberta judge found Syncrude Canada Ltd., the biggest producer in Canada's oil sands, guilty on Friday of charges stemming from the deaths of 1,600 ducks that landed on a toxic tailings pond in northern Alberta in 2008. Syncrude faces a maximum fine of $769,000 in the case, which heightened international concern about the environmental impact of developing the oil sands, the largest crude-oil source outside the Middle East.

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12) American Jews Who Reject Zionism Say Events Aid Cause
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26religion.html?ref=world

One day nearly 20 years ago, Stephen Naman was preparing to help the rabbi of his Reform Jewish temple in South Carolina move the congregation into a new building. Mr. Naman had just one request: Could the rabbi stop placing the flag of Israel on the altar?

"We don't go to synagogue to pray to a flag," Mr. Naman, 63, recalled having said in a recent telephone interview.

That rabbi acceded to the request. So, after being transferred to North Carolina and joining a temple there six or seven years later, Mr. Naman asked its rabbi to remove the Israeli flag. This time, the reaction was more predictable.

"The rabbi said that would be terrible," recounted Mr. Naman, a retired paper company executive who now lives outside Jacksonville, Fla., "and that he'd be embarrassed to be rabbi of such a congregation."

As shocking as Mr. Naman's insistence on taking Israel out of Judaism may seem, it actually adheres to a consistent strain within Jewish debate. Whether one calls it anti-Zionism or non-Zionism - and all these terms are contested and loaded - the effort to separate the Jewish state from Jewish identity has centuries-old roots.

For the past 68 years, that stance has been the official platform of the group Mr. Naman serves as president of, the American Council for Judaism. And while the establishment of Israel and its centrality to American Jews consigned the council to irrelevancy for decades, the intense criticism of Israel now growing among a number of American Jews has made Mr. Naman's group look significant, or even prophetic.

It is not that members are flocking to the council. The group's mailing list is only in the low thousands, and its Web site received a modest 10,000 unique visitors in the last year. Its budget is a mere $55,000. As Mr. Naman acknowledges, the council's history of opposition to Zionism renders it "radioactive" for even liberal American Jewish groups, like J Street and Peace Now.

Yet the arguments that the council has consistently levied against Zionism and Israel have shot back into prominence over the last decade, with the collapse of the Oslo peace process, Israel's wars in Lebanon and Gaza, and most recently the fatal attack on a flotilla seeking to breach the naval blockade of the Hamas regime. One need not agree with any of the council's positions to admit that, for a certain faction of American Jews, they have come back into style.

"My sense is that they believe that events are proving they were right all along," Jonathan D. Sarna, a historian at Brandeis University and author of the seminal book "American Judaism," said in a telephone interview. "Everything they prophesied - dual loyalty, nationalism being evil - has come to pass."

"I would be surprised if vast numbers of people moved over to the A.C.J. as an organization because of its reputation," he continued. "But it's certainly the case that if the Holocaust underscored the problems of Jewish life in the diaspora, recent years have highlighted the point that Zionism is no panacea."

Mr. Naman grew up in a Texas family deeply involved in the council, and as a result he has lived through the swings of the political pendulum.

"We were ostracized and maligned," he said. "But we felt back then, and we feel now, that our positions are credible. They've been justified and substantiated by what has occurred."

On that matter, to put it mildly, there is disagreement. If American Zionists who oppose the West Bank occupation face withering criticism from the conservative part of American Jewry, which has tended to dominate the major communal and lobbying groups, then the unapologetic foes of Zionism in the council are met with apoplexy and indignation.

The rejection of Zion, though, goes back to the Torah itself, with its accounts of the Hebrews' rebelling against Moses on the journey toward the Promised Land and pleading to return to Egypt. Until Theodore Herzl created the modern Zionist movement early in the 20th century, the biblical injunction to return to Israel was widely understood as a theological construct rather than a pragmatic instruction.

Most Orthodox Jewish leaders before the Holocaust rejected Zionism, saying the exile was a divine punishment and Israel could be restored only in the messianic age. The Reform movement maintained that Judaism is a religion, not a nationality.

"This country is our Palestine," a Reform rabbi in Charleston, S.C., put it in 1841, "this city our Jerusalem, this house of God our temple." The Reform movement's 1885 platform dismissed a "return to Palestine" as a relic akin to animal sacrifice.

Only when the Reform leadership, on the eve of World War II, reversed course did its anti-Zionist faction break away, ultimately forming the council in 1942. Its discourse was simultaneously idealistic and contemptuous - a proposed curriculum in 1952 described Zionism as racist, self-segregated and non-American - and for a time it boasted leaders like Lessing J. Rosenwald, heir to the Sears fortune, and a membership of 14,000.

If the 1967 and 1973 wars shoved the council toward obsolescence, then Israel's controversial wars since 2000 have brought it back from the grave. One hears echoes of its positions in Tony Judt, the historian who has called for a binational state in Palestine; in Tony Kushner, whose screenplay for the film "Munich" portrayed an Israeli's true home as America; in Michael Chabon, whose novel "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" parodied Zionism; and in the emerging disengagement from Israel on the part of young, non-Orthodox Jews, as Peter Beinart noted recently in an essay in The New York Review of Books.

What is numerically true, thus not open to debate, is that only a tiny proportion of American Jews have ever rejected exile here to emigrate to Israel.

"I think we represent a silent majority," said Allan C. Brownfeld, a longtime member of the council and editor of its magazines, Issues and Special Interest Report. "We are Americans by nationality and Jews by religion. And while we wish Israel well, we don't view it as our homeland."

E-mail: sgf1@columbia.edu

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13) Storm Could Disrupt Effort in Gulf
By LIZ ROBBINS
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26spill.html?ref=politics

Coast Guard officials are on alert for a potential tropical storm system in the Caribbean that could enter the Gulf of Mexico this weekend or early next week and disrupt efforts to contain the vast oil spill from a stricken offshore well there.

Together with BP, the company responsible for cleaning up the oil spill, Coast Guard officials are preparing contingency plans that would suspend the oil collection operation and delay the drilling of relief wells until the storm passes, steps that would allow even more oil to gush into the gulf.

Adm. Thad W. Allen, the federal commander on the scene, said that it would take about five days to disconnect the one ship that is directly tethered, through its oil spill containment system, to the broken well. Workers would also have to be evacuated. Those steps would be called for if sustained winds of 46 miles an hour or greater were expected, he said.

"We're watching that tropical depression very closely right now," Admiral Allen said in a briefing on Friday.

If the area of disturbed weather - as yet still unorganized - does develop into a storm, it may happen around the time Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. makes his first visit to the region since the disaster started. Admiral Allen announced that Mr. Biden was expected on Tuesday.

If winds reach gale force near the well, which is about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, it could drive wave swells to 8 feet in height, which would force the suspension of surface skimming operations as well as efforts to recapture leaking oil near the seabed, Admiral Allen said. All told, disconnecting the containment cap and pipes from the well before the storm and then reconnecting them afterward could leave the well unchecked for as long as 14 days, he said.

Five days is generally too far in the future for scientists to forecast with any precision where a weather system that has yet to fully form will go, said Brian LaMarre, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service on special assignment in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge office.

"It's almost like a doctor trying to diagnose you with a cold and you don't have it yet," Mr. LaMarre said.

An area of "disturbed weather is approaching near Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic," Mr. LaMarre said on Friday afternoon, adding that a reconnaissance plane was on its way to the area to see whether the system had formed a low-pressure center, an indication that it could gain strength.

"It's remained very disorganized over the past week," he said of the weather system.

Mr. LaMarre said his office was helping to supply BP and the Coast Guard with probabilities on its track through the use of computer models.

This first potential storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season shows the precarious nature of the efforts to contain the oil from spreading throughout the gulf. Not until mid-July, Admiral Allen said, will a freestanding system will be ready to take the place of the improvised ship-mounted oil collection system now being used; such a freestanding system would be less vulnerable to storms.

Right now, the drilling ship Discoverer Enterprise is connected to the containment cap on the well; together they are able to control about one-half of the oil gushing from the damaged well. Most of the rest escapes into the water.

A storm would also bring a halt to drilling work on two relief wells that are crucial to BP's efforts to seal the stricken well permanently. One of the two made initial contact with the well-bore on Thursday, Admiral Allen said. "We wouldn't have to start again, we'd stop where we're at and reinitiate," he said of the plans for bad weather.

As of now, BP is predicting that the relief wells will be ready to use by mid-August, though the unpredictable nature of the summer storm season may change the target date.

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14) New Hampshire: Woman Using Oxygen Dies After Utility Shuts Off Power
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26brfs-WOMANUSINGOX_BRF.html?ref=us

Gov. John Lynch has called on state regulators to review procedures on power shutoffs because a woman who used oxygen equipment died after a utility cut her electricity. The woman, Kay Phaneuf, 53, died Thursday at a hospital. She had been in critical condition since her husband found her unconscious on Monday about an hour after National Grid cut power to their home. Police officials said the bill had not been paid. State regulations require written notice two weeks before a shutoff. National Grid said it was possible that it was not told of Ms. Phaneuf's need for electricity.

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15) What the Gulf Can’t Afford
NYT EDITORIAL
June 25, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/opinion/26sat1.html?hp

In late May, with a broken pipe spewing tens of thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama imposed a six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling in the gulf and suspended operations at 33 exploratory deep-water wells. These were common-sense moves — a timeout while a presidential commission figured out why the disaster occurred and recommended ways to prevent future calamities.

Responding to industry complaints, Martin Feldman, a United States District Court judge in New Orleans, overturned the order. The judge, who owns stock in oil-related companies, described oil and gas drilling as “elemental” to gulf communities and said he was certain a higher court would find the moratorium “arbitrary and capricious.”

The White House has promised a quick appeal, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has offered to provide additional information to show why the moratorium is necessary. The justification should be self-evident. One calamity at a time is more than enough.

Until the Deepwater Horizon accident, industry insisted that the chances of a big blowout were vanishingly small and that, if one did happen, it could quickly respond. We now know that this was flatly untrue; even BP has since conceded that it did not have the “tool kit” to stop the spill or even contain it.

Sadly enough, there were plenty of reasons to worry even before the spill. As an investigation in The Times made clear, the device the industry called its last line of defense — the blowout preventer — had failed before, and had never been rigorously tested in deep, cold water.

The report from the presidential commission may not be ready until the end of the year. But William K. Reilly, one of the two chairmen of the commission, said this week that he would not recommend lifting the moratorium until he was satisfied that the industry had agreed to adopt safer drilling techniques and that the administration had reformed and strengthened the federal agencies charged with policing offshore drilling.

On Wednesday, the Interior Department established a new investigative unit to examine conflicts of interest within the oil industry’s chief regulator, the Minerals Management Service (recently renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy). The service has been too chummy with industry, and its lax regulation may have contributed to the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The Times investigation added chilling new details on its failure to do its job. Agency officials ignored their own studies about the perils of deep-water drilling, and in some cases their own rules, by giving BP drilling permits without insisting on proof that its backup systems would work at 5,000-foot depths.

The pressure to resume deep-water drilling is not going away, even if Judge Feldman’s ruling is overturned on appeal. It must be resisted. BP’s $20 billion escrow fund — plus a special $100 million account designed specifically to help oil workers — should relieve some of the region’s economic stress. But if there is one lesson above all from this disaster, it is that business cannot continue as usual. The economic interests of the oil industry cannot be allowed to trump the long-term health of the gulf and the jobs and the lives that depend on it.

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