Thursday, November 18, 2010

BAUAW NEWSLETTER-THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2010



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

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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Stop FBI Call-In To Congress Today!
November 17, 2010

Dear Friends,

A delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) is in Washington D.C. today, Wednesday, November 17. Joe Iosbaker and Anh Pham, both targets of the FBI raids and Grand Jury repression, and Deb Konechne, who is coordinating, need your help today and tomorrow. The CSFR delegation plans to meet with U.S. Representatives in person to get a Dear Colleague Letter demanding an end to FBI raids and calling off the Grand Jury. While we are focusing on the Progressive Caucus and its 80 plus members (see below), we think that calling any and all the U.S. Representatives is worthwhile in bringing this issue of repression of the anti-war and international solidarity movement to their Washington D.C. offices.

We are asking you to call your U.S. Representative today and ask:

1. Please meet face-to-face with today's delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Give the Representative's office the delegation's contact info: Deb Konechne at 651-487-0574 or write to Jess Sundin jess.sundin@gmail.com.

2. Please initiate and sign a Dear Colleague Letter calling for an end to FBI raids and calling off the Grand Jury against anti-war activists.

To call your U.S. Representative:

**Please call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121, give your U.S. House Representative's name or give your zip code and ask to be connected.

-Or-

**Go to http://www.house.gov/ and enter your zip code in the upper left corner where it says "Find Your Representative". This will link you to the U.S. Representative's web page, where you can find the Washington D.C. office phone number to call.


Thank you for calling in an effort to stop the repression of the anti-war and international solidarity movements, Tom Burke, on behalf of the CSFR

P.S. We are waiting on news about the reactivation of subpoenas.

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

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

ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY FOR THE 2010 VIGIL!

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

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

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

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

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

Spread the word - Tell a friend about the November Vigil:
http://www.SOAW.org/tellafriend

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

See you at the gates of Fort Benning in November 2010

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Our next UNAC organizing meeting is set for UC Berkeley on Sunday, November 21 at 1:30 pm in Dwinelle Hall, Room 187.

[To get to Dwinelle, walk into the campus at Telegraph and Bankcroft and go straight for a few minutes and pass directly under Sather Gate and proceed over a tiny bridge. Dwinelle is the first building to the left after the bridge.]

This will be an important meeting because it will be our last before our UC Berkeley teach-in on November 30. Below we have pdf versions of the leaflet and poster. We will have thousands in the next few days. Please call to make arrangements to get some for distribution all over the Bay Area at important events.

We are still preparing an initial meeting agenda, but the main focus of Nov. 21 will be on the November 30 meeting.

A second edition of the leaflet and poster will be out soon. This one will hopefully include an impressive list of endorsers. Please let me know if your organization can be listed as an endorser so that we can compile a list in one place. And please seek out the endorsement of as many groups and organizations as you can.

The next meeting of the Nov. 30 Planning Committee is set for Caffe Strada on Bankcroft at Durant at 1:15 pm on Monday, November 15. This is a meeting of reps of all sponsoring organizations and interested activists.

Good News: The launching New York City meeting of UNAC was a tremendous success with some 340 present, 40 speakers representing as many organizations, participation from several East Coast states, some 100 Palestinians and Muslim community activists and leaders and $5000 raised during the fund appeal. A detailed report is in preparation. It's time to rev up our West Coast organizing.

In solidarity,

Jeff
510-268-9429

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PALESTINE, AMERICAN WARS AND ISLAMOPHOBIA IN AMERICA
Bay Area Teach-In
Tuesday, November 30, 7:00 P.M.
East Pauley Ballroom (MLK Student Union UC Berkeley, corner of Bancroft and Telegraph)

Speakers: Hatgem Bazian, UCB; Michael Shehader, LA8; Ziad Abbas, MECA; Barbara Lubin, MECA; Jeff Mackler, UNAC; Masao Suzuki, Committee to Stop FBI Repression; Blanca Misse, UCB Student Worker Action Team; Rep., Cal Students for Justice in Palestine; Rep., UCB Muslim Student Assoc.

Billions for Education, Not Wars and Occupations! End U.S. Aid to Israel--Military, Economic, Diplomatic! Defend Civil Liberties and End the FBI Raids!
Sponsors: United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC); Cal Students for Justice in Palestine; UCB Muslim Student Association; Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA).

Donations Suggested, No one turned away for lack of funds.

For more information: 510-268-9429, teachinnov30@gmail.com, teachinnov30.wordpress.com, ASUC Sponsored, ADA Accessible

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

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Flashmob: Cape Town Opera say NO
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wElyrFOnKPk

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Quantitative Easing Explained
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUY16CkS-k&feature=player_embedded#

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Report: "Tar balls and black oily plumes" wash up in Apalachicola Bay, FL - 70 miles EAST of Panama City (VIDEO)
November 12th, 2010 at 09:02 AM Email Post

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Seattle Cop: 'I'll Beat the F--ing Mexican Piss Out of You Homey'
http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/05/seattle_cop_ill_beat_the_f---ing_mexican_piss_out_of_you_homey.html

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Burning Desperation

Self-immolation has become a common form of suicide for Afghan women. Photographer Lynsey Addario speaks with women who survived their suicide attempts.
http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/11/07/world/1248069290784/burning-desperation.html?ref=world

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Anonymous BP cleanup worker: The oil "really hasn't even been touched"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vegVKrg84HI&feature=player_embedded
http://allhiphop.com/stories/editorial/archive/2010/11/09/22476630.aspx

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Tag-Team Wrestling
"We have Learned who is For Real and who is Frontin'."
Glen Ford speaks in West Haven, CT just before the Oct. 2010 "One Nation Working Together" DC demo. See his scathing comments about the speakers from the main stage at the actual demo at blackagendareport.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAIuTM3cK9I

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Video of massive French protest -- inspiring!
http://www.dailymotion.com/Talenceagauchevraiment

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UAW Workers Picket The UAW Over Two-Tier
http://rustbeltradical.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/uaw-workers-picket-the-uaw/

Rally To End Two-Tier & Stand in Solidarity with GM Lake Orion | UAW HQ, Detroit MI (1 of 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bST5aTYZa00&feature=player_embedded

Rally To End Two-Tier & Stand in Solidarity with GM Lake Orion | UAW HQ, Detroit MI (2 of 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHLb-KMXD9c&feature=player_embedded

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BP Contract Worker "Trenches Dug To Bury Oil On Beaches"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0qop9xbGv4&feature=player_embedded

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RETHINK Afghanistan: The 10th Year: Afghanistan Veterans Speak Out
http://rethinkafghanistan.com/

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Firefighters Watch As Home Burns:
Gene Cranick's House Destroyed In Tennessee Over $75 Fee
By Adam J. Rose
The Huffington Post -- videos
10- 5-10 12:12 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/04/firefighters-watch-as-hom_n_750272.html

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Soldier Describes Murder of Afghan for Sport in Leaked Tape
By ROBERT MACKEY
September 27, 2010, 6:43 pm
http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/soldier-describes-murder-of-afghan-for-sport-in-leaked-tape/?ref=world

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

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

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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Courage to Resist needs your support
By Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist.

It's been quite a ride the last four months since we took up the defense of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning. Since then, we helped form the Bradley Manning Support Network, established a defense fund, and have already paid over half of Bradley's total $100,000 in estimated legal expenses.

Now, I'm asking for your support of Courage to Resist so that we can continue to support not only Bradley, but the scores of other troops who are coming into conflict with military authorities due to reasons of conscience.

Please donate today:
https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning has been defending and supporting our Constitution."
-Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower

Iraq War over? Afghanistan occupation winding down? Not from what we see. Please take a look at, "Soldier Jeff Hanks refuses deployment, seeks PTSD help" in our December newsletter. Jeff's situation is not isolated. Actually, his story is only unique in that he has chosen to share it with us in the hopes that it may result in some change. Jeff's case also illustrates the importance of Iraq Veterans Against the War's new "Operation Recovery" campaign which calls for an end to the deployment of traumatized troops.

Most of the folks who call us for help continue to be effected by Stoploss, a program that involuntarily extends enlistments (despite Army promises of its demise), or the Individual Ready Reserve which recalls thousands of former Soldiers and Marines quarterly from civilian life.

Another example of our efforts is Kyle Wesolowski. After returning from Iraq, Kyle submitted an application for a conscientious objector discharge based on his Buddhist faith. Kyle explains, "My experience of physical threats, religious persecution, and general abuse seems to speak of a system that appears to be broken.... It appears that I have no other recourse but to now refuse all duties that prepare myself for war or aid in any way shape or form to other soldiers in conditioning them to go to war." We believe he shouldn't have to walk this path alone.

Sincerely,
Jeff Paterson
Project Director, Courage to Resist
First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq
Please donate today.

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might
also be interested in supporting GI resisters.
http://ymlp.com/forward.php?id=lS3tR&e=bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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San Francisco Labor Council Resolution Adopted unanimously on Nov. 8, 2010

Resolution Condemning Police Attack on Free Speech & Assembly following Oscar Grant Rally

Whereas, on Friday November 5, former BART cop Johannes Mehserle was given a jail sentence of 2 years for the 'involuntary manslaughter' of Oscar Grant. Subtracting time served and 'good behavior', Mehserle may be back on the streets in as little as 7 months; and

Whereas, the organizers of a November 5th Rally and Gathering in Frank Ogawa Plaza to honor Oscar Grant and Respond to the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle, were refused a permit for an organized march after the rally to an indoor gathering at DeFremery Park; and

Whereas, after the rally many hundreds of community members spontaneously started marching toward Fruitvale BART, the site of Oscar Grant's murder, and after the cops sealed off an entire city block, police did not allow people to disperse, called it a 'crime scene', and arrested 152 people, including San Francisco Labor Council Delegate Dave Welsh, resulting in more arrests than at any other Oscar Grant-related protest; and

Whereas, most arrestees have been cited on misdemeanor charges, held for 24 hours and have mass arraignments in the first week of December at Wiley Manuel Courthouse, 661 Washington Street in Oakland.

Therefore be It Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council condemns this assault on freedom of speech and assembly and demands that all these misdemeanor assembly charges be dropped.

Presented by Marcus Holder, delegate from ILWU Local 10, and adopted unanimously at the regular delegates meeting of the San Francisco Labor Council held Nov. 8, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

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Add your name! We stand with Bradley Manning.

"We stand for truth, for government transparency, and for an end to our tax-dollars funding endless occupation abroad... We stand with accused whistle-blower US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning."

Dear All,

The Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist are launching a new campaign, and we wanted to give you a chance to be among the first to add your name to this international effort. If you sign the letter online, we'll print out and mail two letters to Army officials on your behalf. With your permission, we may also use your name on the online petition and in upcoming media ads.

Read the complete public letter and add your name at:
http://standwithbrad.org/

Courage to Resist (http://couragetoresist.org)
on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network (http://bradleymanning.org)
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
510-488-3559

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Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Dear Friend,

On Friday, September 24th, the FBI raided homes in Chicago and Minneapolis, and turned the Anti-War Committee office upside down. We were shocked. Our response was strong however and we jumped into action holding emergency protests. When the FBI seized activists' personal computers, cell phones, and papers claiming they were investigating "material support for terrorism", they had no idea there would be such an outpouring of support from the anti-war movement across this country! Over 61 cities protested, with crowds of 500 in Minneapolis and Chicago. Activists distributed 12,000 leaflets at the One Nation Rally in Washington D.C. Supporters made thousands of calls to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Solidarity statements from community organizations, unions, and other groups come in every day. By organizing against the attacks, the movement grows stronger.

At the same time, trusted lawyers stepped up to form a legal team and mount a defense. All fourteen activists signed letters refusing to testify. So Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox withdrew the subpoenas, but this is far from over. In fact, the repression is just starting. The FBI continues to question activists at their homes and work places. The U.S. government is trying to put people in jail for anti-war and international solidarity activism and there is no indication they are backing off. The U.S. Attorney has many options and a lot of power-he may re-issue subpoenas, attempt to force people to testify under threat of imprisonment, or make arrests.

To be successful in pushing back this attack, we need your donation. We need you to make substantial contributions like $1000, $500, and $200. We understand many of you are like us, and can only afford $50, $20, or $10, but we ask you to dig deep. The legal bills can easily run into the hundreds of thousands. We are all united to defend a movement for peace and justice that seeks friendship with people in other countries. These fourteen anti-war activists have done nothing wrong, yet their freedom is at stake.

It is essential that we defend our sisters and brothers who are facing FBI repression and the Grand Jury process. With each of your contributions, the movement grows stronger.

Please make a donation today at stopfbi.net (PayPal) on the right side of your screen. Also you can write to:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

This is a critical time for us to stand together, defend free speech, and defend those who help to organize for peace and justice, both at home and abroad!

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke

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Deafening Silence, Chuck Africa (MOVE 9)
Check out other art and poetry by prisoners at:
Shujaas!: Prisoners Resisting Through Art
...we banging hard, yes, very hard, on this system...
http://shujaas.wordpress.com/

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

Deafening Silence
Don't ya'll hear cries of anguish?
In the climate of pain come joining voices?
But voices become unheard and strained by inactions
Of dead brains
How long will thou Philly soul remain in the pit of agonizing apathy?
Indifference seems to greet you like the morning mirror
Look closely in the mirror and realize it's a period of mourning....
My Sistas, mothers, daughters, wives and warriors
Languish in prisons obscurity like a distant star in the galaxies as does their brothers
We need to be free....
How loud can you stay silence?
Have the courage to stand up and have a say,
Choose resistance and let go of your fears.
The history of injustice to MOVE; we all know so well
But your deafening silence could be my DEATH KNELL.
Chuck Africa

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

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

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Kevin Keith Update: Good News! Death sentence commuted!

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

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

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Please sign the petition to release Bradley Manning

http://www.petitiononline.com/manning1/petition.html (Click to sign here)

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

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

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

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

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

Justice for Bradley Manning!

Sincerely,

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

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

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Please forward widely...

HELP LYNNE STEWART -- SUPPORT THESE BILLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write to Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY 2-S
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007

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

Send contributions payable to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

# # #

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!

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

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

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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1) Congo Republic: Amid Polio Outbreak, Groups Begin Immunization Campaign
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
November 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/world/africa/12briefs-Congo.html?ref=world

2) Sudan: Parasitic Disease Has Killed More Than 300 in Country's South
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/index.html

3) DNA could have saved the last man executed by Bush
Landmark investigation disproves death penalty case for first time
By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
Saturday, 13 November 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/dna-could-have-saved-the-last-man-executed-by-bush-2132850.html

4) PLEASE POST AND DISTRIBUTE WIDELY:
West Coast Report:
RALLIES, FILM SHOWINGS DEFEND
MUMIA'S RIGHT TO BE FREE!
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610
510 763-2347 • www.laboractionmumia.org

5) What We Learned From WikiLeaks
Jonathan Schell
November 10, 2010
This article appeared in the November 29, 2010 edition of The Nation.
http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/369-wikileaks/3940-what-we-learned-from-wikileaks

6) Nazis Were Given 'Safe Haven' in U.S., Report Says
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
November 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/us/14nazis.html?hp

7) San Francisco School Administrators Schemed to Take Money, Documents Say
By TREY BUNDY
November 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/us/14bcstudents.html?ref=education

8) None flew over the cuckoo's nest: A world without birds
Could we be facing a future without birds? Our reliance on pesticides has cut a swathe through their numbers. We must act now, argues Kate Ravilious
Monday, 15 November 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/none-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-a-world-without-birds-2134031.html



9) Europe Fears That Debt Crisis Is Ready to Spread
By LANDON THOMAS Jr. and JAMES KANTER
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/business/global/16euro.html?ref=world

10) British Premier Plans Deep Cuts in Aid for Civil Litigants
By JOHN F. BURNS
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/world/europe/16britain.html?ref=world

11) 45 Years Later, an Apology and 6 Months
By ROBBIE BROWN
[Another slap in the wrist for a killer cop...bw]
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/us/16fowler.html?ref=us

12) New York City Police Photograph Irises of Suspects
By RAY RIVERA and AL BAKER
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/nyregion/16retinas.html?ref=nyregion

13) Voices of Foreclosure Speak Daily About Desperation and Misery
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
November 16, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/business/economy/16foreclose.html?ref=business

14) Alarming escalation in violence used against Jewish peace activist (by Jewish thugs)
Right-wing Israel advocacy group pepper sprays Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) membersRight-wing Israel advocacy group San Francisco Voice for Israel/ StandWithUs
Member Pepper Sprays Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) members
at Bay Area JVP Chapter Meeting. Wraps self in Israeli flag.
VIA Email
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLO2xKcYDwc

15) Jim Crow on West Broadway
By ADAM GOODHEART
November 16, 2010, 8:43 pm
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/jim-crow-on-west-broadway/

16) European Bank Calls for Stronger State Role in Ex-Communist Bloc
By JUDY DEMPSEY
November 17, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/business/global/18ebrd.html?src=busln

17) Former transit officer's attorneys seek bail
The Associated Press
Monday, November 15, 2010; 10:50 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/15/AR2010111508173.html

18) Three Twin Cities anti-war activists told they must appear in front of Grand Jury
Press Conference:
November 18, Thursday, 4:30 pm
Minneapolis Federal Building
300 South 4th Street, Minneapolis
For immediate release
November 17, 2010
VIA Email: News for Social Justice Activists
solidarityinfoservices@igc.org

19) Mehserle sentence -- in the judge's words
Posted By: Demian Bulwa (Email)
November 17 2010 at 12:35 PM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/crime/detail?entry_id=77194

20) 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire
By Chalmers Johnson
Global Research
March 21, 2009
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12824

21) Swedish Court to Seek Arrest of WikiLeaks Founder
By JOHN F. BURNS
November 18, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/world/europe/19assange.html

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1) Congo Republic: Amid Polio Outbreak, Groups Begin Immunization Campaign
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
November 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/world/africa/12briefs-Congo.html?ref=world

International aid organizations said Thursday that they were starting a campaign to immunize three million people in three countries to fight a new outbreak of polio. The service organization Rotary International said it would give Unicef and the World Health Organization $500,000 total for the campaign, set to begin Friday in Pointe Noire, a coastal city where about 100 people have died in an outbreak that appears to have an unusually high mortality rate. From there, they will spread out to the rest of the country, neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, with the goal of vaccinating three million people of all ages by year's end. Normally, polio drops are given only to small children, but many teenagers and adults in central Africa are unprotected.

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2) Sudan: Parasitic Disease Has Killed More Than 300 in Country's South
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/index.html

An outbreak of a parasitic tropical disease has killed more than 300 people in Southern Sudan, officials say. The World Health Organization says the outbreak of kala azar, which began in September 2009 and has intensified in recent months, is the biggest health problem facing the region. More than 7,000 cases have been reported this year by the health organization and the Southern Sudanese health authorities. More than 300 people have died since September 2009, the W.H.O. says, but officials fear the disease could spread for several more months.

Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar, a W.H.O. medical officer in the region, said this week that health officials were "struggling to respond to the outbreak because it is beyond what we had planned." The parasite is transmitted through sand flies, and mainly affects children whose immune systems are compromised.

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3) DNA could have saved the last man executed by Bush
Landmark investigation disproves death penalty case for first time
By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
Saturday, 13 November 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/dna-could-have-saved-the-last-man-executed-by-bush-2132850.html

The last man to be executed during George W Bush's term as governor of Texas was sentenced to death on the basis of a single piece of evidence - one human hair - which did not actually belong to him, DNA tests have shown.

Claude Howard Jones was convicted in 1990 of murdering an off-licence owner and was put to death by lethal injection 10 years later. He suffered the ultimate penalty because jurors were informed that a strand of his hair had been found on the floor close to the victim's body.

That now turns out to be untrue: laboratory analysis of the crucial item of evidence has revealed that it actually came from the head of the store's owner, Allen Hilzendager.

"My father never claimed to be a saint, but he always maintained that he didn't commit this murder," Jones's son, Duane, said yesterday. "I hope these results will serve as a wake-up call ... Serious problems exist in the criminal justice system that must be fixed if our society is to continue using the death penalty."

This week's discovery has huge legal significance because there has previously been no clear-cut case in modern US history of a defendant being sentenced to death on the back of evidence which is demonstrably false.

It does not necessarily prove that Jones, who was 60 at the time of his death, was innocent of murder. But it does add weight his claim that he was waiting in a car outside the liquor store on the afternoon of 14 November 1989 when an accomplice, Kerry Daniel Dixon, walked in and shot Hilzendager.

The men, both career criminals, planned to steal the till, which contained several hundred dollars in cash, from the off-licence at Point Blank, 80 miles east of Houston. Witnesses said they saw one man walk into the store to commit the crime while the other stayed behind to act as getaway driver.

Without the hair from the scene, Jones would have received life imprisonment, since under Texas law it is impossible to secure a death penalty conviction without corroborating physical evidence that the suspect was directly responsible for a crime such as murder.

None of the witnesses was able to positively identify which of the two men had walked into the store and pulled the trigger. A third accomplice, Timothy Jordan, who supplied the fatal weapon, testified that Jones had confessed to the killing, but later withdrew his evidence, saying he had embellished it to secure a lighter sentence.

For the original trial in 1990, analysis of the hair was carried out under a microscope, a technique now obsolete because it is thought to be unreliable. By the time Jones was executed a decade later, DNA testing was relatively commonplace, but his attorneys were unable to convince any court in Texas to have the crucial hair reviewed.

In 2000, just before Jones was killed, Mr Bush declined a request to order a stay of execution. The Texas Observer magazine, which carried out this week's DNA test, claimed that state attorneys "failed to inform him that DNA evidence might exonerate Jones".

The former US president, who is on the road this week publicising his memoirs, has declined to comment. Although he signed 151 execution orders - more than any other governor - during his time in office, Bush has previously stated his support for DNA testing as a means to confirm a suspect's guilt.

In the years after his execution, Jones's family tried repeatedly to get access to the hair sample, but their requests to have it DNA tested were blocked by the local district attorney, who attempted to have it destroyed. It was only released after the Texas Observer resorted to filing a lawsuit demanding access to the item.

That kind of obstruction is true to form in Texas, which has executed 464 people since the death penalty was re-introduced to the US more than three decades ago, giving it one of the world's busiest death rows outside Saudi Arabia and China.

Earlier this year, doubt was cast on the conviction of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was was put to death in 2004 after being convicted of starting a fire in 1991 that killed his three daughters. Several experts have claimed that he was completely innocent and that prosecutors obscured crucial evidence.

An official report into Willingham's case by the Texas Forensic Science Commission will not be completed until next year. Its release was delayed by the current Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who last October removed three members of the panel that is writing the report and replaced them with people thought to be more supportive of capital punishment.

Miscarriages Of Justice?

Cameron Todd Willingham

In February 2004, the unemployed car mechanic was given a lethal injection in Texas for the murder of his three young daughters in an arson attack in 1991. He protested his innocence until his death. Expert fire investigators have since produced reports showing that none of the alleged signs of arson cited at the trial stood up to scrutiny. A final report on the Willingham case is due next year.

Lena Baker

The only woman to die in the US state of Georgia's electric chair, Lena Baker was a black maid executed in 1945 for shooting her white male employer. An all-white jury sentenced Baker to death despite the 44-year-old's claims that her boss had kept her as a slave, raped her and threatened to kill her. In 2005, Georgia's Board of Pardons and Paroles found that Baker should have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and granted her a pardon.

Derek Bentley

The 19-year-old was hanged in 1952 for his part in the murder of Pc Sidney Miles during a bungled break-in at a Surrey warehouse. Bentley's sister campaigned to clear his name, claiming he had learning difficulties. In 1998, the Court of Appeal found that the original trial judge had been biased against the defendants and that scientific evidence showed the police officers who testified against Bentley had lied under oath.

Marinus van der Lubbe

Scapegoat for one of the defining moments of 20th-century history, the 24-year-old Dutch bricklayer was beheaded for setting fire to the Reichstag in Germany in 1933. He was pardoned 75 years later. Hitler used the arson to suspend civil liberties and establish a dictatorship. Much debate has surrounded the subject of Van der Lubbe's guilt. Lawyers finally achieved a symbolic pardon in 2008, citing legislation based on the idea that Nazi law "went against the basic ideas of justice".

George Kelly

Kelly was hanged in 1950 after one of Liverpool's most famous murder trials. Some 65,000 people were questioned after a cinema manager and his cashier were shot in a botched robbery while an audience enjoyed a thriller. Kelly was tried alongside Charles Connolly, who pleaded guilty to lesser charges to save his own life, although both maintained that neither committed murder. In 2003, appeal judges ruled that the evidence had been circumstantial and Kelly's verdict had been "unsafe".

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4) PLEASE POST AND DISTRIBUTE WIDELY:
West Coast Report:
RALLIES, FILM SHOWINGS DEFEND
MUMIA'S RIGHT TO BE FREE!
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610
510 763-2347 • www.laboractionmumia.org

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an innocent man on death row. Yet the State of Pennsylvania, and the federal government, still want to "legally" kill him. This is shown by the US Supreme Court, which in April 2009 rejected Mumia's appeal without comment, despite mountains of evidence of his innocence. (More info below.)

Now, on November 9th 2010, a hearing has been held on the question of Mumia's sentence: death, or life in prison without the possibility of parole. We don't know the outcome in the Third Circuit Court--the judges will take their sweet time with that.

What we know is: MUMIA IS INNOCENT!
MUMIA NEEDS TO BE FREE, RIGHT NOW!

OAKLAND: 150 people rallied at Noon at 14th and Broadway on a work day--Nov 9th--to demand: MUMIA IS INNOCENT! FREE MUMIA! END THE RACIST DEATH PENALTY!

Chants of "An Injury To One Is An Injury To All, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal," rang out on the sidewalk below Oakland's ornate City Hall, as Jack Heyman, executive Board member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, served as chair of the picket and rally. ILWU Local 10 members like Heyman were fresh from their local's recent Bay Area port shutdown to honor Oscar Grant, the young black man shot down in cold blood by BART cop Johannes Mehserle in 2009.

Called by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and supported by numerous local organizations, the spirited picket and rally in Oakland's downtown on the court date, Nov 9th, sent a message of solidarity to our East Coast friends and comrades who went to Philadelphia to demonstrate at the Third Circuit Court itself: Mumia Must Be Free!

Speakers at the Oakland picket and rally included Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC) Minister of Information, and Block Report Radio journalist, JR; former Black Panther and radio commentator Kiilu Nyasha; Peace and Freedom Party representative Marsha Feinland; and ANSWER Coalition representative Forest Schmidt. Also represented were Radical Women/Freedom Socialist Party; Revolution Clubs; and the Partisan Defense Committee (PDC), the first left organization to publicize and promote Mumia's case.

Supporters of the rally also included the Black Student Union of Laney College, and the BSU of San Francisco State University.

The Labor Action Committee spokesperson emphasized our lack of confidence in the courts or in the Obama administration to free Mumia. We need mass and labor actions now!

SAN FRANCISCO: An indoor rally later that same day featured a showing of the new film on Mumia, "JUSTICE ON TRIAL, the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal." This film, produced by Educators For Mumia and Big Noise Films, tells the truth about Mumia. This event, held at Centro del Pueblo in SF's Mission District, and sponsored by the Mobilization To Free Mumia, was attended by about 50 people. Speakers included Hans Bennett of Abu-Jamal News and Journalists for Mumia; Jeff Mackler of the Mobilization; and Sally Goldin, daughter of Mumia's literary agent, Frances Goldin, who relayed her mother's report on the debate on Mumia's case that was held in Philadelphia on the night before the court hearing. Bottom line: the pro-Mumia side, led by "Justice" filmmaker Johanna Fernandez and lawyer Michael Coard slaughtered the anti-Mumia opposition!

Now we have to get the word out more widely, which leads us to:

SHOWINGS OF JUSTICE ON TRIAL:

Successful West Coast showings of the film so far have included:

The West Coast Premier of this important film, sponsored by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, at the Humanist Hall in Oakland on October 24th, took in over $400 to support the filmmakers and Mumia's legal defense.

Showings have also taken place in a class at Laney College, and at SF State University.

FUTURE SHOWINGS OF JUSTICE ON TRIAL:

SAN FRANCISCO, 7 PM, SATURDAY DECEMBER 4TH : Come to the Twin Space, 2111 Mission St, San Francisco. Sponsor: Minister of Information JR. Info: 415 504-5289

BERKELEY, 7 PM THURSDAY DECEMBER 16TH: At the Berkeley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1924 Cedar at Bonita. Info: 510 841-4824.

Future showings are also planned in San Jose, at another Laney class, and at UC Berkeley. Please look for more details on these showings.

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN -- SHOW THE FILM!

You and/or your organization can easily organize a house party, classroom, or auditorium showing of this important film, JUSTICE ON TRIAL.

For a film showing with speaker,

1. Contact the Labor Action Committee at: 510 763-2347, or 510 595-7811, or

2. Contact POCC Minister of Information JR, at 415 504-5289.

Keep up the struggle!
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More Information On Mumia's Case:

MUMIA THREATENED WITH DEATH BY THE COURTS...

Why is this happening?

Targeted by the FBI's infamous COINTELPRO counter-intelligence and disruption program since the age of 15, and more recently by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Mumia Abu-Jamal is seen as an enemy of the state. His innocence is considered irrelevant, and in US courts, following recent rulings, innocence is no defense.

The US Supreme Court has already thrown out, without comment, Mumia's last appeal against his frame-up conviction before a racist judge in a blatantly unfair trial in 1982. This rejection meant the Supreme Court had to ignore mountains of evidence of Mumia's innocence, such as the recantations of key prosecution "witnesses" who didn't really see anything, other witnesses who said Mumia didn't do it, and the fact that another man (Arnold Beverly) confessed to the crime.

The Supreme Court Ignored Precedent As Well As Evidence...

In order to slam the door on Mumia's last appeal, the Supreme Court also had to ignore key precedents such as its own ruling in Batson v Kentucky, which was supposed to prevent racism in jury selection. Racist exclusion of blacks from the jury was rampant in Mumia's case--this alone should have been enough to overturn his conviction!

Now, on November 9th 2010, the Third Circuit Court has heard oral arguments to decide between removing the stay on Mumia's death sentence, or ordering a new hearing in state court which would rule on a new death sentence, or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Although such a hearing would be before a jury, and while the defense can attempt to present evidence of innocence, the only two possible outcomes are death, or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Reinstatement of Mumia's Death Sentence Is Likely...

The outcome of the November 9th hearing will not be known until the judges issue a ruling. But the US Supreme Court has instructed the Third Circuit to rule in light of another case, which, conveniently for Mumia's opponents, weakens the precedent which led to Mumia's death sentence being put on hold in the first place, by a federal judge ten years ago.

The Supreme Court has in effect pre-arranged the Nov 9th hearing to make an immediate reinstatement of Mumia's death sentence the likely outcome.

We can have no confidence in the corrupt, racist US legal system to resolve this, because the cops, courts and key politicians are all involved up to their ears in Mumia's frame-up! This includes the current governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, as well as the Obama administration and its attorney general, Eric Holder.

We need mass actions, and labor actions, to say:

MUMIA IS INNOCENT! FREE MUMIA!
END THE RACIST DEATH PENALTY!

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5) What We Learned From WikiLeaks
Jonathan Schell
November 10, 2010
This article appeared in the November 29, 2010 edition of The Nation.
http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/369-wikileaks/3940-what-we-learned-from-wikileaks

The Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning, 22, now in a military detention center charged with having leaked classified documents related to the Iraq War, once explained why he was contemplating his deed. (He is additionally suspected of having leaked the 390,000 documents made public by the whistleblowing solicitor WikiLeaks, but he has not been charged with this.) Manning was not yet in prison or in the media spotlight. He was artlessly and recklessly chatting online to a blogger, Adrian Lamo, who eventually turned him in. Lamo wanted to know why Manning didn't cash in by giving the documents to a foreign power, such as China or Russia. Because "it belongs in the public domain," Manning replied. "Information should be free...because another state would just take advantage of the information...try and get some edge.... It should be a public good."

Manning's breaking point had come when he witnessed the arrest by the Iraqi police of fifteen people for printing "anti-Iraqi literature." He looked the documents over and found them to consist merely of "a scholarly critique" of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. He reported the finding to his American superior, who dismissed it and told him to busy himself looking for more people to detain.

As an intelligence officer with access to secret reports, Manning knew well what happened to detainees in Iraqi custody. They were commonly tortured. A typical example of a report by an American soldier reads:

{AT 191400C OCT___IN___(ZONE___) IVO___NPTT___THAT-___BDE SPTT-___BDE SPTT CONDUCTED A ROUTINE INSPECTION OF THE -___ [WOLF] BDE DETENTION FACILITY AND IDENTIFIED ONE PROBABLE CASE OF DETAINEE ABUSE. THE ALLEGED BEATING TOOK PLACE UNDER INTERROGATION AT THE--___HQ ON THE EVENING OF ___OCT___. THE DETAINEE WAS BLINDFOLDED AND IS UNABLE TO IDENTIFY THE OFFENDERS. THE DETAINEE CLAIMED HE WAS BEATEN ABOUT THE FEET AND LEGS WITH A BLUNT OBJECT, AND PUNCHED IN THE FACE AND___. HE CLAIMED THAT ELECTRICITY WAS USED ON HIS FEET AND GENITALS, AND HE WAS ALSO [SODOMIZED] WITH A WATER BOTTLE. --___PERSONNEL CLAIMED IT WAS CAUSED BY THE DETAINEE FALLING FROM HIS MOTORCYCLE WHILE HE WAS BEING CHASED BY THE___. THE DETAINEE DISPLAYED GREAT DIFFICULTY WALKING WITH BRUISING AND SWELLING ON THE SOLES OF BOTH FEET. THE DETAINEE HAD LOCALIZED CUTS AND BRUISING ON BOTH LEGS (PRIMARILY THE LEFT), THE LEFT ARM, AND THE LEFT CHIN. THERE WERE NO INJURIES VISIBLE ON THE DETAINEE E___HANDS, UPPER ARMS, TORSO, UPPER LEGS, OR BUTTOCKS. HIS CLOTHING WAS NOT RIPPED OR DAMAGED, BUT DID DISPLAY BLOOD STAINS.

No intervention was attempted by the United States in such cases. The military's Fragmentary Order 242, known as FRAGO 242, dictated that if coalition forces were not involved, no further action was to be taken: "only an initial report will be made.... No further investigation will be required unless directed by HQ." FRAGO 242 is repeatedly cited by military reporters as the reason for doing nothing.

Sometimes, indeed, American or other coalition soldiers threatened Iraqi prisoners with the torture or execution that would befall them if they were turned over to their Iraqi compatriots. One unit created in these years was the Iraqi Wolf Brigade, an elite outfit set up to terrorize insurgents, perhaps in imitation of the death squads that had operated with US connivance in El Salvador in the 1980s. One report describes a threat by an American to turn an Iraqi prisoner over to the battalion:

DURING THE INTERROGATION PROCESS THE ___ THREATENED THE SUBJECT DETAINEE THAT HE WOULD NEVER SEE HIS FAMILY AGAIN AND WOULD BE SENT TO THE WOLF BATTALION WHERE HE WOULD BE SUBJECT TO ALL THE PAIN AND AGONY THAT THE WOLF BATTALION IS KNOWN TO EXACT UPON ITS DETAINEES [December 14, 2005].

At this time in Iraq, executed victims were being found in the streets with electric-drill holes in their bodies.

American forces were thus routinely handing over Iraqi suspects to Iraqi forces who routinely tortured them, and then nothing further was done. This proceeding did not constitute abuse of some other, better system that provided the rule; it was the system-a torture system. Elsewhere in the "war on terror," "extraordinary rendition"-the practice of sending prisoners to foreign countries to be tortured-required long flights on CIA Gulfstream jets. In Iraq it was a matter of walking across the street. In the days leading up to the war, of course, the United States frequently cited the Saddam Hussein regime's practice of torture as a reason for invading. Now America's own client regime was engaging in widespread torture.

Faced with this particular and general knowledge, Manning felt "helpless," he told Lamo. "That was a point where I was...actively involved in something that I was completely against." In sum, Manning found himself in the classic, excruciating dilemma of the decent person enmeshed in an abhorrent system, not as a victim but as a perpetrator. By following the rules, he would be an accomplice of torture. Only by breaking them could he extricate himself.

Julian Assange, the nomadic cyber rebel who leads WikiLeaks, was not himself a cog in the machine, but he was of like mind with Manning in regard to individual responsibility. Before he got into the business of disclosing the dirty secrets of governments and corporations, he reflected in an essay, "Every time we witness an act that we feel to be unjust and do not act we become a party to injustice," adding, "Those who are repeatedly passive in the face of injustice soon find their character corroded into servility." In his own way, he, too, acted. In July WikiLeaks released more than 70,000 secret documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan, and then came the documentary tsunami from Iraq, which may have, in Assange's words, "constituted the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record."

Assange is not in prison-on the contrary, this tall, white-haired, disciplined, well-spoken and somehow unearthly information guerrilla shows up regularly on television, where he performs with a kind of high-minded, cool scrappiness. But his organization has been cloudily but menacingly designated a "threat to the U.S. Army" in a classified Army document (also published by WikiLeaks), and he is a man on the run, moving from nation to nation in search of safety from possible legal jeopardy. (Assange is under investigation for sexual misconduct in Sweden but has denied all accusations.)

Among the flood of Afghan war documents there happens to be a report on one more instance of a man who, finding himself threatened with participation in the evil-doing of a malignant system, opted to withdraw. In Balkh province, a little more than a year ago, the report disclosed, Afghan police officers were beating and otherwise abusing civilians for their lack of cooperation. The police commander then sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. When a civilian protested, the report stated, "The district commander ordered his bodyguard to open fire on the AC [Afghan civilian]. The bodyguard refused, at which time the district commander shot [the bodyguard] in front of the AC." At the time these documents came out, the official reaction to them, echoed widely in the media, was that they disclosed "nothing new." But let us pause to absorb this story. A police officer, unwilling, at the risk of his own life, to be a murderer, is himself murdered by his superior. He gives his life to spare the other person, possibly a stranger. It is the highest sacrifice that can be made.

The man's identity is unrecorded. His story is met with a yawn. But perhaps one day, when there is peace in Afghanistan, a monument will be erected in his honor there and schoolchildren will be taught his name. Perhaps here in the United States, when the country has found its moral bearings again, there will be recognition of the integrity and bravery of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. For now, the war- and torture-system rolls on, and it's all found to be "nothing new."

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6) Nazis Were Given 'Safe Haven' in U.S., Report Says
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
November 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/us/14nazis.html?hp

WASHINGTON - A secret history of the United States government's Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a "safe haven" in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad.

The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.

It describes the government's posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official's drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government's mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible.

The report catalogs both the successes and failures of the band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis.

Perhaps the report's most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency's involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.'s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.

The Justice Department report, describing what it calls "the government's collaboration with persecutors," says that O.S.I investigators learned that some of the Nazis "were indeed knowingly granted entry" to the United States, even though government officials were aware of their pasts. "America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became - in some small measure - a safe haven for persecutors as well," it said.

The report also documents divisions within the government over the effort and the legal pitfalls in relying on testimony from Holocaust survivors that was decades old. The report also concluded that the number of Nazis who made it into the United States was almost certainly much smaller than 10,000, the figure widely cited by government officials.

The Justice Department has resisted making the report public since 2006. Under the threat of a lawsuit, it turned over a heavily redacted version last month to a private research group, the National Security Archive, but even then many of the most legally and diplomatically sensitive portions were omitted. A complete version was obtained by The New York Times.

The Justice Department said the report, the product of six years of work, was never formally completed and did not represent its official findings. It cited "numerous factual errors and omissions," but declined to say what they were.

More than 300 Nazi persecutors have been deported, stripped of citizenship or blocked from entering the United States since the creation of the O.S.I., which was merged with another unit this year.

In chronicling the cases of Nazis who were aided by American intelligence officials, the report cites help that C.I.A. officials provided in 1954 to Otto Von Bolschwing, an associate of Adolf Eichmann who had helped develop the initial plans "to purge Germany of the Jews" and who later worked for the C.I.A. in the United States. In a chain of memos, C.I.A. officials debated what to do if Von Bolschwing were confronted about his past - whether to deny any Nazi affiliation or "explain it away on the basis of extenuating circumstances," the report said.

The Justice Department, after learning of Von Bolschwing's Nazi ties, sought to deport him in 1981. He died that year at age 72.

The report also examines the case of Arthur L. Rudolph, a Nazi scientist who ran the Mittelwerk munitions factory. He was brought to the United States in 1945 for his rocket-making expertise under Operation Paperclip, an American program that recruited scientists who had worked in Nazi Germany. (Rudolph has been honored by NASA and is credited as the father of the Saturn V rocket.)

The report cites a 1949 memo from the Justice Department's No. 2 official urging immigration officers to let Rudolph back in the country after a stay in Mexico, saying that a failure to do so "would be to the detriment of the national interest."

Justice Department investigators later found evidence that Rudolph was much more actively involved in exploiting slave laborers at Mittelwerk than he or American intelligence officials had acknowledged, the report says.

Some intelligence officials objected when the Justice Department sought to deport him in 1983, but the O.S.I. considered the deportation of someone of Rudolph's prominence as an affirmation of "the depth of the government's commitment to the Nazi prosecution program," according to internal memos.

The Justice Department itself sometimes concealed what American officials knew about Nazis in this country, the report found.

In 1980, prosecutors filed a motion that "misstated the facts" in asserting that checks of C.I.A. and F.B.I. records revealed no information on the Nazi past of Tscherim Soobzokov, a former Waffen SS soldier. In fact, the report said, the Justice Department "knew that Soobzokov had advised the C.I.A. of his SS connection after he arrived in the United States."

(After the case was dismissed, radical Jewish groups urged violence against Mr. Soobzokov, and he was killed in 1985 by a bomb at his home in Paterson, N.J. )

The secrecy surrounding the Justice Department's handling of the report could pose a political dilemma for President Obama because of his pledge to run the most transparent administration in history. Mr. Obama chose the Justice Department to coordinate the opening of government records.

The Nazi-hunting report was the brainchild of Mark Richard, a senior Justice Department lawyer. In 1999, he persuaded Attorney General Janet Reno to begin a detailed look at what he saw as a critical piece of history, and he assigned a career prosecutor, Judith Feigin, to the job. After Mr. Richard edited the final version in 2006, he urged senior officials to make it public but was rebuffed, colleagues said.

When Mr. Richard became ill with cancer, he told a gathering of friends and family that the report's publication was one of three things he hoped to see before he died, the colleagues said. He died in June 2009, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke at his funeral.

"I spoke to him the week before he died, and he was still trying to get it released," Ms. Feigin said. "It broke his heart."

After Mr. Richard's death, David Sobel, a Washington lawyer, and the National Security Archive sued for the report's release under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Justice Department initially fought the lawsuit, but finally gave Mr. Sobel a partial copy - with more than 1,000 passages and references deleted based on exemptions for privacy and internal deliberations.

Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the department is committed to transparency, and that redactions are made by experienced lawyers.

The full report disclosed that the Justice Department found "a smoking gun" in 1997 establishing with "definitive proof" that Switzerland had bought gold from the Nazis that had been taken from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. But these references are deleted, as are disputes between the Justice and State Departments over Switzerland's culpability in the months leading up to a major report on the issue.

Another section describes as "a hideous failure" a series of meetings in 2000 that United States officials held with Latvian officials to pressure them to pursue suspected Nazis. That passage is also deleted.

So too are references to macabre but little-known bits of history, including how a director of the O.S.I. kept a piece of scalp that was thought to belong to Dr. Mengele in his desk in hopes that it would help establish whether he was dead.

The chapter on Dr. Mengele, one of the most notorious Nazis to escape prosecution, details the O.S.I.'s elaborate efforts in the mid-1980s to determine whether he had fled to the United States and might still be alive.

It describes how investigators used letters and diaries apparently written by Dr. Mengele in the 1970s, along with German dental records and Munich phone books, to follow his trail.

After the development of DNA tests, the piece of scalp, which had been turned over by the Brazilian authorities, proved to be a critical piece of evidence in establishing that Dr. Mengele had fled to Brazil and had died there in about 1979 without ever entering the United States, the report said. The edited report deletes references to Dr. Mengele's scalp on privacy grounds.

Even documents that have long been available to the public are omitted, including court decisions, Congressional testimony and front-page newspaper articles from the 1970s.

A chapter on the O.S.I.'s most publicized failure - the case against John Demjanjuk, a retired American autoworker who was mistakenly identified as Treblinka's Ivan the Terrible - deletes dozens of details, including part of a 1993 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that raised ethics accusations against Justice Department officials.

That section also omits a passage disclosing that Latvian émigrés sympathetic to Mr. Demjanjuk secretly arranged for the O.S.I.'s trash to be delivered to them each day from 1985 to 1987. The émigrés rifled through the garbage to find classified documents that could help Mr. Demjanjuk, who is currently standing trial in Munich on separate war crimes charges.

Ms. Feigin said she was baffled by the Justice Department's attempt to keep a central part of its history secret for so long. "It's an amazing story," she said, "that needs to be told."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 14, 2010

An earlier version misspelled the given name of Adolf Eichmann as Adolph.

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7) San Francisco School Administrators Schemed to Take Money, Documents Say
By TREY BUNDY
November 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/us/14bcstudents.html?ref=education

A group of San Francisco Unified School District administrators, including an associate superintendent, engaged in a long-running scheme to funnel district money into their personal bank accounts via nonprofit community organizations, according to internal documents.

The administrators worked out of the Student Support Services Department, which partners with community organizations to provide thousands of San Francisco students with health education, substance abuse counseling, violence prevention, after-school activities and other services.

The scandal has stunned San Francisco educators and thrown Student Support Services into turmoil at a time when the district faces a $113 million deficit. Some vital student services have been threatened as investigators comb through millions of dollars of transactions dating back at least four years.

Documents obtained by The Bay Citizen under a California Public Records Act request show that administrators directed money from community organizations into their own pockets. Some also fabricated overtime reports and falsified signatures on district contracts. The records also include copies of checks and invoices, suspension and termination notices and contracts bearing signatures that the district says were falsified.

"It was a system developed by a small group of individuals operating outside of the budget and finance department," said Deputy Superintendent Richard Carranza, who participated in the district's investigation.

The documents, many redacted, show evidence of transactions totaling tens of thousands of dollars and possibly more.

In an interview, Mr. Carranza said the district opened the investigation in June after a community organization raised questions to him about irregular accounting practices. The San Francisco district attorney's office is conducting a separate investigation, according to Mr. Carranza and others familiar with the inquiry. A spokesman for that office declined to comment.

The district's investigation is focused on Associate Superintendent Trish Bascom, who is the former head of Student Support Services, and four of her co-workers. For years, until she retired in June, Ms. Bascom had primary control over money distributed to community organizations that were hired to provide services for the district. The department's annual budget is nearly $20 million.

The documents show that community organizations under contract to the district made payments directly to individual Student Support Services administrators. Mr. Carranza said such payments violated district regulations. Ms. Bascom's lawyer, Stuart Hanlon, confirmed that Ms. Bascom had approved the payments, but he said the transactions conformed to district regulations. Mr. Hanlon said the payments were bonuses approved by Ms. Bascom to make up for salary cuts.

"If they want to call it stealing, they can," he said. "I would call the district incompetent. It wasn't stealing. It was paying people bonuses for hard work."

Kevin Truitt, who succeeded Ms. Bascom, said investigators seized computers and documents shortly after he arrived at the end of June. The seizures, along with the removal of key department officials, forced Mr. Truitt and his staff to scramble to put programs in place.

"I'm not privy to the documents or computer files pertaining to the department I now run," Mr. Truitt said in an interview.

The scandal has made it difficult for Student Support Services administrators to track financing for programs, according to one district official.

In an e-mail, Mr. Carranza wrote that Student Support Services programs "are being fully funded. We are committed to ensuring that our students are not penalized for the actions of a few individuals."

In addition to Ms. Bascom, other administrators under investigation by the district include Meyla Ruwin, the department's senior executive director; Betty Wong, Ms. Bascom's assistant; and two of Ms. Bascom's administrative analysts, Linda Lovelace and Lilian Capuli, according to Mr. Carranza and documents.

Ms. Lovelace was fired in September, documents show, and she declined to comment for this article. Ms. Ruwin and Ms. Wong were placed on administrative leave, Mr. Carranza said. Neither could be reached for comment. Ms. Capuli received a termination notice on Sept. 7 but has requested a hearing to dispute the accusations, Tyler Paetkau, her lawyer, said.

Mr. Paetkau, in a letter to the school district, said district officials were using Ms. Capuli as a scapegoat. "Ms. Capuli simply followed the directives given by her superiors," the letter said.

In an August letter informing Ms. Lovelace of her dismissal, the district accused her of supplementing her $83,000 salary with $26,126.64 in unauthorized district money during the 2009-10 school year. According to the district and invoices, the money was paid to Ms. Lovelace by Bay Area Community Resources, a Marin County organization that operates after-school programs for San Francisco students.

Officials with Bay Area Community Resources could not be reached for comment. It is not known whether the group, or any other community organizations, are under investigation.

Ms. Lovelace was in charge of administering contracts between the school district and Bay Area Community Resources. According to her termination letter, she signed contracts on behalf of officials who had not given her authorization and submitted false claims that she had worked 12-hour days during the school year.

"Your conduct in intentionally requesting and receiving an additional four hours of compensation every single day is tantamount to stealing," stated the dismissal notice, which was written by Roger Buschmann, the chief administrative officer. "Particularly at a time when the district faces a multimillion-dollar deficit and forced layoffs of many skilled and diligent professionals, such conduct is appalling."

Last May, documents show, Ms. Lovelace received a check for $40,000 from Edgewood Center for Children and Families, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides mental health, violence prevention and teacher coaching services to the district. The termination letter alleged that Ms. Lovelace had gotten money from Edgewood "for which you knew you had not provided services."

Jeff Davis, the Edgewood chief executive, declined to discuss details of the transaction except to say that all transactions involving the company had been authorized by the school district. Mr. Davis said Edgewood was cooperating with authorities.

"Edgewood could make a payment on full authorization without knowing if the money was later misused," Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Carranza, the deputy superintendent, said the Edgewood payments had "absolutely not" been authorized by the district.

In May, Edgewood issued a $15,000 check to Ms. Capuli, the administrative analysts, according to the documents.

In a letter to Ms. Capuli, the district said the $15,000 payment appeared related to her approval of a $1,092.34 expense reimbursement to Ms. Bascom. It said there was no evidence Ms. Bascom had incurred the expense.

"At the very least, your approval of this invoice without making any effort to evaluate the accuracy of the receipts being submitted is negligent," the letter to Ms. Capuli said. "At worst, it seems to involve a quid pro quo, in which you were approving payment of district funds to Ms. Bascom on an improper submission in return for her approval of the $15,000 Edgewood payment to you."

Mr. Paetkau, Ms. Capuli's lawyer, denied the accusation.

Mr. Hanlon, Ms. Bascom's lawyer, called it "totally false."

tbundy@baycitizen.org
Jennifer Gollan contributed reporting. jgollan@baycitizen.org

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8) None flew over the cuckoo's nest: A world without birds
Could we be facing a future without birds? Our reliance on pesticides has cut a swathe through their numbers. We must act now, argues Kate Ravilious
Monday, 15 November 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/none-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-a-world-without-birds-2134031.html


Scanning the sky with his binoculars, he searches carefully for any sign of movement: the steady beat of a blackbird's wings, the fluttering of a flock of starlings. It has been a week now since he saw the starlings: just four of them flitting from tree to tree, feasting on the autumn berries.

Birds are a real rarity these days. In his boyhood, he recalls, he would watch the acrobatics of entire flocks as they ducked and dived after insects. But now the skies are silent, barring the hum of the odd airplane. Turning back to his fruit and vegetable patch, he continues the laborious task of pollinating the raspberry plants by hand, gently brushing pollen onto the slender stigmas inside the flowers. In the past, bees, wasps, butterflies and flies would have done this job for him; nowadays such insects are likewise a rarity. Farmers instead resort to robot bees to pollinate their crops: tiny motors, encased in fuzzy fabric, which hover from flower to flower.

Will this bleak outlook be a reality for future generations? It is nearly 50 years since Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, the book that warned of environmental damage the pesticide DDT was causing. Today, DDT use is banned except in exceptional circumstances, yet we still don't seem to have taken on board Carson's fundamental message.

According to Henk Tennekes, a researcher at the Experimental Toxicology Services in Zutphen, the Netherlands, the threat of DDT has been superseded by a relatively new class of insecticide, known as the neonicotinoids. In his book The Systemic Insecticides: A Disaster in the Making, published this month, Tennekes draws all the evidence together, to make the case that neonicotinoids are causing a catastrophe in the insect world, which is having a knock-on effect for many of our birds.

Already, in many areas, the skies are much quieter than they used to be. All over Europe, many species of bird have suffered a population crash. Spotting a house sparrow, common swift or a flock of starlings used to be unremarkable, but today they are a more of an unusual sight. Since 1977, Britain's house-sparrow population has shrunk by 68 per cent.

The common swift has suffered a 41 per cent fall in numbers since 1994, and the starling 26 per cent. The story is similar for woodland birds (such as the spotted flycatcher, willow tit and wood warbler), and farmland birds (including the northern lapwing, snipe, curlew, redshank and song thrush).

Ornithologists have been trying desperately to work out what is behind these rapid declines. Urban development, hermetically sealed houses and barns, designer gardens and changing farming practices have all been blamed, but exactly why these birds have fallen from the skies is still largely unexplained.

However, Tennekes thinks there may be a simple reason. "The evidence shows that the bird species suffering massive decline since the 1990s rely on insects for their diet," he says. He believes that the insect world is no longer thriving, and that birds that feed on insects are short on food.

So what has happened to all the insects? In the Nineties, a new class of insecticide - the neonicotinoids - was introduced. Beekeepers were the first people to notice a problem, as their bees began to desert their hives and die, a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

The first cases were in France in 1994, but the epidemic quickly fanned out across Europe, and by 2006 CCD reached the US too. Between 2006 and 2009 one third of American beekeepers reported cases of colony collapse. Aside from the loss of revenue in honey sales, this is worrying news because honey bees are one of the world's most important pollinators, and 35 per cent of agricultural crops rely on pollinators.

As a service, pollination is worth an estimated £440m a year to the UK economy and a staggering $15bn (£9.3bn) to US farmers. And it isn't just the Western world that is affected: in China the lack of bees has become so serious that farmers in some regions are already resorting to pollinating their crops by hand.

Controversy has swirled around the issue, with everything from mobile phones to GM crops being held to blame. The key contenders include parasites, viral and fungal infections, and insecticides.

Last month the problem appeared to have been cracked, when a group of US scientists published a paper in the online journal PLoS One which indicated that CCD was caused by the interaction between a virus, the invertebrate iridescent virus, and a fungus known as Nosema apis (http://ind.pn/9NKzPD).

But since then it has emerged that the study's lead author, Jerry Bromenshenk, has in recent years received a research grant from Bayer Crop Science (a leading manufacturer of neonicotinoid insecticides) to study bee pollination. Bromenshenk has, however, said that no Bayer funds were used in the earlier study. Jeroen van der Sluijs, of the Netherlands' Utrecht University, doesn't doubt Bromenshenk's findings, but says they don't address the key issue: "Previous research has shown that exposure to neonicotinoids makes colonies more prone to the Nosema fungus and virus infections."

If that is so, then neonicotinoid insecticides could be the root cause of the problem. But why are they so much worse than other insecticides?

"Neonicotinoids are revolutionary because they are put inside seeds and permeate the whole plant because they are water-soluble (which is why they are called systemic insecticides). Any insect that feeds on the crop dies," explains Tennekes.

Even small doses can kill. Recent research, carried out on honey bees in the lab, showed that these insecticides build up in the central nervous system of the insect, so that very small doses over a long time period can have a fatal effect. The reason that neonicotinoids can have such a powerful long-term effect is down to the way they work - binding irreversibly to receptors in the central nervous systems of insects.

"An insect has a limited amount of such receptors. The damage is cumulative: with every exposure, more receptors are blocked, until the damage is so big that the insect cannot function any more and dies," explains van der Sluijs.

And unfortunately the robust nature of neonicotinoids means that they can travel far beyond the crops they were used to treat. "Neonicotinoids are water-soluble and mobile in soil. They can be washed out of soils and into surface and groundwater - as we've seen in the Netherlands since 2004. As a result, neonicotinoids are probably readily taken up by wild plants as well, and in this way spread throughout nature, causing irreversible damage to non-target insects," says Tennekes.

Many scientists now agree that there is strong evidence to suggest that neonicotinoid insecticides are damaging to bees. But what about the other insects? Are they being poisoned in the same way? "It is very difficult to prove, but I believe that most insects will have declined since the introduction of neonicotinoids in the 1990s. The problem is that we are not really interested in insects, apart from bees (because we need them) and butterflies (because they are pretty). However, the few insect species that we monitor closely indicate massive decline," says Tennekes.

A new PhD thesis goes some way to backing up Tennekes's claim. This year, Tessa van Dijk at Utrecht University demonstrated a strong link between increased pollution levels and a reduced presence of insects, and especially flying insects, in regions of the Netherlands where residues of neonicotinoids are high.

Others agree that Tennekes may be onto something. "It is a plausible theory that birds that feed on insects, or that feed their chicks on insects only, will suffer from insect decline. But much more data are needed to understand how big the role of neonicotinoids is," says van der Sluijs.

Nigel Raine, a bee expert from Royal Holloway, University of London, concurs. "There is not yet enough evidence to show that neonicotinoid insecticides are environmentally safe in the longer term. But if it can be proved that they are causing a decline in insects, it is reasonable to assume a link to a decline in the bird species that eat insects."

Some argue, however, that the story is unlikely to be so simple. "Bird decline started before neonicotinoids hit the scene. Like so many things, the decline of bird populations is almost certainly multifactorial, involving pesticides, habitat loss and many other variables," says Gard Otis, an entomologist at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Nonetheless, some countries have already begun to take action. In 2008 the German, Italian and Slovenian authorities imposed a ban on the use of two types of neonicotinoid insecticides on maize. Meanwhile France has had a ban in place since 1999, on a neonicotinoid insecticide used to dress sunflower seeds.

But for Tennekes the only solution is a global ban. "Neonicotinoids act like chemical carcinogens, for which there are no safe levels of exposure. The message is that we must act quickly and ban these compounds, to avoid a catastrophe," he says.

www.disasterinthemaking.com

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9) Europe Fears That Debt Crisis Is Ready to Spread
By LANDON THOMAS Jr. and JAMES KANTER
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/business/global/16euro.html?ref=world

LONDON - European officials, increasingly concerned that the Continent's debt crisis will spread, are warning that any new rescue plans may need to cover Portugal as well as Ireland to contain the problem they tried to resolve six months ago.

Any such plan would have to be preceded by a formal request for assistance from each country before it would be put in place. And for months now, Ireland has insisted that it has enough funds to keep it going until spring. Portugal says it, too, needs no help and emphasizes that it is in a stronger position than Ireland.

While some important details are different, the current situation feels eerily similar to what happened months ago in Greece, where the cost of borrowing rose precipitously.

European authorities stepped in with a rescue package, expecting an economic recovery and the creation of new European rescue funds to fend off future panics by bond investors whose money is needed by countries to refinance their debt.

But with economic conditions weakening, markets are once again in turmoil. Rescuing Ireland may no longer be enough.

Stronger countries and weaker countries using the common currency of the euro are being pulled in different directions.

Some economists wonder if unity will hold or if some new system that allows countries to move on one of two parallel financial tracks is needed.

Despite the insistence of Irish officials that only its banks need additional help, investors continue to bet on an Irish rescue, driving down the bond yields on that country's debt against a benchmark again on Monday.

Portugal's yields increased to 6.7 percent, underscoring the emerging concern in Brussels, the administrative center of the European Union, that it would be irresponsible to adopt a plan to prop up Ireland without addressing the possibility that turmoil could ultimately engulf Portugal, or even Spain. Like Ireland, Portugal has struggled to grow under the fixed currency regime of the euro. Though Portugal has raised enough funds of late from bond markets, its budget deficit is 9 percent of its gross domestic product, much higher than the 3 percent limit for countries in the euro zone. With its weak government and slow growth, investors have grown fearful that Portugal, too, will eventually run out of funds.

While Ireland has largely impressed European officials with its commitment to austerity, Portugal has been lagging in this regard, according to European officials. One official in Europe, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said that the budget recently presented by the government in Lisbon did not contain the type of far-reaching changes proposed by other countries, like Spain.

"If Ireland were to ask for aid, then you'd have to look at what's going on in Portugal as well," the official said, putting forward a view rescuing Ireland alone would not keep speculators from other vulnerable countries.

José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said on Monday that Ireland had not requested aid. "We have all the instruments to address the problems that may come either in the euro area or outside the euro area," he told reporters in Brussels.

The Portuguese finance minister, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, said Monday evening in Brussels that the situation in Ireland was creating dangers for all countries using the euro.

"If things are getting worse in Ireland, for instance, that will have a contagion impact on the other euro zone economies and particularly on those that are under closer scrutiny of markets, like Portugal," he said. Asked if Ireland should accept a bailout to stem the contagion, Mr. Teixeira dos Santos said, "It's not up to me to make that assessment."

Even so, Mr. Teixeira dos Santos emphasized that his country was not preparing to ask for a rescue package.

Mr. Teixeira dos Santos also said his government was preparing a robust budget that would cut wages, freeze pensions and raise taxes. "We are really committed to meet our targets," he said. "I think we deserve that the market gives us the chance to show that."

The bureaucratic machinations in Brussels highlight one of the main concerns that grew out of the establishment earlier this year of a rescue fund of 500 billion euros (about $680 billion at today's exchange rate) by the European Union after the Greek budget crisis: What happens if, in the next crisis, multiple countries need aid at the same time?

Months later, it remains unclear how, in practice, countries like Ireland and Portugal would tap the rescue money.

Of paramount concern to policy makers in Europe is Spain, which is struggling to close its own deficit of 9 percent of G.D.P. at a time when unemployment is more than 20 percent and the economy is failing to grow.

Just as the growing inability to get a precise reading on Ireland's banking losses has propelled the Irish crisis, the extent of Spain's own banking vulnerabilities - which, like Ireland's, originate from a real estate boom and bust - remain unclear.

Until now, a series of austerity measures has allowed Spain to escape investor scrutiny. But late last week the spread, or risk premium, between Spanish and German bonds widened to a record high of 2.3 percentage points, underscoring investor fears.

Worries about the banks have peaked recently in light of data showing that distressed loans are now 5.6 percent of total Spanish bank loans - the highest level since 1996.

In Ireland, banking troubles lie at the root of what many in Europe are now calling a solvency crisis, reflecting long-term concern over Ireland's ability to repay its debts, as opposed to the lack of short-term funds that forced the Greek rescue last spring.

"This policy of saving banks at the cost of breaking the back of entire countries is a disaster," said Daniel Gros, director for the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels. "Ireland is beyond fiscal plans as long as one cannot see the bottom of the losses in the banking sector," he said. The only way to "stop the rot," he added, "would be to let the Irish banks go under" and then use the European funds to "tide over the government until markets and the economy recover."

Ireland is unlikely to let its banks fail, but it has been unable to accurately forecast its banking losses - or say whether bondholders will pay part of the bill.

Irish banking losses are estimated at up to 80 billion euros ($109 billion), depending on the forecast used, or 50 percent of the economy. As long as housing prices continue to fall, these losses cannot be capped.

Landon Thomas Jr. reported from London and James Kanter from Brussels. Stephen Castle contributed reporting from Brussels, Jack Ewing from Frankfurt and Raphael Minder from Geneva.

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10) British Premier Plans Deep Cuts in Aid for Civil Litigants
By JOHN F. BURNS
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/world/europe/16britain.html?ref=world

LONDON - In its latest effort to cut public spending, Prime Minister David Cameron's government took aim on Monday at Britain's system of state-financed legal aid for litigants in civil cases - and, indirectly, at the country's 150,000 lawyers.

Declaring the 60-year-old legal aid system unaffordable, the government set out plans to cut by $560 million the program's current annual cost of $3.4 billion, a figure that has nearly doubled in 10 years. In paying for some or all of the legal costs in two and a half million criminal and civil cases a year, the government spends almost as much as it does on the country's prisons, and about 10 times as much, per capita, as the Netherlands, which has a similarly generous system of state social aid.

"At the moment, no other country in the world has to pay for so much litigation over such a wide variety of areas," said the justice minister, Kenneth Clarke.

While the changes would leave the state's role in financing the defense in criminal cases largely untouched, Mr. Clarke said, the government was concentrating on the costs of state-backed civil litigation and family legal disputes to "discourage people from resorting to lawyers whenever they face a problem."

In setting out the changes in Parliament, where the government will introduce legislation early next year, Mr. Clarke was meeting the government's target of a cut of nearly a quarter in the Justice Ministry's annual budget of nearly $15 billion by 2015. The proposed reductions follow similarly steep cuts that have been announced in recent weeks for defense, higher education and welfare, among other areas, as the government seeks a four-year, $130 billion cut in its annual spending.

As the violence that erupted in central London during student protests last week demonstrated, each new step toward carrying out Britain's harshest austerity measures in decades increases the potential for turbulence of a kind Britain has not experienced since Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's economic overhaul 30 years ago. For Mr. Cameron's Conservatives, the risks are compounded by the fact that many cuts will hit the pocketbooks of middle-class voters who are the Conservatives' political bedrock.

So far, polls indicate that public opinion is backing the spending cuts, with as many as 60 percent of poll respondents saying they accept them as necessary. And in the case of the legal aid cuts, the risks appear to be on a minor scale, at least as judged by the government. Lawyers often show up in opinion surveys as one of Britain's least popular employment groups.

Many lawyers already face falling incomes as a result of the shrinkage of the British economy and of London's scope as an international financial center. Some experts have predicted that as many as 10,000 lawyers could lose their jobs before Britain's economy recovers fully from the recent recession.

Lawyers' groups responded angrily to the proposed cuts. Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, which represents the solicitors who do much of the legal aid work, said the government was "playing fast and loose with the basic principle that our courts and justice system are available to all, irrespective of power or wealth."

A Law Society study released this month suggested that the government, in curbing lawyers' earnings, should aim at the legal profession's top tier here, barristers, who act in most proceedings in the higher courts. The study suggested that the government limit barristers to a maximum of $400,000 a year from legal aid cases. In some widely publicized cases, top barristers have earned more than $1.6 million a year from handling legal aid cases.

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11) 45 Years Later, an Apology and 6 Months
By ROBBIE BROWN
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/us/16fowler.html?ref=us

James Bonard Fowler is 77 now, but in 1965 he was a young Alabama state trooper facing the rising tide of the civil rights movement.

On Monday, at the Perry County Courthouse in Alabama, that past came calling: Mr. Fowler, who is white, pleaded guilty to the 1965 killing of a black man whose death led to the historic civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery.

Mr. Fowler will face six months in prison for the fatal shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old civil rights marcher who died after a confrontation with the police in Marion, Ala. His death inspired the first of the famous Selma marches the next month, an event that also ended in violence.

In the courthouse Monday, with Mr. Jackson's family watching, Mr. Fowler apologized for the shooting and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor manslaughter, but insisted that he had acted in self-defense, believing that Mr. Jackson was trying to grab his gun.

"I was coming over here to save lives," he said. "I didn't mean to take lives. I wish I could redo it."

The plea agreement brought to an end a case that had crept through the justice system for decades. In the 1960s, two grand juries investigated the killing but chose to not pursue charges. Then in 2004, Mr. Fowler confessed to a reporter for The Anniston Star that he had fired the gun.

"Jimmie Lee Jackson was not murdered," he said in the interview. "He was trying to kill me, and I have no doubt in my mind that under the emotional situation at the time, that if he would have gotten complete control of my pistol, that he would have killed me or shot me. That's why my conscience is clear."

But Mr. Fowler's plea on Monday suggests that he was not certain he would win the case in a courtroom. The district attorney who prosecuted the case, Michael Jackson, said he planned to try to convict Mr. Fowler of murder but was satisfied with the less severe manslaughter ruling.

"Time was starting to run out," Mr. Jackson said. "We wanted to make sure justice was done before he died."

Others questioned whether the sentence was harsh enough. The Perry County commissioner, Albert Turner Jr., told the Anniston newspaper that the agreement was "a slap in the face of the people of this county."

But John Fleming, the Anniston Star reporter to whom Mr. Fowler confessed, said the plea had brought "an appropriate end" to the case for a region still grappling with its civil rights history. "One thing we've never experienced in the South is anything close to a truth and reconciliation commission," he said. "What happened today was a moment of that experience."

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12) New York City Police Photograph Irises of Suspects
By RAY RIVERA and AL BAKER
November 15, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/nyregion/16retinas.html?ref=nyregion

The New York Police Department has begun photographing the irises of people who are arrested in an effort to prevent escapes as suspects move through the court system, a police official said Monday.

The program was instituted after two embarrassing episodes early this year in which prisoners arrested on serious charges tricked the authorities into freeing them by posing at arraignment as suspects facing minor cases. The occurrences exposed weaknesses in the city's handling of suspects as they move from police custody into the maze of court systems in the five boroughs.

With the new system, the authorities are using a hand-held scanning device that can check a prisoner's identity in seconds when the suspect is presented in court, said Paul J. Browne, the department's chief spokesman.

Officials began photographing the irises of suspects arrested for any reason on Monday at Manhattan Central Booking and expect to expand the program to all five boroughs by early December, Mr. Browne said.

The department has been working on the program for months, Mr. Browne said. But the effort caught many in the city's legal circles by surprise as news of it began trickling out late last week. It is raising concerns among civil libertarians and privacy advocates, who say the authorities' cataloging of the new data could put innocent people under permanent suspicion.

"It's really distressing that the Police Department is once again undertaking a new regime of personal data collection without any public discourse," said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, "and we don't know the reason for it, whether this is a necessary program, whether it's effective to address the concerns that it's designed to address, and whether in this day and age it's even cost-effective, not to mention whether there are any protections in place against the misuse of the data that's collected."

Steven Banks, attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society, said his office learned about the program on Friday in a phone call from the mayor's criminal justice coordinator.

"This is an unnecessary process," Mr. Banks said. "It's unauthorized by the statutes and of questionable legality at best. The statutes specifically authorize collecting fingerprints. There has been great legislative debate about the extent to which DNA evidence can be collected, and it is limited to certain types of cases. So the idea that the Police Department can forge ahead and use a totally new technology without any statutory authorization is certainly suspect."

Mr. Browne said a legal review by the department had concluded that legislative authorization was not necessary.

"Our legal review determined that these are photographs and should be treated the same as mug shots, which are destroyed when arrests are sealed," he said.

The technology uses high-resolution images to identify unique patterns in the iris, the colored part of the eye. It is considered less intrusive than retinal scanning, which looks at patterns in the blood vessels in the back of the eye and can reveal information about a person's health, raising privacy concerns.

The department's collection and use of electronic data have long been controversial. A new state law forced the department to halt electronic storage of the names and addresses of people stopped under the stop-and-frisk program but not charged or arrested.

The iris database has other implications as well, potentially providing the department with a tool in the fight against terrorism. The military has been using similar biometric technology in Iraq and Afghanistan to develop a database of potential insurgents, though Mr. Browne said that the Police Department's data was not intended for that use and that there had been no coordination with the Defense Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the program.

Other police agencies and correctional facilities across the country also use iris recognition, though it was unclear on Monday how widespread the practice is.

Marc Rotenberg, the president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which focuses on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues, said that law and policy had developed over time on the collection of fingerprints, and more recently DNA, in the criminal justice system, and that iris scans fell somewhere in between.

"It's a more accurate form of identification," Mr. Rotenberg said of the scans, "but at the same time doesn't raise the same privacy concerns that DNA data has."

The program will cost the city $500,000 to implement and is being paid for through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Browne said.

In March, a suspect charged in a string of robberies, who had served time in prison for attempted murder, claimed to be another man, who was facing a charge of marijuana possession, as they were about to be arraigned on Staten Island. The ruse worked and the suspect, Freddie Thompson, was released and remained free for 56 hours before he was recaptured. Another suspect, Michael Bautista, who was facing charges of assault and criminal mischief in the Bronx, escaped in the same manner in February and remains at large.

Mr. Browne said he had no statistics on how often suspects had escaped in this manner, but he said the problem was not widespread.

William K. Rashbaum and Karen Zraick contributed reporting.

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13) Voices of Foreclosure Speak Daily About Desperation and Misery
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
November 16, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/business/economy/16foreclose.html?ref=business

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - If the mortgage mess had an address, it could be 450 American Way.

This enormous white building, nestled among the hills about 40 miles north of Los Angeles, used to be a warehouse for Bugle Boy jeans. Today, it contains a sea of beige cubicles that seem to stretch on forever.

Inside the complex, 4,000 employees of Bank of America face a daily tide of desperation and misery.

To many Americans, financial giants like Bank of America seem like foreclosure machines. First, the argument goes, banks gave people mortgages they could not afford. Now, lenders are foreclosing as fast as they can, sometimes without even reviewing the paperwork.

But for employees here like Brenda Seymore, the foreclosure crisis is more complicated than that. She joined as a temporary worker in 2009 and was hired full time a year ago, as one of the employees who together field 50,000 calls a day. She finds herself caught between frustrated, anxious homeowners many months behind on their mortgage payments, and investors who hold mortgages and do not necessarily want to modify the loans, or reduce the amount of money homeowners owe.

"It's a learning process," she said. "Our goal here is to find a resolution."

When Ms. Seymore was hired, the second floor of the building was nearly empty. Now it is packed with telephone operators in headsets, who fan out across the cavernous floor at 5 a.m., when it is still dark outside, to begin dialing delinquent borrowers on the East Coast.

On Friday morning, one caller told Ms. Seymore a familiar story: a lost job and a cascade of bills that could not be paid.

Behind on her mortgage payments by $60,000, the caller, from North Carolina, had been approved for a loan modification. But the foreclosure wheels were still turning, she told Ms. Seymore, and she feared they could not be stopped.

This time, the foreclosure was averted. While the caller could not her pay her credit card bills, she was able to come up with a $500 payment necessary to keep her home, at least for now.

It was the kind of outcome that Bank of America will be highlighting as hearings on the foreclosure crisis begin on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Despite the well-publicized flaws in the process - robo-signers, lost documents, incomplete affidavits - bank officials are expected to testify that they understand and are trying to fix the problem.

Back in Simi Valley, posters with feel-good phrases like "Empathy," "Winning" and "Leadership," dot the walls. But even here, signs of just how politically explosive this mess has become have crept in.

On the wall of Ms. Seymore's cubicle is a placard warning Bank of America representatives to transfer callers from people like members of Congress, officials from regulatory agencies, attorneys general offices and the news media "to your team or unit manager ... no exceptions."

As the nation's biggest mortgage servicer - Bank of America handles one in five home loans in the United States - the lender has been criticized by politicians, customers and the news media as the uproar over foreclosure practices has intensified.

Now the big banks are set to respond, highlighting efforts like the one in Simi Valley, and outlining new steps to ease a wave of more than two million foreclosures.

At the Senate banking committee hearing on Tuesday, Barbara J. Desoer, president of Bank of America Home Loans, plans to announce new initiatives like assigning a single case manager so homeowners do not get passed from one bank employee to another. The bank also will start providing checklists so borrowers know exactly where they stand in the modification or foreclosure process.

Despite such steps, Bank of America faces a formidable challenge in rebuilding its public image. Last month, the bank declared a nationwide halt in foreclosures, and in 27 states, foreclosures remain suspended as it prepares new affidavits from scratch.

Sensing the public mood, Ms. Desoer also plans to apologize for shortcomings in the foreclosure process, while reiterating her defense that no foreclosure or eviction was pursued by mistake.

"We, and those who work with us in connection with foreclosure proceedings, also have an obligation to do our best to protect the integrity of those proceedings," Ms. Desoer is expected to tell the committee, according to prepared testimony obtained by The New York Times.

"When and where that has not happened, we accept responsibility for it, and we deeply regret it," according to her testimony.

In addition, critics have condemned Bank of America for making fewer modifications of eligible loans under the federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program. About 21 percent of eligible Bank of America borrowers have received program modifications, compared with 44 percent at Citigroup, 37 percent at Wells Fargo and 32 percent at JPMorgan Chase.

Bank officials say the lower modification rate reflects the 10 million mortgages it picked up when it acquired Countrywide Financial in 2008. And they note that the bank has made more than 700,000 modifications over the last two years, including 85,000 under the program, more than any other lender.

For the first time, Ms. Desoer also plans to highlight Bank of America's role as a servicer in most cases, rather than the investor that actually owns the mortgages.

Bank of America officials insist their options are limited because investors have to sign off on modification of the loans they own. At the same time, they complain that the investors require a "dual track," in which the modification negotiations take place even as the foreclosure machine steams ahead.

David Lowman, chief executive of Chase Home Lending, is also scheduled to testify and adopt an apologetic stance. "Our process was not what it should have been," he is expected to tell the committee, according to prepared testimony. "Quite simply, it did not live up to our standards."

In Simi Valley, another representative, Tammy Tipton, found herself dealing with a homeowner whose mortgage had been modified before, but was underwater again. The caller still owed about $900,000 on her house, payments had ceased, and like the North Carolina loan, the mortgage was held by an outside investor.

"Another modification would just leave them in the same position a year from now," Ms. Tipton said. "It's painful, and it's not fair to either side."

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14) Alarming escalation in violence used against Jewish peace activist (by Jewish thugs)
Right-wing Israel advocacy group pepper sprays Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) membersRight-wing Israel advocacy group San Francisco Voice for Israel/ StandWithUs
Member Pepper Sprays Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) members
at Bay Area JVP Chapter Meeting. Wraps self in Israeli flag.
VIA Email
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLO2xKcYDwc

Group well known in Bay Area for harassing and intimidating peace activists
Contact:
Jesse Bacon 215-298-3923
Dana Bergen 510-854-6761

[Oakland, CA November 15, 2010] Last night, up to a dozen members of San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs, a right-wing Israeli advocacy group with a documented track record of aggressively taunting and intimidating grassroots peace activists, attended a Bay Area Jewish Voice for Peace community meeting at a South Berkeley Senior Center with the intention of disrupting, intimidating and possibly assaulting Jewish Voice for Peace members. Jewish Voice for Peace is the largest U.S. Jewish peace group dedicated to a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on democracy and full equality --- the Bay Area chapter is the founding chapter of the organization. Approximately 50 to 60 people were at the meeting, and numerous witnesses are available to corroborate the events.

Watch video of some of the disruptions and the victims and perpetrator of attack here.
Eyewitness testimonies are here and here.

Wrapped in an Israeli flag, San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs (SFVI/SWU) member Robin Dubner, an Oakland based attorney, pepper-sprayed two JVP members in the eyes and face after they attempted to nonviolently block her ability to aggressively videotape the faces of JVP meeting attendees against their will.

The members, Alexei Folger and Glen Hauer, were careful to make no physical contact with her or her camera prior to the attack.Folger said, "I did not see it coming and all of a sudden there was gooey stuff all over my head and hand. I have never been pepper-sprayed before, my whole head felt like it was on fire."JVP had earlier this year filed a police report about a June SFVI/SWU protest at which JVP and (peace group) Women in Black members were intimidatingly videotaped and threatened by a StandWithUs supporter after being taunted with chants like "Nazi, Nazi, Nazi" or "Kapo,Kapo,Kapo".

Caught on a widely seen videotape was a SFVI/SWU supporter pointing his camera to the faces of silent peace vigil participants while saying "You're all being identified, every last one of you...we will find out where you live. We're going to make your lives difficult. We will disrupt your families..."For that reason, JVP members were particularly concerned about protecting the safety of meeting attendees and preventing the videotaping. Hauer, a retired attorney and member of San Francisco's Congregation Sha'har Zahav who was treated for pepper spray explained, "When one of the intruders [Dubner] continued standing and filming people despite the facilitator and facility manager repeatedly telling her that she could not, I first asked her politely to please put away the video camera, then several times told her to put away the camera, and then tried nonviolently to stay in front of the camera with my body. I could have taken the camera but decided instead to talk to the woman and to try to be the only person she photographed."

Hauer, who also leads groups on healing from WWII & the Holocaust, and speaks to churches about anti-Semitism as it relates to the movement for peace in the Middle East, went on:

"In my mind was the history targeting of Jewish peace activists by the right wing of the Jewish community--the posting of our photos on internet hate sites, for example, followed by acts of vandalism at our homes and places of work. There were many in the room for whom I care deeply. I could also see that many at the meeting were new to the work we were doing, and I did not want them to be scared away."

Dubner was accompanied by up to a dozen other StandWithUs members--including Susan Meyers, Mike Harris, Bea Lieberman, Faith Meltzer, and Ross Meltzer--who repeatedly disrupted and aggressively videotaped the JVP meeting and JVP members against their will, wielding the cameras in an intimidating and belligerent manner. Despite repeated requests from the JVP meeting facilitator and other JVP activists to desist from recording and put away their videocameras, the SFVI/SWU activists - who had spread themselves throughout the room - continued to record and launch lengthy monologues while the presenters attempted to speak.

They were explicitly invited by the JVP facilitator to stay in the meeting and participate without videotaping but they refused. They also refused offers for floor time by the presenters. The manager of the facility asked the SFVI/SWU members to abide by JVP's rules or face the police, and when SFVI/SWU refused to comply with JVP's protocol, the police were called.

At one point, JVP members and presenters worked to restore calm and de-escalate by singing the Hebrew peace song, Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu (Peace will come to us) while waiting for the police to arrive. Most meeting attendees did not know until later that 2 people had been attacked with pepper spray. When police arrived, Dubner was temporarily placed in handcuffs while other members of San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs remained inside the meeting blowing loud whistles, using videocameras to intimidate meeting attendees. Dubner refused repeated requests by JVP members or the police to identify the substance she sprayed. A police officer later identified it as pepper spray and paramedics were called to help treat the victims of the attack. One of them, Alexei Folger, looked visibly red and swollen, as though she had been burned on more than half her face.Immediately following the attack, Ms. Folger, not knowing the nature of the substance on her face, rubbed some of it on Ms. Dubner's shirtsleeve at which point the physically powerful Ms.Dubner, who also wore a pen videocamera in her shirt pocket, started physically shoving the petite Ms. Folger.

A Jewish Voice for Peace staff member stood between them to prevent further escalation or physical contact between Ms Dubner and the shocked and injured Ms. Folger. This deliberate confrontation is part of a pattern of escalating intimidation and attacks against peace activists in the Bay Area. Earlier this year, the home of Tikkun Magazine editor Michael Lerner was covered in threatening posters. In addition to the videotaped harassment of Women in Black and JVP members, several months ago someone grafiited outside of the JVP offices "Jewish Voices for Palestine: Viva Barch Goldstein"

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15) Jim Crow on West Broadway
By ADAM GOODHEART
November 16, 2010, 8:43 pm
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/jim-crow-on-west-broadway/

The young man saw the horse-drawn streetcar coming from up the block. It didn't have the necessary sign in the window - "Colored People Allowed in This Car" - but he was in a hurry that Saturday morning, so he hopped aboard anyhow. The conductor, according to a brief report in The New York Times, "told him that he must either get off or ride on the front platform. He said that he would do neither, but he would stay where he was." A scuffle ensued, a constable hurried to the scene, and 23-year-old Charles Sanders was hauled off to face charges of assault and battery.

Records reveal little about Sanders: it is unclear whether he was an early civil rights activist - a 19th-century Rosa Parks - or just an impatient and hassled New York commuter. In any case, he was no mere Bowery ruffian. Sanders resided on one of the most elegant blocks in Manhattan, in the home of a wealthy dry-goods merchant for whose family he worked as a domestic servant. (The house, 55 West 9th Street, still stands; it is currently on the market for $10 million.) Next door lived an army officer named Irvin McDowell, who would soon gain notoriety along an obscure Virginia stream called Bull Run; just up the block stood the mansion of Henry J. Raymond, founder and publisher of the Times.

Such exalted connections availed him little. As far as the streetcar company and the police were concerned, Charles Sanders was just another "colored" man who needed to be shown his place. But in the years before the Civil War, New York was already the battleground of a civil rights struggle that has been nearly forgotten: a hard-fought conflict foreshadowing events in the Deep South a century later.

Segregation was an old story in New York. Although the state had abolished slavery in 1827, most public transportation, schools, theaters, restaurants and churches still enforced a strict color line, as they did throughout the free states. In the 1830s, omnibus drivers sometimes used their whips to keep African-Americans from boarding. As the renowned Southern historian C. Vann Woodward would write, "one of the strangest things about the career of Jim Crow was that the system was born in the North and reached an advanced age before moving South in force."

Separate and unequal facilities were hardly the only injustice confronting New York's African-Americans. State law restricted blacks' voting rights to men owning at least $250 in real estate, a tiny percentage of the total population.

Segregated streetcars, however, remained powerful, ubiquitous symbols of everyday racism in the city. In the 1850s, after decades of intermittent civil disobedience, a bold cohort of black New Yorkers made a concerted effort to integrate them. On July 16, 1854, a young African-American schoolteacher named Elizabeth Jennings was violently ejected from a trolley at the corner of Pearl and Chatham Streets. The black community rallied to raise money for a lawsuit and hired a young attorney named Chester A. Arthur - the future president - to represent her. Remarkably, the judge decided in favor of Jennings, awarded her damages of $250 and decreed that transit companies were "bound to carry all respectable persons" regardless of race.

When most trolley operators simply ignored this ruling, black leaders redoubled their efforts, forming a group called the Legal Rights Association (which included a special "female branch") to continue the fight. A well-known minister, Rev. James W.C. Pennington, deliberately got himself arrested for boarding a whites-only car. A few prominent whites lent support; in September 1860 Horace Greeley, The New York Tribune's famous editor, asked his readers: "Can anyone doubt that Jesus of Nazareth, if now on earth and in New York, would reject more indignantly and rebuke more sharply our negro-cars [and] negro-pews in churches that evoke his name?" By that point - thanks less to messianic intervention than to the activists' tenacity - almost all the streetcar lines had accepted integration.

The timing of Charles Sanders's act of defiance, just 10 days after Abraham Lincoln's election, may not have been coincidental. Across the nation, indignant whites were reporting that blacks seemed suddenly, frighteningly rebellious. One unsettling story told of a Georgia slave who refused to chop wood for his master and mistress, telling them that "Lincoln was elected now, and he was free." The black man, according to a newspaper, "after being sent to the whipping-post, gained new light on the subject of Lincoln and Slavery, and returned to his duty." Yet the portents of revolution continued.

The final outcome of Sanders's prosecution went unreported in the newspapers and is, for the time being, lost to history. (It may await discovery in New York's vast criminal court records). Not until after the Civil War, in 1873, did the state legislature pass a bill sweeping away the last vestiges of segregated public transit - three years after abolishing the property requirement for voting.

Sources: New York Times, Nov. 19, 1860 and Nov. 13, 2005; 1860 Census; "Trow's New York City Directory, for the Year Ending May 1, 1859"; Leslie M. Harris, "In the Shadow of Slavery: African-Americans in New York City, 1626-1863"; C. Vann Woodward, "The Strange Career of Jim Crow"; David N. Gellman and David Quigley, eds., "Jim Crow New York: A Documentary History of Race and Citizenship, 1777-1877"; John Hewitt, "The Search for Elizabeth Jennings, Heroine of a Sunday Afternoon in New York City" (New York History, October 1990); Edward Spann, "Gotham at War: New York City, 1860-1865"; Judith Ann Giesburg, "Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front"; Leon F. Litwack, "North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860"; New York Tribune, Feb. 25, 1858 and Feb. 20, 1861.

Adam Goodheart is the author of the forthcoming book "1861: The Civil War Awakening." He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

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16) European Bank Calls for Stronger State Role in Ex-Communist Bloc
By JUDY DEMPSEY
November 17, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/business/global/18ebrd.html?src=busln

BERLIN - Having helped the former Communist bloc make the transition to free-market capitalism, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on Wednesday suggested that it was time to bolster the role of the state again.

In an annual report, the bank said governments in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics should play a greater role in building strong institutions so that markets and the privatization process could function better.

"Selling off a large state-owned enterprise or utilities to private ownership will not necessarily lead to great efficiency and ultimate benefits to consumers unless there is a regulator in place to enforce rules and ensure fair competition," says the report.

Such a call signals a major shift for a bank that had put much emphasis on reducing the role of the state and on encouraging private ownership and market forces when it was first established nearly 20 years ago.

After taking stock of previous privatizations in a region that stretches from Poland to Mongolia, the E.B.R.D. said that markets cannot function properly unless there are well-run, effective public institutions in place. A balance is needed if growth is to be sustained, the report said.

The same applies to the private banking sector. Even though it has expanded over the years, the E.B.R.D. said this gave a misleading impression of progress if the banks were not underpinned by institutional safeguards to prevent excessive and imprudent lending.

In this regard, the E.B.R.D. singled out the Baltic states, Croatia and Hungary, all of which had high exposure to foreign currency loans in recent years. Their dependence on foreign funding is still apparent even after the financial crisis.

The state has been weak in tax administration as well, the report said, adding that businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro and Romania cited that as a particular concern.

Businesses too have been critical about investing in Poland, one of the few countries in the region unscathed by the global financial crisis.

In a recent World Bank report, Poland was ranked 72nd out of 183 countries in terms of "ease of doing business," the lowest ranking among the new European Union member states. The main problem areas according to the survey are in dealing with construction permits, starting a business and paying taxes.

Poland is one of the European Union economies where the involvement of the state is most pervasive, notably in the power, natural resources and banking sectors.

Corruption too is another issue, less so in Central Europe and the Baltic states but more prevalent in Bulgaria, Turkey and the former Soviet countries, the report said.

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17) Former transit officer's attorneys seek bail
The Associated Press
Monday, November 15, 2010; 10:50 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/15/AR2010111508173.html

LOS ANGELES -- Attorneys for a white former transit officer sentenced to two years for fatally shooting an unarmed black man are seeking his release on bail while he appeals his involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Los Angeles County court officials tell the San Francisco Chronicle Monday that Johannes Mehserle will appear for a bail hearing on Dec. 3.

Mehserle was sentenced Nov. 5 in last year's fatal shooting of Oscar Grant on an Oakland train platform.

The judge threw out a separate conviction for intentionally firing a gun saying he believed Mehserle's testimony that the former officer had meant to use his stun gun instead of his handgun.

With credit for time served, Mehserle could be eligible for release in about seven months.

His sentence sparked protests by Grant supporters, who said the punishment was too light.

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18) Three Twin Cities anti-war activists told they must appear in front of Grand Jury
Press Conference:
November 18, Thursday, 4:30 pm
Minneapolis Federal Building
300 South 4th Street, Minneapolis
For immediate release
November 17, 2010
VIA Email: News for Social Justice Activists
solidarityinfoservices@igc.org

Three well-known Twin Cities anti-war and international solidarity activists, Tracy Molm, Anh Pham, and Sarah Martin have received word from the U.S. Attorneyâ€(tm)s Office that that they will be called to appear in front of a Chicago Grand Jury.

This is a continuation of a campaign of federal intimidation of anti-war, labor and international solidarity activists that started on September 24 with raids on homes and offices in Minneapolis and Chicago and FBI visits to activists in other cities.

During the September 24 raids, the FBI handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to 14 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. All of them submitted legal documents invoking their Fifth Amendment rights and did not appear before the Grand Jury.

Now, Tracy Molm, Anh Pham, and Sarah Martin are being told that they will have to appear in front of the Grand Jury.

“Saying these three activists should appear in front of a Grand Jury represents a dangerous escalation of the government interference and repression against the anti-war movement. This is a scare tactic to dampen the right to speak out against U.S. wars and interventions around the world,â€_ said Jess Sundin of the Anti -War Committee.

“The FBI campaign against anti-war activists is a major threat to anyone who questions U.S. policies around the world. Many of those who had been targeted in these raids are long-time peace, labor and social justice activists,â€_ said Mick Kelly of the Committee Against FBI Repression.

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19) Mehserle sentence -- in the judge's words
Posted By: Demian Bulwa (Email)
November 17 2010 at 12:35 PM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/crime/detail?entry_id=77194

As he sentenced former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, Judge Robert Perry delivered unusually lengthy and detailed remarks. He laid out his view of the trial's evidence, siding largely with the defense, and explained why he had to -- in the interest of justice -- throw out a separate allegation that Mehserle intentionally fired a gun at unarmed rider Oscar Grant during an arrest at Fruitvale Station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.

Perry's comments Nov. 5 in Los Angeles County Superior Court suggest he was concerned about how the public would receive his ruling. They elated defense attorneys, who saw them as vindicating not only their position that the shooting was an accident, but their view that the Alameda County district attorney's office had overstepped and had given in to protesters and rioters when it sought a murder conviction.

The remarks stunned prosecutors and Grant's relatives. They were particularly upset at Perry's assertion that Grant had been resisting officers when he was shot, and at his statement that "no reasonable trier of fact" could agree with prosecutors that the shooting was intentional and not the result of Mehserle confusing his gun and Taser. Some of Grant's family members walked out of court as Perry spoke.

The following are several excerpts from a transcript of Perry's comments. The judge started by saying Grant had done nothing to warrant being killed and that the shooting was a tragedy for all involved:

One man's life was needlessly taken, a second man's life and career were devastated. Nothing this court can do or say can remedy the harm that came from that tragic incident. Nothing I can do will restore Oscar Grant to his family and loved ones. Nothing I can do will restore Johannes Mehserle to the life he led before those fateful few minutes on that platform.

Perry went on to lament that the case of a white police officer shooting a black man had polarized the community:

One thing I well understand, people see what they want to see and they hear what they want to hear in situations like this. Some people will see this case as the cold-blooded murder of a young man by a police officer. Others will see the case as the prosecution and conviction of a totally innocent man who made a tragic mistake. Nothing I do today will change those opinions.

According to Perry, though, race was not a factor in the case. Some critics of the police believe Grant would not have been shot, or even detained, if he were not black. Video footage showed that, just before the shooting, a second BART officer, Anthony Pirone, taunted Grant by shouting, "Bitch-ass n--, right?" But the defense said there was no evidence Mehserle heard him.

Oscar Grant was an African American. The defendant, Johannes Mehserle, is white. The court is well aware of the shameful history of racial injustice in this country. Well aware. But I can tell you I cannot and will not permit considerations of race to impact or influence my ruling, because I believe based on the evidence this was not a case about race. I do not believe based on the evidence the defendant was influenced by race.

Taser like the one Mehserle wore.



Lance Iversen/The Chronicle

Perry rejected prosecutor David Stein's assertion that the jury had signaled it did not believe Mehserle's Taser story by convicting him of a gun enhancement, which is defined as a suspect firing a gun intentionally:

It's the court's view that the jury found that Mehserle intended to draw his Taser and instead drew the gun. That is the only reasonable interpretation that I see in the verdicts in this case. Had the jury believed that Mehserle intended to shoot Grant, they would have returned a verdict for either murder or voluntary manslaughter.

Later, he added:

The district attorney argues that the jury could have found that Mehserle intended to use his firearm but did not intend to kill, that he did not consciously disregard risk to life when he fired into Grant's back. I don't think there's any basis in the evidence for that suggestion and I think it's -- it strains credulity. Mehserle shot directly into Grant's back from the distance of four feet. It is inconceivable that shooting someone in the back from that distance evidences anything other than a clear intent to kill.

Perry then went into great detail to explain why the shooting must have been an accident. One factor he cited was that Mehserle had no good reason to shoot Grant -- which was precisely why prosecutors said the ex-officer should face harsh punishment.

Pirone was virtually in the line of fire. That is suggestive that this was an accident. Mehserle was on the platform for a very brief period, a matter of slightly more than two minutes, before pulling his gun and shooting Grant. He was not threatened by Grant, he had no reason to pull his gun and shoot Grant. Mehserle had absolutely no motive to shoot Grant. He didn't know Grant and had never interacted with Grant before. Of great significance in the court's ruling is that Mehserle announced he was going to Tase Grant. This statement was corroborated by Pirone and (Grant's friend) Jackie Bryson. Mehserle stood to gain distance, which would be required for the shooting of a Taser to be effective. It would not have been required to fire a gun. Mehserle fired once, which is consistent with shooting a Taser and inconsistent with firearm training, which says if you're going to shoot, you shoot more than once -- you double or triple tap is the phrase used. Mehserle pulled on his service revolver in a manner suggestive of trying to pull out a Taser. He was pushing in. It took him several efforts to pull the gun. After the shooting his hands immediately went to his head in obvious shock and surprise. This is again inconsistent with an intention to shoot. (Grant's friend Carlos) Reyes heard Mehserle say, "Oh, s--. Oh, s--. I shot him." Again, further evidence that this was an unintentional shooting.

Perry said Mehserle had been justified in using a Taser on Grant because, he said, Grant was not complying with the officer's effort to handcuff him. Prosecutors had argued that using any weapon on Grant was excessive because he was unarmed and on his chest, pinned under two officers.

Mr. Grant was resisting. I make that statement based on the video evidence and the autopsy evidence, which shows the shot entered on Grant's side indicating he was rolling in an upward manner ... Grant held his hand under his body with such force that a prosecution witness observing from the train remarked to a friend that Grant must be very strong.

Perry said he gave "little weight" to one of the prosecution's prime arguments -- that if Mehserle had killed Grant accidentally, he would have said as much to one of his colleagues:

Much has been made by the district attorney that Mehserle did not say it was an accident and that he told Pirone he thought Grant was going for a gun immediately after the shooting. It is argued that Mehserle was intentionally lying to cover up his crime. It is further argued that Mehserle's failure to tell his support officer hours after the shooting that it was an accident is further evidence that he intended to shoot Grant. Based on my review of the evidence, I reject these arguments. It is clear from the video that immediately following the shooting, Mehserle acted in an obvious physical manner that can only be characterized as shock and dismay. His hands went to his head in apparent disbelief of what had happened. I accept his testimony that he did not know how he had come to have shot Grant and that he was in shock following the shooting. In the court's experience, individuals react differently to stress. I place little weight on Mehserle's statements immediately following the event.

Perry agreed with the defense that the atmosphere at Fruitvale Station was chaotic. Prosecutors had argued that Mehserle's colleagues had exaggerated the situation while on the witness stand:

The noise on the platform was extraordinarily loud and the situation was a near riot when Mehserle came on the scene.

Finally, Perry concluded that "no reasonable trier of fact" could have found the shooting was intentional. It was a strong statement. Although they did not hear all the evidence, two Alameda County judges said last year that the Taser story was made up, one after a bail hearing and one after a preliminary hearing:

Having considered all the evidence and weighed it in a light in favor of finding the allegation to be true, the court finds that no reasonable trier of fact could have concluded that Mehserle intended to fire his gun. ... The evidence that Mehserle intentionally used his firearm was so clearly insufficient that the gun enhancement allegation should be dismissed.

Douglas County sheriff

As he decided whether to give Mehserle two, three or four years for involuntary manslaughter, Perry found a number of reasons to choose the low term. He referred to a fight on a train that Grant had been in before his arrest and to Pirone's aggressive detainment of Grant and four friends before the shooting:

Many persons contributed to the tragedy that occurred in this case. The persons who fought on the train. Had there been no fight, I doubt that we would be here. (Grant's friend Michael) Greer got back on the train and disobeyed Pirone. Pirone's coarse and aggressive conduct as to Greer and the other detainees incited the crowd. The members of the crowd added to the tension of the situation by creating a near riot. All of this occurred before Mehserle even came to the scene. All of these people share some responsibility for setting the stage for this tragedy. BART contributed as well by setting Mehserle up for failure due to inadequate Taser training.

Perry said he was mindful of concerns by law enforcement that a prison sentence for Mehserle could send a "negative message to officers who daily risk their lives to protect law-abiding citizens." But he went on:

The court is aware of all mitigating circumstances in this case. Mehserle is not an aggressive person. No prior record. Good work history. Loving and supportive family. No likelihood of reoffending. I accept all these reasons. The district attorney claims there was no remorse. I see tons of remorse in this case. But when I consider sentencing as the probation department has observed, I must remember that a young man needlessly died. I believe prison is appropriate.

Finally, Perry wrapped up his remarks with another nod to the intense feelings the case had provoked:

We started this case with me saying I did not volunteer for this assignment. I did the best I could with this case. I well understand my decisions today will not be well received by many people and I'm sorry for that, but all I can say is I did my best.

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20) 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire
By Chalmers Johnson
Global Research
March 21, 2009
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12824

With more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet and military bases spread across each continent, it's time to face up to the fact that our American democracy has spawned a global empire.

The following is excerpted from Chalmers Johnson's new book, "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic" (Metropolitan Books).

Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. America's version of the colony is the military base; and by following the changing politics of global basing, one can learn much about our ever more all-encompassing imperial "footprint" and the militarism that grows with it.

It is not easy, however, to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records available to the public on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department's annual inventories from 2002 to 2005 of real property it owns around the world, the Base Structure Report, there has been an immense churning in the numbers of installations.

The total of America's military bases in other people's countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737. Reflecting massive deployments to Iraq and the pursuit of President Bush's strategy of preemptive war, the trend line for numbers of overseas bases continues to go up.

Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 - mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets - almost exactly equals Britain's thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic products of most countries -- and an estimated $658.1 billion for all of them, foreign and domestic (a base's "worth" is based on a Department of Defense estimate of what it would cost to replace it). During fiscal 2005, the military high command deployed to our overseas bases some 196,975 uniformed personnel as well as an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,425 locally hired foreigners.

The worldwide total of U.S. military personnel in 2005, including those based domestically, was 1,840,062 supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires. Its overseas bases, according to the Pentagon, contained 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and 16,527 more that it leased. The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687,347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, making the Pentagon easily one of the world's largest landlords.

These numbers, although staggeringly big, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The 2005 Base Structure Report fails, for instance, to mention any garrisons in Kosovo (or Serbia, of which Kosovo is still officially a province) -- even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel built in 1999 and maintained ever since by the KBR corporation (formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root), a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation of Houston.

The report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq (106 garrisons as of May 2005), Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, even though the U.S. military has established colossal base structures in the Persian Gulf and Central Asian areas since 9/11. By way of excuse, a note in the preface says that "facilities provided by other nations at foreign locations" are not included, although this is not strictly true. The report does include twenty sites in Turkey, all owned by the Turkish government and used jointly with the Americans. The Pentagon continues to omit from its accounts most of the $5 billion worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases overseas, but no one -- possibly not even the Pentagon -- knows the exact number for sure.

In some cases, foreign countries themselves have tried to keep their U.S. bases secret, fearing embarrassment if their collusion with American imperialism were revealed. In other instances, the Pentagon seems to want to play down the building of facilities aimed at dominating energy sources, or, in a related situation, retaining a network of bases that would keep Iraq under our hegemony regardless of the wishes of any future Iraqi government. The U.S. government tries not to divulge any information about the bases we use to eavesdrop on global communications, or our nuclear deployments, which, as William Arkin, an authority on the subject, writes, "[have] violated its treaty obligations. The U.S. was lying to many of its closest allies, even in NATO, about its nuclear designs. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, hundreds of bases, and dozens of ships and submarines existed in a special secret world of their own with no rational military or even
'deterrence' justification."

In Jordan, to take but one example, we have secretly deployed up to five thousand troops in bases on the Iraqi and Syrian borders. (Jordan has also cooperated with the CIA in torturing prisoners we deliver to them for "interrogation.") Nonetheless, Jordan continues to stress that it has no special arrangements with the United States, no bases, and no American military presence.

The country is formally sovereign but actually a satellite of the United States and has been so for at least the past ten years. Similarly, before our withdrawal from Saudi Arabia in 2003, we habitually denied that we maintained a fleet of enormous and easily observed B-52 bombers in Jeddah because that was what the Saudi government demanded. So long as military bureaucrats can continue to enforce a culture of secrecy to protect themselves, no one will know the true size of our baseworld, least of all the elected representatives of the American people.

In 2005, deployments at home and abroad were in a state of considerable flux. This was said to be caused both by a long overdue change in the strategy for maintaining our global dominance and by the closing of surplus bases at home. In reality, many of the changes seemed to be determined largely by the Bush administration's urge to punish nations and domestic states that had not supported its efforts in Iraq and to reward those that had. Thus, within the United States, bases were being relocated to the South, to states with cultures, as the Christian Science Monitor put it, "more tied to martial traditions" than the Northeast, the northern Middle West, or the Pacific Coast. According to a North Carolina businessman gloating over his new customers, "The military is going where it is wanted and valued most."

In part, the realignment revolved around the Pentagon's decision to bring home by 2007 or 2008 two army divisions from Germany -- the First Armored Division and the First Infantry Division -- and one brigade (3,500 men) of the Second Infantry Division from South Korea (which, in 2005, was officially rehoused at Fort Carson, Colorado). So long as the Iraq insurgency continues, the forces involved are mostly overseas and the facilities at home are not ready for them (nor is there enough money budgeted to get them ready).

Nonetheless, sooner or later, up to 70,000 troops and 100,000 family members will have to be accommodated within the United States. The attendant 2005 "base closings" in the United States are actually a base consolidation and enlargement program with tremendous infusions of money and customers going to a few selected hub areas. At the same time, what sounds like a retrenchment in the empire abroad is really proving to be an exponential growth in new types of bases -- without dependents and the amenities they would require -- in very remote areas where the U.S. military has never been before.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was obvious to anyone who thought about it that the huge concentrations of American military might in Germany, Italy, Japan, and South Korea were no longer needed to meet possible military threats. There were not going to be future wars with the Soviet Union or any country connected to any of those places.

In 1991, the first Bush administration should have begun decommissioning or redeploying redundant forces; and, in fact, the Clinton administration did close some bases in Germany, such as those protecting the Fulda Gap, once envisioned as the likeliest route for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. But nothing was really done in those years to plan for the strategic repositioning of the American military outside the United States.

By the end of the 1990s, the neoconservatives were developing their grandiose theories to promote overt imperialism by the "lone superpower" -- including preventive and preemptive unilateral military action, spreading democracy abroad at the point of a gun, obstructing the rise of any "near-peer" country or bloc of countries that might challenge U.S. military supremacy, and a vision of a "democratic" Middle East that would supply us with all the oil we wanted. A component of their grand design was a redeployment and streamlining of the military. The initial rationale was for a program of transformation that would turn the armed forces into a lighter, more agile, more high-tech military, which, it was imagined, would free up funds that could be invested in imperial policing.

What came to be known as "defense transformation" first began to be publicly bandied about during the 2000 presidential election campaign. Then 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq intervened. In August 2002, when the whole neocon program began to be put into action, it centered above all on a quick, easy war to incorporate Iraq into the empire. By this time, civilian leaders in the Pentagon had become dangerously overconfident because of what they perceived as America's military brilliance and invincibility as demonstrated in its 2001 campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda -- a strategy that involved reigniting the Afghan civil war through huge payoffs to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance warlords and the massive use of American airpower to support their advance on Kabul.

In August 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld unveiled his "1-4-2-1 defense strategy" to replace the Clinton era's plan for having a military capable of fighting two wars -- in the Middle East and Northeast Asia -- simultaneously. Now, war planners were to prepare to defend the United States while building and assembling forces capable of "deterring aggression and coercion" in four "critical regions": Europe, Northeast Asia (South Korea and Japan), East Asia (the Taiwan Strait), and the Middle East, be able to defeat aggression in two of these regions simultaneously, and "win decisively" (in the sense of "regime change" and occupation) in one of those conflicts "at a time and place of our choosing."As the military analyst William M. Arkin commented, "[With] American military forces ... already stretched to the limit, the new strategy goes far beyond preparing for reactive contingencies and reads more like a plan for picking fights in new parts of
the world."

A seemingly easy three-week victory over Saddam Hussein's forces in the spring of 2003 only reconfirmed these plans. The U.S. military was now thought to be so magnificent that it could accomplish any task assigned to it. The collapse of the Baathist regime in Baghdad also emboldened Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to use "transformation" to penalize nations that had been, at best, lukewarm about America's unilateralism -- Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Turkey -- and to reward those whose leaders had welcomed Operation Iraqi Freedom, including such old allies as Japan and Italy but also former communist countries such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The result was the Department of Defense's Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy, known informally as the "Global Posture Review."

President Bush first mentioned it in a statement on November 21, 2003, in which he pledged to "realign the global posture" of the United States. He reiterated the phrase and elaborated on it on August 16, 2004, in a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati. Because Bush's Cincinnati address was part of the 2004 presidential election campaign, his comments were not taken very seriously at the time. While he did say that the United States would reduce its troop strength in Europe and Asia by 60,000 to 70,000, he assured his listeners that this would take a decade to accomplish -- well beyond his term in office -- and made a series of promises that sounded more like a reenlistment pitch than a statement of strategy.

"Over the coming decade, we'll deploy a more agile and more flexible force, which means that more of our troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We'll move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations, so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. ... It will reduce the stress on our troops and our military families. ... See, our service members will have more time on the home front, and more predictability and fewer moves over a career. Our military spouses will have fewer job changes, greater stability, more time for their kids and to spend with their families at home."

On September 23, 2004, however, Secretary Rumsfeld disclosed the first concrete details of the plan to the Senate Armed Services Committee. With characteristic grandiosity, he described it as "the biggest re-structuring of America's global forces since 1945." Quoting then undersecretary Douglas Feith, he added, "During the Cold War we had a strong sense that we knew where the major risks and fights were going to be, so we could deploy people right there. We're operating now [with] an entirely different concept. We need to be able to do [the] whole range of military operations, from combat to peacekeeping, anywhere in the world pretty quickly."

Though this may sound plausible enough, in basing terms it opens up a vast landscape of diplomatic and bureaucratic minefields that Rumsfeld's militarists surely underestimated. In order to expand into new areas, the Departments of State and Defense must negotiate with the host countries such things as Status of Forces Agreements, or SOFAs, which are discussed in detail in the next chapter. In addition, they must conclude many other required protocols, such as access rights for our aircraft and ships into foreign territory and airspace, and Article 98 Agreements. The latter refer to article 98 of the International Criminal Court's Rome Statute, which allows countries to exempt U.S. citizens on their territory from the ICC's jurisdiction.

Such immunity agreements were congressionally mandated by the American Service-Members' Protection Act of 2002, even though the European Union holds that they are illegal. Still other necessary accords are acquisitions and cross-servicing agreements or ACSAs, which concern the supply and storage of jet fuel, ammunition, and so forth; terms of leases on real property; levels of bilateral political and economic aid to the United States (so-called host-nation support); training and exercise arrangements (Are night landings allowed? Live firing drills?); and environmental pollution liabilities.

When the United States is not present in a country as its conqueror or military savior, as it was in Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II and in South Korea after the 1953 Korean War armistice, it is much more difficult to secure the kinds of agreements that allow the Pentagon to do anything it wants and that cause a host nation to pick up a large part of the costs of doing so. When not based on conquest, the structure of the American empire of bases comes to look exceedingly fragile.

From the book NEMESIS: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson.

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21) Swedish Court to Seek Arrest of WikiLeaks Founder
By JOHN F. BURNS
November 18, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/world/europe/19assange.html

LONDON - The Swedish prosecutor's office said that a Stockholm court had approved its request for an arrest warrant to be issued for Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks whistle-blower's Web site, for questioning on months-old charges of rape and other offenses.

Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, said in a statement in English that the court had decided to issue the warrant "in the absence" of Mr. Assange over suspicions of his involvement in "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion."

She added that "the next step for the prosecutor is to issue an international arrest warrant." She gave no indication when that would be done.

Mr. Assange's lawyer in Britain, Mark Stephens, said the allegations were "false and without basis."

The normal procedure for pursuing arrest warrants across international borders involves Interpol, the international police agency. It was not immediately clear what legal options would be available to Mr. Assange to resist being returned to Sweden to answer the warrant. .

In recent weeks, Mr. Assange has made several public appearances in London, after spending several weeks in Sweden and flying first to Berlin, then to London, in early October. Mr. Stephens said Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, remained in London as of Thursday morning.

A statement issued before the Stockholm ruling, by Marianne Ny, the director of the Stockholm prosecutor's office, said that prosecutors had been "unable to interrogate" Mr. Assange in nearly 13 weeks, since the allegations against him by two Swedish women became public.

But this was flatly denied by Mr. Stephens, who said in a statement that over the last three months, "despite numerous demands, neither Mr. Assange, nor his legal counsel, has received a single word in writing from the Swedish authorities relating to the allegations."

Mr. Stephens added that the prosecutor's "behavior is not a prosecution, but a persecution."

"Our client has always maintained his innocence," he said. "The allegations against him are false and without basis. As a result of these false allegations and bizarre legal interpretations, our client now has his name and reputation besmirched."

"My client is now in the extraordinary position that, despite his innocence, and despite never having been charged, and despite never receiving a single piece of paper about the allegations against him, one in 10 Internet references to the word 'rape' also include his name," Mr. Stephens said. "Every day that this flawed investigation continues, the damages to his reputation are compounded."

Mr. Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 as a forum for publishing secret and confidential documents of political, military and economic significance passed to the organization by whistle-blowers who have obtained them from governments, corporations and other sources.

This summer, WikiLeaks posted a cache of 77,000 secret Pentagon documents on the war in Afghanistan, and it followed that last month by posting nearly 400,000 Pentagon documents, also secret, on the Iraq war.

On both occasions, the documents were provided in advance to The New York Times, the Guardian of Britain and Der Spiegel magazine in Germany, all of which ran extensive articles focusing on the insights the documents gave into the United States' conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Obama administration condemned both leaks, and demanded that WikiLeaks "return" all secret American documents and undertake not to publish any more in the future.

The Pentagon and the Justice Department have established a task force to probe all aspects of the affair, and officials have said that prosecution of Mr. Assange and his associates under the 1917 Espionage Act was one step under consideration.

The allegations of rape and sexual molestation against Mr. Assange arose shortly after he arrived in Sweden in late August on a journey that he described at the time as aimed at establishing a secure base for himself and WikiLeaks under Sweden's broad press freedom laws.

The two women who accused him were volunteers who had offered to assist WikiLeaks and met him in his first days in Sweden.

According to accounts the women gave to the police and friends, Swedish officials have said, they had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual. One woman said that Mr. Assange had ignored her appeals to stop after a condom broke. The other woman said that she and Mr. Assange had begun a sexual encounter using a condom, but that Mr. Assange did not comply with her appeals to stop when it was no longer in use.

Mr. Assange has questioned the veracity of those accounts.

The Stockholm prosecutor's office first issued a warrant for Mr. Assange's arrest, then withdrew it, and later announced that it was still investigating the rape and sexual molestation charges.

Mr. Assange responded at the time by saying that he was a victim of "dirty tricks" and that his relations with the two women had been consensual. Subsequently, in London, he spoke of a "smear campaign" against him and WikiLeaks, and complained about the Swedish prosecutor's delay in disposing of the case. In an interview in London with The New York Times on Oct. 17, he said that 50 days had passed since the Swedish allegations were made public.

The action by the prosecutor's office on Thursday came more than 12 weeks after it said it wanted to interview Mr. Assange in the office's first statement on the investigation.

Thursday's statement implied that no interview had ever taken place. Mr. Assange has spoken on a number of occasions in recent weeks of his growing anxiety about his personal security.

He suggested at a news conference in London on Oct. 23 that he might have to move to Moscow or Havana, Cuba, in his search for a secure base.

In recent days, WikiLeaks supporters have made moves to establish a legal base for WikiLeaks in Iceland, where Mr. Assange spent several weeks this year.

Daniel Ellsberg, the 79-year-old American military analyst who provided The New York Times and other publications with copies of the secret Pentagon documents on the Vietnam War that became known as the Pentagon Papers in 1971, flew to London from California to support Mr. Assange at the mid-October news conference held in conjunction with the publication of the secret Iraq war documents on the WikiLeaks site.

"Choose Havana," Mr. Ellsberg said, after Mr. Assange spoke of his possible destinations, prompting laughter from him and many of his supporters.

In his statement, Mr. Stephens, the lawyer, said Mr. Assange had "repeatedly offered to be interviewed, first in Sweden, and then in Britain (including at the Swedish Embassy), either in person or by telephone, videoconferencing or e-mail, and he has also offered to make a sworn statement on affidavit."

"Before leaving Sweden, Mr. Assange asked to be interviewed by the prosecution on several occasions in relation to the allegations, staying over a month in Stockholm, at considerable expense and despite many engagements elsewhere, in order to clear his name," Mr. Stephens said. "Eventually the prosecution told his Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig that he was free to leave the country, without interview, which he did."

Mr. Stephens has worked for The Times on libel cases, the most recent of which ended earlier this year.

Ravi Somaiya contributed reporting.

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