Sunday, October 03, 2010


Dear all,

I would be remiss in not congratulating the Bay Area United National Antiwar Committee for finally calling for and organizing the September 28 demonstration in front of the Federal Building against the FBI raids of antiwar activists and groups. It was good to see so many groups and individuals represented at the demonstration.

Hopefully we can continue to organize together to defend all those under attack.

An injury to one is an injury to all. Unity is our only hope to combat these assaults on our civil liberties and our rights and to continue to speak out against the wars and injustices being carried out by the U.S. government, the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

Here's a video of the demo:


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




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


The next meeting of the Bay Area United National Antiwar Committee will take place Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 1:00 P.M.
Location to be announced.


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




Dangers Lurk Beneath the Surface of Gulf of Mexico
September 29th, 2010
In spite of what you might have read in the news, the oil in the Gulf of Mexico has not just disappeared. It's lurking on the bottom, destroying marine life and entire ecosystems. On top of that, we are now starting to see adverse health effects from BP's use of the toxic oil dispersant known as Corexit, which is being dumped into the Gulf as we speak. Mike Papantonio talks about some of the effects that we're now seeing as a result of BP's dispersant chemicals with Dr. Riki Ott, one of the leading experts on the impact of oil spills on human health.


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!




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 September 28 as the publisher of the BAUAW Newsletter and blog at
Clearly, and unfortunately, this will be an ongoing campaign.

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


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

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

3) President Barack "Midnight Raid" Obama: End Your Wars at Home and Abroad
By Glen Ford
Black Agenda Report
September 29, 2010

By Barry Sheppard
September 29, 2010

5) USLAW Statement on FBI Raids
Sent by: Michael Eisenscher
September 29, 2010

6) Message from Frente Colombiano Por el Socialismo (FECOPES)
September 2010

7) The Maia Project
MECA (Middle East Children's Alliance

8) SOA Watch News & Updates
Stop FBI raids and harassment of activists opposing U.S. intervention in Colombia and the Middle East
September 28, 2010

9) Pickets decry FBI probe of anti-war activists
Published Wed, Sep 29, 2010 05:19 AM

10) Reefer Gladness
September 29, 2010, 9:00 pm

11) Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis
"The video appears to have been taken in the Swat Valley, where the Pakistani military opened a campaign last year to push back Taliban insurgents. The effort was widely praised by American officials and financed in large part by the United States."
September 29, 2010

12) Shortage of Widely Used Anesthetics Is Delaying Executions in Some States
September 29, 2010

13) Four Suicides in a Week Take a Toll on Fort Hood
September 29, 2010

14) After 2 Days, Dockworkers Agree to End Strike
September 29, 2010

15) U.S. Issues New Rules on Offshore Drilling
September 30, 2010

16) Medicaid Rolls Jumped in 2009
September 30, 2010

[col. writ. 9/24/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

18) Israel: Principal faces hearing over textbook
By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer
Fri Oct 1, 7:35 am ET

19) U.S. Apologizes for Guatemala Syphilis Experiment
October 1, 2010

20) Appeal Puts 3 Ark. Boys' Murders Back in Spotlight
October 2, 2010

21) Liberal Groups Rally in Washington, Offering a Challenge to the Tea Party
October 2, 2010

22) U.S. Drone Attacks Kill 17 Militants in Pakistan
October 2, 2010


1) 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.


2) 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.


3) President Barack "Midnight Raid" Obama: End Your Wars at Home and Abroad
By Glen Ford
Black Agenda Report
September 29, 2010

Last week's FBI raids in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Durham, North Carolina amount to a declaration of war on the activist Left, in which grand juries are deployed as omnibus weapons of political persecution under an infinitely expandable anti-terrorism rationale. The constitutional lawyer in the White House has tossed the founding document into the National Security State shredder, as he prepares for global capitalism's High Noon encounter with-anyone and everyone that resists1.

A government that claims the right to kill U.S. citizens without even a whiff of due process and for reasons that are secret2 to the public and to the victim, has broken with every notion of the rule of law since the Magna Carta. The Obama Justice Department has spent every available hour since Inauguration Day building upon George Bush's fascist logic in an attempt to fashion a flawless Orwellian police state doctrine in which secrecy and security are entwined like a strand of DNA. For targets not marked for oblivion, there awaits a grand jury with boundless powers to ensnare anyone, absolutely anyone.

The scope of information demanded of some of last week's FBI victims-demands with which no one can fully comply, such as all records of domestic as well as foreign travel since the year 2000, or a list of all "contacts" that might somehow have bearing on the conflict in Colombia or the Mideast-is naked proof that the intent is to smother, entangle and utterly demobilize the target. The Obama administration is constructing a legal minefield in which any honest activist can be charged with lying to federal officers or a grand jury by commission or omission-each count of which is punishable by years in prison.

It is not brave, but prudent and self-protective, to refuse to discuss one's political work or opinions or much of anything at all with FBI agents, as was reportedly the case with all of the recently targeted individuals. But grand juries are places where rights are butchered, and we can clearly see the broad outlines of a mass prosecution strategy unfolding, in which grand juries are the engines of political destruction. As Ron Jacobs wrote in Counterpunch3, "There is a grand jury being convened in October 2010 with the intention of perhaps charging some of the people (and maybe others) subpoenaed on September 24. These raids are an attempt by the federal government to criminalize antiwar organizing."

This is much more serious than merely "harassing" the anti-war movement. The Obama regime would not be going to so much trouble to systematically negate the Constitution just for the fun of it. They have a serious offensive in mind, which may have already begun.

U.S. intelligence services know perfectly well that activists like those raided last week barely have the material resources to put out slim periodicals or keep web sites updated. They cannot possibly provide "material support" to "terrorists" unless political statements against war (or silence in a grand jury) can be construed as, somehow, "support" for those the U.S. government deems terroristic. If the aim is to push anti-war and other social activists to the very edge of the cliff, where they will either shut down or fall into the carefully constructed legal abyss-that's not harassment, that's a campaign to "neutralize" the Left, in COINTELPRO terms.

As Black Workers for Justice4 stated, "We've seen these FBI and government raids and attacks on African American leaders and activists during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and members of the Black Panther Party, among others, were assassinated, jailed, beaten and driven into political exile for leading demonstrations and speaking out against racism, U.S. wars and other injustices.... Those who profit from these wars and U.S. support for oppressive governments like Israel and Colombia hope that by having a Black President, it will discourage African Americans from speaking out in protest against these raids, and against attacks on other social justice fighters. Dr. King said that during times like these, 'We must break our silence!'"

Or, as the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women put it, in a joint statement, "the Obama administration is continuing COINTELPRO-type operations the FBI used in the '60s and '70s to divide the movements and smash dissent."

A friend reminded me that, just as Nixon was thought to be the only U.S. president that could have pulled off the "opening" to China, based on his well-earned reputation as an arch anti-communist, so the First Black President might be the one that unleashes the 21st century police state in all its techno-horror. A Black president with a degree in constitutional law, who can still no do no wrong in the delusional eyes of strong majorities of African Americans, some of whom would remain in his corner even if Obama, himself, knocked down their doors in the wee hours of the morning.

If it is legal for Obama to kill Americans in total secrecy and impunity, with no explanation or even acknowledgement necessary, surely it is a lesser affront to an irrelevant Constitution to strangle the Left with grand juries.

Even Obamite-ridden United for Peace and Justice5 is upset, although not enough to confront the president, directly. The FBI is "a recidivist agency whose abuses have unfortunately recurred throughout its history," said UFPJ, lamely. So, this is a problem of one agency, disconnected from the larger administration? What about Obama, the boss-man? The UFPJ will be cheering him and the Democrats on Saturday, October 2, as head of the official "peace table" at the NAACP and Big Labor's mass rally in Washington, while the United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC), the Black is Back Coalition and tens-of-thousands of folks that demand an immediate end to U.S. wars of aggression, bailouts of Wall Street, mass Black incarceration, a multi-million jobs public employment program and a halt to U.S. aid to Israel, will form a distinct and separate contingent. By their demands, ye shall know them.

The Green Party6 was, in its anger, bold enough to mention the president's name. "We demand that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder order an end to 'police state' tactics by the FBI and other security agencies and that the Justice Department investigate the September 24 raids," said Theresa El-Amin, Green Party co-chair. "We demand that grand jury investigations and subpoenas in connection with the raids be canceled immediately. We demand that President Obama restore the rule of law and order all security agencies and police forces to cease spying on citizens without obtaining a warrant. We encourage everyone to protest the FBI's lawless and outrageous actions as loudly as possible."

Obama's newest assault on the Left has generated new demands for the October 2 rally. The San Francisco Labor Council7, after resolving that 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," put forward a demand to choke the pep rally out of labor's Democratic cheerleaders: "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."

Will the NAACP and Big Labor allow it to happen? By their cowardice's and betrayals, ye shall also know them.


By Barry Sheppard
September 29, 2010

In a qualitative escalation, the Obama regime has for the first time
used the "war on terror" against socialists in the United States. On
September 24, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated early-morning
raids at homes and offices in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North

The political police seized computers, passports, books, documents, cell
phones, photos, financial records, diaries, maps and other materials. In
one case, children's artwork was confiscated. The warrants were issued
under a 1996 statute signed into law by President Clinton making it a
crime for U.S. citizens to provide "material assistance" to any
organization designated by the government as "terrorist."

The raids centered on members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization
(Fightback). The warrant for one of those targeted, Michael Kelly,
authorized seizure of materials related to "Kelly's travel to and from
and presence and activities in Minnesota, and other foreign [sic]
countries to which Kelly has traveled as part of his work in FRSO;
Kelly's ability to pay for his own travel from the United States to
Palestine, Colombia and travel within the United States from 2000 until
present, including all materials related to Kelly's personal finances
and finances of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization ("FRSO");

"Kelly's potential co-conspirators, including any address books, lists,
notes, photographs, videos, or letters for Kelly's personal contacts in
the United States and abroad;

"the recruitment, indoctrination, and facilitation of other individuals
in the United States to join FRSO, including materials related to the
identity and location of recruiters, facilitators, and recruits, the
means by which the recruits were recruited to join FRSO, the means by
which the recruitment was financed and arranged;

"the recruitment, indoctrination, and facilitation of other individuals
in the United States to travel to Colombia, Palestine and any other
foreign location in support of FTOs [Foreign Terrorist Organizations]
including, but not limited to FARC [the Colombian Revolutionary Armed
Forces], PFPL [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] and
Hezbollah, including materials related to the identity and location of
recruiters, facilitators, and recruits of these FTOs, the means by which
individuals were recruited to travel to Colombia, Palestine and other
foreign location in support of FTOs, and the means by which the
recruitment was financed and arranged;

"FARC, PFPL, Hezbollah and other FTOs which the FRSO and Kelly have
supported, attempted to support or conspired to support;

"Kelly's use of email addresses ... and telephone numbers, Facebook,
MySpace, or other social networking websites."

When one of those targeted didn't open their door fast enough to suit
the FBI thugs, they smashed the door down so violently it flew across
the room and broke an aquarium.

The designation of any group as "terrorist" by the State Department is
completely arbitrary, made without public explanation and without any
recourse by any U.S. citizen. In the past the African National Congress,
the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Irish Sein Fein were so
designated, and then un-designated when that suited the U.S. regime.

Muslim groups in the U.S. have been convicted of raising funds for needy
people in Palestine and Lebanon, ostensibly because Hezbollah or Hamas
distributed goods through their charities. Long prison sentences were

"Providing material assistance" is also a completely arbitrary term and
can be interpreted in any way the government wants. The nine robed
reactionaries of the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that merely
talking to designated groups equals providing material support, in a
case where pacifists wanted to persuade such groups to adopt non-violence.

Those whose homes were raided have been active in many groups, including
the Twin Cities [Minneapolis and St, Paul] Antiwar Committee, whose
offices also were raided. This committee participated in a national
antiwar conference in July, attended by 800 activists, which formed the
United National Antiwar Committee and called for antiwar demonstrations
next spring. Some of those targeted helped organize demonstrations at
the Republican national convention in 2008 in Minneapolis, and were
among many arrested in a police riot against the demonstrators. Charges
were later dropped, but these new attacks give the authorities another
bite at the apple.

By targeting socialists, the Obama administration hopes to intimidate
wider circles. Tom Burke, one of those whose home was raided, said, "The
goal of these raids is to harass and try to intimidate the movement
against U.S. wars and occupations, and those who oppose U.S. support for
repressive regimes. They are designed to suppress dissent and free
speech, to divide the antiwar movement, and pave the way for more U.S.
military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America."

Many of those whose homes were raided were also served subpoenas to
appear before a grand jury in Chicago on various dates in October. Grand
juries are usually composed of "more respectable" people than regular
juries, and are notorious for rubber-stamping the prosecution, in this
case the U.S. Justice Department. The FBI does not carry out such raids
without thinking through the next steps. Thus the situation is quite

Now is the time for urgent action if this witchhunt is to be beaten
back. So far, the response has been good. Many socialist groups have
immediately denounced the attack on FRSO (Fightback), whatever their
differences with it. These include Solidarity, Socialist Action, Freedom
Socialist Party, Party for Liberation and Socialism, Workers World,
another FRSO group not part of the one under attack, and International
Socialist Organization. The major antiwar groups have also joined in,
including ANSWER, the National Antiwar Committee, International Action
Network and United for Peace and Justice. Also the Palestine Solidarity
Group, the New Students for a Democratic Society and the Colombia Action
Network. This list is just a beginning and must expand to include the
major civil rights and civil liberties organizations and all
democratic-minded groups and individuals.

Ad hoc demonstrations have been held at FBI and other government offices
in many cities.

If and when charges are filed, we must all go into high gear.

I would urge groups in Australia and around the world to also raise
their voices in protest in messages and demonstrations at U.S. Embassies.



5) USLAW Statement on FBI Raids
Sent by: Michael Eisenscher
September 29, 2010

The following statement was adopted without dissent by the USLAW Steering Committee at its meeting on September 29, 2010. One member voted "present" on advice of his union's attorneys because one of its members was among the targets of the raids. The USLAW statement is followed by statements from United for Peace and Justice and a resolution adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council. If your union adopts a resolution or takes other action on this matter, please report that to USLAW.


USLAW Condemns Raids on Activists' Homes as "Criminalization of Dissent"

On Friday, September 24th the FBI raided homes in Chicago, Minneapolis, Michigan and North Carolina, with the justification that peace and international solidarity activists who resided in them were providing "material support to foreign terrorist organizations".

The activists whose homes were raided are members of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization -- all organizations that have actively opposed U.S. foreign policies. The FBI also raided the office of the Anti-war Committee in Minneapolis, which had organized a demonstration during the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Among those in Chicago was Joe Iosbaker, an executive board member of SEIU Local 73, a USLAW affiliate in Chicago.

Doors were kicked in during the early morning raids and personal belongings, including children's artwork and posters of Martin Luther King, Jr, were taken, as well as cell phones, computers and boxes of paper records. No charges have been filed; no arrests were made. But about a dozen activists from Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury.

The F.B.I. broke down Mick Kelly's door around 7 a.m. Kelly is a food service worker at the University of Minnesota who was a key figure in organizing the successful 2008 anti-war street protests that embarrassed the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

The FBI justified these raids claiming that they were "seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, commenting on the raids, observed:

"Material support" is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government's lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government's declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason."

The "material support" statute is so broadly written that it can, and does, include international peace-building activities that are not in any way intended to support terrorism. The raids come just days after the U.S. Justice Department Inspector General issued a report sharply critical of FBI surveillance of peace groups from 2002-2006, concluding among other things that there was no factual basis for the terror claims the FBI made to justify their actions. The Inspector General report also found that FBI Director Mueller testified falsely to Congress about the surveillance of peace groups.

The very same day, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) released an 88-page document titled "The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the U.S."

The government attacks on the anti-war movement over the weekend will remind the more "seasoned" among us of the days of COINTELPRO and grand jury abuse at its worst. A broad coalition of organizations has called for a rapid response with demonstrations and other forms of protest across the country.

USLAW co-convenors believe that USLAW affiliates and the entire labor movement should protest these raids and act to preserve the civil liberties underlying robust protest in this country. We are not just supporters of the organized anti-war movement, we are part of it.

These raids are but one example of how dissent in our country is being criminalized. The raids took place just a week before tens of thousands of people will descend on Washington, DC in what promises to be a huge protest for jobs, peace and justice. Among the nearly 500 participating organizations are 96 peace organizations (including USLAW). Rather than intimidate, these raids will infuse the One Nation Working Together March on Washington with new energy and even greater import.

Use the links below to access additional reports about the raids. Below them is a statement issued by United for Peace and Justice, with which USLAW is affiliated, and a resolution adopted Monday evening by the San Francisco Labor Council.


DEMOCRACY NOW! report (23 minutes) Monday Sept 27:



From: United for Peace and Justice Date: Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 11:41 PM

*Protest FBI Raids and Harassment of Antiwar Activists*

United for Peace and Justice stands in solidarity with the anti-war and international solidarity activists whose homes were raided by the FBI on Friday, September 24. Homes in Chicago and Minneapolis were raides. Doors were kicked in during the early morning raids and personal belongings including children's artwork, posters of Martin Luther King, Jr, were taken, as well as cell phones, computers and boxes of paper records. About a dozen activists from Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury.

The FBI emphasized that no arrests were made, but that evidence was being collected regarding the possible 'material support' of terrorism. The 'material support' statute is so broadly written that it can, and does, criminalize international peace-building activities whose only connection to terrorism is to reduce it.

Only one week ago, the Justice Department's own Inspector General released a report documenting political surveillance by the FBI. Friday's raids are the latest violations by a recidivist agency whose abuses have unfortunately recurred throughout its history.

The FBI's raids threaten the First Amendment, our Peace Movement, and reflect the dangerous expansion of guilt by association pervading the Justice Department's "counter-terror" prosecutions. They cannot stand, and the FBI should be held accountable for any abuses. Activists are encouraged to join demonstrations at FBI and/or Federal buildings in cities around the country.


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.


6) Message from Frente Colombiano Por el Socialismo (FECOPES)
September 2010

The United States is beginning to use the same tactics of torture and political persecution like they have been using in Colombia and throughout the world. Down with Capitalism! Long Live Socialism! -FECOPES

For those of us in FECOPES that have come to this country because the political, social, and economic persecution in Colombia, we neither despair for what the Colombian and the United States government call the annihilation 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 resorting to these tactics because that is what they know how to do in order to intimidate people by lying and portraying 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 supported the last president of Colombia, knowing that Mr. Uribe is a narco-trafficker which is number 82 in the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) 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 to the military intervention in Colombia and an end to the persecution and harassment of the antiwar, anti-imperialist organizers, in particular to the international action center and the Colombian action network.


7) The Maia Project
MECA (Middle East Children's Alliance

There is a growing water crisis in Palestine that affects agriculture, industry, and the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip, poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. In September 2009, the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) launched the Maia Project (Arabic for "water") to provide Palestinian children with clean, safe drinking water.

This project began when the Student Parliament at the UN Boys' School in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza were given the opportunity to choose one thing they most wanted for their school: They chose to have clean drinking water. MECA's partner in Gaza heard about this vote and, after meeting with representatives from the school and the Student Parliament, came to MECA to see if we could respond to the children's request for drinking water. MECA provided the funds to build a water purification and desalination unit for the school in 2007.

MECA is working in partnership with community organizations to build water purification and desalination units in schools throughout the Gaza Strip. We have provided clean water to eight large UN schools in six Palestinian refugee camps and to five kindergartens in refugee camps, towns, and villages.

MECA is seeking supporters to expand the Maia Project to schools throughout Gaza. A large purification unit for a UN school in a refugee camp costs $11,300. The UN schools run in shifts due to overcrowding and each unit provides drinking water for 1,500-2,000 children and staff. A small purification unit for a preschool or kindergarten costs $3,750 and serves 150-450 children. The small units are located in community centers with after-school programs and summer camps so the units serve these children as well. Many organizations, individuals, and schools around the US are raising the whole cost of a unit in their communities.

You can help!

* Sponsor a school or kindergarten in Gaza: Consider creating a group at your school or in your community to raise funds and build a connection with a "sister school" in Gaza. Email Josie if you would like more information.
* Make a secure online contribution to the Maia Project. New projects will begin as funds are raised.
* Buy a Maia Project water bottle! Help the environment and children in Palestine with a reusable water bottle.
* Organize a house party or event to raise awareness about the water crisis in Palestine.
* Sign the "Clean Water for Children in Palestine" petition asking President Obama to put pressure on Israel so that Palestinian children can have access to clean drinking water.
* Support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel until it complies with international law.

The Problem

There is a global water crisis, created and exacerbated by poverty and underdevelopment, population growth, global warming, unsustainable agricultural practices, industrial pollution, regional conflicts, and now the privatization of water itself.

In the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli Occupation systematically denies Palestinian adequate quality and quantities of water. Palestinian communities inside the state of Israel have less access to water than their Jewish counterparts, as well. Water is diverted from Palestinian resources the West Bank (and previously in Gaza) to illegal Israeli settlements and into Israel. Israel denies materials, fuel, and permits to sustain and expand water systems. Military attacks predictably-and often deliberately-destroy wells, water tanks, pipes, treatment plants, and sewage systems. Widespread poverty prevents people from purchasing clean water or repairing their wells and plumbing. The health and well being of virtually every Palestinian child and adult is affected by the shortage of clean, safe water.

The water crisis in Gaza is extreme. When the state of Israel was established in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes in what is now southern Israel to the small and arid Gaza Strip. At the same time, Israel cut off access to water sources around Gaza. The only source available, the Gaza Aquifer, could not support the huge and sudden rise in population, and the water it generates has been steadily deteriorating for more than sixty years.

Before the settlements in Gaza were dismantled in 2005, 8,000 settlers lived on 25% of the land and consumed almost seven times the amount of water used by Palestinian towns villages, and refugee camps. When the settlements were dismantled in 2005 they left a path of destroyed water mains, along with tons of bulldozed sand that intensified the seawater contamination of the aquifer. An Israeli water company that provided half the settlers' with water at a generously subsidized rate has offered to sell to Palestinians in Gaza, but at prices very few can afford.

Numerous military attacks on the Gaza Strip have devastated Gaza's water infrastructure. The twenty-two day assault this past winter destroyed or rendered unusable an estimated 800 of Gaza's 2,000 wells, and caused $5.97 million in damage to Gaza's water and wastewater treatment facilities. Since January 2009, the Gaza health ministry and the World Health Organization have issued drinking, seafood and swimming advisories.

The three-year siege of Gaza has meant an increasingly long waiting list of spare parts, pipes, and building materials. This directly affects Gaza's ability to maintain its sanitation and water treatment facilities. Meanwhile limited fuel and electricity often shut the systems down altogether.

As a result of all these assaults, the water in Gaza is polluted with untreated sewage, agricultural chemicals, and it is brackish from seawater. Gaza's water contains high levels of nitrates, chloride and fluoride, and other pollutants that cause significant health problems, including parasitic infections, kidney disease, heart disease, damage to the nervous system, cancers, weakened bones and teeth and a life-threatening type of anemia.

After six decades of pressure on a limited water source, diversion of the water for Israeli use, the blockade on supplies to repair and maintain water systems, and military attacks, the quantity of water in Gaza is inadequate and the quality is dangerous.

The Middle East Children's Alliance Maia Project

Only a just and lasting political solution will ensure Palestinians' access to clean, safe water. The Middle East Children's Alliance supports and works for an end to Israeli apartheid and for Palestinians' right to return to their land and control their natural resources. However, our work on the ground is to meet the most pressing and immediate needs of children.

The goal of MECA's Maia Project is to provide safe clean, drinking water for tens of thousands of Palestinian children by working in partnership with community organizations to build water purification and desalination units in schools and towns throughout the Gaza Strip.

This project began when children at the UN school in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza were given the opportunity to hold an election to choose one thing they most wanted for their school: They chose to have clean drinking water. MECA provided the funds to build a water purification and desalination system for the school in 2007. A year later, MECA helped construct a system at the UN school in Nuseirat Refugee Camp. Each unit provides drinking water for 2,000 students and staff.

For the last several years, the Middle East Children's Alliance and Dr. Mona El-Farra, our Director of Gaza Projects, have worked with Afaq Jadeeda Association, a community center based in Nuseirat Refugee Camp with programs for children and families throughout southern and central Gaza. Afaq Jadeeda coordinated the work for MECA's Maia Project so far. We will continue to partner with them and the United Nations Relief Work Agency (UNRWA), which runs the schools in Palestinian refugee camps, to identify priorities for new systems and oversee the construction of each unit.

The Middle East Children's Alliance is seeking funding from individuals and organizations who are committed to making a significant impact on the health and well-being of Gaza children by contributing to the cost of building and installing water units that will provide safe, clean drinking water for thousands of children.


8) SOA Watch News & Updates
Stop FBI raids and harassment of activists opposing U.S. intervention in Colombia and the Middle East
September 28, 2010

Take Action by contacting the Department of Justice HERE:

SOA Watch stands in solidarity with the anti-war and international activists whose homes were raided by the FBI. On Friday, September 24, 2010 the FBI raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis in an attempt to collect evidence of 'material support' of terrorism. The FBI also handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to eleven activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. These raids were aimed at those who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war.

The FBI emphasized that no arrests are expected. However, a spokesperson for the FBI added that "they were seeking evidence related to ongoing Joint Terrorism Task force investigation," according to the New York Times.

The systematic and simultaneous raids by FBI officials in multiple locations is alarming and is a clear indicator to our movements of the governments ever growing trend of targeting the left. These raids could stifle and silence minority voices through fear tactics. We must stand strong and united in preventing governmental intimidation to obstruct peace and justice.

About a week ago, the Justice Department's Inspector General released a report documenting political surveillance by the FBI. Friday's raids are the latest violation of this systematic oppression that has been happening though out history to those who speak against the unjust governmental policies.

See Democracy Now for more information.

In fact, the SOA Watch had also been under surveillance for years since the vigil at Fort Benning, Georgia every November began to increase substantially in size. Being the most immediate threat to the existence of the School of Americas, it comes as no surprise that FBI documents trace back to 2001 when SOA Watch became at target of the FBI "counterterrorism" surveillance. The FBI documents recovered by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2006, as a result of its campaign to expose domestic spying by the FBI, reveal that "The leaders of the SOA Watch have taken strides to impart upon the protest participants that the protest should be a peaceful event." (Pg 78) Even so, these peaceful protests and acts of civil disobedience were upgraded from "routine" to "priority" surveillance in 2001.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raids threaten the First Amendment and suppress civil liberties. We denounce the fact that the FBI is spying on humanitarian advocates and harassing anti-war and solidarity activists. We call on the Department of Justice and the FBI to stop this grand jury investigation.

We ask people of conscience to join us in fighting this political repression as we continue working to build the movements against US war and occupation. As Father Roy said, "the spying is an abuse of power and a clear attempt to stifle political opposition to instill fear. But we aren't going away."

Take Action by contacting the Department of Justice HERE:

Circulate statements of solidarity to your friends, neighbors and communities and ask them to sign on and do the same.

Demand an end to the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists; an immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.; and a grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

Targeted were a few, but the FBI raids were directed at all of us. The best way to counter the repression is to continue the resistance! We won't be intimidated. Join thousands at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to speak out against U.S. intervention in the Americas.


9) Pickets decry FBI probe of anti-war activists
Published Wed, Sep 29, 2010 05:19 AM

RALEIGH About 35 people rallied outside the federal courthouse in Raleigh Tuesday to protest an FBI probe of anti-war activists.

Kosta Harlan said during the protest that two FBI agents visited his home in Durham on Friday to question him. Two other agents were stationed outside the home he shares with his mother and brother.

Harlan, 26, has been active in the anti-war movement and helped organize protests in 2008 at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

"They said they had a lot of information about me and wanted to speak to me in relation to a terrorism investigation," Harlan said Tuesday. "I believe I'm being targeted for my anti-war activism."

Harlan said he told the agents he wouldn't talk without his attorney present. Later that day, Harlan said he went to a coffee shop in downtown Durham to meet with another activist. Within hours, FBI agents approached that person wanting to know what the meeting with Harlan had been about.

Raids in other places

Amy Thoreson, a spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Charlotte, confirmed that agents went to Harlan's home. However, she said the agency would provide no further details about a continuing investigation.

Harlan, who works as a Web developer, moved to Durham in 2006 to help care for his older brother, who is receiving treatment at Duke Hospital for a brain tumor. An American of Greek descent, Harlan was born in Saudi Arabia, where his father worked in the oil industry. After attending high school in New Jersey, he earned a degree in philosophy at UNC Asheville.

Harlan's visit from federal agents comes after raids last week on anti-war groups in Chicago and Minnesota. Search warrants suggested agents were looking for connections between the American activists and radical groups in Colombia and the Middle East, the Associated Press reported. Some of those whose homes were raided said agents told them they are being investigated for suspicion of providing material support for terrorism.

"Everyone who is concerned about our democratic freedoms should be concerned about this intimidation by the FBI," said Harlan, who added that he had not been very active in the anti-war movement for the last year as his brother's health has worsened.

Invoking civil rights movement

The rally in Raleigh on Tuesday was timed to coincide with other protests around the country. Activists held signs reading "Anti-war activists are not terrorists" and "Stop FBI harassment."

During the rally, at least eight Raleigh police officers watched from the parking lot of the post office across the street.

Speaking into a bullhorn, several activists expressed dismay that harassment from federal agents is continuing under the Obama administration and urged people to call the office of Attorney General Eric Holder to complain.

Khalilah Sabra of Raleigh compared the situation to the FBI surveillance of civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s.

"We don't see Blackwater being investigated," Sabra said, referring to the private security contractor with a checkered history in Iraq. The company, headquartered in Eastern North Carolina, is now called Xe.


10) Reefer Gladness
September 29, 2010, 9:00 pm

It was early still, and daylight, so when I called up The Dude to get his take on new polls showing California on the verge of becoming the first state to legalize, tax and regulate recreational use of marijuana, I knew he wouldn't be, um, distracted. Not just yet.

"I only smoke a little pot at night - never in the day - and I prefer brownies," said Jeff Dowd, who is best known as the inspiration for the other Dude, the laconically mystical character played by Jeff Bridges in the Coen brothers movie "The Big Lebowski." I've known The Dude for years, and the Coens got him mostly right, except for the White Russians. Jack Daniels is his drink.

And before Hollywood-area enforcers get any ideas, let's make it clear that Mr. Dowd has a legal right to his medical marijuana, though he complains about the prices ("more than $300 an ounce!"). If anyone is entitled to some whining about price gouging for prescription weed, it's The Dude.
Matt Sayles/Associated Press Jeff Dowd posed for a portrait at his home with the poster for the film "The Big Lebowski."

But before the Coen brothers applied the Los Angeles slacker-noir treatment to my old friend and made him a cult hero on college campuses, he was a man of often unintelligible but occasionally brilliant political insights.

And on Proposition 19, The Dude speaks truth to power. We talked about the opposition to legalizing pot - the alcohol industry and people currently making the most money off California's nutty medicinal marijuana retail scheme.

"If you take out the special interests, the entrenched groups, with any of these issues - whether it's energy, the financial sector, or legalized marijuana - it's always very clear what the right thing to do is," said The Dude.

He was echoing, in his way, an old truth of politics: that the best way to judge what's really at stake in an election is to follow the money. And the source of the funds being used to dissuade Californians from legalizing pot says a lot about the end-stage hypocrisies of the arthritic war on drugs.

As a societal ground-shaker, a voter-imposed act to legalize the most popular illicit drug in the United States - with about 17 million current users - will hardly bring down any of the nation's foundations. Like most tectonic shifts, Prop 19 is long in coming, and the actual slip of the earth will not be apocalyptic.

Cannabis became illegal in most states not long after alcohol was freed of the folly of Prohibition, the greatest crime-booster of the 20th century. The legalization movement, now 35 years and running, acknowledges the obvious: pot is a mildly mind-altering recreational diversion that is not worthy of having the weight, misery and money of the criminal-judicial-industrial complex against it.

Of course, too many people abuse marijuana. And too many young people escape in a cannabis cloud when they should be studying calculus or kicking a soccer ball. But these cautionary notes also go for sugar, trans fats, television, computer games and a big pair of destructive legal drugs - alcohol and nicotine.

And therein lies the first lesson in this potpourri: The real threat posed by Prop 19 is not from the "message" that society would send by allowing legal pot use. Talk about message: it's impossible to escape the drugs pushed relentlessly on television - pills to help you sleep or have sex, or drinks to make you sociable. No, the threat is to the established order that controls profitable legal drugs, and to the criminal cartels who benefit from our absurd prohibition of pot.

So, it's not a bit surprising that one of the biggest contributors to the campaign against legalization is the California Beer and Beverage Distributors. Having branded their products with nearly every major American recreational ritual, Big Alcohol does not want marijuana to get a piece of that large pie of legal money spent to distract ourselves from ourselves.

The other major opponents appear, at first glance, to be somewhat of a surprise. The California Cannabis Association, representing medical marijuana dispensaries, has come out against legalization, claiming it would be "a direct assault on medical marijuana patients."

Prop 19, in fact, would be a direct assault on the profits made by those dispensaries. A Rand Drug Policy Research Center study this summer found that the price for an ounce of pot could drop 90 percent - before a hefty tax - if it's legalized in California. This is in part because the law would allow people to grow a small plot of their own weed, further cutting into the cartels - legal and illegal.

And that's really the crux of the issue. Most of the bad things associated with marijuana come from its criminalization. If legalization curbs the violence - of the Mexican drug lords, of the gangsters who still wage turf wars in parts of California, of the powerful and paranoid growers in the north - it will have done society a big favor.

Politicians have cowered in the wake of Prop 19's appeal, as have most of California's newspapers. It would bring chaos, they say, leaving it up to the counties to decide how to tax, sell and regulate. Oh, the chaos! And worse - "it would make California a laughing stock," in the words of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He should know. Schwarzenegger runs a state that is bankrupt, broken and ungovernable. God forbid he should let common sense into California.


11) Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis
"The video appears to have been taken in the Swat Valley, where the Pakistani military opened a campaign last year to push back Taliban insurgents. The effort was widely praised by American officials and financed in large part by the United States."
September 29, 2010

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - An Internet video showing men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes has heightened concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States, American officials said.

The authenticity of the five-and-a-half-minute video, which shows the killing of the six men - some of whom appear to be teenagers, blindfolded, with their hands bound behind their backs - has not been formally verified by the American government. The Pakistani military said it was faked by militants.

But American officials, who did not want to be identified because of the explosive nature of the video, said it appeared to be credible, as did retired American military officers and intelligence analysts who have viewed it.

After viewing the graphic video on Wednesday, an administration official said: "There are things you can fake, and things you can't fake. You can't fake this."

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, who was in Islamabad on Wednesday on a previously scheduled visit, was expected to raise the subject of the video with the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the head of the Pakistani spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, American officials said.

The video adds to reports under review at the State Department and the Pentagon that Pakistani Army units have summarily executed prisoners and civilians in areas where they have opened offensives against the Taliban, administration officials said.

The video appears to have been taken in the Swat Valley, where the Pakistani military opened a campaign last year to push back Taliban insurgents. The effort was widely praised by American officials and financed in large part by the United States.

The reports could have serious implications for relations between the militaries. American law requires that the United States cut off financing to units of foreign militaries that are found to have committed gross violations of human rights.

But never has that law been applied to so strategic a partner as Pakistan, whose military has received more than $10 billion in American support since 2001 for its cooperation in fighting militants from the Taliban and Al Qaeda based inside the country.

The State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, called the images "horrifying." He said the American ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, had raised the issue with the Pakistani government and was awaiting a response. "We are determined to investigate it," he said.

The spokesman for the Pakistani Army, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, dismissed the video as part of a propaganda campaign by jihadists to defame the Pakistani Army. "No Pakistan Army soldier or officer has been involved in activity of this sort," he said.

A senior Pakistani intelligence officer, who declined to be named, dismissed the video as a staged "drama."

The Pakistani military came under strong pressure from the United States to make the drive into the Swat region. Having since expanded operations to South Waziristan, the military has found itself in a counterinsurgency campaign in which it has struggled to maintain local support and weed out insurgents and their sympathizers from the population.

The video, apparently taken surreptitiously with a cellphone, shows six young men being lined up near an abandoned building surrounded by foliage. As the soldiers prepare to shoot, one soldier asks the commander, a heavily bearded man with the short hair typical of a military haircut: "One by one, or together?" He replies, "Together."

A burst of gunfire erupts. The young men crumple to the ground. Some, still alive and wounded, groan. Then a soldier approaches the heap of bodies, and fires rounds into each man at short range to finish the job.

The men doing the shooting wear Pakistani Army uniforms and appear to be using G-3 rifles, standard issue for the Pakistani Army and rarely used by insurgents, according to several Pakistanis who watched the video.

The soldiers also speak Urdu, the language of the Pakistani Army, and use the word "Sahib" when addressing their commander, a polite form for Mr., which is uncommon among the Taliban.

The question of extrajudicial killings is particularly sensitive for Pentagon officials, who have tried in visits to Pakistan and through increased financing to improve their often-tense relationship with the Pakistani Army.

But growing word of such incidents in recent months has led to an internal debate at the State Department and the Pentagon over whether the reports are credible enough to warrant cutting off funds to Pakistani Army units, American officials said.

Not least of the concerns is keeping the Pakistani Army as an ally. Pentagon officials, already frustrated at Pakistan's refusal to take on Taliban militants who cross into Afghanistan to fight American forces, fear that raising the question of human rights will sour the relationship.

"What if the Pakistanis walk away - is there any option?" was a question uppermost at the Pentagon, a senior administration official involved in the debate said.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and sponsor of the law that would require withholding money, said Wednesday that anyone who had seen the video would "be shocked."

If the video was found to be authentic, the law could be imposed, he said.

Currently, the United States spends about $2 billion a year on the Pakistani military, including funds specifically designated for antiterrorism operations, which the Pentagon has said it would like the Pakistanis to expand.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, raised the reports of extrajudicial killings with the head of the Pakistani Army, General Kayani, in meetings this year, a senior administration official said.

One unresolved question, the official said, was how seriously General Kayani took the killings, and whether he was willing to punish the soldiers involved.

Some reports, particularly from Waziristan, that the State Department was reviewing were increasingly specific and credible, the senior official said.

"There is a particular set of incidents that have been investigated with great accuracy, and, we believe, lead to a pattern," the official said.

The State Department briefed members of the Senate about the issue this summer, and was set to do so again next month, an indication of the rising concern on Capitol Hill, according to one Congressional staff member.

The episode in the video may be just the most glaring to surface. The Pakistani military is believed to have detained as many as 3,000 people in makeshift prisons in the region of its operations. Reluctant to turn them over to Pakistan's undependable courts or to grant them amnesty, the problem of what to do with the detainees has grown pressing.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in June that 282 extrajudicial killings by the army had taken place in the Swat region in the past year.

A Pakistani intelligence official, who did not want to be identified discussing the issue, said he had seen other such videos and heard reports of executions larger than the one in the video, which was posted on the Facebook page of a group that calls itself the Pashtuns' International Association.

Two retired Pakistani senior army officers said they believed that the video was credible.

"It's authentic," said Javed Hussain, a former Special Forces brigadier. "They are soldiers in Swat. The victims appear to be militants or their sympathizers." The executioners were infantry soldiers, he said. "It's shocking, not expected of a professional, disciplined force."

A retired lieutenant general, Talat Masood, also said the video seemed credible. "It will have a serious setback in the effort for winning the hearts and minds so crucial in this type of warfare," he said.

A Pakistani employee of The New York Times contributed reporting.


12) Shortage of Widely Used Anesthetics Is Delaying Executions in Some States
September 29, 2010

A nationwide shortage of several widely used anesthetics, which has been exasperating doctors and veterinarians for months, has now spread to the country's death rows.

Several states have postponed executions and others may soon do so because of the scarcity of thiopental sodium, a barbiturate that is central to the lethal injection process in most of the 35 states with the death penalty.

Some states face the looming expiration of their only doses and are scrambling to obtain usable vials from other states as execution dates approach. Others, by proposing alternate drugs that are not part of standard protocols, have given defendants new grounds to seek delays in court.

In California on Wednesday, the attorney general's office said it was abandoning what would have been the state's first execution in more than four years. A federal district judge had stayed the execution on Tuesday; and the decision to examine the constitutionality of new lethal injection procedures would have pushed any execution date well past Friday's expiration of the state's only supply of thiopental sodium.

It is not uncommon for manufacturing problems to cause intermittent shortages of critical medications, particularly intravenous anesthetics that yield low profits once their patents expire. But several leading anesthesiologists said this year's shortages had been severe.

"I've been practicing for 25 years and have never seen anything like the frequency and variety of drugs that are in short supply," said Dr. Alexander A. Hannenberg of Newton, Mass., the president of American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Two executions in Kentucky were delayed this year because the commonwealth had but one dose of thiopental sodium for the three murderers who have exhausted their appeals. Officials decided last month to assign the dose to Gregory L. Wilson because his 1988 conviction for rape, kidnapping and murder was the oldest of the three. Two weeks ago, a state court judge stayed Mr. Wilson's execution indefinitely; the dose - with a shelf life of up to two years - expires on Friday

An execution scheduled in Arizona for Oct. 26, two decades after the killer's conviction, may be at risk unless the state obtains thiopental sodium in time. And an Oklahoma inmate, Jeffrey D. Matthews, succeeded in delaying his death last month by challenging the state's intent to substitute the sedative Brevital for thiopental sodium in its lethal three-drug sequence.

Oklahoma's Department of Corrections has since obtained a single dose of thiopental sodium from another state - it will not say which - and plans to use it to kill Donald R. Wackerly II on Oct. 14. A hearing the next day will determine whether Mr. Matthews can be executed using a substitute. "Now we're thinking about phenobarbital," said Jerry Massie, a Corrections Department spokesman. "Apparently it has been used or approved for use in assisted suicides in a couple of states. It's also used by veterinarians to put down large mammals."

Several anesthesiologists, including Dr. Hannenberg, said they had not yet heard about medical procedures being delayed because of the shortages. But he said it was nearly universal that anesthesiologists were being forced to use less familiar medications that leave patients groggier and with a higher risk of nausea and headaches.

"I have a huge concern," said Dr. J. P. Abenstein, an associate professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., "because we're having to alter the anesthetics not for the needs of the patient but because of what's available in the marketplace."

Hospira Inc., the only domestic manufacturer of thiopental sodium, suspended production of the drug almost a year ago because of problems obtaining its active ingredient, which is supplied by another company, according to Daniel M. Rosenberg, a company spokesman. The firm, which is based in Lake Forest, Ill., hopes to resume production in the first quarter of 2011, he said.

The company informed states this spring that it did not support the use of its products for capital punishment. Mr. Rosenberg emphasized that Hospira was not taking a position on the death penalty itself.

Thiopental sodium, also known by the trademark Pentothal, was largely abandoned by anesthesiologists two decades ago as newer drugs with fewer side effects hit the market.

But for much of this year, the current anesthetic of choice, propofol, has been difficult to obtain because of its own production difficulties. That, in turn, has revived the demand for out-of-favor anesthesia drugs like thiopental sodium, ketamine and etomidate, which have become scarce.

One of two manufacturers of propofol in the United States, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., stopped making the product in May after a recall and the discovery of toxic materials during a plant inspection by the Food and Drug Administration. The other manufacturer, Hospira, has issued several recalls after discovering steel particulates in propofol containers. It suspended production in March, except during tests of a new filtration system, and has not set a date to restart.

To insure some supply in the country, the Food and Drug Administration waived its usual review to allow the importation of propofol from Europe. Propofol is the anesthetic implicated last year in the overdose death of the singer Michael Jackson.

Anesthesiologists also are concerned about the growing scarcity of a muscle relaxant called succinylcholine that is used to insert emergency breathing tubes. There is no alternate drug.

Dr. Jonathan Clayton of Atlanta said he was about to cancel surgeries several weeks ago until his hospital's pharmacy managed to find a supply of succinylcholine at the last minute.

"We had made the decision that if it isn't there we shouldn't be doing surgeries," Dr. Clayton said. "The fewer drugs you have in your armamentarium, the less flexible you are."

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration said it had received no reports of recent adverse events caused by shifts in anesthesia. But several doctors said they would be inevitable. "I would not be surprised if there were mishaps and adverse events given the unfamiliarity people have with drugs they use infrequently," said Dr. Mervyn Maze, chief of anesthesia at the University of California, San Francisco.

Veterinarians said they were also concerned about working with less familiar drugs. Dr. Edward J. Javorka, a small-animal veterinarian in Hobart, Ind., said he was down to his last five-milliliter bottle of propofol and worried that substitute products could endanger older animals by suppressing heart and breathing rates. "Propofol is just a sweet drug," he said. "We have to be very cautious without it."


13) Four Suicides in a Week Take a Toll on Fort Hood
September 29, 2010

HOUSTON - Four veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan died this week from what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds at Fort Hood in central Texas, raising the toll of soldiers who died here at their own hands to a record level and alarming Army commanders.

So far this year, Army officials have confirmed that 14 soldiers at Fort Hood have committed suicide. Six others are believed to have taken their own lives but a final determination has yet to be made. The highest number of suicides at Fort Hood occurred in 2008, when 14 soldiers killed themselves, said Christopher Haug, a military spokesman.

About 46,000 to 50,000 active officers and soldiers work at the base at any given time, making this year's suicide rate about four times the national average, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at 11.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

The largest base in the United States, Fort Hood and the surrounding communities have suffered high rates of crime, domestic violence, suicide and various mental illnesses as wave after wave of soldiers have been deployed abroad over nine years of continual warfare, often serving more than one tour.

Last November, an Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, was charged with killing 13 people with a pistol in a rampage at a building on the post.

On Sunday, Sgt. Michael Timothy Franklin and his wife, Jesse Ann Franklin, were found fatally shot in their house on the base.

Army investigators said they believed that Sergeant Franklin, who was 31 and had served two tours in Iraq, killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself. The couple had two small children.

Maj. Gen. William F. Grimsley, the Fort Hood senior commander, said in a statement released at a news conference on Wednesday that "leaders at all levels remain deeply concerned about this trend."

Mr. Haug said that the general did not believe that additional measures were necessary to stop the trend and that the base already had an extensive suicide-prevention program.

But advocates for soldiers who have suffered mental breakdowns said the programs were not effective.

Cynthia Thomas runs the Under the Hood Café, an organization of antiwar activists and veterans who provide referrals for soldiers to mental health professionals. She said a stigma remained among soldiers about seeking help from Army counselors for suicidal thoughts or other mental problems. And those soldiers who do seek counseling are often given medication and put back on duty, she said.

"You don't get counseling, you get medication," Ms. Thomas said. "These soldiers are breaking."


14) After 2 Days, Dockworkers Agree to End Strike
September 29, 2010

Dockworkers who shut down all of the big cargo ports in New York Harbor on Tuesday agreed to return to work Wednesday evening, just as their employers were preparing to ask a federal judge to make the longshoremen's union pay $1 million a day in penalties.

Members of the International Longshoremen's Association had refused to work on Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning because fellow union members from Camden, N.J., set up pickets outside the ports around the harbor. The workers stayed out on Wednesday in defiance of a ruling from a federal judge in Newark, who on Tuesday ordered them back to work.

The dispute that led to the shutdown did not involve the local workers or their employers. It was about the pending move of a fruit-importing operation in Camden from a unionized dock to another nearby, a shift that would cost the union about 200 jobs.

To draw attention to their plight, the workers from Camden set up pickets outside the five big ports in New Jersey and on Staten Island. Once they did, about 4,500 members of the longshoremen's union refused to cross the lines, and some walked off their jobs.

But by early afternoon Wednesday, they had agreed to end the walkout, according to Jim McNamara, a spokesman for the union. He said that some workers would be back on the docks Wednesday night and that all the ports should be operating normally by Thursday morning.

At midday on Wednesday, during the strike, about 20 dockworkers stood with two picketers near the main gate at the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island. A few hundred yards away, a giant ship partially loaded with Asian-made televisions and other goods floated unattended.

The longshoremen had begun unloading about 1,500 steel containers from the deck and hold of the ship after it had arrived late Monday from Singapore via the Suez Canal. But they walked off the job several hours later after the picketing began.

Their employers had argued that their refusal to work was illegal because their collective bargaining agreement contained a no-strike clause. Indeed, a strike had not shut down the ports around New York City since 1977, said James Devine, the president and chief executive of Global Container Terminals USA, which operates container ports on Staten Island and in Bayonne, N.J.

"This is the busiest time of the year for our industry, and now everything's on hold," Mr. Devine said before the union notified him that the picketing would end.


15) U.S. Issues New Rules on Offshore Drilling
September 30, 2010

WASHINGTON - The Interior Department issued new safety and spill-response regulations for offshore oil and gas drilling on Thursday, but gave no hint of when the moratorium on deepwater operations will be lifted.

The new rules - governing blowout preventers, safety certification, well design, emergency response and worker training - provide offshore drillers with clarity on the terms under which drilling will resume when the current freeze ends. The main conditions had already been telegraphed by the department in a safety report issued in May and in two notices to offshore operators handed down in June, in response to the blowout of a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20.

That accident, which resulted in the worst offshore oil spill in American history, killed 11 rig workers and spewed nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar presented the new rules in a speech Thursday morning, calling them a fundamental change in offshore operations that will guide all future leasing and development decisions in the gulf, the Arctic and elsewhere.

The rules take effect immediately under emergency rule-making powers.

In an interview, Mr. Salazar said he expected oil companies to complain, but to quickly come into compliance.

"We'll hear from industry that the regulations are too onerous, but the fact is, it's a new day," he said. "There is the pre-April 20th framework of regulation and the post-April 20th framework, and the oil and gas industry better get used to it, because that's the way it's going to be."

The secretary pointedly refused to say when or under what conditions he would lift the drilling suspension, which has caused economic hardship along the Gulf Coast and political headaches for the Obama administration in Washington.

"We will lift it at our own time and when we're ready, and not based on political pressure from anyone," Mr. Salazar said.

The moratorium on deepwater drilling, imposed in late April, is scheduled to end on Nov. 30, but officials have signaled that it would probably be eased before then.

Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana and a strong ally of the oil industry, is blocking the confirmation of Jack Lew as the new White House budget director until the moratorium is lifted or substantially eased.

Michael R. Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the Interior Department office that now polices offshore drilling, is to deliver a report to Mr. Salazar on Thursday providing a blueprint for safely resuming drilling. Mr. Salazar said he would review the report before making any decision on when that might happen.

Mr. Bromwich indicated earlier this week that even after the formal moratorium is lifted, it may be weeks or even months before his agency grants permits allowing the 33 idled deepwater rigs in the gulf to start up again. Permits will be issued only after companies provide new spill response plans detailed certification of the performance of critical equipment such as blowout preventers.

The regulatory agency is also undertaking a new environmental assessment of the impact of oil drilling on the gulf ecosystem, potentially causing further delays.

Oil industry executives, impatient to get back to work in the gulf, expressed resignation about the new rules, saying they were largely expected and can be met, at some cost in time and money.

Their deeper concern, they said, is that the new permitting process will drag on for months, forcing them to furlough workers and seek alternate supplies of crude.

Marvin E. Odum, the president of Shell Oil Company, said in an interview that his company had weathered the moratorium so far by renegotiating contracts on its seven idle deepwater rigs in the gulf, allowing it to keep most of its skilled workers on the payroll.

"That helps with the immediate-term cost impact," he said. "The big concern is the lost production, and that grows month to month."

He said he believed Shell and other major oil companies would have little trouble meeting the new conditions, adding that the company already meets the terms of the new guidance on safety and well design in its deepwater operations around the world.

"The piece I'm more concerned about is that when the moratorium does get lifted you won't be able to get back to work until the permit system starts to flow again," Mr. Odum said. "Will it be weeks, months? That's the big question."


16) Medicaid Rolls Jumped in 2009
September 30, 2010

Joblessness and the accompanying loss of health benefits drove an additional 3.7 million people into the Medicaid program last year, the largest single-year increase since the early days of the government insurance plan, according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Enrollment in the program, which provides comprehensive coverage to the low-income uninsured, grew by 8.2 percent from December 2008 to December 2009, the second-largest rate of increase in the 10 years that Kaiser has conducted the survey. There were 48.5 million people on Medicaid at the end of 2009, or about one of every six Americans.

Every state showed enrollment growth, with nine above 15 percent and Nevada and Wisconsin above 20 percent.

Those kinds of increases exact a heavy toll on state budgets, as states share the cost of the Medicaid program with the federal government. The foundation, an independent nonprofit group that conducts research on health policy, found that spending on Medicaid grew 8.8 percent in 2009, the largest increase since 2002.

"We do have horrific pressures on the Medicaid program," said Carol A. Herrmann-Steckel, Alabama's Medicaid commissioner.

Last year's spending growth was well above the 6.3 percent increase projected by states at the start of their fiscal years, explaining why virtually every state's program ran a deficit. And it provides a cautionary note for states that have projected a slowed rate of spending growth - 7.4 percent - for the current fiscal year.

The only hopeful news found by the survey was that the growth in enrollment slowed considerably in the second half of 2009. Yet, two-thirds of the Medicaid officials surveyed said they thought this year's appropriations might not be enough to cover continuing enrollment growth.

States have been buffered from the harshest recessionary effects of the Medicaid explosion by a series of Congressional appropriations that have temporarily increased the federal share of spending. The stimulus package included $87 billion in Medicaid relief for states, and Congress last month extended the assistance, at a reduced level, through June.

At that point, absent further legislation, the state and federal shares will revert to their historical ratios. If the economy does not recover enough to reverse the enrollment growth, states fear they could be left with an unmanageable burden on their already inadequate revenues. Unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets.

Without the assistance from Washington, said Vernon K. Smith, a principal with Health Management Associates, which conducted the survey for Kaiser, "we would have seen cuts on a scale that we've never seen before."

Adding to the anxiety in state capitals is an expected surge in Medicaid enrollment due to a vast expansion of eligibility for the program under the new health care law. Starting in 2014, the expansion will make the program available to able-bodied adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $14,404 for a single adult and $29,326 for a family of four). Today, Medicaid, which was enacted in 1965, primarily serves children, pregnant women and the aged and disabled.

The government expects the Medicaid expansion to account for about half of the 32 million uninsured people who are projected to gain coverage because of the new law.

Despite the enhanced federal aid for Medicaid last year, virtually every state made cuts to benefit levels or provider payments in order to balance budgets. As a condition of receiving stimulus money, states were prohibited from lowering eligibility thresholds, which they are allowed to set within federal parameters.

Instead, 39 states cut or froze payments to providers, including 20 states that reduced rates for doctors. That can have the effect of discouraging physicians from accepting Medicaid patients. Twenty states eliminated or restricted benefits like dentistry, imaging services and certain medical equipment. Further cuts are anticipated this year in many states.

States are running out of options for cuts that produce real savings, Mr. Smith said, and are increasingly turning to efficiencies like quality improvements, managed care and computerization.

Enrollment in Medicaid declined as recently as 2006 but began a rapid ascent the next year as the economic downturn began and the unemployment rate started to double.

There is often a lag between the start of a recession and its worst effects on safety net programs. Last year's increases in enrollment and the rate of growth in enrollment were nearly double that of 2008, the survey found. Over three years, Medicaid enrollment has grown by 6.2 million.


[col. writ. 9/24/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

It is always a useful exercise to view the full, unedited text of an event, and then compare it with the edited version projected by various news agencies.

That lesson rebounded with considerable force when I saw and heard the intentionally misleading accounts of the speech of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Assuming that the English translation of Ahmadinejad's speech was correct (as I must for I neither speak nor read Farsi), the Iranian president said that there were a number of Americans who believed that the US government itself may have been responsible for 9/11.

Ahmadinejad didn't say that this was his view -- he said a number of Americans held this view.

Whether you or I believes it or not, is it true that a number of Americans believe this?

The answer is, and must be, yes.

But the media, addicted to the theme of Mad Mahmoud, played it as if this was his opinion, the latest example of a 'nutcase' foreigner spouting nonsense at the UN (United Nations)

Why? Because the sensational sells.

So, media businesses hype the news, and slant the news, to boost sales. It ain't personal -- it's good business.

So, what's the problem? Why should any of us care?

Because, in a nutshell, this is the raw material of which wars are made.

Many years ago, former general and outgoing president, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the nation about the 'military industrial complex.' It was true, but it didn't go far enough.

For there is a military industrial media complex, an integral part of the whole.

The Iraq War could never have occurred without the active connivance and collusion of the corporate media. In essence, they sold the war, by peddling lies and fear put out by the Bush administration.

Antiwar voices were either absent or muted.

Given what we've just seen about how effortlessly the media can mislead, in a few months it's not unthinkable that they can sell a war with Iran, with the Mad Mahmoud scenario the opening gambit.

Remember, Saddam Hussein never believed that the US, his erstwhile ally and weapons supplier, would actually invade his country, until tanks were rolling toward Baghdad.

The media, by creating a boogeyman, made all the difference.

--(c) '10 maj


18) Israel: Principal faces hearing over textbook
By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer
Fri Oct 1, 7:35 am ET

JERUSALEM - An Israeli high school principal has been summoned for a hearing by the country's Education Ministry for using a textbook that presents the Palestinian narrative about events surrounding Israel's creation in 1948, officials said Friday.

The controversy at the school in southern Israel reflects how charged the events surrounding the Jewish state's birth remain more than six decades later. Israeli Jews celebrate 1948 as the year of their independence, while Palestinians and Israel's Arab citizens mourn what they call "al-naqba" - the catastrophe - the year of their defeat and mass exodus.

The principal of the Shaar Hanegev high school has been told to report next week to clarify with Education Ministry officials his school's use of an unapproved textbook, ministry spokesman Hagit Cohen told The Associated Press.

The textbook in question gives the Israeli narrative of the country's founding next to that of the Palestinians, with blank space in the middle for students to insert their own thoughts, according to a report this week in the daily Haaretz.

An unnamed teacher at the school told Haaretz that the ministry instructed the school to pull the book two days after the academic year began this month.

Cohen, the ministry spokeswoman, said the book was rejected by the Education Ministry five years ago, not during the term of the current Israeli government. The ministry's policy has always been to summon principals for clarification whenever unauthorized materials are used, she said.

"This is not about the content of this particular textbook," Cohen said.

She would not say what steps the Education Ministry might take.

Michal Shaban-Ketzer, a spokeswoman for the local government with jurisdiction over the school, confirmed that the principal had been summoned. School officials would not comment further until after the hearing, she said, and officials at the school could not be reached directly for comment.

Last year, Israel's education minister ordered references to the Palestinian "catastrophe" removed from a textbook for Arab third-graders.

Teachers were free to discuss the personal and national tragedies that befell Palestinians, Education Minister Gideon Saar, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, told Parliament at the time. However, he said that "no other country in the world, in its official curriculum, would treat the fact of its founding as a catastrophe."

The third-grade textbook had been approved by a dovish education minister two years earlier.

The war around Israel's creation effectively began in 1947, with the United Nations decision to partition the British-controlled territory of Palestine into Jewish and Arab countries. It intensified in 1948, when Arab armies invaded the nascent Jewish state, and ended with a victory for the Jewish forces. The Israelis seized territories beyond what the U.N. had allotted to their new state, while Egypt and Jordan occupied what was left of the territories the U.N. intended for a Palestinian state.

More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from areas that came under Israeli control.

Official Israeli histories of the country's establishment, especially those written for schoolchildren, have typically focused on the heroism of Israeli forces and glossed over the Palestinian flight, attributing the mass exile to voluntary escape if mentioning it at all.

The Israeli historian Benny Morris has written that while the Israeli leadership never issued a general order to expel Arabs from areas under Jewish control, in many cases Israeli forces did force Palestinians out. In other cases Palestinians left of their own volition. In almost all cases, those who left were not allowed to return.

Those who remained became an Arab minority inside Israel. Today, those Arabs make up about a fifth of the country's population of 7.5 million.

But the issue of return remains explosive, as Palestinians demand the right to repatriate the surviving refugees and more than 4 million descendants to their original homes in Israel.

Israel rejects the demand, saying that would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Israel says the refugees should receive compensation and be resettled where they now live or in a Palestinian state.


19) U.S. Apologizes for Guatemala Syphilis Experiment
October 1, 2010

Filed at 1:35 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States apologized on Friday for an experiment conducted in the 1940s in which U.S. government researchers deliberately infected Guatemalan prison inmates, women and mental patients with syphilis.

In the experiment, aimed at testing the then-new drug penicillin, inmates were infected by prostitutes and later treated with the antibiotic.

"The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

"Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices," the statement said.

The experiment, which echoed the infamous 1960s Tuskegee study in which black American men were deliberately left untreated for syphilis, was revealed by Susan Reverby, professor of women's studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

She found out about it this year while following up on a book about Tuskegee and, unusually for a researcher, informed the U.S. government before she published her findings.

"In addition to the penitentiary, the studies took place in an insane asylum and an army barracks," Reverby said in a statement.

"In total, 696 men and women were exposed to the disease and then offered penicillin. The studies went on until 1948 and the records suggest that despite intentions not everyone was probably cured," she said.


Her findings, to be published in January in the Journal of Policy History, link the Tuskegee and Guatemala studies.

"In 1946-48, Dr. John C. Cutler, a Public Health Service physician who would later be part of the Syphilis Study in Alabama in the 1960s and continue to defend it two decades after it ended in the 1990s, was running a syphilis inoculation project in Guatemala, co-sponsored by the PHS, the National Institutes of Health, the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the Pan American Health Organization), and the Guatemalan government," she wrote.

"It was the early days of penicillin and the PHS was deeply interested in whether penicillin could be used to prevent, not just cure, early syphilis infection, whether better blood tests for the disease could be established, what dosages of penicillin actually cured infection, and to understand the process of reinfection after cures."

The full paper is available at'Normal%20Exposure'.pdf.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, said regulation prohibited such "risky and unethical" research today. He said the revelations could damage efforts to encourage people to take part in medical research today.

"I think the track record in past 20-30 years has been quite remarkable," Collins told reporters in a telephone briefing.

"But we all recognize that the Tuskegee study which involved this same Dr. Cutler did great damage to the trust ... particularly from the African-American community and for medical research."

Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said it was not yet clear whether any compensation would be offered. It was also not clear whether any of the people who were experimented upon could be traced, but said an investigation had been launched.

Collins said there were no records of the study at NIH other than the title of the original grant.

Cutler retired as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh in 1985 and died in 2003.


20) Appeal Puts 3 Ark. Boys' Murders Back in Spotlight
October 2, 2010

Filed at 10:01 a.m. ET

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - With the fervor of a religious revival, more than 2,000 people packed an auditorium in Little Rock and shouted alongside movie and music icons like Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder: "Free the West Memphis Three!"

But the real star of the late August rally sat 75 miles away on Arkansas' death row. He's Damien Echols, sentenced to die for the horrific murder of three young boys 17 years ago; two other young men received life sentences in the case.

Supporters of the men, the so-called West Memphis Three - including hundreds who showed up at a candlelight prayer vigil at a church last week - argue there were two sets of victims from the May 5, 1993, crime: the three murdered 8-year-olds and Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, the then-teenagers who defenders claim were wrongly convicted in the deaths.

Prosecutors have insisted that the true killers are behind bars and that the evidence backs that conclusion. So far, courts have agreed. But doubts about the nightmarish case will not die, and they're not coming only from celebrities.

Following a hearing Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court is considering whether to grant Echols a new trial, weighing many issues: Did a juror commit misconduct? What's the significance of a new analysis of DNA, which wasn't tested before the trial?

Meanwhile, another question looms: If the West Memphis Three didn't kill the boys, who did?


The crime was beyond shocking.

Three 8-year-old friends, all Cub Scouts, disappeared after school one weeknight while riding their bikes. Their bruised and bloodied bodies were found the next day in a wooded area known as Robin Hood Hills. The scene was gruesome: The boys were nude, each with his ankles and wrists hogtied together with shoelaces.

Steven Branch and Michael Moore drowned in a drainage ditch filled with about 2 feet of water. Christopher Byers bled to death and his genitals were mutilated and partially removed, leading to rumors that the children were sacrificed in a Satanic ritual.

The outcry in the town of 28,000 across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tenn., was immediate and intense.

"We were upset, mad at whoever did this to those children," said Ann Powers, a 57-year-old cashier at a West Memphis Walmart. "We were trying to help the parents along as much as we could. Any information that came out was given to the police."

She remembers being extra vigilant of her son, who was 5 at the time. Powers said she would not let him stray from her sight, making him stay near the kitchen window as he played outside while she cooked dinner.

"I had to tell him, 'There's some bad people around, and you can't get out of Mama's sight,'" she said.

As the town grieved, police began to zero in on Echols, a smart-mouthed 18-year-old high school dropout known for dressing in black, a dark sense of humor and love for heavy metal music. Echols was fingered as a suspect by tipsters, including one who said she saw him, covered in mud, near the woods the night the boys disappeared.

But there was little movement until police brought in for questioning 17-year-old Jessie Lloyd Misskelley and he unexpectedly confessed, implicating himself, Echols and 16-year-old Jason Baldwin.

"Then they tied them up, tied their hands up," Misskelley said in the statement to police, parts of which were tape-recorded. Describing sodomizing and other violence, he went on: "And I saw it and turned around and looked, and then I took off running. I went home, then they called me and asked me, how come I didn't stay? I told them, I just couldn't."

But attorneys for the men, along with Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, say Misskelley's statements bear every sign of a false confession. Misskelley, whose IQ was measured at 72, was simply saying what he thought police wanted to hear, said Steven Drizin, the Northwestern center's legal director.

"It's clear that Jessie Misskelley didn't know what he was talking about, had never been to the crime scene, didn't witness the crime scene," and got key details wrong, Drizin said.

Misskelley told police they abducted the boys in the morning; by every account, the boys were in school all day. He also said they used rope to tie up the boys, rather than the shoelaces found on their bodies. He talked of Echols and Baldwin sodomizing the boys, although an autopsy found no definitive evidence of sexual assault.

The three teens were arrested the day Misskelley spoke to police. He almost immediately recanted the confession, and his attorney said that Misskelley only said what he did because he thought he'd receive a reward.

Misskelley was tried alone, convicted of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years.

"There is no more powerful evidence in a court of law than a confession," Drizin said. Even in cases where DNA evidence shows a suspect didn't commit the crime, he added, "juries will still convict on the basis of the confession because they can't understand why somebody would ever confess to a crime they didn't commit, especially a murder."

Although Misskelley refused to testify against the others and his confession was not admitted into evidence, both were convicted. Echols got the death penalty and Baldwin received life without parole.


The three have had no luck in their bids for new trials.

The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld Echols' conviction and death sentence in 1996, ruling there was sufficient evidence to prove he killed the three boys, citing:

- A 12-year-old and 15-year-old who testified they heard Echols bragging about the murders.

- Two witnesses who testified they saw Echols at a truck stop near Robin Hood Hills, wearing dirty clothes, at about 9:30 p.m. the night the boys disappeared.

- Fibers that were "microscopically similar" to ones found on the boys' clothing were found at Echols' home.

- Testimony from the state medical examiner that a serrated knife found in a pond behind Baldwin's home could have caused some of the wounds suffered by the boys.

- Echols' statement under cross-examination that he was interested in the occult, as well as a funeral register found in his room with hand-drawn pentagrams and upside-down crosses. Echols' journal was also admitted into evidence, and "it contained morbid images and references to dead children," the court's opinion noted.

- Echols' statement to police shortly after the murders that he understood the boys had been mutilated, with one suffering more serious injuries. That information hadn't been released to the public, the opinion said.

Echols' defense argues that he was speaking sarcastically when he told the 12- and 15-year-olds at a ballpark that he killed the boys. In Supreme Court arguments, defense lawyer Dennis Riordan said DNA testing conducted after Echols' conviction did not place Echols at the scene and that other scientific evaluation of evidence contradicts statements made in the confession. He asked the court to send the case back to circuit court for an evidentiary hearing or to grant a new trial.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel declined an interview with the AP on the case. But in 2008, shortly after Echols filed the appeal now before the state Supreme Court, he said he was confident in the verdicts.

"I'm growing increasingly frustrated by what I see as a misleading press campaign to suggest that there's new DNA evidence that in some way exonerates these boys that a jury found guilty and whose appeals they all lost. There is no new DNA evidence that exonerates these boys at all," McDaniel said. If there was, he added, "I would be the first one to start approaching the governor on options on bringing justice to the matter."

Aaron Sadler, a spokesman for the attorney general, said Echols received a fair trial when he was convicted in 1994. A rehearing should only be ordered if evidence shows innocence, not just raises questions, the state argued before the supreme court.

"Neither the Sixth Amendment nor the Arkansas Constitution require the state to prove defendants guilty twice; only once, and fairly," Sadler said. "Fairness is not simply a question of public opinion."


Damien Echols is a pro at interviews.

Seated behind glass at the Varner Supermax prison, Echols was fighting a cold but used a spare tissue to wipe a smudge off the window to allow for clearer images for a photographer to snap.

He's told his story of what happened in 1993 many times before but still expresses astonishment at being accused and convicted.

"In hindsight, it just seems kind of ridiculous, I guess - when you're saying that basically you've got this redneck trailer park devil cult going around, killing children for no apparent reason?" he said. "It was one of those things where ... I couldn't believe it was happening."

But if he, Baldwin and Misskelley didn't kill the youngsters, who did?

The DNA analysis included in Echols' court petition said that a hair found on the shoelaces used to bind victim Michael Moore was consistent with hair found from Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of victim Steven Branch. Another hair found on a tree stump at the crime scene was consistent with hair from one of Hobbs' friends, the court filing said. The men have vehemently denied any involvement.

None of the DNA tested from the crime scene matched Echols, Baldwin or Misskelley, the appeal said. The scene was clean of blood, leading investigators to hypothesize that the boys were killed somewhere else.

Even some of the victims' parents have questioned whether the right people are behind bars for the crime.

"I don't believe these guys could have killed these kids and not left any evidence," Pam Hobbs, mother of Steven Branch, told The Jonesboro (Ark.) Sun earlier this year. "That's impossible."

John Mark Byers, the stepfather of Christopher Byers, said he also believes the three men are innocent.

"I personally don't believe the three could have gone out there and opened a Twinkie and not leave any DNA," Byers said last week. "The facts don't fit the evidence."

Who then? There was another tantalizing thread of evidence.

On the night of the murders, a man entered a Bojangles fast-food restaurant less than a mile from where the bodies were discovered. He was covered in blood and mud, and his pants were soaked to the knee with water, according to the restaurant manager, who testified at both trials. The man went into the women's restroom and restaurant workers called police. He was gone by the time police arrived.

Although restaurant workers cleaned the bathroom that night, West Memphis police did take blood scrapings a few days later when officers returned to investigate.

That evidence, though, was lost before it was tested.


The case might have slipped into obscurity were it not for "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills."

A group of documentary filmmakers followed prosecutors, defense attorneys and families of the victims and suspects during the 1994 trials. Their film showed court proceedings as well as behind-the-scenes meetings among lawyers.

The film aired on HBO in 1996 and immediately sparked interest in the case. A sequel aired in 2000, and work on a third documentary is under way.

That's how Pearl Jam's Vedder and Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, learned of the case.

"Right after I finished (watching) the second film, I got online because I thought ... I'm going to look up and see if these guys have Facebook pages," Maines said. "And so I was shocked and saddened and disappointed to learn that they were still sitting in prison and Damien on death row."

Maines donated money to the defense fund and later visited Little Rock to speak at a rally in support of the men.

Vedder said he was interested in the case for years but kept a low profile, thinking a rock band's involvement "wasn't going to help their case at all."

After Echols' attorneys filed his request for a new trial in 2007, Vedder became more outspoken. He was the driving force behind the Aug. 28 "Voices for Justice" rally in Little Rock that featured Maines, Depp, singer Patti Smith and musicians Ben Harper, Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur.

Vedder now considers Echols a friend and has visited him on death row.

"This is an incredible person that I've been able to get to know and to see what he's done with his situation," Vedder said. "What he's been able to do with his life and his mind and his intellect and his spirituality is really one of the more monumental acts of a human I've ever witnessed."

Speaking of all three convicted men, Vedder added: "Why are they innocent? Because there's nothing that says they're guilty."

But many who lived through the case say the celebrities haven't followed the case closely enough.

Powers, the Walmart cashier, said she's convinced the men are guilty and that Hollywood figures won't change her view.

"They weren't here," Powers said. "These people, I hope they're not disappointed in the end because they're going to find out they went after a wrong cause."


Associated Press writer Adrian Sainz contributed to this report from West Memphis, Ark.


21) Liberal Groups Rally in Washington, Offering a Challenge to the Tea Party
October 2, 2010

WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of union members, environmentalists and peace activists rallied at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, seeking to carry on the message of jobs and justice that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. trumpeted at a rally at the same site 47 years ago.

More than 300 groups organized Saturday's march on Washington to build momentum for progressive causes like increased job-creation programs and to mobilize liberal voters to flock to the polls next month.

The rally's sponsors, including the N.A.A.C.P., the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the Sierra Club and the National Council of La Raza, said they also hoped to demonstrate that they, not the Tea Party, represented the nation's majority.

The rally's organizers called the Saturday march "One Nation Working Together," saying they hoped it would be an answer and antidote to what they called the divisiveness of the Tea Party.

"We believe that by working together we can build abundance to lift up everyone," said Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers. "We can't do that through divisiveness. We believe that we have to rebuild a social movement in America."

As the spirited crowd spread out along both sides of the reflecting pool, demonstrators shouted "Yes, we can" and carried signs saying, "We March for Hope not Hate," and "N.A.A.C.P. Says Tell the Senate More (Good) Jobs Now."

Demonstrators flew in from Los Angeles and Denver, took buses from Oklahoma and Tennessee, and carpooled from New York and Massachusetts.

The rally was held on a clear, cloudless day, with American flags atop the Lincoln Memorial's stairs and a sea of yellow, red, blue and purple T-shirts stretching out below, worn by members of various civil rights, peace and union groups.

"I think we're all here because we want our voices heard in Washington," said Beverly Webber, a recently retired accounting specialist for Alaska Airlines who flew in from Seattle. "I want less defense spending and more spending on infrastructure and green jobs."

Jerry Richards, a worker at a Chrysler assembly plant, was carrying a sign saying "Good Jobs Now," after having grabbed a seat on a caravan of nine buses that left Warren, Mich., at 9 p.m. Friday.

"Our forefathers fought against the English, and if you're not fighting for something, you're just sitting on your couch," Mr. Richards said. Standing alongside a close friend who has been unemployed for two years, he said his top issue was job creation.

Noting that planning for the rally began in April, organizers said they were in no way responding to a march organized by Glenn Beck, which drew enormous crowds to the front of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28. But they acknowledged that their hope was to draw an even larger crowd to Saturday's event.

In broadcasts last week, Mr. Beck mocked the liberals' march, saying that his supporters paid their own way to drive to Washington, while labor unions chartered hundreds of buses to ferry demonstrators to Saturday's rally.

Considerably more than just one week ago, the organizers of the march were emphasizing that they were seeking to energize voters to elect candidates they believed would do more to reduce unemployment and raise taxes on the richest Americans.

"We want to send folks the message to get your friends and neighbors out to vote," said Benjamin T. Jealous, president of the N.A.A.C.P. He said "10-2-10," the shorthand for the Saturday march, "is very much connected to 11-2-10," which is Election Day.

"We've come too far to turn back now," he said. "We have to build momentum to create prosperity. Right now a lot of Tea Party folks are pushing for tax cuts for the top 1 percent. We have to focus on jobs for the other 99 percent."

In deriding the march, Mr. Beck in recent days said it included Marxist, Communist and revolutionary groups. Among the organizations endorsing the march were the Communist Party USA, the United Church of Christ, Jewish Funds for Justice, the National Urban League, the National Baptist Convention, People for the American Way and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"This is a big tent," Mr. Jealous said. "Anyone who wants to stand up to create jobs and defend the jobs of teachers, police officers, nurses, firefighters - I say come on and join us."

He said the rally's sponsors welcomed groups that endorsed its goals, including a higher minimum wage, immigration reform, improved public education and an end to the wave of home foreclosures. But that, he said, did not mean rally organizers agreed with all the policies of every group that endorsed the rally.

Sponsors said the rally was not vying with the "Rally to Restore Sanity" that Jon Stewart, the host of "The Daily Show" has scheduled for Oct. 30 in Washington.

The Rev. Leah Daughtry, the coordinator of Saturday's march, said the rallies shared many goals. "We want to help make sure there is an energized and educated electorate," she said.


22) U.S. Drone Attacks Kill 17 Militants in Pakistan
October 2, 2010

Two attacks by United States drones killed 17 militants and wounded three in northern Pakistan on Saturday, a Pakistani intelligence official said, after recent NATO helicopter strikes raised tensions with Pakistan, a country that is crucial to Washington's war effort in Afghanistan.

Repeated attacks by NATO helicopters last week angered Pakistan, which says the strikes undermine efforts to deal with militants because civilian casualties inflame public anger and bolster support for the insurgents.

Pakistan responded to a helicopter strike on Thursday that killed three Pakistani soldiers in the northwestern Kurram region by blocking a route in southern Pakistan used by convoys carrying fuel and other supplies for coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Three dozen vehicles in a fuel convoy stopped along the route were set on fire on Friday. A Taliban spokesman, Azam Tariq, said the Taliban carried out the attack to avenge NATO raids. The insurgents will attack more tankers on all roads used to transport NATO supplies, Mr. Tariq said.

Border attacks and disruptions in NATO supplies underline growing strains in the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, a crucial ally as American forces struggle to contain the Taliban in Afghanistan before the scheduled start of their withdrawal in July 2011.

Saturday's first drone attack, which occurred at 10 a.m. in the town of Datta Khel in the critical North Waziristan tribal region along the Afghan border, killed nine militants from the Badar Mansur group, which is closely affiliated with Al Qaeda. Four were foreigners. The second attack, at 2:45 p.m., was in the same area and killed eight militants, the Pakistani official said.

Datta Khel is a stronghold of local and foreign insurgents who use it to stage attacks against NATO forces in Afghanistan. The area is controlled by Hafiz Gul Bhadar, who is affiliated with the militant Haqqani network. The Pakistani government and Mr. Bhadar have agreed not to attack each other's forces, despite American pressure on the Pakistanis to begin an offensive there.


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