Friday, September 24, 2010

BAUAW NEWSLETTER--SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2010

More Thoughts on the Division within the Antiwar Movement in the Bay Area
By Bonnie Weinstein and Carole Seligman

******Breaking News******

"Don't F*** With Our Activists" - Mobilizing Against FBI Raid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyG3dIUGQvQ

Three houses in Minneapolis raided, other houses in
Michigan, NC, Chicago targeted.
Submitted by smiley on Fri, 09/24/2010 - 09:20
http://twincities.indymedia.org/2010/sep/breaking-news-three-houses-minneapolis-raided-other-houses-michigan-nc-chicago-targeted

FBI raids homes of several Twin Cities war protesters
By RANDY FURST, Star Tribune
September 24, 2010
http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/103716384.html?elr=KArks%3ADCiUo3PD%3A3D_V_qD3L%3Ac7cQKUiD3aPc%3A_Yyc%3AaU7DYaGEP7vDEh7P%3ADiUs

[NOW IT IS EVEN MORE IMPERATIVE THAT THE U.S. ANTIWAR MOVEMENT UNITE TOGETHER...BW]

*****

We agree with the demands adopted by the UNAC conference but disagree with organizing separately as is now the case.

A way we can still work together would be to agree to accept all the demands and allow organizing under all of them. It is also clear to us that UNAC (United National Antiwar Committee) does not have the base on the West Coast as it seems to have East of the Mississippi. We don't think we could have organized such a conference out here. Not now. Not yet. It is also clear--as it has been for many years--that ANSWER is firmly established as the leadership of the antiwar movement here in San Francisco, at least, and probably in LA and DC. So, we can't build a separate and competing coalition nor do we want to if we want the movement to keep strong and united and to grow.

Unfortunately, it is clear that local labor organizations here in the Bay Area are focusing on getting out the vote for the Democratic Party this November and have rejected any other type of action here on the West Coast on October 2. This rejection of taking action has nothing what-so-ever to do with the demands voted upon by the 800 people at the UNAC conference and has everything to do with keeping the labor movement tied to the Democratic Party.

We have to be realistic when trying to work with organized labors' "leaders." They are failing miserably to protect jobs and working conditions in San Francisco, in the Bay Area and throughout California and, for that matter, across the country. They are selling their own workers down the river lock, stock and barrel! But we do need to organize working people who, we believe, are far to the left of organized labors' "misleaders." That's why a united antiwar movement with strong demands of its own that ties the war spending and banker bailouts to the miseries working people are facing today--here and in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine--is imperative now!

Our belief is that no matter what demands were voted on at the UNAC conference, it makes no difference to these "labor misleaders." They are fully entrenched in the Democratic Party and are doing what they always do in spite of the continual wars and the drastic assault on the living conditions of workers across the country. They have proven themselves incapable of doing anything else in recent history except for giving workers false hope that voting Democratic will make a difference--i.e., "bringing the change we want"--by voting for Democrats.

They failed to push for the Employee Free Choice Act or single-payer healthcare; they make no mention of the fantastic costs of the wars and how they are impacting the living standards of working people; and again, offered only a vote for Democrats as the answer.

It is just not realistic to think that the demands adopted by UNAC are what's keeping organized labor from the antiwar movement. It's the labor misleaders themselves that are keeping organized labor from the antiwar movement no matter what the demands.

It is very strange to us that one minute the San Francisco Labor Council will pass an antiwar resolution and the next minute hold an honorary banquet for the mass murderer and war monger, Nancy Pelosi. Or to continue their ongoing support to Obama who has escalated the wars and the attacks on the living standards of working people, undocumented workers, students, youth--especially Black youth--etc. Has massively bailed out the wealthy with trillions of our tax dollars. That in the middle of a horrific oil spill sent thousands of National Guard troops--not to clean up the spill--but to patrol the borders between Mexico and the U.S. while deploying other National Guard troops to help hide the effects of the BP spill in the Gulf by chasing away scientists who are trying to gather data about the spill and the dispersants being poured into the oceans we all depend upon.

We haven't the slightest hope that electing Democrats will will improve any of these conditions. Only mass action in the streets demanding the things we want--an end to the wars NOW; an end to the bailout of the wealthy NOW; and an end to the billions spent on defending Israeli Apartheid and the massacre of the Palestinian people--all to protect U.S. interests in Middle East oil and other natural resources throughout the world. This is what the Democratic and Republican parties are all about and what their military is all about.

Working people are doomed if they continue to support the lesser of two evils--the Democratic party. It only leads to more evil as is evident if one's eyes are open.

We can't convince working people to see the truth if we don't tell the truth. And supporting the Democratic Party as a way to resolve the problems of working people, or to end these murderous wars, is NOT the truth!

We can't raise the consciousness of working people if we water down our demands to agree with the labor fakers and the Democratic Party.

In all sincerity,

Bonnie Weinstein
Carole Seligman

Report on September 19th Antiwar Meetings and an Open Letter to the Antiwar Movement

Dear peace activist:

We went to both antiwar meetings Sunday, September 19th -- ANSWER and Bay Area UNAC (United National Antiwar Committee). Both were approximately equal in size, and not very large. Both were attended by several groups who are active in the antiwar movement. Together we would have had a good size meeting of about 80. Actually, together we would have had a much more substantial meeting, because several people stayed away when they learned that there were two meetings at the same time, 1/2 a block away from each other.

People want the antiwar forces to work together to struggle to end these wars. People are disgusted at the great unity shown by the war parties, the Republicans and Democrats--in carrying out these wars. We must demand that the antiwar organizers--ourselves--work together in greater unity than the war parties do. Where we disagree with demands or slogans, let's find a way to include all.

The UNAC meeting scheduled a follow up meeting for Sunday, October 17th. Let's make this meeting one that is co-sponsored with ANSWER and invite all to participate in planning the next series of educational events and actions. Let's create the broadest possible structure for involving the whole movement and inviting people who have not participated before. Let's find a way to organize together! The situation demands it.

Carole Seligman
Bonnie Weinstein

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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Sep 25 CA Public Workers Conference On Privatization of Education & Public Services-It's Time To Stand Up For Public Services And Public Education

It's Time To Stand Up For Public Services And Public Education
CA Public Workers Conference On Privatization of Education & Public Services
September 25 (Saturday) 2010
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM (Free)
At: NALC Local 1111 Richmond Union Hall
402 37th St. Richmond, CA 94805

California public workers are under the greatest
attack since the 1930's. The many gains made by
public workers from decent wages and working
conditions to proper healthcare benefits and pen-
sions are under assault. This is a coordinated effort
by big business and their representatives to weaken
and destroy both public workers and their unions,
which are the largest and most significant part of
organized labor in this state and nation.
Public workers must begin the process of educating
ourselves first and the public at large why privati-
zation is a threat to our entire society and the future
of our state and country.
To carry out this task, on September 25, 2010, a
California Public Education and Public Workers
Conference will be held to provide an overview of
the history of privatization in California and how
the economic crisis is now being used as a pretext
to step up the outsourcing and destruction of the
public sector.
Join with unions from the public education, public
transit agencies and public services, and also with
students and unorganized workers to discuss the af-
fect of privatization and develop a plan and action
program to educate and fight back against these at-
tacks.
Initial List of Speakers:
Mary Catherine McCarthy, National Coordinator of CUPE Campaign Against Privatization (Canada)
Diane Brown, President of United Teachers of Richmond UTR
David Lyons, ATU 192, AC Transit Steward
Julie Washington, VP, United Teachers Los Angeles UTLA
George Wright, Professor Skyline College, AFT 1493
Charles Smith, AFSCME Local 444 Delegate to Alameda Labor Council
Peter Byrne, Journalist, On Privatization of UC Pension System and conflicts of interest
Arturo Diaz, SEIU 721 Los Angeles Shop Steward
Giorgio Cosentino, Micro Biologist CAPS member CA Department of Public Health, Richmond
Endorsed by San Francisco Labor Council, AFSCME Local 444, Diane Brown - president United Teachers Of Richmond,
Charles Brown - Former Chief Steward AFSCME 444, Jack Gerson - Oakland Education Association Bargaining Team & OEA
rep to CTA State Council and Alameda Central Labor Council, Contra Costa P&FP CC, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC
Initial sponsor - United Public Workers For Action www.upwa.info (415) 867 0628 lvpsf@labornet.org
For Registration:
Please send your name, e-mail, phone number and
union/organization (if any) to lvpsf@labornet.org
For more information: Call (415)867-0628 or write to
UPWA, P.O. Box 720027, San Francisco, CA 94172
www.upwa.info

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Urgent Execution Alert!
Death Penalty Focus
Working for alternatives to the death penalty
crystal@nodeathpenalty.org
510-333-7966
https://death.rdsecure.org/section.php?id=20

Abolitionists,

Please read the urgent execution alert below!

Everyone should be prepared to protest at San Quentin on Tuesday. If any CEDP or Kevin Cooper Defense Committee folks can help with outreach between now and Tuesday please call or e-mail me.

More updates and information to follow.

Crystal
crystal@nodeathpenalty.org
510-333-7966

Working for alternatives to the death penalty

Urgent Execution Alert!

Despite the fact that there are still many unresolved legal issues related to the administration of lethal injection in California, the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) is pushing forward with plans to execute Albert Brown on September 29th at 12:01am. Death Penalty Focus takes the position that CDCR's actions are hasty and harmful to victims' families who are being put through a legal roller coaster ride.

As many of the legal issues surrounding this execution may not be resolved until the last minute, we have decided to move forward with plans to oppose this execution because the death penalty in California is dysfunctional, costly, plagued with inaccuracies, applied in a racially biased manner, and inconsistent with the evolving standards of decency.

We need your help!

Here's what you can do:

1. Please attend one of the following four press conferences and rallies on Tuesday, September 28th to show your opposition to the death penalty. (Because executions occur just after midnight, events occur on the day before the scheduled execution). Events are listed below.

2. Please encourage your friends and family to sign up for DPF's Urgent Action Alerts: SIGN UP HERE!

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1265/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=2723

3. Please be prepared to take action in the form of letters to the editor and petitions within the next day or two. We will circulate actions for CA residents and national and international supporters.

Please join us in opposing all executions in California.

Thank you.

Join us on Tuesday, September 28th to Oppose the Dysfunctional Death Penalty in California!

San Quentin State Prison (Marin County)
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE at 3pm
RALLY AT 8:00PM
EAST GATE OF SAN QUENTIN PRISON
You can park on Francisco Blvd. E. but expect to walk 1-1.5 Miles to get to the East Gate of San Quentin.
Contact: Lance Lindsey, lance@deathpenalty.org or office 415-243-0143.

Los Angeles
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE/ RALLY AT 5:00 P.M.
Followed by a march to a nearby church.
WESTWOOD FEDERAL BUILDING
11000 Wilshire Boulevard (Corner of Veteran)
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Contact: James Clark, cell 626-344-0632, jclark@aclu-sc.org

Sacramento
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE/ RALLY AT 5:00 P.M.
State Capitol Building
11th & L Streets
Sacramento, CA
Contact: Ellen Eggers, cell 916-215-0510, ejeggers@aol.com

San Diego
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE AT 5:00 P.M.
Hall of Justice
330 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
Contact: Denise Serrano, 619-398-4486, dserrano@aclusandiego.org

Death Penalty Focus
870 Market St. Ste. 859 San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. 415.243.0143 - Fax 415.243.0994 - www.deathpenalty.org

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Protest U.S./NATO War in Afghanistan
on 9th Anniversary of Invasion

End colonial occupation-Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and everywhere
Fund Jobs, Schools, Healthcare and Housing-Not the Pentagon
Fight Islamophobia, anti-immigrant attacks and all forms of racism

Wednesday, October 6, 5pm
Powell & Markets Sts., SF

As the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan enters its tenth year, casualties on both sides are at an all-time high. Spending on the war in Afghanistan alone is over $2.5 billion per week-that's $2,500,000,000 every week-at a time when tens of millions of people have lost their jobs, housing, healthcare and pensions here, and most Afghani people live in extreme poverty. Regardless of public relations proclamations from the White House, the Iraq occupation is far from over, and the U.S.-backed Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people is intensifying.

The real military budget this year is over $1,000,000,000,000-or more than $32,000 per second. The biggest banks, military industries and other corporations are reaping vast profits from the suffering of working people in the war zones and here. At the same time as they sit atop mountains of cash, corporations like the Blackstone Group (owners of the Hilton Hotel) are attacking the health benefits of thousands of union hotel workers in San Francisco who are struggling to win a new contract. Politicians and the right-wing corporate media constantly seek to divide working people by fomenting Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-immigrant racism.

Join us on Oct. 6 to say NO to war, racism and all bigotry, and YES to meeting the needs of the people!

Call 415-821-6545 for more info or to get involved.

Initiated by A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition-Act Now to Stop War & End Racism. Endorsed by: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Justice for Filipino American Veterans, Unitarian Universalists for Peace-S.F., National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, Bay Area United Against War, United National Antiwar Committee, Party for Socialism and Liberation, World Can't Wait, Free Palestine Alliance, Code Pink Women for Peace, Alliance for a Just & Lasting Peace in the Philippines, March Forward!, Socialist Viewpoint, FMLN-Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (list in formation-call or reply to add your organization, 415-821-6545)

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

Make a tax-deductible donation to A.N.S.W.E.R. by credit card over a secure server,
learn how to donate by check.

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October 7 Day of Action in Defense of Public Education - California

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

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

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

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

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

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

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

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The Most Dangerous Man in America:
Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
*Academy Award nominee available on DVD for community organizations
*Broadcast premiere on PBS Tuesday, October 5
Dear Michael ,

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist, concluded that the war was based on decades of lies and leaked 7,000 pages of top secret documents to The New York Times, making headlines around the world.

The story of how one man's profound change of heart created a landmark struggle involving America's newspapers, president and Supreme Court, and whose events led directly to Watergate, Nixon's resignation and the end of the Vietnam War is depicted in a new Academy-Award-nominated documentary film and political thriller, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.
_________________________

The saga of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers resonates powerfully today. Organizations and activists that address issues of freedom of speech, war and peace, whistle blowing, the First Amendment, civil liberties, government secrecy, and much, much more are able to connect to, and be inspired by, the events surrounding Ellsberg and the publication of the Pentagon Papers.
"[The film] dramatizes a kind of secular spiritual journey-from warrior to anti-warrior, from analyst to activist, from patriot to "traitor." Ellsberg describes the stages of this transformation with his usual precision and ardor." -- David Denby, The New Yorker

I want to alert you to one upcoming event and one important opportunity for you and you organization.

1. On Tuesday, October 5, following a 5-month run in more than 140 theaters nationwide, The Most Dangerous Man in America has its broadcast premiere on the POV series on PBS, at 9pm (check local listings). A special videotaped panel discussion with Daniel Ellsberg, former Times editor Max Frankel, and current editors of The New York Times, will immediately follow the film as part of the broadcast.

2. A new educational DVD of The Most Dangerous Man in America has just been produced, for use in colleges, high schools and community organizations. Among its "extras" will be a Spanish-subtitled version; 30 minutes of "secret" Nixon White House audiotapes (conversations between the President and (among others) Henry Kissinger, John Ehrlichman, J. Edgar Hoover and John Dean (from his notorious "cancer on the presidency" discussion with Nixon), excerpts from Ellsberg's memoir Secrets, biographies of the filmmakers, and more.

Community organizations are authorized to use this "educational use only" dvd for their own non-admission screenings, to raise donations for their organizations, to use as an organizing tool, for outreach, inspiration, information and instruction.

The Most Dangerous Man in America is co-directed by award-winning documentarians Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith.
"Detailed, clearly told, persuasive" - Mike Hale, The New York Times

I would like you to consider use of The Most Dangerous Man in America for your organization. You can learn more about the film and see a trailer at www.mostdangerousman.org, where a dvd of the film can be ordered for your use. CLICK HERE TO ORDER DVD. To obtain a 10% discount, use the discount code UCQ4YJ. Please contact me directly with any questions.

Sincerely yours,

Rick Goldsmith, co-producer/co-director, rgoldfilm@aol.com.

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Free all Palestinian Authority Political Prisoners! Rally for Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails Oct. 5-15!

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat + www.freeahmadsaadat.org + info@freeahmadsaadat.org

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat demands the release of all Palestinian Authority political prisoners and an end to the policy of security cooperation

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat demands that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and its security services to end its policy of political arrests and persecution, free all political prisoners from its jails, and respect the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Authority continues to adhere to the policy of security cooperation with the occupier, and still continues its violations of human rights, further violating the rights of our people already suffering under Zionist occupation, facing systematic starvation, oppression, impoverishment and siege.

Ahmad Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and his comrades were victims of the policy of security coordination between the Authority and the Zionist occupier. Therefore, we must naturally reject and oppose the policies of the government of Salam Fayyad and the repressive practices of the security services which only further divide Palestinians, disintegrate the Palestinian national movement, and harm the image of the Palestinian cause and our national struggle.

The policy of political arrests is clearly deeply linked to the policy of security cooperation with the occupier. These attacks on the freedom of the Palestinian people serve the interests only of the occupation and the settlers. Instead of protecting the Palestinian people's resistance and its cadres and supporters in the West Bank, protecting the Palestinian people's civil institutions and charities, the Palestinian Authority chooses to breach all ties with the Palestinian national movement, violate the law, engage in arbitrary arrests and human rights violations, and harm the security of Palestinian citizens, violating their rights and dignity.

It is clear that the people of the world, as well as the people of Palestine, must stand to defend and protect the rights of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people. We call for the widest public participation in Palestine and around the world for the freedom of prisoners in Israeli prisons and to confront the policy of isolation. Join with us on October 5-15 on the International Days of Action for Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners, demanding an end to isolation and the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners!

Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat
September 20, 2010
info@freeahmadsaadat.org
http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org

*PLEASE EMAIL US YOUR OCTOBER 5-15 ACTIONS! EMAIL INFO@FREEAHMADSAADAT.ORG*

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The Berkeley Says No to Torture Week Oct 10-16 has a new website, go to:

www.WeSayNoToTorture.net

and then from there, go to the Facebook page. Let this be your "go-to" site for all things regarding the Berkeley Says "No To Torture" Week. The Events Calendar is growing quickly (many not yet posted pending venue confirmation, etc.) We aim to have the best possible local week in Berkeley, AND to encourage and inspire even more resolutions like this all around the country -- any community could pull together around taking this stand, as people are doing here -- so could you please widely forward this new site and Facebook to all your friends and contacts?

TUESDAY Sept. 21, 7 PM: Be There!

Berkeley City Council will vote this week to declare "Berkeley Says No To Torture" Week an official civic week.

This will take our message to a whole new level, and Council needs to know they have wide public support in Berkeley -- and beyond -- to vote YES. Come to the meeting -- look for our contingent -- to show your support. (If you'd like to speak during Public Comment in support of the Resolution, please let us know here ahead of time -- we need a "wide representation" show of support especially speakers.)

And please take a few minutes to SEND City Council members and Mayor Tom Bates your personal or organizational support for the Resolution. (Please copy us here if you send emails). Here is the link:
www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=18496

Please forward this info widely, we hope to see a strong turnout at the Council meeting: Tuesday Sept. 21 7 PM, and please arrive early if you can, at Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704.

sf@worldcantwait.org (415) 864-5153 sfbaycantwait.org www.myspace.com/sfbaycantwait
World Can't Wait SF
2940-16th St., Rm. 200-6
San Francisco CA 94103

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Justice for Oscar Grant Rally
Saturday, October 23, 12:00 Noon
Frank Ogawa Plaza
(Oakland City Hall near 14th and Broadway)

Join family and friends of Oscar Grant, Labor and Community to demand:

--Maximum sentence for Johannes Mehserle!
--Stop police brutality! Jail racist killer cops!
--Expand jobs and education, not war and repression!

Stand up and make your voice heard! Johannes Mehserle was only arrested after people took to the streets to express their outrage. Without continuous labor and community action, Mehserle might have been acquitted. Together we can make sure that the killer cop gets the maximum sentence so other cops don't think they can get away with murder.

Sponsored by:

ILWU Local 10

Endorsed by other labor and community organizations.

For more information please contact:
Farless Dailey, Secretary Treasurer, 415-776-8100
local10secretarytreasurer@bayarea.net

---

Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net

PLEASE ENDORSE OCTOBER 23 RESOLUTION BELOW:

[SEND ENDORSEMENTS TO: jackheyman@comcast.net]

Resolution in Support of October 23 ILWU Rally for Justice for Oscar Grant

Whereas, Oscar Grant's killer, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle received a verdict of involuntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010 and will be sentenced on November 5; 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, wherever employers try to break a strike, police are there to protect the scabs and attack workers, as we know from the 1934 West Coast Maritime Strike, to the Charleston Five longshore struggle in 2000; and

Whereas, black and brown racial minorities, and especially immigrant workers today, struggling for equal rights have borne the brunt of police violence; and

Whereas , Oscar Grant's killing is another manifestation of the same unjust system where the message for the poor, the working class, and people of color is submission or death; and

Whereas, ILWU Local 10 has initiated the call for a mass labor and community protest rally on Saturday October 23, 2010 in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza calling for justice for Oscar Grant in the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle,

Therefore be it Resolved, that (name of organization) endorses this rally along with other labor unions, community groups, civil rights organizations, civil liberties organizations and will help to mobilize for this rally for justice for Oscar Grant;

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All.

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STOP U.S. IMPERIALIST WARS!
VICTORY TO THE OPPRESSED PEOPLES IN THE U.S. AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2010
MARCH ON WASHINGTON
BLACK IS BACK
blackisbackcoalition.org

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NOVEMBER 2010 - CONVERGE ON FORT BENNING, GEORGIA
November 18-21, 2010: Close the SOA and take a stand for justice in the Americas.
www.soaw.org/take-action/november-vigil

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.

ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY FOR THE 2010 VIGIL!

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!

VIGIL AND RALLY AT THE GATES, NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION, TEACH-IN, CONCERTS, WORKSHOPS AND A ANTI-MILITARIZATION ORGANIZERS CONFERENCE

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.

SHUT DOWN THE SOA AND RESIST U.S. MILITARIZATION IN THE AMERICAS

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:
http://www.SOAW.org/tellafriend

For more information, visit:
www.SOAW.org.

See you at the gates of Fort Benning in November 2010

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B. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.:

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"Don't F*** With Our Activists" - Mobilizing Against FBI Raid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyG3dIUGQvQ

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Stephen Colbert's statement before Congress
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/39343087#39343087

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PcolaGregg Answers VisitPensacola.com With Truth And Reality
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtopYgl9h8Q&feature=player_embedded#!

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s Of Dead Fish Wash Up On New Jersey Beaches

Take The Criminal Record Question Off Job Applications in Detroit
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ_32T9NsfM

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What's Going On In The Gulf?
"But remember, one of the world's top oil industry accident experts says that the well may never be killed.
I hope and pray that the relief well is successful. But if there were insurmountable problems in capping the well, do you think we would hear about it before the November elections?"
[There are several video's at this site...bw]
Thursday, September 16, 2010
http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2010/09/whats-going-on-in-gulf.html

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Prof. says HOMELAND SECURITY confiscated samples and NOTES with inside info on dispersant
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmuJ_V0-iZk

Science in the Gulf, NPR Science Friday, August 20, 2010:

Darren in College Station, Texas: I'm an adjunct professor here at [Texas] A&M

We were also in the Gulf and got thrown out.

We were testing a theory that the chemical conposition ofthe dispersant they wee using was causing the dispersant to sink. And we'd been there for approximately three days and federal agents told us to get out.

Federal agents said it was in the interest of national security.

They were Homeland Security officers.

They took all the samples we had and they also took some notes that we had, the theory we were operating upon was information that had been given to us by someone who worked in the plant that made that dispersant, and they took everything.

Cary Nelson, president, American Association of University Professors, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois: This is kind of an insane world we've entered into kind of the barring of reputable scientists from a public site who could contribute considerably to the knowledge we have.

Talk of the Nation: Dr D'Elia, have you head of other cases like that?

Dr. Christopher D'Elia, professor and dean, School of The Coast and Environment, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.: Yes I've heard of other cases.

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REAL ESTATE RULES

(Scott Stringer, Manhattan borough president: "The entrance fee to live here is a million-dollar condo." - The New York Times, July 4)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,"

Said Emma Lazarus - but time passes,

And the poor go back to being wretched refuse

For which the condo captains have no use.

And so the needy are forced again to disperse,

To search for ill-lit tenements, or worse,

From which their outcast children may behold

The soaring towers built of glass and gold.

Leon Freilich
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/nyregion/13diary.html?ref=nyregion

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Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love
http://www.booktv.org/Watch/11778/Bad+Sports+How+Owners+are+Ruining+the+Games+We+Love.aspx

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Good morning it was a pleasure speaking with you yesterday about the Diablo Valley film Festival. Our Festival is a benefit for the Contra Costa animal services department and the Martinez schools 20/20 program. Our event is September 11, 2010, this Saturday, and our 11AM feature is "Scarred Lands and Wounded Llives". You can find more information about the festival at our website www.DiabloValleyfilmFestival.com I thought that this would be a showing that would be of interest to you and your organization. We also have a block at five o'clock which is called "Save our Seas" which is a series of shorts on environmental issues regarding the oceans. Tickets can be purchased online at our website and the proceeds go to the above organizations. Your help in getting the word out to your membership and other causes that you think may be interested that I do not have access to will help to change the minds of hopefully more than a few people. Your help and your participation is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Here is a link to a trailer for the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkOCIx6JAd8

Tony Blackburn, Executive Producer
Diablo Valley Film Festival
(925) 231-5365

Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives:
The Environmental Footprint of War

FILM SYNOPSIS

What prompts this film is recognition of our deep dependence on the natural world and the significant threat to that world posed by war and preparations for war.

The scale of environmental damage over the last half century is unprecedented. Falling water tables, shrinking forest cover, declining species diversity - all presage ecosystems in distress. These trends are now widely acknowledged as emanating from forces of humanity's own making: massive population increases, unsustainable demands on natural resources, species loss, ruinous environmental practices. Ironically however, war, that most destructive of human behaviors, is commonly bypassed.

In all its stages, from the production of weapons through combat to cleanup and restoration, war entails actions that pollute land, air, and water, destroy biodiversity, and drain natural resources. Yet the environmental damage occasioned by war and preparation for war is routinely underestimated, underreported, even ignored. The environment remains war's "silent casualty."

Activities that do such damage cry out for far-reaching public scrutiny. The very sustainability of our planet is at stake. We can no longer maintain silence about the environmental impact of war on the grounds that such scrutiny is "inconvenient" or "callous" at a time when human life is so endangered.

If we cannot eliminate war, we can at least require a fuller accounting of war's costs and consequences, and demand that destructive forces used in our name leave a lighter footprint on this highly vulnerable planet. It is to this change in values and actions that this documentary film is directed.

Directors

Alice T. Day was born in New York City and educated at the Brearley School in New York and at Smith College (BA, magna cum laude), Columbia (MA in sociology), and the Australian National University (PhD in sociology). Alice currently sits on the board of the Council for a Livable World; the Task Force on Environment and Natural Resources, Woman's National Democratic Club (Washington); and the Environmental Film Festival (Washington.)

Before moving to Washington, Alice was most recently Hofstee Fellow, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, 1994, and Director, Successful Ageing, A.C.T., an Australian government project, Canberra, A.C.T., 1990-93.

Best known books of the more than 30 books, professional articles, book chapters, and reports that she has written are: Remarkable Survivors - Insights into Successful Aging among Women; We Can Manage - Expectations about Care and Varieties of Family Support among Persons 75 Years of Age and Over; and (with Lincoln H. Day) Too Many Americans.

*

Lincoln H. Day was born in Ames, Iowa and educated in the public schools of Denver, Colorado, and at Yale (BA, cum laude) and Columbia (MA and PhD in sociology). He currently sits on the board of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; the Environmental Film Festival (Washington); and is a member of the Council for a Livable World (Washington).

Before moving to Washington, Lincoln was most recently Hofstee Fellow, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, 1994, and Senior Fellow in Demography, Research School of Social Sciences, Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 1973-1993.

In addition to some 80 book chapters and articles in professional journals, he is the author of two books, co-author of four others (two of which were written in collaboration with Alice T. Day), and editor and part author of two more. Apart from Too Many Americans (written with Alice T. Day), his best-known books are: The Future of Low-Birthrate Populations; and Analysing Population Trends - Differential Fertility in a Pluralistic Society.
--
Executive Producer of the Diablo Valley Film Festival
www.diablovalleyfilmfestival.com
Student of the Grape
Soccer Player (Goal Keeper)
Wine Maker (In my own mind)
Facebook Ho (Friend Me!)
Motorcycle Rider (Kawasaki ZZR1200)

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From The Gulf Stream To The Bloodstream - THE VIDEO BP DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6drasiXNFaw

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Plume? Stationary ROV covered by non-stop 'clouds' on seafloor (VIDEO)
September 4th, 2010 at 04:21 AM Print Post Email Post
Live feed from Development Driller 2 ROV 1, September 3, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. EDT:
http://www.floridaoilspilllaw.com/plume-stationary-rov-continuously-covered-by-non-stop-clouds-video

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Air Force sprays oil dispersant
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtM58wPxf60&feature=related

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Appeals Court Ruling Allows Government to Use GPS to Track People's Moves
Gps
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/2/appeals_court_ruling_allows_government_to

A federal court in California has issued a ruling that's raising widespread alarm among advocates for civil liberties. Earlier this month, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said law enforcement agents can sneak onto a person's property, plant a GPS device on their vehicle, and track their every movements. The court's ruling means the spying is legal in California and eight other Western states.

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HONOR RALLIES AFTER WAR
COMMENTARY BY MUMIA-ABU-JAMAL
http://www.prisonradio.org/audio/mumia/2010MAJ/08August10/HonorRalliesAfterWar.mp3

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New video! Fishermen find dispersants and oil on Mississippi shrimp and oyster grounds
http://bridgethegulfproject.info/node/29

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The Video the US Military doesn't want you to see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1MazfmZYxw

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George Orwell's "1984_
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/08/25/watch-movie-adaptation-george-orwells-1984-3585/

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OBAMA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU_p2i5bfBM&feature=related

Lyrics: Smiling Faces Sometimes
http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/the_undisputed_truth/smiling_faces_sometimes.html
Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

The truth is in the eyes
Cause the eyes don't lie, amen
Remember a smile is just
A frown turned upside down
My friend let me tell you
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth, uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
I'm telling you beware
Beware of the pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Jealousy (jealousy)
Misery (misery)
Envy

I tell you, you can't see behind smiling faces
Smiling faces sometimes they don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
I'm telling you beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
Listen to me now, beware
Beware of that pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

Your enemy won't do you no harm
Cause you'll know where he's coming from
Don't let the handshake and the smile fool ya
Take my advice I'm only try' to school ya

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Toxic Soup in Ocean Springs Ms By Lorrie Williams
August 13, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXBLCekZiyA
August 16, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/user/LorrieofOceanspring

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BP Oil Spill Cleanup Worker Exposes the Realities of Beach Cleanup In Gulf of Mexico
August 11, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IlMDBAGLFI

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WikiLeaks' Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord's Eyewitness Story
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kelmEZe8whI&feature=player_embedded

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On The Move: Mumia Abu-Jamal's Message to the United National Peace Conference
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9QAgr1wNZA&feature=player_embedded

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Video: George Carlin: "The American Dream"/"Workers Nightmare"
Because the Owners of This Country Own Everything - They Own You - They Don't Want Critical Thinking - They Want Obedient Workers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=159216125164&ref=mf

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Citizens of New Orleans Respond to the BP Oil Spill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCCX8kLm3Sc

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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Deafening Silence, Chuck Africa (MOVE 9)

Peace People,
This poem is from Chuck Africa, one of the MOVE 9, who is currently serving 30-100 years on trump up charges of killing a police officer. After 32 years in prison, the MOVE 9 are repeatly denied parole, after serving their minimum sentence. Chuck wanted me to share this with the people, so that we can see how our silence in demanding the MOVE 9's freedom is inherently an invitation to their death behind prison walls.

Deafening Silence

Don't ya'll hear cries of anguish?

In the climate of pain come joining voices?

But voices become unheard and strained by inactions

Of dead brains

How long will thou Philly soul remain in the pit of agonizing apathy?

Indifference seems to greet you like the morning mirror

Look closely in the mirror and realize it's a period of mourning....

My Sistas, mothers, daughters, wives and warriors

Languish in prisons obscurity like a distant star in the galaxies as does their brothers

We need to be free....

How loud can you stay silence?

Have the courage to stand up and have a say,

Choose resistance and let go of your fears.

The history of injustice to MOVE; we all know so well

But your deafening silence could be my DEATH KNELL.

Chuck Africa

Please share, inform people and get involve in demanding the MOVE 9's freedom! www.MOVE9parole.blogspot.com

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Instituto del Derecho de Asilo - Casa Museo Leon Trotsky, A.C.
(IDA-CMLTAC)
Avenida Río Churubusco No. 410
Col. del Carmen Coyoacán
CP 04100 México, DF -- MEXICO
Tel. 56 58 87 32
gall.museotrotsky@gmail.com
----------------------------

Dear Friends in the United States:

We are writing this letter to invite you to support the effort to preserve and renovate the Leon Trotsky Museum (IDA-MCLTAC) in Mexico City.

Already many of our U.S. supporters have sent out appeals to their friends urging support for our project. We thank them for their efforts, and we thank the dozens of you who have already sent in financial contributions to our fund.

On August 20, at 4 p.m., we launched the International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum at a special event in a larger venue than our Museum's auditorium: the Foro Coyoacanense, Hugo Argüelles, Calle Allende No. 36, in the center district of Coyoacán, in the southern region of Mexico City.

This event was part of a three-day series of activities on August 19-21 marking the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky, the 35th anniversary of the opening of the Trotsky Museum, and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Institute on the Right of Asylum.

We would like to invite all our friends and supporters in the United States to join "International Friends."

If you would like to join "International Friends," please send us a note to the email address listed above. We welcome all who support our Museum's six-point "Statement on Social Objectives" and our four-point "Renovation Project" [see below], and who wish to help us raise desperately needed funds to promote these objectives.

Our goal is for International Friends to include the broadest possible regroupment of personalities, democratic rights activists (including supporters of the right to asylum, which is one of the main themes of our Museum), political activists, and museologists of different progressive political tendencies and backgrounds.

On August 19 and August 20 we also held in our Museum's auditorium a Conference on "Socialism, Democracy and Dissident Movements." There were presentations by Mexican and international speakers. Some of the panels were the following:

- Trotsky and the Dewey Commission (Prof. Olivia Gall, UNAM and Trotsky Museum),

- Participation and Rights of Latinos in the United States (Prof. Suzanne Oboler, Editor, Latino Studies, CUNY),

- Dissident Social Movements on the Left and the Right in the United States (Alan Benjamin, Editor, The Organizer),

- The Relevance of Victor Serge (Suzi Weissman, KPFK Radio producer and author),

- Trotsky and the Dissident Movements in Eastern Europe (Prof. Gabriel García Higueras, University of Lima, Peru), and

- Victor Serge, the POUM and the "Socialism and Liberty" group (Prof. Claudio Albertini, UACM).

The program of the event launching the International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum on August 20 included presentations by Esteban Volkov (Trotsky's grandson and president of the board of directors of the museum) and Olivia Gall (director of the museum); a theatrical presentation by Grupo Sol Azul of Moises Mendelewicz titled "Conversations with Trotsky"; a presentation on Political Asylum in Mexico by Pablo Yankelvich (INAH); and a trailer presentation of the film "Planet Without a Visa" (by David Weiss and Linda Laub), with an introduction by Linda Laub.

Finally, on August 21, there was a placing of a wreath on the tombstones of Leon Trotsky and Natalia Sedova, with a presentation by Esteban Volkov.

We invite you to donate to our Museum preservation/renovation fund and to join our International Friends of the Leon Trotsky group and campaign. Please send your checks, payable to Global Exchange (write "Trotsky Museum" on Memo line of your check), to International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum, P.O. Box 40009, San Francisco, CA 94140.

Sincerely,
Esteban Volkov Bronstein
Grandson of Leon Trotsky
President of the Board of the IDA-MCLTAC
Olivia Gall
Full Professor, CEIICH-UNAM
Director of the IDA-MCLTAC
* * * * * * * * * *

Appendix No. 1

International Friends of the
Leon Trotsky Museum (IFLTM)

(Excerpts)

The IDA-MCLTAC's Social Objectives

The Social Objective of the Institution is:

1. To maintain, protect, preserve, restore, guard and improve in all pertinent and necessary ways, the Leon Trotsky House-Museum, who must offer its visitors the best possible museology services.

2. To maintain, protect, preserve, guard and increase, in all pertinent and necessary ways, the existing materials in the Rafael Galván Library and in the association's Documentary Center, which must offer its visitors the best possible information and research services.

3. To promote and develop research, analysis, education and effective communication regarding the topic of the right of asylum, and, when related to asylum, on those of migration and refuge.

4. To promote and develop the study, analysis, education and effective communication regarding "the defense of public rights and public freedom."

5. To manage the association's assets and resources, as well as those received through donations, contributions, transfers, bequests, wills, liens, trusts, funding, agreements or employment contracts, in cash or in kind, coming from individuals or corporations, domestic or foreign, public or private. These funds and resources will be used exclusively for the purposes of the Association.

6. To establish partnerships through agreements or other legal forms provided by existing legislation, with any cultural, artistic, social or academic national or international institution, both public and private, which may contribute to the better attainment of its goals.

********************

Appendix No. 2

Renovation Project

The Directive Council of the Institution has developed a project consisting in gradually transforming the IDA-MCLTAC into an institution that takes the figure of Leon Trotsky as its central axis, but also approaches the different ideological and political currents of socialist thought, actions and debates, the right of asylum and the history of revolutionary and post-revolutionary Mexico, in which Trotsky was admitted as a political refugee. The goal is to create an institution that will establish agreements with academics, museums and documentary, visual and bibliographical archives from all over the world, in order to offer the public:

1. A MODERN MUSEUM

* A well-preserved house-museum that will give its visitors an idea of the real environment in which Trotsky, his friends, guards, secretaries and guests lived between May 1939 and August 1940: a tense and anguished environment, not always but sometimes joyful, not very prosperous, but of hard work and comradeship.

* Permanent as well as temporary exhibits built on visual, audiovisual, documentary and interactive materials.

2. A RESEARCH, EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATION CENTER, INTERESTED IN THE ANALYSIS OF HISTORICAL FACTS AND IN THE EXCHANGE OF IDEAS, THROUGH

* Consultation of printed, graphic, audiovisual and interactive materials, in situ or via the web,

* The development of educational and cultural programs, which will consist in conferences, symposia, book presentations, courses and workshops.

* A small bookstore in which our visitors will find books -in three languages, if possible- related to the institution's subjects.

3. A CINEMA CLUB

In it, old and new short films, movies and documentaries, organized according to different subjects of historical, political, intellectual and cultural interest will be shown and discussed.

4. A SPACE FOR ART, ART CRAFTS, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT, CUISINE AND SOCIAL GATHERING

A space that will try to constitute an original, simple, elegant and international cultural option that will harbor:

* Diverse cultural expressions of our contemporary world: sculptors, painters, mimes, actors, storytellers, dancers, poets, musicians, etc.

* The house's garden, such as it was kept by Natalia Sedova and by Sieva Volkov's family between 1939 and the early 1970s.

* A cafeteria that will serve very good coffee, tea, pastries and appetizers, and that will offer in Coyoacán a touch of originality given by four combined elements: (a) a simple international menu made by a few Baltic, Jewish, Balkan, Turkish, French, Norwegian and Mexican dishes, typical of the countries where Trotsky lived or was exiled, (b) the access to reading, in situ, some international newspapers and magazines, (c) a decoration that will portray the style of Mexican restaurants in the thirties, and (d) some music or poetry evenings.

* A shop, selling posters, little boxes, mugs, pens, calendars book markers, agendas, etc., so that our visitors may take home some of the museum's souvenirs.

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Say No to Islamophobia!
Defend Mosques and Community Centers!
The Fight for Peace and Social Justice Requires Defense of All Under Attack!
http://www.petitiononline.com/nophobia/petition.html

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Kevin Keith Update: Good News! Death sentence commuted!

Ohio may execute an innocent man unless you take action.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-kevin-keith

Ohio's Governor Spares Life of a Death Row Inmate Kevin Keith
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/us/03ohio.html?ref=us

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Please sign the petition to release Bradley Manning

http://www.petitiononline.com/manning1/petition.html (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!

Sincerely,

The Undersigned:
http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?manning1

--
Zaineb Alani
http://www.thewordsthatcomeout.blogspot.com
http://www.tigresssmiles.blogspot.com
"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

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http://couragetoresist.org/donate

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!

http://couragetoresist.org/donate

Jeff Paterson,
Project Director, Courage to Resist

p.s. Our new August print newsletter is now available:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/aug10-newsltr.pdf

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Please forward widely...

HELP LYNNE STEWART -- SUPPORT THESE BILLS

These two bills are now in Congress and need your support. Either or both bills would drastically decrease Lynne's and other federal sentences substantially.

H.R. 1475 "Federal Prison Work Incentive Act Amended 2009," Congressman Danny Davis, Democrat, Illinois

This bill will restore and amend the former federal B.O.P. good time allowances. It will let all federal prisoners, except lifers, earn significant reductions to their sentences. Second, earn monthly good time days by working prison jobs. Third, allowances for performing outstanding services or duties in connection with institutional operations. In addition, part of this bill is to bring back parole to federal long term prisoners.

Go to: www.FedCURE.org and www.FAMM.org

At this time, federal prisoners only earn 47 days per year good time. If H.R. 1475 passes, Lynne Stewart would earn 120-180 days per year good time!

H.R. 61 "45 And Older," Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (18th Congressional District, Texas)

This bill provides early release from federal prison after serving half of a violent crime or violent conduct in prison.

Please write, call, email your Representatives and Senators. Demand their votes!

This information is brought to you by Diane E. Schindelwig, a federal prisoner #36582-177 and friend and supporter of Lynne Stewart.

Write to Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY 2-S
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
http://www.takingaimradio.com/shows/audio.html

And check out this article (link) too!
http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2010/062210Lendman.shtml

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL GRAVELY CONCERNED THAT RULING PUTS TROY DAVIS ON TRACK FOR EXECUTION; CITES PERSISTING DOUBTS ABOUT HIS GUILT
"Judge William T. Moore, Jr. ruled that while executing an innocent person would violate the United States Constitution, Davis didn't meet the extraordinarily high legal bar to prove his innocence."
Amnesty International Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Contact: Wende Gozan Brown at 212-633-4247, wgozan@aiusa.org.

(Washington, D.C.) - Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today expressed deep concern that a federal district court decision puts Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis back on track for execution, despite doubts about his guilt that were raised during a June evidentiary hearing. Judge William T. Moore, Jr. ruled that while executing an innocent person would violate the United States Constitution, Davis didn't meet the extraordinarily high legal bar to prove his innocence.

"Nobody walking out of that hearing could view this as an open-and-shut case," said Larry Cox, executive director of AIUSA. "The testimony that came to light demonstrates that doubt still exists, but the legal bar for proving innocence was set so high it was virtually insurmountable. It would be utterly unconscionable to proceed with this execution, plain and simple."

Amnesty International representatives, including Cox, attended the hearing in Savannah, Ga. The organization noted that evidence continues to cast doubt over the case:

· Four witnesses admitted in court that they lied at trial when they implicated Troy Davis and that they did not know who shot Officer Mark MacPhail.

· Four witnesses implicated another man as the one who killed the officer - including a man who says he saw the shooting and could clearly identify the alternative suspect, who is a family member.

· Three original state witnesses described police coercion during questioning, including one man who was 16 years old at the time of the murder and was questioned by several police officers without his parents or other adults present.

"The Troy Davis case is emblematic of everything that is wrong with capital punishment," said Laura Moye, director of AIUSA's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign. "In a system rife with error, mistakes can be made. There are no do-overs when it comes to death. Lawmakers across the country should scrutinize this case carefully, not only because of its unprecedented nature, but because it clearly indicates the need to abolish the death penalty in the United States."

Since the launch of its February 2007 report, Where Is the Justice for Me? The Case of Troy Davis, Facing Execution in Georgia, Amnesty International has campaigned intensively for a new evidentiary hearing or trial and clemency for Davis, collecting hundreds of thousands of clemency petition signatures and letters from across the United States and around the world. To date, internationally known figures such as Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have all joined the call for clemency, as well as lawmakers from within and outside of Georgia.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

# # #

For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis.

Wende Gozan Brown
Media Relations Director
Amnesty International USA
212/633-4247 (o)
347/526-5520 (c)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!

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

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

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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1) U.S. Prisons, Muslims and Human Rights Violations
By Bonnie Kerness
September 3, 2010
http://www.opednews.com/articles/U-S-Prisons-Muslims-and-by-Bonnie-Kerness-100903-575.html

2) Letter to the DREAM Movement:
My Painful Withdrawal of Support for the DREAM Act
by Raúl Al-qaraz Ochoa
17 September 2010
http://antifronteras.com/2010/09/18/letter-to-the-dream-movement-my-painful-withdrawal-of-support-for-the-dream-act/

3) Harah!: Israeli Company Hired by State Government to Spy on Pennsylvanians
By Dave Lindorff
September 18, 2010
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/208

4) Science and the Gulf
NYT Editorial
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/opinion/20mon1.html?hp

5) Report Says F.B.I. Gave Inaccurate Information on Surveillance at Rally
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/09/20/us/politics/AP-US-FBI-Surveillance.html?hp

6) Haitians Cry in Letters: 'Please - Do Something!'
By DEBORAH SONTAG
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/world/americas/20haiti.html?ref=world

7) 5 U.S. Soldiers Accused of Killing Afghan Civilians
By WILLIAM YARDLEY and ERIC SCHMITT
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/us/20soldiers.html?ref=world

8) For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again
By MOTOKO RICH
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/business/economy/20older.html?ref=us

9) U.S. Says BP Well Is Finally 'Dead'
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/us/20well.html?ref=us

10) Report Says Drilling Ban Had Little Effect
By JOHN M. BRODER
September 16, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/science/earth/17moratorium.html?ref=science

11) The Meat Eaters
By JEFF MCMAHAN
September 19, 2010, 5:35 pm
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/the-meat-eaters/

12) Exclusive! New Test Shows Key Witnesses Lied at Abu-Jamal Trial; Sidewalk Murder Scene Should Have Displayed Bullet Impacts
By Anonymous
Created 09/20/2010 - 10:58
by: Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/214

13) Extreme Heat Bleaches Coral, and Threat Is Seen
By JUSTIN GILLIS
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/science/earth/21coral.html?ref=world

14) On a Clock, a Grim Toll of Mothers
By CLYDE HABERMAN
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/nyregion/21nyc.html?ref=world

15) Family Fight, Border Patrol Raid, Baby Deported
By ADAM LIPTAK
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/us/21bar.html?ref=world

16) Recession May Be Over, but Joblessness Remains
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/business/economy/21econ.html?ref=us

17) Jobless Rate Rises in 27 States
By MOTOKO RICH
September 21, 2010, 11:06 am
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/jobless-rate-rises-in-27-states/?ref=business

18) The Long View of China's Currency
By DAVID LEONHARDT
September 21, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/22/business/global/22leonhardt.html?ref=business

19) Urgent Execution Alert!
Death Penalty Focus
Working for alternatives to the death penalty
crystal@nodeathpenalty.org
510-333-7966
https://death.rdsecure.org/section.php?id=20

20) America Is Suffering a Power Outage (and the Rest of the World Knows It)
by Dilip Hiro
September 23, 2010
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/23-8

21) How the CIA ran a secret army of 3,000 assassins
By Julius Cavendish in Kabul
Thursday, 23 September 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/how-the-cia-ran-a-secret-army-of-3000-assassins-2087039.html

22) The Whole Truthiness and Nothing But
By ASHLEY PARKER
Video: Stephen Colbert's statement before Congress
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/39343087#39343087
September 24, 2010, 1:19 pm
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/the-whole-truthiness-and-nothing-but/?hp

23) Woman, 41, Is Executed in Virginia
By ANAHAD O'CONNOR
September 23, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/us/24execute.html?_r=1&ref=us

24) Some Obama Allies Fear School Lunch Bill Could Rob Food Stamp Program
By ROBERT PEAR
"A bill that the House is expected to consider within days would come up with some of the money by cutting future food stamp benefits....Nationwide, more than 41 million people receive food stamps, nearly half of them children. The number of recipients has increased 51 percent since the recession began in December 2007. The average monthly benefit is $133 a person, about $4.40 a day." [Starving Mom and Pop Peter to feed baby Paul...bw]
September 23, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/us/24food.html?ref=us

25) *Breaking News* Three houses in Minneapolis raided, other houses in
Michigan, NC, Chicago targeted.
Submitted by smiley on Fri, 09/24/2010 - 09:20
http://twincities.indymedia.org/2010/sep/breaking-news-three-houses-minneapolis-raided-other-houses-michigan-nc-chicago-targeted

26) FBI raids homes of several Twin Cities war protesters
By RANDY FURST, Star Tribune
September 24, 2010
http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/103716384.html?elr=KArks%3ADCiUo3PD%3A3D_V_qD3L%3Ac7cQKUiD3aPc%3A_Yyc%3AaU7DYaGEP7vDEh7P%3ADiUs

27) What the Pot Legalization Campaign Really Threatens
by David Sirota
Published on Friday, September 24, 2010 by Oregon Live
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/24-5

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1) U.S. Prisons, Muslims and Human Rights Violations
By Bonnie Kerness
September 3, 2010
http://www.opednews.com/articles/U-S-Prisons-Muslims-and-by-Bonnie-Kerness-100903-575.html

In 1986, I received a letter from Ojore Lutalo who had just been placed in the Management Control Unit at Trenton State Prison in New Jersey. He asked what a control unit was, why he was in there and how long he would have to stay. We knew little of control units then, except what we learned from the many prisoners who reached out to the AFSC to mentor those of us trying to give voice to what was - and is still - happening.

Today the continued use of these instruments of torture coupled with the persistent misunderstanding and mislabeling of prisoners as Muslim extremist threatens the security of Americans both inside and outside prison walls, and eats away the moral and spiritual compass that purports to drive American justice.

After Ojore's letter, we began hearing from people throughout the country saying that they were prisoners being held in extended isolation for political reasons. We heard from jailhouse lawyers, and prisoner activists, many of whom were Muslim who found themselves targeted and locked down in 24/7 solitary confinement. The AFSC began contacting people inside and outside the prisons to collect testimonies of what was going on in those isolation units which by definition are forms of torture. We had no idea how many people were experiencing this, the conditions in those units and how many control units there were.

One woman wrote "the guard sprayed me with pepper spray because I wouldn't take my clothes off in front of five male guards. They carried me to my isolation cell, laid me down on a steel bed and took my clothes off, leaving me with that pepper spray burning my face."

Some of the saddest letters are from prisoners writing on behalf of their mentally ill peers like the man who spread feces over his body. The guards' response to this was to put him in a bath so hot it boiled 30 percent of the skin off him.

"How do you describe desperation to someone who is not desperate?" began a letter to me from Ojore Lutalo. He described everyone in the Trenton Control Unit being awakened at 1 a.m. every other morning by guards dressed in riot gear and holding barking dogs. Then the prisoners were forced to strip, gather their belongings while the dogs strained at their leashes and snapped at their private parts. He described being terrorized, intimidated, and the humiliation of being naked and not knowing whether the masked guards were male or female.

If we think back to slavery and to images of the modern Civil Rights Movement, we understand that dogs have been used as a device of torture in the U.S. for hundreds of years.

These testimonies and more are from men, women and children being held in isolation and experiencing the use of devices of torture in human cages where there are few witnesses.

I have received thousands of descriptions and drawings of four- and five-point restraints, restraint hoods, restraint belts, restraint beds, stun grenades, stun guns, stun belts, spit hoods, chain gangs, black boxes, tethers, waist and leg chains.

Control units first surfaced during the 1960s and 70s, when many in my generation genuinely believed that each of us was free to dissent politically. In those years, people acted out this belief in a number of ways. Native peoples contributed to the formation of the American Indian Movement dedicated to self determination. Puerto Ricans joined the movement to free the island from US colonialism. Whites formed the Students for a Democratic Society and more anti-imperialist groups, while others worked in the southern Civil Rights movements. The Black Panther Party was formed. And there was a rise in the prisoner rights movement. Nightly television news had graphic pictures of State Troopers, Police, the FBI, and the National Guard killing our peers.

I saw on the evening news coverage of the murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton shot in his sleep by police, and coverage of the killings by National Guard members of young people protesting the Viet Nam War on the Jackson and Kent State Universities campuses. Other civil rights workers were killed with impunity, so many that we felt there was no opportunity to stop mourning because each day another activist was dead. These killings and other acts of oppression led to underground formations such as the Black Liberation Army.

In response to this massive outcry against social inequities and for national liberation, the federal government utilized "Counter Intelligence Programs" called COINTELPRO conducted by a dozen agencies, which aimed to cripple the Black Panther Party and other radical forces. Over the years that these directives were carried out, many of those targeted young people were put in prisons across the country. Some, now in their 60s and 70s, are still there.

While the U.S. denied that there were people being held for political reasons, there was no way to work with prisoners without hearing repeatedly of the existence of such people, and the particular treatment they endured once imprisoned. As early as 1978, Andrew Young, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was widely quoted saying, "there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of people I would describe as political prisoners" in U.S. prisons.

Across the nation, we saw an enhanced use of sensory deprivation units often called "control units" for such people in an attempt to instill behavior modification. It was this growing "special treatment" which we began monitoring. At the time, a former warden at Marion, Illinois, said at a congressional hearing, "The purpose of the Marion Control Unit is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and in society at large."

People throughout the world are beginning to understand what the prisoners have been saying to us for decades about the oppressive, war-like tactics of the U.S. government toward criticism or resistance. People in prison have warned us that what happens inside finds its way out here.

In a May 5th 2009 article in The Trentonian, Afsheen Shamsi of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says that their coalition "is upset over what it says is increasing surveillance in mosques." The group reflects the concerns of Muslims who have grown tired of being stopped at airports, constant questioning and relentless security years after the attacks of 9/11.

The department of corrections system is more than a set of institutions; it is a state of mind. It is that state of mind which expanded the use of isolation, the use of devices of torture, the Counter Intelligence Programs, and the Department of Homeland Security, against activists, both inside and outside the walls.

Ojore, who first contacted us in 1986, exemplifies the history of control units and the misperceptions of all Islam as a threat. He was released from the control unit via litigation in 2002, after 16 years in isolation. In 2004, he was placed back into isolation with no explanation. When I called the N.J. Department of Corrections, I was told that this was upon the request of Homeland Security. In a 2008 Classification decision, this was confirmed in writing which said the Department "continues to show concern regarding your admitted affiliation with the Black Liberation Army. Your radical views and ability to influence others poses a threat to the orderly operation of this Institution."

After a total of 22 years in isolation, Ojore was released from prison in August of 2009 via court order. On January 26th 2010, he was disappeared from an Amtrak train, accused of "endangering public transportation" and arrested in La Junta, Colorado. Because of his unusual name, newspaper articles had him being Muslim and talking about Al Qaeda neither of which were true. A judge dismissed all charges one week later.

Control units' latest mutations are as "security threat group management units." This egregious designation is beyond offensive because it is the government which gets to define "security threat group."

According to a national survey done by the U.S.Department of Justice, the Departments of Corrections of Minnesota and Oregon named all Asians as gangs, which Minnesota further compounds by adding all Native Americans. New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania go on to list various Islamic groups as gangs.

The "Communications Management Units" in federal prisons use isolation to restrict the communication of imprisoned Muslims with their families, the media and the outside world.

In 2004, four Islamic prisoners in California were indicted on charges which included conspiracy to levy war against the U.S. government. One result of this was a 2006 report called "Out of The Shadows: Getting Ahead of Prisoner Radicalization" by George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute. The report states that the "potential for radicalization of prison inmates poses a threat of unknown magnitude to the national security of the United States," noting that "every radicalized prisoner becomes a potential terrorist threat." The report states that it focuses, "in particular on religious radicalization in conjunction with the practice of Islam."

Also in 2006, USAToday reported that the FBI and Homeland Security were "urging prison administrators to set up more intelligence units in state prisons, with an emphasis on background checks to ensure that extremist Muslim clerics don't have access with prisoners."

For those of us who've monitored U.S. prisons over decades, the targeting of radicalization, the targeting of specific groups, the surveillance and infiltration of those groups feels very familiar. There can be no doubt that Islam is being targeted. In one recent case concerning four Islamic men, known as the Newburgh 4, the judge herself noted that " 'Equal Justice Under the Law' are words that can be found on many courthouses, but far too often, where it applies to the socially and or politically marginalized, these are words devoid of meaning."

The U.S. government continues to lock down people for their beliefs, and is still seeking to identify those who have the potential to politically radicalize others. After each Homeland Security Code change, Prison Watch is flooded with calls from people reporting Islamic loved ones being removed from general prison population and placed in isolation.

I have no doubt that Islam itself is suspect to the U.S. government, and that any Muslim, no matter how law abiding, is suspect. Our work today needs to be embedded in struggle against this system and its continued use of isolation and torture as a tool of behavior modification, religious and political repression.

How U.S. prisons function violates the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and a host of other international treaties.

The AFSC recognizes the existence and continued expansion of the penal system as a profound spiritual crisis. It is a crisis that allows children to be demonized. It is a crisis which legitimizes torture, isolation and the abuse of power. It is a crisis which extends beyond prisons into school and judicial systems. I know each time we send a child to bed hungry that is violence. That wealth concentrated in the hands of a few at the expense of many is violence; that the denial of dignity based on race, class or religion is violence. And that poverty and prisons are a form of state-manifested violence created by public policy.

I've been part of the struggle for civil and human rights in this country for over 45 years. We need to alter the very core of every system that slavery, white supremacy and poverty has given birth to, particularly the criminal justice system. The United States must stop violating the human rights of men, women and children. US policies including solitary confinement, and use of devices or torture have nothing to do with safe and orderly operation of prisons or society and everything to do with the spread of a culture of retribution, dehumanization. The restriction of civil rights is something we can and should debate regularly as a society. The violation of human rights, and fundamental human decency, simply is not negotiable.

Bonnie Kerness

Coordinator Prison Watch Project

Healing and Transformative Justice Program

New York Metropolitan Region

American Friends Service Committee

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

www.Freedomarchives.org Questions and comments may be sent to claude@freedomarchives.org

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2) Letter to the DREAM Movement:
My Painful Withdrawal of Support for the DREAM Act
by Raúl Al-qaraz Ochoa
17 September 2010
http://antifronteras.com/2010/09/18/letter-to-the-dream-movement-my-painful-withdrawal-of-support-for-the-dream-act/

I have supported the DREAM Act, despite my critiques and concerns over the military service component. In fact, I was one of the arrestees at the sit-in at John McCain's office in Tucson, AZ; an act of civil disobedience where four brave undocumented students risked deportation and put the DREAM Movement back in the national political stage. I made peace with my participation because I felt I was supporting the self-determination of a movement led by undocumented youth and I felt we could subvert the component that was to feed undocumented youth into the military pipeline if we developed a plan to support youth to the college pathway.

First, let me say that I applaud and admire the tireless work you have all done for the past 10 years. Your commitment and dedication parallels giant student movements of the Civil Rights era. Your persistence in organizing even when the world turned their back on you is inspiring; your creativity in tactics, visuals and media strategy is amazing. Your movement gives hope to hundreds of students I have come across here in Arizona and beyond. It is because of your grassroots efforts-not the politicians' nor the national Hispanic organizations'-that the Dream is still alive and has come this far. As an organizer with permanent resident status privilege, let me assert that your cause for access to college and path to legalization is just. No one can tell you that what you are fighting for is wrong.

With that said, I want to share how I am deeply appalled and outraged at how Washington politics are manipulating and co-opting the dream. I understand that some folks may say, "we just want the DREAM Act to pass regardless", but it is critical to examine the political context surrounding DREAM in its current state. It is disturbing to see how Democrats are attaching our community's dreams for education/legalization to a defense appropriations bill. This is grotesque in a number of ways:

1) Democrats are using the DREAM Act as a political stunt to appeal to Latino voters for the November elections because it is seen as "less" threatening than a broad immigration reform. The Democrats have the political will to recently unite and pass a border militarization bill in a matter of hours ($600 million!), yet they won't pass a broader immigration reform? And now they are up for the DREAM Act? I'm glad they feel the pressure of the Latino voting bloc, but they obviously do not care about our lives, they only seek to secure their seats in November-which by the way look very jeopardized if they don't move quickly to energize their "base". They are also seeking to secure the gay vote with the gradual repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as part of this same defense bill. All in all, insincere, token political gestures only serve to stall real justice.

2) Democrats are telling me that if I support access to education for all my people, I must also support the U.S. war machine with $670 billion for the Pentagon? Does this mean I have to support the military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan? By supporting the DREAM Act, does this mean I automatically give a green light for U.S. forces to continue invading, killing and raping innocent people all over the world? This is really unfair. Here in Arizona I struggle with a climate of fear and terror. Yet even though I am so far away, I hear the cries of Arab mothers who are losing their children in U.S. sponsored bombings and massacres. There's a knot in my throat because victims of U.S. aggression abroad look just like us... victims of U.S. aggression at home. This ugly and twisted political system is dividing us and coercing us into supporting the funding of more bloodshed and more destruction if we want the DREAM Act to pass. Does this mean that our dreams will rest upon the nightmares of people that suffer globally? Obviously, students that call their Senators are supporting their future NOT bloodshed abroad, but we have to be responsible to the larger political implications of this.

3) Democrats are vilifying and criminalizing our parents. A really insulting argument prominently used for passing the DREAM Act that I keep hearing over and over is that because undocumented students "didn't choose to come to the U.S. to break the laws of this country" you shouldn't have to pay for the "sins" or "illegal behavior" of your parents. Are they serious?!? It is not okay to allow legislation to pass that will stand on and disrespect the struggle, sacrifice and dignity of our parents. What about blaming U.S. led capitalist and imperialist policies as the reasons that create our "refugee" populations. Our parents' struggle is not for sale. We must not fall for or feed into the rhetoric that criminalizes us or our parents. We all want justice, but is it true justice if we have to sell out our own family members along the way?

Again, I support this fight-it's part of a larger community struggle. It's personal to all of us. Passage of the DREAM Act would definitely be a step forward in the struggle for Migrant Justice. Yet the politicians in Washington have hijacked this struggle from its original essence and turned dreams into ugly political nightmares. I refuse to be a part of anything that turns us into political pawns of dirty Washington politics. I want my people to be "legalized" but at what cost? We all want it bad. I hear it. I've lived it. but I think it's a matter of how much we're willing to compromise in order to win victories or crumbs.

This again proves how it is problematic to lobby the state and put all our efforts in legislation to pass. We should know that this political route is always filled with racism, opportunism, betrayals and nightmares. History repeats itself once again.

So if I support the DREAM Act, does this mean I am okay with our people being used as political pawns? Does this mean that my hands will be smeared with the same bloodshed the U.S. spills all over the world? Does this mean I am okay with blaming my mother and my father for migrating "illegally" to the U.S.? Am I willing to surrender to all that in exchange for a benefit? Maybe it's easier for me to say that "I can" because I have papers, right? I'd like to think that it's because my political principles will not allow me to do so, regardless of my citizenship status or personal benefit at stake. Strong movements that achieve greater victories are those that stand in solidarity with all oppressed people of the world and never gain access to rights at the expense of other oppressed groups.

I have come to a deeply painful decision: I can no longer in good political conscience support the DREAM Act because the essence of a beautiful dream has been detained by a colonial nightmare seeking to fund and fuel the U.S. empire machine.

I am so sorry and so enraged that this larger political context has deferred those dreams of justice and equality that we all share.

In tears, rage, love and sorrow,

Raúl Al-qaraz Ochoa

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3) Harah!: Israeli Company Hired by State Government to Spy on Pennsylvanians
By Dave Lindorff
September 18, 2010
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/208

The surprise disclosure that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through its state Homeland Security Agency, along with a number of local police departments in the state, have been employing a private Israeli security company with strong links to Mossad and the Israeli Defense Force to spy on law-abiding citizens, grows increasingly disturbing when the website of the company, called the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, is examined.

ITRR's slick site at TerrorResponse.org [1] features a homepage image of an armor-clad soldier or riot policeman preparing to fire an automatic pistol, while the company boasts of being "the preeminent Isreal/American security firm, providing training, intelligence and education for clients across the globe."

The firm, which offers courses locally at the University of Philadelphia, notes that all its course offerings, some of which are taught in Israel, are "approved by the Israeli Ministry of Defense." The course titles include such compelling topics as: "Tactical Advantage in Combat," "Civilian Battlefield," "Undercover/Plainclothes Tactical Operations," "Israeli Shooting Techniques," "Arena Combat," "Hard Entry (Arrest)" and "Principles of Night Operations." While a number of the titles link to course descriptions, the links to the undercover class and the civilian battlefield class were disabled when this reporter visited the site, which was two days after the company's role as a state security contractor was exposed.

The description for the Tactical Advantage course, which the website says was designed for military, law enforcement and security personnel, describes the program as "intense, dirty, aggressive and based on Israeli Counter-Terror Schools policy." It says "This course pushes trainees to the physical and mental edge."

American organizations which engage in protests and rallies, hearing that reference to the Israeli Counter-Terror Schools policy, might recall the IDF's handling of the aid flotilla that was boarded on the high seas by IDF troops as they read these lines. That assault, in which the Israelis used 9mm semi-automatic weapons against defenders armed at most with sticks and light chains, left nine flotilla participants, including a young Turkish American, dead.

The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, which only lists a post-box address in Philadelphia (though in its report on the scandal the Philadelphia Inquirer referred to ITRR as a "Philadelphia-based company with offices in Philadelphia and Jerusalem"), also advertises a subsidiary operation it calls a Targeted Action Monitoring Center (TAM-C), which it claims is "world renowned" and which it says supplies "factual, actionable intelligence to subscribers." All information gathered by the firm's staff of "former law enforcement, military and intelligence professionals" is sent to the Israeli headquarters of the TAM-C for processing--a move which effectively insulates it from discovery by any surveillance victims who might seek disclosure under federal or state Freedom of Information laws, or who might sue in court for violation of their civil liberties.

While ITRR, founded in 2004, doesn't name any of its clients, it says they range from Fortune 100 companies, including the power industry, maritime companies, US infrastructure companies, "the company company charged with protecting oil production facilities," missionary organizations and pharmaceutical firms, to law enforcement agencies and joint terrorism task forces.

A search on Google for references to ITRR doesn't turn up much, but there is a report in July 2008 by a Washington-based right-wing site called National Terror Alert, which attributes a warning of a "possible large-scale terror attack" to ITRR. Claiming that it had "intercepted communications from an organization closely associated with international terrorists, to include al Qaeda," the National Terror Alert organization says TIRR reports that, "Available intelligence and recent events indicate that terrorists have an established capability and current intent to mount an attack on the target and there is some additional information on the nature of the threat. It is assessed that an attack on the target is a priority for the terrorists and is likely to be mounted."

Nothing came of this "alert," but it should be noted that a year later, the first head of the new federal Department of Homeland Security, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge, admitted that the color-coded terror alerts issued by his office had been manipulated to serve Republican political interests. It should also be recalled that the 2008 TIRR "warning" came during the height of the election season, just before the two national party conventions. As the Philadelphia Daily News commented at the time in a headline, "GOP kicks off fall campaign with heightened terror alert."

But ITRR does much more than just monitor terrorists. Indeed, it seems to be far too busy monitoring legitimate, non-violent and completely legal protest organizations and other political groups to do much real anti-terror work. According to news reports on ITRR's work for the Pennsylvania Homeland Security Agency and also the Pittsburgh Police Department, it would appear that ITRR was spying on and providing Pennsylvania State Police and Homeland Security with reports on everything from anti-war groups and anti-oil-shale-fracking groups to gay rights groups, animal rights groups, environmental organizations and even Good Schools Pennsylvania, a citizens association formed to back Gov. Ed Rendell's school reform initiatives. Even a Harrisburg, PA man who likes to bring a 25-foot inflatable pig to demonstrations to symbolize government waste was targeted.

While local news media reports in Philadelphia have suggested that ITRR is just composed of two people, Aaron Richman, an Israeli police captain and security consultant and Michael Perelman, a retired New York City police commander, the website makes it clear that the company actually employs a large number of people in Israel, and may have as many as 15 people working "in the field" in the US.

Its activities are not limited to Pennsylvania either. The firm boasts on its website that "Information provided to clients ranges from issues of global jihad to Mexican Cartel threats along America's southern border (maybe that's where Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer got her weird tale, eventually debunked and retracted, of beheadings in the border desert?) to providing guidance of the threat of disorders as a result of international monetary meetings."

This latter is a reference to the yeoman work ITRR reportedly did for the Pittsburg Police Department in advance of the disastrous G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh, which turned into a police riot after the local government and police brought in hundreds of reinforcements from other cities, with cops suited up as though for war, to lock down the city and prevent students from demonstrating against the predations of international capital and international "free trade" agreements. It appears that ITRR had ingratiated its way into the confidence of demonstration planners by having its agents join chat rooms and websites "posing as G-20 opponents." One wonders whether these same agents may have also acted as agents provocateur.

As the head of Pennsylvania's Homeland Security Agency, James Powers, who hired ITRR, put it, "We got the information to the Pittsburgh Police, and they were able to cut them off at the pass."

So much for the Constitutional right to protest!

Several calls for comment made to the Homeland Security Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency which oversees it went unanswered, but Perelman has released a statement saying "The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response tracks events, givinglaw enforcement a heads-up for the potential of disorder as our bulletins provided to the [state] clearly show...[and] does not follow people, conduct surveillance, photograph, or record individuals."

This claim is undermined by the details in some of its reports (a select bunch of ITRR weekly "terror" alert report released by the state government after the scandal broke included one on the Brandywine Peace Community, which regularly runs a protest at the Lockheed Martin military contractor plant just northwest of Philadelphia. The report says, "When their focus is not directed at Lockheed itself, protesters will likely gather at the traffic light on the corner of Mall and Goddard to wave signs at cars." Less this report not sound terrifying enough, the report adds ominously (with no supporting evidence to back its claim) that even so, the event could attract "radical protesters from the ranks of local communist and/or anarchist movements."

Gov. Rendell, after the story about ITRR's activities for the state under a no-bid, $125,000/year contract, broke, claimed he was "embarrassed" by the spying on non-violent civic action organizations, and vowed to cancel the contract effective this October.

It is not clear, however, that there will be any information provided about who was spied on over the time the company has been active. Members of both political parties in the state legislature are calling for a General Assembly hearing into ITRR's activities, but such calls in this closely divided body generally come to little or nothing. Meanwhile, Rendell, a lame duck governor headed for the exit, is unlikely to do anything about the issue beyond saying he's embarrassed by it. He has said he has no intention of firing Powers.

I know how damaging this kind of spying by state and local governments can be. Back in the mid-1970s, when I and some journalist colleagues owned and ran a small weekly alternative newspaper in Los Angeles, the LA Vanguard, we were among the targets of a massive illegal spying campaign by the paranoid Los Angeles Police Department's "red squad," the Public Disorder Intelligence Division. Our staff was actually penetrated by a young red squad officer, who pretended to be a student wannabe journalist in order to try to learn our sources for reports on the LAPD. But we were only one of about 200 groups, ranging from a local anti-nuclear group to the Peace & Freedom Party, a well-known third party in California electoral politics, to the National Organization for Woman and even the office of then City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky.

The reason we all learned about what the LAPD red squad was doing was that one spy was outed, a class-action suit was filed by the ACLU of Southern California, there was discovery ordered by the court, and eventually the city of Los Angeles settled with the victims of the campaign, to the tune of $1.8 million.

The Pennsylvania ACLU may eventually sue Pennsylvania over this latest domestic spying outrage, but the times have changed, and it is hard to be confident that the courts, no great friend of civil liberties at the state level, and packed with Reagan and Bush 1 and 2 appointees at the federal level, will mandate disclosure of the names of groups spied on, much less of the records that were compiled. Furthermore, because the state did this spying through an outside contractor, which is headquartered in Israel, government and police agencies could claim that the records are for the most part out of their hands and beyond the courts' jurisdiction.

At least one man, Gene Stilp, owner of the giant inflatable pig, already has plans to sue the government in federal court. "When people's civil rights are trampled it's a federal issue," says Stilp, himself a licensed attorney. Stilp says he isn't satisfied with Rendell's statement that he is "embarrassed" by the disclosure of ITRR's contract. "Being embarrassed doesn't cut it," says Stilp, who is calling for an investigation into ITRR's spying activities by the attorney general or the federal government, and full disclosure of which groups and individuals were spied upon.

Another person who has good reason to believe he was probably targeted by ITRR is ThisCantBeHappening!'s own John Grant. Says Grant, "The more I read about this affair, the more disturbing it seems. I'm a Vietnam veteran and part of an organization -- Veterans For Peace -- that very publicly opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We meet monthly and we organize events with other anti-war groups. All First-Amendment-protected, red-blooded American stuff. To think that some self-ordained watchdog group of security freaks is monitoring me and my friends and reporting our activities to God-knows who in the context of 'terrorism' -- and probably making tons of money doing it -- really pisses me off. Governor Rendell should be embarrassed. He should come clean and make public all the groups and people this gang was spying and reporting on. The fact they are somehow connected to Israel -- a nation many of us have been critical of -- is further reason to clear up what's going on."

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4) Science and the Gulf
NYT Editorial
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/opinion/20mon1.html?hp

After months of confusion and contradictory reports, the Obama administration has at last embarked on a systematic effort involving some of the nation's top scientists to measure the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf of Mexico and its potential impact on marine life. An interim report could be ready in several months.

This is very good news. Though the full effects of the spill on the water quality and animal life in the gulf will not be known for years, getting a handle on what's happening now is essential to shaping the right strategy for restoring the gulf to good health. Scientists say the picture changes every day, as undersea oil plumes disperse and degrade. Getting a fix on how much oil lies below the surface and where it is going will make possible more-educated guesses about its effects on the natural system.

The boss of the study will be Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a respected marine scientist. It will involve seagoing research vessels and extensive tests in the water column, from the surface to the sea floor. It will draw on the expertise of Ms. Lubchenco's own agency; universities in Florida, Louisiana and other gulf states; and independent research bodies like the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

For budgetary purposes, the study will be classified as one more component of the government's ongoing response to the April spill, which means that BP will pick up the tab, whatever that turns out to be. BP has already promised to set aside $500 million to underwrite private scientific studies in the gulf over the next 10 years. But this offer has become mired in a political dispute involving gulf state governors and will not, in any case, relieve BP of its responsibility to pay for the NOAA study.

Apart from shaping restoration strategy, the new study may help end the constant - and, from the public's point of view, frustrating - sniping among government and independent scientists over the actual state of play in the gulf. In August, NOAA released an oil "budget" claiming that half of the 4.9 million barrels that had gushed from the well had completely disappeared and that another quarter had been dispersed in rapidly degrading droplets. The White House political apparatus inflated these numbers into a complete victory, inviting widespread complaints from scientists.

Then came the famous now-you-see-it, now-you-don't oil plume controversy. Woods Hole scientists, in a report published Aug. 19 by the journal Science, claimed to have found a 22-mile-long underwater oil plume near the leaking wellhead. Less than a week later, in the same magazine, another report by a team from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a laboratory supported by the federal Energy Department, said the plume had been pretty much devoured by oil-eating microbes and largely disappeared.

These and other disagreements (there have also been differing reports about oil sediments on the ocean floor and about oxygen levels) cry out for an impartial investigation that steps back from the politics of the moment, lowers the temperature of the discussion and seeks fresh answers.

An article in The Times's science section last week indicated that a fortunate combination of circumstances - including warm weather, which encourages evaporation as well as the microbes - had inspired cautious optimism among many scientists that the gulf may recover faster than anyone expected. But we should base our hopes not on conjecture but on painstaking science of the sort that Ms. Lubchenco now promises.

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5) Report Says F.B.I. Gave Inaccurate Information on Surveillance at Rally
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/09/20/us/politics/AP-US-FBI-Surveillance.html?hp

Filed at 1:59 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI gave inaccurate information to Congress and the public when it claimed a possible terrorism link to justify surveilling an anti-war rally in Pittsburgh, the Justice Department's inspector general said Monday in a report on the bureau's scrutiny of domestic activist groups.

Inspector General Glenn Fine said the FBI had no reason to expect that anyone of interest in a terrorism investigation would be present at the 2002 event sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, a nonviolent anti-war and anti-discrimination group.

The surveillance was ''an ill-conceived project on a slow work day,'' the IG stated in a study of several FBI domestic terrorism probes of people affiliated with organizations such as Greenpeace and the Catholic Worker.

Earlier, in statements to Congress and in a press release, the FBI had described the Pittsburgh rally surveillance by one agent as related to a terrorism investigation.

In a letter to the IG, FBI Deputy Director Timothy Murphy said the FBI regrets that inaccurate information was provided to the FBI director and Congress regarding the basis for the agent's presence at the rally.

Speaking generally of the FBI probes it studied, the IG said a domestic terrorism classification has far-reaching impact because people who are subjects of such investigations are normally placed on watchlists and their travels and interactions with law enforcement may be tracked.

The FBI has broad definitions that enable it to classify matters as domestic terrorism that actually are trespassing or vandalism, the inspector general said.

The IG said the evidence did not indicate that the FBI targeted individuals involved with the groups on the basis of their free-speech activities protected by the Constitution's First Amendment, but rather due to concerns about potential criminal acts.

The IG also concluded that the factual basis for opening some investigations was factually weak and that in several instances there was little indication of any possible federal crime, as opposed to state crimes. In some cases, the IG found that the FBI extended the duration of probes without adequate basis and in a few cases the FBI improperly retained information about the groups in its files, classifying some probes relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its ''Acts of Terrorism'' classification.

Regarding the Pittsburgh rally, controversy erupted in 2006 over whether the FBI had spied on protesters at the event several years earlier because of their anti-war views.

At the time, the FBI issued a news release saying the surveillance had been based on an ongoing investigation.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate hearing that the bureau had been trying to identify a particular individual believed to be in attendance.

The FBI's statements to Congress and the public were not true, said the IG, who found no evidence that the FBI had any information at the time of the event that any terrorism subject would be present.

According to the IG, the Office of the Chief Division Counsel in the FBI Pittsburgh Field Division created a document that said the surveillance was supposedly directed at an individual living in Pittsburgh who was of interest to the FBI based on evidence developed in a terrorism probe.

''We determined this version of events was not true,'' said the IG.

The inaccurate statements may have been inadvertent, but the IG said it is more likely that the document reflected an effort to state a stronger justification for the surveillance.

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6) Haitians Cry in Letters: 'Please - Do Something!'
By DEBORAH SONTAG
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/world/americas/20haiti.html?ref=world

CORAIL-CESSELESSE, Haiti - It was after midnight in a remote annex of this isolated tent camp on a windswept gravel plain. Marjorie Saint Hilaire's three boys were fast asleep, but her mind was racing.

The camp leader had proposed writing letters to the nongovernment authorities, and she had so much to say. She lighted a candle and summoned a gracious sentiment with which to begin.

"To all the members of concerned organizations, I thank you first for feeling our pain," she wrote slowly in pencil on what became an eraser-smudged page. "I note that you have taken on almost all our problems and some of our greatest needs."

Ms. Saint Hilaire, 33, then succinctly explained that she had lost her husband and her livelihood to the Jan. 12 earthquake and now found herself hungry, stressed and stranded in a camp annex without a school, a health clinic, a marketplace or any activity at all.

"Please - do something!" she wrote from Tent J2, Block 7, Sector 3, her new address. "We don't want to die of hunger and also we want to send our children to school. I give glory to God that I am still alive - but I would like to stay that way!"

In the last couple of weeks, thousands of displaced Haitians have similarly vented their concerns, depositing impassioned pleas for help in new suggestion boxes at a hundred camps throughout the disaster zone. Taken together, the letters form a collective cri de coeur from a population that has felt increasingly impotent and ignored.

With 1.3 million displaced people in 1,300 camps, homelessness is the new normal here. Two recent protest marches have sought to make the homeless a central issue in the coming presidential campaign. But the tent camp residents, miserable, weary and in many cases fighting eviction, do not seem to have the energy to become a vocal force.

When the International Organization for Migration added suggestion boxes to its information kiosks in scores of camps, it did not expect to tap directly into a well of pent-up emotions. "I anticipated maybe a few cranky letters," said Leonard Doyle, who handles communications for the organization in Haiti. "But to my absolute, blow-me-down surprise, we got 700 letters in three days from our first boxes - real individualized expressions of suffering that give a human face to this ongoing tragedy."

In some cases, the letters contain a breathless litany of miseries, a chain of woes strung together by commas: "I feel discouraged, I don't sleep comfortably, I gave birth six months ago, the baby died, I have six other children, they don't have a father, I don't have work, my tarp is torn, the rain panics me, my house was crushed, I don't have money to feed my family, I would really love it if you would help me," wrote Marie Jean Jean.

In others, despair is expressed formally, with remarkable restraint: "Living under a tent is not favorable neither to me nor to my children" or "We would appreciate your assistance in obtaining a future as one does not appear to be on our horizon."

Several writers sent terse wish lists on self-designed forms: "Name: Paul Wilbert. Camp: Boulos. Need: House. Demand: $1,250. Project: Build house. Thank you."

And some tweaked the truth. Ketteline Lebon, who lives in a camp in the slum area called Cité Soleil, cannot read or write. She dictated a letter to her cousin, who decided to alter Ms. Lebon's story to say that her husband had died in the earthquake whereas he had really died in a car accident. "What does it matter?" Ms. Lebon said, shrugging. "I'm still a widow in a tent with four kids I cannot afford to send to school."

At this camp's annex, Corail 3, Sandra Felicien, a regal woman whose black-and-white sundress looks as crisp as if it hangs in a closet, has become the epistolary queen. An earthquake widow whose husband was crushed to death in the school where he taught adult education courses, Ms. Felicien said she wrote letters almost daily because doing so made her feel as if she were taking action. "We are so powerless," she said. "It is like we are bobbing along on the waves of the ocean, waiting to be saved."

Like the hundreds of families around her in Corail 3, Ms. Felicien and her small son lived first in Camp Fleuriot, a mosquito-infested, flood-prone marsh where many were feverish with malaria or racked by diarrhea. In July, they were bused here to the outskirts of this planned settlement, which is supposed to become a new town someday.

Transitional shelters are being built in this remote spot, and a hundred or so are completed and stand empty. For the moment, though, the one-room houses, like the tents beside them, exist in a sun-scorched vacuum beneath deforested hills. They are surrounded only by latrines, showers and the information kiosk, with its blackboard, bulletin board and suggestion box.

One afternoon last week, Ms. Felicien settled onto the tarp-covered rocks in front of her tent - "my porch" - and used a covered bucket for a writing desk. She was feeling robust, she said, because a neighbor had just treated her to what amounted to brunch - a pack of cookies that she had shared with her son.

She started to recopy the rough draft of a letter that she had written that morning. She was writing in Creole, although her French is impeccable, because "only a Haitian could really understand," she said.

While she wrote, with a reporter by her side and a photographer taking her picture, a boisterous crowd from the camp gathered, concerned that she was getting special attention from foreigners. Their complaints grew so deafening that she rose to address them, explaining that, in fact, the particular letter she was writing was not personal but on behalf of all her neighbors.

Raising her voice to be heard, she read aloud the letter: "Sept. 14. Today we feel fed up with the bad treatment in Block 7. Have you forgotten about us out here in the desert?" The crowd quieted. She continued reading: "You don't understand us. You don't know that an empty bag can't stand. A hungry dog can't play." Other tent camps have health clinics or schools or at least something to do, she read. "Why don't we have such things? Aren't we people, too?"

Heads nodded. The tension dissipated. The crowd dispersed. Ms. Felicien walked her letter to the kiosk to post it. "I don't know why I keep writing," she said. "To this point they have not responded. It's like screaming into the wind."

Mr. Doyle said that all the letters are read, some aloud on Radio Guinen, which broadcasts daily from tent camps as part of an International Organization for Migration communication program. But the $400,000 program was intended to give voice to the voiceless and not food to the hungry or money to the destitute. So unless the writers express a need for protection, as from rape or abuse by camp leaders, their individual requests are not likely to be answered.

Told this, Ms. Felicien said, "Ay yi yi" and shook her head. And then she posted her letter all the same.

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7) 5 U.S. Soldiers Accused of Killing Afghan Civilians
By WILLIAM YARDLEY and ERIC SCHMITT
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/us/20soldiers.html?ref=world

SEATTLE - The brutal, premeditated killings of three Afghan civilians - allegedly at the hands of American soldiers - are expected to be detailed in military court near here this fall, potentially undermining efforts by the United States as it tries to win support among Afghans in fighting the Taliban.

The cases, which accuse five members of an Army Stryker brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, of deliberately ambushing three Afghan men with grenades and rifle fire this year, have also raised questions about how the Army has handled them.

The father of one of the soldiers said in an interview that he had repeatedly tried to alert military officials that his son had told him through Facebook in February that one murder had already been committed by members of his unit and that others could happen in the future.

The son had been threatened by members of his unit and feared for his life, said the father, Christopher Winfield, of Cape Coral, Fla. Two more people were killed after Mr. Winfield first reached out to the Army.

"Nobody listened," he said.

Mr. Winfield, whose claims were first reported by The Associated Press, said in an interview that he called an Army hot line, an Army criminal investigations unit and members of his son's command unit based at Fort Lewis on Feb. 14.

The only time he reached a person by phone, he said, a Fort Lewis sergeant told him his son should report the activities upon his return to the United States.

But he said that when his son, Specialist Adam C. Winfield, returned from his deployment in June, "They arrested him for murder as soon as he stepped off the plane."

Specialist Winfield is one of three soldiers accused in the killing of Mullah Adahdad near Forward Operating Base Ramrod, in early May, "by means of throwing a fragmentary grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle," according to an Army charging document.

Staff Sgt. Calvin R. Gibbs is also accused in that killing, as is Specialist Jeremy N. Morlock. Sergeant Gibbs and Specialist Morlock are also accused in the January killing of Gul Mudin and in the February killing of Marach Agha.

Specialist Michael S. Wagnon II is also accused in the death of Mr. Agha and of later trying to impede the criminal investigation "by obtaining a hard drive which contained evidence of murders and asking another soldier to erase said hard drive," according to a charging document.

Pfc. Andrew H. Holmes is also accused in the death of Mr. Mudin.

Army officials say the Army's senior leadership in Washington is watching the cases closely, fearing that the negative publicity any hearings will generate as well as photos and other evidence might anger Afghan civilians while the United States is trying to win support for a counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban. They worry the cases could be a propaganda boon for the Taliban.

The charges echo several high-profile criminal episodes at the peak of the fighting in Iraq, when American Marines and other servicemen were accused of killing Iraqi civilians in unprovoked attacks.

In one case that outraged Iraqis, American soldiers were convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl and killing her and her family. In Afghanistan, air strikes and botched American commando raids that killed civilians have already caused political problems.

In addition to the murder charges against the Stryker soldiers, Army investigators are likely to investigate the claims made by Christopher Winfield, Army officials said. The Army would not comment directly on the murder cases beyond the information in its charging documents.

"We're just waiting to see where the facts of the investigation will lead," said Gary Tallman, an Army spokesman.

The defendants have denied the accusations. An Army spokeswoman said dates for the defendants to appear in court this fall have yet to be determined. But lawyers said they expected Article 32 hearings, which will determine formal charges against the soldiers, to begin at Fort Lewis in the coming weeks.

Maj. Kathleen Turner, a spokeswoman for I Corps, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said she expected that the hearings would be public and that each soldier's case would be handled independently.

The charges against Sergeant Gibbs appear to be the most extensive and the most gruesome. A lawyer for Specialist Winfield said several defendants had claimed that Sergeant Gibbs, their unit leader, had planned the killings as a kind of morbid entertainment and that he had intimidated subordinates into either participating in or covering up the crimes.

A lawyer for Sergeant Gibbs has said in the past that the killings resulted from legitimate battlefield engagements. An automated e-mail response from the lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, said he was out of the office, in Afghanistan. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"There are two versions of the story you will hear come out," said Eric Montalvo, the lawyer for Specialist Winfield. "These are legitimate kills, some people will say. The second tier is going to be that 'Gibbs made me do it.' "

Charging documents and statements made to investigators by the soldiers say that Sergeant Gibbs collected "finger bones, leg bones and a tooth taken from Afghan corpses."

Documents and people interviewed also said Sergeant Gibbs illegally collected AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons used by the Afghan National Police and other non-United States forces to place near victims to suggest that American soldiers were simply returning fire.

Although Mr. Winfield, the soldier's father, said he first made efforts to report trouble in the unit in February - including leaving what he said was an unanswered message with the office of Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, the murder investigation did not get under way until the spring.

The investigation initially focused on reports that soldiers in the unit were using hashish. One soldier then informed superiors of the killings, Mr. Montalvo said. Seven other people in the unit have been charged with crimes, in some cases accused of firing on Afghan civilians and in others accused of hashish use.

It was unclear whether senior Army leaders had made any assessment about the platoon's parent unit, which was renamed the 2nd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division after it returned from Afghanistan. Mr. Tallman, the Army spokesman, said the brigade had faced heavy combat.

"This brigade had a very challenging tour and suffered a significant number of casualties while in Afghanistan," he said.

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8) For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again
By MOTOKO RICH
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/business/economy/20older.html?ref=us

VASHON ISLAND, Wash. - Patricia Reid is not in her 70s, an age when many Americans continue to work. She is not even in her 60s. She is just 57.

But four years after losing her job she cannot, in her darkest moments, escape a nagging thought: she may never work again.

College educated, with a degree in business administration, she is experienced, having worked for two decades as an internal auditor and analyst at Boeing before losing that job.

But that does not seem to matter, not for her and not for a growing number of people in their 50s and 60s who desperately want or need to work to pay for retirement and who are starting to worry that they may be discarded from the work force - forever.

Since the economic collapse, there are not enough jobs being created for the population as a whole, much less for those in the twilight of their careers.

Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older. Nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate in the group - 7.3 percent - is at a record, more than double what it was at the beginning of the latest recession.

After other recent downturns, older people who lost jobs fretted about how long it would take to return to the work force and worried that they might never recover their former incomes. But today, because it will take years to absorb the giant pool of unemployed at the economy's recent pace, many of these older people may simply age out of the labor force before their luck changes.

For Ms. Reid, it has been four years of hunting - without a single job offer. She buzzes energetically as she describes the countless applications she has lobbed through the Internet, as well as the online courses she is taking to burnish her software skills.

Still, when she is pressed, her can-do spirit falters.

"There are these fears in the background, and they are suppressed," said Ms. Reid, who is now selling some of her jewelry and clothes online and is late on some credit card payments. "I have had nightmares about becoming a bag lady," she said. "It could happen to anyone. So many people are so close to it, and they don't even realize it."

Being unemployed at any age can be crushing. But older workers suspect their résumés often get shoved aside in favor of those from younger workers. Others discover that their job-seeking skills - as well as some technical skills sought by employers - are rusty after years of working for the same company.

Many had in fact anticipated working past conventional retirement ages to gird themselves financially for longer life spans, expensive health care and reduced pension guarantees.

The most recent recession has increased the need to extend working life. Home values, often a family's most important asset, have been battered. Stock portfolios are only now starting to recover. According to a Gallup poll in April, more than a third of people not yet retired plan to work beyond age 65, compared with just 12 percent in 1995.

Older workers who lose their jobs could pose a policy problem if they lose their ability to be self-sufficient. "That's what we should be worrying about," said Carl E. Van Horn, professor of public policy and director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, "what it means to this class of the new unemployables, people who have been cast adrift at a very vulnerable part of their career and their life."

Forced early retirement imposes an intense financial strain, particularly for those at lower incomes. The recession and its aftermath have already pushed down some older workers. In figures released last week by the Census Bureau, the poverty rate among those 55 to 64 increased to 9.4 percent in 2009, from 8.6 percent in 2007.

But even middle-class people who might skate by on savings or a spouse's income are jarred by an abrupt end to working life and to a secure retirement.

"That's what I spent my whole life in pursuit of, was security," Ms. Reid said. "Until the last few years, I felt very secure in my job."

As an auditor, Ms. Reid loved figuring out the kinks in a manufacturing or parts delivery process. But after more than 20 years of commuting across Puget Sound to Boeing, Ms. Reid was exhausted when she was let go from her $80,000-a-year job.

Stunned and depressed, she sent out résumés, but figured she had a little time to recover. So she took vacations to Turkey and Thailand with her husband, who is a home repairman. She sought chiropractic treatments for a neck injury and helped nurse a priest dying of cancer.

Most of her days now are spent in front of a laptop, holed up in a lighthouse garret atop the house that her husband, Denny Mielock, built in the 1990s on a breathtaking piece of property overlooking the sound.

As she browses the job listings that clog her e-mail in-box, she refuses to give in to her fears. "If I let myself think like that all the time," she said, "I could not even bear getting out of bed in the morning."

With her husband's home repair business pummeled by the housing downturn, the bills are mounting. Although the couple do not have a mortgage on their 3,000-square-foot house, they pay close to $7,000 a year in property taxes. The roof is leaking. Their utility bills can be $300 a month in the winter, even though they often keep the thermostat turned down to 50 degrees.

They could try to sell their home, but given the depressed housing market, they are reluctant.

"We are circling the drain here, and I am bailing like hell," said Ms. Reid, emitting an incongruous cackle, as if laughter is the only response to her plight. "But the boat is still sinking."

It is not just the finances that have destabilized her life.

Her husband worries that she isolates herself and that she does not socialize enough. "We've both been hard workers our whole lives," said Mr. Mielock, 59. Ms. Reid sometimes rose just after 3 a.m. to make the hourlong commute to Boeing's data center in Bellevue and attended night school to earn a master's in management information systems.

"A job is more than a job, you know," Mr. Mielock said. "It's where you fit in society."

Here in the greater Seattle area, a fifth of those claiming extended unemployment benefits are 55 and older.

To help seniors polish their job-seeking skills, WorkSource, a local consortium of government and nonprofit groups, recently began offering seminars. On a recent morning, 14 people gathered in a windowless conference room at a local community college to get tips on how to age-proof their résumés and deflect questions about being overqualified.

Motivational posters hung on one wall, bearing slogans like "Failure is the path of least persistence."

Using PowerPoint slides, Liz Howland, the chipper but no-nonsense session leader, projected some common myths about older job-seekers on a screen: "Older workers are less capable of evaluating information, making decisions and problem-solving" or "Older workers are rigid and inflexible and have trouble adapting to change."

Ms. Howland, 61, ticked off the reasons those statements were inaccurate. But a clear undercurrent of anxiety ran through the room. "Is it really true that if you have the energy and the passion that they will overlook the age factor?" asked a 61-year-old man who had been laid off from a furniture maker last October.

Gallows humor reigned. As Ms. Howland - who suggested that applicants remove any dates older than 15 years from their résumé - advised the group on how to finesse interview questions like "When did you have the job that helped you develop that skill?" one out-of-work journalist deadpanned: "How about 'during the 20th century?' "

During a break, Anne Richard, who declined to give her age, confessed she was afraid she would not be able to work again after losing her contract as a house director at a University of Washington sorority in June. Although she had 20 years of experience as an office clerk in Chattanooga, Tenn., she feared her technology skills had fallen behind.

"I don't feel like I can compete with kids who have been on computers all their lives," said Ms. Richard, who was sleeping on the couch of a couple she had met at church and contemplating imminent homelessness.

Older people who lose their jobs take longer to find work. In August, the average time unemployed for those 55 and older was slightly more than 39 weeks, according to the Labor Department, the longest of any age group. That is much worse than in August 1983, also after a deep recession, when someone unemployed in that age group spent an average of 27.5 weeks finding work.

At this year's pace of an average of 82,000 new jobs a month, it will take at least eight more years to create the 8 million positions lost during the recession. And that does not even allow for population growth.

Advocates for the elderly worry that younger people are more likely to fill the new jobs as well.

"I do think the longer someone is out of work, the more employers are going to question why it is that someone hasn't been able to find work," said Sara Rix, senior strategic policy adviser at AARP, the lobbying group for seniors. "Their skills have atrophied for one thing, and technology changes so rapidly that even if nothing happened to the skills that you have, they may become increasingly less relevant to the jobs that are becoming available."

In four years of job hunting, Ms. Reid has discovered that she is no longer technologically proficient. In one of a handful of interviews she has secured, for an auditing position at the Port of Seattle, she learned that the job required skills in PeopleSoft, financial software she had never used. She assumes that deficiency cost her the job.

Ms. Reid is still five years away from being eligible for Social Security. But even then, she would be drawing early, which reduces monthly payments. Taking Social Security at 62 means a retiree would receive a 25 percent lower monthly payout than if she worked until 66.

Ms. Reid is in some ways luckier than others. Boeing paid her a six-month severance, and she has health care benefits that cover her and her husband for $40 a month.

And she admits some regrets: she had a $180,000 balance in her 401(k) account, and paid $80,000 in penalties and taxes when she cashed it out early. She did not rein in her expenses right away. And now, her $500-a-week unemployment benefits have been exhausted.

She has since cut back, forgoing Nordstrom shopping sprees and theater subscriptions, but also cutting out red meat at home and putting off home repairs.

In order to qualify for accounting posts, she is taking an online training course in QuickBooks, a popular accounting software used by small businesses. She recently signed up for a tax course at an H&R Block tax preparation office in Seattle.

And she is plugging ahead with her current plan: to send out 600 applications to accounting firms in the area, offering her services for the next tax season. Eventually, she wants to open her own business.

With odd jobs and her husband's - albeit shriveled - earnings, she could stagger along. For now, she stitches together an income by gardening for neighbors, helping fellow church members with their computers, and participating in Internet surveys for as little as $5 apiece.

"You don't necessarily have to go through the door," Ms. Reid said. "You can go around it and go under it. I can be very creative. I think that I will eventually manage to pull this together."

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9) U.S. Says BP Well Is Finally 'Dead'
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
September 19, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/us/20well.html?ref=us

The federal government declared BP's Macondo oil well dead on Sunday, nearly five months after it blew out of control, unleashing an environmental calamity in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We can finally announce that the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead," Adm. Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard officer who leads the federal spill response, said in a statement. The well, he said, "poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico."

Crews aboard the Development Driller III rig conducted a pressure test early Sunday on cement that had been pumped into the bottom of the once-gushing well through a relief well. The test confirmed that the cement formed an effective, and final, seal to prevent oil and gas from coming up from a reservoir about 13,000 feet below the seabed.

In a statement, President Obama hailed the work as an "important milestone in our response to the BP oil spill." He said the government remained committed "to doing everything possible to make sure the Gulf Coast recovers from this disaster."

The government said that oversight for the well would now pass from the National Incident Command, which is headed by Admiral Allen, to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, an agency of the Department of the Interior.

The Macondo well and the two relief wells will now be abandoned following standard industry practices.

In a statement, BP said the abandonment procedures for the Macondo well would include removing portions of the metal casing pipe that lines the well and setting more cement plugs. The statement also quoted Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, who described the work of the previous few days as "the final step in a complex and unprecedented subsea operation." Mr. Hayward, who came under criticism for his handling of the spill, was removed from his job by the BP board in July, effective Oct. 1.

The announcement represents the culmination of engineering efforts that began shortly after a subsea blowout at the well on April 20 caused an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which had drilled the well.

Eleven workers were killed in the blast, and when the rig sank two days later, the well began spewing oil and gas. An estimated 4.9 million barrels, or about 205 million gallons, of oil entered the water until the well was shut by a mechanical device in mid-July.

Early work to seal the well using remotely operated submersibles to activate the blowout preventer, a stack of safety devices atop the well that failed in the accident, were unsuccessful, as were initial efforts to contain the leaking oil. Not until early June did BP engineers, aided by others in the industry and government scientists, succeed in capturing some of the oil through a loose-fitting cap placed atop the blowout preventer. In mid-July, that cap was replaced with a tighter-fitting one, and valves on the device were closed, effectively sealing the well.

No oil had leaked since then, and cement had been pumped into the well from the top in August, forming a partial permanent barrier. But the government and BP had always said they would not consider the well "killed" until the relief well completed its work.

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10) Report Says Drilling Ban Had Little Effect
By JOHN M. BRODER
September 16, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/science/earth/17moratorium.html?ref=science

WASHINGTON - The moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling imposed after the BP accident has had only modest impacts on jobs and on the Gulf Coast economy, the Obama administration said in a report issued Thursday.

That conclusion, echoing earlier statements by officials defending the drilling pause, was immediately attacked by Louisiana lawmakers and drilling companies, who said it was based on flawed assumptions and incomplete evidence.

The report, prepared over the past two months by administration economists and presented Thursday to the Senate Small Business Committee, found that roughly 2,000 of the 9,700 workers aboard the 46 offshore rigs affected by the moratorium had lost their jobs or moved away from the gulf since the moratorium was imposed in late May.

Another 6,000 to 10,000 workers in associated industries also lost work because of the moratorium, the study found.

But overall employment in the five Louisiana parishes most dependent on offshore oil and gas activity remained constant, the study found, largely because of the jobs created by the cleanup. BP has already spent more than $8 billion on the cleanup and to compensate businesses hurt by the spill.

The administration declared a halt to deepwater drilling after the April 20 explosion of the rig leased to the British oil giant BP that killed 11 workers and spilled nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Many companies involved in drilling have kept on a majority of their workers so that they have a trained cadre on hand when the moratorium is lifted, now scheduled for Nov. 30, although it could end sooner for some activities.

The administration's relatively rosy assessment drew fire from both of Louisiana's senators. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, a Democrat and chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, said the study ignored the widespread costs to small businesses throughout the Gulf Coast and gave an unrealistic estimate of how quickly drilling would restart after the moratorium ended.

She said the moratorium was a "government-imposed economic disaster" that caused as much or more financial harm to her state as the spill itself.

Senator David Vitter, a Republican, chastised Rebecca M. Blank, under secretary of commerce for economic affairs, who presented the report to the committee, for both the content and the timing of the study.

The Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, a group of companies that operate in shallower gulf waters and are not technically under the moratorium, also criticized the study.

James W. Noe, executive director of the group, said: "The Obama administration's report on the economic effects of the deepwater drilling moratorium is little more than an unjustifiably optimistic attempt to glaze over the real, devastating impact of the ban on deepwater drilling. The report twists facts, makes unrealistic assumptions and wholly ignores the de facto moratorium on shallow water drilling."

Relief Well Reaches Target

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal government says a relief well has intersected BP's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico. Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral leading the government's response to the spill, said in a statement late Thursday that data showed the two wells were joined. The next step will be to pump mud and cement down through the relief well to seal the blown-out well from the bottom.

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11) The Meat Eaters
By JEFF MCMAHAN
September 19, 2010, 5:35 pm
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/the-meat-eaters/

Viewed from a distance, the natural world often presents a vista of sublime, majestic placidity. Yet beneath the foliage and hidden from the distant eye, a vast, unceasing slaughter rages. Wherever there is animal life, predators are stalking, chasing, capturing, killing, and devouring their prey. Agonized suffering and violent death are ubiquitous and continuous. This hidden carnage provided one ground for the philosophical pessimism of Schopenhauer, who contended that "one simple test of the claim that the pleasure in the world outweighs the pain...is to compare the feelings of an animal that is devouring another with those of the animal being devoured."

Theologians' labors will not be over even if they are finally able to justify the ways of God to man. For God must answer to animals as well.

The continuous, incalculable suffering of animals is also an important though largely neglected element in the traditional theological "problem of evil" _ the problem of reconciling the existence of evil with the existence of a benevolent, omnipotent god. The suffering of animals is particularly challenging because it is not amenable to the familiar palliative explanations of human suffering. Animals are assumed not to have free will and thus to be unable either to choose evil or deserve to suffer it. Neither are they assumed to have immortal souls; hence there can be no expectation that they will be compensated for their suffering in a celestial afterlife. Nor do they appear to be conspicuously elevated or ennobled by the final suffering they endure in a predator's jaws. Theologians have had enough trouble explaining to their human flocks why a loving god permits them to suffer; but their labors will not be over even if they are finally able to justify the ways of God to man. For God must answer to animals as well.

If I had been in a position to design and create a world, I would have tried to arrange for all conscious individuals to be able to survive without tormenting and killing other conscious individuals. I hope most other people would have done the same. Certainly this and related ideas have been entertained since human beings began to reflect on the fearful nature of their world - for example, when the prophet Isaiah, writing in the 8th century B.C.E., sketched a few of the elements of his utopian vision. He began with people's abandonment of war: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation." But human beings would not be the only ones to change; animals would join us in universal veganism: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and the little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." (Isaiah 2: 4 and 11: 6-7)

Isaiah was, of course, looking to the future rather than indulging in whimsical fantasies of doing a better job of Creation, and we should do the same. We should start by withdrawing our own participation in the mass orgy of preying and feeding upon the weak.

Our own form of predation is of course more refined than those of other meat-eaters, who must capture their prey and tear it apart as it struggles to escape. We instead employ professionals to breed our prey in captivity and prepare their bodies for us behind a veil of propriety, so that our sensibilities are spared the recognition that we too are predators, red in tooth if not in claw (though some of us, for reasons I have never understood, do go to the trouble to paint their vestigial claws a sanguinary hue). The reality behind the veil is, however, far worse than that in the natural world. Our factory farms, which supply most of the meat and eggs consumed in developed societies, inflict a lifetime of misery and torment on our prey, in contrast to the relatively brief agonies endured by the victims of predators in the wild. From the moral perspective, there is nothing that can plausibly be said in defense of this practice. To be entitled to regard ourselves as civilized, we must, like Isaiah's morally reformed lion, eat straw like the ox, or at least the moral equivalent of straw.

If we could arrange the gradual extinction of carnivorous species, replacing them with new herbivorous ones, ought we to do it?

But ought we to go further? Suppose that we could arrange the gradual extinction of carnivorous species, replacing them with new herbivorous ones. Or suppose that we could intervene genetically, so that currently carnivorous species would gradually evolve into herbivorous ones, thereby fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy. If we could bring about the end of predation by one or the other of these means at little cost to ourselves, ought we to do it?

I concede, of course, that it would be unwise to attempt any such change given the current state of our scientific understanding. Our ignorance of the potential ramifications of our interventions in the natural world remains profound. Efforts to eliminate certain species and create new ones would have many unforeseeable and potentially catastrophic effects.

Perhaps one of the more benign scenarios is that action to reduce predation would create a Malthusian dystopia in the animal world, with higher birth rates among herbivores, overcrowding, and insufficient resources to sustain the larger populations. Instead of being killed quickly by predators, the members of species that once were prey would die slowly, painfully, and in greater numbers from starvation and disease.

Yet our relentless efforts to increase individual wealth and power are already causing massive, precipitate changes in the natural world. Many thousands of animal species either have been or are being driven to extinction as a side effect of our activities. Knowing this, we have thus far been largely unwilling even to moderate our rapacity to mitigate these effects. If, however, we were to become more amenable to exercising restraint, it is conceivable that we could do so in a selective manner, favoring the survival of some species over others. The question might then arise whether to modify our activities in ways that would favor the survival of herbivorous rather than carnivorous species.

At a minimum, we ought to be clear in advance about the values that should guide such choices if they ever arise, or if our scientific knowledge ever advances to a point at which we could seek to eliminate, alter, or replace certain species with a high degree of confidence in our predictions about the short- and long-term effects of our action. Rather than continuing to collide with the natural world with reckless indifference, we should prepare ourselves now to be able to act wisely and deliberately when the range of our choices eventually expands.
There is no reason to suppose that a species has special sanctity simply because it arose in the natural process of evolution.

The suggestion that we consider whether and how we might exercise control over the prospects of different animal species, perhaps eventually selecting some for extinction and others for survival in accordance with our moral values, will undoubtedly strike most people as an instance of potentially tragic hubris, presumptuousness on a cosmic scale. The accusation most likely to be heard is that we would be "playing God," impiously usurping prerogatives that belong to the deity alone. This has been a familiar refrain in the many instances in which devotees of one religion or another have sought to obstruct attempts to mitigate human suffering by, for example, introducing new medicines or medical practices, permitting and even facilitating suicide, legalizing a constrained practice of euthanasia, and so on. So it would be surprising if this same claim were not brought into service in opposition to the reduction of suffering among animals as well. Yet there are at least two good replies to it.

One is that it singles out deliberate, morally-motivated action for special condemnation, while implicitly sanctioning morally neutral action that foreseeably has the same effects as long as those effects are not intended. One plays God, for example, if one administers a lethal injection to a patient at her own request in order to end her agony, but not if one gives her a largely ineffective analgesic only to mitigate the agony, though knowing that it will kill her as a side effect. But it is hard to believe that any self-respecting deity would be impressed by the distinction. If the first act encroaches on divine prerogatives, the second does as well.

The second response to the accusation of playing God is simple and decisive. It is that there is no deity whose prerogatives we might usurp. To the extent that these matters are up to anyone, they are up to us alone. Since it is too late to prevent human action from affecting the prospects for survival of many animal species, we ought to guide and control the effects of our action to the greatest extent we can in order to bring about the morally best, or least bad, outcomes that remain possible.

Another equally unpersuasive objection to the suggestion that we ought to eliminate carnivorism if we could do so without major ecological disruption is that this would be "against Nature." This slogan also has a long history of deployment in crusades to ensure that human cultures remain primitive. And like the appeal to the sovereignty of a deity, it too presupposes an indefensible metaphysics. Nature is not a purposive agent, much less a wise one. There is no reason to suppose that a species has special sanctity simply because it arose in the natural process of evolution.

Many people believe that what happens among animals in the wild is not our responsibility, and indeed that what they do among themselves is none of our business. They have their own forms of life, quite different from our own, and we have no right to intrude upon them or to impose our anthropocentric values on them.
Even if we are not morally required to prevent suffering among animals in the wild for which we are not responsible, we do have a moral reason to prevent it.

There is an element of truth in this view, which is that our moral reason to prevent harm for which we would not be responsible is weaker than our reason not to cause harm. Our primary duty with respect to animals is therefore to stop tormenting and killing them as a means of satisfying our desire to taste certain flavors or to decorate our bodies in certain ways. But if suffering is bad for animals when we cause it, it is also bad for them when other animals cause it. That suffering is bad for those who experience it is not a human prejudice; nor is an effort to prevent wild animals from suffering a moralistic attempt to police the behavior of other animals. Even if we are not morally required to prevent suffering among animals in the wild for which we are not responsible, we do have a moral reason to prevent it, just as we have a general moral reason to prevent suffering among human beings that is independent both of the cause of the suffering and of our relation to the victims. The main constraint on the permissibility of acting on our reason to prevent suffering is that our action should not cause bad effects that would be worse than those we could prevent.

That is the central issue raised by whether we ought to try to eliminate carnivorism. Because the elimination of carnivorism would require the extinction of carnivorous species, or at least their radical genetic alteration, which might be equivalent or tantamount to extinction, it might well be that the losses in value would outweigh any putative gains. Not only are most or all animal species of some instrumental value, but it is also arguable that all species have intrinsic value. As Ronald Dworkin has observed, "we tend to treat distinct animal species (though not individual animals) as sacred. We think it very important, and worth a considerable economic expense, to protect endangered species from destruction." When Dworkin says that animal species are sacred, he means that their existence is good in a way that need not be good for anyone; nor is it good in the sense that it would be better if there were more species, so that we would have reason to create new ones if we could. "Few people," he notes, "believe the world would be worse if there had always been fewer species of birds, and few would think it important to engineer new bird species if that were possible. What we believe important is not that there be any particular number of species but that a species that now exists not be extinguished by us."

The intrinsic value of individual species is thus quite distinct from the value of species diversity. It also seems to follow from Dworkin's claims that the loss involved in the extinction of an existing species cannot be compensated for, either fully or perhaps even partially, by the coming-into-existence of a new species.

The basic issue, then, seems to be a conflict between values: prevention of suffering and preservation of animal species. It is relatively uncontroversial that suffering is intrinsically bad for those who experience it, even if occasionally it is also instrumentally good for them, as when it has the purifying, redemptive effects that Dostoyevsky's characters so often crave. Nor is it controversial that the extinction of an animal species is normally instrumentally bad. It is bad for the individual members who die and bad for other individuals and species that depended on the existence of the species for their own well-being or survival. Yet the extinction of an animal species is not necessarily bad for its individual members. (To indulge in science fiction, suppose that a chemical might be introduced into their food supply that would induce sterility but also extend their longevity.) And the extinction of a carnivorous species could be instrumentally good for all those animals that would otherwise have been its prey. That simple fact is precisely what prompts the question whether it would be good if carnivorous species were to become extinct.

The conflict, therefore, must be between preventing suffering and respecting the alleged sacredness - or, as I would phrase it, the impersonal value - of carnivorous species. Again, the claim that suffering is bad for those who experience it and thus ought in general to be prevented when possible cannot be seriously doubted. Yet the idea that individual animal species have value in themselves is less obvious. What, after all, are species? According to Darwin, they "are merely artificial combinations made for convenience." They are collections of individuals distinguished by biologists that shade into one another over time and sometimes blur together even among contemporaneous individuals, as in the case of ring species. There are no universally agreed criteria for their individuation. In practice, the most commonly invoked criterion is the capacity for interbreeding, yet this is well known to be imperfect and to entail intransitivities of classification when applied to ring species. Nor has it ever been satisfactorily explained why a special sort of value should inhere in a collection of individuals simply by virtue of their ability to produce fertile offspring. If it is good, as I think it is, that animal life should continue, then it is instrumentally good that some animals can breed with one another. But I can see no reason to suppose that donkeys, as a group, have a special impersonal value that mules lack.

Even if animal species did have impersonal value, it would not follow that they were irreplaceable. Since animals first appeared on earth, an indefinite number of species have become extinct while an indefinite number of new species have arisen. If the appearance of new species cannot make up for the extinction of others, and if the earth could not simultaneously sustain all the species that have ever existed, it seems that it would have been better if the earliest species had never become extinct, with the consequence that the later ones would never have existed. But few of us, with our high regard for our own species, are likely to embrace that implication.

Here, then, is where matters stand thus far. It would be good to prevent the vast suffering and countless violent deaths caused by predation. There is therefore one reason to think that it would be instrumentally good if predatory animal species were to become extinct and be replaced by new herbivorous species, provided that this could occur without ecological upheaval involving more harm than would be prevented by the end of predation. The claim that existing animal species are sacred or irreplaceable is subverted by the moral irrelevance of the criteria for individuating animal species. I am therefore inclined to embrace the heretical conclusion that we have reason to desire the extinction of all carnivorous species, and I await the usual fate of heretics when this article is opened to comment.

(Jeff McMahan's essay is the subject of this week's forum discussion among the humanists and scientists at On the Human, a project of the National Humanities Center.)

Jeff McMahan is professor of philosophy at Rutgers University and a visiting research collaborator at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is the author of many works on ethics and political philosophy, including "The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life" and "Killing in War."

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12) Exclusive! New Test Shows Key Witnesses Lied at Abu-Jamal Trial; Sidewalk Murder Scene Should Have Displayed Bullet Impacts
By Anonymous
Created 09/20/2010 - 10:58
by: Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/214

During the contentious 1982 murder trial of Philadelphia radio-journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, a central argument of the prosecution in making its case for the conviction and for imposition of a death penalty was the trial testimony of two key eyewitnesses who claimed to have actually seen Abu-Jamal fire his pistol repeatedly, at virtually point-blank range, into the prone Officer Daniel Faulkner.

This testimony about Abu-Jamal's shooting at the defenseless policeman execution-style solidified the prosecution's portrayal of Abu-Jamal as a cold-blooded assassin.

There was however, always the lingering question, never raised at trial, or even during the subsequent nearly three-decades-long appeals process, of why, if Abu-Jamal had fired four bullets downward at Faulkner, only hitting him once with a bullet between the eyes on the morning of December 9, 1981, there was no evidence in the surface of the sidewalk around the officer's body of the bullets that missed.

Now two independent journalists have raised further questions about that troubling lack of any evidence of missed shots by doing something that neither defense nor prosecution ever bothered to do, namely conducting a gun test using a similar gun and similar bullets fired from a similar distance into a slab of old concrete sidewalk similar to the sidewalk at the scene of the original shooting on the south side of Locust Street just east of 13th Street in Center City, Philadelphia.

Their test conclusively demonstrated it is impossible to fire such a gun from a standing position into a sidewalk without the bullets leaving prominent, unambiguous and clearly visible marks. Yet, the prosecution's case has Abu-Jamal performing that exact miracle, missing the officer three times without leaving a trace of his bad marksmanship. So where are the missing bullet marks? The police crime-scene photos presented by the prosecution don't show any, and police investigators in their reports don't mention any bullet marks on the sidewalk around the slain officer's body.

The results of this test fundamentally challenge the prosecution's entire case against Abu-Jamal since they contradict both eyewitness testimony and physical evidence presented by the prosecution about the 1981 murder of Officer Faulkner in a seedy section of downtown Philadelphia.

Further, this test reignites questions about how police handled and/or mishandled their investigation into the murder of Officer Faulkner, quickly targeting Abu-Jamal as the killer.

For example, police failed to administer the routine gunpowder residue test on Abu-Jamal's hands to determine if he had recently fired a gun. Such a test has long been standard procedure for crimes involving gun shots. Oddly, police did perform this routine residue test on at least two persons initially suspected of being at the crime scene, including one man who fit the description of a man numerous eyewitnesses told police had shot Faulkner and then fled the scene. Police, finding a critically-wounded Abu-Jamal at the crime scene, arrested him immediately, but never bothered to do a test of his hands--or if they did, never reported the results.

While appellate courts - federal and state - have consistently upheld Abu-Jamal's conviction, no court has considered the contradiction between prosecution claims of Abu-Jamal having fired into the sidewalk and the complete lack of any evidence of bullet impacts, or even of an explanation for the missing marks. Last week, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office curtly dismissed results of this test, which shows such marks would have been impossible to miss, as yet another instance of the "biases and misconceptions" regularly presented by persons who have not "taken the time to review the entirety of the record..."

For their experiment, veteran Philadelphia journalist Linn Washington, who has investigated the Abu-Jamal case since December 1981, obtained a Smith & Wesson revolver with a 2-inch barrel, similar to the 2-inch-barrel, .38-caliber Charter Arms revolver licensed to Abu-Jamal which was marked as evidence at the trial as being the weapon which was used to shoot and kill Officer Faulkner.

Meanwhile, journalist Dave Lindorff, who spent two years researching and writing Killing Time (Common Courage Press, 2003), the definitive independent book about this case, procured the concrete test slab, a 200-lb section of old sidewalk, about two feet square, five inches thick and containing a mix of gravel and a steel-reinforcing screen, that had recently been ripped up during construction of a new high school in Upper Dublin, PA. He then constructed a protective shield using a wooden frame and a section of galvanized, corrugated-steel roofing material purchased from Home Depot.

A small one-inch-diameter hole was drilled through the steel sheet about 18 inches from ground level, to enable Washington to point the pistol barrel through and fire at the concrete without risk of being injured by flying shrapnel or concrete fragments. Washington also wore shatter-proof military-surplus goggles for the experiment, so he could safely aim through the hole. During the test a total of seven bullets, including Plus-P high-velocity projectiles similar to the spent cartridges police reported finding in Abu-Jamal's gun, were fired downward at the sidewalk slab from a standing position, replicating the prosecution's version of the murder. (A Penn State history professor knowledgeable about firearms and ballistics including the construction of bullets, observed the experiment from start to finish.)

After each shot was fired into the concrete, the resulting impact point was labeled with a felt-tipped pen. Still photographs were taken showing all seven bullet impacts.

The entire experiment was also filmed using a broadcast-quality video camera.

What is clear from this experiment is that the bullets fired at close range into the sidewalk sample all left clearly visible marks. The three bullets that had metal jackets produced significant divots in the concrete, one of these about 1/8 of an inch deep, and two shallower, but easily observed visually and easily felt with the fingertip. The other four bullets, lead projectiles only, left smaller indentations, as well as clearly visible gray circular imprints, each over a half inch in diameter, where the lead from the bullets appears to have melted on impact and then solidified on the concrete. Police crime scene reports list investigators recovering fragments of at least two jacketed bullets at the scene (Faulkner's police-issue Smith & Wesson revolver was firing non-jacketed ammunition).

When a photo image of these seven prominent impact sites from the bullets is compared to detailed police crime-scene photos, the absence of similar such marks at the crime scene is obvious. Even the higher-quality photos of the shooting scene that were taken by Pedro Polokoff, a professional news photographer who arrived at the shooting scene within 20 minutes of hearing about it on his police radio scanner (well ahead of the police photographer and crime-scene investigation technicians), show no bullet marks.

The bizarre lack of any sign of other bullets having been fired down at Faulkner raises a grave question about the truthfulness of the two key prosecution witnesses, prostitute Cynthia White and taxi driver Robert Chobert. As recorded in the trial transcript, Prosecutor Joseph McGill made a big point of having Chobert, a young white man, describe during the June 1982 trial exactly what he allegedly saw Abu-Jamal do in shooting Officer Faulkner. He asked, "Now, when the Defendant was standing over the officer, could you show me exactly what motion he was making or what you saw?"

Chobert replied, "I saw him point down and fire some more shots into him."

McGill asked, "Now you're indicating, for the Record, a movement of his right arm with his finger pointed toward the direction of the ground and moving his wrist and hand up and down approximately three, four times, is that right?"

Chobert replied, "Yes."

Cynthia White, for her part, testified that Abu-Jamal "came over and he came on top of the police officer and shot some more times."

If there are no bullet marks around the spot where Faulkner was lying when he was shot in the face, neither of these testimonies by the two prosecution witnesses are remotely credible.

And there is another question. When the protective steel sheet was checked after this gun test, there were deep dents in the metal which were produced by either concrete fragments blown out of the sidewalk or by bullet fragments. Such debris, large and small, would have been embedded in Faulkner's uniform and/or in exposed skin, such as the sides of his head, or underneath his clothes, and yet the coroner's report and a report on the analysis of his police jacket make no mention of concrete, rock or bullet fragments.

One can additionally speculate about why, if there were in fact bullet marks in the sidewalk, police investigators at the scene never identified and marked them off with chalk, and never photographed them, as would be standard procedure in any shooting, not to mention a shooting death of a policeman. Even more curious, investigators did note, and even removed as possible evidence, a bullet fragment found in a door jamb well behind Faulkner's fallen body, as well as gathering up three other minute bullet fragments. These actions show that on the morning of the 1981 shooting investigators were combing the crime scene looking for evidence of bullets. Had there been impact marks in the vicinity of where Faulkner's body was lying, they would surely have noticed them and marked them for evidence.

We provided our gun test result photo, as well as a crime-scene photo showing the spot on the sidewalk where Faulkner's body was found, and where there should have been bullet marks in the pavement, to Robert Nelson, a veteran photo analyst at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California who is on the team that enhances and analyzes the photos sent in from the Cassini Saturn probe. Employing the same technology and skill that he uses in working with those photos from deep space, Nelson subjected the Polokoff photo to analysis and compared it to the gun test photo. Nelson offered the following comment:

"When one shoots a bullet into solid concrete, the concrete shatters at the impact point and creates a lot of scattering surfaces. It contains many micro-cracks that scatter the light more and make the impact area appear to be more reflective. This is apparent in the white circular areas in the test image.

"When the police photograph image is brightness adjusted for comparison with the test image, no obvious reflective zones (shatter-zones) are detected in the concrete surrounding the bloodspot. This result is inconsistent with the argument that several gun shots were fired into the concrete at close range, missing the body of the police officer and impacting the concrete. There are no lighter-colored circular areas suggesting shattering in the crime scene image."

Dr. Michael Schiffmann, a University of Heidelberg professor and author of Wettlauf gegen den Tod. Mumia Abu-Jamal: ein schwarzer Revolutionär im weißen Amerika (Promedia, Vienna, 2006)), a detailed book about Abu-Jamal released in Europe, questioned a number of experts about the missing bullet marks including the longtime head of ballistics in the medical examiner's office in Tübingen, Germany. This medical examiner told Schiffmann that the notion that police investigators might have somehow overlooked the bullet impact sites around Faulkner's body, or might have failed to recognize them as bullet marks, is "absolute nonsense." That medical examiner says the marks would have been evident and identifiable as being caused by bullet impacts even if Faulkner's blood had flowed over them.

There are, moreover, other good reasons to doubt that White and Chobert were telling the truth, or even that either one of them was actually a witness to the shooting.

Chobert claimed at trial to have pulled his taxi up directly behind Officer Faulkner's squad car, which itself was parked directly behind the Volkswagen Beetle owned by Abu-Jamal's younger brother William Cook, whom Faulkner had supposedly stopped for a traffic violation. Though the trial judge, Albert Sabo, withheld this information from the jury, Chobert at the time of the shooting admitted to the court that he was driving his cab illegally on a license that had been suspended following a DUI conviction. He was also serving five year's probation for the crime of felony arson of an elementary school. Under such circumstances, one has to ask if such a driver would have deliberately parked his cab behind a police vehicle, where there was a risk he could have been questioned, arrested by the officer, and possibly even jailed for violating conditions of his probation.

In any event, there also are no crime-scene photos that depict a taxi parked behind Faulkner's squad car. Indeed, the official police crime photos, as well as those taken even earlier by Polokoff, show no taxi behind Faulkner's car. Chobert's cab's absence from crime scene photos raises an inescapable issue: either Chobert did not park behind Faulkner's patrol car as he claimed in sworn trial testimony, or police removed his car less than 20 minutes after arriving on the scene and before investigators and a department photographer had gotten there...an action constituting illegal tampering with the crime scene.

Further raising questions about whether Chobert was actually where he claimed to have been during the shooting, a diagram of the crime scene drawn by Cynthia White, plus a second one drawn by a police artist following her instructions, show no taxi, though they do show, in front of Cook's VW, the extraneous detail of a Ford sedan that played no role at all in the case. No other witness at the trial except for White ever testified to having seen Chobert's taxi. Furthermore, if Chobert had witnessed the shooting while sitting at the wheel of his cab behind Faulkner's squad car, as he testified, his view of the shooting, which took place on the sidewalk on the driver's side of the parked cars, would have been blocked by both Faulkner's and Cook's parked vehicles. Making his alleged view even more problematic, it was dark at the time, Faulkner's tail lights were on, and his glare-producing dome lights were flashing brightly.

As for Cynthia White, though she claimed to have been standing on the sidewalk by the intersection of 13th and Locust, just feet from the shooting, no witness at the trial, including Chobert, claimed to have seen her there. Furthermore, White's story about the shooting changed dramatically over time, as she was repeatedly picked up for prostitution, and each time, was brought down to the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit, where she was questioned again and again about what she had seen. In her first interview with detectives, she said she saw Abu-Jamal shoot the officer several times before Faulkner fell to the ground. A week later, she said it had been one or two shots that were fired before the officer fell to the ground. A month later, in January, 1982, she was talking about only one shot being fired before Faulkner was on the ground--the version of her account that she eventually presented at trial.

Given the already problematic nature of both Chobert's and White's sworn testimony, this new gun test evidence demonstrating that there certainly should have been obvious bullet marks located around Faulkner's body if, as both these "eye-witnesses" testified under oath, he had been fired at repeatedly at point blank range by a shooter straddling Faulkner's prone body, the whole prosecution story of an execution-style slaying of the officer by Abu-Jamal would appear to be a prosecution fabrication, complete with coached, perjured witnesses, undermining the integrity and fairness of the entire trial, as well as the subsequent death sentence.

Told about the results of the their gun test, and asked four questions to explain the lack of photographic evidence or testimony about bullet impact marks in the sidewalk around Faulkner's body, the Philadelphia DA's office offered only a non-response, saying, "The murderer has been represented over the past twenty plus years by a multitude of lawyers, many of whom have closely reviewed the evidence for the sole purpose of finding some basis to overturn the conviction. As you know, none has succeeded, and Mr. Abu-Jamal remains what the evidence proved - a murderer."

Robert R. Bryan, lead attorney for Abu-Jamal, informed of the results of the gun test, and shown a copy of the resulting marks on the concrete, said, "Wow. This is extraordinarily important new evidence that establishes clearly that the prosecutor and the Philadelphia Police Department were engaged in presenting knowingly false testimony to a jury in a case involving the life of my client. The evidence not only demonstrates the falsity of the prosecution's story about how the shooting occurred, and of the effort to portray the shooting to the jury as an execution-style slaying. It raises serious questions as to whether either of the two key witnesses actually were witnesses to the shooting."

Courts - federal and state - have over the years rejected all evidentiary challenges and all but one procedural error in the Abu-Jamal case, despite granting legal relief on the same issues as those raised by Abu-Jamal in dozens of other Pennsylvania murder cases--including a few cases involving the murder of police officers.

In contrast to these consistent court rulings declaring Abu-Jamal's trial to have been fair, the respected organization Amnesty International and other entities and legal experts contend Abu-Jamal did not receive a fair trial in part due to improprieties by police and prosecutors. AI's seminal February 2000 investigative report on this case stated, "The politicization of Mumia Abu-Jamal's case may not only have prejudiced his right to a fair trial, but may now be undermining his right to fair and impartial treatment in the appeal courts."

The Abu-Jamal case, which has garnered international attention, is currently back before the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals after a remand order by the US Supreme Court to re-examine an earlier ruling eliminating Abu-Jamal's death penalty. It is also back in the news with two new documentary films being premiered this Tuesday (9/21) in Philadelphia--one, "The Barrel of a Gun," which concludes Abu-Jamal is guilty, and another "Justice on Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal", which argues his innocence.
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13) Extreme Heat Bleaches Coral, and Threat Is Seen
By JUSTIN GILLIS
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/science/earth/21coral.html?ref=world

This year's extreme heat is putting the world's coral reefs under such severe stress that scientists fear widespread die-offs, endangering not only the richest ecosystems in the ocean but also fisheries that feed millions of people.

From Thailand to Texas, corals are reacting to the heat stress by bleaching, or shedding their color and going into survival mode. Many have already died, and more are expected to do so in coming months. Computer forecasts of water temperature suggest that corals in the Caribbean may undergo drastic bleaching in the next few weeks.

What is unfolding this year is only the second known global bleaching of coral reefs. Scientists are holding out hope that this year will not be as bad, over all, as 1998, the hottest year in the historical record, when an estimated 16 percent of the world's shallow-water reefs died. But in some places, including Thailand, the situation is looking worse than in 1998.

Scientists say the trouble with the reefs is linked to climate change. For years they have warned that corals, highly sensitive to excess heat, would serve as an early indicator of the ecological distress on the planet caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases.

"I am significantly depressed by the whole situation," said Clive Wilkinson, director of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, an organization in Australia that is tracking this year's disaster.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first eight months of 2010 matched 1998 as the hottest January to August period on record. High ocean temperatures are taxing the organisms most sensitive to them, the shallow-water corals that create some of the world's most vibrant and colorful seascapes.

Coral reefs occupy a tiny fraction of the ocean, but they harbor perhaps a quarter of all marine species, including a profusion of fish. Often called the rain forests of the sea, they are the foundation not only of important fishing industries but also of tourist economies worth billions.

Drastic die-offs of coral were seen for the first time in 1983 in the eastern Pacific and the Caribbean, during a large-scale weather event known as El Niño. During an El Niño, warm waters normally confined to the western Pacific flow to the east; 2010 is also an El Niño year.

Serious regional bleaching has occurred intermittently since the 1983 disaster. It is clear that natural weather variability plays a role in overheating the reefs, but scientists say it cannot, by itself, explain what has become a recurring phenomenon.

"It is a lot easier for oceans to heat up above the corals' thresholds for bleaching when climate change is warming the baseline temperatures," said C. Mark Eakin, who runs a program called Coral Reef Watch for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "If you get an event like El Niño or you just get a hot summer, it's going to be on top of the warmest temperatures we've ever seen."

Coral reefs are made up of millions of tiny animals, called polyps, that form symbiotic relationships with algae. The polyps essentially act as farmers, supplying the algae with nutrients and a place to live. The algae in turn capture sunlight and carbon dioxide to make sugars that feed the coral polyps.

The captive algae give reefs their brilliant colors. Many reef fish sport fantastical colors and patterns themselves, as though dressing to match their surroundings.

Coral bleaching occurs when high heat and bright sunshine cause the metabolism of the algae to speed out of control, and they start creating toxins. The polyps essentially recoil. "The algae are spat out," Dr. Wilkinson said.

The corals look white afterward, as though they have been bleached. If temperatures drop, the corals' few remaining algae can reproduce and help the polyps recover. But corals are vulnerable to disease in their denuded condition, and if the heat stress continues, the corals starve to death.

Even on dead reefs, new coral polyps will often take hold, though the overall ecology of the reef may be permanently altered. The worst case is that a reef dies and never recovers.

In dozens of small island nations and on some coasts of Indonesia and the Philippines, people rely heavily on reef fish for food. When corals die, the fish are not immediately doomed, but if the coral polyps do not recover, the reef can eventually collapse, scientists say, leaving the fishery far less productive.

Research shows that is already happening in parts of the Caribbean, though people there are not as dependent on fishing as those living on Pacific islands.

It will be months before this year's toll is known for sure. But scientists tracking the fate of corals say they have already seen widespread bleaching in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific, with corals in Thailand, parts of Indonesia and some smaller island nations being hit especially hard earlier this year.

Temperatures have since cooled in the western Pacific, and the immediate crisis has passed there, even as it accelerates in places like the Caribbean, where the waters are still warming. Serious bleaching has been seen recently in the Flower Garden Banks, a marine sanctuary off the Texas-Louisiana border.

In Thailand, "there some signs of recovery in places," said James True, a biologist at Prince of Songkla University. But in other spots, he said, corals were hit so hard that it was not clear young polyps would be available from nearby areas to repopulate dead reefs.

"The concern we have now is that the bleaching is so widespread that potential source reefs upstream have been affected," Dr. True said.

Even in a hot year, of course, climate varies considerably from place to place. The water temperatures in the Florida Keys are only slightly above normal this year, and the beloved reefs of that region have so far escaped serious harm.

Parts of the northern Caribbean, including the United States Virgin Islands, saw incipient bleaching this summer, but the tropical storms and hurricanes moving through the Atlantic have cooled the water there and may have saved some corals. Farther south, though, temperatures are still remarkably high, putting many Caribbean reefs at risk.

Summer is only just beginning in the Southern Hemisphere, but water temperatures off Australia are also above normal, and some scientists are worried about the single most impressive reef on earth. The best hope now, Dr. Wilkinson said, is for mild tropical storms that would help to cool Australian waters.

"If we get a poor monsoon season," he said, "I think we're in for a serious bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef."

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14) On a Clock, a Grim Toll of Mothers
By CLYDE HABERMAN
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/nyregion/21nyc.html?ref=world

For years, New York City has had a National Debt Clock, an electronic billboard perched on West 44th Street, with numbers spinning every second to reflect the explosive growth in what this country owes.

On Monday, the debt clock got a death clock as a neighbor.

In Times Square, just north of 44th Street, a digital sign began carrying a message quite different from what one usually sees on a billboard operated by MTV and flanked by images of Kanye West and Usher.

The "maternal death clock," as it was called, ticked off 90 seconds, then started the count all over again. Then again. And again. And again.

Every 90 seconds, on average, a woman dies in childbirth somewhere in the world. That is nearly 1,000 women a day. It adds up to 358,000 women a year, according to the most recent estimates made by United Nations agencies and the World Bank.

That is a lot of death, considering that much of it could be prevented with better medical care.

The death clock, a creation of Amnesty International, will be in place for three days, to coincide with a gathering across town. World leaders are getting together at the United Nations this week to recommit themselves to the Millennium Development Goals, a batch of targets agreed to 10 years ago for reducing abject poverty around the globe by 2015.

The concerns are many: hunger, unsafe drinking water, environmental ruination, infant mortality, to name a few. Also on that sad list is the rate at which women die while trying to give life.

Amnesty International's adoption of this issue might seem unusual for a human rights organization. Isn't it essentially a public health matter?

On one level, yes, said Larry Cox, the executive director of Amnesty International USA. But, Mr. Cox added, "it's such a clear example of people dying who don't need to."

"That's the ultimate definition of a human rights issue - steps that can be taken, and aren't," he added.

The situation is not entirely bleak. There is hope for improvement. Those 358,000 deaths, an estimate for 2008, were well below the 546,000 believed to have occurred in 1990. Even so, the rate of decline has been substantially slower than hoped for when those development goals were set.

Not everyone is impressed by the depth of the world leaders' commitment. No sanctions, for example, are imposed if a country doesn't measure up. "The cost is being paid by these women who are dying every 90 seconds," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general.

It might seem that maternal mortality is a distant worry for most of us, given that nearly 90 percent of the deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. But the United States has no reason to feel good in this regard. Nor does New York City.

When it comes to mortality rates - measured as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births - the United States ranked 50th on a United Nations list of countries, behind nearly all other industrialized nations and even behind not-so-prosperous ones like Serbia and Slovakia. In some respects, the American situation has worsened in the last two decades, said Nan Strauss, an Amnesty researcher.

As for New York, a recent report prepared by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and by the New York Academy of Medicine put the death rate here at twice the national average. Not that the actual number of deaths is huge. This analysis was based on 161 deaths from 2001 to 2005. Still, the assumption is that many of the deaths could have been avoided with better nutrition and prenatal care.

Half of these women were obese. More than half had chronic health problems like hypertension and asthma. Blacks were seven times as likely to die in pregnancy as whites. Poor women were more likely to die than wealthier women. In many women, these various factors overlapped.

As it is throughout the country, the death rate is a small fraction of what it was a century ago. But progress has stalled over the last 20 years, and "this is of great concern to the department," said Deborah Kaplan, an assistant health commissioner. Officials are doing "enhanced surveillance" of maternal deaths, she said, to learn what might be done to keep the grim numbers down.

This is, obviously, no simple matter. Even in the time it took many of you to read this far, two more women, somewhere, died bringing life into the world.

E-mail: haberman@nytimes.com

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15) Family Fight, Border Patrol Raid, Baby Deported
By ADAM LIPTAK
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/us/21bar.html?ref=world

WASHINGTON

A few days before her daughter Rosa's first birthday, Monica Castro and the girl's father had a violent argument in the trailer they all shared near Lubbock, Tex. Ms. Castro fled, leaving her daughter behind.

Ms. Castro, a fourth-generation American citizen, went to the local Border Patrol station. She said she would give the agents there information about the girl's father, a Mexican in the country illegally, in exchange for help recovering her daughter.

Ms. Castro lived up to her side of the deal. But the federal government ended up deporting little Rosa, an American citizen, along with her father, Omar Gallardo. Ms. Castro would not see her daughter again for three years.

On the morning of Dec. 3, 2003, agents raided the trailer and seized Mr. Gallardo, who was wanted for questioning as a witness to a murder. They also took Rosa. Then they told Ms. Castro she had until that afternoon to get a court order if she wanted to keep her daughter.

A frantic lawyer rushed to court, and she called to plead for more time. But there was no court order yet when the government van arrived around 3 p.m., and agents hustled father and daughter into it for the long ride to the border.

Ms. Castro later sued the government, saying the agents had no legal authority to detain, much less deport, her daughter. Nor should Border Patrol agents, she said, take the place of family-court judges in making custody decisions.

The last court to rule in the case, the full United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, rejected Ms. Castro's arguments, over the dissents of three judges.

The brief unsigned majority decision, echoing that of the trial judge, said the appeals court did not "condone the Border Patrol's actions or the choices it made." But, the decision went on, Ms. Castro could not sue the government because the agents had been entitled to use their discretion in the matter.

Ms. Castro's lawyers last month asked the United States Supreme Court to hear the case, in a petition bristling with restrained incredulity.

The agents themselves have rejected the assertion that they may have acted a little rashly.

Holding Mr. Gallardo and the girl overnight, long enough for an American court to sort things out, would have involved "a tremendous amount of money," Gregory L. Kurupas, the agent in charge of the Lubbock and Amarillo stations at the time, testified in a 2006 deposition.

Asked to quantify the daunting sum, Agent Kurupas replied, "Well over $200 plus."

The American government gave Ms. Castro no help in finding Rosa beyond identifying the city in Mexico to which she had been delivered. That news did not comfort Ms. Castro.

"She was sent to Juárez, which is now the most dangerous city on the face of the planet," said Susan L. Watson, one of Ms. Castro's lawyers.

Mr. Gallardo was in time again arrested for entering the United States illegally. As part of his plea arrangement, he agreed to return Rosa, who had lived with his relatives in Mexico. He was once again deported, and my efforts to find him were unsuccessful.

The mother and child reunion, at the United States Consulate in Ciudad Juárez in 2006, was rocky. Rosa, then 4, did not recognize her mother and did not want to leave her other relatives.

"She was crying," Ms. Castro recalled. "I started talking to her in Spanish, and she started yelling. She would hit me with her doll. She kicked me. She didn't want anything to do with me. She wanted to be with her grandmother."

Like the appeals court, the trial judge, Janis Graham Jack of Federal District Court in Corpus Christi, expressed some uneasiness about the case. Judge Jack said the agents might not have chosen "the optimal course of action."

Judge Jerry E. Smith of the Fifth Circuit, who was in dissent when a three-judge panel of the court first heard the case and in the majority when the full court revisited it, agreed that the situation was not a happy one.

"No one is pleased," Judge Smith wrote in his dissent, "that Castro did not see her daughter for three years."

Things are much better these days, Ms. Castro said. Rosa is a happy, thriving 7-year-old in Corpus Christi. "She's a straight-A honor roll student, in second grade now," Ms. Castro said.

Ms. Castro added that the Supreme Court "should do something about the Border Patrol," and perhaps the court will. The patrol did, after all, send an American infant to Ciudad Juárez with a man mixed up in a murder to save a couple of hundred dollars.

Or perhaps Ms. Castro will have to make do with the muted murmurs of sympathy she has received from judges who have heard her case so far. They do not condone what happened, are not pleased by it and, if pressed, are willing to say that the entire affair was "not optimal."

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16) Recession May Be Over, but Joblessness Remains
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
September 20, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/business/economy/21econ.html?ref=us

The United States economy has lost more jobs than it has added since the recovery began over a year ago.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The downturn officially ended, and the recovery officially began, in June 2009, according to an announcement Monday by the official arbiter of economic turning points. Since that point, total output - the amount of goods and services produced by the United States - has increased, as have many other measures of economic activity.

But nonfarm payrolls are still down 329,000 from their level at the recession's official end 15 months ago, and the slow growth in recent months means that the unemployed still have a long slog ahead.

"We started from a deep hole," said James Poterba, an economics professor at M.I.T. and a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research's Business Cycle Dating Committee, which declared the recession's end. "And clearly the bounce-back has not been immediate after hitting this trough."

The declaration of the recession's end confirms what many suspected: The 2007-9 recession was not only the longest post-World War II recession, but also the deepest, in terms of both job losses and at least one measure of output declines.

The announcement also implies that any contraction that might lie ahead would be a separate and distinct recession, and one that the Obama administration could not claim to have inherited. While economists generally say such a double-dip recession seems unlikely, new monthly estimates of gross domestic product, released by two committee members, show that output shrank in May and June, the most recent months for which data are available. Output and other factors would have to shrink for a longer period of time before another contraction might be declared.

Even without a full-blown double dip in the economy, the recovery thus far has been so anemic that the job picture seems likely to stagnate, and perhaps even get worse, in the near future.

Many forecasters estimate that output needs to grow over the long run by about 2.5 percent to keep the unemployment rate, now at 9.6 percent, constant. The economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, and private forecasts indicate growth will not be much better in the third quarter. (The Business Cycle Dating Committee itself does not engage in forecasting.)

"The amount of unemployment we've already got and the slowness of recovery lead to predictions that we could have 9-plus percent unemployment even through the next presidential election," said Robert J. Gordon, an economics professor at Northwestern University and a committee member.

"What's really unique about this recession is the amount of unemployment in combination with the slowness of the recovery," he said. "That's just not happened before. We had a sharp recession followed by a sharp recovery in the 1980s. And in '91 and '01 we had slow recoveries, but those recessions were shallow recessions, so the slowness didn't matter much."

All three of these most recent recoveries have been known as jobless recoveries, as employment growth has significantly lagged output growth. In this recovery, the job market bottomed six months after economic output bottomed. That is still not nearly as much of a lag as experienced after the 2001 recession, when it took the job market 19 months to turn around after output improved.

This new pattern of jobless recoveries has led to some complaints that employment should play a more prominent role in dating business cycles and to criticism that a jobless recovery is not truly a recovery at all. Business Cycle Dating Committee members have been reluctant to change their criteria too drastically, though, because they want to maintain consistency in the official chronology of contractions and expansions.

While all three recent recoveries have been weak for employment, the job market has to cover the most ground from the latest recession.

From December 2007 to June 2009, the American economy lost more than 5 percent of its nonfarm payroll jobs, the largest decline since World War II. And through December 2009, the month that employment hit bottom, the nation had lost more than 6 percent of its jobs.

The unemployment rate, which comes from a different survey, peaked last October at 10.1 percent. The postwar high was in 1982, at 10.8 percent. But the composition of the work force was very different in the 1980s - it was younger, and younger people tend to have higher unemployment rates - and so if adjusted for age, unemployment this time around actually looks much worse.

The broadest measure of unemployment, including people who are reluctantly working part time when they wish to be working full time and those who have given up looking for work altogether, also was at its highest level since World War II.

There is some debate, though, about whether this recession was the worst in terms of output.

Adjusted for inflation, output contracted more than in any other postwar period, according to Robert E. Hall, a Stanford economics professor and committee chairman.

But some economists say that a better measure would be the gap between where output is and where it could have been if growth had been uninterrupted.

"It's definitely not as deep as 1981-82 when measured relative to the economy's potential growth rate," Mr. Gordon said.

Besides employment, nearly every indicator that the committee considers simultaneously reached a low point in June 2009, which made that month a relatively easy selection as the official turning point, Mr. Gordon said. The committee previously met in April but had decided that the data were inconclusive.

In its statement on Monday affirming the recession's end, the bureau took care to note that the recession, by definition, meant only the period until the economy reached its low point - not a return to its previous vigor.

"In declaring the recession over, we're not at all saying the unemployment rate, or anything else, has returned to normal," said James H. Stock, an economics professor at Harvard and a member of the business cycle committee.

"We clearly still have a long ways to go."

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17) Jobless Rate Rises in 27 States
By MOTOKO RICH
September 21, 2010, 11:06 am
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/jobless-rate-rises-in-27-states/?ref=business

The unemployment rate rose in 27 states between July and August, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, although only Maryland and Florida recorded statistically significant increases.

Nevada again had the highest unemployment rate in the country in August. The rate, 14.4 percent, was at its highest since the department began keeping records of state unemployment in 1976.

It was the fourth consecutive month that Nevada topped the list of states, followed by Michigan with a rate of 13.1 percent and California with 12.4 percent. North Dakota again had the lowest rate, at 3.7 percent.

North Carolina created the most jobs in August, with 18,600 nonfarm payroll positions. At the other end of the scale, employers in Michigan cut the most jobs, slashing 50,300.

Compared with a year ago, 26 states recorded decreases in their unemployment rates. Eight were statistically significant: Alabama, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin.

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18) The Long View of China's Currency
By DAVID LEONHARDT
September 21, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/22/business/global/22leonhardt.html?ref=business

Beijing

Spend enough time with Chinese officials and economists, and you will hear a story about the Japanese yen in the 1980s.

Back then, Americans were upset about Japanese imports flowing into the country, just as they are upset about Chinese imports today. So the United States pushed Japan to let the yen appreciate, thereby making Japanese imports more expensive and American exports to Japan cheaper. Tokyo complied, and the yen surged almost 50 percent from 1985 to 1987.

Yet the imports kept coming. The trade deficit with Japan actually widened to $108 billion in 1987, from $94 billion in 1985. The rising yen wasn't enough to halt the growth of companies like Sony and Toyota. They had too many advantages, including lower labor costs.

The moral of the story, in the Chinese telling, is that even a sharp rise in China's renminbi won't necessarily do much to help the American economy. "Renminbi appreciation may not have a big impact," Fan Gang, an economist and former government adviser, said last week at a meeting here with American economists and policy makers, "or an impact at all."

And it's true that a stronger renminbi would not be a quick fix for our economic problems, as appealing a notion as that might be. The yen isn't the only parallel here. The renminbi itself rose 21 percent against the dollar from 2005 to 2008, and the trade deficit continued to widen.

But there is also no question that China's currency remains undervalued, probably by 20 percent or so. The economics are simple enough. The huge demand for Chinese goods should be driving up the price of its currency, but Beijing has been intervening to prevent that. Getting China to stop will be crucial to correcting the global economy's imbalances. A stronger renminbi will help China's people - many of whom are hungry for better living standards, to judge by the recent labor strikes - buy more goods and services, and it will also help the rest of world produce more. But change is not going to happen overnight.

China's Communist Party has had a very good 20-year run by making incremental changes and then watching the benefits accumulate over time. Realistically, that may be the best we can hope for with the renminbi.

It also happens to be the ultimate moral of the story about the yen - even if Chinese officials tend to leave that part out.

A big change in an exchange rate seems at first glance that it should have an immediate impact. Certainly, it has some impact. The 1980s trade deficit with Japan would have grown even more rapidly had the yen not risen.

But there are two main reasons that a stronger renminbi probably will not lead to a rapid hiring increase in the United States.

The first is that China and United States aren't the only two countries in the world. Many products that we think of as being made in China, like the iPhone, are really just assembled in China. High-end parts often come from richer countries, like Israel or South Korea. Basic parts can be made in poorer countries, like Vietnam.

The entire value of the product counts toward the trade deficit between the United States and China. A stronger renminbi, however, would affect only the portion of the work done in China. And if the renminbi rose enough, some of this work would simply shift to a country like Vietnam (where per capita income is about $3,000, compared with $6,500 in China). Such a shift wouldn't help close our overall trade deficit.

Chinese officials sometimes go so far as to suggest that the value of the renminbi makes little difference. That's wrong. China's economy is now large enough that its currency matters. But the issue is more complicated than it first seems.

The second reason not to view the exchange rate as a cure-all is that economies, like battleships, tend to turn slowly. Companies rarely move production in a matter of weeks. If they are using a Chinese supplier, it is often cheaper to stick with that supplier for a while, even if costs rise, rather than find a new one in another country.

The car business makes for a good example of what might change and when. The industry may not seem typical of the China story, because it has more to do with American exports than Chinese imports. But exports probably matter more for American jobs anyway, given that low-end toy manufacturing in Guangdong Province isn't moving to Alabama or Michigan.

Like other first-time visitors to China, I have been struck by the number of Buicks on the roads here. In one Beijing traffic jam, three different Buick minivans were idling in the lane next to mine. When was the last time you were surrounded by Buicks?

Unfortunately for American autoworkers, though, none of those Buicks minivans was made in the United States. Buick exports only the high-end Enclave sport utility vehicle to China and makes the rest of its vehicles locally, with a Chinese partner. BMW, similarly, makes the 3- and 5-series here but ships in the costlier 7-series and Z sports cars.

With a stronger renminbi, you could see how carmakers might draw the dividing line in a different place, especially as the Chinese car market grows. The highest-margin vehicles would no longer be the only ones that could support the higher labor and shipping costs - not to mention China's 25 percent vehicle tariff.

Already, American exports to China are a big deal. They are on pace to equal about $83 billion this year, up from $68 billion last year and $21 billion a decade ago, adjusted for inflation. As a point of reference, $10 billion of gross domestic product equals about 80,000 jobs on average. So every extra $10 billion of goods sold to China is like its own little stimulus program.

Like any other stimulus, this one will require some politics - namely, pressuring China and negotiating with it. Companies will have to make clear, as General Electric, Microsoft and others have begun to, that their growth in China depends on the government taking property rights seriously and being more open to foreigners. As one European executive of a Chinese technology firm told me, "Foreigners can't do anything alone here."

The United States and other countries, meanwhile, will have to look for any possible leverage to reduce tariffs and other barriers and push up the renminbi. China is eager to buy advanced technology, for example, and not all the items on the United States' forbidden list are truly matters of national security. The Obama administration has started to prune this list.

Then, of course, there are those bills before Congress ominously threatening to put new tariffs on Chinese imports. The bills have definitely gotten China's attention. If anything, they are a hotter topic in Beijing than in Washington, filling state-run newspapers and broadcasts.

The tricky part now is using the credible threat of tariffs to force a faster rise in the renminbi - which is up only 1.6 percent since 2008, mostly in the last two weeks - without setting off a trade war that would cost jobs in both countries.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see the real lesson of that story about the yen is that success can take time. The yen has continued to gain strength since the 1980s and, even after its fall in the last week, it is still more than twice as high versus the dollar as in 1985. Not coincidentally, the trade deficit with Japan, as a share of the economy, has shrunk 66 percent.

This is the path that rising economic powers, from Germany to the United States to Japan, have taken before. They start as exporters and then build up a thriving domestic economy. (Japan, alas, hasn't been so good at the second part.) It's the path China needs to take now, for the sake of its citizens and for the world.

The currency move of the past couple of weeks is a good start - so long as it continues.

E-mail: leonhardt@nytimes.com

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19) Urgent Execution Alert!
Death Penalty Focus
Working for alternatives to the death penalty
crystal@nodeathpenalty.org
510-333-7966
https://death.rdsecure.org/section.php?id=20

Abolitionists,

Please read the urgent execution alert below!

Everyone should be prepared to protest at San Quentin on Tuesday. If any CEDP or Kevin Cooper Defense Committee folks can help with outreach between now and Tuesday please call or e-mail me.

More updates and information to follow.

Crystal
crystal@nodeathpenalty.org
510-333-7966

Working for alternatives to the death penalty

Urgent Execution Alert!

Despite the fact that there are still many unresolved legal issues related to the administration of lethal injection in California, the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) is pushing forward with plans to execute Albert Brown on September 29th at 12:01am. Death Penalty Focus takes the position that CDCR's actions are hasty and harmful to victims' families who are being put through a legal roller coaster ride.

As many of the legal issues surrounding this execution may not be resolved until the last minute, we have decided to move forward with plans to oppose this execution because the death penalty in California is dysfunctional, costly, plagued with inaccuracies, applied in a racially biased manner, and inconsistent with the evolving standards of decency.

We need your help!

Here's what you can do:

1. Please attend one of the following four press conferences and rallies on Tuesday, September 28th to show your opposition to the death penalty. (Because executions occur just after midnight, events occur on the day before the scheduled execution). Events are listed below.

2. Please encourage your friends and family to sign up for DPF's Urgent Action Alerts: SIGN UP HERE!

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1265/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=2723

3. Please be prepared to take action in the form of letters to the editor and petitions within the next day or two. We will circulate actions for CA residents and national and international supporters.

Please join us in opposing all executions in California.

Thank you.

Join us on Tuesday, September 28th to Oppose the Dysfunctional Death Penalty in California!

San Quentin State Prison (Marin County)
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE at 3pm
RALLY AT 8:00PM
EAST GATE OF SAN QUENTIN PRISON
You can park on Francisco Blvd. E. but expect to walk 1-1.5 Miles to get to the East Gate of San Quentin.
Contact: Lance Lindsey, lance@deathpenalty.org or office 415-243-0143.

Los Angeles
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE/ RALLY AT 5:00 P.M.
Followed by a march to a nearby church.
WESTWOOD FEDERAL BUILDING
11000 Wilshire Boulevard (Corner of Veteran)
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Contact: James Clark, cell 626-344-0632, jclark@aclu-sc.org

Sacramento
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE/ RALLY AT 5:00 P.M.
State Capitol Building
11th & L Streets
Sacramento, CA
Contact: Ellen Eggers, cell 916-215-0510, ejeggers@aol.com

San Diego
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
PRESS CONFERENCE AT 5:00 P.M.
Hall of Justice
330 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
Contact: Denise Serrano, 619-398-4486, dserrano@aclusandiego.org

Death Penalty Focus
870 Market St. Ste. 859 San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. 415.243.0143 - Fax 415.243.0994 - www.deathpenalty.org
Donate | Unsubscribe | Manage your email subscription

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20) America Is Suffering a Power Outage (and the Rest of the World Knows It)
by Dilip Hiro
September 23, 2010
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/23-8

"Make poverty history!" A catchy slogan, and an admirable aim, it was adopted by world leaders at the United Nations summit in New York on the eve of the New Millennium. A decade later, it is America which has made history -- even if in the opposite direction. The latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that, in 2009, one in seven Americans was living below the poverty line, the highest figure in half a century. Last month's 95,000-plus home foreclosures broke all records.

These were only two of the recent glaring signs of the sagging might of the globe's "sole superpower," now heavily indebted to Beijing. Other recent indicators include its failure to corral China into revaluing its currency, the yuan, against the dollar, and to compel Russia, China, India, or even Pakistan to follow its lead in suppressing the oil and natural gas trade with Iran. With Washington failing to impose its monetary or energy policies on the rest of the world, we have entered a new era in history.

America's Struggling Economy

It's crystal clear that jobs and the economy have emerged as the key preoccupations of American voters as they approach the November 2nd midterm Congressional elections.

The economic "recovery" is proving anemic. An already weak gross domestic product (GDP) growth figure, 2.4% for the second quarter of 2010, was recently revised downward to 1.6%, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, consisting of the globe's 30 richest countries, has predicted a paltry 1.2% U.S. expansion in the fourth quarter of the year.

Soon after retiring as vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve, where he served for 40 years, Donald Kohn summed up the dire situation in this way: "The U.S. economy is in a slow slog out of a very deep hole."

Consider one measure of the depth of that hole: between December 2007 -- the official start of the Great Recession -- and December 2009, the American economy made eight million workers redundant. Even if the job market were to improve to the level of the boom years of the 1990s, it would still take until March 2014 simply to halve the present 9.6% unemployment rate and return it to a pre-recession 4.7%. Little wonder that James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, warned of the American economy creeping closer to the black-hole years of deflation experienced by Japan in the 1990s.

By now, the Obama administration's $862 billion stimulus plan has largely worked its way through the system without having had much impact on job creation. And keep in mind that the high official unemployment rate is significantly less than the real figure. It doesn't take into account part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs, or those who have stopped seeking employment after countless failed attempts. In the end, the administration's policy makers seem to have failed to grasp that a recession caused by a banking crisis is always much worse than a non-banking one.

China Roars Ahead

Just as the Obama administration revised those anemic GDP growth rates downward, China's economy was passing Japan's to become the second largest on the planet. While the Chinese GDP is steaming ahead at an annual expansion rate of 10%, Japan's is crawling at 0.4%.

China's leaders responded to the 2008-2009 recession in the West that led to a fall in their country's exports by quickly changing their priorities. They moved decisively to boost domestic demand and infrastructure investment by sinking money into improving public services.

While Western governments tried to overcome the investment slump at the core of the Great Recession indirectly through deficit spending, China raised its public expenditures through its state-controlled banks. They provided easy credit for the purchase of consumer durables like cars and new homes. In addition, the government invested funds in improving public services like health care, which had deteriorated in the wake of the economic liberalization of the previous three decades.

Altogether, these measures boosted the GDP growth rate to 9% in 2009, just when the American economy was shrinking by 2.6%. Such a performance impressed the leaders of many developing countries, who concluded that China's state-directed model of economic expansion was far more suitable for their citizens than the West's private-enterprise-driven one.

On the ideological plane, the spectacular failure of the Western banking system on which the private sector rests revived socialist ardor, long on the wane, among China's policymakers. In response, they decided to bolster state-controlled companies, proving wrong Western analysts who bet that public-sector undertakings would lose out to their private-sector counterparts.

The upsurge in government spending and generous bank lending policies led to increased investments by state-owned companies. Whether engaged in extracting coal and oil, producing steel, or ferrying passengers and cargo, such companies found themselves amply funded to upgrade their industrial and service bases, a process that created more jobs. In addition, they began to enter new fields like real estate.

Overall, the Great Recession in the West, triggered primarily by Wall Street's excesses, provided an opportunity for Beijing to stress that, in socialist China, private capital had only a secondary role to play. "The socialist system's advantages enable us to make decisions efficiently, organize effectively, and concentrate resources to accomplish large undertakings," said Prime Minster Wen Jiabao in his address to the annual session of the National People's Congress in March.

The Sacred Yuan and Gunboat Diplomacy

In March and early April, there was much sound and fury at the White House about China's currency, the yuan, being undervalued, and so giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage over their American rivals. This assessment was faithfully echoed by a compliant media. Pundits anticipated a U.S. Treasury report due in mid-April condemning China's manipulation of its currency, a preamble to raising tariffs on Chinese imports. Nothing of the sort happened.

Instead, the Treasury delayed its report for three months. When released, it said that, while the yuan remained undervalued, China had made a "significant" move in June by ending its policy of pegging its currency tightly to the dollar. Hard facts belie that statement, highlighting the former sole superpower's impotency in its dealings with fast-rising Beijing. Between early April and mid-September, the yuan appreciated by a "significant" 1%.

More worrying to White House policymakers is the way Beijing is translating its economic muscle into military and diplomatic power. The controversy surrounding the sinking of the South Korean patrol ship Cheonan in March is a case in point. Following a report in May by a team of American, British, and Swedish experts that a North Korean torpedo had destroyed the vessel, the U.S. and South Korea announced joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. China protested. It argued that, since the planned military drill was very close to its territorial waters, it threatened its security. Later that month at a South Korea-Japan-China summit, Chinese Premier Wen refrained from naming North Korea as the culprit and instead emphasized the need to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Washington ignored Beijing's advice. It went ahead with its joint naval maneuvers in early July. Six weeks later, it announced another such drill in the Yellow Sea for early September. Incensed, Beijing responded by conducting its own three-day-long naval exercises in the same maritime space. Breaking with normal protocol, it gave them wide publicity. Unexpectedly, nature intervened. A tropical storm approaching the Yellow Sea compelled the Pentagon to postpone its joint maneuvers.

By then, Beijing had locked horns with Washington, challenging the latter's claim that the Yellow Sea is an international waterway, open to all shipping, including warships. This is an unmistakable sign that the Chinese Navy is preparing to extend its reach beyond its coastal waters. Indeed, plans are clearly now afoot to extend operations into the parts of the Pacific previously dominated by the U.S. Navy.

China's naval high command now openly talks of dispatching warships to the waters between the Malacca Strait and the Persian Gulf, principally to safeguard the sea lanes used to carry oil to the People's Republic of China.

Washington's Iran Policy Challenged

As China's third biggest supplier of petroleum (after Saudi Arabia and Angola), Iran figures prominently on Beijing's radar screen. So far, Chinese energy corporations, all state-owned, have invested $40 billion in the Islamic Republic's hydrocarbon sector. They are also poised to participate in the building of seven oil refineries in Iran. When, earlier this year, European Union (EU) companies stopped supplying gasoline to Iran, which imports 40% of its needs, Chinese oil corporations stepped in. That was how in 2009, with a $21.2 billion dollar two-way commerce, China surpassed the EU as Iran's number one trading partner. It is estimated that China-Iran trade will rise by 50% in 2010.

Like Russia, China backed a fourth set of United Nations economic sanctions on Iran in June only after Washington agreed that the Security Council resolution would not include provisions that might hurt the Iranian people. Therefore, the resulting resolution did not outlaw either investment or participation in the Iranian oil and gas industry.

Much to Moscow's chagrin, on July 1st, President Obama signed the Comprehensive Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) into law. It banned the export of petroleum products to Iran and severely restricted investment in its hydrocarbon industry. It also contained a provision that authorized the White House to penalize any entity in the world violating the act by restricting its commercial dealings with U.S. banks or the government.

Two weeks later, Russian oil minister Sergey Shmatko struck back. He announced that his country would be "developing and widening" already existing cooperation with the Islamic Republic's oil sector. "We are neighbors," he emphasized. Russian oil companies were, he added, free to sell gasoline to Iran and ship it across the Caspian Sea, which the two countries share. The Kremlin also warned that if Washington chose to penalize Russian companies for their actions in Iran, it would retaliate. The Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Cherkin, stated categorically that Russia had closed the door to any further tightening of the sanctions against Iran.

As promised publicly and repeatedly, in August the Russians finally commissioned the civilian nuclear power plant near Bushehr, which they had contracted to build in 1994. It meets all the conditions of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Russia will provide it with nuclear rods and remove its spent fuel which could be used to produce weapons.

Little wonder, then, that Russia and China appear on the list of the 22 nations that do "significant business" with Iran, according to the White House. What surprised many American analysts was the appearance of India on that list, which reflected their failure to grasp a salient fact: "energy security trumps all" is increasingly the driving principle behind the foreign policies of a variety of rising nations.

Soon after the enactment of CISADA, India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao stated that her government was worried "unilateral sanctions recently imposed by individual countries [could] have a direct and adverse impact on Indian companies and, more importantly, on our energy security." Her statement won widespread praise in the Indian press, resentful of foreign interference in the hallowed sanctum of energy security. Delhi responded to CISADA by reviving the idea of building a 680-mile marine gas pipeline from Iran to India at a cost of $4 billion.

More remarkably, Washington's policy has even been sabotaged by political entities which are parasitically dependent on its goodwill or largess.

In a black-market trade of monumental proportions, more than 1,000 tanker trucks filled with petroleum products cross from oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran every day. On the Kurdish side, the profits from this illicit energy trade go to the governing Kurdish political parties which have been tightly tied to Washington since the end of the First Gulf War in 1991.

An even more blatant example of defiance of Washington in the name of energy was provided by Pakistan which would be unable to stand on its feet without the economic crutches provided by America. In January, Washington pressured Islamabad to abandon a 690-mile Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project that has been on the planning boards for the past few years. Islamabad refused. In March, its representatives signed an agreement with the Iranians. And a month later, Iran announced that it had completed construction of the 630 miles of the pipeline on its soil, and that Iranian gas would start flowing into Pakistan in 2014.

An Irreversible Trend

In whole regions of the world, U.S. power is in flux, but on the whole in retreat. The United States remains a powerful nation with a military to match. It still has undeniable heft on the global stage, but its power slippage is no less real for that -- and, by any measure, irreversible. Whatever the twenty-first century may prove to be, it will not be the American century.

Those familiar with stock exchanges know that the share price of a dwindling company does not go over a cliff in a free fall. It declines, attracts new buyers, recovers much of its lost ground, only to fall further the next time around. Such is the case with U.S. "stock" in the world. The peak American moment as the sole superpower is now well past -- and there's no overall recovery in sight, only a marginal chance of success in areas such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where the United States remains the only major power whose clout counts.

For almost a decade, Washington poured huge amounts of money, blood, military power, and diplomatic capital into self-inflicted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Meanwhile, the U.S. lost ground in South America and all of Africa, even Egypt. Its long-running wars also highlighted the limitations of the power of conventional weaponry and the military doctrine of applying overwhelming force against the enemy.

As the high command at the Pentagon trains a whole new generation of soldiers and officers in counterinsurgency warfare, which requires the arduous, time-consuming tasks of mastering alien cultures and foreign languages, "the enemy," well versed in the use of the Internet, will forge new tactics. Given the growing economic strength of China, Brazil, and India, among other rising powers, U.S. influence will continue to wane. The American power outage is, by any measure, irreversible.
(c) 2010 Dilip Hiro

Dilip Hiro is the author Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources [2] (Nation Books), and most recently, After Empire: The Rise of a Multipolar World [3].

Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/23-8

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21) How the CIA ran a secret army of 3,000 assassins
By Julius Cavendish in Kabul
Thursday, 23 September 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/how-the-cia-ran-a-secret-army-of-3000-assassins-2087039.html

The US Central Intelligence Agency is running and paying for a secret 3,000-strong army of Afghan paramilitaries whose main aim is assassinating Taliban and al-Qa'ida operatives not just in Afghanistan but across the border in neighbouring Pakistan's tribal areas, according to Bob Woodward's explosive book.

Although the CIA has long been known to run clandestine militias in Afghanistan, including one from a base it rents from the Afghan president Hamid Karzai's half-brother in the southern province of Kandahar, the sheer number of militiamen directly under its control have never been publicly revealed.

Woodward's book, Obama's Wars, describes these forces as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qa'ida and Afghan Taliban havens there. Two US newspapers published the claims after receiving copies of the manuscript.

The secret army is split into "Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams", and is thought to be responsible for the deaths of many Pakistani Taliban fighters who have crossed the border into Afghanistan to fight Nato and Afghan government forces there.

There are ever-increasing numbers of "kill-or-capture" missions undertaken by US Special Forces against Afghan Taliban and foreign fighters, who hope to drive rank-and-file Taliban towards the Afghan government's peace process by eliminating their leaders. The suspicion is that the secret army is working in close tandem with them.

Although no comment has been forthcoming, it is understood that the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, approves of the mission, which bears similarities to the covert assassination campaign against al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which was partially credited with stemming the tide of violence after the country imploded between 2004 and 2007.

The details of the clandestine army have surprised no one in Kabul, the Afghan capital, although the fact that the information is now public is unprecedented. There have been multiple reports of the CIA running its own militias in southern Afghanistan.

The operation also has powerful echoes of clandestine operations of the 1990s, when the CIA recruited and ran a militia inside the Afghan border with the sole purpose of killing Osama bin Laden. The order then that a specially recruited Afghan militia was "to capture him alive" - the result of protracted legal wrangles about when, how and if Osama bin Laden could be killed - doomed efforts to assassinate him before 9/11.

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22) The Whole Truthiness and Nothing But
By ASHLEY PARKER
Video: Stephen Colbert's statement before Congress
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/39343087#39343087
September 24, 2010, 1:19 pm
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/the-whole-truthiness-and-nothing-but/?hp

Stephen Colbert testified in Congress on Friday about an immigration bill that he said - in all truthiness - he had not read, "like most members of Congress."

And when the comedian was challenged by one disgruntled lawmaker about his expertise, which was based on a single day spent hamming it up in a bean field for his show on Comedy Central, Mr. Colbert, keeping completely in character, said that was enough time to make him an expert on anything.

Mr. Colbert testified before the House immigration subcommittee about the day he recently spent picking vegetables on a farm in upstate New York. The gig was part of the "Take Our Jobs" campaign by the United Farm Workers of America to highlight the work done by migrant workers.

Arturo S. Rodriguez, the president of U.F.W., testified among others alongside Mr. Colbert.

Before Mr. Colbert bounded into the unusually packed committee room, the buzz in the crowd was whether Mr. Colbert would show up as the satiric Stephen Colbert, who hosts the "The Colbert Report." He did.

Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and the panel's chairwoman who invited Mr. Colbert to testify, opened on a slightly wry note.

"We realize there is great interest in the plight of migrant farm workers in America," Ms. Lofgren said, before asking the press to pull back from the witness table where Mr. Colbert was mugging for and winking at the cameras.

On the whole, the mood of the hearing alternated between the serious and the absurd. (His spoken testimony departed significantly from his prepared text, which was straightforward and earnest.)

"I certainly hope that my star power can pump this hearing all the way up to C-Span 1," Mr. Colbert said, before explaining that the "obvious answer is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables - and if you look at the recent obesity statistics you'll see that many Americans have already started."

But, he continued, his gastroenterologist had explained to him that fruits and vegetables are an important source of "roughage" and said that he "would like to submit a video of my colonoscopy into The Congressional Record."

"I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican - I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian," Mr. Colbert said, before turning just perceptibly more serious and talking about how difficult work as a farm worker was.

"After working with these men and women, picking beans, packing corn, for hours on end, side by side, in the unforgiving sun, I have to say and I do mean this sincerely: Please don't make me do this again, it is really, really hard," he said.

"The point is, we have to do something because I am not going back out there. At this point, I break into a cold sweat at the sight of a salad bar," he said.

Five minutes later, much to the disappointment of the crowd, Mr. Colbert was done. "U.S.A. No. 1," he said to wrap up his testimony.

Mr. Colbert had only a supporting role in the question-and-answer segment of the hearing, although Representative Lamar Smith did go back and forth with the comedian. The Texas Republican asked the comedian for particulars - if Mr. Colbert knew if the roughly 100 workers he worked alongside with were illegal immigrants and whether he he knew their salary. Mr. Colbert could not provide this information.

"Does one day in the field make you an expert witness?" Mr. Smith pressed.

"I believe that one day of me studying anything makes me an expert," Mr. Colbert replied.

Not everyone was amused. Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, declared in his opening statement that it was an insult to the troops at war to suggest that Americans don't like hard jobs.

"Maybe we should be spending less time watching Comedy Central and more time considering all the real jobs that are out there," he said.

Near the end of the hearing, Mr. Colbert turned sincere, giving a serious answer when asked a serious question by Representative Judy Chu, Democrat of California, about why he had chosen to donate his time to the plight of migrant farm workers out of all possible causes.

Mr. Colbert paused, scratched the back of his head and sounding almost surprised at himself replied, "I like talking about people who don't have any power, and it seems like one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don't have any rights themselves," he said. "Migrant workers suffer and have no rights."

This is not the comedian's first foray into politics. In 2007, Mr. Colbert paid the $2,500 fee and filed papers with the South Carolina Democratic Party to run for president in his home state's primary. He was rejected just hours later by the state's executive council.

And in October, Mr. Colbert will return to Washington with fellow Comedy Central host, Jon Stewart, for rallies on the National Mall. Mr. Colbert will headline the "March to Keep Fear Alive" while Mr. Stewart will lead the "Rally to Restore Sanity," but both are intended as a spoof of conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in late August.

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23) Woman, 41, Is Executed in Virginia
By ANAHAD O'CONNOR
September 23, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/us/24execute.html?_r=1&ref=us

A woman convicted of orchestrating a plot that led to the murders of her husband and stepson was executed in Virginia Thursday night, becoming the first woman executed in the state in almost a century.

The woman, Teresa Lewis, 41, died by lethal injection at a correctional facility in southeastern Virginia. With a crowd of death penalty opponents protesting outside, Ms. Lewis was pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m., the Associated Press reported, citing officials at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. She was the 12th woman executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

The case against Ms. Lewis, the first woman executed in the country since 2005, had drawn international attention. Many of her supporters questioned the fairness of her sentence - her co-conspirators, who fired the fatal shots, were spared capital punishment - and doubts were raised about her mental capacity. Psychologists involved in her case said she was borderline retarded. And her supporters argued that she had been manipulated by the two triggermen, who stood to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings and life insurance payoffs.

Ms. Lewis received support from an unlikely cast. The novelist John Grisham published an op-ed piece calling for leniency, and the European Union sent a letter to Robert F. McDonnell, the governor of Virginia, asking him to commute Ms. Lewis's sentence to life because of her mental capacities. The case was also cited by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a speech to Islamic clerics during a visit to New York this week.

Shortly after her execution, a lawyer for Ms. Lewis, Jim Rocap, called her death "a tragic loss."

"Tonight, the machinery of death in Virginia extinguished the beautiful, childlike and loving human spirit of Teresa Lewis," he said. "Teresa asked that I send her thanks and love to all of those who have supported her in this fight for her life. In her words, 'It's just awesome.' It is our hope that Teresa's death will cause a re-examination of the badly broken system of justice that could allow something as wrong and unjust as this to happen."

For her part, Ms. Lewis did not deny her involvement in the murders, which took place in October 2002. Prosecutors said Ms. Lewis hatched the murders with two men she had been sleeping with. They said she supplied them with money to buy the murder weapons and showered them with gifts.

On the night before Halloween, they said, Ms. Lewis left the doors of her home unlocked and got into bed as her conspirators entered the home. According to the authorities, Ms. Lewis stood by as the two men opened fire: first on her stepson, Charles J. Lewis, 25, a reservist about to be deployed, and then on her husband, Julian C. Lewis Jr., 51.

Ms. Lewis eventually confessed to the crimes and led the police to the gunmen. The judge presiding over the case, Charles J. Strauss of Pittsylvania Circuit Court, sentenced the two gunmen to life in prison. But Ms. Lewis, he concluded in 2003, had been the ringleader, showing a "depravity of mind" that justified the death penalty.

Lawyers for Ms. Lewis later revealed new evidence that pointed to one of the gunmen as the plot's mastermind, including statements that he made in a letter and to a girlfriend. Ms. Lewis's lawyers pleaded unsuccessfully for clemency. Her final, last-ditch appeal for a stay was turned down by the Supreme Court late Tuesday.

According to SkyNews, Ms. Lewis requested a last meal of fried chicken, a slice of German chocolate cake or apple pie, and Dr. Pepper soda. According to reports from the prison, her final words were a message for her stepdaughter.

"I just want Cathy to know that I love her and I'm very sorry," she said.

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24) Some Obama Allies Fear School Lunch Bill Could Rob Food Stamp Program
By ROBERT PEAR
"A bill that the House is expected to consider within days would come up with some of the money by cutting future food stamp benefits....Nationwide, more than 41 million people receive food stamps, nearly half of them children. The number of recipients has increased 51 percent since the recession began in December 2007. The average monthly benefit is $133 a person, about $4.40 a day." [Starving Mom and Pop Peter to feed baby Paul...bw]
September 23, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/us/24food.html?ref=us

WASHINGTON - In her campaign to reduce childhood obesity and improve school nutrition, Michelle Obama has become entangled in a fight with White House allies, including liberal Democrats and advocates for the poor.

At issue is how to pay for additional spending on the school lunch program and other child nutrition projects eagerly sought by the White House. A bill that the House is expected to consider within days would come up with some of the money by cutting future food stamp benefits.

When the Senate passed the bill in early August, Mrs. Obama said she was thrilled. But anti-hunger groups were not. They deluged House members on Thursday with phone calls and e-mails expressing alarm.

"It is wrong to take money from food stamps to finance child nutrition programs," said Edward M. Cooney, executive director of the Congressional Hunger Center, an advocacy group. "You are taking money from low-income people in one program and spending it on low-income people - maybe the same people - in another program."

The Food Research and Action Center and Catholic Charities USA said they supported expanding child nutrition programs but opposed cutting money for food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

More than 100 House Democrats, including leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposing the use of food stamp money to pay for the expansion of child nutrition programs. Labor unions, including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the National Education Association, and women's groups have sent similar letters.

Administration officials are pushing House Democrats to pass the Senate bill. The House Democratic whip, James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, sent an e-mail to colleagues this week asking if they supported it.

House Democratic leaders said the House could consider the Senate bill under an expedited procedure that prohibits amendments and requires a two-thirds majority for passage.

Martha B. Coven, a senior staff member at the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the bill "would make a historic investment in school meal programs and go a long way toward achieving Mrs. Obama's goal of ending the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation."

"We support the bill as a whole," Ms. Coven said. "We strongly support House passage of the Senate bill." She declined to comment on criticism of the food stamp changes.

Lawmakers from both parties and child nutrition advocates have praised many provisions of the Senate bill. It gives the secretary of agriculture the authority to establish nutrition standards for foods sold in schools during the school day, including vending machine items. And it would require schools to serve more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Also, for the first time in over three decades, it would increase federal reimbursement for school lunches beyond inflation - to allow for the cost of higher-quality meals. It would also allow more than 100,000 children on Medicaid to qualify for free school meals, without filing applications.

Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, said: "I want to pass a child nutrition bill. I am committed to the first lady's campaign. I want to be helpful. But I won't vote for a bill that robs Peter to pay Paul. The White House needs to work with us to find a better way to offset the cost."

Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said, "While I want a strong and robust reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, we cannot do it on the backs of the unemployed, underemployed and chronically poor."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City weighed in too. He wrote that he was concerned about the health and welfare of the more than one million students in the city's public schools. But he said that Congress should not try to help them at the expense of food stamp recipients.

By reducing future food stamp benefits, Mr. Bloomberg said, the Senate bill "would reduce the availability of nutritious food at children's homes in order to provide those very same children nutritious options at school."

Nationwide, more than 41 million people receive food stamps, nearly half of them children. The number of recipients has increased 51 percent since the recession began in December 2007. The average monthly benefit is $133 a person, about $4.40 a day.

The Senate bill would save $2.2 billion over 10 years by eliminating an increase in benefits provided by the 2009 economic stimulus law. Food price inflation has been lower than expected, so the increase could be ended early, in November 2013, proponents say.

Ellen S. Teller of the Food Research and Action Center said the cuts "would increase poverty and could increase obesity because shoppers would try to stretch their dollars by buying cheaper, calorie-dense food that has low nutritional value."

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25) *Breaking News* Three houses in Minneapolis raided, other houses in
Michigan, NC, Chicago targeted.
Submitted by smiley on Fri, 09/24/2010 - 09:20
http://twincities.indymedia.org/2010/sep/breaking-news-three-houses-minneapolis-raided-other-houses-michigan-nc-chicago-targeted

Urgent - Community Meeting tonight! 5:30 pm Walker Church 3104 16th
Ave S regarding the FBI Raids

On Friday morning, three houses in the Minneapolis area are believed
to have been raided by SWAT Teams. While we have few details right
now, the F.B.I. appears to be targeting people associated with the
Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Besides the raids in Minneapolis,
houses in Michigan, North Carolina and Chicago were also targeted.

Raids occurred at 1823 Riverside, above the Hard Times Cafe, and the
2900 block of Park Ave. One other raid is reported, as well. Outside
Hard Times Cafe, three unmarked black SUVs (one with an Illinois
license plate) sat in the parking area as of 10am, when a lawyer
observed 8 FBI agents sitting in the residence examining materials.
Otherwise the scene was calm.

Agents had broken in the door there at 7am Friday morning, breaking an
aquarium in the process.

The Federal search warrants appear to be focusing on seizing
electronic devices, international travel, and alleging
"co-conspirators." They do not authorize arrests.

The search warrant for 1823 Riverside, the residence of activist Mick
Kelly, sought information "regarding ability to pay for his own
travel" to Palestine and Columbia from 2000 to today. The warrant
hyped potential documents indicating any contacts/facilitation with
FARC, PFLP, and Hezbollah - what it called "FTOs" or "foreign
terrorist organizations". It mentioned seeking information on the
alleged "facilitation of other individuals in the US to travel to
Colombia, Palestine and any other foreign location in support of
foreign terrorist organizations including but not limited to FARC,
PFLP and Hezbollah".

The wording of the warrant appears to indicate the government seeks to
create divisions among social justice and international soldarity
activists by hyping alleged connections to what they call "foreign
terrorist organizations."

The warrant also sought information on "Kelly's travel to and from and
presence in MN, and other foreign countries [sic] to which Kelly has
traveled as part of his work in FRSO [Freedom Road Socialist
Organization", as well as materials related to his finances and the
finances of FRSO, and all computer and electronic devices.

The federal warrant was signed by Judge Susan Nelson at 3:30pm
yesterday, September 23.

FROM: Twin Cities Peace Campaign - Focus on Iraq MESSAGE: Dear
Peacemakers, I have just been informed by Sarah Martin that the FBI
are in the process of raiding the homes of Meredith Aby, Jess Sundin,
and Mick Kelly. They are apparently accusing them of connections with
a terrorist organization. The National Lawyer Guild attorneys are
suggesting that we go to their homes immediately. My phone number is 612-275-2720. Peace in the struggle, Marie Braun

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26) FBI raids homes of several Twin Cities war protesters
By RANDY FURST, Star Tribune
September 24, 2010
http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/103716384.html?elr=KArks%3ADCiUo3PD%3A3D_V_qD3L%3Ac7cQKUiD3aPc%3A_Yyc%3AaU7DYaGEP7vDEh7P%3ADiUs

The homes of several leaders of the Twin Cities antiwar movement were raided Friday by the FBI in what an agency spokesman described as an "investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

Search warrants were executed on six addresses in Minneapolis and at two in Chicago, said FBI spokesman Steve Warfield.

Among the homes raided were the apartments of Jessica Sundin, who was a principal leader of the mass march of 10,000 on the opening day of the Republican National Convention two years ago, and Mick Kelly, who was prominent in that protest and among those who announced plans to march on the Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis, if the city is selected to host it in 2012.

Ted Dooley, an attorney, said he had reviewed the search warrant issued in the raid on Kelly's apartment. "It's a probe into the political beliefs of American citizens and to any organization anywhere that opposes the American iimperial design," he said.

Steve Warfield, an FBI agent, declined to respond to Dooley's comment. He said in a statement Friday, "We are doing six federal search warrants in Minneapolis that are related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism. We are doing two search warrants in Chicago as well."

He said the raids were conducted at about 7 a.m., but he declined to say who or what addresses were being raided.

Mick Kelly, who lives on the 1800 block of Riverside Av. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview that the FBI kicked down his door, handed him a search warrant and began inspecting his files. He said eight FBI agents were involved in the raid.

Randy Furst • 612-673-7382

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27) What the Pot Legalization Campaign Really Threatens
by David Sirota
Published on Friday, September 24, 2010 by Oregon Live
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/24-5

Here's a fact that even drug policy reform advocates can acknowledge: California's 2010 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana does, indeed, pose a real threat, as conservative culture warriors insist. But not to public health, as those conservatives claim.

According to most physicians, pot is less toxic -- and has more medicinal applications -- than a legal and more pervasive drug like alcohol. Whereas alcohol causes hundreds of annual overdose deaths, contributes to untold numbers of illnesses and is a major factor in violent crime, marijuana has never resulted in a fatal overdose and has not been systemically linked to major illness or violent crime.

So this ballot measure is no public health threat. If anything, it would give the millions of citizens who want to use inebriating substances a safer alternative to alcohol. Which, of course, gets to what this ballot initiative really endangers: alcohol industry profits.

That truth is underscored by news this week that the California Beer and Beverage Distributors is financing the campaign against the legalization initiative. This is the same group that bankrolled opposition to a 2008 ballot measure, which would have reduced penalties for marijuana possession.

By these actions, alcohol companies are admitting that more sensible drug policies could cut into their government-created monopoly on mind-altering substances. Thus, they are fighting back -- and not just defensively. Unsatisfied with protecting turf in California, the alcohol industry is going on offense, as evidenced by a recent article inadvertently highlighting America's inane double standards.

Apparently oblivious to the issues the California campaign is now raising, Businessweek just published an elated puff piece headlined "Keeping Pabst Blue Ribbon Cool." Touting the beer's loyal following, the magazine quoted one PBR executive effusively praising a rate of alcohol consumption that would pickle the average liver.

"A lot of blue-collar workers I've talked to say 'I've been drinking a six-pack of Pabst, every single day, seven days a week, for 25 years,'" he gushed, while another executive added "It's, like, habitual -- it's part of their life. It's their lifestyle."

Discussing possible plans to "develop a whole beer brand around troops" -- one that devotes some proceeds to military organizations -- the executives said their vision is "that when you see Red White & Blue (beer) at your barbecue, you know that money's supporting people who have died for our country."

Imagine marijuana substituted for alcohol in this story. The article would be presented as a scary expose about workers smoking a daily dime-bag and marijuana growers' linking pot with the Army. Undoubtedly, such an article would be on the front page of every newspaper as cause for outrage. Yet, because this was about alcohol -- remember, a substance more toxic than marijuana -- it was buried in a financial magazine and depicted as something to extol.

Couple that absurd hypocrisy with the vociferous opposition to California's initiative, and we see the meta-message.

We are asked to believe that people drinking a daily six-pack for a quarter-century is not a lamentable sign of a health crisis, but instead a "lifestyle" triumph worthy of flag-colored celebration -- and we are expected to think that legalizing a safer alternative to this "lifestyle" is dangerous. Likewise, as laws obstruct veterans from obtaining doctor-prescribed marijuana for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, we are asked to believe that shotgunning cans of lager is the real way to "support our troops."

These are the delusions that a liquor-drenched culture prevents us from reconsidering. In a society drunk off of alcohol propaganda -- a society of presidential "beer summits" and sports stadiums named after beer companies -- we've had trouble separating fact from fiction. Should California pass its ballot initiative, perhaps a more sober and productive drug policy might finally become a reality.
© 2010 Creators.com

David Sirota is a bestselling author whose newest book is "The Uprising." He is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network-both nonpartisan organizations. Sirota was once US Senator Bernie Sanders' spokesperson. His blog is at www.credoaction.com/sirota.

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