Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Dear all,

As you know, I publish the Bay Area United Against War (BAUAW) newsletter that goes out to over 380 groups and individuals in the Bay Area (mostly individuals). While BAUAW used to be an activist group and is no longer a group, the newsletter remains active and, in fact has grown. I was able to give a similar, but much shorter message to the demonstration last evening as the publisher of the BAUAW Newsletter and blog at

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein


About one- to two-hundred people showed up at the Federal Building in San Francisco at 7th and Mission Streets, on barely 24 hour's notice, to protest Obama's FBI raids against peace and social justice activists. It was broadly attended by the major antiwar, social justice groups and the labor movement. Speaker after speaker spoke against the raids as a threat to all who protest injustice carried out by the U.S. government here and abroad.

But the raids have not stopped! The only way to stop them is to stand united behind all those who have and will be persecuted by Obama's administration. We have a right to protest injustice wherever we perceive it--especially if the crimes are being funded by the U.S. government (our tax dollars) as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia and Palestine and numerous other places around the globe. An injury to one is an injury to all! We are only as strong as our weakest link. That is why we must stand together. Together, the weakest link becomes unbreakable.

The antiwar movement is obviously central to the defense of civil liberties and civil rights. That's why it's more important than ever for us to unite and call national and international actions against the wars, occupations and illegal military and police actions by our government here and everywhere--including these raids!

It's important first, to let the Obama administration know that this will not stop us from protesting, and second, to let this government know that we, the majority of people against the wars, being in the majority, have the right to dictate to them how our tax dollars should be spent.

We have the right to demand money for jobs, housing, healthcare, education and to life, liberty and peace of mind and body, not never-ending wars, occupations and prisons to preserve the wealth of the power elite. All human beings everywhere have these inalienable rights! We are citizens of the world and we all have these same common interests, human needs and wants.

If we don't stand together and demand them, we will not have them. More importantly, they are within our grasp if we stand united.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein, Publisher of Bay Area United Against War Newsletter,

--- On Tue, 9/28/10, Women Against Military Madness wrote:

From: Women Against Military Madness
Subject: [WAMM] WAMM Board Co-Chair Subpoenaed to Appear Before Grand Jury

The witch-hunt continues! I know you have heard that Freedom Road and the Anti-War Committee are being investigated by the FBI.

Yesterday, WAMM board co-chair and long time peace activist, Sarah Martin was also served with a subpoena. She is to appear before a grand Jury, in Chicago, on October 12, as part of the FBI investigation that is trying to tie local peace groups to terrorism.

Sarah is innocent of terrorism or connection to organizations that condone terrorism.

This is part of a nationally coordinated action, surely approved by the director of the FBI and probably at higher levels than that. There has been considerable national media attention. It appears that our Twin Cities peace community has been thrust into the middle of something much larger. The affected activists will need a lot of our support as they resist increasing repression and "terrorism" hype from the Obama Administration.

The people targeted have several things in common which give an insight to the nature of this investigation. Locally, all have been connected to the Anti-War Committee and/or WAMM. I believe all are connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization. All were deeply involved in organizing the mass marches at the RNC in 2008. I believe all have been involved in the efforts to stop the DNC from coming to Minneapolis in 2012. All or nearly all have traveled to Colombia and/or Palestine for international solidarity work.

Please join us at the first meeting of a new solidarity and defense committee, Thursday, September 30, 7:00 p.m. at Walker Methodist Church, 3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Feel free to invite friends, neighbors, lawyers, church members and leaders so that we can organize to keep this malignant FBI investigation from spreading further through out our community.

Democracy is indeed under a terrifying assault! Sadly enough, it is coming from the hands of our own government, directed at some of the best, brightest, and most conscientious of our own citizens. For those of us who hold the constitution and the Bill of Rights near and dear to our hearts, we must stand up to this new assault on American freedom.

Kim Doss-Smith, Executive Director, Woman Against Military Madness (WAMM), 612-827-5364.

Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)
310 East 38th Street, Suite 222
Minneapolis, MN 55409
612-827-5364 (phone)
612-827-6433 (fax) (email) (web site)


Protest the Raids
By Gregg Shotwell, Soldiers of Solidarity, UAW

Read or listen to the article linked above about raids on the homes of anti war activists.

Of course, most of us may say, "First they came for the anti war activists, but since I am not an anti war activist........" But you know where the story ends:
with you and me.

I know three of the people whose homes were raided.

I know them through my activism in the UAW.

All three are soldiers of solidarity, by that I mean, people who show up on the picket lines and who support solidarity wherever and whenever it is called for.

I attest to these allegiances without qualification.

All three are workers, parents, and people committed to peace, equality, solidarity, and justice.

They are friends not terrorists.

They are men and women of conscience and commitment.

If the feds can terrorize them, they can terrorize you and me as well.

Note in the interview the connection to Columbia, the most dangerous
country in the world FOR TRADE UNIONISTS. They don't fire union supporters in Columbia, they murder them.

Now the FBI is raiding the homes of people who work for the union movement
in the USA and who advocate for peace rather than war.

Pick up the phone or email Obama, go straight to the top and demand the feds stop terrorizing workers who are campaigning for peace, solidarity, and justice. Don't wait. Don't think for a minute that you can hide from the thought police. The intimidation won't stop at your door. What's to stop them? Your silence?

The only thing that can stop harassment is solidarity.

sos, Gregg Shotwell

To contact Obama:


San Francisco Labor Council Resolution

[Note: The following resolution -- submitted by David Welsh, NALC 214, and Alan Benjamin, OPEIU 3 -- was adopted unanimously by the SFLC Delegates' Meeting on Sept. 27, 2010.]

Condemn FBI Raids on Trade Union, Anti-War and Solidarity Activists

Whereas, early morning Sept. 24 in coordinated raids, FBI agents entered eight homes and offices of trade union and anti-war activists in Minneapolis and Chicago, confiscating crates full of computers, books, documents, notebooks, cell phones, passports, children's drawings, photos of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, videos and personal belongings. The FBI also raided offices of the Twin Cities Anti-war Committee, seizing computers; handed out subpoenas to testify before a federal Grand Jury to 11 activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan; and paid harassment visits to others in Wisconsin, California and North Carolina; and

Whereas, one target of the raid was the home of Joe Iosbaker, chief steward and executive board member of SEIU Local 73 in Chicago, where he has led struggles at the University of Illinois for employee rights and pay equity. Brother Iosbaker told the Democracy Now radio/TV program that FBI agents "systematically [went] through every room, our basement, our attic, our children's rooms, and pored through not just all of our papers, but our music collection, our children's artwork, my son's poetry journal from high school -- everything." He and his wife, a Palestine solidarity activist, were both issued subpoenas. The earliest subpoena dates are October 5 and 7; and

Whereas, the majority of those targeted by the FBI raids had participated in anti-war protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul MN, which resulted in hundreds of beatings and arrests [with almost all charges subsequently dropped]. Many of those targeted in the 9/24 raids were involved in humanitarian solidarity work with labor and popular movements in Colombia -- "the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist"-- whose US-funded government has been condemned by the AFL-CIO and internationally for the systematic assassination of hundreds of trade unionists; and

Whereas, the nationally coordinated dawn raids and fishing expedition marks a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act. The raids came only 4 days after a scathing report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that soundly criticized the FBI for targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace and the Thomas Merton Center from 2002-06. In 2008, according to a 300-page report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI trailed a group of students in Iowa City to parks, libraries, bars and restaurants, and went through their trash. This time the FBI is using the pretext of investigating "terrorism" in an attempt to intimidate activists.

Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council denounce the Sept. 24th FBI raids on the homes and offices of trade union, solidarity and anti-war activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and elsewhere; the confiscation of computers and personal belongings; and the issuance of Grand Jury subpoenas. This has all the earmarks of a fishing expedition. The FBI raids are reminiscent of the Palmer Raids, McCarthy hearings, J. Edgar Hoover, and COINTELPRO, and mark a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act;

And be it further resolved, that this Council make the following demands:

1. Stop the repression against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists.

2. Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, personal belongings, etc.

3. End the Grand Jury proceedings and FBI raids against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists;

And be it further resolved, that this Council participate in the ongoing movement to defend our civil rights and civil liberties from FBI infringement; forward this resolution to Bay Area labor councils, California Labor Federation, Change to Win and AFL-CIO; and call on these organizations at all levels to similarly condemn the witch hunt;

And be it finally resolved, that this Council urge the AFL-CIO to ensure that denunciation of the FBI raids is featured from the speakers' platform at the October 2, 2010 One Nation march in Washington, DC, possibly by inviting one of those targeted by the raids, for example the SEIU chief steward whose home was raided, to speak at the rally.


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

We agree with the demands adopted by the UNAC conference but disagree with organizing separately as is now the case [And now, especially, because of the horrendous assault on our civil liberties by the ongoing Obama/FBI raids.]

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


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:





Death Penalty Focus
Working for alternatives to the death penalty

Good news - Judge Fogel just announced that he is granting a stay of execution for Albert Brown. However - the state could appeal this decision.

See SF Chronicle article below. Quote: "Unless it is overruled by a higher court, Fogel's order will halt Brown's execution and prevent any further executions in California until at least early 2011. "


Judge blocks Thursday night execution
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(09-28) 18:54 PDT SAN JOSE -- A federal judge blocked the execution of condemned murderer Albert Greenwood Brown this evening, saying he lacked time to assess changes in California's lethal injection procedures because the state had set the execution date so abruptly.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose had denied a stay of execution to Brown on Friday. But a federal appeals court ordered him to reconsider Monday night and decide whether the new injection procedures eliminated the risk that a prisoner would suffer a prolonged and agonizing death.

Fogel, whose 2006 ruling halted executions in California because of that risk, hurriedly ordered and reviewed written arguments from both sides Tuesday. He then said Brown had raised at least a substantial question about whether the state's changes, adopted in response to his ruling, had solved the problems.

"The urgency of the present situation was created not by Brown, but by (the state's) decision to seek an execution date only 30 days after the new regulations became final," surprising both him and the inmate's lawyers, Fogel said.

Brown, 56, convicted of raping and strangling a 15-year-old Riverside girl in 1980, was to have been put to death at San Quentin State Prison at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Unless it is overruled by a higher court, Fogel's order will halt Brown's execution and prevent any further executions in California until at least early 2011. , The judge said he would conduct a thorough review of the new procedures in the next few months.

E-mail Bob Egelko at

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


Important Update - Status of Execution & Scheduled Demonstrations

Thank you for your support and for helping us oppose this week's scheduled execution at San Quentin State Prison. This has been a chaotic and confusing process, and as we informed you yesterday, legal technicalities resulted in changes to the execution schedule.

Now, Judge Fogel has granted a stay of execution to prevent the execution from proceeding, but the Attorney General's office has already promised to appeal. Judge Fogel got it right this time. We should take the time to make sure the serious issues and public concerns are addressed. This whole fiasco shows that California's death penalty is dysfunctional and should be replaced with life without possibility of parole.

But let's not take our seatbelts off yet--it is yet to be determined what the next loop on this legal rollercoaster will bring. We will continue to plan for protests at San Quentin and the State Capitol in case the Attorney General's office successfully appeals the stay. We will let you know as soon as we have more information.

Demonstration at San Quentin State Prison
Thursday, September 30 at 6 pm
San Quentin - East Gate
You may park on Francisco Blvd., but expect to walk 1 to 1.5 miles to get to the East Gate.

Vigil at State Capitol Building
Thursday, September 30 at 8 pm
11th and L Streets
Sacramento, CA 95814

If the execution is called off, these events will be cancelled. We will continue to keep you updated via email if this information changes. You can also visit our website for updated information, or follow @ACLU_NorCal on Twitter.


Natasha Minsker
Death Penalty Policy Director


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
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.


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

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

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

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

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

* Group home page:


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, 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,


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

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat + +

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



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

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:

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. (415) 864-5153
World Can't Wait SF
2940-16th St., Rm. 200-6
San Francisco CA 94103


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


Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717,



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.




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

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


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


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


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

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

For more information, visit:

See you at the gates of Fort Benning in November 2010




Soldier Describes Murder of Afghan for Sport in Leaked Tape
September 27, 2010, 6:43 pm


"Don't F*** With Our Activists" - Mobilizing Against FBI Raid


Stephen Colbert's statement before Congress


PcolaGregg Answers With Truth And Reality!




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!


Instituto del Derecho de Asilo - Casa Museo Leon Trotsky, A.C.
Avenida Río Churubusco No. 410
Col. del Carmen Coyoacán
CP 04100 México, DF -- MEXICO
Tel. 56 58 87 32

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.

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)


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:


* 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.


* 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.


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.


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.


Say No to Islamophobia!
Defend Mosques and Community Centers!
The Fight for Peace and Social Justice Requires Defense of All Under Attack!


Kevin Keith Update: Good News! Death sentence commuted!

Ohio may execute an innocent man unless you take action.

Ohio's Governor Spares Life of a Death Row Inmate Kevin Keith


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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice for Bradley Manning!


The Undersigned:

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


Please forward widely...


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: and

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
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007

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

Send contributions payable to:

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


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

And check out this article (link) too!


"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
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Contact: Wende Gozan Brown at 212-633-4247,

(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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal


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

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

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!


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


Support the troops who refuse to fight!




1) Inmate Asks Court to Halt His Execution
September 26, 2010

2) U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet
September 27, 2010

3) Number of Tenants Owing Back Rent Rises Sharply at City Housing Authority
September 26, 2010

4) Most Americans Don't Think Recession Is Over
September 27, 2010, 12:47 pm

5) Weighing the Lives of Babies in Haiti
September 27, 2010

6) Liberal Groups Planning to Rally on National Mall
September 26, 2010

7) UN Fact-Finding Mission Says Israelis "Executed" US Citizen Furkan Dogan
By Gareth Porter, t r u t h o u t | Report
Monday 27 September 2010

8) U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says
4:05 PM PDT, September 26, 2010,0,4054676.story

9) The Richest People in America
The Forbes 400 List: 2010
"As in other recent editions of the Forbes list, the virtual absence of billionaires whose fortunes are derived from manufacturing is striking. One exception is 85-year-old William Ford, Sr., whose net worth of $1 billion brought him back on the list for the first time in several years. Ford's wealth increased largely as a result of wage-cutting at his eponymous motor company."
By Tom Eley
Global Research, September 26, 2010

10) Steal From the Poor, Give to the Rich
The Redistribution of Wealth
September 27, 2010

11) Israel Stops Jewish Activists From Entering Gaza
September 28, 2010

12) C.I.A. Steps Up Drone Attacks on Taliban in Pakistan
September 27, 2010

13) Court Hears of U.S. Unit Killing Afghan Civilians at Random
September 27, 2010

14) Recession Takes Toll on City, Census Survey Shows
September 28, 2010, 10:34 am

Frente Colombiano Por el Socialismo
Volume 1, Issue 4
Pensamiento Bolivariano
Bolivarian Thought
Colombian Government = Terrorist!
FARC = Freedom Fighters

16) Walkout: An Open Letter to UC Berkeley Students
October 7, 2010

17) FBI Raids Homes of Antiwar and Pro-Palestinian Activists in Chicago and Minneapolis
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010

18) Stop FBI raids and grand jury witchhunts of antiwar activists and radicals!
Statement by Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women
September 28, 2010
Freedom Socialist Party, U.S. Section
4710 University Way N.E. #100
Seattle WA 98105
Radical Women, U.S. Section
625 Larkin St. #202
San Francisco, CA 94109

19) Judges Cancels California Execution
September 28, 2010

20) Census Shows How Recession Hit N.Y.
September 28, 2010

21) At Council Hearing on Stop-and-Frisk Policy, the Police Stay Silent
September 28, 2010

22) As Cuba Prepares to Drill for Oil, Fears Surface
September 29, 2010


1) Inmate Asks Court to Halt His Execution
September 26, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A death row inmate asked a federal appeals court on Sunday to halt his execution as he declined to choose a method for the lethal injection.

Lawyers for the inmate, Albert G. Brown, filed court papers to appeal a federal judge's refusal to block the execution, which is set for Wednesday. Mr. Brown also let pass a noon deadline set by the judge to choose between a one-drug lethal injection or execution by a three-drug cocktail.

Mr. Brown's refusal to choose means a three-drug cocktail will be used if the appeals court does not block his execution, which would be California's first in nearly five years. He was sentenced to die for abducting, raping and killing a 15-year-old, Susan Jordan of Riverside County, in 1980.

Judge Jeremy Fogel of United States District Court in San Jose denied Mr. Brown's two requests on Saturday to change his mind about going forward with the execution.

The judge initially delayed the execution in 2006 after finding that poorly trained officials carried out executions in a death chamber too cramped and dingy to protect the inmate from suffering "cruel and unusual" punishment while receiving a lethal injection. The state has since constructed a new death chamber and overhauled the selection and training of its execution team.

Mr. Brown's latest appeal will be heard by a panel of three judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

· Press conference will be at 3PM and the demonstration will be at 6PM on Thursday at the east gate of San Quentin.

· The Sacramento Area Coalition against the Death Penalty will hold a candlelight vigil on Thursday starting at 8 PM at 11th & L Streets (north side of the State Capitol).

· The LA and San Diego schedule for Tuesday remains the same.

· More info to follow.

Calif gov delays execution by 45 hours

(09-27) 15:57 PDT San Francisco, CA (AP) --

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has delayed Wednesday's execution by nearly two days.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Terry Thornton says the reprieve means Albert Greenwood Brown is now scheduled to die by lethal injection at 9 p.m. Thursday. He initially was scheduled for execution at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Thornton says the governor told corrections officials that the delay would allow appeals courts time to weigh in on Brown's case and give him time to consider the clemency request.


2) U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet
September 27, 2010

WASHINGTON - Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is "going dark" as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications - including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct "peer to peer" messaging like Skype - to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had "huge implications" and challenged "fundamental elements of the Internet revolution" - including its decentralized design.

"They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet," he said. "They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function."

But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.

"We're talking about lawfully authorized intercepts," said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "We're not talking expanding authority. We're talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security."

Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance. In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.

There is not yet agreement on important elements, like how to word statutory language defining who counts as a communications service provider, according to several officials familiar with the deliberations.

But they want it to apply broadly, including to companies that operate from servers abroad, like Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry devices. In recent months, that company has come into conflict with the governments of Dubai and India over their inability to conduct surveillance of messages sent via its encrypted service.

In the United States, phone and broadband networks are already required to have interception capabilities, under a 1994 law called the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. It aimed to ensure that government surveillance abilities would remain intact during the evolution from a copper-wire phone system to digital networks and cellphones.

Often, investigators can intercept communications at a switch operated by the network company. But sometimes - like when the target uses a service that encrypts messages between his computer and its servers - they must instead serve the order on a service provider to get unscrambled versions.

Like phone companies, communication service providers are subject to wiretap orders. But the 1994 law does not apply to them. While some maintain interception capacities, others wait until they are served with orders to try to develop them.

The F.B.I.'s operational technologies division spent $9.75 million last year helping communication companies - including some subject to the 1994 law that had difficulties - do so. And its 2010 budget included $9 million for a "Going Dark Program" to bolster its electronic surveillance capabilities.

Beyond such costs, Ms. Caproni said, F.B.I. efforts to help retrofit services have a major shortcoming: the process can delay their ability to wiretap a suspect for months.

Moreover, some services encrypt messages between users, so that even the provider cannot unscramble them.

There is no public data about how often court-approved surveillance is frustrated because of a service's technical design.

But as an example, one official said, an investigation into a drug cartel earlier this year was stymied because smugglers used peer-to-peer software, which is difficult to intercept because it is not routed through a central hub. Agents eventually installed surveillance equipment in a suspect's office, but that tactic was "risky," the official said, and the delay "prevented the interception of pertinent communications."

Moreover, according to several other officials, after the failed Times Square bombing in May, investigators discovered that the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, had been communicating with a service that lacked prebuilt interception capacity. If he had aroused suspicion beforehand, there would have been a delay before he could have been wiretapped.

To counter such problems, officials are coalescing around several of the proposal's likely requirements:

¶ Communications services that encrypt messages must have a way to unscramble them.

¶ Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts.

¶ Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception.

Providers that failed to comply would face fines or some other penalty. But the proposal is likely to direct companies to come up with their own way to meet the mandates. Writing any statute in "technologically neutral" terms would also help prevent it from becoming obsolete, officials said.

Even with such a law, some gaps could remain. It is not clear how it could compel compliance by overseas services that do no domestic business, or from a "freeware" application developed by volunteers.

In their battle with Research in Motion, countries like Dubai have sought leverage by threatening to block BlackBerry data from their networks. But Ms. Caproni said the F.B.I. did not support filtering the Internet in the United States.

Still, even a proposal that consists only of a legal mandate is likely to be controversial, said Michael A. Sussmann, a former Justice Department lawyer who advises communications providers.

"It would be an enormous change for newly covered companies," he said. "Implementation would be a huge technology and security headache, and the investigative burden and costs will shift to providers."

Several privacy and technology advocates argued that requiring interception capabilities would create holes that would inevitably be exploited by hackers.

Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials' phones, including the prime minister's.

"I think it's a disaster waiting to happen," he said. "If they start building in all these back doors, they will be exploited."

Susan Landau, a Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study fellow and former Sun Microsystems engineer, argued that the proposal would raise costly impediments to innovation by small startups.

"Every engineer who is developing the wiretap system is an engineer who is not building in greater security, more features, or getting the product out faster," she said.

Moreover, providers of services featuring user-to-user encryption are likely to object to watering it down. Similarly, in the late 1990s, encryption makers fought off a proposal to require them to include a back door enabling wiretapping, arguing it would cripple their products in the global market.

But law enforcement officials rejected such arguments. They said including an interception capability from the start was less likely to inadvertently create security holes than retrofitting it after receiving a wiretap order.

They also noted that critics predicted that the 1994 law would impede cellphone innovation, but that technology continued to improve. And their envisioned decryption mandate is modest, they contended, because service providers - not the government - would hold the key.

"No one should be promising their customers that they will thumb their nose at a U.S. court order," Ms. Caproni said. "They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text."


3) Number of Tenants Owing Back Rent Rises Sharply at City Housing Authority
September 26, 2010

In a sign of the toll the dismal economy has taken on working families in New York, more than 1 in 10 households living in public housing owe at least one month in back rent, a rise of nearly 50 percent over the past year.

Though the city has always had to deal with a number of public housing tenants who are chronically late with their rent, housing officials are now confronting a significant rise in longtime tenants who never before missed a payment but are falling behind, in many cases because they have lost their jobs.

Across the city, tenants of nearly 22,000 public housing apartments, or about 12 percent of the total, owed back rent as of Aug. 31, according to the New York City Housing Authority, which runs the largest public housing system in the United States. The comparable figure in August 2009 was about 15,200.

"When you have, like any landlord, a laser-beam focus on rent collection, you sometimes miss the bigger picture," said John B. Rhea, the housing authority's chairman. "What's happening is that we're seeing substantial increases in the number of people not paying their rent on time."

The problem is the worst in Queens, where the number of households owing back rent increased nearly 70 percent between August 2009 and last month, to 2,424 from 1,431. In six of the public housing developments in the western part of the borough, more tenants missed payments than anyplace else in the city, according to Housing Authority statistics. At the Astoria Houses, for example, the number more than doubled, to 157 households from 64; the latest number is 14 percent of the development's 1,103 apartments.

It does not take much to send a family over the edge. For Shonette Conners, 39, it was the birth of a child. For Denise Haynes, 54, it was not getting paid at her part-time job when complications from her diabetes forced her to miss work on several occasions over the past two years.

"It's like the more I try, the more I fall behind," said Ms. Haynes, who lives alone at the Astoria Houses and owes about $2,000 in back rent. Ms. Conners and Ms. Haynes have both appeared in housing court, asking a judge for more time to settle their debt and avoid eviction. The housing agency, which provides subsidized apartments for about 8 percent of the city's residents, usually moves quickly to remove tenants who fall behind on rent.

But as the sluggish economy continues to eat into tenants' pocketbooks, the agency has decided to try to find a way to keep people in their homes. Under a program it is announcing on Monday, it will start offering payment plans, longer extensions and other incentives to help tenants pay their back rent before they end up in court.

The program is aimed mainly at residents who are unable to keep up with their bills after losing a job or are facing other unforeseen difficulty. The idea is to reward those who commit to actions like following budget plans and opening a bank account.

"We want to see if we can help people get out of the hole," Mr. Rhea said.

In most cases, after a tenant fails to pay rent for more than a month, a disciplinary process unfolds that is at once costly and cumbersome for the Housing Authority and stressful for the resident.

The authority spends about $1 million a year issuing warning notices and holding administrative hearings, Mr. Rhea said, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more that it spends on lawyers representing the agency in housing court. There is also the money it does not collect in rent while evictions are under way, he said.

"The process is necessary, but it doesn't necessarily give the residents the tools they need to manage their lives better," Mr. Rhea said in an interview. "And at the end of the day, our goal is to provide housing, not to put people out on the street."

Rent is the Housing Authority's largest source of revenue, but it is also one of its worst headaches. Sheila Stainback, a spokeswoman for the agency, said that in an average month, the authority is owed more than $20 million in uncollected rent.

As the economy sputtered, officials started weighing whether it might be in the Housing Authority's best interest to get some payment from tenants who are struggling while working to make sure they eventually get back on their feet.

The program will start on a small basis, focusing on tenants in six public housing projects in Queens with some of the worst records for missed payments, and may expand citywide if it is judged to be a success.

Potential participants include tenants who have stopped paying rent abruptly after years of regular payment or who have been late sporadically in recent years, as well as residents already seeking financial assistance from one of the Housing Authority's partners in the program, the East River Development Alliance, a nonprofit agency in Queens.

The alliance's president, the Rev. Mitchell G. Taylor, senior pastor of the nondenominational church Center of Hope International, said that beyond figuring out what caused people to stop paying rent, the program's goals involved "creating a plan and budget that will stabilize families moving forward."

The other partner in the program is the United Way of New York City, which also coaxed the Housing Authority to try a new approach. Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., whose district includes some of the housing developments with high rates of missed rent payments, provided $150,000 in Council funds for the program.

"I'm not in favor of handouts, and this program is not a handout," Mr. Vallone said. "It's about personal responsibility. It's about people taking control of their finances."

The goal of the pilot program is to reach 2,000 people in the two years at Astoria Houses, Baisley Park Houses in Jamaica, Pomonok Houses in Flushing, Woodside Houses and the Ravenswood and Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City.

Ms. Conners, who has lived at the Astoria Houses for eight years, said her troubles began after her son was born in May 2009 and she had to rely on disability checks to cover her expenses while on maternity leave from a job as a medical biller at a nonprofit AIDS center. She has three other children - one in college, one in high school and one in middle school.

By law, public housing residents are supposed to pay only one-third of their income in rent, but Ms. Conners said it took the Housing Authority three months to adjust her payments when her income fell because she was on leave. Then in November, shortly after she returned to work, the nonprofit agency laid her off.

Ms. Conners has been collecting unemployment benefits and said she set aside a little every month to pay the $1,000 she owed in back rent. The East River Development Alliance helped her redo her résumé and budget her expenses. She is working toward an online accounting degree and is seeking work.

"If I know that I won't have the threat of eviction hanging over my head," Ms. Conners said, "at least I'll sleep in peace."


4) Most Americans Don't Think Recession Is Over
September 27, 2010, 12:47 pm

The National Bureau of Economic Research declared last week that the recession officially ended in June 2009. But according to a new poll from CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Americans overwhelmingly disagree.

Nearly three-fourths of Americans - 74 percent - say the economy is still in a recession. That's a slight improvement from December, when 84 percent of those polled said they believed the economy was in a a recession, but it still discouraging.
Source: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation. Latest survey conducted September 21-23, 2010, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

So what's the deal? How can economists be so out of touch with the suffering of "regular" people? Or how can non-economists be so ignorant about what's really going on in the world around them?

One possible reason for the disconnect between popular views and the official economists' view of the country's "recession" status is semantic.

Economists and laypeople mean different things when they use the word "recession": To most people, it refers to the level of economic activity. To economists, it refers to the change in economic activity.

That is, most people associate a poor economy - that is, low levels of spending, high levels of unemployment - with the word "recession." They use the word to refer to times when the country just feels lousy.

But economists use the term "recession" to talk about the economy's direction. Regardless of whether the level of economic activity is good or poor, is the economy shrinking, or is it growing? The National Bureau of Economic Research says that the economy stopped shrinking in June 2009. Then it started growing again, even though the pitifully slow pace of growth still meant the level of economic activity was horribly depressed.

Here's a look at absolute levels of gross domestic product to give you a sense of what I'm talking about. Output has been rising for the last year, but absolute levels of economic activity are still low relative to their levels before the recession had begun:
Bureau of Economic Analysis, via Haver

The economists at the agency's Business Cycle Dating Committee took pains to make this clarification, writing: "In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month."

So when non-economists and economists disagree about the label for current economic conditions, they may just be talking past each other.

Addendum: There is also debate within the economics community about whether it makes sense to change the criteria for determining when the economy is shrinking, because in the last three recoveries output has reversed course much earlier than the job market has. But that is a separate issue.


5) Weighing the Lives of Babies in Haiti
September 27, 2010

We were 18 doctors, nurses and other health professionals from Children's Hospital Boston, on a nine-day mission to the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince to work with a Haitian pediatric team.

It was the first week of May, almost four months after the earthquake, and the situation remained dire. Rubble was everywhere, many buildings were unusable, and all of the pediatric care was being given in tents. Supplies were sparse and unreliable.

The obstetricians at the General were on strike, and women in labor were being told to go elsewhere. But word had gotten out that there were American doctors at the hospital, and many patients simply refused to leave.

So it was on that rainy Sunday evening that there were six women in active labor in the emergency room. And soon one of them, in her late teens, gave birth to a tiny boy, just 2 pounds 3 ounces. A neonatologist on our team estimated that he was two months premature. (The mother claimed she hadn't even known she was pregnant.)

Premature babies can get into a lot of trouble, and the smaller they are, the higher their risk of complications. They usually have difficulty maintaining a normal body temperature, losing heat to their surroundings faster than they can generate it. This is why they are kept in incubators until they are able to stay warm on their own. They are at high risk for infections, along with feeding and breathing problems.

Once the baby was born, we dried and swaddled him and started looking for a place where he could be cared for until he was stable enough to be sent home. There were no working incubators at the hospital, nor any free beds in the pediatric tents, and we had no luck finding incubators at other hospitals.

Then an American physician at another medical camp told us that he had faced a similar situation some days before, and had built his own incubator - "MacGyver" style, as he put it. He suggested we do the same.

So that's what we did. We took a cardboard box from the medical supply room, padded it with some surgical drapes and a blanket and found a desk lamp with a working bulb to serve as a source of heat. Voilà! Our youngest patient now had an incubator.

The next morning we tried to persuade the attending Haitian pediatrician to accept the baby to the pediatric tents. "Don't be absurd!" she scoffed, as I recall. "A baby that small will not make it. He has no chance of survival, and we have no spare beds to waste."

None of us felt comfortable arguing with her. Still, we knew that to send the baby to his mother's tent city while he was still so vulnerable would be a death sentence. So we decided to keep him and his mother in the emergency room until a proper place could be found - understanding that we needed to find a solution before returning to Boston, as the group that would follow us did not include pediatricians qualified to treat complications of prematurity.

A baby bottle was found, along with clothes and diapers. The nurses taught his mother how to express milk into the bottle and to feed him. We'd been calling him "baby in the box"; now he became Jack, as in Jack in the box. He did very well, and his mother, after overcoming her surprise at his unexpected appearance, bonded with and cared for him devotedly.

Each day we pressed his case to the Haitian medical team, and each day we were turned down. "There is no room for him," we were told, though there seemed to be beds for other children in the pediatric tents.

Finally, on Friday, we found an incubator for him at another hospital. We transferred him and his mother there, satisfied that we had gotten him through those first few days, but soberly aware of the odds he faced going forward. The next day we left for Boston.

Six weeks after our return, at an informal reunion, the neonatologist told us he had learned that Jack had been discharged home with his mother in good health, weighing five and a half pounds.

We were thrilled. Our stubbornness had paid off.

But our euphoria was tempered by a somber reality. Looking at the big picture, we had to concede that the Haitian doctors were probably right.

We were in Port-au-Prince, after all, not Boston. Surely the Haitians, acutely aware of what they could and could not do with the resources they had, would know better than a group of well-intentioned foreigners accustomed to the best equipment money can buy. Didn't it make more sense to invest time, effort and scarce resources in a baby with a better chance of surviving?

Yet ultimately this was not an abstract discussion about the proper allocation of medical resources in an impoverished country, but a decision about the fate of a baby who was very much alive. He was our patient, and we were determined to give him the best possible care.

In the little-picture view, a life had been saved.

Dr. Dennis Rosen is a pediatric pulmonologist at Children's Hospital Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School.


6) Liberal Groups Planning to Rally on National Mall
September 26, 2010

Hoping to overshadow last month's large rally led by Glenn Beck that drew many Tea Party advocates and other conservatives, a coalition of liberal groups plan to descend on Washington on Saturday to make the case that they, and not the ascendant right, speak for America's embattled middle class.

Predicting a crowd of more than 100,000, some 300 liberal groups - including the N.A.A.C.P., the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the National Council of La Raza and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force - are sponsoring a march on Saturday in the hope of transforming the national conversation so it focuses less on the Tea Party. The groups sponsoring the rally, which is called "One Nation Working Together," say they hope to supplant what they say is the Tea Party's divisiveness with a message of unity to promote jobs, justice and education.

"The Tea Party has been getting much more media attention than it deserves, and it's been saying it represents the voice of middle-class America," said George Gresham, president of 1199 S.E.I.U., a New York health care union local, who says his union has chartered 500 buses to carry 25,000 union members to the rally. "A lot of us feel we have to get a different voice out there speaking for working people, one respecting the diversity of this country, which the Tea Party does not."

With so many civil rights, labor, religious, student, gay and peace groups sponsoring the march, organizers acknowledge that it was not easy to forge a common platform and message. And sometimes their message has gotten garbled.

Many sponsors say that the rally is not seeking to back President Obama or the Democrats, but rather to hold all of Washington, Democrats and Republicans, accountable for not doing more to fix the nation's problems. But some sponsors sound unmistakably partisan as they denounce "obstructionism" in the Senate that has blocked larger job-creation programs and other measures. While these sponsors steer clear of mentioning Republicans, their target seems obvious.

The march's supporters say that they, and not Mr. Beck, are the true descendants of the 1963 March on Washington, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. The Saturday march, like the 1963 march - and the Aug. 28 gathering that Mr. Beck and others organized - will be held on the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

"We'll look like the progeny of that march, with our diversity," said Benjamin T. Jealous, president of the N.A.A.C.P. "We're living through a moment of decreasing prosperity and increasing diversity. That's a formula for a battleground, not common ground. We say, 'Let's get the country moving back to common ground.' "

Mr. Jealous and Mr. Gresham, the two men who originally proposed the march, say they hope it will be larger than Mr. Beck's rally. "We believe that our satellite photos will stack up nicely to his satellite photos," Mr. Jealous said.

Organizers of the rally say their demonstration complements, rather than competes with, the Rally to Restore Sanity that the host of "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart, has announced for Washington on Oct. 30. Those behind next Saturday's rally assert that their event shares themes with Mr. Stewart's in opposing Tea Party negativism and extremism. Saying he was all for restoring sanity, Mr. Gresham said he would be happy to have Mr. Stewart speak at the event this weekend.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said, "We hope that those who are supporting Stewart will also join us," adding: "We know what makes the headlines is conflict. We know what we need is to work together to solve problems."

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Beck and spokesmen for the Tea Party Patriots did not respond to requests for comment.

The rally's platform looks like a liberal wish list: extend unemployment benefits, raise the minimum wage, end the foreclosure epidemic, enact legislation making it easier to join unions, increase infrastructure spending to create jobs, "fix our broke immigration system" and end immigration round-ups that "encourage racial profiling." The march's sponsors hope it will help turn some of these wishes into legislative reality, in part by giving the Democrats some highly visible and clamorous backing to push through stalled legislation.

"Our rally is standing up for the change we voted for two years ago," Mr. Gresham said.

Janet Murguía, president of National Council of La Raza, said the rally was nonpartisan, although it aims to encourage more people to engage in the electoral process. But Mr. Gresham said he hoped the march would build momentum for candidates who back the demonstrators' goals, and those generally do not include Republican candidates.

The march has been endorsed by the United Church of Christ, the National Baptist Convention and several Jewish organizations, while the United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society has endorsed its principles.

"As people of faith, we deeply care about the issues of justice, education and jobs, and we feel those are issues facing society we have to address," said the Rev. Amy Stapleton, a Methodist minister. "A march like this is something that hasn't been accomplished since Dr. King brought people together in 1963 around issues of race, war, class and the right to decent pay and good jobs."

An article on Monday about a coalition of liberal groups planning a rally in Washington on Saturday, using information provided by a high-level minister for the United Methodist Church, referred incorrectly to the church's role in the event. A board within the United Methodist Church has endorsed the principles of the rally, but the overall church has not endorsed the rally. Also, after the article was published, the church's director of communications said that the minister, the Rev. Amy Stapleton, was not speaking on behalf of the church.


7) UN Fact-Finding Mission Says Israelis "Executed" US Citizen Furkan Dogan
By Gareth Porter, t r u t h o u t | Report
Monday 27 September 2010

The report of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla released last week shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.

The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.

The report says Dogan had apparently been "lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time" before being shot in his face.

The forensic evidence that establishes that fact is "tattooing around the wound in his face," indicating that the shot was "delivered at point blank range." The report describes the forensic evidence as showing that "the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back."

Based on both "forensic and firearm evidence," the fact-finding panel concluded that Dogan's killing and that of five Turkish citizens by the Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmari May 31 "can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions." (See Report [.pdf] Page 38, Section 170)

The report confirmed what the Obama administration already knew from the autopsy report on Dogan, but the administration has remained silent about the killing of Dogan, which could be an extremely difficult political problem for the administration in its relations with Israel.

The Turkish government gave the autopsy report on Dogan to the US Embassy in July and it was then passed on to the Department of Justice, according to a US government source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the administration's policy of silence on the matter. The source said the purpose of obtaining the report was to determine whether an investigation of the killing by the Justice Department (DOJ) was appropriate.

Asked by this writer whether the DOJ had received the autopsy report on Dogan, DOJ spokesperson Laura Sweeney refused to comment.

The administration has not volunteered any comment on the fact-finding mission report and was not asked to do so by any news organization. In response to a query from Truthout, a State Department official, who could not speak on the record, read a statement that did not explicitly acknowledge the report's conclusion about the Israeli executions.

The statement said the fact-finding mission's report's "tone and conclusions are unbalanced." It went on to state, "We urge that this report not be used for actions that could disrupt direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine that are now underway or actions that would make it not possible for Israel and Turkey to move beyond the recent strains in their traditional strong relationship."

Although the report's revelations and conclusions about the killing of Dogan and the five other victims were widely reported in the Turkish media last week, not a single story on the report has appeared in US news media.

The administration has made it clear through its inaction and its explicit public posture that it has no intention of pressing the issue of the murder of a US citizen in cold blood by Israeli commandos.

On June 13, two weeks after the Mavi Marmara attack, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement saying that Israel "should be allowed to undertake an investigation into events that involve its national security" and that Israel's military justice system "meets international standards and is capable of conducting a serious and credible investigation."

Another passenger whom forensic evidence shows was killed execution-style, according to the OHCHR report, is Ibrahim Bilgen, a 60-year-old Turkish citizen. Bilgen is believed by forensics experts to have been shot initially from the helicopter above the Mavi Marmara and then shot in the side of the head while lying seriously wounded.

The fact-finding mission was given forensic evidence that, after the initial shot in chest from above, Bilgen was shot in the head with a "soft baton round at such close proximity that an entire bean bag and its wadding penetrated the skull and lodged in the chest from above," the mission concluded.

"Soft baton rounds" are supposed to be fired for nonlethal purposes at a distance and aimed only at the stomach, but are lethal when fired at the head, especially from close range.

The forensic evidence cited by the fact-finding mission on the killing of Dogan and five other passengers came from both the autopsy reports and pathology reports done by forensic personnel in Turkey and from interviews with those who wrote the reports. Experts in forensic pathology and firearms assisted the mission in interpreting that forensic evidence.

The account, provided by the OHCHR of the events on board the Mavi Marmara on its way to help break the economic siege of Gaza May 31 of this year, refutes the version of events aggressively pushed by the Israeli military and supports the testimony of passengers on board.

The report suggests that, from the beginning, Israeli policy viewed the Gaza flotilla as an opportunity to use lethal force against pro-Hamas activists. It quotes testimony by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak before the Israeli government's Turkel Committee that specific orders were given by the Israeli government "to continue intelligence tracking of the flotilla organizers with an emphasis on the possibility that amongst the passengers in the flotilla there were terror elements who would attempt to harm Israeli forces."

The idea that the passenger list would be seeded with terrorists determined to attack Israeli defense forces appears to have been a ploy to justify treating the operation as likely to require the use of military force against the passengers.

When details of the Israeli plan to forcibly take over the ships in the flotilla were published in the Israeli press on May 30, the passengers on board the Mavi Marmara realized that the Israelis might use deadly force against them. Some leaders of the IHH (the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Aid), which had purchased the ships for the mission, were advocating defending the boat against the Israeli boarding attempt, whereas other passengers advocated nonviolence only.

That led to efforts to create improvised weapons from railings and other equipment on the Mavi Marmara. However, the commission concluded that there was no evidence of any firearms having being taken aboard the ship, as charged by Israel.

The report notes that the Israeli military never communicated a request by radio to inspect the cargo on board any of the ships, apparently contradicting the official justification given by the Israeli government for the military attack on the Mavi Marmara and other ships of preventing any military contraband from reaching Gaza.

According to the OHCHR report, Israeli Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi testified to the Turkel Committee August 11 that the initial rules of engagement for the operation prohibited live fire except in life-threatening situations, but that that they were later modified to target protesters "deemed to be violent" in response to the resistance by passengers.

That decision apparently followed the passengers' successful repulsion of an Israeli effort to board the ship from Zodiac boats.

The report confirms that, from the beginning of the operation, passengers were fired on by helicopters flying above the Mavi Marmara to drop commandos on the deck.

Contrary to Israeli claims that one or more Israeli troops were wounded by firearms, the report says no medical evidence of a gunshot wound to an Israeli soldier was found.

The OHCHR report confirms accounts from passengers on the Mavi Marmara that defenders subdued roughly ten Israeli commandos, took their weapons from them and threw them in the sea, except for one weapon hidden as evidence. The Israeli soldiers were briefly sequestered below and some were treated for wounds before being released by the defenders.

The OHCHR fact-finding mission will certainly be the most objective, thorough and in-depth inquiry into the events on board the Mavi Marmara and other ships in the flotilla of the four that have been announced.

The fact-finding mission was chaired by Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, Q.C., retired judge of the International Criminal Court and former attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago, and included Sir Desmond de Silva, Q.C. of the United Kingdom, former chief prosecutor of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone and Ms. Mary Shanthi Dairiam of Malaysia, founding member of the board of directors of the International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific.

The mission interviewed 112 eyewitnesses to the Israeli attack in London, Geneva, Istanbul and Amman, Jordan. The Israeli government refused to cooperate with the fact-finding mission by making personnel involved in both planning and carrying out the attack available to be interviewed.

The Turkish governments announced its own investigation of the Israeli attack on August 10. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the formation of a "Panel of Inquiry" on August 2, but its mandate was much more narrowly defined. It was given the mission to "receive and review the reports of the national investigations with the view to recommending ways of avoiding similar incidents in the future."


8) U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says
4:05 PM PDT, September 26, 2010,0,4054676.story

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Cyberterrorism is such a threat that the U.S. president should have the authority to shut down the Internet in the event of an attack, Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said.

Hayden made the comments during a visit to San Antonio where he was meeting with military and civilian officials to discuss cyber security. The U.S. military has a new Cyber Command which is to begin operations on October 1.

Hayden said the president currently does not have the authority to shut down the Internet in an emergency.

"My personal view is that it is probably wise to legislate some authority to the President, to take emergency measures for limited periods of time, with clear reporting to Congress, when he feels as if he has to take these measures," he said in an interview on the weekend.

"But I would put the bar really high as to when these kinds of authorities might take place," he said.

He likened cyberwarfare to a "frontier."

"It's actually the new area of endeavor, I would compare it to a new age of exploration. Military doctrine calls the cyber thing a 'domain,' like land sea, air, space, and now cyber ... It is almost like a frontier experience" he said.

Hayden, a retired U.S. Air Force general, was director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the administration of President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009.

Copyright Reuters

Copyright (c) 2010, Tribune Interactive


9) The Richest People in America
The Forbes 400 List: 2010
"As in other recent editions of the Forbes list, the virtual absence of billionaires whose fortunes are derived from manufacturing is striking. One exception is 85-year-old William Ford, Sr., whose net worth of $1 billion brought him back on the list for the first time in several years. Ford's wealth increased largely as a result of wage-cutting at his eponymous motor company."
By Tom Eley
Global Research, September 26, 2010

Picture: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Micheal Bloomberg, Lawrence Ellison

While 2010 has seen the vast majority of the US population suffer the consequences of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression-mass joblessness, wage cutting, plummeting home prices, record foreclosures, and spending cuts by near-bankrupt states and cities-for the handful of plutocrats who control the nation's wealth it has been a very good year indeed.

According to Forbes magazine, the net worth of the 400 richest Americans increased by 8 percent in 2010, to $1.37 trillion, in the year ending August 25. The figure is slightly greater than the entire gross domestic product of India, population 1.2 billion. It is also more than 10 times greater than the $121 billion combined budget deficit of all 50 states for 2011.

The household wealth for the great majority is going in the opposite direction. Last week, the Federal Reserve revealed that the net worth of all US households and non-profits fell 2.8 percent in the second quarter, to $53.5 trillion. This means that the richest 400 Americans have about 2.6 percent of the total national household wealth, the other 310 million splitting the remainder.

Though most Americans have experienced nothing of the "recovery" touted by the Obama administration, the extremely rich know different. The wealth level to gain admittance to the Forbes 400 club rose this year back to $1 billion-after falling last year to $950 million as the super-rich suffered, in their own particular way, the effects of the financial collapse of 2008.

Year-to-year changes aside, the 2010 list registers a longer-term accumulation of wealth that has been underway for three decades. When Forbes first published the Fortune 400 list in 1982, there were "only" 12 billionaires in the US, and the richest American, shipbuilding tycoon Daniel Ludwig, had net wealth estimated at $2 billion. Adjusting for inflation, Ludwig would wind up 58th on today's list.

The richest individual in America for the 17th year in a row is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, with a personal fortune estimated at $54 billion ($24 billion in 1982 dollars, 12 times the value of Ludwig's empire that year). Gates's net worth is equivalent to the GDP of Sudan, population 42 million, and is about $7 billion more than the amount earmarked by the US government for the Education Department in the 2010 budget.

Gates is followed once again by Warren Buffett, net worth $45 billion. Buffett has made the list every year since 1982, when he had estimated resources of about $250 million. The intervening years have been good for the Omaha investment tycoon, his wealth increasing by a factor of 180.

As in other recent editions of the Forbes list, the virtual absence of billionaires whose fortunes are derived from manufacturing is striking. One exception is 85-year-old William Ford, Sr., whose net worth of $1 billion brought him back on the list for the first time in several years. Ford's wealth increased largely as a result of wage-cutting at his eponymous motor company.

The list offers a glimpse at the socially malignant character of today's ruling elite and its activities. The great majority of the Forbes 400 have derived their staggering fortunes through one or another type of financial operation, such as hedge funds, private equity firms, real estate, "technology" (mainly through bubble-driven Internet or software ventures), and retail empires.

To be sure, America has always had its "robber barons," long associated with names like Vanderbilt, Carnegie and Rockefeller. Though they brutally oppressed their workers, their wealth was derived from the building up of enormous industrial empires. Today's robber barons have instead made their fortunes from the destruction of industry and out-and-out financial swindling unconnected to any productive economic process.

The increased wealth of the Forbes 400 is further evidence that the social crisis-far from giving rise to redistributive or even vaguely reformist policies to alleviate the suffering of the great majority-is being used to further enrich the fabulously wealthy.


10) Steal From the Poor, Give to the Rich
The Redistribution of Wealth
September 27, 2010

The United States is undergoing a great redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. President Obama and the Congress have done nothing to alter this trend. Despite the corporate media's obsession with the alleged differences between the Democrats and the Republicans, this transfer of wealth has increased in both size and speed regardless of the party in power. The number of poor people has steadily increased and their loss of income has made their situation increasingly desperate.

In September of this year, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee released a report called Income Inequality and the Great Recession. A statement from that report summarizes the problem. "Over the past three decades, income inequality has grown dramatically...." Most of this inequality was observable in "...the share of total income accrued by the richest 1 percent of households. Between 1980 and 2008, their share rose from 10.0 percent to 21.0 percent, making the United States as [sic] one of the most unequal countries in the world."

The report also states that "Income inequality peaked prior to the United States' two most severe economic crises-the Great Depression and the Great Recession." If you want the rich to steal from the poor at a faster rate, join whatever political outfit seems most likely to promote economic disasters. At present, when comparing the two major parties, I see little difference between their respective abilities to promote economic crises at a rate satisfactory to the corporate plutocrats who rule our lives.

The Congressional report provides other examples of the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich and finally makes some tepid proposals to solve the problem, none of which would ever correct the central causes.

In order for the United States to recover from its present economic and financial disaster, it must do two things. The first is simple. The second is not. Neither is likely to occur.

First, following the failure of George W. Bush, the Obama administration and the Congress, which was controlled by Democrats, should have passed legislation to reregulate the banks that created the initial financial catastrophe that led to the Great Recession. The deregulation of banking during the Clinton administration had led directly to the introduction of banking practices such as subprime loans and credit-default swaps that eventually caused the financial crisis in the first place. One simple step needed to correct these problems was an updated version of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which had created a firewall between depository banks and investment banks. This law had prevented the worst banking practices for decades. At this moment, nothing like the Glass-Steagall Act has been introduced by Congress or the President.

Regulations that prevented the issuance of subprime loans could have already been in place if the Bush administration had heeding the warnings that arrived years before. Even I could see the danger. An agent from Countrywide, a firm that mastered the subprime-loan racket, once offered me a loan for a condominium less than two hours after my initial inquiry, much too little time for the company to have checked my financial history and pondered the wisdom of the loan. All our discussions took place over the telephone. I never saw the agent, and he never saw me. I rejected the offer and remained in my apartment.

My second proposal will never be adopted because the politicians in this country are too meek and too stupid. Before millions of workers can rise from the poverty of unemployment and remain employed, we must reindustrialize the United States. We must again manufacture things. We must make our own washing machines, clothing, computers, and thousands of other useful products. A country that doesn't even make its own refrigerators is a third-world country. Manufacturing and strong labor unions raised millions of people out of poverty and into the middle class during and after the New Deal. The alleged benefits of a "post-industrial society" that became popular more recently were a mirage, the inventions of primitive thinkers trained in the universities of the Lower Paleolithic Period.

In order to convince corporations to again manufacture things within the borders of this country, tax incentives and tax disincentives could be offered. To really convince the corporate predators, an even better strategy would be to criminalize the export of jobs to foreign countries. To bring back the jobs that have already gone to foreign countries, we should try, convict, and fine the predators any amount of money required. I wouldn't oppose jail time for malefactors of great wealth. I'm a law-abiding citizen. I'd support such laws. It's a crime to rob a woman at gunpoint. Why is it less of a crime to rob her by stealing her job and giving it to someone in Asia?

This plan would not necessarily create ex post facto laws. Legislation could penalize the future import of products made by U.S. companies in foreign countries. Nor am I advocating an end to international trade. Maytag used to manufacture washing machines in Newton, Iowa. One of my uncles worked there during his entire adult work life. Whirlpool now owns Maytag, and the factory that used to be in Newton has now been replaced by a factory across the Rio Grande in Reynosa, Mexico. In a more perfect world, Whirlpool would have to sell or give that plant in Reynosa to the Mexicans, who could then use it for whatever they wanted. If they decided to continue making washing machines, I'm sure the people of Newton could still make better ones.

All this is so logical, practical, and moral that I can promise you that our rulers will never accept these modest proposals. We're supposed to let the magic of the markets save us. The notion that markets can solve our problems is one of most primitive superstitions I've ever heard of. It's more primitive than belief in a deity who lives in a volcano and requires the periodic sacrifice of a virgin.

If you want to remain safe from a volcano, don't build your town right beside it. If you want a good washing machine, don't buy one manufactured by Whirlpool in Reynosa, Mexico. And while you're thinking about it, don't buy Whirlpool refrigerators made in Reynosa. The people of Galesburg, Illinois, made them much better.

Patrick Irelan is a retired high-school teacher. His most recent book is Reruns, a collection of comic short stories. You can contact him at


11) Israel Stops Jewish Activists From Entering Gaza
September 28, 2010

TEL AVIV - Israeli navy commandos peacefully commandeered a catamaran sailed by an international group of Jewish activists on Tuesday trying to break Israel's blockade on Gaza.

The 10 activists, from Israel, the United States, Britain and Germany, among them an Israeli 82-year-old Holocaust survivor, responded defiantly to the Israeli navy when it hailed to them from a frigate demanding they identify themselves and give their destination.

"We are going to Gaza," the group responded from the deck of the 30-foot catamaran, Irene, festooned with peace flags and carrying humanitarian aid, according to a Twitter update posted on its Web site.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the vessel was boarded without incident and that "no violence of any kind was used by neither the passengers onboard nor the Israel naval forces."

The military nicknamed the boat, "the Provocation Yacht."

The boat's voyage from Cyprus was another attempt to thwart the blockade after an Israeli assault on a Turkish Gaza-bound aid boat on May 31 in which Israeli commando forces opened fire, killing nine Turkish Islamic activists on board and setting off an international dispute.

Israel maintains its forces operated in self-defense after they said they came under attack by a group of passengers. Last week a United Nations Human Rights Council investigation concluded that Israel violated international law in the raid. Israel dismissed the report as biased.

The Jewish activists, whose cellphones were confiscated when the boat was seized, according to an Israel-based spokesman for the group, were being taken by the navy to the southern port of Ashdod. A well-known Israeli passenger was Rami Elhanan, a peace activist whose daughter was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber.

The one American on board was Lillian Rosengarten, 75, a practicing psychotherapist from Cold Spring, N.Y., who fled the Nazis as a child in Frankfurt.

"I was very reluctant to see her go out of my own anxiety but I find myself increasingly impressed with her bravery," her daughter, Lydia Rosengarten, 46, said in a telephone interview from Cold Spring.

Yonatan Shapira, 38, a former air force pilot, was part of the crew. Mr. Shapira is now an activist with Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian peace group, along with his brother Itamar, 30.

Their mother, Tzvia Shapira, 68, waiting for them at the Ashdod port, said in a telephone interview she was relieved the army had not used force.

"That was my fear," Ms. Shapira said. "Yonatan and Itamar are against any violence. Itamar was combat soldier and now he is opposed to wars."

The group's goal had been to try to reach Gaza and unload aid cargo in what the group said in a statement was a "nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest and a call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip."

In wake of the massive condemnation that followed May's deadly flotilla raid, Israel partly eased its land blockade on Gaza, which it imposed three years ago after the militant Hamas seized power of the sandy coastal strip. Its naval blockade, however, remains in place, Israeli officials say, in an attempt to prevent the smuggling of weapons.

"The I.D.F. regrets that it must divert the Israel navy's attention from its regular operational activity defending Israel and its citizens because of acts of provocation such as this," the army statement said of Tuesday's episode at sea.


12) C.I.A. Steps Up Drone Attacks on Taliban in Pakistan
September 27, 2010

WASHINGTON - The C.I.A. has drastically increased its bombing campaign in the mountains of Pakistan in recent weeks, American officials said. The strikes are part of an effort by military and intelligence operatives to try to cripple the Taliban in a stronghold being used to plan attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.

As part of its covert war in the region, the C.I.A. has launched 20 attacks with armed drone aircraft thus far in September, the most ever during a single month, and more than twice the number in a typical month. This expanded air campaign comes as top officials are racing to stem the rise of American casualties before the Obama administration's comprehensive review of its Afghanistan strategy set for December. American and European officials are also evaluating reports of possible terrorist plots in the West from militants based in Pakistan.

The strikes also reflect mounting frustration both in Afghanistan and the United States that Pakistan's government has not been aggressive enough in dislodging militants from their bases in the country's western mountains. In particular, the officials said, the Americans believe the Pakistanis are unlikely to launch military operations inside North Waziristan, a haven for Taliban and Qaeda operatives that has long been used as a base for attacks against troops in Afghanistan. Some Pakistani troops have also been diverted from counterinsurgency missions to help provide relief to victims of the country's massive flooding.

Beyond the C.I.A. drone strikes, the war in the region is escalating in other ways. In recent days, American military helicopters have launched three airstrikes into Pakistan that military officials estimate killed more than 50 people suspected of being members of the militant group known as the Haqqani network, which is responsible for a spate of deadly attacks against American troops.

Such air raids by the military remain rare, and officials in Kabul said Monday that the helicopters entered Pakistani airspace on only one of the three raids, and acted in self-defense after militants fired rockets at an allied base just across the border in Afghanistan. At the same time, the strikes point to a new willingness by military officials to expand the boundaries of the campaign against the Taliban and Haqqani network - and to an acute concern in military and intelligence circles about the limited time to attack Taliban strongholds while American "surge" forces are in Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials have angrily criticized the helicopter attacks, saying that NATO's mandate in Afghanistan does not extend across the border in Pakistan.

As evidence of the growing frustration of American officials, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has recently issued veiled warnings to top Pakistani commanders that the United States could launch unilateral ground operations in the tribal areas should Pakistan refuse to dismantle the militant networks in North Waziristan, according to American officials.

"Petraeus wants to turn up the heat on the safe havens," said one senior administration official, explaining the sharp increase in drone strikes. "He has pointed out to the Pakistanis that they could do more."

Special Operations commanders have also been updating plans for cross-border raids, which would require approval from President Obama. For now, officials said, it remains unlikely that the United States would make good on such threats to send American troops over the border, given the potential blowback inside Pakistan, an ally.

But that could change, they said, if Pakistan-based militants were successful in carrying out a terrorist attack on American soil. American and European intelligence officials in recent days have spoken publicly about growing evidence that militants may be planning a large-scale attack in Europe, and have bolstered security at a number of European airports and railway stations.

"We are all seeing increased activity by a more diverse set of groups and a more diverse set of threats," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano before a Senate panel last week.

The senior administration official said the strikes were intended not only to attack Taliban and Haqqani fighters, but also to disrupt any plots directed from or supported by extremists in Pakistan's tribal areas that were aimed at targets in Europe. "The goal is to suppress or disrupt that activity," the official said.

The 20 C.I.A. drone attacks in September represent the most intense bombardment by the spy agency since January, when the C.I.A. carried out 11 strikes after a suicide bomber killed seven agency operatives at a remote base in eastern Afghanistan.

According to one Pakistani intelligence official, the recent drone attacks have not killed any senior Taliban or Qaeda leaders. Many senior operatives have already fled North Waziristan, he said, to escape the C.I.A. drone campaign.

Over all the spy agency has carried out 74 drone attacks this year, according to the Web site The Long War Journal, which tracks the strikes. A vast majority of the attacks - which usually involve several drones firing multiple missiles or bombs - have taken place in North Waziristan.

The Obama administration has enthusiastically embraced the C.I.A.'s drone program, an ambitious and historically unusual war campaign by American spies. According to The Long War Journal, the spy agency in 2009 and 2010 has launched nearly four times as many attacks as it did during the final year of the Bush administration.

One American official said that the recent strikes had been aimed at several groups, including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. The United States, he said, hopes to "keep the pressure on as long as we can."

But the C.I.A.'s campaign has also raised concerns that the drone strikes are fueling anger in the Muslim world. The man who attempted to detonate a truck filled with explosives in Times Square told a judge that the C.I.A. drone campaign was one of the factors that led him to attack the United States.

In a meeting with reporters on Monday, General Petraeus indicated that it was new intelligence gathering technology that helped NATO forces locate the militants killed by the helicopter raids against militants in Pakistan.

In particular, he said, the military has expanded its fleet of reconnaissance blimps that can hover over hide-outs thought to belong to the Taliban in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

The intelligence technology, General Petraeus said, has also enabled the expanded campaign of raids by Special Operations commandos against Taliban operatives in those areas.

Rod Nordland and Alissa J. Rubin contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Ismail Khan from Peshawar, Pakistan.


13) Court Hears of U.S. Unit Killing Afghan Civilians at Random
September 27, 2010

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Members of an American Army unit consumed with drug use randomly chose Afghan civilians to kill and then failed to report the abuses out of fear they would suffer retaliation from their commander, according to testimony in military court here on Monday.

The testimony, in a hearing to determine whether one of those soldiers, Specialist Jeremy N. Morlock, would face a court-martial and a possible death sentence, came the same day that a videotape in the case was leaked showing Specialist Morlock talking to investigators about the killings in gruesome detail with no apparent emotion.

Top Army officials worry that the case against Specialist Morlock and four other soldiers accused in the killings of three Afghan civilians will undermine efforts to build relationships with Afghans in the war against the Taliban.

The soldiers are accused of possessing dismembered body parts, including fingers and a skull, and collecting photographs of dead Afghans. Some images show soldiers posing with the dead. As many as 70 images are believed to be in evidence.

Some of the soldiers have said in court documents that they were forced to participate in the killings by a supervisor, Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who is also accused in the killings. All five defendants have said they are not guilty.

In one incident, Specialist Morlock recounted in the video, he described Sergeant Gibbs identifying for no apparent reason an Afghan civilian in a village, then directing Specialist Morlock and another soldier to fire on the man after Sergeant Gibbs lobbed a grenade in his direction.

"He kind of placed me and Winfield off over here so we had a clean line of sight for this guy and, you know, he pulled out one of his grenades, an American grenade, popped it, throws the grenade, and tells me and Winfield: 'All right, wax this guy. Kill this guy, kill this guy,' " Specialist Morlock said in the video.

Referring to the Afghan, the investigator asked: "Did you see him present any weapons? Was he aggressive toward you at all?"

Specialist Morlock replied: "No, not at all. Nothing. He wasn't a threat."

As Monday's hearing was getting under way, CNN and ABC News broadcast the video. In the CNN clip and the ABC clip, Specialist Morlock, speaking in a near monotone, looks like a teenager recounting a story to his parents.

CNN also broadcast video of the interview of a soldier who is not accused in the killings but has been accused of lesser crimes, Cpl. Emmitt R. Quintal.

When asked by an investigator when and how often members of the unit used illegal drugs, Corporal Quintal, seated in camouflage fatigues, said it occurred on "bad days, stressful days, days that we just needed to escape."

The interview with Specialist Morlock was conducted in Kandahar in May, while he was en route to a medical evaluation for what his lawyers said was possibly a traumatic brain injury suffered during his deployment. They say he was taking medication prescribed by military doctors for sleep deprivation, pain and muscle stress, though they said they could not yet establish exactly when he had taken the medication and how it might have affected him.

Specialist Morlock, who grew up in Wasilla, Alaska, appeared in court on Monday but did not testify.

Michael Waddington, his lawyer, questioned Army investigators by phone from their duty station in Afghanistan. Mr. Waddington repeatedly asked whether they found Specialist Morlock to be under the influence of medication in the interviews. Some investigators described Specialist Morlock as tired and sometimes slouching, but they said he was coherent and had a strong recollection of details.

The video, provided to defense lawyers to help them prepare their cases, was not intended by the military to be made public.

"The disclosure of these video recordings is troubling because it could adversely affect the military justice process," said Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman.

The power of images in the case was apparent last week, when the commander of the Stryker brigade in which the soldiers serve ordered photographic evidence to be strictly controlled by investigators at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, with access limited to lawyers.

A memo circulated by a military defense lawyer the previous week described an inadvertent release of photographs, including three that show American soldiers holding up the heads of dead Afghans. It was unclear whether all of the pictures showed soldiers in the cases, though military prosecutors said Monday that Specialist Morlock was in at least one image, apparently with a dead Afghan.

Photographic evidence could play an important role in the Army's case, as will statements from soldiers. No bodies have been recovered, and a military investigator testified on Monday that the nature of the areas where the crimes occurred, including religious views of residents and potential danger to American soldiers, prevented them from conducting crime scene investigations.

"To exhume a body would cause a lot of issues, even if it was for a good purpose," said Special Agent Anderson D. Wagner.

Mr. Wagner noted that at least two statements, from Specialist Morlock and another soldier charged, Pfc. Adam C. Winfield, corroborated elements of each other's story. He also said there was little physical evidence connecting the soldiers to the killings. "I don't know the final thing that killed those guys, whether it was a bullet or whose grenade it was," Mr. Wagner said.

The Army's case is complicated by claims that it ignored warnings that there was trouble in the unit. Private Winfield's father has said he repeatedly tried to alert military officials that his son had told him through Facebook in February that a murder was committed by members of his unit in January. The soldiers are accused of killings in January, February and May.

Mr. Waddington said in an interview that his client was present where the three crimes are said to have taken place, but that he had not killed anyone.

Mr. Wagner, the investigator, said that during his interview in May, Specialist Morlock had feared retaliation for talking.

Lawyers for Specialist Morlock told reporters during a break that the case reflected a "failed policy" in Afghanistan, and that soldiers like Specialist Morlock should never have been allowed to continue with their unit given the medication they say he was on and the alleged widespread use of drugs in the unit. Seven other soldiers in the unit are accused of other crimes, including hashish possession.

It could be weeks before the military investigator presiding over the hearing, Judge Thomas Molloy, determines how to charge Specialist Morlock.

Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting from Washington.


14) Recession Takes Toll on City, Census Survey Shows
September 28, 2010, 10:34 am

In the first measurement of the full brunt of the recession, New Yorkers' median income and house values declined between 2006 and 2009, and the percentage of people dependent on food stamps soared, according to census data released Tuesday.

The 2009 American Community Survey also suggested that the sluggish economy had other indirect effects on New York City. Fewer families reported having both parents in the work force, more people were living in housing that had no kitchen, the proportion paying 35 percent or more of their income on rent rose to 42 percent, and a smaller share of people owned two vehicles.

While the poverty rate has remained unchanged in the city, it has risen in the state since 2008 to 14.2 percent from 13.8 percent, and in New Jersey to 9.4 percent from 8.8 percent. Median household income has remained about the same. In Connecticut since 2008, the poverty rate and median income have remained unchanged.

In the city, housing values registered the sharpest declines, to $517,000 in 2009 from $537,600 in 2008 and $557,300 in 2007.

Home values also declined markedly in the metropolitan area, to $439,500 in 2009 from $459,200 in 2008 and $484,500 in 2007.

The proportion of New York City residents receiving food stamps rose to 17.2 percent from 14.9 percent in 2008 and 13.3 percent in 2007.

The poverty rate was 18.7 percent, about the same as the year before.

"The official measure does not include much of what has been done to cushion the blow of the recession on low-income families," said Mark K. Levitan, poverty research director for the city's Center for Economic Opportunity. "The new and expanded tax credits and the large increase in food stamp participation don't get counted in the official measure; they will get counted in ours."

Earlier this year, the city said its own more sophisticated measure of poverty classified 22 percent of New Yorkers as poor in 2008. Mr. Levitan would not speculate yet on what the 2009 rate would be by that measure.

The proportion of people with no health insurance declined to 4.5 percent from 5.2 percent as public coverage picked up the slack.

Since 2007, the income gap in the city appeared to have widened somewhat as the proportion of people who were making $200,000 or more and those earning less than $10,000 both rose.

The survey, which is a separate measurement from the 2010 census, which will be released next year, also found continuing gains in educational attainment - an increase in the proportion of people who graduated from high school and college.

The median age in the city declined, to 35.8 from 36.6.

Since 2008, the black population has declined slightly to 26.5 percent. The Asian and non-Hispanic white shares rose, to 12.6 percent and 35.3 percent, respectively. The Hispanic population remained about the same at 27.6 percent.


Frente Colombiano Por el Socialismo
Volume 1, Issue 4
Pensamiento Bolivariano
Bolivarian Thought
Colombian Government = Terrorist!
FARC = Freedom Fighters

For those of us in FECOPES that have come to this coun-try because the political, social, and economic persecution in Colombia we neither despair for what the Colombian and the United States government call the aniquillation of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) or because they are coming to the houses of those who have dared to talk about Colombia and asked for a dialogue between the government of Colombia and the FARC. We know that they are resourcing to these tactics because that what they know how to do in order to intimidate people by lying and perpetrating the revolutionaries, the freedom fighters as terrorist. They have done this over and over again and may be able to succeed temporarily but in the end the truth will prevail. That truth brothers and sisters, is that the real terrorist are the government of Colombia and the United States who support the last president of Colombia, knowing that Mr. Uribe is a narco trafficker which is number 82 in the DEA list right here in the USA. Right now the Obama administration is supporting the government of Santos in Colombia knowing that Mr. Santos is the boss of the paramilitary that are responsible for the disappearance of over 50 thousand people in Colombia and for the largest common grave found in the whole continent.

El Frente Colombiano por el Socialismo called on the progressive and human right workers to show their solidarity and denounce the FBI and all the forces of oppression and demand and end the military intervention in Colombia and an end to the persecution and harassment of the anti-war, anti imperialist organizers in particular to the international action center and the Colombian action network.


16) Walkout: An Open Letter to UC Berkeley Students
October 7, 2010

Over the last school year, we've seen tuition increase by 32% and massive cuts to every sector of our campus from academic departments, to maintenance staffing. This is old news.

Just this semester, the Chancellor announced his intention to eliminate 200 campus faculty and staff positions, Chicano Studies and Asian American Studies as majors may disappear, and there's been a 12% drop in Latino admissions.

Meanwhile, investigative reporter Peter Byrne has uncovered some disturbing facts about the UC Regent's use of the UC's investment fund. In 2003, three Regents restructured the UC's investment fund, investing in risky financial instruments, making students and workers poorer, and making themselves richer in the process. To put it shortly:

many of these deals, while potentially lucrative, have lost significant amounts of money for UC's retirement and endowment funds, which were worth $63 billion at the end of 2009. (These losses ultimately reduce the amount spent on education, since the endowment supports teaching activities.) And the non-transparency of these private deals enabled multiple conflicts of interest to arise without challenge.

You can rest assured knowing that every time your fees go up UC Regent Richard Blum, with his investments in for-profit private colleges, gets a little bit richer. As if to add insult to injury, at the last Regents meeting the Regents voted unanimously to cut pensions for the UC's lowest paid workers and to increase the pensions of the UC's 250 highest paid employees. This news comes only a few short weeks after the New York Times and other major news agencies reported that, before moving to his new mansion in Lafayette, UC President Mark Yudof racked up $70,000 worth of damages to his previous UC mansion.

As students, we are asked to take out more loans that force us into jobs we don't like to pay off debt we can't afford for the privilege of getting a lower quality education. We are then told to kindly shut up and move along when we voice our reasonable conclusions: that the crisis of our university is not just a lack of state funding, that UC administrators give the public little reason to believe that new funds will be used in a reasonable or just manner, and that the governance structure of the UC is fundamentally flawed.

Over the last year, tens of thousands of UC students, workers, and faculty stood up, walked out, sat-in, occupied, and disrupted business as usual, forcing the governor to restore funding to public higher education. His chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, stated "those protests on the U.C. campuses were the tipping point. Our university system is going to get the support it deserves."

And while we await the materialization of those hollow words (the California budget is over 80 days late, the restorations are not enough, and they will come from cuts to essential social services), we again look to ourselves, the students of the U.C., as well as the workers, faculty, and community members with whom we've built solidarity over the last year, for the strength to change the status quo.

Administrators and legislators need to know that the current order of business cannot stand. The current order of business says that we should stay quiet and obedient, that politics is complicated, that if we vote (and just vote) everything will be better, and that it is natural to spend trillions on war, prisons, and tax breaks and little on education, jobs, and social services. The current order of business stands against direct action and movement-oriented organizing, but only a movement can offer the kind of change we seek.

This is why I urge all UC Berkeley students, faculty, workers, and community members to participate in the October 7th Walkout and Day of Action. On October 7th, we have an opportunity to make ourselves collectively heard, to organize a mass movement, and fight back against austerity cuts and the privatization of everything. But we need your help promoting October 7th. Here are a few ways you can help:

Repost or "share" this letter and tag friends friends.
Join the Facebook Group and invite all your friends:
Post directly on your friends' walls "I'm going to walkout on October 7th to save our educations, are you?"
Repost the October 7th video:
Sign up to do daytime or nighttime outreach:
Email all of your professors and ask them to cancel class on October 7th, prepare a lesson on the education crisis or ways to resist, or at least to accommodate students who would like to participate
Change your facebook profile picture to the walkout flyer:
(Starting on Sunday) Change your middle name on facebook to "Walkout Thurs."
Wear a red armband (available on the 2nd floor of Eshleman Hall) starting now to show your solidarity with the movement.
Go to the Faculty, Student, Worker Teach-In on Oct. 6th at 5:30pm in Eshleman Hall
Text "follow ucbprotest" from your phone to 40404 to get mobile updates on protests and important meetings in the movement
We must continue the struggle to restore the public good and we must always remember that this struggle is not about us. We are fighting this battle for our university, for the people who work in it, for the families of California with foreclosed on futures, and the children of California whose dreams we are told are too expensive to fund.

Thank you.

Ricardo Gomez, Undergraduate Student

Day of Action Sponsored by: the American Association of University Professors, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), b.a.n.g lab (UCSD), Berkeley Students Against the Cuts, bridges Multicultural coalition, Cal Berkeley Democrats, California State University Employee Union-Teamsters, the Raza Caucus, the Solidarity Alliance, the Student Worker Action Team, the UC Student Association (UCSA), University Council-AFT, University Professional and Technical Employees-CWA local 9119, Veterans for Peace

Relevant Links:

Peter Byrne's Article on UC Investments:


17) FBI Raids Homes of Antiwar and Pro-Palestinian Activists in Chicago and Minneapolis
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010

Antiwar activists are gearing up for protests outside FBI offices in cities across the country today and Tuesday after the FBI raided eight homes and offices of antiwar activists in Chicago and Minneapolis Friday. The FBI's search warrants indicate agents were looking for connections between local antiwar activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East. We speak to the targets of two of the raids and former FBI officer Coleen Rowley.


Jess Sundin, longtime antiwar activist in Minneapolis. Her home was raided by the FBI early Friday morning. She's a member of the Anti-War Committee, whose offices were also raided.

Joe Iosbaker, employee of the University of Illinois in Chicago and a steward for SEIU Local 73. He helped coordinate buses from Chicago to the protests at the Republican National Convention in 2008. His home was one of two raided in Chicago Friday.

Coleen Rowley, former FBI special agent and whistleblower based in Minnesota. She was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2002.

AMY GOODMAN: Antiwar activists are gearing up for protests outside FBI offices in cities across the country today and tomorrow after the FBI raided eight homes and offices of antiwar activists in Chicago and Minneapolis Friday.

The FBI's search warrants indicate agents were looking for connections between local antiwar activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East. Eight people were issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago. Most of the people whose homes were searched or who were issued subpoenas had helped organize or attended protests at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, two years ago.

The federal law cited in the search warrants prohibits, quote, "providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations." In June, the Supreme Court rejected a free speech challenge to the material support law from humanitarian aid groups that said some of its provisions put them at risk of being prosecuted for talking to terrorist organizations about nonviolent activities. Some of groups listed by name in the warrants are Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The warrants also authorized agents to to seize items such as electronics, photographs, videos, address books and letters.

Friday's raids come on the heels of a Justice Department probe that found the FBI improperly monitored activist groups and individuals from 2001 to 2006.

For more, I'm joined now by three guests.

Joining us from Minneapolis, longtime antiwar activist Jess Sundin, whose home was raided by the FBI early Friday morning. She's a member of the Anti-War Committee, whose offices were also raided.

Joining us via Democracy Now! video stream from Chicago is Joe Iosbaker, whose home was one of two raided in Chicago Friday. He's an employee of the University of Illinois in Chicago and a steward for SEIU Local 73. He helped coordinate buses from Chicago to the protests at the Republican National Convention in 2008.

Also in Minneapolis we're joined by former FBI special agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley. Time named her Woman of the Year, Person of the Year in 2002.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Let's begin in Minneapolis with Jess Sundin. Tell us what happened.

JESS SUNDIN: Friday morning, I awoke to a bang at the door, and by the time I was downstairs, there were six or seven federal agents already in my home, where my partner and my six-year-old daughter had already been awake. We were given the search warrant, and they went through the entire house. They spent probably about four hours going through all of our personal belongings, every book, paper, our clothes, and filled several boxes and crates with our computers, our phones, my passport. And when they were done, as I said, they had many crates full of my personal belongings, with which they left my house.

AMY GOODMAN: Were you the only one there that morning?

JESS SUNDIN: No, my partner and my first-grade daughter were also there.

AMY GOODMAN: And what exactly did they show you to get in?

JESS SUNDIN: Well, we have a porch where you can't see exactly who's outside. And so, they had already let themselves into the porch by the time my daughter-my wife opened the door. And when they came in, they showed us this four-page document that listed, as I said, all the kinds of things that they were entitled to look-to search for in my home, as well as a subpoena to appear before a grand jury. My name was listed on the search warrant, but both myself and my partner received subpoenas for the grand jury in Chicago.

AMY GOODMAN: Let's go to Chicago, to Joe Iosbaker. Describe what happened to you on Friday morning.

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, it's the exact same story. It was a nationally coordinated assault on all of these homes. Seven a.m., the pound on the door. I was getting ready for work, came down the stairs, and there were, I think, in the area of ten agents, you know, of the-they identified themselves as FBI, showed me the search warrant. And I turned to my wife and said, "Stephanie, it's the thought police."

AMY GOODMAN: And they came in?

JOE IOSBAKER: They came in, and they proceeded to set up their operation in our living room, and they proceeded to photograph every room in our house. And over the next, I don't know, thirty or forty-five minutes, they proceeded to label every room and then systematically go through every room, our basement, our attic, our children's rooms, and pored through not just all of our papers, but our music collection, our children's artwork, my son's poetry journals from high school-everything.

AMY GOODMAN: And were they explaining to you what they were doing as they were raiding your house?

JOE IOSBAKER: There was-there were-some of the officers, you know, were telling us what they were doing. Most of them were not. But they gave us some explanation.

AMY GOODMAN: What exactly did they say to you?

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, they-all they said in terms of the content of what they were looking for is that they-you know, they showed us the search warrant, and I was-my wife and I were both subpoenaed, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: What organizations are you involved with, Joe? What do you think they're looking for?

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, as you said at the start, I'm a trade unionist primarily. That's how most people know me. I'm also the staff adviser at UIC for the Students for a Democratic Society chapter.

AMY GOODMAN: That's University of Illinois, Chicago.

JOE IOSBAKER: Correct. And, you know, I've been a political activist for thirty-three years, so I've been a member of a lot of organizations and campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: Coleen Rowley, you're a former FBI agent, whistleblower, named Time Person of the Year in 2002. Can you explain what you think is happening here? And also, put it in the context of this very interesting Justice Department IG-Inspector General-report that has just come out on their surveillance of whistleblowers-rather, the surveillance of activists over the last almost decade.

COLEEN ROWLEY: Well, I can't really detail all of the legal factors that have changed since 9/11, but there simply has been a sea change. For instance, when I taught constitutional rights in the FBI, one of the main top priorities was First Amendment rights. And while this is not the first time that you've seen this Orwellian turn of the war on terror onto domestic peace groups and social justice groups-actually, we had that begin very quickly after 9/11, and there were legal opinions, Office of Legal Counsel opinions, that said the First Amendment no longer controls the war on terror-but even so, this is shocking and alarming that at this point we have the, you know, humanitarian advocacy now being treated as somehow material support to terrorists.

We've also just seen, ironically, four days before this national raid, we saw the Department of Justice Inspector General issue a report that soundly criticized the FBI for four years of targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace, the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, different antiwar rallies, even involving a finding that the FBI director had given them a falsehood to Congress as to the justification for the FBI to monitor a peace group.

AMY GOODMAN: What about what's happened in Iowa, Coleen Rowley?

COLEEN ROWLEY: Well, that's another instance. And that one is actually after the scope of the IG investigation. The IG investigation only went to 2006. There have been requests for that IG to go further. Obviously there's been four more years. And in 2008, we found out through a Freedom of Information request that there's 300 pages of-I think it was four or five, six agents trailing a group of students in Iowa City to parks, libraries, bars, restaurants. They even went through their trash. So, this is another reason why peace groups, and certainly law professors, have to be very concerned now about this misinterpretation that says advocacy for human-rights-I just have to mention, we have a famous Minnesotan who wrote Three Cups of Tea. And he obviously sets up schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His name is Greg Mortenson. Obviously, people like him and Jimmy Carter are even at peril, given this wide discretion now to say that anyone who works in a foreign country, even for peace or humanitarian, anti-torture purposes, could somehow run afoul of the PATRIOT Act.

AMY GOODMAN: The Church Committee in the 1970s really blew the lid open on CIA spying at home, and also guidelines then, regulations, were passed afterwards. How do they apply today, when Americans are being surveilled, infiltrated, spied on at home?

COLEEN ROWLEY: Well, that's another one of the factors, besides this Supreme Court ruling. Right after 9/11, the Attorney General began to erode those guidelines. He basically said that FBI agents could go into mosques and places like that to monitor, so that was the beginning. The very-almost the last official act that Bush did in 2008 was that he totally erased those prior AG guidelines. There is really no need to even show factual justification now. The presumption is entirely reversed. And basically the FBI need only say that they were not targeting-that they were not targeting a group solely based on their exercise of First Amendment rights. So the presumption really did, again, a complete flip-flop.

And, of course, that's why you see these various scandals now coming out. It should be no surprise to someone that if there's no restraints, the green light is on, that you see, of course-I actually kind of sympathize with the FBI. I used to train these agents, and I can understand the enormous pressure they're under. And, of course, this is why it's so incredibly important to get the word to the officials who are in charge of using their discretion that they should use their discretion to look for real terrorists instead of to go after peace groups.

AMY GOODMAN: Jess Sundin, what are your plans now? I mean, over the weekend I saw online the video of your mass emergency meeting-many people came out for this, rallying around-and also talked about the RNC 8, the eight people who were preemptively arrested in the lead-up to the Republican convention, all charged on terror counts. All of those terror counts have been dropped now. But it certainly was a very frightening time. What are your plans now?

JESS SUNDIN: Well, as you mentioned, in the Twin Cities we had a meeting the night that the raids happened. There were more than 200 people who gathered, and really every organization in the Twin Cities. But I'd say countless organizations across the country have contacted us to ask us how they can help. There will be, today and tomorrow, as you mentioned earlier, demonstrations in at least twenty cities around the country. We've had word of plans for demonstrations at embassies in other countries, as well, at US embassies.

So, one of the things we're doing is trying to call attention to what's happened and really make it clear to people that we have done nothing wrong. There is no basis to the claim that we've in any way given support to terrorist organizations. But in fact, we are being-we are being-there is attention on us because of our work in the antiwar movement, and in particular, our perspective of solidarity with people in the countries where the US war and militarism are happening.

We, following up on these demonstrations, are going to be pulling together a network of people from many of these organizations that have expressed their concern. Folks who want to get tied into that can find us through the Anti-War Committee website, which is very outdated. We're doing our best to get it up. Of course, as we explained, all of our computers were seized. So we're doing a lot of catch up, trying to get ourselves organized.

And, of course, we're also very concerned with making legal plans to protect ourselves. A number of people have been called before a grand jury in Chicago. And we, you know, don't want to be-you know, a case to be framed up around us. All of us are quite confident that nothing that was found in our homes will give substantiation to the claims against us. And there's, in fact, no charges against us. But we want to do everything we can to both protect ourselves legally while at the same time working with the movement to call attention to what's happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Joe Iosbaker, I wanted to ask you about the other house that was raided. Just looking at an AP piece, FBI agents in Chicago took a laptop and documents from the home of Palestinian American antiwar activist Hatem Abudayyeh, who is the executive director of the Arab American Action Network. His attorney, Jim Fennerty, said, The government's trying to quiet activists. The case is really is scary," he said. Abudayyeh is an American citizen. Can you talk about your work on Israel-Palestine, who Hatem Abudayyeh is?

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, I actually have to talk about my wife's work. My wife is a longtime solidarity activist in the Palestine solidarity movement. And-

AMY GOODMAN: Stephanie Weiner.

JOE IOSBAKER: Correct. She was also subpoenaed. And really everyone in the antiwar movement in Chicago knows Hatem. You know, if you look back online at video of the protests here of thousands of people marching when Israel assaulted Gaza two years ago, Hatem was the emcee at almost every major rally. And the Arab American Action Network was the first center of the Arab community in the city, founded back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. So Hatem is the most prominent Palestinian activist in the city of Chicago. It's no surprise that they targeted him.

AMY GOODMAN: And you're organizing, Joe Iosbaker, around Colombia. In a minute we'll be joined by Ingrid Betancourt, who was, well, as you know, held captive-


AMY GOODMAN: -for more than six years. But what about your work around Colombia, since it seems that Israel-Palestine and Colombia were major focuses of this FBI raid?

JOE IOSBAKER: Well, I actually think that I should defer that question to Jess, who has much more experience in Colombia solidarity work.

AMY GOODMAN: Jess Sundin in Minneapolis.

JESS SUNDIN: Yeah, the antiwar movement has long been concerned with places that the US funds wars abroad, and there's a major civil war unfolding in Colombia, and it's the third-largest recipient of US military aid, so Colombia is very much an issue for the antiwar movement. I have traveled to Colombia and understand that it's the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist. And, in fact, anyone involved in the social movement there is viewed by the government, as well as the paramilitary death squads, as a rebel and treated as such. And so, I know that the investigation is very interested in travel-I have traveled to Colombia-and [it] tried to establish some sort of organizational ties, which there aren't. But that said, I do support the Colombian struggle and have been very involved in that.

AMY GOODMAN: Coleen Rowley, how do civil rights compare, what you're seeing today under the Obama administration, to President Bush, someone you certainly blew the whistle on?

COLEEN ROWLEY: Well, I can't talk for another couple hours here, because that's how long it would take me. I actually urged the FBI from early on-I even wrote a chapter, "Civil Liberties and Effective Investigation." And unfortunately, these warnings have just been largely-of myself and many others-have been largely ignored. Even the 9/11 Commission focused-three of their recommendations, out of forty-one, were on creating a privacy and civil liberties oversight board. And Bush pulled the rug from under that board early on. And Obama, two years later, has never appointed any people, any of the five seats to that board, which is just incredible in light of what's gone on, even including the revelations of torture and warrantless monitoring.

What people need to do is to basically ask for more than just an IG investigation. They need to ask for Congress to actually take on something like a new Church Committee. And that's actually been asked for. Barbara Lee, I think, actually had a proposal a year ago for something like that. So we should all contact our elected representatives and ask for Congress to take on greater oversight of this-what's going on.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we will certainly continue to follow this case as it unfolds. I want to thank you, Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent, whistleblower, named Time Person of the Year in 2002. Jess Sundin and Joe Iosbaker, thanks so much for being with us. I know this is a very difficult time for you. Both of their homes were raided, computers, notes, other things taken. That happened on Friday morning. And, of course, we'll continue to follow both these cases.


18) Stop FBI raids and grand jury witchhunts of antiwar activists and radicals!
Statement by Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women
September 28, 2010
Freedom Socialist Party, U.S. Section
4710 University Way N.E. #100
Seattle WA 98105
Radical Women, U.S. Section
625 Larkin St. #202
San Francisco, CA 94109

On September 24, gun-toting FBI SWAT agents broke into homes of antiwar activists and associates of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) in Minneapolis and Chicago. These outrageous actions were ordered by a federal judge in order to seize materials for a grand jury investigation into supposed terrorism. Agents walked off with files, financial records, passports, phone lists, computers and other electronic equipment. The warrant for seizing activists' possessions includes items for "the recruitment, indoctrination, and facilitation of other individuals in the United States to join FRSO" and "the recruitment, etc. of individuals to travel to Colombia and support of FARC, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hezbollah." Other targets of the raid included the offices of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee and the Chicago home of Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network.

In addition to the break-ins, the FBI is visiting people whom they assert may be involved in the antiwar movement or organizing support for Palestinians and Colombians. However, those raided have pointed out that they have the right to freedom of association and to organize without government interference or intimidation. Government attempts to halt solidarity with workers and the poor in other lands will not be tolerated. In directing these attacks, the Obama administration is continuing COINTELPRO-type operations the FBI used in the '60s and '70s to divide the movements and smash dissent.

There are various conjectures being put forth as to why the Obama administration is staging these raids now: to appear tough on terrorism before the Congressional elections; to chill activists before the antiwar demonstrations on October 9-16; or to take attention away from last week's Justice Department admission that the FBI used false claims to mount "counterterror" investigations as a cover for spying and infiltration of activist groups across the country. Whatever the reason, there are definitely steps to be taken to strengthen the message that antiwar and Left forces will not be intimidated and will continue to fight back!

The FBI is a huge internal spy network that reports to the Justice Department and serves the interest of big business. The most effective defense against the FBI is to build community support as is being done inMinneapolis and Chicago: protest loudly while exercising the right to refuse to speak to them. If they show up or call, tell them you've nothing to say and tell them to leave you alone. The FBI are not the cops. Short of a search warrant, you have no legal obligation to tell them your name or anything else.

The Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women call on all organizations, activists and friends of free speech to condemn government intimidation, unconstitutional McCarthyite raids, and grand jury inquisitions in the strongest terms possible and to demand that the stolen possessions be returned immediately.

To join the national movement to stop FBI repression, leave contact information at, website of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee.

Stop the witchhunts and attacks on free speech!
Return property seized in the raids!
End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the occupation of Palestine!

Send protests to:

Attorney General Eric Holder
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20530-0001
202-514-1057 Main switchboard
202-353-1555 Comment line

President Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
202-456-1111 Comment line

Issued by:

Freedom Socialist Party, U.S. Section
4710 University Way N.E. #100
Seattle WA 98105

Radical Women, U.S. Section
625 Larkin St. #202
San Francisco, CA 94109

Your donations to Radical Women are needed and appreciated.


19) Useless Eaters: the Stigmatization of Illness
By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
September 29, 2010

As a psychiatrist battling the stigma of mental illness for more than 30 years, I am gratified by growing public awareness that schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder run in families and are, at least partly, biologically determined. Thankfully the days when it was socially acceptable to blame depressives for being lazy or not doing enough to help themselves are long gone.

I wish I could say the same of physical illness which, after all, is basic to human existence. The US, unquestionably, has the most reactionary and punitive attitude towards illness in the world. It comes out in all manner of regressive and inhumane government policy: the federal government's absolute refusal to make sick and parental leave mandatory (as it is in all other industrialized societies), the pressure for long term recipients of Social Security disability benefits to undergo continual review and mandatory treatment (which most have no way of paying for, as doctors have stopped accepting Medicare and Medicaid), as well strong pressure on doctors to declare them well enough to work; and now a proposal to change eligibility for Social Security retirement to make the elderly "prove" they are too sick to work.

The Growing Attack on Entitlements

In the growing attack by Republicans and Democrats on entitlements, there are always assertions either direct or implied that sick people are somehow responsible for the problems that make them unable to work. However what troubles me even more is the way so many Americans have internalized these attitudes how ready they are blame people who get sick on eating the wrong food, not exercising or not managing stress properly. Epidemiological studies show clearly this is not the case lifestyle factors only account for 10 percent of what causes us to become ill.

There is no question that the US has parted company with the rest of the world on this. I think it's important to ask why. Quite frankly I hear a lot of discussion that is ominously reminiscent of Hitler's "useless eaters" initiative. And I think it's time to ask whether this is simply "coincidence" an accident of history or if there are more sinister reasons why this might be.

The Long Shadow of Joseph Goebbels

Hitler's adopted his "useless eaters" policy in the early thirties at the very beginning of his regime. It was a utilitarian approach to social welfare consistent with the role the Nazi state played in serving the German and American corporate elite who put them in power. And Hitler enforced it vigorously, carting tens of thousands of elderly, handicapped, chronically ill and mentally ill and retarded individuals off to execution centers (long before the communists, Jews, gypsies and other undesirables) because of their inability to contribute "productively" to society.

American attitudes, not just around health, but around all spheres of human activity, are far more reactionary than the rest of the "free" world. And I think it's high time to ask ourselves why. With new information surfacing over some of the Nazi connections of CIA founder Allen Dulles, I am increasingly skeptical this is either coincidental or down to a handful of right wing think tanks. Dulles' high regard for Hitler's chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels is a matter of public record. As is the fact that Dulles incorporated Hitler's entire eastern European spy network into the CIA after World War II. And the long, cozy relationship between the CIA Office of Public Information and many US newspapers, news magazines and publishing houses. (see excellent article by Daniel Brandt at, along with two dozen references, including Carl Bernstein's 1977 Rolling Stone article)

If the CIA, as it appears, has direct influence over media content, I think it's reasonable to ask whether this plays a role in shaping how we think. I believe it does.

What I find most troubling about the reactionary "useless eater" mentality pushed by policy and opinion makers is the way Americans have internalized the belief that it's their own fault if they become ill. In fact much of the US population seems more freaked out about getting sick than dying. I can't say I blame them, as so many American workers have no sick leave and lose a day's pay every time they are ill.

Americans also spend billions of dollars on alternative health care and vitamin supplements and other non-prescription remedies. And many are practically obsessed with healthy eating, only drinking bottled or filtered water, compulsive exercise routines and meditation, yoga and other stress reduction techniques to keep their massive job stress from making them sick (at present those who still have jobs do the work of 1.5 to 2 people on average).

The media compounds the problem by promoting a variety of cough and cold remedies and caffeine and mega B vitamin "boost" drinks to enable people to attend work when they have colds or even quite serious illnesses, such as bronchitis and the "flu."

Medicating Kids

Parallel to this pressure for adults to be healthy, is immense pressure for children to be "normal." While parents seem to be appropriately skeptical about taking unnecessary drugs themselves, they seem far too eager to and medicate children with behavior problems. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I am well aware that ADHD is a genuine disorder affecting 1-2% of children (but not childhood bipolar disorder this is a diagnosis heavily marketed by drug companies and totally unsupported by developmental or epidemiological research).

At the same time I see absolutely no reason why American children should be three times as likely to be diagnosed and treated for ADHD than children in other parts of the world. In my work, I come across psychiatrists from all over the world. Based on their input, I can safely asserted that the eagerness of US doctors (at the behest of drug companies) to prescribe psychotropic medication for children is an international scandal that casts the standard of American pediatric and psychiatric care in a very bad light.

Sending Sick Kids to School and Day Care

However I am even more concerned about the number of kids who have to go to school or day care when they're sick because their working parents can't afford to stay home and have nowhere else to send them. In doing so, they will also expose all their child's classmates. Who, because their immune system is still forming, are very likely to develop the illness themselves and expose other children. Over the past decade, I have seen many children who suffer 12 or more serious (requiring antibiotics) throat, ear, sinus or chest infections a year.

This is a major public health problem, especially now that asthma (often triggered by chest infections), is reaching epidemic proportions among American children. Allowing children to suffer one respiratory infection after another can have permanent lifelong health consequences.

The reality is that illness both acute and chronic is fundamental to the human condition. In my experience, people willing to allow themselves to be ill and take time off to get well recover faster and cope better with other life stresses better.

Obviously adults have the choice whether or not they want to work when there are sick. Parents with sick children must make that decision for them. They are also entrusted with that child's future health and welfare. And I think they need to weigh that responsibility carefully in deciding to send a sick child to school or daycare.

The Myth That Lifestyle Factors Cause Illness

Good health is elusive. In general we have a very limited ability to stay well by eating right, exercising and reducing stress. Epidemiological studies show that only 10% of illness is accounted for by lifestyle factors (including smoking).

The University of Washington epidemiologist Dr Stephen Bezruchka has been writing and speaking for nearly two decades on the real cause of illness and poor health. As he repeatedly points out, lifestyle factors (including smoking) only account for ten percent of the causation of illness. According to Bezruchka, the single most important determinant of adult health status and life expectancy is your mother's income and social status during pregnancy and the first three years of life.

Although more than fifty years of epidemiological studies bear this out, it is only in the last decade scientists could explain why this is thanks to the new science of epigenetics. While the early Freudians used to make similar claims about unfavorable "psychological" influences on infants and young children, it is now clear the effect is biological rather than psychological. That it relates to "epigenetics" a term referring to changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than the underlying DNA sequence.

Numerous studies show that environmental stress and hormones (particularly stress hormones) produced during pregnancy can cause genetic code to be transcripted (into proteins and enzymes) in such a way to negatively affect the development of the immune system in addition to predisposing the fetus to biochemically based mental illnesses.

The Link Between Income Inequality and Poor Health

However the most important epidemiological finding, according to Bezruchka, is that the effect of low income status on health is much more pronounced in societies with extreme income inequality. Study after study bears this out. In other words, a poor person's adult status and life expectancy will be worse if he is born into a country with big gap between the economic status of its rich and poor residents (such as the US where 10 percent of the population controls 71 percent of the wealth). In fact the US is near the bottom of the charts if you look at statistical indicators that measure the overall health of a country. In life expectancy it rates 38th, just behind Cuba. In infant mortality it rates 30th, just above Slovakia.

These findings also belie the efforts of policy and opinion makers to convince us that class differences have disappeared in the US. For example, it's extremely rare to see working class families depicted on American TV. In fact some Republican commentators accuse their opponent of "class warfare" for even mentioning the existence of an underclass. Nevertheless with a double dip recession on the horizon, in the face of healthy corporate profits and CEO bonuses, American's class divide is receiving more and more attention.

A Mindset Driven By Social Service Cuts

Dr Susan Rosenthal, in Sick and Sicker, also points out that it's only in the last thirty years that politicians and policymakers on both sides of the aisle have made sick people responsible for their own illness. Epidemiological studies as long as scientists have been doing them have always shown that poor health correlates directly with low income and social status. Rosenthal notes that even in Dicken's time it was taken for granted that the poor undernourished and living in cold, damp, overcrowded tenements were far more prone to illness than their middle class counterparts. In her mind this shift to a new "blame the victim" mentality has been deliberate to justify aggressive social service cutbacks (by both Republicans and Democrats) that became fashionable with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

The Role of Oppression and Exploitation in Illness

Although the data establishing the link between income inequality and poor health is unequivocal, epidemiologists are still at a loss to explain why poor people have poorer health in countries with more income inequality. Bezruchka relates it to the fact that people in more egalitarian societies look after each other more. I like Rosenthal's explanation better. She relates it to the extremely high level of oppression and exploitation in societies with extreme income disparity.

She points out that minimum wage workers aren't just poor. They also work in exploitive, arbitrary and often punitive job settings that they feel powerless to change. The immense stress of confronting this massive stress on a daily basis takes an enormous toll on both the human body and psyche.

Ironically her view is born out by studies showing that American life expectancy increased by 6.2 years during the Depression when 20-25 percent of Americans were out of work (see

Dr Susan Rosanthal's website:

A bibliography of Dr Stephen Bezruchka's writings can be found at his faculty website

Author's Bio: I am a 62 year old American child and adolescent psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. My recent memoir THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN REFUGEE describes the circumstances that led me to leave the US seven years ago and start a new life in the South Pacific. Check out my blog at


19) Judges Cancels California Execution
September 28, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - Facing sharp questions from a federal appellate panel and concerns about a drug used in lethal injections, a federal judge in California has canceled what would have been California's first execution in more than four years.

Albert G. Brown Jr., 56, was convicted in 1982 of raping and strangling a 15-year-old girl in Riverside, Calif., two years before and had been scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday night.

But late Tuesday, Judge Jeremy D. Fogel of Federal District Court in San Jose issued a stay after a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered him to again consider the case.

The stay came a day after California officials announced that the state's supply of sodium thiopental, a barbiturate used in executions, was good only until Friday, a revelation that seemed to shock the appellate panel. "It is incredible to think that the deliberative process might be driven by the expiration date of the execution drug," the panel wrote.

In his stay, Judge Fogel seemed to agree, and indicated that he had been blindsided by the state's admission about the drug's expiration, calling it a "fact that the defendants did not disclose to this court."

Mr. Brown's execution would have been the first in California since 2006, when Judge Fogel effectively halted executions in the state after finding various deficiencies in the state's methods. Since then, the state says it has addressed those problems by revamping regulations surrounding executions and building a new death chamber at San Quentin State Prison.

Judge Fogel ruled last week that Mr. Brown was ineligible for a stay, but legal questions and challenges continued to percolate. On Monday night, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Mr. Brown a brief reprieve, pushing the execution to Thursday from Wednesday. The appellate panel weighed in later that night, raising questions about the constitutionality of the state's new protocol for lethal injection using a three-drug cocktail.


20) Census Shows How Recession Hit N.Y.
September 28, 2010

The nation's economic collapse jolted many New Yorkers into financial distress, driving some into poverty and dependence on food stamps and unemployment benefits and even altering their living arrangements between 2007 and 2009, according to census data released Tuesday that offered the first extensive measure of how the city weathered the recession.

Although New York City has fared better than the country as a whole, recording smaller increases in poverty and smaller declines in household income, more subtle indicators, like the rise in the number of New Yorkers living in homes without kitchens, underscore the struggles confronting many.

The Census Bureau's 2009 American Community Survey also found that from 2007 to 2009, the income of single people in the city shrank the most among New Yorkers; the poverty rate edged up among people 15 to 64 years old; both parents were in the work force more often; home values dipped; the share of renters increased compared with owners; more renters were paying over 35 percent of their income on housing; and a smaller share said they owned two vehicles.

The proportion of very rich and very poor New Yorkers rose slightly, and the gap between them remained higher in New York than in any other state, and, in Manhattan, higher than in any other county in the country.

"We haven't seen what happens when unemployment benefits and other cushions fall away and about whether we're seeing another version of what happened in the Great Depression - starting to build up this enormous cohort of people who have been out of work for a long period of time," said David R. Jones, the president of the Community Service Society, an antipoverty group.

The results confirmed suggestions by sociologists that the sluggish economy had a broader impact on the way people lived. The proportion of women in the city who had never married crossed the 40 percent threshold in 2009 (men hit 46 percent), the number of women 20 to 34 who gave birth during the preceding year declined, and more people were living with roommates or unmarried partners.

While the poverty rate remained largely unchanged in the city, it rose in New York State to 14.2 percent in 2009 from 13.8 percent in 2008 (according to a different census survey released this month, it climbed in the state to 15.8 percent from 14.2 percent) and in New Jersey to 9.4 percent from 8.8 percent (although New Jersey was among only five states in which the rate was below 10 percent).

In the city, the poverty rate ranged from a low of 6 percent among non-Hispanic whites on Staten Island to a high of 36 percent among Hispanics in the Bronx. It was 18.7 percent over all in 2009.

"We strengthened our safety net and made unprecedented efforts to expand job training and support the entrepreneurs in our city who have created 1 in 10 of every new job in America so far this year," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said.

Earlier this year, the city said its own more sophisticated measure of poverty classified 22 percent of New Yorkers as poor in 2008, when the Census Bureau put the official figure at 17.6 percent. Officials would not speculate on what the 2009 rate would be by the more complex measure that takes account of costs like commuting and day care and benefits like tax credits.

"The official measure does not include much of what has been done to cushion the blow of the recession on low-income families," said Mark K. Levitan, poverty research director for the city's Center for Economic Opportunity. "The new and expanded tax credits and the large increase in food stamp participation don't get counted in the official measure; they will get counted in ours."

Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, said the rising raw numbers and percentages of city residents living below the federal poverty line ($17,600 for a family of three) and the shrinking income of many New Yorkers were "the latest proof that low-income, hungry and even middle-class New Yorkers are suffering mightily in this recession, even as the ultrarich become even wealthier."

Jilly Stephens, executive director of City Harvest, cautioned that "all indicators show that demand for emergency food isn't static. It's going up."

The proportion of residents receiving food stamps in 2009 rose to 17.2 percent from 14.9 percent in 2008 and 13.3 percent in 2007.

The share with no health insurance declined to 4.5 percent from 5.2 percent, the result of government programs' picking up the slack.

Home values have plunged by double digits since 2006 in the suburbs, but they have dropped less in the city, to an average of $517,900 in 2009 from $537,600 in 2008. In the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, they barely changed.

Median household income was lower in 2009 than it was in 2007, dipping in the Bronx to $32,893 from $35,341 and on Staten Island to $66,292 from $69,309. But the median income was unchanged in Brooklyn at $43,166, in Manhattan at $68,706 and in Queens at $55,120. The citywide median was $50,033.

The American Community Survey is a separate measurement from the 2010 census, which will be released next year.


21) At Council Hearing on Stop-and-Frisk Policy, the Police Stay Silent
September 28, 2010

A City Council hearing on the New York Police Department's use of its controversial "stop, question and frisk" policy in public housing became a one-sided affair on Tuesday, after police and housing officials declined to testify.

Officials with both agencies cited pending federal litigation surrounding the policy in deciding not to appear. The officials said they had intended to testify when the hearing was to examine a wide range of policing initiatives in New York City Housing Authority developments.

But on Sept. 20, the Police Department was notified by Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn's office by telephone that the hearing would be restricted to questions on the stop, question and frisk policy, and that broader questions of safety would be addressed at a separate hearing, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman.

"We were told then," Mr. Browne said, "that the speaker understood that the N.Y.P.D. wouldn't be able to participate at a hearing devoted strictly to a matter being litigated."

The explanation failed to satisfy Ms. Quinn and other council members, who were critical of both agencies but who focused their pique on the police. The anger reflected long-running frustration between some on the Council and the department over its stop, question and frisk policy.

The Police Department and the Housing Authority had observers present at the hearing, which lasted several hours as housing residents, lawyers and advocates, one after the other, blasted both agencies. One housing tenant from Manhattan, Marquis Jenkins, 27, said getting stopped had become a sort of "rite of passage" for young men of color growing up in the developments.

The policy, which the department has increasingly turned to in recent years as a core part of its crime deterrent strategy, allows officers to temporarily detain anyone they believe may be engaging in criminal activity, and to conduct a search if the person is believed to be carrying a weapon. Police officials also declined to appear at a similar council hearing in April 2009, Council officials said.

In a sharply worded letter to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly on Tuesday, Ms. Quinn criticized him for "yet again" failing to testify about stop and frisk.

"Your failure to appear and answer these questions only reinforces some of the worst suspicions critics of the department hold," wrote Ms. Quinn, who has generally supported the department's stop-and-frisk policy.

Ms. Quinn said the hearing was to include stop-and-frisk and other initiatives. But once it became clear police and housing officials would not discuss stop and frisks, she decided to split it into two hearings to give the other broader initiatives a fair discussion.

A federal class-action lawsuit filed against the police and the Housing Authority in January claims that public housing tenants and their visitors are subjected to police aggression and unwarranted trespass arrests. The lawsuit was filed by the Legal Aid Society, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

A separate lawsuit filed in 2008 by the Center for Constitutional Rights accuses the department of engaging in racial profiling and baseless stop and frisks.

Councilman Jumaane D. Williams of Brooklyn described the Police Department's failure to appear as disrespectful. "Lawsuit or not, we've had other testimony when litigation is pending," he said.

Mr. Browne called the criticisms "disingenuous in the extreme and a sop to plaintiffs' lawyers," because the Council knew the department was prepared to testify about other initiatives until the hearing's scope was narrowed. The department did send a letter to the Council on Monday outlining public safety initiatives it has undertaken in public housing, including changes to the Patrol Guide regarding how officers patrol public housing buildings and when to conduct stop and frisks inside them.


22) As Cuba Prepares to Drill for Oil, Fears Surface
September 29, 2010

HOUSTON — Five months after the BP oil spill, a federal moratorium still prohibits new deepwater drilling in the American waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And under longstanding federal law, drilling is also banned near the coast of Florida.

Yet next year, a Spanish company will begin drilling new wells 50 miles from the Florida Keys — in Cuba’s sovereign waters.

Cuba currently produces little oil. But oil experts say the country might have reserves along its north coast as plentiful as that of the international oil middleweights, Ecuador and Colombia — enough to bolster its faltering economy and cut its dependence on Venezuela for its energy needs.

The advent of drilling in Cuban waters poses risks both to the island nation and the United States.

Ocean scientists warn that a well blowout similar to the BP disaster could send oil spewing onto Cuban beaches and then the Florida Keys in as little as three days. If the oil reached the Gulf Stream, a powerful ocean current that passes through the region, oil could flow up the coast to Miami and beyond.

The Cubans are far less prepared to handle a major spill than the Americans were in the BP accident. Cuba has neither the submarine robots needed to fix deepwater rig equipment nor the platforms available to begin drilling relief wells on short notice.

And marshaling help from American oil companies to fight a Cuban spill would be greatly complicated by the trade embargo on Cuba imposed by the United States government 48 years ago, according to industry officials. Under that embargo, American companies face severe restrictions on the business they can conduct with Cuba.

The prospect of an accident is emboldening American drilling companies, backed by some critics of the embargo, to seek permission from the United States government to participate in Cuba’s nascent industry, even if only to protect against an accident.

“This isn’t about ideology. It’s about oil spills,” said Lee Hunt, president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, a trade group that is trying to broaden bilateral contacts to promote drilling safety. “Political attitudes have to change in order to protect the gulf.”

Any opening could provide a convenient wedge for big American oil companies that have quietly lobbied Congress for years to allow them to bid for oil and natural gas deposits in waters off Cuba. Representatives of Exxon Mobil and Valero Energy attended an energy conference on Cuba in Mexico City in 2006, where they met Cuban oil officials.

Right now, Cuba’s oil industry is served almost exclusively by non-American companies. Repsol, a Spanish oil company, has contracted with an Italian operator to build a rig in China that is scheduled to begin drilling several deepwater test wells next year. Other companies, from Norway, India, Malaysia, Venezuela, Vietnam and Brazil, have taken exploration leases.

New Mexico’s governor, Bill Richardson, a Democrat who regularly visits Cuba, said Cuba’s offshore drilling plans are a “potential inroad” for loosening the embargo. During a recent humanitarian trip to Cuba, he said, he bumped into a number of American drilling contractors — “all Republicans who could eventually convince the Congress to make the embargo flexible in this area of oil spills.”

“I think you will see the administration be more forward-moving after the election,” Mr. Richardson said.

Despite several requests in the last week, Cuban officials declined to make anyone available for an interview.

Currently, the United States, Mexico and Cuba are signatories to several international protocols in which they agreed to cooperate to contain any oil spill. In practice, there is little cooperation between Washington and Havana on oil matters, although American officials did hold low-level meetings with Cuban officials after the BP blowout.

“What is needed is for international oil companies in Cuba to have full access to U.S. technology and personnel in order to prevent and/or manage a blowout,” said Jorge Piñón, a former executive of BP and Amoco. Mr. Piñón, who fled Cuba as a child and now briefs American companies on Cuban oil prospects, said the two governments must also create a plan for managing a spill.

Several American oil and oil service companies are eager to do business in Cuba, Mr. Piñón said, but they are careful not to identify themselves publicly because they want to “protect their brand image in South Florida,” where Cuban-Americans who support the embargo could boycott their gasoline stations and other products.

There are signs the Obama administration is aware of the safety issues. Shortly after the BP accident, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that regulates the embargo, said it would make licenses available to American service companies to provide oil spill prevention and containment support.

Charles Luoma-Overstreet, a State Department spokesman, said licenses would be granted on a “application-by-application basis,” but he would not comment on the criteria.

Mr. Piñón said it appeared that an American company could apply for a license before an emergency but that a license would be issued only after an accident has occurred. “We’re jumping up and down for clarification,” he said.

One organization — Clean Caribbean & Americas, a Fort Lauderdale cooperative of several oil companies — has received licenses to send technical advisers, dispersants, containment booms and skimmers to Cuba since 2003. But it can only serve member companies Repsol and Petrobras, not the Cuban government.

Economic sanctions on Cuba have been in effect in one form or another since 1960, although the embargo has been loosened to allow the sale of agricultural goods and medicines and travel by Cuban-Americans to the island.

Mr. Hunt of the drillers’ group said that the association had sent a delegation to Cuba in late August and has held talks with government officials and Cupet, the Cuban national oil company.

He said that Cuban officials, including Tomás Benítez Hernández, the vice minister of basic industry, asked him to take a message back to the United States. “Senior officials told us they are going ahead with their deepwater drilling program, that they are utilizing every reliable non-U.S. source that they can for technology and information, but they would prefer to work directly with the United States in matters of safe drilling practices,” Mr. Hunt said.

Mr. Benítez became the acting minister last week when the minister of basic industry, the agency that oversees the oil industry, was fired for reasons that remain unclear.

Donald Van Nieuwenhuise, director of petroleum geoscience programs at the University of Houston, said that if an accident occurred in Cuban waters, Repsol or other companies could mobilize equipment from the North Sea, Brazil, Japan or China. But “a one-week delay could be disastrous,” he said, and it would be better for Havana, Washington and major oil companies to coordinate in advance.

Opponents of the Cuban regime warn that assisting the Cubans with their oil industry could help prop up Communist rule. Instead of making the drilling safer, some want to stop it altogether.

Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, is urging President Obama to recall a diplomatic note to Havana reinforcing a 1977 boundary agreement that gives Cuba jurisdiction up to 45 miles from Florida. “I am sure you agree that we cannot allow Cuba to put at risk Florida’s major business and irreplaceable environment,” he wrote in a letter to the president shortly after the BP accident.


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