Wednesday, July 28, 2010



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




The Struggle Continues for Immigration Reform!
Wednesday, July 28th
New Federal Building
7th and Mission

Raise your voice to let the Federal Government know that it is time to take action and end the suffering of our immigrant workers and their families!

No to SB1070 in Arizona!
Yes to Dream Act! United American Family Act!
Yes to Immigration Reform!


We are always on the look out for committed volunteers to drive the hotel boycotts and reach out to the community. Let us learn together, and fight together. Join Local 2's awesome Boycott Team.

For volunteer opportunities, please contact:
Powell DeGange,
415-864-8770 ext. 759


Click here:

Click here for details and figures showing why these corporations have no excuse not to provide hotel workers affordable quality health care:


UNITE HERE! Local 2 - Hotel Workers Struggle for a Contract in San Francisco

For a current list of boycotted hotels, please check our website


Join the ANSWER Coalition in supporting these important events.

Thurs. July 29, 6pm
M.O.R.E. Public Transit Organizing Meeting Against Police Raids
POWER, Bayview Office, 4923 3rd St. at Palou, SF

Stop MUNI "Saturation" Raids!
Stop the terrorizing of MUNI riders!

For the past few months, MUNI and City police have conducted terrorizing raids at busy bus stops such as the 16th and 24th BART stations. Who were the targets? Were they alleged murderers or terrorists? NO! They were the MUNI passengers who the authorities believed needed to be monitored for their compliance with the $2 fare. These "saturation" raids are conducted by 20 MUNI ticketers and SFPD officers, all well paid and fully benefited, demanding proof of payment of the poor, the families, and the workers, many of whom are struggling to bring home a humble $80 to their homes.

If people don't have $2, how can they be expected to pay for an $80 ticket?!

Thanks to the current depression, communities throughout the country are facing a massive loss in jobs, housing, education opportunities, and social services. Here in San Francisco, we continue to see a rise in MUNI fares, in parking tickets, and in police presence, but there is no rise in jobs, in public services, or even in MUNI transit lines. The real "SAFETY" of the working class and oppressed communities in San Francisco and throughout the country lies in access to JOBS, HEALTHCARE, PUBLIC SERVICES, and EDUCATION! Not in the criminalization of the poor and working families who can't afford to pay a daily 5% tax for transportation to get to work.

Being poor is not a crime!

Call M.O.R.E. Public Transit at 415-821-6545,

Thurs. July 29, 5:30pm
MITIN / RALLY for Immigrant Rights
24th St. & Mission Sts., San Francisco

STOP ALL Racist Laws Against Immigrants & the Secure Communities Program

We must stand in defense of our communities and the rights of all!
SB1070 was amended by HB2162, but amended or not racism is still racism!

¡No al racismo!

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


Please Distribute Widely - Send to a Friend

Arab Film Festival Presents
The premiere of two powerful documentaries on the attacks on Gaza

produced by Najwa Najjar

A variety of short films about Gaza and Operation Cast Lead, a collaboration of 12 International filmmakers.

directed by Samir Abdallah & Kheredine Mabrouk

"We bring back images of Palestine, this country which is more and more becoming metaphorical. We entered Gaza as soon as the ceasefire of the last war (December 2008-January 2009) was announced and discovered with our friends from the Palestinian Human Rights Centre, the extent of the gaza-strophe. In spite of all this, our Gazaoui friends offered us poems, songs and even jokes and stories to tell" -Samir Abdallah

Films will be followed by discussion with a distinguished panel:
Paul Larudee, Nadeen Elshorafa, and Jess Ghannam. Facilitator: Michel Shehadeh

Buy Tickets Now:

Thursday, July 29th @ 7:00pm
Roxie Theatre, 3116 16th Street, San Francisco
Tickets: $9

After Event Party @ The Pork Store (Across from The Roxie)
Suggested Donation: $10 Students $15 Adults

Co-Sponsors: Al-Awda San Francisco, Middle East Children Alliance (MECA), Break the Silence and Mural Project, ANSWER Coalition, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, South Bay Mobilization, Culture and Conflict Forum, Free Palestine Movement, UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine, Arab Cultural Community Center of Silicon Valley, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice (LC4PJ), Palestine Youth Network, US Palestinian Community Network (SF Bay Area USPCN), International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), American Friend's Service Committee-SF, Free Palestine Alliance, Sunbula: Arab Feminists for Change, Jewish Voice for Peace, Southwest Asian and North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ), Justice for Palestinians-San Jose, SOUL School of Liberty & Liberation...

If you are interested in becoming a co-sponsor, please email:

More info at

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


Dear Berkeley Community Member,

We are writing to ask you to join us on Thursday, August 5th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the steps of the BUSD Administration Building (2134 MLK Jr. Way) for a candlelight vigil protesting the Governor's proposed elimination of child care funding for low-income families. As you may know, the Governor has proposed devastating cuts to state support for childcare. In Hayward programs are already closing and in Berkeley and neighboring communities the programs will close as of August 31st. We must send a message to our Governor that these cuts are inhumane and unwise. Families will not have vital child care services, and programs and school districts do not have funds to operate while there is no signed California state budget!

Our State needs more childcare and support for preschool, not less!

At this event you will have a chance to write letters to the Governor and to make strategic phone calls to legislative leaders. Parents, teachers, classified staff, Berkeley leaders and others will speak briefly about the devastating impacts these proposed cuts are already having.

To help us plan, please send an email to to let us know if you and your family can attend. This will help a great deal in organizing materials.

Thanks very much.

Beatriz Leyva-Cutler; Cathy Campbell; Maria Carriedo; Exec. Director, BAHIA; BFT President; BUSD Preschool Principal

Cathy Campbell
President, Berkeley Federation of Teachers
2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite A
Berkeley, CA 94702
Phone: (510) 549-2307
Fax: (510) 549-2308


Rally at Livermore Against Nuclear Weapons
Friday, August 6th, 8:00 A.M.
Meet at Vasco Rd. and Patterson Pass Rd., Livermore, CA.

Gathering to pledge to never again use nuclear weapons, on this 65th anniversary
of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tri Valley CARES and other groups will rally near the West Gate of Lawrence Livermore Lab. Norman Solomon will speak. Call East Bay Peace Action at 925-443-7148 for more information.


Progressive Film Festival Aug. 7-8
A fundraiser for the ANSWER Coalition
at ATA, 992 Valencia St. at 21st St., San Francisco

$6 admission for each screening
Light refreshments. Wheelchair accessible.

Sat. August 7
7pm - Maquilapolis (City of Factories)
Documenting the struggle of women workers in Tijuana.

"Many consider the U.S.-Mexico border to be 'the laboratory of the future.' In Maquilapolis the border is also the site where global capitalism is facing profound resistance. The maquiladora workers are neither helpless victims nor dupes of neo-liberal capitalism, but rather social actors in the full sense of the word" -Rosa-Linda Fregoso, UCSC

Carmen Durán works the graveyard shift at one of Tijuana's 800 maquiladoras; she is one of millions of women around the world who labor for poverty level wages in the factories of transnational corporations. When the plant where Carmen worked for six years moved to Indonesia, they try to avoid paying the legally mandated severance pay to which they were entitled by law. Carmen becomes a promotora, a grassroots activist, challenging the usual illegal tactics of the powerful transnationals.

The filmmakers gave several women workers in Tijuana video cameras to make a record of their struggles, giving the film the intimate feel of video diaries. Spanish with English subtitles, 68min., 2006

8:30pm - 9 Star Hotel
A story of Palestinian workers struggling for survival under Israeli occupation.

This unflinching documentary follows Ahmed and Muhammad, two of the many Palestinians who illegally cross the border into the Israeli city of Modi'in in search of work. Together they share food, belongings and stories, and live under the constant threat of imprisonment from Israeli soldiers and police. With raw, handheld images, this disconcerting yet touching film documents friendship, nostalgia and the uncompromising urge to survive. 2007, 78min., Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.

Sun. August 8
Cuba: An African Odyssey
Documenting Cuba's role in the African Liberation struggles of the 60's & 70's.

5pm - Part 1: Congo and Guinea Bissau

7:30pm - Part 2: Angola

In this ambitious and revealing documentary, Egyptian-French filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri traces the history of Cuban solidarity with African liberation movements in the 1960s and 70s. It begins in 1965 when Che Guevara led a group of Cuban revolutionary fighters in an unsuccessful attempt to support the struggle for true independence in the Congo. It then moves to Cuban's role in the struggles against Portuguese/NATO colonialism in Guinea-Bissau and Angola.

Cuba: An African Odyssey combines remarkable archival footage-much of it never before seen in the U.S.-with an amazing cast of participants showing Cuba's pivotal role in the liberation movements in Africa. Over 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries, one of many examples of Cuba's true internationalism. Spanish and English with English subtitles, 2007, Part 1 - 130min., Part 2 - 60min.

If you cannot attend, but would like to make a much-needed donation to the ANSWER Coalition:

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



Benton Harbor, Mich. - August 10, 2010



200 WALL ST.

Aug. 10, 10:30am

Questions: Contact Rev. Edward Pinkney, 269-925-0001

YOUR CITY COULD BE NEXT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Longshore workers call for labor/community rally for:

Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!

The next labor/community organizing meeting will be:

7 PM, Tuesday August 31, 2010
Longshore Hall - Henry Schmidt room
400 North Point St @ Mason
near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

You are urged to attend!

A broad group of labor and community organizers met Tuesday, July 27 to help organize a mass demonstration demanding Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops! to take place Saturday, October 23 in Oakland. Committees were set up and organizing has begun involving people from the Bay Area and coordinated nation-wide. Bay Area United Against War Newsletter encourages everyone to become involved in organizing and building this very urgent event. We can't allow the police to have a license to murder the innocent and unarmed with a slap on the wrist. We demand the maximum for Johannes Mehserle!

Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood!



ILWU Local 10 Motion on the Verdict in the Oscar Grant Case
Whereas, Oscar Grant's killer, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle received a verdict of involuntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010; and

Whereas, video tapes show clearly that Oscar Grant was lying face down on the Fruitvale BART platform, waiting to be handcuffed with another cop's boot on his neck posing no threat when he was shot in the back and killed in cold blood by Mehserle; and
Whereas, this is just another example in a racist justice system where police officers go free for killing young black men; and

Whereas, the Contra Costa Times reports that police are holding a rally in Walnut Creek on July 19, 2010 to show support for the killer cop so his sentence will only be a slap on the wrist; and

Whereas; the ILWU has always stood for social justice;

Therefore be it resolved that the labor movement organize a mass protest rally October 23, 2010 with participation from community groups, civil rights organizations, civil liberties organizations and all who stand for social justice demand jail for killer cops.



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

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.

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:


November 18-21, 2010: Close the SOA and take a stand for justice in the Americas.

The November Vigil to Close the School of the Americas at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia will be held from November 18-21, 2010. The annual vigil is always held close to the anniversary of the 1989 murders of Celina Ramos, her mother Elba and six Jesuit priests at a the University of Central America in El Salvador.


November 2010 will mark the 20th anniversary of the vigil that brings together religious communities, students, teachers, veterans, community organizers, musicians, puppetistas and many others. New layers of activists are joining the movement to close the SOA in large numbers, including numerous youth and students from multinational, working-class communities. The movement is strong thanks to the committed work of thousands of organizers and volunteers around the country. They raise funds, spread the word through posters and flyers, organize buses and other transportation to Georgia, and carry out all the work that is needed to make the November vigil a success. Together, we are strong!


There will be exciting additions to this year's vigil program. Besides the rally at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia with inspiring speakers and amazing musicians from across the Americas, the four day convergence will also include an educational teach-in at the Columbus Convention Center, several evening concerts, workshops and for the first time, the Latin America Solidarity Coalition will stage a one-day Anti-Militarization Organizers Conference on Thursday, November 18, 2010.


Our work has unfortunately not gotten any easier and U.S. militarization in Latin America is accelerating. The SOA graduate led military coup in Honduras, the continuing repression against the Honduran pro-democracy resistance and the expansion of U.S. military bases in Colombia and Panama are grim examples of the ongoing threats of a U.S. foreign policy that is relying on the military to exert control over the people and the resources in the Americas. Join the people who are struggling for justice in Honduras, Colombia and throughout the Americas as we organize to push back.

Spread the word - Tell a friend about the November Vigil:

For more information, visit:

See you at the gates of Fort Benning in November 2010




Breathing Toxic Oil Vapors??? vid


Black Rain By Mob Rules


TOXIC RED ALERT! - Oil and Benzene RAIN is NOW FALLING!!!!


Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!

Mooncricket: When Two Worlds Collide-The Mehserle Rally Raw & Uncut-Race Does Matter...
Posted on July 25, 2010 by Davey D

Big shout out to film maker Mooncricket who captured not only the rally that took place for killer cop Johannes Mehserle in Walnut Creek but also caught the ignorance and huge disconnect that many have when it comes to dealing with issues of race and police brutality..

In the clip below you hear the confrontations but more importantly you hear how deeply embedded racial perceptions are. pay close attention to the woman who wants to lecture one brother about genocide in Rwanda and then tells him about OJ Simpson.. It was a constant theme repeated over and over again which suggested that revenge from the OJ trial was sitting on everyone's mind.

In this video listen to the other woman who attempts to tell us why people get pulled over and profiled and finds it hard to believe the police are doing anything wrong...This same woman is later caught on film yelling that mexicans should go back to Mexico.

This is an intense confrontation and highlights what's far too often typical when dealing with issues of police brutality which is a variation of blaming the victim. 'How come you aren't here protesting when 'Blacks are killing Blacks' is usually the retort one hears from both whites and blacks when police brutality issues come up. It's a misplaced argument on a number of levels. First, many organizers are involved in programs, vigils, marches, churches etc about violence in their communities. For example, today Saturday June 24th there was a big Silence the Violence Rally in San Francisco that deals with urban crime. There are dozens of organization in Oakland that were started and still around to help foster conflict resolution and provide alternatives. They range from Youth Uprising to Love Life Foundation, Nation of Islam, Omega Boys Club to Urban Peace Movement etc..Such outlets under different names exist in every city around the country.

The second question that usually pops up is 'Well if you have so many organizations why is there still crime in the hood?' The question is a disingenuous one. My experience shows that most who ask those questions have not been involved in many of the community efforts to help push back on crime, yet they're expecting miracles. The fall back answer that many like to give is that they push back on crime by supporting the police. But even the police are looking for both volunteers and funds for their own programs like PAL and DARE... Those same people asking all these hard questions aren't involved in those outlets.

Lastly one can look at the huge array of tough 3 strike type laws, harsher sentencing guidelines, zero tolerance directives, higher budgets, new training and weaponry given to the police over the past 15-20 years and yet crime still persists. Should we not change some things about their approach?

With that being said, protesting Black on Black crime is not a criteria for addressing police misconduct. One has nothing to do with the other. The thug on the corner committing crimes is not a public servant. The police are. The thug on the block has not been granted a badge, a license to carry a gun, received months of training and given the trust and duty to protect and serve the citizens of various communities. The police have been given that which means they are directly accountable to the community. The thug has not made that contract with the community and so its bit unreasonable to expect folks to openly confront a criminal the way they would the police to seek redress.

One could easily ask that question to citizens in Walnut Creek or neighboring Concord if they are outside with signs protesting in front of meth houses which exist out there? Are they in front of the homes of people who commit domestic violence or any other number of crimes? ...Most aren't yet they wish to ask all these questions. There's an old saying don't ask of others what you aren't doing yourself?

In the scenes below you see some more intense arguments and some of the blatant racism that folks in the crowd are will to shout out at those who support Oscar Grant.

Below we see the Peaceful ending to rally in Walnut Creek ..As marchers leave and head toward the BART station they come top find the gates have been shut closed on the Grant protesters.


Innocence Lost: Ethan McCord recounts aftermath of Iraqi civilian massacre | UNPC 7/24/2010


BP OIL SPILL HEALTH EMERGENCY! DIRE! MUST BE WATCHED! Corexit Being Sprayed From Coast Guard Planes!




Papantonio: BP's Floating 3rd World Death Trap


Mexican kindergarten kids vs racist white minutemen
Little kids stand up for their parents after the minutemen go harass migrants at the Mexican Consulate in the city of Santa Ana.


HEALTH ALERT: Toxic Rain In Miami From Gulf Oil Leak, Plants & Trees Dying


Sarah Kruzan: Sentenced to Life Without Parole at Age 16


Make A Living With My Own Two Hands/ Hell It's Part of Being Who I Am
by Abby Zimet
July 14, 2010

After two days of often emotional testimony from Gulf Coast residents, the White House oil spill commission heard Louisiana native, crawfisherman and singer-songwriter Drew Landry sing it like it is in a newly, sorrowfully minted lament for a way of life he fears has been destroyed. From "The BP Blues": "Kickin mud off up a crawfish hole/ barefooted with a fishin pole/ went to workin in the oil fields/ that's the only way to pay our bills..."

After the song, Landry told the hearing: "It feels like BP is in control of this deal, and the Coast Guard does what they want...More importantly, it feels like the people don't have a voice in this thing. It just sucks. Let's just do the right damn thing. It shouldn't be this hard. It shouldn't take a committee to listen to people."


The Gulf 20 years from now

Tell President Obama to demand that BP stop blocking
clean-up workers from using life-saving respirators:


"Corporations don't mind if we repeat history--it's cheaper that way." --Keith Olberman

Gulf's Human Health Crisis Explodes -- Countdown with Keith Olberman


COREXIT is Eating Through Boats in the Gulf


Gulf toxicologist: Shrimpers exposed to Corexit "bleeding from the rectum"


BP Makes Me Sick


Tar ball clean up in Cocoa Beach -- East Coast of Central Florida


Tar ball clean up in Cocoa Beach
Oil/Water samples from Gulf...VERY TOXIC


YouTube - Obama admin bans press from filming BP oil spill areas in the Gulf!


Police State Canada


BP Death Clouds Already Onshore! Benzene-3400ppb Hyrdrogen Sulfide-1200ppb TOXIC AIR ALERT.flv


Kid with oil stuck on her! Destin Beach, Fl. June 23rd, 2010


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]

G20 Police Accused of Rape Threats, Strip-Searches
29 June 2010


BP Slick Covers Dolphins and


Licence to Spill
Posted on 06.30.10


Two Pensacola Beach Scenes: Dying Baby Dolphin and Ocean "Water Bubbling "...Like It's Got Acid In It. God Help Us All"
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.




ROV films oil leak coming from rock cracks on seafloor.


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


Roger Waters - "We Shall Overcome" for Gaza


Rachel Maddow: Disgraceful response to the oil itself


It Ain't My Fault by Mos Def & Lenny Kravitz |


Gulf Oil Spill?

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

**Senate Approves Nearly $60 Billion for Wars
May 27, 2010

Watch BP Live Video Webcam Camera Feed of Gulf Oil Spill Here! (Update 7)

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.

Live BP Gulf Oil Spill Webcam Video Reveals 5 Leaks

Stop Shell Oil's Offshore Drilling Plans in the Arctic

Sign the Petition to Ban Offshore Drilling Now!




Please sign the petition to release Bradley Manning (Click to sign here)

To: US Department of Defense; US Department of Justice
We, the Undersigned, call for justice for US Army PFC Bradley Manning, incarcerated without charge (as of 18 June 2010) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Media accounts state that Mr. Manning was arrested in late May for leaking the video of US Apache helicopter pilots killing innocent people and seriously wounding two children in Baghdad, including those who arrived to help the wounded, as well as potentially other material. The video was released by WikiLeaks under the name "Collateral Murder".

If these allegations are untrue, we call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

If these allegations ARE true, we ALSO call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

Simultaneously, we express our support for Mr. Manning in any case, and our admiration for his courage if he is, in fact, the person who disclosed the video. Like in the cases of Daniel Ellsberg, W. Mark Felt, Frank Serpico and countless other whistleblowers before, government demands for secrecy must yield to public knowledge and justice when government crime and corruption are being kept hidden.

Justice for Bradley Manning!


The Undersigned:

Zaineb Alani
"Yesterday I lost a country. / I was in a hurry, / and didn't notice when it fell from me / like a broken branch from a forgetful tree. / Please, if anyone passes by / and stumbles across it, / perhaps in a suitcase / open to the sky, / or engraved on a rock / like a gaping wound, / ... / If anyone stumbles across it, / return it to me please. / Please return it, sir. / Please return it, madam. / It is my country . . . / I was in a hurry / when I lost it yesterday." -Dunya Mikhail, Iraqi poet


Dear Gio,

Thanks again for supporting military war resisters. We do this work because it is a tangible contribution to a future without empire and war. With your help, we've won a number of victories recently--you might have read about "Hip Hop" stop-loss soldier Marc Hall, or single mom, and Afghanistan deployment resister, Alexis Hutchinson in the news.

Now, intel analyst Bradley Manning is in the headlines and facing decades in prison for leaking a video of a massacre in Baghdad. If Pfc. Manning is the source of the video, then he did what he had to do to expose a war crime. Regardless, he's wrongly imprisoned and we are doing everything we can to support him. Keep an eye out for action alerts in the coming days on how to support Bradley!

If you have not yet had a chance to make a donation recently, I'm asking that you please consider doing so now so that together we can step up to support Bradley Manning and all GI war objectors!

Jeff Paterson,
Project Director, Courage to Resist

p.s. Our new August print newsletter is now available:


Please forward widely...

Lynne Stewart Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison
By Jeff Mackler
(Jeff Mackler is the West Coast Director of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee.)

The full force of the U.S. criminal "justice" system came down on innocent political prisoner, 30-year veteran human rights attorney and radical political activist Lynne Stewart today, July 15, 2010.

In an obviously pre-prepared one hour and twenty minute technical tour de force designed to give legitimacy to a reactionary ruling Federal District Court John Koeltl, who in 2005 sentenced Stewart to 28 months in prison following her frame-up trial and jury conviction on four counts of "conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism," re-sentenced Stewart to 120 months or ten years. Koeltl recommended that Stewart serve her sentence in Danbury, Connecticut's minimum security prison. A final decision will be made by the Bureau of Prisons.

Stewart will remain in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center for 60 days to prepare an appeal.

The jam-packed New York Federal District Court chamber observers where Koeltl held forth let our a gasp of pain and anguish as Lynne's family and friends were stunned - tears flowing down the stricken and somber faces of many. A magnificent Stewart, ever the political fighter and organizer was able to say to her supporters that she felt badly because she had "let them down," a reference to the massive outpouring of solidarity and defiance that was the prime characteristic of Lynne's long fight for freedom.

Judge Koeltl was ordered to revisit his relatively short sentence when it was overturned by a two-judge majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judges Robert D. Sack and Guido Calabresi ruled that Koeltl's sentence was flawed because he had declined to determine whether Stewart committed perjury when she testified at her trial that she believed that she was effectively operating under a "bubble" protecting her from prosecution when she issued a press release on behalf of her also framed-up client, the blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rachman. Rachman was falsely charged with conspiracy to damage New York state buildings.

Dissenting Judge John M. Walker, who called Stewart's sentence, "breathtakingly low" in view of Stewart's "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct" deemed the Second Circuit's majority opinion "substantively unreasonable." Walker essentially sought to impose or demand a 30-year sentence.

The three-judge panel on Dec. 20, 2009 followed its initial ruling with even tougher language demanding that Koeltl revisit his treatment of the "terrorism enhancement" aspects of the law. A cowardly Koeltl, who didn't need this argument to dramatically increase Stewart's sentence, asserted that he had already taken it under consideration in his original deliberations.

Government prosecutors, who in 2005 sought a 30-year sentence, had submitted a 155-page memorandum arguing in support of a 15-30 year sentence. Their arguments demonstrated how twisted logic coupled with vindictive and lying government officials routinely turn the victim into the criminal.

Stewart's attorneys countered with a detailed brief recounting the facts of the case and demonstrating that Stewart's actions in defense of her client were well within the realm of past practice and accepted procedures. They argued that Koeltl properly exercised his discretion in determining that, while the terrorism enhancement provisions of the "law" had to be taken into consideration, the 30-year-prison term associated with it was "dramatically unreasonable," "overstated the seriousness" of Stewart's conduct" and had already been factored into Koeltl's decision.

Stewart's attorneys also argued convincingly in their brief that the Special Administrative Measure (SAM) that Stewart was convicted of violating by releasing a statement from her client to the media was well within the established practice of Stewart's experienced and mentoring co-counsels- former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and past American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee president Abdeen Jabarra. Both had issued similar statements to the media with no government reprisal. Clark was an observer in Koeltl's courtroom. When he testified in support of Lynne during her trial one overzealous prosecutor suggested that he too be subject to the conspiracy charges. The more discreet team of government lawyers quietly dropped the matter.

At worst, in such matters, government officials refuse defense attorneys client visiting rights until an agreement on a contested interpretation of a SAM is reached. This was the case with Stewart and her visiting rights were eventually restored with no punishment or further action. Indeed, when the matter was brought to then Attorney General Janet Reno, the government declined to prosecute or otherwise take any action against Stewart.

But Koeltl, who had essentially accepted this view in his original sentence, reversed himself entirely and proceeded in his erudite-sounding new rendition of the law to repeatedly charge Stewart with multiple acts of perjury regarding her statements on the SAM during her trial.

Koeltl took the occasion to lecture Stewart regarding the first words she uttered in front of a bevy of media outlets when she joyfully alighted from the courthouse following the judge's original 28-month sentence. Said Stewart at that time, "I can do 28 months standing on my head." A few moments earlier Stewart, with nothing but a plastic bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste and her various medications, had stood before Koeltl, who had been asked by the government to sentence her to a 30-year term, effectively a death sentence for Lynne, aged 70, a diabetic and recovering breast cancer victim in less than excellent health.

Koeltl dutifully followed the lead of the Second Circuit judges, who feigned outrage that Stewart could possibly appear joyful that her life was spared despite 28 months in prison. Koeltl insisted that Stewart's remark was essentially contemptuous of his sentence and insufficient to convince Stewart of the seriousness of her "crime." Lynne's defense was that while she fully understood that 28 months behind bars, separating from her "family, friends and comrades," as she proudly stated, was a harsh penalty, she was nevertheless "relieved" that she would not die in prison. Koeltl needed a legal brick to throw at Lynne's head and ignored her humanity, honesty and deep feeling of relief when she expressed it to a crowd of two thousand friends, supporters and a good portion of the nation's media.

The same Judge Koeltl who stated in 2005, when he rendered the 28-month jail term, that Lynne was "a credit to her profession and to the nation," clearly heard the voice of institutionalized hate and cruelty and responded in according with its unstated code. "Show no mercy! Thou shall not dissent without grave punishment" in capitalist America.

Lynne was convicted in the post-911 generated climate of political hysteria. Bush appointee, Attorney General John Ashcroft, decided to make an example of her aimed at warning future attorneys that the mere act of defending anyone whom the government charged with "conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism," could trigger terrible consequences.

On July 15 Judge Koeltl made the decision of his career. Known for his meticulous preparation in such matters, and already having enraged the powers that be with his "light" sentence of Stewart, he bent full tilt to the reactionary political pressures exerted on him by the court hierarchy. He had the option to stand tall and reaffirm his original decision. The "law" allowed him to do so. He could have permitted Lynne to leave prison in less than two years, recover her health, and lead a productive life. His massively extended sentence, unless overturned, will likely lead to Lynne's demise behind bars - a brilliant and dedicated fighter sacrificed on the alter of an intolerant class-biased system of repression and war.

Courage is a rare quality in the capitalist judiciary. For every defiant decision made, usually driven by a change in the political climate and pressed forward by the rise of mass social protest movements, there are thousands and more of political appointees that affirm the status quo, including its punishment of all who struggle to challenge capitalist prerogatives and power.

Lynne Stewart stands tall among the latter. We can only hope that the winds of change that are stirring the consciousness of millions today in the context of an American capitalism in economic and moral crisis keeps the movement for her freedom alive and well. The fight is not over! What we do now remains critical. Lynne's expected appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court cannot be written off as absurd and hopeless. What we do collectively to free her and all political prisoners and to fight for freedom and justice on every front counts for everything!

Write to Lynne at:

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

For further information call Lynne's husband, Ralph Poynter, leader of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Send contributions payable to:

Lynne Stewart Organization
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11216


Listen to Lynne Stewart event, that took place July 8, 2010 at Judson Memorial Church
Excerpts include: Mumia Abu Jamal, Ralph Poynter, Ramsey Clark, Juanita
Young, Fred Hampton Jr., Raging Grannies, Ralph Schoenman

And check out this article (link) too!


Requesting Your Support
By Dahr Jamail
July 12th, 2010
Dear Readers:

This morning we hired a flight out to the well site where the Deepwater Horizon sank. This environmental crime scene is now littered with boats and relief wells flailing to stop the flow of oil that has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for almost 3 months. Tomorrow, we are hiring a boat to take us to some of the most devastated coastline, which is still smeared in oil, causing harm to uncountable ecosystems and wildlife.

I have been on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana for two weeks now, and together with my partner, Erika Blumenfeld, we have brought you stories and photographs that document and archive the human and environmental impact of the historic and horrific disaster that is the BP oil catastrophe.

In our story, Fending For Themselves, we wrote about the growing crisis of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe being displaced by the encroaching oil, and showed you images of their dying marshlands.

We produced an original photo essay for Truthout, Mitigating Annihilation, which clearly depicts the futility of the booming efforts, and the resulting destruction of the local and migratory bird rookeries, along with South Louisiana's fragile and endangered coastline.

Our most recent post, Hell Has Come To South Louisiana, articulates the desperate situation of the shrimpers and fisher-folk whose livelihood that spans generations is threatened by extinction.

The complexity and breadth of this continued crisis is beyond what we could have imagined, and our questions have led us to dynamic and impassioned interviews with environmental philosophers, activists, scientists, sociologists, riverkeepers, bayoukeepers, indigenous tribes, and fisher people.

As a freelance team, we could not have produced this important work without your generous support. We are deeply grateful to those who were able to contribute to our efforts thus far.

Our work here is just beginning, and with so much of our investigation requiring that we be out in the field, I am humbly appealing for your continued support to help us extend our reporting, so that we may continue to bring you the unfolding events of this devastating issue that clearly effects us all.

Please support our work in the Gulf Coast by making a donation. There are several ways you can donate:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, International Media Project (IMP) is providing fiscal sponsorship to Dahr Jamail.

Checks for tax-deductible donations should be made out to "International Media Project." please write"Dahr Jamail" in the memo line and mail to:

International Media Project/Dahr Jamail
1714 Franklin St.
Oakland, CA 94612

Online, you can use Paypal to donate HERE.

Donations can also be mailed to:

Dahr Jamail
P.O. Box 970
Marfa, TX 79843

Direct links to our pieces produced thus far:

Living on a dying delta

Fending For Themselves

No Free Press for BP Oil Disaster

Mitigating Annihilation

Hell Has Come to South Louisiana



RIP Oscar!

Victory for movement, but justice still needs to be won

Calling on all supporters of justice for Oscar Grant and opponents of racist police brutality:

The jury verdict is not justice for Oscar Grant - it is up to the new movement to use its power to win real justice. THIS IS THE TIME TO ACT.


The maximum sentence for killer cop Johannes Mehserle.

Jail Officers Pirone and Domenici, the two police who were accomplices to murder.

Disarm and disband the BART Police.

Provide massive funding to Oakland for education and jobs for Oakland's black, Latina/o, Asian, and poor and working-class white youth.

Stop police/ICE racial profiling of Latina/o, black, Asian, and other minority youth with and without papers.

Furthermore, we call on Oakland Mayor Dellums and other governmental authorities in Oakland to declare that this verdict does not render justice to Oscar Grant and to act on the demands of the movement.

If you haven't already done so yet, join the JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT ACTION PAGE on Facebook at:


Oscar Grant Verdict Is Victory for the Movement,
But Justice for Oscar Grant Still Needs to Be Won

Today's [THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2010] conviction of Johannes Mehserle is a victory for the movement. Despite all the foot-dragging and machinations of the police, the justice system, the government, and the politicians, the movement secured the first conviction of a California police officer for the killing of a black man. This victory is important and provides some greater protection for black and Latina/o youth. However, this verdict does NOT constitute justice for Oscar Grant.

Tens of millions of people around the world saw the videotape and know that Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood by Johannes Mehserle. And yet, because of the failure of the prosecutor's office to fight the change in venue, and because of the pro-police bias of the judge, the jury was deprived of even being able to consider convicting Mehserle of first-degree murder. The Los Angeles county jury which heard that case did not include a single black juror.

BAMN salutes the new civil rights movement for this victory. However, achieving justice for Oscar Grant requires that the movement continue to build and grow in determination, drawing in millions more black, Latina/o and other youth.

BAMN also salutes Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grant's mother, for refusing to accept a civil settlement and for fighting to achieve justice for her son. We pledge to Wanda Johnson, Oscar's daughter Tatiana, her mother, and all family and friends that we will not rest until we achieve justice for Oscar.

We call on the movement to maintain the fight for justice for Oscar Grant by raising and fighting to win the following demands:

The maximum sentence for killer cop Johannes Mehserle.

Jail Officers Pirone and Domenici, the two police who were accomplices to murder.

Disarm and disband the BART Police.

Provide massive funding to Oakland for education and jobs for Oakland's black, Latina/o, Asian, and poor and working-class white youth.

Stop police/ICE racial profiling of Latina/o, black, Asian, and other minority youth with and without papers.

Furthermore, we call on Oakland Mayor Dellums and other governmental authorities in Oakland to declare that this verdict does not render justice to Oscar Grant and to act on the demands of the movement.

Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)

(510) 502-9072 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (510) 502-9072 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Ronald Cruz
BAMN Organizer,
& Civil Rights Attorney



Georgia: Witnesses in Murder Case Recant
June 23, 2010

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.

For more info: | | Savannah Branch NAACP: 912-233-4161


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

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:

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: .

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

Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal


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.)

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.

Write to Lynne:

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


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?"



[ 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


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"

(A Life In the Balance - The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, at 34, Amnesty Int'l, 2000; www.

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

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


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


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.
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 and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!


FLASHPOINTS Interview with Innocent San Quentin Death Row Inmate
Kevin Cooper -- Aired Monday, May 18,2009
To learn more about Kevin Cooper go to:
San Francisco Chronicle article on the recent ruling:
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and dissent:


Support the troops who refuse to fight!




1) View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan
This article was written and reported by C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Andrew W. Lehren, Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, and Eric Schmitt, with contributions from Jacob Harris and Alan McLean.
July 25, 2010

2) Afghan Officials Report 52 Civilians Dead in NATO Strike
July 26, 2010

3) In Disclosing Secret Documents, WikiLeaks Seeks 'Transparency'
July 25, 2010

4) Industries Find Surging Profits in Deeper Cuts
July 25, 2010

5) Toxic Black Rain Falling In The Gulf
Monday, July 26, 2010
Allen L. Roland's Weblog

6) BP Response Workers Report Low Morale, Lack of Pay, Sickness
By Dahr Jamail
Monday 26 July 2010
[Please visit this website to view photos by Erika]

7) Albany anti war conference plans protests
By Meredith Aby |
July 26, 2010

8) What the Wikileaks files TRULY reveal
ANSWER Coalition interview on breaking Wikileaks story
Send a letter to the editor of your newspaper
Watch the 2 1/2 minute video
with Brian Becker, National Coordinator
of the ANSWER Coalition, on the
breaking news of the leaked documents<e_id=4001

9) Long-Term Economic Pain
July 26, 2010

10) Another Oil Leak Is Spotted in the Gulf
July 27, 2010

11) At Military Contractor's Trial, a $100,000 Buckle
July 26, 2010

12) Details of boy killed by officers begin to emerge from police, family, friends
"A search of the van did not yield a weapon, and the shotgun used in the carjacking remained unaccounted for, Smith said."
By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
July 24, 2010 12:00 AM

13) We Are All James Rivera! Boy murderd by Stockton Ca, PD
by Crew ( [at] )
Saturday Jul 24th, 2010 9:25 AM

14) WikiLeaks Bombshell Docs Paint Afghan War as Utter Disaster -- Will We Finally Stop Throwing Money and Lives at This Catastrophe?
By Ray McGovern, Consortium News
Posted on July 26, 2010, Printed on July 28, 2010

15) A Cooper Union Student Lost an Eye Protesting in Israel-But None of Her Vision
By Steven Thrasher
Tuesday, Jul 27 2010

16) Bedouin village razed in Negev as Israelis cheer on
Report, The Electronic Intifada
July 28, 2010

17) H. R. 5741 - Congress Introduces Bill To Institue Permanent Military Draft For All US Citizens Between 18 And 42
Posted by Alexander Higgins
July 27, 2010

18) Democrats Split as House Backs War Funds
July 27, 2010

19) Judge Blocks Key Parts of Immigration Law in Arizona
July 28, 2010

20) Student Injury at Protest Leads to Battle in Israel
July 27, 2010

21) Containment Efforts Persist After Michigan Oil Leak
July 28, 2010

22) On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill Is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay
July 27, 2010

23) Picture This, and Risk Arrest
July 27, 2010

24) Death Penalty Is Challenged Before a Trial in 3 Killings
July 27, 2010


1) View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan
This article was written and reported by C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Andrew W. Lehren, Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, and Eric Schmitt, with contributions from Jacob Harris and Alan McLean.
July 25, 2010

A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal.

The secret documents, released on the Internet by an organization called WikiLeaks, are a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year.

The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the voluminous records several weeks ago on the condition that they not report on the material before Sunday.

The documents - some 92,000 reports spanning parts of two administrations from January 2004 through December 2009 - illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001.

As the new American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, tries to reverse the lagging war effort, the documents sketch a war hamstrung by an Afghan government, police force and army of questionable loyalty and competence, and by a Pakistani military that appears at best uncooperative and at worst to work from the shadows as an unspoken ally of the very insurgent forces the American-led coalition is trying to defeat.

The material comes to light as Congress and the public grow increasingly skeptical of the deepening involvement in Afghanistan and its chances for success as next year's deadline to begin withdrawing troops looms.

The archive is a vivid reminder that the Afghan conflict until recently was a second-class war, with money, troops and attention lavished on Iraq while soldiers and Marines lamented that the Afghans they were training were not being paid.

The reports - usually spare summaries but sometimes detailed narratives - shed light on some elements of the war that have been largely hidden from the public eye:

• The Taliban have used portable heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, a fact that has not been publicly disclosed by the military. This type of weapon helped the Afghan mujahedeen defeat the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

• Secret commando units like Task Force 373 - a classified group of Army and Navy special operatives - work from a "capture/kill list" of about 70 top insurgent commanders. These missions, which have been stepped up under the Obama administration, claim notable successes, but have sometimes gone wrong, killing civilians and stoking Afghan resentment.

• The military employs more and more drone aircraft to survey the battlefield and strike targets in Afghanistan, although their performance is less impressive than officially portrayed. Some crash or collide, forcing American troops to undertake risky retrieval missions before the Taliban can claim the drone's weaponry.

• The Central Intelligence Agency has expanded paramilitary operations inside Afghanistan. The units launch ambushes, order airstrikes and conduct night raids. From 2001 to 2008, the C.I.A. paid the budget of Afghanistan's spy agency and ran it as a virtual subsidiary.

Over all, the documents do not contradict official accounts of the war. But in some cases the documents show that the American military made misleading public statements - attributing the downing of a helicopter to conventional weapons instead of heat-seeking missiles or giving Afghans credit for missions carried out by Special Operations commandos.

White House officials vigorously denied that the Obama administration had presented a misleading portrait of the war in Afghanistan.

"On Dec. 1, 2009, President Obama announced a new strategy with a substantial increase in resources for Afghanistan, and increased focus on Al Qaeda and Taliban safe-havens in Pakistan, precisely because of the grave situation that had developed over several years," said Gen. James L. Jones, White House national security adviser, in a statement released Sunday.

"We know that serious challenges lie ahead, but if Afghanistan is permitted to slide backwards, we will again face a threat from violent extremist groups like Al Qaeda who will have more space to plot and train," the statement said.

General Jones also decried the decision by WikiLeaks to make the documents public, saying that the United States "strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security.""

"WikiLeaks made no effort to contact us about these documents - the United States government learned from news organizations that these documents would be posted," General Jones said.

The archive is clearly an incomplete record of the war. It is missing many references to seminal events and does not include more highly classified information. The documents also do not cover events in 2010, when the influx of more troops into Afghanistan began and a new counterinsurgency strategy took hold.

They suggest that the military's internal assessments of the prospects for winning over the Afghan public, especially in the early days, were often optimistic, even naïve.

There are fleeting - even taunting - reminders of how the war began in the occasional references to the elusive Osama bin Laden. In some reports he is said to be attending meetings in Quetta, Pakistan. His money man is said to be flying from Iran to North Korea to buy weapons. Mr. bin Laden has supposedly ordered a suicide attack against the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. These reports all seem secondhand at best.

The reports portray a resilient, canny insurgency that has bled American forces through a war of small cuts. The insurgents set the war's pace, usually fighting on ground of their own choosing and then slipping away.

Sabotage and trickery have been weapons every bit as potent as small arms, mortars or suicide bombers. So has Taliban intimidation of Afghan officials and civilians - applied with pinpoint pressure through threats, charm, violence, money, religious fervor and populist appeals.

FEB. 19, 2008 | ZABUL PROVINCE Intelligence Summary: Officer Threatened

An Afghan National Army brigade commander working in southern Afghanistan received a phone call from a Taliban mullah named Ezat, one brief report said. "Mullah Ezat told the ANA CDR to surrender and offered him $100,000(US) to quit working for the Afghan Army," the report said. "Ezat also stated that he knows where the ANA CDR is from and knows his family." Read the Document »

MAY 9, 2009 | KUNAR PROVINCE Intelligence Summary: Taliban Recruiter

A Taliban commander, Mullah Juma Khan, delivered a eulogy at the funeral of a slain insurgent. He played on the crowd's emotions, according to the report: "Juma cried while telling the people an unnamed woman and her baby were killed while the woman was nursing the baby." Finally he made his pitch: "Juma then told the people they needed to be angry at CF [Coalition Force] and ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] for causing this tragedy" and "invited everyone who wants to fight to join the fighters who traveled with him." Read the Document »

The insurgents use a network of spies, double agents, collaborators and informers - anything to undercut coalition forces and the effort to build a credible and effective Afghan government capable of delivering security and services.

The reports repeatedly describe instances when the insurgents have been seen wearing government uniforms, and other times when they have roamed the country or appeared for battle in the very Ford Ranger pickup trucks that the United States had provided the Afghan Army and police force.

NOV. 20, 2006 | KABUL Incident Report: Insurgent Subterfuge

After capturing four pickup trucks from the Afghan National Army, the Taliban took them to Kabul to be used in suicide bombings. "They intend to use the pick-up trucks to target ANA compounds, ISAF and GOA convoys, as well as ranking GOA and ISAF officials," said a report, referring to coalition forces and the government of Afghanistan. "The four trucks were also accompanied by an unknown quantity of ANA uniforms to facilitate carrying out the attacks." Read the Document:

The Taliban's use of heat-seeking missiles has not been publicly disclosed - indeed, the military has issued statements that these internal records contradict.

In the form known as a Stinger, such weapons were provided to a previous generation of Afghan insurgents by the United States, and helped drive out the Soviets. The reports suggest that the Taliban's use of these missiles has been neither common nor especially effective; usually the missiles missed.

MAY 30, 2007 | HELMAND PROVINCE Incident Report: Downed Helicopter

An American CH-47 transport helicopter was struck by what witnesses described as a portable heat-seeking surface-to-air missile after taking off from a landing zone.

The helicopter, the initial report said, "was engaged and struck with a Missile ... shortly after crossing over the Helmand River. The missile struck the aircraft in the left engine. The impact of the missile projected the aft end of the aircraft up as it burst into flames followed immediately by a nose dive into the crash site with no survivors."

The crash killed seven soldiers: five Americans, a Briton and a Canadian.

Multiple witnesses saw a smoke trail behind the missile as it rushed toward the helicopter. The smoke trail was an important indicator. Rocket-propelled grenades do not leave them. Heat-seeking missiles do. The crew of other helicopters reported the downing as a surface-to-air missile strike. But that was not what a NATO spokesman told Reuters.

"Clearly, there were enemy fighters in the area," said the spokesman, Maj. John Thomas. "It's not impossible for small-arms fire to bring down a helicopter."

The reports paint a disheartening picture of the Afghan police and soldiers at the center of the American exit strategy.

The Pentagon is spending billions to train the Afghan forces to secure the country. But the police have proved to be an especially risky investment and are often described as distrusted, even loathed, by Afghan civilians. The reports recount episodes of police brutality, corruption petty and large, extortion and kidnapping. Some police officers defect to the Taliban. Others are accused of collaborating with insurgents, arms smugglers and highway bandits. Afghan police officers defect with trucks or weapons, items captured during successful ambushes or raids.

MARCH 10, 2008 | PAKTIA PROVINCE Investigation Report: Extortion by the Police

This report captured the circular and frustrating effort by an American investigator to stop Afghan police officers at a checkpoint from extorting payments from motorists. After a line of drivers described how they were pressed to pay bribes, the American investigator and the local police detained the accused checkpoint police officers.

"While waiting," the investigator wrote, "I asked the seven patrolmen we detained to sit and relax while we sorted through a problem without ever mentioning why they were being detained. Three of the patrolmen responded by saying that they had only taken money from the truck drivers to buy fuel for their generator."

Two days later when the American followed up, he was told by police officers that the case had been dropped because the witness reports had all been lost. Read the Document:

One report documented the detention of a military base worker trying to leave the base with GPS units hidden under his clothes and taped to his leg. Another described the case of a police chief in Zurmat, in Paktia Province, who was accused of falsely reporting that his officers had been in a firefight so he could receive thousands of rounds of new ammunition, which he sold in a bazaar.

Coalition trainers report that episodes of cruelty by the Afghan police undermine the effort to build a credible security force to take over when the allies leave.

OCT. 11, 2009 | BALKH PROVINCE Incident Report: Brutal Police Chief

This report began with an account of Afghan soldiers and police officers harassing and beating local civilians for refusing to cooperate in a search. It then related the story of a district police commander who forced himself on a 16-year-old girl. When a civilian complained, the report continued, "The district commander ordered his bodyguard to open fire on the AC [Afghan civilian]. The bodyguard refused, at which time the district commander shot [the bodyguard] in front of the AC."

Rivalries and friction between the largest Afghan security services - the police and the army - are evident in a number of reports. Sometimes the tensions erupted in outright clashes, as was recorded in the following report from last December that was described as an "enemy action." The "enemy" in this case was the Afghan National Security Force.

DEC. 4, 2009 | ORUZGAN PROVINCE Incident Report: Police and Army Rivalry

A car accident turned deadly when an argument broke out between the police and the Afghan National Army. "The argument escalated and ANA & ANP started to shoot at each other," a report said.

An Afghan soldier and three Afghan police officers were wounded in the shootout. One civilian was killed and six others were wounded by gunfire. Read the Document:

One sign of the weakness of the police is that in places they have been replaced by tribal warlords who are charged - informally but surely - with providing the security the government cannot. Often the warlords operate above the law.

NOV. 22, 2009 | KANDAHAR PROVINCE Incident Report: Illegal Checkpoint

A private security convoy, ferrying fuel from Kandahar to Oruzgan, was stopped by what was thought to be 100 insurgents armed with assault rifles and PK machine guns, a report said.

It turned out the convoy had been halted by "the local Chief of Police," who was "demanding $2000-$3000 per truck" as a kind of toll. The chief, said the report, from NATO headquarters in Southern Afghanistan, "states he needs the money to run his operation."

The chief was not actually a police chief. He was Matiullah Khan, a warlord and an American-backed ally of President Karzai who was arguably Oruzgan's most powerful man. He had a contract, the Ministry of Interior said, to protect the road so NATO's supply convoys could drive on it, but he had apparently decided to extort money from the convoys himself.

Late in the day, Mr. Matiullah, after many interventions, changed his mind. The report said that friendly forces "report that the COMPASS convoy is moving again and did not pay the fee required."

The documents show how the best intentions of Americans to help rebuild Afghanistan through provincial reconstruction teams ran up against a bewildering array of problems - from corruption to cultural misunderstandings - as they tried to win over the public by helping repair dams and bridges, build schools and train local authorities.

A series of reports from 2005 to 2008 chart the frustrations of one of the first such teams, assigned to Gardez, in Paktia Province.

NOV. 28, 2006 | PAKTIA PROVINCE Civil Affairs Report: Orphanage Opens

An American civil affairs officer could barely contain her enthusiasm as she spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new orphanage, built with money from the American military.

The officer said a friend had given her a leather jacket to present to "someone special," the report noted. She chose the orphanage's director. "The commander stated that she could think of no one more deserving then someone who cared for orphans," it said.

The civil affairs team handed out blankets, coats, scarves and toys. The governor even gave money from his own pocket. "All speeches were very positive," the report concluded. Read the Document:

DEC. 20, 2006 | PAKTIA PROVINCE Civil Affairs Report: Not Many Orphans

The team dropped by to check on the orphanage. "We found very few orphans living there and could not find most of the HA [humanitarian assistance] we had given them," the report noted.

The team raised the issue with the governor of Paktia, who said he was also concerned and suspected that the money he had donated had not reached the children. He visited the orphanage himself. Only 30 children were there; the director had claimed to have 102. Read the Document:

OCT. 16, 2007 | PAKTIA PROVINCE Civil Affairs Report: An Empty Orphanage

Nearly a year after the opening of the orphanage, the Americans returned for a visit. "There are currently no orphans at the facility due to the Holiday. (Note: orphans are defined as having no father, but may still have mother and a family structure that will have them home for holidays.)" Read the Document:

FEB. 25, 2007 | PAKTIA PROVINCE District Report: Lack of Resources

As the Taliban insurgency strengthened, the lack of a government presence in the more remote districts - and the government's inability to provide security or resources even to its own officials - is evident in the reports.

An official from Dand Wa Patan, a small sliver of a district along the border with Pakistan, so urgently wanted to talk to the members of the American team that he traveled three and a half hours by taxi - he had no car - to meet them.

"He explained that the enemy had changed their tactics in the area and were no longer fighting from the mountains, no longer sending rockets toward his compound and other areas," the report noted. "He stated that the enemy focus was on direct action and that his family was a primary target."

Ten days earlier the Taliban crept up to the wall of his family compound and blew up one of the security towers, the report said. His son lost his legs in the explosion.

He pleaded for more police officers, weapons and ammunition. He also wanted a car so he could drive around the district he was supposed to oversee.

But the Americans' situation was not much better. For months the reports show how a third - or even a half - of the team's vehicles were out of service, awaiting spare parts.

NOV. 15, 2006 | PAKTIA PROVINCE Civil Affairs Report: Local Corruption

For a while the civil affairs team worked closely with the provincial governor, described as "very charismatic." Yet both he and the team are hampered by corrupt, negligent and antagonistic officials.

The provincial chief of police is described in one report as "the axel of corruption."

"He makes every effort to openly and blatantly take money from the ANP troopers and the officers," one sympathetic officer told the Americans.

Other officers are more clever. One forged rosters, to collect pay for imaginary police officers. A second set up illegal checkpoints to collects tolls around Gardez. Still another stole food and uniforms, leaving his soldiers underfed and ill equipped for the winter.

The governor, meanwhile, was all but trapped. Such animosity developed between him and a senior security official that the governor could not leave his office for weeks at a time, fearing for his life. Finally, the corrupt officials were replaced. But it took months.

SEPT. 24, 2007 | PAKTIA PROVINCE Civil Affairs Report: The Cost of Corruption

Their meetings with Afghan district officials gave the American civil affairs officers unique insights into local opinions. Sometimes, the Afghan officials were brutally honest in their assessments.

In one case, provincial council officials visited the Americans at their base in Gardez to report threats - the Taliban had tossed a grenade into their office compound and were prowling the hills. Then the officials began a tirade.

"The people of Afghanistan keep loosing their trust in the government because of the high amount of corrupted government officials," the report quoted them as saying. "The general view of the Afghans is that the current government is worst than the Taliban."

"The corrupted government officials are a new concept brought to Afghanistan by the AMERICANS," the oldest member of the group told the civil affairs team.

In conclusion, the civil affairs officer who wrote the report warned, "The people will support the Anti-Coalition forces and the security condition will degenerate." He recommended a public information program to educate Afghans about democracy. Read the Document »

The reports also evoke the rivalries and tensions that swirl within the presidential palace between President Karzai's circle and the warlords.

OCT. 16, 2006 | KABUL Intelligence Summary: Political Intrigue

In a short but heated meeting at the presidential palace, the Kabul police chief, Brig. Gen. Mir Amanullah Gozar, angrily refuted accusations made publicly by Jamil Karzai that he was corrupt and lacked professional experience. The report of the meeting identified Jamil Karzai as the president's brother; he is in fact a cousin.

General Gozar "said that if Jamil were not the president's Brother he would kidnap, torture, and kill him," the report said. He added that he was aware of plans by the American-led coalition to remove him from his post.

He threatened the president, saying that if he were replaced he would reveal "allegations about Karzai having been a drug trader and supporter of the Pakistan-led insurgency in Afghanistan," presumably a reference to Mr. Karzai's former links with the Taliban.

Incident by incident, the reports resemble a police blotter of the myriad ways Afghan civilians were killed - not just in airstrikes but in ones and twos - in shootings on the roads or in the villages, in misunderstandings or in a cross-fire, or in chaotic moments when Afghan drivers ventured too close to convoys and checkpoints.

The dead, the reports repeatedly indicate, were not suicide bombers or insurgents, and many of the cases were not reported to the public at the time. The toll of the war - reflected in mounting civilian casualties - left the Americans seeking cooperation and support from an Afghan population that grew steadily more exhausted, resentful, fearful and alienated.

From the war's outset, airstrikes that killed civilians in large numbers seized international attention, including the aerial bombardment of a convoy on its way to attend President Karzai's inauguration in 2001. An airstrike in Azizabad, in western Afghanistan, killed as many as 92 people in August 2008. In May 2009, another strike killed 147 Afghan civilians.

SEPT. 3, 2009 | KUNDUZ PROVINCE Incident Report: Mistaken Airstrike

This report, filed about the activities of a Joint Terminal Attack Controller team, which is responsible for communication from the ground and guiding pilots during surveillance missions and airstrikes, offers a glimpse into one of the bloodiest mistakes in 2009.

It began with a report from the police command saying that "2X FUEL TRUCKS WERE STOLEN BY UNK NUMBER OF INS" and that the insurgents planned to cross the Kunduz River with their prizes. It was nighttime, and the river crossing was not illuminated. Soon, the report noted, the "JTAC OBSERVED KDZ RIVER AND REPORTED THAT IT DISCOVERED THE TRUCKS AS WELL AS UP TO 70 INS" at "THE FORD ON THE RIVER. THE TRUCKS WERE STUCK IN THE MUD." How the JTAC team was observing the trucks was not clear, but many aircraft have infrared video cameras that can send a live feed to a computer monitor on the ground.

According to the report, a German commander of the provincial reconstruction team "LINKED UP WITH JTAC AND, AFTER ENSURING THAT NO CIVILIANS WERE IN THE VICINITY," he "AUTHORIZED AN AIRSTRIKE." An F-15 then dropped two 500-pound guided bombs. The initial report said that "56X INS KIA [insurgents killed in action] (CONFIRMED) AND 14X INS FLEEING IN NE DIRECTION. THE 2X FUEL TRUCKS WERE ALSO DESTROYED."

The initial report was wrong. The trucks had been abandoned, and a crowd of civilians milled around them, removing fuel. How the commander and the JTAC had ensured "that no civilians were in the area," as the report said, was not explained.

The first sign of the mistake documented in the initial report appeared the next day, when another report said that at "0900 hrs International Media reported that US airstrike had killed 60 civilians in Kunduz. The media are reporting that Taliban did steal the trucks and had invited civilians in the area to take fuel." Read the Document:

The reports show that the smaller incidents were just as insidious and alienating, turning Afghans who had once welcomed Americans as liberators against the war.

MARCH 5, 2007 | GHAZNI PROVINCE Incident Report: Checkpoint Danger

Afghan police officers shot a local driver who tried to speed through their checkpoint on a country road in Ghazni Province south of Kabul. The police had set up a temporary checkpoint on the highway just outside the main town in the district of Ab Band.

"A car approached the check point at a high rate of speed," the report said. All the police officers fled the checkpoint except one. As the car passed the checkpoint it knocked down the lone policeman. He fired at the vehicle, apparently thinking that it was a suicide car bomber.

"The driver of the vehicle was killed," the report said. "No IED [improvised explosive device] was found and vehicle was destroyed."

The police officer was detained in the provincial capital, Ghazni, and questioned. He was then released. The American mentoring the police concluded in his assessment that the policeman's use of force was appropriate. Rather than acknowledging the public hostility such episodes often engender, the report found a benefit: it suggested that the shooting would make Afghans take greater care at checkpoints in the future.

"Effects on the populace clearly identify the importance of stopping at checkpoints," the report concluded. Read the Document:

MARCH 21, 2007 | PAKTIKA PROVINCE Incident Report: A Deaf Man Is Shot

Members of a C.I.A. paramilitary unit moved into the village of Malekshay in Paktika Province close to the border with Pakistan when they saw an Afghan running away at the sight of their convoy, one report recounted. Members of the unit shot him in the ankle, and medics treated him at the scene. The unit had followed military procedure - first shouting at the man, then firing warning shots and only after that shooting to wound, the report said.

Yet elders in the village told the unit that the man, Shum Khan, was deaf and mute and that he had fled from the convoy out of nervousness. Mr. Khan was "unable to hear the warnings or warning shots. Ran out of fear and confusion," the report concludes. The unit handed over supplies in compensation. Read the Document:

The reports reveal several instances of allied forces accidentally firing on one another or on Afghan forces in the fog of war, often with tragic consequences.

APRIL 6, 2006 | HELMAND PROVINCE Incident Report: Friendly Fire

A British Army convoy driving at night in southern Afghanistan suddenly came under small-arms fire. One of the British trucks rolled over. The British troops split into two groups, pulled back from the clash and called in airstrikes from American A-10 attack planes. After several confusing minutes, commanders realized that the Afghan police had attacked the British troops, mistaking them for Taliban fighters. One Afghan police officer was killed and 12 others were wounded.

The shifting tactics of the Americans can be seen as well in the reports, as the war strategy veered from freely using force to trying to minimize civilian casualties. But as the documents make clear, each approach has its frustrations for the American effort.

Strict new rules of engagement, imposed in 2009, minimized the use of airstrikes after some had killed civilians and turned Afghans against the war. But the rules also prompted anger from American troops and their families. The troops felt that their lives were not sufficiently valued because they had to justify every request for air or artillery support, making it easier for the Taliban to fight.

OCT. 1, 2008 | KUNAR PROVINCE Incident Report: Barrage

In the days when field commanders had a freer hand, an infantry company commander observed an Afghan with a two-way radio who was monitoring the company's activities. Warning of "IMMINENT THREAT," the commander said he would "destroy" the man and his equipment - in other words, kill him. A short while later, a 155-millimeter artillery piece at a forward operating base in the nearby Pech Valley began firing high-explosive rounds - 24 in all.

NOV. 13, 2009 | HELMAND PROVINCE Incident Report: Escalation of Force

As the rules tightened, the reports picked up a tone that at times seemed lawyerly. Many make reference, even in pitched fights, to troops using weapons in accordance with "ROE Card A" - which guides actions of self-defense rather than attacks or offensive acts. This report described an Apache helicopter firing warning shots after coming under fire. Its reaction was described as "an escalation of force."

The helicopter pilots reported that insurgents "engaged with SAF [surface-to-air fire]"and that "INTEL suggested they were going to be fired upon again during their extraction."

The helicopters "fired 40x 30mm warning shots to deter any further engagement."

The report included the information that now is common to incident reports in which Western forces fire. "The terrain was considered rurally open and there were no CIV PID IVO [civilians positively identified in the vicinity of ] the target within reasonable certainty. There was no damage to infrastructure. BDA [battle damage assessment] recording conducted by AH-64 Gun Tape. No follow up required. The next higher command was consulted. The enemy engaged presented, in the opinion of the ground forces, an imminent threat. Engagement is under ROE Card A. Higher HQ have been informed." Read the Document:

The reports show in previously unknown detail the omnipresence of drones in Afghanistan, the Air Force's missile-toting Predators and Reapers that hunt militants. The military's use of drones in Afghanistan has rapidly expanded in the past few years; the United States Air Force now flies about 20 Predator and Reaper aircraft a day - nearly twice as many as a year ago - over vast stretches of hostile Afghan territory. Allies like Britain and Germany fly their own fleets.

The incident reports chronicle the wide variety of missions these aircraft carry out: taking photographs, scooping up electronic transmissions, relaying images of running battles to field headquarters, attacking militants with bombs and missiles. And they also reveal the extent that armed drones are being used to support American Special Operations missions.

Documents in the Afghan archive capture the strange nature of the drone war in Afghanistan: missile-firing robots killing shovel-wielding insurgents, a remote-controlled war against a low-tech but resilient insurgency.

DEC. 9, 2008 | KANDAHAR PROVINCE Incident Report: Predator Attack

Early one winter evening in southern Afghanistan, an Air Force Predator drone spotted a group of insurgents suspected of planting roadside bombs along a roadway less than two miles from Forward Operating Base Hutal, an American outpost.

Unlike the drones the C.I.A. operated covertly across the border in Pakistan, this aircraft was one of nearly a dozen military drones patrolling vast stretches of hostile Afghan territory on any given day.

Within minutes after identifying the militants, the Predator unleashed a Hellfire missile, all but evaporating one of the figures digging in the dark.

When ground troops reached the crater caused by the missile, costing $60,000, all that was left was a shovel and a crowbar. Read the Document:

SEPT. 13, 2009 | BADAKHSHAN PROVINCE Incident Report: A Lost Drone

Flying over southern Afghanistan on a combat mission, one of the Air Force's premier armed drones, a Reaper, went rogue.

Equipped with advanced radar and sophisticated cameras, as well as Hellfire missiles and 500-pound bombs, the Reaper had lost its satellite link to a pilot who was remotely steering the drone from a base in the United States.

Again and again, the pilot struggled to regain control of the drone. Again and again, no response. The reports reveal that the military in Afghanistan lost many of the tiny five-pound surveillance drones with names like Raven and Desert Hawk that troops tossed out like model airplanes to peer around the next hill. But they had never before lost one of the Reapers, with its 66-foot wingspan.

As a last resort, commanders ordered an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet to shoot down the $13 million aircraft before it soared unguided into neighboring Tajikistan.

Ground controllers picked an unpopulated area over northern Afghanistan and the jet fired a Sidewinder missile, destroying the Reaper's turbo-prop engine. Suddenly, the satellite link was restored, but it was too late to salvage the flight. At 5:30 a.m., controllers steered it into a remote mountainside for a final fiery landing. Read the Document:

As the Afghanistan war took priority under the Obama administration, more Special Operations forces were shifted from Iraq to conduct secret missions. The C.I.A.'s own paramilitary operations inside Afghanistan grew in tandem - as did the agency's close collaboration with Afghanistan's own spy agency.

Usually, such teams conducted night operations aimed at top Taliban commanders and militants on the "capture/kill" list. While individual commandos have displayed great courage, the missions can end in calamity as well as success. The expanding special operations have stoked particular resentment among Afghans - for their lack of coordination with local forces, the civilian casualties they frequently inflicted and the lack of accountability.


Shortly after five American rockets destroyed a compound in Paktika Province, helicopter-borne commandos from Task Force 373 - a classified Special Operations unit of Army Delta Force operatives and members of the Navy Seals - arrived to finish the job.

The mission was to capture or kill Abu Laith al-Libi, a top commander for Al Qaeda, who was believed to be hiding at the scene of the strike.

But Mr. Libi was not there. Instead, the Special Operations troops found a group of men suspected of being militants and their children. Seven of the children had been killed by the rocket attack.

Some of the men tried to flee the Americans, and six were quickly killed by encircling helicopters. After the rest were taken as detainees, the commandos found one child still alive in the rubble, and performed CPR for 20 minutes.

Word of the attack spread a wave of anger across the region, forcing the local governor to meet with village elders to defuse the situation.

American military officials drew up a list of "talking points" for the governor, pointing out that the target had been a senior Qaeda commander, that there had been no indications that women and children would be present and that a nearby mosque had not been damaged.

After the meeting, the governor reported that local residents were in shock, but that he had "pressed the Talking Points." He even "added a few of his own that followed in line with our current story."

The attack was caused by the "presence of hoodlums," the governor told the people. It was a tragedy that children had been killed, he said, but "it could have been prevented had the people exposed the presence of insurgents in the area."

He promised that the families would be compensated for their loss.

Mr. Libi was killed the following year by a C.I.A. drone strike. Read the Document:

APRIL 6, 2008 | NURISTAN PROVINCE Incident Report: A Raging Firefight

As they scrambled up the rocks toward a cluster of mud compounds perched high over the remote Shok Valley, a small group of American Green Berets and Afghan troops, known as Task Force Bushmaster, were confronted with a hail of gunfire from inside the insurgent stronghold.

They were there to capture senior members of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin militant group, part of a mission that the military had dubbed Operation Commando Wrath.

But what they soon discovered on that remote, snowy hilltop was that they were vastly outnumbered by a militant force of hundreds of fighters. Reinforcements were hours away.

A firefight raged for nearly seven hours, with sniper fire pinning down the Green Berets on a 60-foot rock ledge for much of that time.

Casualties mounted. By midmorning, nearly half of the Americans were wounded, but the militants directed their gunfire on the arriving medevac helicopters, preventing them from landing.

"TF Bushmaster reports they are combat ineffective and request reinforcement at this time."

For a time, radio contact was lost.

Air Force jets arrived at the scene and began pummeling the compounds with 2,000-pound bombs, but the militants continued to advance down the mountain toward the pinned-down group.

The task force reported that there were " 50-100 insurgents moving to reinforce against Bushmaster elements from the SW."

Carrying wounded Americans shot in the pelvis, arm and legs - as well as two dead Afghans - the group made its way down toward the valley floor. Eventually, the helicopters were able to arrive to evacuate the dead and wounded.

Ten members of the Green Berets would receive Silver Stars for their actions during the battle, the highest number given to Special Forces soldiers for a single battle since the Vietnam War. By Army estimates, 150 to 200 militants were killed in the battle. Read the Document:

MARCH 8, 2008 | BAGRAM AIR BASE Meeting Report: A Plea for Help

Toward the end of a long meeting with top American military commanders, during which he delivered a briefing about the security situation in eastern Afghanistan, corruption in the government and Pakistan's fecklessness in hunting down militants, Afghanistan's top spy laid out his problem.

Amrullah Saleh, then director of the National Directorate of Security, told the Americans that the C.I.A. would no longer be handling his spy service's budget. For years, the C.I.A. had essentially run the N.D.S. as a subsidiary, but by 2009 the Afghan government was preparing to take charge of the agency's budget.

Mr. Saleh estimated that with the C.I.A. no longer bankrolling the Afghan spies, he could be facing a budget cut of 30 percent.

So he made a request. With the budget squeeze coming, Mr. Saleh asked the Americans for any AK-47s and ammunition they could spare.

If they had any spare boots, he would also take those, he said. Read the Document:


2) Afghan Officials Report 52 Civilians Dead in NATO Strike
July 26, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan - In what could be the one of the most serious cases of civilian casualties in nine years of war, top Afghan officials said Monday that 52 people had been killed in a remote region of Helmand Province on Friday when a rocket slammed into a house where women and children had gathered to take shelter from fighting between NATO troops and militants.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack as "both morally and humanly unacceptable."

Speaking by telephone from Rigi, the stricken village, a witness, Mohammed Usman, 57, said he helped pull the mangled bodies of 17 children and 7 women from the rubble.

"They have ruined us, and they have killed small children and innocent women," he said. "God will never forgive them." The Karzai government said that its information came from its own intelligence service. American military officials cast the account as premature but did not deny it.

"Any speculation at this point of alleged civilian casualties in Rigi village is completely unfounded," said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, director of communications for the American and NATO military coalition. "We are conducting a thorough joint investigation with our Afghan partners and will report any and all findings when known."

Another military spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, added, "If the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has something that has been determined by means other than the joint Afghan/NATO investigation, we are unaware of it."

If the Afghan government's account is accurate, it would mean the largest number of civilians killed in any attack since September 2009, when more than 100 people died after a bomb strike called in by the German military in Kunduz Province.

The controversy could pose an extraordinary challenge to the new American and NATO commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, just three weeks after taking charge. Civilian casualties have enraged local populations, undermined counterinsurgency efforts in some areas and caused retaliatory attacks by infuriated relatives of the dead, leading to more American deaths.

It also comes after the publication of a trove of tens of thousands of secret military field reports that underscore the prevalence of civilian casualties in the conflict.

Residents in Helmand recounted that on Friday, an American military force in Sangin District, which in recent years has been one of the deadliest areas for NATO troops, engaged Taliban militants in an intense firefight in two remote villages. Taliban fighters warned residents to leave, and many fled to Rigi, which has only a half-dozen homes.

Women and children from about eight families were packed into one home, while many of the men took shelter in the forest around the village. About 4:30 p.m. they heard the first of two powerful explosions that blanketed Rigi in smoke as military aircraft flew overhead, the villagers said.

"They targeted an area which we believed was safer, but in one hit they killed over 50 people," said Abdul Samad Jan, 25. "Most of them were children and women, and I have lost my relatives as well."

Accounts of the attack come as General Petraeus and his aides weigh whether to changes the rules that govern how much force troops can use to defend themselves and to attack suspected enemy targets.

Last summer, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal ordered troops to use more caution to avoid harming civilians, an effort to win more popular Afghan support. But his directive eventually drew strong criticism from many troops and families of service members who believed soldiers and Marines did not have what they needed to protect themselves.

Senior military commanders have said they believe no troops have been denied close air support, and the United Nations and other groups have praised the McChrystal rules for reducing deaths from airstrikes and night raids. Now, General Petraeus, who took command after General McChrystal was fired for derogatory remarks he and members of his staff made about Obama administration officials to a magazine reporter, is deciding whether to alter the rules.

Some military officials say they do not expect substantial changes, which, if true, could further erode support for the war in the United States - even as Karzai officials continue to press the American-led NATO coalition to do more to reduce civilian deaths.

Richard A. Oppel Jr. reported from Kabul, and Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul.


3) In Disclosing Secret Documents, WikiLeaks Seeks 'Transparency'
July 25, 2010, the online organization that posted tens of thousands of classified military field reports about the Afghan war on Sunday, says its goal in disclosing secret documents is to reveal "unethical behavior" by governments and corporations.

Since it was founded in December 2006, WikiLeaks has exposed internal memos about the dumping of toxic material off the African coast, the membership rolls of a racist British party, and the American military's manual for operating its prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

"We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies," the organization's Web site says. "All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information."

The trove of war reports posted Sunday dwarfs the scope and volume of documents that the organization has made public in the past.

In a telephone interview from London, the organization's founder, Julian Assange, said the documents would reveal broader and more pervasive levels of violence in Afghanistan than the military or the news media had previously reported. "It shows not only the severe incidents but the general squalor of war, from the death of individual children to major operations that kill hundreds," he said.

WikiLeaks withheld some 15,000 documents from release until its technicians could redact names of individuals in the reports whose safety could be jeopardized.

WikiLeaks' critics range from the military, which says it jeopardizes operations, to some open government advocates who say the organization is endangering the privacy rights of others in favor of self promotion.

Steven Aftergood, head of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, in his blog posting on June 28 accused WikiLeaks of "information vandalism" with no regard for privacy or social usefulness. "WikiLeaks must be counted among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law nor does it honor the rights of individuals," he wrote.

The release of the data comes nearly three weeks after new charges were filed against an American soldier in Iraq who had been arrested on charges of leaking a video of a deadly American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007 that killed 12 people, including a reporter and photographer from the news agency Reuters. He was also charged with downloading more than 150,000 highly classified diplomatic cables.

WikiLeaks made public a 38-minute video of the helicopter attack as well as a 17-minute edited version that it called "Collateral Murder." The abridged version drew criticism for failing to make clear that the attacks happened during clashes in a Baghdad neighborhood and that one of the men fired on by the helicopter was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade.

WikiLeaks has also made public a cable entitled "Reykjavik13," about the banking crisis in Iceland, which was cited in the criminal charges against the soldier, Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, 22, an Army intelligence analyst. In keeping with its policy to protect the anonymity of its sources, WikiLeaks has not acknowledged receiving the cables or video from Private Manning. In the telephone interview, Mr. Assange, an Australian activist, refused to say whether the war reports came from Private Manning. But Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks had offered to help pay for Private Manning's legal counsel or provide lawyers to defend him.

Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker who earlier this year traded instant messages with Private Manning, said the soldier claimed he had leaked the cables and video to WikiLeaks. Mr. Lamo, who in 2004 pleaded guilty to hacking into the internal computer system of The New York Times, said he turned in Private Manning to the authorities for national security reasons. Private Manning, who served with the Second Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, based at Contingency Operating Station Hammer east of Baghdad, was arrested in May after the military authorities said that he had revealed his activities in online chats with Mr. Lamo.

Investigators now believe that Private Manning exploited a loophole in Defense Department security to copy thousands of files onto compact discs over a six-month period.

WikiLeaks has a core group of about half a dozen full-time volunteers, and there are 800 to 1,000 people whom the group can call on for expertise in areas like encryption, programming and writing news releases.

Mr. Assange, 39, said the site operated from servers in several countries, including Sweden and Belgium, where laws provided more protection for its disclosures.


4) Industries Find Surging Profits in Deeper Cuts
July 25, 2010

By most measures, Harley-Davidson has been having a rough ride.

Motorcycle sales are falling in 2010, as they have for each of the last three years. The company does not expect a turnaround anytime soon.

But despite that drought, Harley's profits are rising - soaring, in fact. Last week, Harley reported a $71 million profit in the second quarter, more than triple what it earned a year ago.

This seeming contradiction - falling sales and rising profits - is one reason the mood on Wall Street is so much more buoyant than in households, where pessimism runs deep and joblessness shows few signs of easing.

Many companies are focusing on cost-cutting to keep profits growing, but the benefits are mostly going to shareholders instead of the broader economy, as management conserves cash rather than bolstering hiring and production. Harley, for example, has announced plans to cut 1,400 to 1,600 more jobs by the end of next year. That is on top of 2,000 job cuts last year - more than a fifth of its work force.

As companies this month report earnings for the second quarter, news of healthy profits has helped the stock market - the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is up 7 percent for July - but the source of those gains raises deep questions about the sustainability of the growth, as well as the fate of more than 14 million unemployed workers hoping to rejoin the work force as the economy recovers.

"Because of high unemployment, management is using its leverage to get more hours out of workers," said Robert C. Pozen, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and the former president of Fidelity Investments. "What's worrisome is that American business has gotten used to being a lot leaner, and it could take a while before they start hiring again."

And some of those businesses, including Harley-Davidson, are preparing for a future where they can prosper even if sales do not recover. Harley's goal is to permanently be in a position to generate strong profits on a lower revenue base.

In some ways, the ability to raise profits in the face of declining sales is a triumph of productivity that makes the United States more globally competitive. The problem is that companies are not investing those earnings, instead letting cash pile up to levels not reached in nearly half a century.

"As long as corporations are reinvesting, the economy can grow," said Ethan Harris, chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "But if they're taking those profits and saving them, rather than buying new equipment, it hurts overall growth. The longer this goes on, the more you worry about income being diverted to a sector that's not spending."

"There's no question that there is an income shift going on in the economy," Mr. Harris added. "Companies are squeezing their labor costs to build profits."

The trend is hardly limited to Harley. Giants like General Electric and JPMorgan Chase, as well as smaller companies like Hasbro, the toymaker, all improved their bottom lines despite slowing sales in the second quarter. Among the S.& P. 500 companies that have reported second-quarter results, more than one in 10 had higher profits on lower sales, nearly twice the number in a typical quarter before the recession, according to Thomson Reuters.

"Whole industries are operating at new levels of profitability," said David J. Kostin, chief United States equity strategist at Goldman Sachs. "In the downturn, companies managed to maintain higher profit margins than ever before."

Profit margins - the percentage of revenue left over after expenses - crumble in most recessions, as overall sales fall but fixed costs like infrastructure, commodities and rent remain the same. In 2002, during the recession that followed the bursting of the technology bubble in addition to the Sept. 11 attacks, margins sank to 4.7 percent. Although the most recent downturn was far more severe, profit margins bottomed out at 5.9 percent in 2009 and quickly rebounded. By next year, analysts expect margins to hit 8.9 percent, a record high.

The difference this time is that companies wrung more savings out of their work forces, said Neal Soss, chief economist for Credit Suisse in New York. In fact, while wages and salaries have barely budged from recession lows, profits have staged a vigorous recovery, jumping 40 percent between late 2008 and the first quarter of 2010.

Harley-Davidson's profit gain last quarter was helped by a turnaround in its financing unit, as well as more efficient production, but the company is still cutting.

Harley has warned union employees at its Milwaukee factory that it would move production elsewhere in the United States if they did not agree to more flexible work rules and tens of millions in cost-saving measures.

Even if sales do improve, a surge in hiring is unlikely.

"The last thing we're worried about is when are we going to have to add more capacity, because what we're really doing is reconfiguring our entire operational system for greater flexibility," Keith Wandell, the company's chief executive, said on a conference call with analysts last week.

Harley's evolution is part of longer-term shift in American manufacturing, said Rod Lache, an analyst with Deutsche Bank.

At Ford, revenue in its North American operations is down by $20 billion since 2005, but instead of a loss like it had that year, the unit is expected to earn more than $5 billion in 2010. In large part, that is because Ford has shrunk its North American work force by nearly 50 percent over the last five years.

"These companies have cracked the code of a successful industrial turnaround," Mr. Lache said. "They're shrinking the business to a size that's defendable, and growing off that lower base."

To be sure, sales are rising for many companies, albeit at a much slower pace than the increase in profits. Among the 175 companies in the S.& P. 500 that have reported earnings for the second quarter, revenues rose 6.9 percent on average while profits jumped 42.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Still, even at corporations where both the top and bottom lines are expanding, the focus remains on keeping profits high, not rebuilding work forces decimated by the recession.

When Alcoa reported a turnaround this month in profits and a 22 percent jump in revenue, its chief financial officer, Charles D. McLane Jr., assured investors that it was not eager to recall the 37,000 workers let go since late 2008. "We have a tight focus on spending as market activity increases, operating more effectively and minimizing rehires where possible," he said. "We're not only holding headcount levels, but are also driving restructuring this quarter that will result in further reductions."

Michael E. Belwood, a spokesman for Alcoa, said more than 17,500 of the former workers were employed at units Alcoa has since sold, but added that the company "had to be resized to match the realities of the recession."

"We're keeping a close eye on costs because there is still uncertainty about the stability of this recovery," he said.


5) Toxic Black Rain Falling In The Gulf
Monday, July 26, 2010
Allen L. Roland's Weblog

A toxic black rain is now falling in the Gulf and the EPA and BP are doing everything to deny its existence but the truth is slowly emerging as millions of Gulf Coast residents are now becoming sick because of the lethal effects of oil and dispersants: Allen L Roland

It's day 96 of the toxic Gulf deep water oil gusher ( not spill ). The huge toxic slow-moving plumes beneath the surface have finally been confirmed but the toxic air plumes are still being denied by the Government and BP ~ but there is plenty of evidence that they are not only there but causing significant health and environmental damage.

On day 49 ~ the Gates of Hell in the Gulf were obviously opening for this disaster had the potential of effecting the entire planet and here was the latest update, at that time, confirmed by Matt Simmons on MSNBC ~ but note the mention of the gaping hole on the ocean floor several miles away from the televised leak that was never mentioned by BP. (Six minutes / Video)

As to the likelihood of a toxic air plume of Gulf oil and dispersants being breathed by human beings ~ Scientific American explained on July 15, 2010: "Of course, sea spray and evaporating water will carry the oil and any chemical dispersants with them... And this polluted air and water vapor certainly will be carried to the near shore and left as an oily residue on everything from trees to electrical transformers... "If there's oil in the water, it will be coming along with it to some extent," says marine physicist Rick Luettich of the University of North Carolina. "I don't know how significant the impact will be."

And now we have Mark Kaufman, EPA whistleblower being interviewed on July 20th by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now and saying "..we have dolphins that are hemorrhaging. People who work near it are hemorrhaging internally. And that's what dispersants are supposed to do... many lawmakers and advocacy groups say the Obama administration is not being candid about the lethal effects of dispersants,"

Obviously there appears to be a massive cover up of the toxic air quality in the gulf ~ but here's the visible truth as seen by this Gulf pilot who flew his aircraft over ground zero and then back to the gulf coast and found a sheen of oil over his whole aircraft . He also reports toxic Acid rain reported in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that day ~ which stemmed from clouds over the Gulf the day before. ( Six minute must see video )

So there you have it, that toxic orange oil and dispersant film over the leading edge of that aircraft is not only being breathed by millions of Gulf Coast residents but is also falling as a toxic black rain when storm clouds roll in from the Gulf and spread throughout the region and eventually the globe.
Appropriately, here's Black Rain by Mob Rules ~ (5 minute Video)

Allen L Roland

This weblog is sustained through donations from people like yourself. Please send check or Money Order to Allen L. Roland, PO Box 1221, Sonoma,CA 95476 Also accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover .

Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations ( )

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

Posted by Allen L Roland, Ph.D at 11:27 AM


6) BP Response Workers Report Low Morale, Lack of Pay, Sickness
By Dahr Jamail
Monday 26 July 2010
[Please visit this website to view photos by Erika]

BP oil disaster response workers are reporting endemic problems, such as not being paid on time, low morale, rampant sickness, equipment failures and being lied to regularly.

"Yesterday was a catastrophe," one worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Truthout. "People are waiting 2-3 hours for their paychecks to be brought to them and I know for a fact three people that didn't get paid and no reason was given."

The woman has been working as a clerk for Gulf Asphalt Contractors (GAC), a company that describes itself as "the leading provider of sitework (sic) and building construction services in the Florida Panhandle." The company, based in Panama City, Florida, is a BP contractor.

While she said she had never been ordered not to talk to the media, she admitted to working amid a climate of fear and believed she would lose her job if her company found out she had done so. "When GAC finds people who have talked to the media, they fire them."

She spoke with Truthout on what she explained was "my first day off work in 45 days." She and her co-workers were instructed to take the weekend off due to Tropical Depression Bonnie, but have yet to be called back to work.

"The last thing I heard them say was not to come into work until we call you," she explained, "What does that mean? We were promised we'd have this work for two years. I don't even know if we have worker's compensation. They are firing people left and right."

She works at Port Saint Joe, Florida, which is about a three-hour drive east of Pensacola on the coast.

"People are being laid off for no reason," she added, then went on to explain that people working on the beaches cleaning up oil "are getting sick, then they go to the emergency rooms, but they come back and we are always told it was because of food poisoning."

"Everybody I know has bad morale and is confused and doesn't know what is going on," she continued, "Because I work in the TRG trailer, people come to me thinking I know more than they know, but I don't. I'm coming up with shorter hours and having to wait weeks to be paid. They shorted me 12 hours three checks ago, then when they finally paid me for it, they paid me at a lower wage."

Truthout also spoke with a worker in the so-called Vessels of Opportunity program. The program is what BP set up to hire fisherman who are out of work because of the oil disaster, so that they are paid to use their boats in the response effort to do things like laying out oil boom and skimming.

"They're leaving gaps between the booms and the oil is going straight through them," the man, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Truthout in Lafitte, Louisiana, "This is on top of the fact that the booms don't work anyway. The oil is going over and under them."

The man is working on a boat laying out oil boom in the Bay Jimmy region of southeast Louisiana, about an hour's drive south of New Orleans.

He told Truthout that the small plastic booms that BP is using to stop the oil from reaching the marsh areas "are a waste of time and money. Some company is making lots of money off of this, when in reality they need booms that are five feet tall above the water with at least a six-foot deep skirt under the water. What they have now is a load of crap."

After pausing to look out at the water, he added, "Somebody is getting filthy ass rich off these red and yellow booms that don't do shit. Some politicians' got a buddy manufacturing that crap."

The worker said that many people are sick and complaining of burning eyes and coughs, among other ailments. He had to attend a Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) class for the job. HAZWOPER classes are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for many of the response workers.

"At HAZWOPER class they told us all this work is harmless, that the oil and dispersants are harmless," he explained, "But if it's harmless, why did we even have to take that class? I stood up in class and told them they are full of shit. If it's so harmless, I'll run around naked and swim in it."

He said that as the water warms later in the day, oil on the bottom that has been sunk by dispersants begins to "float back up to the surface, like a lava lamp." According to the worker, "It smells like strong chemicals, you can tell it's harmful."

His voice was hoarse and he had a sore throat that he said was likely because of his working in the oil/dispersants.

The worker explained that he took the job because he needs the money, "since they killed our fishing season, what else was I going to do?"

The GAC employee warned others who are thinking of working as a BP oil disaster response employee. "It's not worth working for these people," she said, "You'll be lied to. They won't tell you the truth. Don't work for them. It's not worth the headache and stress."

by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Report


7) Albany anti war conference plans protests
By Meredith Aby |
July 26, 2010

Albany, NY - The National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now met in Albany, New York, July 23-25. Around 700 activists from across the country came together to discuss and debate how to build the anti-war movement and to plan for coordinated days of protest.

Fernando Figueroa, an activist with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in Florida, explained the role of the conference, "The workshops, resolutions and networking opportunities provided by this national peace conference are exactly the tools the student movement in general and SDS in particular need to build our movement. We are more determined now to end the wars in the Middle East and stop U.S. military aggression abroad than ever before."

At the conference, participants voted to organize for local actions between October 7 and 15 and for bi-coastal national protests on April 9 to focus on ending the U.S. wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The conference supported emergency response actions to occur if the U.S. attacks or sponsors attacks on Iran and North Korea. The most significant vote was in solidarity with Palestine and in opposition to U.S. aid to Israel. The situation in Gaza and the deaths of the flotilla activists weighed heavily on the participants' hearts and minds. The conference voted overwhelmingly to support and organize actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Sarah Martin, a Palestine solidarity activist with Women Against Military Madness from Minnesota, said, "The many Palestine workshops were overflowing, proposals for solidarity and pro-Palestinian t-shirts were everywhere and the action proposal dealing with Palestine was strong and passed overwhelmingly."

The conference ended with a rally and march organized by the Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project Salam in support of Muslims targeted by pre-emptive prosecution. The march concluded at a local mosque that had been raided by the FBI. Family members of New York Muslims and activists spoke out about the persecution of the Muslim community that happened in the name of 'homeland security.' They denounced the trumped-up charges against Muslims and how they are used as an excuse for U.S. wars abroad.


8) What the Wikileaks files TRULY reveal
ANSWER Coalition interview on breaking Wikileaks story
Send a letter to the editor of your newspaper
Watch the 2 1/2 minute video
with Brian Becker, National Coordinator
of the ANSWER Coalition, on the
breaking news of the leaked documents<e_id=4001

The release of 90,000 secret U.S. military files by the whistleblower website Wikileaks, in its broadest context, reveals that the Obama administration and the Pentagon brass have been and still are fully aware that they are not only losing the war in Afghanistan, but also have no possibility of winning.

The documents present a powerful indictment against the Pentagon, the Obama administration and the Bush administration for their failure to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan. They provide documentary evidence of the killing of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians by U.S. and NATO troops.

The files reveal that the Pentagon set up a secret commando unit called Task Force 373 that is nothing other than a death squad. Task Force 373, made up of Army and Navy Special Operatives, is seeking to assassinate individuals from an assembled list of 2,000 targets.

And despite rosy-sounding publicity missives coming from the Pentagon, the information released on Wikileaks shows an obvious pattern of intensifying bomb attacks against U.S. and NATO forces.

The decision by the Obama administration to send 60,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in 2009 is exposed as nothing other than a decision to send more human beings to their death in an ongoing war that cannot be won, so as to avoid taking the political responsibility for a military setback. That is the rule that all U.S. policymakers abide by. No matter what, they must avoid the appearance of military defeat at the hands of an armed resistance.

The White House condemned the release of the classified documents in the most disingenuous and hypocritical way. It denounced those who provided the files for putting "the lives of U.S. and partner service members at risk." That is turning reality upside down. It is the Obama administration that is putting the lives of U.S. service members and Afghan civilians "at risk" every day by continuing a war just so that it can avoid the political backlash for suffering a defeat on its watch.

The released documents paint a grim picture that is repeated over and over again involving a large number of previously unknown incidents where U.S. and NATO troops shot and murdered unarmed drivers and motorcyclists.

The documents reveal another incident where French troops used machine guns to strafe a bus full of children in 2008. A military patrol machine gunned another bus, wounding or killing 15 of its civilian passengers. In 2007, Polish troops rained mortar fire down on an Afghan village, killing a wedding party, including pregnant women, in a revenge attack for an earlier insurgent assault.

In April of this year, Wikileaks published the now-famous classified video of a U.S. Apache helicopter murdering 12 Iraqi civilians and seriously wounding children. The Pentagon arrested Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst in Iraq and has been holding him incommunicado in recent months. Wikileaks has not disclosed whether Manning was the source of the leak of the classified video or the recently released documents, but has announced that it will help provide legal assistance for Bradley Manning.

For months now, the web of lies spun by the White House and Pentagon about the Afghan war has started to come undone. Public support for the Afghan war, along with support from inside the military ranks, continues to decline. But it will take a resurgent anti-war movement to convert this latent frustration into a powerful political force that can finally bring the criminal occupation to an end.

You can change the political climate in the country!
Send a letter today and get the message out:<e_id=4001

The papers are covering the leaks but obscuring the real story. It's time to bring the troops home now, and your letters that your community and neighbors will read can help change the direction.

The ANSWER Coalition is providing a free, easy-to-use mechanism to help you get your voice heard-do it today!

Help the ANSWER Coalition build the anti-war movement! Please make an urgently needed donation to support our work.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
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9) Long-Term Economic Pain
July 26, 2010

The pain coursing through American families is all too real and no one seems to know what to do about it. A rigorous new analysis for the Rockefeller Foundation shows that Americans are more economically insecure now than they have been in a quarter of a century, and the trend lines suggest that things will only get worse.

Rampant joblessness and skyrocketing medical costs are among the biggest factors tearing at the very fabric of American economic life so painstakingly put together in the early post-World War II decades.

The analysis was done by a team of researchers led by Professor Jacob Hacker of Yale University. They created an economic security index, which measures the percentage of Americans who experience a decrease in their household income of 25 percent or more in one year without having the financial resources to offset that loss. (Major medical expenses were counted as a decrease in available income.)

The team's findings were grim. Simply stated, more and more families are facing utter economic devastation: completely out of money, with their jobs, savings and retirement funds gone, and nowhere to turn for the next dollar.

Economic insecurity has been increasing for at least a generation and perhaps longer, with very dangerous levels being reached in this latest recession. Professor Hacker discussed the ominous trend lines in an interview.

In 1985, at a time when the unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, the portion of American families that would be counted as economically insecure by the terms of this new index was 12 percent. Professor Hacker explained that the percentage would naturally tend to rise or fall with improvements or a deterioration in the economy.

But what has happened over the past few decades is that the percentage of insecure Americans relative to any given level of the economy has tended to steadily rise. So in 2002, coming out of a mild recession, there was a 5.8 percent unemployment rate, but the percentage of economically insecure families had jumped to 17 percent.

All of the data for 2009 are not yet in, but the research team projects, conservatively, that more than 20 percent of Americans experienced a 25 percent or greater loss of household income (without a financial cushion) over the prior year - the highest in at least a quarter of a century.

A decrease of this magnitude in available income is a heavy blow. As the study points out, "The typical individual who experiences a decline of at least 25 percent in household income requires between six and eight years for income to return to its previous level."

"What we're seeing, basically, is what we're calling 'the new normal,' " said Mr. Hacker. "We're slowly ratcheting up this level of economic insecurity."

Put another way, the bottom is falling out for increasing numbers of Americans, and with the national employment situation stuck in an extended horror zone there is little to stop the free fall. In addition to tracking the percentage of Americans suffering household income losses of 25 percent or more, the index also shows that families are suffering steeper income declines than in previous decades.

According to the study, "Between 1985 and 1995, the typical (median) drop among those experiencing a 25 percent or greater available income loss was about 38.2 percent; between 1997 and 2007, it was 41.4 percent."

Only the very well-to-do are out of the range of this buzz saw. "The fact that Americans are facing a very real and growing risk of large-scale economic loss is true across the spectrum," said Mr. Hacker. "It's true of blacks more than whites, but it's true of whites, as well. It's true of less affluent people more than more affluent people, but it's true of the more affluent as well.

"If anything, we're understating how bad things are out there right now."

Policy makers seem bewildered by the terrible economic state of ordinary working Americans, including those once considered solidly in the middle class. Despite warnings back in 2008 that we were on the verge of another great depression, the big financial institutions and corporate America seem to be doing just fine now. But average Americans are hurting with no end to the pain in sight.

More than 14 million people are out of work and many more are either underemployed or so discouraged they've just stopped looking. Big corporations, sitting on fat profits even as the economy continues to struggle, have made it clear that they are not interested in putting a lot more people back to work any time soon.

Policy makers have dropped the ball completely in terms of dealing with this devastating long-term trend of ever-increasing economic insecurity for American families. Long-term solutions that have to do with extensive job creation and a strengthening of the safety net are required. But that doesn't seem to be on anyone's agenda.


10) Another Oil Leak Is Spotted in the Gulf
July 27, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - A wellhead in southeastern Louisiana was spewing oil up to 20 feet into the air on Tuesday morning, local officials said, at least the third unrelated oil leak in the area since the Deepwater Horizon spill began 99 days ago.

The well, owned by the state, is in inland waterways on the border of Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes, about 65 miles south of New Orleans.The wellhead is believed to have burst after being hit by a dredge barge that was being pushed by a tug boat in Barataria Bay, though the details were being investigated, said Petty Officer Tom Atkeson of the Coast Guard's Eighth District.

A clean-up crew from a company in nearby Houma that is already involved in the Deepwater Horizon spill response was dispatched to the area, and a Coast Guard helicopter was surveying the spill. About 6,000 feet of boom was placed around the spill.

There is no indication of how much oil has leaked from the wellhead, though WWL, a local television channel, reported that it seemed to be spewing mostly gas by midday.


11) At Military Contractor's Trial, a $100,000 Buckle
July 26, 2010

Several years ago, David H. Brooks, the chief executive and chairman of a body-armor company enriched by United States military contracts, became fixated on the idea of a memory-erasing pill.

It was not just fanciful curiosity. A veterinarian who cared for his stable of racehorses said Mr. Brooks continually talked about the subject, pressing him repeatedly to supply the pill. According to Dr. Seth Fishman, the veterinarian, Mr. Brooks said he had a specific recipient in mind: Dawn Schlegel, the former chief financial officer of the company he led until 2006, DHB Industries.

There is no memory-erasing pill. And so Mr. Brooks sat and listened this year as Ms. Schlegel, her memory apparently intact and keen, spent 23 days testifying against him in a highly unusual trial in United States District Court on Long Island that has been highlighted by sweeping accusations of fraud, insider trading, and company-financed personal extravagance.

DHB, which specialized in making body armor used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, paid for more than $6 million in personal expenses on behalf of Mr. Brooks, covering items as expensive as luxury cars and as prosaic as party invitations, Ms. Schlegel testified.

Also included were university textbooks for his daughter, pornographic videos for his son, plastic surgery for his wife, a burial plot for his mother, prostitutes for his employees, and, for him, a $100,000 American-flag belt buckle encrusted with rubies, sapphires and diamonds.

The expense-account abuse, the prosecution has said, represented a pittance compared with the $190 million that Mr. Brooks and another top employee are accused of making through a stock fraud scheme in which he falsified information about his company's performance - including significantly overstating the inventory of bulletproof vests - to inflate the price of the stock before selling his shares in 2004.

As a whole, the accusations might present just another cautionary tale of excess and entitlement in a powerful individual, but Mr. Brooks's story stands out because of details and characters that give it the strange and sordid depth of a long-running soap opera.

"What makes it interesting isn't that there is anything novel legally about it, but just how egregious this guy's alleged behavior is, how gross the abuses are and how much greed is involved," said Meredith R. Miller, an associate law professor at Touro College in Central Islip, N.Y. "Add in what the company does - the fact that this is a military contractor - and the facts are really interesting," she said.

Lawyers for Mr. Brooks have repeatedly pressed for a mistrial, accusing the prosecution of highlighting irrelevant evidence to portray Mr. Brooks "as a sex-obsessed, tax-cheating boor."

"The accumulation of titillating and scandalous evidence," Mr. Brooks's lawyers wrote in one court filing, "has become a centerpiece of the trial and has incurably prejudiced the jury."

Despite the drama, the trial has largely been ignored outside Long Island, where the body-armor company used to be based.

In court in Central Islip on Monday, prosecutors provided jurors with a recap of seven months of testimony from more than 70 witnesses, and a lawyer for Mr. Brooks began his closing argument.

Christopher Ott, of the United States attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, said that although the facts of the case were complicated, Mr. Brooks was simply a thief.

Mr. Ott held up the belt buckle and declared, "Instead of a gun or a crowbar, they used a trick, a scheme."

Mr. Brooks, who his lawyers have said is in a "tenuous emotional state," has watched much of the proceedings with glassy eyes and a nervous demeanor.

The diminished appearance bore little resemblance to the image of the man who bought a business out of bankruptcy and transformed it into one of the nation's largest manufacturers of body armor for law enforcement and the military.

That was the man who told investors, "Adversity and challenges have been confronted and defeated," and who threw his daughter a multimillion-dollar bat mitzvah party featuring performances from the rapper 50 Cent and the rock group Aerosmith, even as federal investigations into his actions were widening and his business was crumbling.

A lawyer for Mr. Brooks, Kenneth Ravenell, told the jury on Monday afternoon that his client represented the realization of the American dream, someone who made money while helping his country "when the military called."

Mr. Brooks has not disputed that many of his personal expenses were paid for by the company, but his lawyers have maintained that the practice was authorized.

His lawyers also defended the hiring of prostitutes for employees and board members, arguing in court papers that it represented a legitimate business expense "if Mr. Brooks thought such services could motivate his employees and make them more productive."

His lawyers pointed to a board resolution that stipulated that Mr. Brooks was entitled to 10 percent of the company's profits.

Prosecutors said the document was a forgery that he had made to justify the personal expenses, and Ms. Schlegel testified that the document, dated 1997, first appeared in her files in 2004, after the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating the company.

A former president of the company, Douglas Burns, testified that his signature had been forged on an earlier document detailing the arrangement.

Mr. Brooks, who had previously been fined by the S.E.C. for insider trading, also denied having participated in a scheme to push up the price of the stock.

He sold his holdings in the company in 2004 when the share price peaked at more than $20. The price dropped to less than $2 in 2005 after the company admitted to accounting fraud.

The body-armor company declined to discuss the case, noting that Mr. Brooks had left it in 2006. The company, now called Point Blank Solutions, has moved to Florida and filed for bankruptcy this year.

There have been questions about the vests produced by the company, similar to questions faced by others in the industry, regarding both the use of a material now known to become more permeable in high heat and the lack of protection provided to some vital areas. Those issues, however, are not related to the current case.

If convicted, Mr. Brooks could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. And after the jury returns a verdict, he faces two more trials, one for contempt of court and another for tax evasion.

He may also face additional charges stemming from an episode last week when he was caught for a second time trying to smuggle into jail prescription anti-anxiety pills, which were similar to medication he was already taking at an unusually high dose. The pills had been hidden in pens that a supporter of Mr. Brooks's had placed near the defendant's seat in the courtroom.

That prompted the normally mild-mannered Judge Joanna Seybert, who has seemed increasingly frustrated with Mr. Brooks and his lead lawyer, to angrily declare: "Mr. Brooks has got to get control of himself or he will be removed from this courtroom."

Mr. Brooks, 55, has been in federal custody since his bail was revoked shortly before the trial began, after law enforcement officials said they discovered that he had hidden millions of dollars' worth of assets abroad.

A co-defendant in the trial, Sandra Hatfield, 56, the former chief operating officer at the company, is accused of receiving $5 million from the fraudulent stock sales and faces similar charges.

Ms. Schlegel was originally named as a defendant but pleaded guilty and agreed to testify in exchange for sentencing considerations.

One of the many former shareholders who have been tracking the trial is Michael Adair, an accountant in his 60s who says he lost most of his retirement savings, $525,000, when the stock plummeted.

He felt patriotic investing in a company providing life-saving equipment to the troops, Mr. Adair said, but first he had read the financial statements, had listened to the conference calls and had toured the company headquarters.

"I did due diligence and it turned out it was all a lie," he said in a recent interview. "This is a trial of greed. I'm hoping to get some justice."


12) Details of boy killed by officers begin to emerge from police, family, friends
"A search of the van did not yield a weapon, and the shotgun used in the carjacking remained unaccounted for, Smith said."
By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
July 24, 2010 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - Police on Friday described slain teenager James Rivera as a violent criminal who escaped last spring from juvenile hall, where he'd been held on charges including robbery, conspiracy and torture.

Rivera died Thursday after three officers fired upon a stolen van following a short car chase in north Stockton. Rivera would have turned 17 on Friday.

What happened in those brief seconds preceding the shooting is still somewhat cloudy, and some neighbors and witnesses remain critical of the police response. About 20 people protested at downtown police headquarters Friday morning.

City leaders promised a transparent investigation and said the public would ultimately learn as much as could be legally reported.

But it could be months before those answers are provided.

The story begins last spring, when Rivera apparently hopped a barbed-wire fence and escaped the juvenile facility, police said. A warrant for his arrest was issued in early May, police spokesman Pete Smith said, adding that the teenager was also wanted in connection with several felony crimes since his escape.

"We were dealing with somebody who was absolutely violent and capable of just about ..." Smith said, trailing off. "You see the litany of things he's done there. We don't need to speculate."

Rivera was identified as a suspect in a carjacking early Wednesday. A person with a shotgun took a blue Chevrolet Astro van, also stealing cash, wallets and cell phones from three victims. Rivera's grandmother and aunt, however, say he bought the car.

On Thursday, police said they connected Rivera to the carjacking, and got a tip from neighbors where they might find him. They said they spotted him driving the van near Cody Way and Comstock Drive, and began giving chase.

Worried about a 60-mph chase on residential streets, a supervisor gave one of the officers permission to end the pursuit by ramming the van. The vehicle careened off the street and into a garage at Bancroft Way and Salters Drive.

Patrol cars swooped in close to the van. Three officers got out and approached, ordering the teen out of the vehicle, which was "revving wildly," Smith said.

The officers had the "perception" the van was moving back toward them, and all three opened fire with their duty handguns, Smith said. He would not say how many times they fired, nor how many times the teen was hit.

Cesar Prakash, an 18-year-old friend of Rivera, said he witnessed the crash and the shooting from across the street.

"(Rivera) hit the mailbox and garage," Prakash said. "They said 'get out, get out,' and then just shot him.

"I saw (a) dude empty his 9-millimeter. They didn't have to do all that. He was already subsided."

Charles Moore, who lives in the triplex where the van crashed, said he was upset officers shot into his home where his girlfriend and four children stay.

"To know all my kids could have been shot," Moore said. "All my kids' lives were in jeopardy."

Police said the officers who fired shots were Eric Azarvand (14 years of experience) and Gregory Dunn (8 years), and one sheriff's deputy, John Thomas Nesbitt (11 years). The deputy was part of a multiagency auto-theft team, Smith said. All three were placed on paid administrative leave for three days, which is standard in these cases.

While images show the van was still wedged into the garage even after it reportedly moved back toward officers, Smith said police had little room and had to move fast.

"They couldn't take a chance of him escaping into the community, or going into the house and then you potentially have a hostage situation," the police spokesman said.

A search of the van did not yield a weapon, and the shotgun used in the carjacking remained unaccounted for, Smith said.

All witness statements - both officers and neighbors - will be taken into account in the multiagency investigation, headed by the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office, Smith said.

That office will ultimately decide if the shooting was justified.

The county's assistant chief probation officer, Stephanie James, would not comment on James Rivera, saying the law prevents her from disclosing information about juveniles.

She said nobody has escaped from Peterson Juvenile Hall since October 2007, but that's not the case for Camp Peterson, the dormitory-style residential program where juveniles have a little more freedom than those in the hall.

This year, 19 people have escaped from the camp, including eight in May, she said.

Camp residents cannot come and go as they please, but the dorms are not locked, she said. Both the camp's dorms and the hall are surrounded by the same fence, which is 13 feet tall, slanted inward to stymie climbers and topped with razor wire. An upgrade to this fence was completed in May.

But there is an adjacent recreation yard used only by the juveniles in the camp program. It hasn't been upgraded, and there is a 6-foot-tall section of fence that has been the route for some escapes, James said.

Reporters Zachary K. Johnson and Jennie Rodriguez contributed to this report.


13) We Are All James Rivera! Boy murderd by Stockton Ca, PD
by Crew ( [at] )
Saturday Jul 24th, 2010 9:25 AM

On the morning of July 22 at around 11:30 16 year old James Rivera was assassinated in premeditated murder, according to his family and witnesses.

According to James Rivera's mother police came to her house late at night/early morning before the murder and terrorized the family. Police held guns at 2 even younger children and told them they were going to kill him.

Later, according to friends, he was pulled over then released and then chased. As he crashed into a fence and made a u turn , police rammed the back of the blue van which caused the van to go out of control. The van went onto a lawn of a corner house on Salters Dr and Bancroft Way, finally crashed straight into the garage wall where the van seemed to be lodged into.

Officers exited their vehicles and asked James to exit the van twice but 2 seconds later they began to shoot. Over 30 rounds have been estimated to be found. They executed those rounds with 9mm handguns and fully automatic M-16 assault riffles.

Witnesses say that the ambulance arrived with out their sirens and left without them, as if there was no urgency. The people believe that he was dead at the scene. They saw officers pull him out and slap his face and then do nothing.

Reporters are saying that police stated the pursuit began at 10:30 after finding the van that had been part of a carjacking with a shotgun. It has not been said if this was the van, and the police do not mention any previous encounters with James Rivera.
The media has yet to report the truth, i know we heard the people speak the truth and that's not what they are printing.

People came out in rage of what they had just witnessed. "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE" the people chanted until the officials Chaplin later came to them and asked them to be quiet.

in the Stockton Record Stockton Police Spokesperson Pete Smith agreed that the crowd was "upset and very vocal about their concerns" but was also recorded threatening the community "Let officers complete their investigation and not unduly create any other situations that would need any kind of police investigation"

Although the people continued to chant after the Chaplin told a couple that it would do them no good, people realized the importance of speaking up for injustices like this one. There will be a BBQ on Friday July 23, to celebrate James Rivera's 17th birthday and to empower the community.

Later that night while people continued to observe and exercise their freedom of speech the police harassed a young man for not having a light on his bike which he rode from literally across the street after insulting the officers behavior. Apparently the cop who cited the young man was making jokes and laughing at James Rivera's mother and made her leave in tears.

Witnesses say he was doing it in retaliation for calling out names. The same cop threw a glass bottle at the street where several young children were standing in their yard. The glass broke and shattered very close to the childrens feet.

Prosecutors are looking into whether the shooting was justified...........

There will be town hall meeting tonight at 421 Miner St. in Stockton at 7:30

The Stockton police officers involved in the shooting were Officer Eric Azarvand, a 14-year department veteran; Officer Gregory Dunn, with the department eight years; and San Joaquin County sheriff's deputy John Thomas Nesbitt, with 11 years at the sheriff's department.

UPDATE: On Friday July 23, community people gather at the corner house where the police forced the van into the garage wall and murdered James Rivera. Today was James Rivera's 17th birthday, which he did not get to see.

People from Modesto and Stockton came to support to the families involved. Over 50 people of different colors and sizes were there.

A community BBQ banner full of messages for James was located on the boarded up hole. Chicken, Ribs, hot dogs, and lots more was cooked while folks conversated about the tragedy and loss of James Rivera. Some did it over dominoes and some while getting a hair cut, others just chillin'.

a few women went house to house asking people to sign a petition that supports a peoples review committee that can get answers during situations like this one. The People are ready to hold the cops and other officials accountable for the murder of James River, Joey Pinasco and many other victims of police executions.

Donations were collected and are still being accepted. They have a Donation account with BofA acct.# 0155-615642 under James Rivera They will also have a car wash at the corner of 8th & Airport way on Saturday.

Many details were spoken of that did not correlate with police statements, and a lot of disturbing stories.

A young women was arrested/or detained because she could not ID him when they wanted her to. She claims she was mentally exhausted and could not ID him. The insensitivity of the police is outrageous and intolerable.

Latex gloves lay all around the yard, broken plastic pieces and a boarded up wall. Apparently James hit two giant metal mail boxes as he was approaching the wall. The boy could have been injured and explains why he did not get out of the car when they called him out. Even if he wanted to get out for them he wouldn't have escaped the bullets that followed 2 seconds after the command.

A town hall meeting that held at 7:30 at the NOI Mosque in Stockton. Less people attended this meeting than the one on Wednesday, yet it was full enough to feel empowered. The Uncle of James spoke out and the family shared a bit about the story when the police came to their home in the early morning of Thursday. There are a lot of unanswered questions and time is going by. There is no time to waste.

They will be attending the city council meeting on Tuesday at 5 pm to demand a private investigation. They are not interested in what the police finds out about how they murdered James Rivera. They want their own.

BE AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING ON TUESDAY AT 5 ! Bring signs and your questions and demands.

Latest (as of July 24th) Stockton Record Article:


14) WikiLeaks Bombshell Docs Paint Afghan War as Utter Disaster -- Will We Finally Stop Throwing Money and Lives at This Catastrophe?
By Ray McGovern, Consortium News
Posted on July 26, 2010, Printed on July 28, 2010

The brutality and fecklessness of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan have been laid bare in an indisputable way just days before the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on whether to throw $33.5 billion more into the Afghan quagmire, when that money is badly needed at home.

On Sunday, the Web site Wikileaks posted 75,000 reports written mostly by U.S. forces in Afghanistan during a six-year period from January 2004 to December 2009. The authenticity of the material -- published under the title "Afghan War Diaries" -- is not in doubt.

The New York Times, which received an embargoed version of the documents from Wikileaks, devoted six pages of its Monday editions to several articles on the disclosures, which reveal how the Afghan War slid into its current morass while the Bush administration concentrated U.S. military efforts on Iraq.

Wikileaks also gave advanced copies to the British newspaper, The Guardian, and the German newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, thus guaranteeing that the U.S. Fawning Corporate Media could not ignore these classified cables the way it did five years ago with the "Downing Street Memo," a leaked British document which described how intelligence was "fixed" around President George W. Bush's determination to invade Iraq.

The Washington Post also led its Monday editions with a lengthy article about the Wikileaks' disclosure of the Afghan War reports.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the new evidence of a foundering war in Afghanistan will lead to a public groundswell of opposition to expending more billions of dollars there when the money is so critically needed to help people to keep their jobs, their homes and their personal dignity in the United States.

But there may be new hope that the House of Representatives will find the collective courage to deny further funding for feckless bloodshed in Afghanistan that seems more designed to protect political flanks in Washington than the military perimeters of U.S. bases over there.

Assange on Pentagon Papers

Wikileaks leader Julian Assange compared the release of "The Afghan War Diaries" to Daniel Ellsberg's release in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers. Those classified documents revealed the duplicitous arguments used to justify the Vietnam War and played an important role in eventually getting Congress to cut off funding.

Ellsberg's courageous act was the subject of a recent Oscar-nominated documentary, entitled "The Most Dangerous Man in America," named after one of the less profane sobriquets thrown Ellsberg's way by then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger.

I imagine Dan is happy at this point to cede that particular honorific to the Wikileaks' leaker, who is suspected of being Pfc. Bradley Manning, a young intelligence specialist in Iraq who was recently detained and charged with leaking classified material to Wikileaks.

An earlier Wikileaks' disclosure -- also reportedly from Manning -- revealed video of a U.S. helicopter crew cavalierly gunning down about a dozen Iraqi men, including two Reuters journalists, as they walked along a Baghdad street.

Wikileaks declined to say whether Manning was the source of the material. However, possibly to counter accusations that the leaker (allegedly Manning) acted recklessly in releasing thousands of secret military records, Wikileaks said it was still withholding 15,000 reports "as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source."

After Ellsberg was identified as the Pentagon Papers leaker in 1971, he was indicted and faced a long prison sentence if convicted. However, a federal judge threw out the charges following disclosures of the Nixon administration's own abuses, such as a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

In public speeches over the past several years, Ellsberg has been vigorously pressing for someone to do what he did, this time on the misbegotten wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ellsberg also has praised Assange for providing a means for the documents to reach the public.

Ellsberg and other members of The Truth Telling Coalition established on Sept. 9, 2004, have been appealing to government officials who encounter "deception and cover-up" on vital issues to opt for "unauthorized truth telling." [At the end of this story, see full text of the group's letter, which I signed.]

Emphasizing that "citizens cannot make informed choices if they do not have the facts," the Truth Telling Coalition challenged officials to give primary allegiance to the Constitution, and noted the readiness of groups like the ACLU and The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to offer advice and support.

What's New?

In a taped interview, Assange noted in his understated way that, with the Internet, the "situation is markedly different" from Pentagon Papers days. "More material can be pushed to bigger audiences, and much sooner."

Also, the flow of information can evade the obstructions of traditional news gatekeepers who failed so miserably to inform the American people about the Bush administration's deceptions before the Iraq War.

People all over the world can get "the whole wad at once" and put the various reports into context, which "is not something that has previously occurred; that is something that can only be brought about as a result of the Internet," Assange said.

However, Assange also recognized the value of involving the traditional news media to ensure that the reports got maximum attention. So, he took a page from Ellsberg's experience by creating some competitive pressure among major news outlets, giving the 75,000 reports to the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel. Beginning Sunday afternoon, all three posted articles about the huge dump of information.

Assange noted that the classified material includes many heart-rending incidents that fit into the mosaic of a larger human catastrophe. These include one depicted in Der Spiegel's reportage of accidental killings on June 17, 2007, when U.S. Special Forces fired five rockets at a Koran school in which a prominent al-Qaeda functionary was believed to be hiding.

When the smoke cleared, the Special Forces found no terrorist, but rather six dead children in the rubble of the school and another who died shortly after.

Role of Pakistan

Perhaps the most explosive revelations disclose the double game being played by the Pakistani Directorate for Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). Der Spiegel reported: "The documents clearly show that this Pakistani intelligence agency is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan."

The documents also show ISI envoys not only are present when insurgent commanders hold war councils, but also give specific orders to carry out assassinations - including, according to one report, an attempt on the life of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in August 2008.

Former Pakistani intelligence chief, Gen. Hamid Gul, is depicted as an important source of aid to the Taliban, and even, in another report, as a "leader" of the insurgents. The reports show Gul ordering suicide attacks, and describe him as one of the most important suppliers of weaponry to the Talban.

Though the Pakistani government has angrily denied U.S. government complaints about Gul and the ISI regarding secret ties to the Taliban and even to al-Qaeda, the new evidence must raise questions about what the Pakistanis have been doing with the billions of dollars that Washington has given them.

Two Ex-Generals Got It Right

We have another patriotic truth-teller to thank for leaking the texts of cables that Ambassador (and former Lt. Gen.) Karl Eikenberry sent to Washington on Nov. 6 and 9, 2009, several weeks before President Barack Obama made his fateful decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

In a somewhat condescending tone, Eikenberry described the request from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, for more troops as "logical and compelling within his narrow mandate to define the needs" of the military campaign.

But then Eikenberry warned repeatedly about "unaddressed variables" like militants' "sanctuaries" in Pakistan. For example, the ambassador wrote:

"More troops won't end the insurgency as long as Pakistan sanctuaries remain ... and Pakistan views its strategic interests as best served by a weak neighbor."

In Eikenberry's final try at informing the White House discussion (in his cable of Nov. 9), the ambassador warned pointedly of the risk that "we will become more deeply engaged here with no way to extricate ourselves."

At the time, it seemed that Eikenberry's message was getting through to the White House. On Nov. 7, Der Spiegel published an interview with National Security Adviser (former Marine General) James Jones, who was asked whether he agreed with Gen. McChrystal that a substantial troop increase was needed. Jones replied:

"Generals always ask for more troops; I believe we will not solve the problem with more troops alone. You can keep on putting troops in, and you could have 200,000 troops there and Afghanistan will swallow them up as it has done in the past."

However, McChrystal and his boss, then-Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus pressed the case for more troops, a position that had strong support from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, former Vice President Dick Cheney, key hawks in Congress and Washington's neoconservative-dominated opinion circles.

After months of internal debate, President Obama finally caved in and gave McChrystal nearly all the troops that he had requested. (McChrystal has since been replaced by Petraeus as commander of forces in Afghanistan.)

Despite the fact that the Wikileaks disclosures offer fresh support for the doubters on the Afghan War escalation, Jones acted as the good soldier on Sunday, decrying the unauthorized release of classified information, calling Wikileaks "irresponsible."

Jones also lectured the Pakistanis:

"Pakistan's military and intelligence services must continue their strategic shift against insurgent groups. The balance must shift decisively against al-Qaeda and its extremist allies. U.S. support for Pakistan will continue to be focused on building Pakistani capacity to root out violent extremist groups."

[Note: Okay; he's a general. But the grammatical mood is just a shade short of imperative. And the tone is imperial/colonial through and through. I'll bet the Pakistanis are as much swayed by that approach as they have been by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's admonitions not to be concerned about India -- just terrorists.]

And regarding "progress" in Afghanistan? Jones added that "the U.S. and its allies have scored several significant blows against the insurgency."

However, that's not the positive spin that Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen was offering just four weeks ago. On his way to Kabul, again, Mullen spoke of "recent setbacks in the Afghan campaign."

"We underestimated some of the challenges" in Marja, the rural area of Helmand province that was cleared in March by U.S. Marines, only to have Taliban fighters return. "They're coming back at night; the intimidation is still there," Mullen said.

Of the much more ambitious (and repeatedly delayed) campaign to stabilize the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, Mullen said: "It's going to take until the end of the year to know where we are there."

Would you say yes to an additional $33.5 billion for this fool's errand?

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.


15) A Cooper Union Student Lost an Eye Protesting in Israel-But None of Her Vision
By Steven Thrasher
Tuesday, Jul 27 2010

At the annual parade of incoming freshmen at Cooper Union, the art majors create their own costumes. In 2007, freshman Emily Henochowicz of Potomac, Maryland, dressed up as one big eyeball. This image of her-arms and legs poking out from the giant eye, the iris and her shoes a matching lime-green, the eye ensconced in some sort of gray matter-has been the icon of her blog since she started it in June 2009.

Now it's more than an avatar.

At the end of this past May, on the other side of the globe, a tear-gas canister fired by the Israel Defense Forces hit her in the face and blasted her left eye out of her head. The grandchild of Holocaust survivors and daughter of a man who was born in Israel and emigrated to the U.S., she had been protesting at a West Bank checkpoint the morning after the IDF had killed nine people aboard a Turkish aid flotilla bound for Gaza.

As Henochowicz recently wrote of her blog icon, "I've had it since I made this blog, and it's proven oddly predictive. The older I get, the more ridiculous life seems." Back in the States and getting ready to resume school in the fall, she has referred to herself as "Cyclops" on the blog. For her, it's still about the art. She doesn't seem to be into the martyr thing. In the hospital in Israel, Henochowicz says, she immediately began drawing again. She says she doesn't even know whether her future art should still be about the Middle East-or even about politics at all.

After all, her political activism, she adds, "was a real change from who I was before-an experiment, in a way. And it ended in me losing my eye. But it's OK."

Brave words, and she mostly believes them. Her confidence in her physical self is not quite all the way there yet, but she studies how other artists have dealt with-and even taken advantage of-their own eye problems.

In place of an eye patch, she wears a pair of glasses whose frames she designed herself and on which she has painted a swirling red-and-white design over the left lens. Not that her obsession with her eyes was prompted by losing one of them. As a teenager, she says, she had considered becoming a vision scientist before deciding to go to Cooper. Even during her first years in New York City, she says, she was still "obsessed with vision science" and even sat in on a vision lab class at NYU.

Which means she can still focus. "The cool thing about this is that paintings look more 3-D to me now," she says during a recent stroll through the Frick Collection. "It's your stereoscopic vision that makes paintings appear flat." Although she has lost depth perception, she says she can now actually perceive depth even more in a flat painting.

With mordant humor, she tells the Voice, "I guess I can be grateful to the IDF for giving me the chance to see the world in a new way."

Henochowicz was admitted to Cooper Union's prestigious art program in 2007, and she has concentrated on drawing, painting, and experimenting with digital imagery. (See Emily Henochowicz's work.)

Even before she was admitted to the school, one of the most selective colleges in the nation, she was an independent thinker with a well-developed wry sense of humor. At 18, she was interviewed by The New York Times as a high school senior, when she produced a video for someone else's project called Blasphemy Challenge, an online call to upload videos denying the existence of God. (She has since taken that video down, saying that she's less bombastic about her beliefs than she was and that "people should believe whatever they want to believe.")

This past spring, like many other college juniors, she chose to study abroad. She picked a semester at Israel's leading art school, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. She planned to make art, study history, and improve her Hebrew.

She says she didn't see her trip as overtly political in any way. But her art collided with reality.

"There was this view from my school's campus, and you could see all the way out to Jordan on a clear day," she recalls. She started painting that view, which included a line snaking through it, but "abandoned it for awhile. When I came back to it, I realized that this big element I was drawing was the Wall. I had been looking at that and drawing that, and I thought, 'Oh, look, it's a fence-oh, it's the fence.' "

Before her trip, she recalled having seen pictures of Banksy's work on the Wall-the internationally known graffiti artist had left his mark on the controversial concrete fence built by Israel-and was stunned by the vast amount of graffiti and other art left by many others on what she thinks of as a "huge canvas." "Because of the art on the wall," she says, "it's a strange mixture of oppression and freedom." She would eventually add her own touch, painting on a remote section near Qalandiya.


16) Bedouin village razed in Negev as Israelis cheer on
Report, The Electronic Intifada
July 28, 2010

Early morning on 27 July, Israeli bulldozers, flanked by helicopters and throngs of police, demolished the entire Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the northern Negev desert. Despite their land rights cases still pending in the court system, hundreds of al-Araqib villagers were instantly made homeless a month after Israeli police posted demolition orders.

Eyewitness reports say the police were accompanied by several busloads of right-wing Israeli civilians who cheered during the demolitions.

The Electronic Intifada spoke with Dr. Yeela Ranaan of the Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) in the Negev, who was in al-Araqib all day long during the demolitions.

"Approximately 1,500 Israeli police came at 5:30 in the morning and evacuated everyone from their beds," Ranaan said. "They brought tear gas and water cannons, but didn't use them. There was a handful of Israeli peace activists who had come the night before to stay with the villagers, and the police beat them up and detained them. Once they evacuated everyone in the village, they started to demolish it. It took three hours to flatten the village. For the people of al-Araqib, it was a nightmare to see their village destroyed."

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, al-Araqib villagers have been fighting for recognition in the courts. Ranaan told The Electronic Intifada that in the early 1950s, after they were forcefully expelled from their land by Israeli forces, villagers were fined for "trespassing" in their own homes by the Israeli government. Israel has refused to acknowledge al-Araqib villagers' land deeds and receipts of land taxes paid to the Ottoman authorities well before Israel's establishment.

"As we speak, the fate of al-Araqib hasn't been decided in a court," Ranaan said. "Despite this, Israel came and demolished the homes. Israel is not just changing the facts on the ground, it's erasing them."

"Israel is treating us like cockroaches"

More than 110,000 Palestinian Bedouin live in dozens of so-called "unrecognized villages" throughout the State of Israel, and nearly 80 percent live in the Negev. Since 1948, Israel has refused to acknowledge the villages, and therefore deny basic services such as water, electricity, roads, schools and waste management.

During the demolitions yesterday, Sulaiman abu Mdian, a 29-year-old father of four who works as a chicken farmer, told CNN that "the State of Israel is treating us like cockroaches."

In an emailed press release following the destruction of al-Araqib, RCUV admonished the Israeli government's policies of accelerating home demolitions against Palestinian Bedouin communities across the state.

"The destruction's declared aim is to facilitate plans by the Jewish National Fund to plant a [forest] on the site," the release stated. "We regard this demolition as a criminal act. Bedouin citizens of Israel are not enemies, and forestation of the Negev is not a reasonable pretext for destroying a community which is more than 60 years old, dispossessing its residents and violating the basic rights of hundreds of Israeli civilians, men, women and children."

"This act by the state authorities is no 'law enforcement' -- it is an act of war, such as is undertaken against an enemy," RCUV added. "This act cannot be dissociated from yesterday's statement by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, who at the cabinet meeting sounded a warning about 'a situation in which a demand for national rights will be made from some quarters inside Israel, for example in the Negev, should the area be left without a Jewish majority. Such things happened in the Balkans, and it is a real threat.' Presenting the Bedouin citizens of Israel as 'a real threat' gives legitimacy to the expulsion of Israel's Bedouin citizens from the Negev in order to 'Judaize' it. We call on all who care for democracy to give their support to this threatened community."

The Electronic Intifada asked Ranaan if the situation in al-Araqib will look similar to what's happening in the nearby Bedouin village of Twail abu Jarwal, which has been demolished more than forty times in the last few years.

"These are the two villages that the Israeli government wants to beat, to make an example of," Ranaan remarked. "The government is experimenting with these villages. People in al-Araqib and Twail abu Jarwal have more determination and more resources than other villages. Israel wants to find out how much force is needed to evacuate and erase a village. They want to replicate the methods. And they want villagers elsewhere to see what's happening here as a threat."

Ranaan told The Electronic Intifada that solidarity actions are being planned as villagers of al-Araqib set up temporary housing on their land.

"They already put up a few tents, and they'll be staying at different locations until every family will put up a makeshift home on their land," she said. "But they know that their homes will be demolished again and again. People should put pressure on the Israeli government. International pressure is important. Activists can come and visit, and they can join villagers on their land for Friday prayers. The more people in solidarity, the stronger they are. Once their resistance breaks, then we've lost everything."

More al-Walaja land confiscated

Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Israel announced construction of at least 100 settlement colony units in the Bethlehem district as Israeli bulldozers and construction vehicles confiscated more Palestinian land in al-Walaja. At the same time, Israeli occupation forces demolished homes in Area C, continuing a pattern of increased demolitions and rights violations there in the last few months.

The 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (also known as Oslo II) categorized land in the West Bank into areas A, B and C. According to the agreement, Area A is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Area B under the joint control of Israel and the PA. Approximately 95 percent of the Palestinian population live in these two areas, though they make up only 40 percent of the land area. Israel has full military control over Area C.

Secretary General of al-Mubadara Palestinian National Initiative Dr. Mustafa Barghouti told the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency that Israeli forces began bulldozing land and constructing barbed wire fence on al-Walaja land in "an attempt to thwart Palestinian land owners from protesting the confiscation" ("Barghouthi: 100 settlements underway in Beit Jala," 18 July).

Barghouti reported that the work began in secret to "avoid the exposure of the Netanyahu government's false claims of freezing settlement construction."

Israel is also finishing construction of its wall in the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Jala, next to al-Walaja. When finished, the wall will completely encircle the Bethlehem area and will cut off thousands of Palestinians from their land. Israel began building the wall in the Bethlehem district in 2004.

Palestinian residents of al-Walaja and Beit Jala, accompanied by international human rights activists, have been trying to resist the ongoing encroachment of the wall and settlements in the area. Protesters have been fired upon by Israeli forces using stun grenades and tear gas.

Property destruction in Jordan Valley

And last week, Israeli forces destroyed Hmayyir and Ein Ghazal in the Farasiya region of the Jordan Valley, demolishing approximately 55 homes, livestock pens, tents, clay ovens, bathrooms and storage structures. More than a hundred Palestinians were displaced, including 52 children. The villages had been declared "live fire zones" by Israeli officials last month, and eviction orders were posted on the homes of families in the village, according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty stated in a press release that along with the Farasiya villages, families living in the smaller villages of Ein al-Hilwe and Ein al-Beida -- also in Area C -- were served with eviction and demolition orders.

Philip Luther, Amnesty's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, stated in the press release that "these recent demolitions intensify concerns that this is part of a government strategy to remove the Palestinian population from the parts of the West Bank known as Area C, over which Israel has complete control in terms of planning and construction" ("Israel intensifies West Bank home demolitions," 21 July 2010).

Amira Hass reported for the Israeli daily Haaretz that during the past year, the Israeli military had set up "hundreds of warning signs" near Palestinian villages and farming areas, marking them as "closed military areas ... Such a sign was set up at the entrance to Farasiya" ("IDF destroys West Bank village after declaring it military zone," 21 July 2010).

Haaretz spoke to a coordinator with the popular committee in the Jordan Valley who reported that Israel has consistently cut off Palestinian farmers and villagers from their water sources, destroyed drinking and irrigation pipes from streams and prohibited them from using water wells that the Israeli water company Mekorot had established in the region.

"Since 1967, Israel has prevented Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley from growing, whether by cutting off their water supply, declaring large areas as live fire zones or banning all construction," Hass reported.


17) H. R. 5741 - Congress Introduces Bill To Institue Permanent Military Draft For All US Citizens Between 18 And 42
Posted by Alexander Higgins
July 27, 2010

The US Congress has introduced a bill, which many are dubbing a "Slavery Bill", that would require all American citizens to perform 2 years of either military service or civilian service that promotes the national defense related to homeland security.

The bill would effectively establish a permanent national military draft the would require all citizens, male and female, of the United States and its territories to perform the 2 years of the so called "National Service".

The bill gives the President broad powers such determining the types of civilian services that meet the requirements for the bill and the ability to extend the length of service to maintain the number of citizens performing "National Service" that the President deems necessary.

Other broad powers assigned to the President would include the ability for President to prescribe any regulations necessary to carry out enforce the bill including regulations for induction, compensation, standards of performance levels, penalties for failure to perform service satisfactorily.

The bill suggests that the President follows the procedures for registration, selection, and induction outlined in the existing Military Selective Service Act which would be amended to include women in the act.

Those who object to military service will be required to perform 2 years of noncombatant national civilian service subject to any additional regulations as the President may prescribe for those who object.

This is the latest version of the bill currently available on GovTrack.

111th CONGRESS 2d Session

H. R. 5741

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.

July 15, 2010

Mr. RANGEL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Universal National Service Act'.

(b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.


Sec. 101. Definitions.

Sec. 102. National service obligation.

Sec. 103. Induction to perform national service.

Sec. 104. Two-year period of national service.

Sec. 105. Implementation by the President.

Sec. 106. Examination and classification of persons.

Sec. 107. Deferments and postponements.

Sec. 108. Induction exemptions.

Sec. 109. Conscientious objection.

Sec. 110. Discharge following national service.


Sec. 201. Registration of females.

Sec. 202. Registration and induction authority.


In this title:

(1) The term `contingency operation' has the meaning given that term in section 101(a)(13) of title 10, United States Code.

(2) The term `military service' means service performed as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services.

(3) The term `national service' means military service or service in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.

(4) The term `Secretary concerned' means the Secretary of Defense with respect to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, the Secretary of Commerce, with respect to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with respect to the Public Health Service.

(5) The term `United States', when used in a geographical sense, means the several States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.

(6) The term `uniformed services' means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and commissioned corps of the Public Health Service.


(a) Obligation for Service- It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this title unless exempted under the provisions of this title.

(b) Forms of National Service- The national service obligation under this title shall be performed either-

(1) as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; or

(2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.

(c) Age Limits- A person may be inducted under this title only if the person has attained the age of 18 and has not attained the age of 42.


(a) Induction Requirements- The President shall provide for the induction of persons described in section 102(a) to perform their national service obligation.

(b) Limitation on Induction for Military Service- Persons described in section 102(a) may be inducted to perform military service only if-

(1) a declaration of war is in effect;

(2) the President declares a national emergency, which the President determines necessitates the induction of persons to perform military service, and immediately informs Congress of the reasons for the declaration and the need to induct persons for military service; or

(3) members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps are engaged in a contingency operation pursuant to a congressional authorization for the use of military force.

(c) Limitation on Number of Persons Inducted for Military Service- When the induction of persons for military service is authorized by subsection (b), the President shall determine the number of persons described in section 102(a) whose national service obligation is to be satisfied through military service based on-

(1) the authorized end strengths of the uniformed services;

(2) the feasibility of the uniformed services to recruit sufficient volunteers to achieve such end-strength levels; and

(3) provide a mechanism for the random selection of persons to be inducted to perform military service.

(d) Selection for Induction-

(1) RANDOM SELECTION FOR MILITARY SERVICE- When the induction of persons for military service is authorized by subsection (b), the President shall utilize a mechanism for the random selection of persons to be inducted to perform military service.

(2) CIVILIAN SERVICE- Persons described in section 102(a) who do not volunteer to perform military service or are not inducted for military service shall perform their national service obligation in a civilian capacity pursuant to section 102(b)(2).

(e) Voluntary Service- A person subject to induction under this title may-

(1) volunteer to perform national service in lieu of being inducted; or

(2) request permission to be inducted at a time other than the time at which the person is otherwise called for induction.


(a) General Rule- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the period of national service performed by a person under this title shall be two years.

(b) Grounds for Extension- At the discretion of the President, the period of military service for a member of the uniformed services under this title may be extended-

(1) with the consent of the member, for the purpose of furnishing hospitalization, medical, or surgical care for injury or illness incurred in line of duty; or

(2) for the purpose of requiring the member to compensate for any time lost to training for any cause.

(c) Early Termination- The period of national service for a person under this title shall be terminated before the end of such period under the following circumstances:

(1) The voluntary enlistment and active service of the person in an active or reserve component of the uniformed services for a period of at least two years, in which case the period of basic military training and education actually served by the person shall be counted toward the term of enlistment.

(2) The admission and service of the person as a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, or the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

(3) The enrollment and service of the person in an officer candidate program, if the person has signed an agreement to accept a Reserve commission in the appropriate service with an obligation to serve on active duty if such a commission is offered upon completion of the program.

(4) Such other grounds as the President may establish.


(a) In General- The President shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this title.

(b) Matter To Be Covered by Regulations- Such regulations shall include specification of the following:

(1) The types of civilian service that may be performed in order for a person to satisfy the person's national service obligation under this title.

(2) Standards for satisfactory performance of civilian service and of penalties for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily.

(3) The manner in which persons shall be selected for induction under this title, including the manner in which those selected will be notified of such selection.

(4) All other administrative matters in connection with the induction of persons under this title and the registration, examination, and classification of such persons.

(5) A means to determine questions or claims with respect to inclusion for, or exemption or deferment from induction under this title, including questions of conscientious objection.

(6) Standards for compensation and benefits for persons performing their national service obligation under this title through civilian service.

(7) Such other matters as the President determines necessary to carry out this title.

(c) Use of Prior Act- To the extent determined appropriate by the President, the President may use for purposes of this title the procedures provided in the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.), including procedures for registration, selection, and induction.


(a) Examination- Every person subject to induction under this title shall, before induction, be physically and mentally examined and shall be classified as to fitness to perform national service.

(b) Different Classification Standards- The President may apply different classification standards for fitness for military service and fitness for civilian service.


(a) High School Students- A person who is pursuing a standard course of study, on a full-time basis, in a secondary school or similar institution of learning shall be entitled to have induction under this title postponed until the person-

(1) obtains a high school diploma;

(2) ceases to pursue satisfactorily such course of study; or

(3) attains the age of 20.

(b) Hardship and Disability- Deferments from national service under this title may be made for-

(1) extreme hardship; or

(2) physical or mental disability.

(c) Training Capacity- The President may postpone or suspend the induction of persons for military service under this title as necessary to limit the number of persons receiving basic military training and education to the maximum number that can be adequately trained.

(d) Termination- No deferment or postponement of induction under this title shall continue after the cause of such deferment or postponement ceases.


(a) Qualifications- No person may be inducted for military service under this title unless the person is acceptable to the Secretary concerned for training and meets the same health and physical qualifications applicable under section 505 of title 10, United States Code, to persons seeking original enlistment in a regular component of the Armed Forces.

(b) Other Military Service- No person shall be liable for induction under this title who-

(1) is serving, or has served honorably for at least six months, in any component of the uniformed services on active duty; or

(2) is or becomes a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, a midshipman of a Navy accredited State maritime academy, a member of the Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or the naval aviation college program, so long as that person satisfactorily continues in and completes at least two years training therein.


(a) Claims as Conscientious Objector- Nothing in this title shall be construed to require a person to be subject to combatant training and service in the uniformed services, if that person, by reason of sincerely held moral, ethical, or religious beliefs, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.

(b) Alternative Noncombatant or Civilian Service- A person who claims exemption from combatant training and service under subsection (a) and whose claim is sustained by the local board shall-

(1) be assigned to noncombatant service (as defined by the President), if the person is inducted into the uniformed services; or

(2) be ordered by the local board, if found to be conscientiously opposed to participation in such noncombatant service, to perform national civilian service for the period specified in section 104(a) and subject to such regulations as the President may prescribe.


(a) Discharge- Upon completion or termination of the obligation to perform national service under this title, a person shall be discharged from the uniformed services or from civilian service, as the case may be, and shall not be subject to any further service under this title.

(b) Coordination With Other Authorities- Nothing in this section shall limit or prohibit the call to active service in the uniformed services of any person who is a member of a regular or reserve component of the uniformed services.


(a) Registration Required- Section 3(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 453(a)) is amended-

(1) by striking `male' both places it appears;

(2) by inserting `or herself' after `himself'; and

(3) by striking `he' and inserting `the person'.

(b) Conforming Amendment- Section 16(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 466(a)) is amended by striking `men' and inserting `persons'.


(a) Registration- Section 4 of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 454) is amended by inserting after subsection (g) the following new subsection:

`(h) This section does not apply with respect to the induction of persons into the Armed Forces pursuant to the Universal National Service Act.'.

(b) Induction- Section 17(c) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 467(c)) is amended by striking `now or hereafter' and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting `inducted pursuant to the Universal National Service Act.'.


18) Democrats Split as House Backs War Funds
July 27, 2010

WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives agreed on Tuesday to provide $37 billion to continue financing America's two wars, but the vote showed deepening divisions and anxiety among Democrats over the course of the nearly nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.

The 308-to-114 vote, with strong Republican support, came after the leak of an archive of classified battlefield reports from Afghanistan that fueled new debate over the course of the war and whether President Obama's counterinsurgency strategy could work.

But Mr. Obama and top military officials said Tuesday that the disclosure of the documents should not force a rethinking of America's commitment to the war. As Mr. Obama told reporters in the Rose Garden, "While I'm concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations, the fact is these documents don't reveal any issues that haven't already informed our public debate on Afghanistan."

On a day of continuing political and military fallout over the leaked reports, Pentagon officials said that Pfc. Bradley Manning, 22, an Army intelligence analyst arrested last month on charges of leaking a video of an American helicopter attack in Iraq and charged this month with downloading more than 150,000 classified diplomatic cables, was a "person of interest" in an Army criminal investigation to find who provided the battlefield reports to the group WikiLeaks.

Administration officials said passage of the spending bill, which now goes to Mr. Obama for his signature, showed that the leak had not jeopardized Congressional support for the war and noted that the Senate passed the measure last week with no objection. Democratic leaders in the House said the Congress needed to act to provide the money troops overseas.

"The president is taking a wise and balanced approach in Afghanistan, and it deserves our support," said Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the Maryland Democrat and majority leader.

In the House vote, 148 Democrats and 160 Republicans backed the war spending, but 102 Democrats joined 12 Republicans in opposing the measure. Last year, 32 Democrats opposed a similar midyear spending bill. Among those voting against the bill on Tuesday was Representative David R. Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat and the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the panel responsible for the measure.

Some of the Democratic opposition stemmed from the decision by party leaders to strip from the bill money that had been included in the original House version to help address the weak economy at home, including funds to help preserve teachers' jobs. But some of those voting against it said they were influenced by the leaked documents, which highlight the American military's struggles in Afghanistan and support claims that elements of Pakistan's intelligence service were helping the Taliban.

"All of the puzzle has been put together and it is not a pretty picture," said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. "Things are really ugly over there. I think the White House continues to underestimate the depth of antiwar sentiment here."

On another part of Capitol Hill, at a confirmation hearing for Gen. James N. Mattis to lead the military's Central Command and oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee pressed General Mattis about the course of the war.

Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, pointedly asked General Mattis whether he agreed that a July 2011 deadline for the start of American withdrawals from Afghanistan would mean shifting from the current troop-intensive counterinsurgency strategy to an "increasingly important emphasis" on counterterrorism. In other words, should not the United States use the date to begin moving toward a more limited strategy of hunting down insurgents without trying to rebuild Afghanistan? General Mattis quickly agreed.

"I think that is the approach, Senator," he said.

General Mattis and two Republicans on the panel, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, used the occasion to denounce the leaks, which Mr. McCain said were "simply an extended footnote to a well-known reading of recent history."

General Mattis agreed with Mr. McCain. "One of the newspaper headlines was that war is a tense and dangerous thing," he said. "Well, if that is news, I don't know who it's news to that's on this planet."

In his opening statement, General Mattis declared, "Despite any recent papers leaked to the media, we are remaining in the region; we are not leaving."

General Mattis, who is expected to be confirmed by the committee and the full Senate, is to replace Gen. David H. Petraeus, whose tour at Central Command was cut short when Mr. Obama asked him to take command of the allied mission in Afghanistan after Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal was relieved.

At the White House, Mr. Obama echoed recent statements from his advisers and said that the problems that came to light in the leaked documents had long been known and that he was addressing them with a new strategy he put in place last year. "Indeed, they point to the same challenges that led me to conduct an extensive review of our policy last fall," he said.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a similar argument on Tuesday in Baghdad. "I think it's important to recognize, or emphasize, that these are documents that cover the period 2004 to 2009," Admiral Mullen said. "Much has changed since 2009, particularly with respect to our focus, our new strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

At the Pentagon, officials declined to say whether Private Manning was a prime suspect in the investigation, but they did say that an Army criminal investigation into the leaks that Private Manning had been charged with - the diplomatic cables and the video - had now broadened to include an inquiry into the source of the leak of the classified battlefield reports.

In April, WikiLeaks posted the video, an explosive tape of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad that left 12 people dead, including two employees of the Reuters news agency. Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker who traded instant messages with Private Manning, has said the soldier claimed that he had leaked the cables and video to WikiLeaks and that he turned him into the authorities for national security reasons.

WikiLeaks, in keeping with its policy to protect the anonymity of its sources, has not acknowledged receiving the cables or video from Private Manning. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has refused to say whether the reports came from Private Manning, but he has said that WikiLeaks had offered to help with the private's legal defense.

Jackie Calmes contributed reporting from Washington, and Tim Arango from Baghdad.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 28, 2010

A previous version of this article referred imprecisely to the bill's scope and cost. The bill provides about $37 billion in military funding and associated foreign aid and $22 billion for other purposes; it does not provide all $59 billion for the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


19) Judge Blocks Key Parts of Immigration Law in Arizona
July 28, 2010

PHOENIX - A federal judge, ruling on a clash between the federal government and a state over immigration policy, has blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's immigration enforcement law from going into effect.

In a ruling on a law that has rocked politics coast to coast and thrown a spotlight on the border state's fierce debate over immigration, United States District Court Judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix said some aspects of the law can go into effect as scheduled on Thursday.

But Judge Bolton took aim at the parts of the law that have generated the most controversy, blocking sections that called for officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws and that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times. Judge Bolton put those sections on hold while she continues to hear the larger issues in the challenges to the law.

"Preserving the status quo through a preliminary injunction is less harmful than allowing state laws that are likely preempted by federal law to be enforced," she said.

"There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens," she wrote. "By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose."

The judge's decision, which came as demonstrators opposed and supporting the law gathered here and after three hearings in the past two weeks in which she peppered lawyers on both sides with skeptical questions, seemed unlikely to quell the debate.

Just as the law has fueled rhetoric on the campaign trail, Judge Bolton's ruling seemed destined to do the same, with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, an opponent of the law and a potential rival in a campaign for governor against her, quick to praise the ruling and condemn Ms. Brewer.

"Rather than providing the leadership Arizona needs to solve the immigration problem, Jan Brewer signed a bill she could not defend in court which has led to boycotts, jeopardized our tourism industry and polarized our state," he said.

Ms. Brewer was traveling in Tucson but was preparing a comment of her own.

The ruling came four days before 1,200 National Guard troops are to report to the Southwest border to assist federal and local law enforcement agencies there, part of the Obama administration's response to growing anxiety over the border and immigration that has fed support for the law.

Lawyers for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican who signed the law and is campaigning on it for election, were expected to appeal, and legal experts predict the case is bound for the United States Supreme Court.

The law, adopted in April, was aimed at discouraging illegal immigrants from entering or remaining in the state.

It coincided with economic anxiety and followed a number of high-profile crimes attributed to illegal immigrants and smuggling, though federal data suggests crime is falling in Arizona, as it is nationally, despite a surge of immigration.

Seven lawsuits have been filed against the law, challenging its constitutionality and alleging it will lead to racial profiling.

The Justice Department lawsuit was among the more high profile, filed after President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the law.

It also lead to mass demonstrations in Phoenix, for and against it, and a national campaign by civil rights groups to boycott the state.

The Mexican government warned its citizens about traveling to the state and filed a brief in court supporting the lawsuits. Its human rights commission was sending inspectors to the border in anticipation of an escalation in deportations.

But the law also has attracted support, with polls showing a majority of Americans support the notion of local police assisting in federal immigration enforcement.

The Obama administration struggled to respond. After the law was adopted it defended its handling of the border and immigration while urging Congress to enact a sweeping change in immigration law.

Judge Bolton conducted three hearings on the lawsuits.

Justice Department lawyers argued the state law amounted to regulation of immigration, the exclusive authority of the federal government. They said the law goes too far in requiring local police to make immigration checks and that federal agencies would be overwhelmed in responding to the requests.

In addition, they argued that the law could lead to harassment of legal residents and citizens who fell under suspicion by the police and could damage relations with Mexico and other countries the United States relies on for cooperation with law enforcement and other matters.

Judge Bolton at times did not sound open to the federal government's arguments.

"Why can't Arizona be as inhospitable as they wish to people who have entered or remained in the United States?" she asked Deputy Solicitor General Edwin S. Kneedler last week.

"It is not for one of our states to be inhospitable in the way this statute does," he replied, echoing arguments from other lawyers who have warned against a patchwork of state and local immigration laws.

At another point, she asked, "Where is the preemption if everybody who is arrested for some crime has their immigration status checked?"

She suggested the immigration agency could simply refuse to pick up someone referred by the police, a tact federal officials have hinted could be their response if the law goes forward. But she seemed reluctant to accept that local police making the inquiry intruded on federal authority.

John Bouma, a lawyer for the state, said the law closely hews to federal statutes and follows the intent of Congress to give states a role in enforcing immigration laws.

He said Arizona was being irreparably harmed by the flow of immigration across the border - more people are apprehended crossing the border in Arizona than any other state - and the state should not be penalized for stepping in where the federal government has not.

"The status quo is simply unacceptable," he said.

But Judge Bolton seemed flustered by vague wording in the law and questioned, among other things, if people arrested for any crime would be detained for unusually long periods while their immigration status was being determined, as the law requires.

She also questioned whether local police could arrest somebody without a warrant if they believe they have commited a deportable offense. Determining who gets deported is typically left to a judge.


20) Student Injury at Protest Leads to Battle in Israel
July 27, 2010

JERUSALEM - A macabre legal wrangle is under way over who should pay the hospital bill for an American art student who lost an eye after being struck by a tear-gas canister fired by an Israeli border police officer at a Palestinian-led protest in the West Bank.

The student, Emily Henochowicz, 21, was injured on May 31 after she joined Palestinian and foreign activists protesting that morning's deadly raid by Israeli naval commandos on a Turkish boat trying to breach the blockade of Gaza. Israeli security forces fired tear gas to disperse the demonstration after a few Palestinian youths threw rocks.

Witnesses at the protest, by the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah, said that a border police officer had fired the tear-gas directly at the demonstrators, rather than into the air in line with regulations. The Israeli police have begun a criminal investigation.

But the lawyer representing Ms. Henochowicz, Michael Sfard, recently received a letter from the Israeli Ministry of Defense rejecting any demand for compensation or payment of hospital costs. The reason, the ministry stated, was that the protest was violent and that the tear-gas canister was not fired directly but had ricocheted off a concrete barricade.

Ms. Henochowicz, who is Jewish and is a student at the Cooper Union in New York, arrived in Israel in February for what was supposed to be a six-month student exchange. Her father was born in Israel to Holocaust survivors whom he described as "ardent Zionists."

Speaking by telephone from her home in Potomac, Md., this week, Ms. Henochowicz said it was "upsetting, when someone gets an injury, not only to have to deal with the physical consequences of something you did not do to yourself, but the economic consequences as well."

Ms. Henochowicz, who was treated at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, had her left eye removed and suffered fractures that required the insertion of titanium plates. She returned to the United States in early June, where she is continuing to visit doctors and specialists.

But more than the cost of the treatment in Israel, which amounted to about $10,000, there are clearly legal principles and interests at stake.

The student's father, Dr. Stuart Henochowicz, said by telephone that he had not yet explored the question of whether his daughter's insurance would cover the bill, because he was under the impression that it would be paid by the Ministry of Defense.

On Tuesday, the ministry stated that according to preliminary checks, the border police dealt lawfully with the "violent protest at Qalandiya," and that the firing of tear gas was justified. While expressing sorrow over Ms. Henochowicz's injury, the ministry added that it did not cover hospitalization expenses in circumstances such as these.

The ministry said it had acted similarly in the case of Tristan Anderson, an American severely wounded by a tear-gas projectile in 2009. The ministry said that Mr. Anderson had filed a suit in the Tel Aviv District Court, where the issue of hospital expenses would be settled.

Mr. Sfard, the lawyer, said that from the start he told Dr. Henochowicz, who flew to Israel from the United States to be at his daughter's bedside, "not to touch his wallet or to sign any check."

In a letter to the ministry, Mr. Sfard wrote, "It is insolent and preposterous to expect someone who was shot by the security forces, whether unintentionally, negligently or with criminal intention, to fund her own medical treatment."

Yuval Weiss, the director of the medical center in Ein Kerem, said the hospital was "not a party to the argument."

"It makes no difference to us who pays, as long as somebody does," he said. "We cannot work for free."

After her arrival in Israel, Ms. Henochowicz, who came to Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, got involved with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement after meeting activists at a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, an East Jerusalem neighborhood where settlers have won court cases and evicted several Palestinian families from their homes.

From Sheikh Jarrah, Ms. Henochowicz frequented the regular Palestinian protest spots in the West Bank like Bilin, Nilin and Nabi Saleh. The late May protest was her first at Qalandiya. "I did not know what it would be like," she said.

The demonstration came hours after Israel's raid on an aid flotilla. Violent clashes broke out on the Turkish boat and nine activists - eight Turks and an American-Turkish youth - were killed.

Ms. Henochowicz said she was not standing near the stone throwers. She was holding a Turkish and an Austrian flag when she was struck.

Avi Issacharoff, an Israeli journalist from the newspaper Haaretz, was watching the demonstration. "The police fired a tear-gas grenade, and then another and another," he wrote in June "I remember that what surprised me was the volley of grenade fire directly aimed directly at the demonstrators, not at the sky. After the fourth grenade, if I am not mistaken, a shout was heard about 100 meters away."

Unusual for a foreign activist in a conflict where battle lines are often starkly drawn, Ms. Henochowicz says she feels a certain affinity with both sides. She said she had wanted to help the Palestinians, but because of her background, she said she also felt "very attached" to Israel "in lots of ways."

She added, "If I did not really care about what was happening in the country, I would have hung out on the beach all day."

Dr. Henochowicz said he found the whole episode "hurtful," and was upset that no Israeli officials made any contact with him or his daughter during the five days they were at the hospital.

Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael B. Oren, has since visited the family's home in Maryland, Dr. Henochowicz said.

If it was an accident, "Why didn't they come to the hospital and talk to me?" he asked.


21) Containment Efforts Persist After Michigan Oil Leak
July 28, 2010

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - Response crews were working Wednesday morning to contain an oil spill in southern Michigan that flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a major waterway that pours into Lake Michigan only 60 miles away.

More than 800,000 gallons of oil spilled Monday from a leak in a 30-inch pipeline that carries about 8 million gallons of oil each day from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario. The leak left fish and birds coated in oil.

Enbridge Energy Partners, of Houston, owns the pipeline. The cause of the leak was being investigated; the part of the pipeline in question had been recovered for examination, officials said.

Enbridge said the oil spilled into Talmadge Creek before its response team stopped the flow. Response efforts included oil collection skimmers, containment and absorbent booms, the statement said. Enbridge officials said at a news conference Wednesday morning that they were doubling the amount of boom on the river, to 28,000 feet.

Residents awoke to the smell of oil again Wednesday as black clouds of goop continued to stream down the Kalamazoo River, which snakes through downtown.

"It's the worst in the morning," said Larry Rizor, an architect who lives in Battle Creek. "It smells like oil, almost like a pumping station."

After touring the area by helicopter Tuesday night, Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan called the response effort anemic. "There needs to be a lot more done," Mrs. Granholm said at a news conference.

Some reports said the oil had flowed 16 miles downstream, but officials said they did not expect the spill to move beyond a dam near Kalamazoo. The river empties into Lake Michigan in Saugatuck.

Enbridge officials said 819,000 gallons of oil had spilled, but other estimates had the total much higher. .

United States Rep. Mark Schauer, a Michigan Democrat, criticized Enbridge for what he considered a slow and undersized response. Ken Brock, Mr. Schauer's chief of staff, said "the volume is bigger than what they're saying," and that the amount of oil could be up to triple the amount estimated by Enbridge.

"Our main focus at this point is continuing the containment and beginning the cleanup process," said Patrick Daniel, the chief executive of Enbridge. "Our intent is to return your community to its original state and the waterways to their normal state. We do commit to doing that."


22) On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill Is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay
July 27, 2010

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil continue here and there.

Reporters flying over the area Sunday spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil, and radar images taken since then suggest that these few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf.

John Amos, president of SkyTruth, an environmental advocacy group that sharply criticized the early, low estimates of the size of the BP leak, noted that no oil had gushed from the well for nearly two weeks.

"Oil has a finite life span at the surface," Mr. Amos said Tuesday, after examining fresh radar images of the slick. "At this point, that oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly."

The dissolution of the slick should reduce the risk of oil killing more animals or hitting shorelines. But it does not end the many problems and scientific uncertainties associated with the spill, and federal leaders emphasized this week that they had no intention of walking away from those problems any time soon.

The effect on sea life of the large amounts of oil that dissolved below the surface is still a mystery. Two preliminary government reports on that issue have found concentrations of toxic compounds in the deep sea to be low, but the reports left many questions, especially regarding an apparent decline in oxygen levels in the water.

And understanding the effects of the spill on the shorelines that were hit, including Louisiana's coastal marshes, is expected to occupy scientists for years. Fishermen along the coast are deeply skeptical of any declarations of success, expressing concern about the long-term effects of the chemical dispersants used to combat the spill and of the submerged oil, particularly on shrimp and crab larvae that are the foundation of future fishing seasons.

After 86 days of oil gushing into the gulf, the leak was finally stopped on July 15, when BP managed to install a tight-fitting cap on the well a mile below the sea floor, then gradually closed a series of valves. Still, the well has not been permanently sealed. Until that step is completed in several weeks, the risk remains that the leak will resume.

Scientists said the rapid dissipation of the surface oil was probably due to a combination of factors. The gulf has an immense natural capacity to break down oil, which leaks into it at a steady rate from thousands of natural seeps. Though none of the seeps is anywhere near the size of the Deepwater Horizon leak, they do mean that the gulf is swarming with bacteria that can eat oil.

The winds from two storms that blew through the gulf in recent weeks, including a storm over the weekend that disintegrated before making landfall, also appear to have contributed to a rapid dispersion of the oil. Then there was the response mounted by BP and the government, the largest in history, involving more than 4,000 boats attacking the oil with skimming equipment, controlled surface burns and other tactics.

Some of the compounds in the oil evaporate, reducing their impact on the environment. Jeffrey W. Short, a former government scientist who studied oil spills and now works for the environmental advocacy group Oceana, said that as much as 40 percent of the oil in the gulf might have simply evaporated once it reached the surface.

An unknown percentage of the oil would have been eaten by bacteria, essentially rendering the compounds harmless and incorporating them into the food chain. But other components of the oil have most likely turned into floating tar balls that could continue to gum up beaches and marshes, and may represent a continuing threat to some sea life. A three-mile by four-mile band of tar balls was discovered off the Louisiana coast on Tuesday.

"Less oil on the surface does not mean that there isn't oil beneath the surface, however, or that our beaches and marshes are not still at risk," Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a briefing on Tuesday. "We are extremely concerned about the short-term and long-term impacts to the gulf ecosystem."

Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who leads the government's response, has emphasized that boats are still skimming some oil at the surface. Admiral Allen said the risk of shoreline oiling might continue for at least several more weeks.

"While we would all like to see the area come back as quickly as it can," he said, "I think we all need to understand that we, at least in the history of this country, we've never put this much oil into the water. And we need to take this very seriously."

Still, it is becoming clear that the Obama administration, in conjunction with BP, will soon have to make decisions about how quickly to begin scaling down the large-scale - and expensive - response effort. That is a touchy issue, and not just for environmental reasons.

The response itself has become the principal livelihood for thousands of fishermen and other workers whose lives were upended by the oil spill. More than 1,400 fishing boats and other vessels have been hired to help deploy coastal barriers and perform other cleanup tasks. Those fishermen are unconvinced that the gradual disappearance of oil on the surface means they will be able to return to work soon.

"Surface is one thing; you know that's going to dissipate and all," said Mickey Johnson, who owns a shrimp boat in Bayou La Batre, Ala., pointing out that shrimpers trawl near the sea floor.

"Our whole big concern has always been the bottom," Mr. Johnson said.

The scientific picture of what has happened at the bottom of the gulf remains murky, though Dr. Lubchenco said in Tuesday's briefing that federal scientists had determined that the oil was primarily in the water column and not sitting on the sea floor.

States have been pushing the federal authorities to move quickly to reopen gulf waters to commercial fishing; through most of the spill, about a third of the United States part of the gulf has been closed. The Food and Drug Administration is trying to speed its testing, while promising continued diligence to be sure no tainted seafood gets to market.

Even if the seafood of the gulf is deemed safe by the authorities, resistance to buying it may linger among the public, an uncertainty that defies measurement and is on the minds of residents along the entire Gulf Coast.

"How do we get people to buy our food again?" Mr. Johnson asked.

While leaders on the Gulf Coast would welcome moves by the federal government that could put residents back to work, they are also wary of any premature declaration of victory. Officials in Grand Isle, La., met with the Coast Guard after the well had been capped to insist that no response equipment be removed until six weeks had passed.

Rear Adm. Paul F. Zukunft of the Coast Guard, coordinator of the response on the scene, said any decisions about scaling down the effort would be made only by consensus, and only after an analysis of the continuing threat from oil in each region of the gulf.

"I think it's going to happen one day at a time," Admiral Zukunft said.

John Collins Rudolf contributed reporting.


23) Picture This, and Risk Arrest
July 27, 2010

One afternoon, Duane P. Kerzic was arrested by the Amtrak police while taking pictures of a train pulling into Pennsylvania Station. At first, the police asked him to delete the images from his camera, but he refused. He ended up handcuffed to the wall of a holding cell while an officer wrote a ticket for trespassing.

Mr. Kerzic, a semiprofessional photographer, proceeded to describe his detention on his Web site and included images of the summons. He also hired a lawyer to sue.

In due course, Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report" arrived to sound the gong. He turned the Kerzic story into a segment called "Nailed 'Em." It mocked Amtrak without mercy.

"Finally," Mr. Colbert reported, "Kerzic cracked and revealed the reason he was taking his terrifying photos."

Mr. Kerzic appeared on the screen.

"The reason I was taking photos of trains is that every year Amtrak has a contest; it's called 'Picture Our Train,' " he explained.

Soon after the show was broadcast, a strange thing happened. The section of Mr. Kerzic's Web site that dealt with Amtrak all but vanished. His lawsuit was settled, and as a condition of the deal, he had to remove his writings about the episode. Now his page on Amtrak - at - contains two words: "No Comment!"

Mr. Kerzic and his lawyer, Gerald Cohen, both said they couldn't talk about what had become of the Web pages describing the arrest and his commentary about it. Carlos Miller, a photographer and blogger who followed the case, reported that Mr. Kerzic received a "five-figure" settlement.

But how could Amtrak - the national railroad, whose preferred stock is owned by the American public and whose chief executive and board of directors are appointed by the president and confirmed by Congress - require that a Web site criticizing the railroad be shut down as a condition of settling a lawsuit for wrongful arrest?

What qualifications does Amtrak have to function as a censor?

"Our policy has been and continues to be that 'Amtrak does not comment on civil case settlements,' "Clifford Cole, an Amtrak spokesman, said in an e-mail message. "We would not have any more to say on this matter."

Since 9/11, a number of government bodies have sought to limit photography in railroad stations and other public buildings. One rationale is that pictures would help people planning acts of mayhem. It has been a largely futile effort. On a practical level, decent cameras now come in every size and shape, and controlling how people use them would require legions of police officers. Moreover, taking photographs and displaying them is speech protected by the First Amendment, no less than taking notes and writing them up.

LAST year, a man named Robert Taylor was arrested on a nearly empty subway platform in the Bronx, accused of illegally taking pictures. For good measure, the officer threw in a disorderly conduct charge, on the grounds that Mr. Taylor was blocking people's movement, even though it was the middle of the afternoon, the platform was about 10,000 square feet and there was hardly anyone around. The charges were dismissed, and the city paid Mr. Taylor $30,000 for his trouble. The city had already paid $31,501 to a medical student who was arrested while he was shooting pictures of every train station in the city.

After Mr. Taylor's case, the New York Police Department reminded officers that there was no ban on taking pictures in the subway system.

In November, Antonio Musumeci, a member of the Manhattan Libertarian Party, was given a ticket while videotaping a political protest in the plaza outside the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan. Citing a federal regulation that dates to 1957, agents of the Federal Protective Service gave Mr. Musumeci a summons as he recorded a man who was handing pamphlets to potential jurors. The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on Mr. Musumeci's behalf, arguing that the rules that govern photography on federal property were vague and unconstitutional. The lawsuit says people routinely take pictures on the plaza after new citizens are sworn in at the courthouse.

Since Mr. Kerzic's run-in with the police at Penn Station, Amtrak has dropped its Web page on the "Picture Our Trains" contest.

Mr. Colbert wasn't standing for it.

"This photography contest," he said, "is Amtrak's cleverest ruse since their so-called timetable."



24) Death Penalty Is Challenged Before a Trial in 3 Killings
July 27, 2010

NEW HAVEN - The defense in the Cheshire triple-murder case made a broad challenge to Connecticut's death penalty law on Tuesday, but the judge indicated that he would reject it and that the trial of one of the parolees charged in the killings would begin as scheduled in September.

Lawyers for the parolee, Steven J. Hayes, who is facing capital charges in the attack on the Petit family of Cheshire, Conn., three years ago this month, argued that the death penalty is unconstitutional. They said a legislative vote to repeal it in Connecticut last year showed that "an evolving standard of decency" meant that capital punishment is now viewed as cruel and unusual. Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, vetoed the repeal.

Patrick Culligan, one of Mr. Hayes's lawyers, acknowledged during a hearing here that the death penalty remained on the books and that the concept had been upheld by the United States Supreme Court and the Connecticut Supreme Court.

But Mr. Culligan argued that the judge, Jon C. Blue of State Superior Court, should "take a fresh look." He argued that the failed move to abolish capital punishment in Connecticut showed that "the death penalty no longer comports with the legislature's understanding of contemporary moral values."

Judge Blue is to preside at the trial of Mr. Hayes scheduled to start on Sept. 13. He did not rule, but he repeatedly made clear that he was unlikely to strike down capital punishment.

"My perception of the duty of a lower court judge is to follow higher court precedent," he said.

Mr. Hayes, a repeat thief, and another long-time criminal who is to be tried separately next year, Joshua Komisarjevsky, both confessed to taking part in a home invasion in Cheshire that included the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11.

Dr. William A. Petit Jr. was badly beaten but survived. He was in court on Tuesday, as he often is, with a small group of relatives.

After the hearing, Dr. Petit said he was annoyed "when the defense gets up and talks about decency." He reminded reporters that his wife, who had multiple sclerosis, was strangled and that his two daughters were tied to their beds in their house, which was set on fire.

In the courtroom, Mr. Hayes, wearing beltless khaki pants and a gray shirt, listened quietly. He exchanged a few words with one of his lawyers after seeming to search the courtroom's gallery briefly for someone.

Experts on capital punishment said that the attack on Connecticut's death penalty law that seemed unlikely to persuade Judge Blue reflected a central defense strategy in many capital cases. They said death penalty lawyers, often confronted with overwhelming evidence of guilt, focused on one goal: keeping their clients from being executed.

In Mr. Hayes's case, his lawyers are expected to work to persuade jurors to impose a sentence of life in prison without release. But if that fails, they will have peppered the record of the case with legal arguments that an appeals court might someday seize upon to reject a death sentence.

"They are planting a seed for the future," said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University who was a defense lawyer in another Connecticut death penalty case.

Professor Freedman said the new challenge to the Connecticut capital punishment law was textbook defense strategy in death penalty cases.

Richard C. Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a group that is critical of capital punishment laws, said capital trials were often different from most others.

Lawyers familiar with capital punishment say that there are often few real mysteries about the crime in death penalty trials. Instead, defense lawyers work to humanize people charged with heinous acts. And if that fails, they plan appeals stretching out over years trying to undermine capital punishment itself.

"The real battle in 90 percent of these cases," Mr. Dieter said, "is over avoiding the death penalty."



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