Saturday, March 06, 2010



A special thanks to ANSWER and the other members of the March 20 Coalition for a great demonstration Saturday!

Although I wish it were much larger, the demonstration and rallies yesterday were invigorating. The march was the best part. We got a great response from those on the sidewalks watching and cheering. We were able to show solidarity to the Hotel workers who are boycotting the hotels denying them their rights and benefits; and our chants resonated with the crowds of bystanders in the heart of downtown San Francisco as we passed by.

The Chronicle stated "hundreds marched" but clearly, from the "raw video" footage found at:

Hundreds gather in San Francisco to protest wars
By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, March 20, 2010

the march was obviously in the thousands--not the hundreds. At one point in the "raw video" you could count the number of people in the first "one block" section of the march and there were at least two to three hundred people; and the march went for what looked to me like seven or eight blocks long. In my opinion, it was bigger than the October 17, 2009 march and rally against the war but smaller than the March 4th Student protest against school cutbacks at the Civic Center.

It's important we keep it up!

There will be a wrap-up meeting of the March 20 Coalition:
SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 2010, 2:00 P.M.
Between 16th and 15th Streets, SF)
For more information call: 415-821-6545

Thanks to all who came out!

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein

P.S., the website is temporarily down to technical difficulties and should be restored to normal this week. The newsletter is unaffected. For your information, there are over 380 groups and individuals on this list now.


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Lynching Then, Lynching Now
The Roots of Racism and the Death Penalty in America

Join us for a teach-in about the historic link between the death penalty and lynching in the United States.

Barbara Becnel, Founder, Stanley Tookie Williams Legacy Network
Lawrence Hayes, Former New York State death row prisoner
Jack Bryson, Justice for Oscar Grant Movement
Jabari Shaw, Laney Black Student Union
Kevin Cooper - an innocent man on death row - calling in from San Quentin for a question and answer period.

Wednesday, March 24th - 7 PM
Laney College - Room D200

Sponsored by: Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Kevin Cooper Defense Committee, Laney International Socialist Organization
more info: 510-333-7966/ email

This teach-in is part of a national Campaign to End the Death Penalty tour - visit for more information.


Join the San Francisco Labor Council and community activists to tell
Bank of America
Thursday, March 25, 2010
11:30 AM-12:30 PM
1 Market Street
(on the corner at Spear Street)
It's time for BIG BANKS to pay up and create new jobs for Americans!
It's only FAIR.
Big Banks helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
2009 Total Assets
Bank of America: $2.2 trillion
Source: Company SEC filings.
Big Banks took billions in taxpayer bailouts.
TARP Funds Borrowed
Bank of America: $45 billion
Source: The New York Times. Most of these amounts have been repaid.
Big Banks went back to business as usual-and gave out $145 billion in
2009 pay and bonuses.
2009 Most Highly Paid Executives
Bank of America: $29.9 million
Source: The New York Times and company SEC filings.
Big Banks are spending millions on lobbying to kill financial reform.
2009 Lobbying Expenses
Bank of America: $3.7 million
Source: Center for Responsive Politics.
Make the Big Banks pay to create new jobs.
A modest financial speculation tax will help curb harmful Wall Street practices-and
raise $100 billion to $300 billion annually to pay for job creation.



Arundhati Roy in San Francisco
Friday, March 26, 2010, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Mission High School Auditorium
3750 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

Join world-renowned Indian author, global justice activist, and Booker Prize winning novelist Arundhati Roy for a discussion from her latest collection of essays

Haymarket Books proudly presents an evening with Arundhati Roy, reading from her latest collection of essays, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, followed by a conversation with David Barsamian of Alternative Radio, with welcoming remarks from Special Guest Alice Walker.

Purchase tickets online at

$15 student (*There are a limited number of student tickets available. Valid student ID will be required at event.)
$35 general admission
$100 VIP

A benefit for the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir

About Field Notes on Democracy:

"Gorgeously wrought...pitch-perfect prose...In language of terrible beauty, she takes India's everyday tragedies and reminds us to be outraged all over again."
-Time Magazine

Combining fierce conviction, deft political analysis, and beautiful writing, this is the essential new book from Arundhati Roy

This series of essays examines the dark side of democracy in contemporary India. It looks closely at how religious majoritarianism, cultural nationalism, and neo-fascism simmer just under the surface of a country that projects itself as the world's largest democracy. Field Notes on Democracy tracks the fault-lines that threaten to destroy India's precarious democracy and send shockwaves through the region and beyond.

Roy writes about how the combination of Hindu Nationalism and India's neo-liberal economic reforms which began their journey together in the early 1990s are now turning India into a police state.

About Arundhati Roy:

From her celebrated Booker-Prize winning novel The God of Small Things, to her prolific output of writing on topics ranging from climate change to war, the perils of free-market development in India, and the defense of the poor, Roy's voice has become indispensable to millions seeking a better world.

"The fierceness with which Arundhati Roy loves humanity moves my heart."
-- Alice Walker

"India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence"
-New York Times


SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 2010, 2:00 P.M.
Between 16th and 15th Streets, SF)
For more information call: 415-821-6545


Defend Holly Works!
Monday April 5th 2010, 8 AM,
Alameda County Courthouse,
12th & Oak St, Oakland
8 AM demonstrate! 9 AM, attend trial.
(from 12th Street BART Station, walk down 12th St toward Lake Merritt.
Demonstrate/enter court at 12th and Oak St)

Holly Works is the now the last remaining defendant of the Oakland 100. Her trial was to start Monday, March 1st. But a defense motion for a postponement was granted, since Holly's chief witness is out of the country at this time.

A local musician and activist, Holly was arrested before she even arrived at the protest! Walking down the street with a friend, she was detained and fraudulently charged with... assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer!

This took place at least an hour before the protest was even to have started! Originally charged with assaulting a cop with a knife, Holly had no knife, and so that had to be changed. Since she had a screw driver in her purse, the cops accused her of using this "deadly weapon" to assault an officer. Once again, a total fabrication, made up by the police to tie up protesters with time-consuming prosecutions.


Oscar Grant was a young black retail grocery worker and father of a young daughter. He was out with friends for New Years Eve when he was detained by BART police. He was shot in the back at point blank range by a BART cop as he lay face-down on the Fruitvale station platform early on New Years Day, 2009. Cell-phone videos taken of the incident by witnesses on the station platform were posted on the internet, and protests erupted in Oakland. Over a week later, the officer, Johannes Mehserle, was finally charged with murder. He was granted a change of venue, and is being tried in Los Angeles.

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • 510 763-2347



Demand that Arne Duncan Stop Toying with Our Students' Lives!
End the "Race to the Top" Scheme Now!
Release All Federal Education Funds to the States Based on Need!

U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW (Washington DC)
Get on the Bus!
313 438-3748 or 313-575-9329
End the Attacks against Teachers, Black, Latina/o, and Poor,
Working-Class and Middle-Class Students of All Races

No Privatization of Public Education

No More Separate and Unequal

Restore Dr. King's Vision for America

(Information online at BAMN.COM)

Our children are NOT for sale. For the last six months, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has cynically and dishonestly hidden behind the needs of poor, black and Latina/o students to receive equal, quality educational opportunities, to institute his controversial, unpopular and educationally indefensible plan to create a national network of 5,000 publicly-financed, privately-run, minimally-regulated charter schools. Precious resources have already been taken away from public schools and given to charter schools to assure that charter schools win the "competition" against resource-starved, inner-city urban public school systems. His scheme, if successful, would end public education as a right and would increase, not decrease, educational inequality based on race and class.

Duncan has exploited the economic crisis to demand that union officials, local school districts, public officials and politicians unquestioningly and uncritically sign on to his unpopular, reactionary, anti-union, anti-democratic, pro-business policies in order to even stand a chance of receiving "Race To The Top" money. The most impoverished black and Latina/o communities with the proudest history of support for civil rights, union rights and public education are being asked to undertake a set of draconian reforms and to abandon every progressive principle they have stood on and believe in to get federal money to prevent the decimation of their schools.

The mildest resistance by the unions, Latina/o, black, immigrant or poor communities, students, parents, or politicians to Duncan's plan has led to whole states being denied access to funds. Duncan has fanatically demanded that unions abandon seniority protections, free-speech rights, set pay rates, academic freedom, etc. to qualify for federal money. Black and Latina/o parents, students and communities that have opposed taking away precious public resources from public schools and giving those same resources to charters, or who object to Latina/o and black students being asked to embrace separate and unequal, segregated, stripped-down, vocational/technical education instead of traditional broad-based education with art, music, science, sports and a full array of AP classes and extra-curricular activities-that succeeds in preparing wealthier suburban students for success in college-are being punished for even questioning Duncan's advocacy of private paternalistic offerings, reminiscent of the old Booker T. Washington-Jim Crow era.

Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and other majority minority cities in Michigan, California and Texas that are experiencing unemployment rates three times the national average and record numbers of foreclosures, bankruptcies, plant closings and job losses, are ineligible for "Race To The Top," because they resisted Duncan's attempts to scapegoat teachers, blame the students for the conditions they did not create, and replace or marginalize democratically-elected, publicly-accountable school boards and superintendents with pro-charter mayoral school-take-over administrators or state appointed "education czars," some of whom are paid in part by the charter companies themselves.

Arne Duncan Must Go

The young people in states eliminated from consideration for "Race To The Top" and those living in states still in the running for "Race To The Top" are losing ground every day. School closings, teacher lay-offs and program cuts abound. The whole application process has weakened public education everywhere and distorted all reform efforts. The mad scramble to abandon all tried-and-true reforms to get desperately needed federal funding and the insane competition of school-against-school, state-against-state, etc. consistent with Duncan's free-market maximum-competition ideology, has wreaked havoc and encouraged divisiveness everywhere. We cannot allow this to continue any longer. United we win, divided we fall. Now is the time to stand together and fight. If Arne Duncan were a Republican, every progressive force in America would be demanding his resignation or firing. We cannot allow him to destroy public education or give him a free pass because he's a Democrat. For any real pro-student educational reforms to occur, Duncan must go now.

We can win our fight to stop the privatization of public education by telling the truth and taking action. While Duncan's current efforts are focused on majority-Latina/o and -black urban districts, his plan to convert 5,000 public schools into charters means that suburban districts-increasingly resource-starved themselves-will be targeted next. No one disagrees that public education needs to be vastly improved or that the achievement gap between black and Latina/o, and poor, working-class and middle-class students of all races and more privileged students must be closed.

Proven Ways to Improve Student Achievement

It is as true now as it was in 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education was decided: the single most important factor in closing the achievement gap and improving every student's educational outcomes is school integration. Creating diverse student bodies, offering a variety of traditional and non-traditional course offerings, giving young people the right to explore and experiment with art, music, athletics, different cultures, etc., produces the greatest success rates. Giving resource-starved urban and rural schools the funds for books, supplies and smaller class sizes, supporting efforts to desegregate education through the creation of magnet school programs, and uniting urban and suburban districts to share services, prevent duplication of efforts, provide an economy of scale that allows for more experimentation with educational alternatives, and allows for the creation of more diverse student populations, are all reforms that work.

The Duncan reform plan is premised on the view that human creativity, scientific discovery and social progress are best furthered through purely individual competition for personal, individual gain. Nothing could be further from the truth. The greatest scientific breakthroughs, creative endeavors and social progress have always been produced as collective endeavors. When we have great minds focused on our shared and common interests and working together, human societies advance more rapidly. Educational reform is not that daunting when there is the will to act.

Duncan's educational policy begins from two false political premises: first, that we cannot tax the corporations, banks or the very rich to obtain the money needed to fund public education; and second, that we cannot reorder our social or political priorities so that education receives more funds. Both premises are wrong. Presented with the actual facts, there is no doubt that public education, which is the most popular and universally-treasured achievement of the great civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's, would easily beat out the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as funding priorities. Secondly, there is broadly felt and expressed frustration and anger over how little the very people who caused the economic crisis have had to pay to rectify the conditions they created. Taxing the corporations, banks and very rich might make them squeal, but it would hardly be an unpopular policy.

Last fall, students in California, led by University of California at Berkeley and UCLA students, gave birth to a student movement. They stood up and successfully defended public education. The student movement had the backing of the unions and California's powerful Latina/o, immigrant, black, poor, working-class and middle-class communities. The power of the movement is its independence and its understanding that it speaks for the majority. The student movement lifted all of us. The marches, sit-ins, occupations and rallies reminded us that when we stand and fight together, we can win and, maybe just as importantly, restore our own sense of collective purpose, joy, hope and optimism. To move this new movement forward and to move forward the civil rights, immigrant rights, and labor movements, we need to march on Washington. It is time for us to deliver our demands to Arne Duncan directly, massively and strongly.

Join us in Washington on April 9-make this spring vacation one you will not forget.

Get on the Bus!
313 438-3748 or 313-575-9329

If you can't come yourself, send a check to sponsor a student!!!(make out checks to: Defend Public Education, PO Box 24834, Detroit MI 48224)

Sponsored by:

Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)
Defend Public Education/Save Our Students Caucus

Rally endorsed by the Detroit Federation of Teachers


The US Social Forum II
" June 22-26, 2010 "
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Another World Is Possible! Another US is Necessary!


A National Conference
To Bring the Troops Home Now!
JULY 23, 24, 25, 2010
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Albany, New York

AN INVITATION FROM: After Downing Street, Arab American Union Members Council, Black Agenda Report, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Campus Antiwar Network, Code Pink, Iraq Veterans Against the War, National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, Peace of the Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Progressive Democrats of America, U.S. Labor Against the War, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom [list in formation]

The purpose of this conference is to bring together antiwar and social justice activists from across the country to discuss and decide what we can do together to end the wars, occupations, bombing attacks, threats and interventions that are taking place in the Middle East and beyond, which the U.S. government is conducting and promoting. Attend and voice your opinion on where the antiwar movement is today and where we go from here.

In these deeply troubled times, Washington's two wars and occupations rage on, resulting in an ever increasing number of dead and wounded; more and more civilians killed in drone bombing attacks; misery, deprivation, dislocation and shattered lives for millions; and a suicide rate for U.S. service members soaring to unprecedented heights. At the same time, trillions are spent on these seemingly endless Pentagon conflicts waged in pursuit of profits and global domination while trillions more are lost by working people in the value of their homes, in the loss of their jobs, pensions and health care, and in cuts for public services and vitally needed social programs.

We are witness to the massive bailout of banks and corporations while union contracts are shredded, work is outsourced, jobs are shipped off-shore, workers are evicted from their homes, and our youth and students face a bleak future of rising tuition costs, an ever-declining quality of education, and diminishing employment opportunities. They are offered instead the opportunity to become cannon fodder as the military serves as the employer of last resort while prison awaits many others.

The poor and working people in the U.S. suffer the horrors of unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, untreated illnesses and unavailable health insurance, crumbling infrastructure, and temporary and part time work at starvation wages. These multiple crises impact communities of color with disproportionate severity. Meanwhile people in a growing number of countries around the world are subjected to death and destruction by the world's most powerful military machine.

There is another dimension to this tragedy. The U.S. is at war to control and plunder the very fossil fuel resources whose continued use threatens the future of the human race.

We demand the immediate and total withdrawal of U.S. military forces, mercenaries and contractors from Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, we recognize that the Middle East cauldron today also encompasses Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine and Israel, while Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba and other countries in Latin America are targeted for intervention, subversion, occupation and control as a consequence of a militarized U.S. foreign policy. Our challenge is not only to end wars and occupations, but to fundamentally change the aggressive policies that inevitably lead our country to militarism and war.

The fight for better times, for a world of peace, justice and freedom, requires that we join together to make it happen, that we fight for the broad unity within the antiwar movement and across all the movements for social justice that has to date escaped us and that we collaborate to engage the American people in massive and united mobilizations against the warmakers and for the justice we deserve.

We have not forgotten the lessons of the civil rights movement, the struggle against the Vietnam War, the feminist and gay rights movements, and the monumental struggles that paved the way to the organization of American trade unions. History has demonstrated time and again that all critical social change is a product of the direct and massive intervention of the people.

We seek an inclusive conference where antiwar individuals and organizations come together to democratically discuss, debate and approve a plan of action aimed at winning the support and allegiance of the majority who have the power to compel a fundamental re-ordering of priorities.

We announce in advance that our goal is to develop strategies that unite us in action - for mass mobilizations and a variety of other tactics that suit the agendas of the constituent groups and individuals who participate in the conference proceedings. Our method is democracy. One person, one vote! Our goal is unity in action while respecting our diversity and differences in political program and orientation.

Join us in Albany, New York, July 23-25, 2010!
Issued by the United National Antiwar Conference (UNAC) Planning Committee
For more information, write, or UNAC at P.O. Box 21675, Cleveland, OH 44121 or call 518-227-6947 or visit our website at




A bit of San Francisco History:
James Baldwin in San Francisco, 1963

We Are NOT Your Soldiers National Tour 2010


YouTube - M4 Day of Action-On The March For Public Education

M4 Day of Action-On The March For Public Education On March 4, 2010, tens of thousands of education workers and students and supporters of public education joined together in rallies and marches throughout California and around the country. This video is about some of the participants in the San Francisco and the East Bay. Production of Labor Video Project P.O. Box 720027, SF, CA 94172 (414)282-1908


A message from Brian Becker: Urgent alert from ANSWER
March 10, 2010

Dear All:

I am writing to let you know about a serious assault on free speech rights that we believe is intended to hamper and obstruct the mobilization for the March 20 anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

On Sunday night, March 6, volunteers in Los Angeles were arrested for allegedly putting up three posters announcing the March 20th action. They were charged with felony vandalism and kept in jail on a $20,000 bail for each of them. Thanks to volunteers coming together, we were able to raise bail money and they are now out of jail.

The heavy felony charge and huge $20,000 bail in Los Angeles comes shortly after a nearly identical situation in San Francisco. Two ANSWER organizers were arrested on felony vandalism charges for allegedly putting up a political poster and also each given a $20,000 bail.

In Washington, D.C., the ANSWER Coalition has been hit with another wave of fines for March 20th political posters. These thousands of dollars of new fines are on top of an unprecedented $70,000 fines from the two most recent mobilizations. We are challenging the old and new fines. The posters conformed to lawful regulations-as they always have. No organization, corporate entity or politician has ever been hit with these massive fines.

Just today, we received another $1,300 fines on top of earlier fines.

Anti-war organizations and volunteers are also being hit with heavy fines in Chicago, New York City and elsewhere.

The stakes here are high.

The massive fines and felony arrests with extraordinarily high bail come just before what we believe will be the largest outpouring to date against the war in Afghanistan.

The large corporations, including the biggest war contractors and banks, have billions of dollars to advertise their message of war and profit. Grassroots organizations have always relied on leaflets and posters to build progressive movements for change.

The government and national and local law enforcement agencies are now engaged in a nationally coordinated effort to stamp out the exercise of classic grassroots organizing.

We will never surrender to this campaign that aims to intimidate and bankrupt the progressive movement.

We are fighting back. Most importantly, we are continuing to mobilize.

We ask you to show your support by coming to the March 20 demonstrations and by bringing your friends, families, co-workers and fellow students. We will not be silenced.

You can also support this movement by sending an urgently needed donation today.

We want to thank the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), the public interest legal organization, which has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the ANSWER Coalition and Muslim American Society Freedom that challenges the constitutionality of the D.C. postering regulations. Their tireless pro bono legal effort has resulted in an important victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals, which allows the lawsuit to proceed. The government had tried to stop us from even having our day in court. In California, constitutional rights attorney Carol Sobel has waged a major legal battle against the government's efforts to target free speech postering activities.

In order to win this fight, we have to both defend our rights in the courts and to show solidarity with activists who are facing repression. And each and every one of us can do our part to help support the mobilization of the people against war and occupation. Basic rights were never a gift from politicians. Important change, including basic free speech rights were the result of the struggle by generation after generation.

Thank you for your support. And please, take action now. Together, we can make the difference.

All out March 20!

Brian Becker_National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition

Please make an urgently needed donation!

Please make your plans to come to Washington, D.C., now. If you cannot come, please make an urgently needed donation that can help others attend.

The March 20 National March on Washington depends on the support from thousands of others like you who are taking a stand against the expanding wars and occupations. Please make your contribution today.


Fault Lines - Haiti: The politics of rebuilding
[Very enlightening video. The people of Haiti are thinking clearly. They are just not allowed to govern themselves. They are under US/UN corporate-sponsored military occupation to prevent them from running their own country]


Mine - Story of a Sacred Mountain
[This is a stunningly beautiful film. It is the story of Avatar in real life]

India's Supreme Court recently approved the project, and mining could begin in a matter of months.

The Dongria remain united in their determination to stop Vedanta from turning their sacred mountain into an industrial wasteland.

One of the Court's conditions is that some of the mine's profits are put towards "tribal development."

But no "development" or "compensation" package could cure the problems that mining Niyamgiri will cause: the destruction of a unique environment and culture.

The Dongria have accused Vedanta of "trying to flood us out with money" and have made it clear that:

"Mining only makes profit for the rich. We will become beggars if the company destroys our mountain and our forest so that they can make money. We don't want the mine or any help at all from the company."

Vedanta was founded by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, who owns more than half the shares.

Under Siege

Vedanta is still waiting to clear the final red tape before they are able to begin mining. Meanwhile, the Dongria are being held siege in their hill range.

Non-tribal villagers, who do not farm the land but rely on wage labor to survive, have blocked the routes into the Niyamgiri hills.

Young men, sometimes armed with axes, are refusing to allow any outsiders, including journalists, to enter Niyamgiri and visit Dongria Kondh villages.

The reason is simple: they do not want the world to hear the Dongria's voice.

Act now to help the Dongria Kondh

Your support is vital if the Dongria Kondh are to survive. There are many ways you can help.

--Write to India's Minister of Environment and Forests asking him to safeguard the Dongria Kondh's rights:

--Donate to the Dongria Kondh campaign (and other Survival campaigns):

--Write to your MP or MEP (UK):
or Senators and members of Congress (US):

--Write to your local Indian high commission or embassy:

--If you want to get more involved, contact Survival:


Bilin Reenacts Avatar Film 12-02-2010 By Haitham Al Katib


Watch the video: "Haiti and the Devil's Curse" at:


Haiti And The 'Devil's Curse' - The Truth About Haiti & Lies Of The Media PART 1

Haiti And The 'Devil's Curse' - The Truth About Haiti & Lies Of The Media PART 2

It's a powerful and accurate history of Haiti--including historical film footage of French, U.S., Canadian, and UN invasions, mass murder and torture, exploitation and occupation of Haiti--featuring Danny Glover.


Gaza in Plain Language: a video by Anthony Lawson and Joe Mowrey
Anthony Lawson and Joe Mowrey have created an amazing video. The narrative is from an article published not long ago in Dissident Voice written by Mr. Mowrey. [See article with the same name. A warning, however. This video is very graphic and very brutal but this is a truth we must see!] A video that narrates just what happened, without emotion... just the facts, ma'am! Share it with those you know! Now on PTT TV so Google and YouTube can't censor this information totally.


Glen Ford on Black Delusion in the Age of Obama
[A speech delivered to the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations conference. This is a great speech full of information.]


Lost Generation


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

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

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

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


Alert! New Threat To Mumia's Life!
Supreme Court Set To Announce A Decision
On the State Appeal To Reinstate Mumia's Death Sentence
17 January 2010
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 Oakland CA 94610
(510) 763-2347

Visit our newly-rebuilt and updated web site for background information on Mumia's innocence. See the "What You Can Do Now" page:

- The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 Oakland CA 94610
(510) 763-2347


The Pay at the Top
The compensation research firm Equilar compiled data reflecting pay for 200 chief executives at 198 public companies that filed their annual proxies by March 27 and had revenue of at least $6.3 billion. (Two companies, Motorola and Synnex, had co-C.E.O.'s.) | See a detailed description of the methodology.




The Unemployment Game Show: Are You *Really* Unemployed? - From


Video: Gaza Lives On





Lynne Stewart in Jail!

Mail tax free contributions payable to National Lawyers Guild Foundation. Write in memo box: "Lynne Stewart Defense." Mail to: Lynne Stewart Defense, P.O. Box 10328, Oakland, CA 94610.



U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Department of Justice Main Switchboard - 202-514-2000
Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line - 202-353-1555

To send Lynne a letter, write:
Lynne Stewart
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007

Lynne Stewart speaks in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal


With a New Smile, 'Rage' Fades Away [SINGLE PAYER NOW!!!]


FTA [F**k The Army] Trailer


The Story of Mouseland: As told by Tommy Douglas in 1944


The Communist Manifesto illustrated by Cartoons



For a donation of only $18.95, we can put a copy of the book "10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military" into a public or high school library of your choice. [Reason number 1: You may be killed]

A letter and bookplate will let readers know that your donation helped make this possible.

Putting a book in either a public or school library ensures that students, parents, and members of the community will have this valuable information when they need it.

Don't have a library you would like us to put it in? We'll find one for you!


This is a must-see video about the life of Oscar Grant, a young man who loved his family and was loved by his family. It's important to watch to understand the tremendous loss felt by his whole family as a result of his cold-blooded murder by BART police officers--Johannes Mehserle being the shooter while the others held Oscar down and handcuffed him to aid Mehserle in the murder of Oscar Grant January 1, 2009.

The family wants to share this video here with you who support justice for Oscar Grant.



Troy Anthony Davis is an African American man who has spent the last 18 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. There is no physical evidence tying him to the crime and seven out of nine witnesses have recanted. New evidence and new testimony have been presented to the Georgia courts, but the justice system refuses to consider this evidence, which would prove Troy Davis' innocence once and for all.

Sign the petition and join the NAACP, Amnesty International USA, and other partners in demanding justice for Troy Davis!

For Now, High Court Punts on Troy Davis, on Death Row for 18 Years
By Ashby Jones
Wall Street Journal Law Blog
June 30, 2009

Take action now:


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

New videos from April 24 Oakland Mumia event

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

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

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal


Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
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FLASHPOINTS Interview with Innocent San Quentin Death Row Inmate
Kevin Cooper -- Aired Monday, May 18,2009
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1) A Ruinous Meltdown
Op-Ed Columnist
March 20, 2010

2) In Bid to Sway Sales, Cameras Track Shoppers
March 19, 2010

3) U.S. Plans Spot Tests of Organic Products
March 19, 2010

4) U.S. Frees Detainees, but Afghans' Anger Persists
March 19, 2010

5) Heavy Rains Swamp Camps Holding Haiti's Homeless
March 19, 2010

6) More Food Banks Helping to Feed Pets
March 19, 2010

7) Killer of Malcolm X Is Granted Parole
March 19, 2010

8) Number of People Living on New York Streets Soars
March 19, 2010

9) U.S. Military Is the World's Number One Consumer of Fuel
Feb 11, 2010 08:30 ET
SOURCE: Save The World Air, Inc.

10) The Right to Counsel: Woman Becomes a Test Case
March 19, 2010

11) Thousands Rally to Pull Troops From 2 War Zones
March 20, 2010


1) A Ruinous Meltdown
Op-Ed Columnist
March 20, 2010

A story that is not getting nearly enough attention is the ruinous fiscal meltdown occurring in state after state, all across the country.

Taxes are being raised. Draconian cuts in services are being made. Public employees are being fired. The tissue-thin national economic recovery is being undermined. And in many cases, the most vulnerable populations - the sick, the elderly, the young and the poor - are getting badly hurt.

Arizona, struggling with a projected $2.6 billion budget shortfall, took the drastic step of scrapping its Children's Health Insurance Program. That left nearly 47,000 low-income children with no coverage at all. Gov. Jan Brewer is also calling for an increase in the sales tax. She said, "Arizona is navigating its way through the largest state budget deficit in its long history."

In New Jersey, the newly elected governor, Chris Christie, has proposed a series of budget cuts that, among other things, would result in public schools receiving $820 million less in state aid than they had received in the prior school year. Some well-off districts would have their direct school aid cut off altogether. Poorer districts that rely almost entirely on state aid would absorb the biggest losses in terms of dollars. They're bracing for a terrible hit.

For all the happy talk about "no child left behind," the truth is that in Arizona and New Jersey and dozens of other states trying to cope with the fiscal disaster brought on by the Great Recession, millions of children are being left far behind, and many millions of adults as well.

"We've talked in the past about revenue declines in a recession," said Jon Shure of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "but I think you have to call this one a revenue collapse. In proportional terms, there has never been a drop in state revenues like we're seeing now since people started to keep track of state revenues. We're in unchartered territory when it comes to the magnitude of the impact."

Massachusetts, which has made a series of painful cuts over the past two years, is gearing up for more. Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told The Boston Globe: "There's no end to the bad news here. The state fiscal situation is already so dire that any additional bad news is magnified."

California has cut billions of dollars from its education system, including its renowned network of public colleges and universities. Many thousands of teachers have been let go. Budget officials travel the state with a glazed look in their eyes, having tried everything they can think of to balance the state budget. And still the deficits persist.

In the first two months of this year, state and local governments across the U.S. cut 45,000 jobs. Additional layoffs are expected as states move ahead with their budgets for fiscal 2011. Increasingly these budgets, instead of helping people, are hurting them, undermining the quality of their lives, depriving them of educational opportunities, preventing them from accessing desperately needed medical care, and so on.

The federal government has tried to help, but much more assistance is needed.

These are especially tough times for young people. "What we're seeing now in Arizona and potentially in New Jersey and other states spells long-term trouble for the nation's children," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician who is president of the Children's Health Fund in New York and a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

"We're looking at all these cuts in human services - in health care, in education, in after-school programs, in juvenile justice. This all points to a very grim future for these children who seem to be taking the brunt of this financial crisis."

Dr. Redlener issued a warning nearly a year ago about the "frightening" toll the recession was taking on children. He told me last April, "We are seeing the emergence of what amounts to a 'recession generation.' "

The impact of the recession on everyone, of whatever age, is only made worse when states trying to balance their budgets focus too intently on cutting services as opposed to a mix of service cuts and revenue-raising measures.

As Mr. Shure of the Center on Budget noted, "The cruel irony is that in a recession like this, the people's needs go up at the same time that the states' ability to meet those needs goes down."

Budget cuts also tend to weaken rather than strengthen a state's economy, especially when they entail furloughs or layoffs. Government spending stimulates an economy in recession. And wise spending is an investment in everyone's quality of life.

All states have been rocked by the Great Recession. And most have tried to cope with a reasonable mix of budget cuts and tax increases, or other revenue-raising measures. Those that rely too heavily on cuts are making guaranteed investments in human misery.


2) In Bid to Sway Sales, Cameras Track Shoppers
March 19, 2010

The curvy mannequin piqued the interest of a couple of lanky teenage boys. Little did they know that as they groped its tight maroon shirt in the clothing store that day, video cameras were rolling.

At a mall, a father emerged from a store dragging his unruly young son by the scruff of the neck, as if he were the family cat. The man had no idea his parenting skills were being immortalized.

At an office supply store, a mother decided to get an item from a high shelf by balancing her small child on her shoulders, unaware that she, too, was being recorded.

These scenes may seem like random shopping bloopers, but they are meaningful to stores that are striving to engineer a better experience for the consumer, and ultimately, higher sales for themselves. Such clips, retailers say, can help them find solutions to problems in their stores - by installing seating and activity areas to mollify children, for instance, or by lowering shelves so merchandise is within easy reach.

Privacy advocates, though, are troubled by the array of video cameras, motion detectors and other sensors monitoring the nation's shopping aisles.

Many stores and the consultants they hire are using the gear not to catch shoplifters but to analyze and to manipulate consumer behavior. And while taping shoppers is legal, critics say it is unethical to observe people as if they were lab rats. They are concerned that the practices will lead to an even greater invasion of privacy, particularly facial recognition technology, which is already in the early stages of deployment.

Companies that employ this technology say it is used strictly to determine characteristics like age and gender, which help them discover how different people respond to various products. But privacy advocates fear that as the technology becomes more sophisticated, it will eventually cross the line and be used to identify individual consumers and gather more detailed information on them.

"I think it is absolutely inevitable that this stuff is going to be linked to individuals," said Katherine Albrecht, founder of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, an advocacy group.

Some degree of privacy, experts say, is necessary as a matter of decency.

"When someone's watching me, I'm going to act differently than when I think I'm alone," Ms. Albrecht said. "Did I pick my nose? What was I doing? What did they see?"

Some stores use existing security systems for such monitoring and others have installed entirely new systems.

The most basic surveillance setup has been around for a few years. It uses video cameras in ceilings and sensors near fitting rooms to learn how many customers pass through the doors and where they tend to go.

At the other extreme, some retailers are taping shoppers' every movement and using specialized analysis to study the shoppers' behavior. For example, after seeing scores of customers struggle to navigate a particular area, analysts might suggest that the retailer widen the aisle.

The companies that install and analyze video for retailers say that they are sensitive to privacy issues but that the concerns are overblown. They say they are not using the technology to identify consumers but to give them easier and more enjoyable shopping experiences. And, they added, they have the sales results to prove it.

For example, Cisco Systems, the supplier of networking equipment, said one of its clients, the outdoor recreation retailer Cabela's, installed cameras to monitor how long sales clerks took to approach customers.

"Far fewer customers were being approached within their guidelines than they thought," said Joanne Bethlahmy, a director at Cisco's Internet business solutions group. Cabela's took steps to change that, and performance improved. The chain said it was testing video analysis and plans to go ahead with it.

Some of Cisco's clients are also experimenting with facial recognition technology. Cisco executives noted, however, that the technology was used only to look for general characteristics. "It's not looking at individuals," Ms. Bethlahmy said. "It registers as 'old versus young.' "

Knowing that can help a retailer determine if a display is more appealing to men or to women, to baby boomers or members of Generation X.

Because of sensitivities surrounding privacy, some retailers are reluctant to discuss surveillance technology. And exactly how many cameras are tracking shoppers is not known, partly because cameras are installed and uninstalled during various studies. (The videotape is for internal use only.)

But industry professionals said interest in analyzing shoppers was growing. Video analysis companies said nearly every major chain was or had been a client, including giants like Wal-Mart Stores and Best Buy.

"In 1997, we were the only people doing this, and it was a somewhat risky business," said Paco Underhill, a pioneer in the field of observational customer research and the founder of Envirosell, a research company that is considered the industry trailblazer. "In 2010, the concept of observational research is offered by hundreds of companies across the world."

Many think they have just begun to tap its potential.

"This is truly the next big area to explode in terms of improving retail operations," Ms. Bethlahmy said.

Bill Martin, a co-founder of ShopperTrak, which uses video sensors to help retailers count customers, said chains were asking about the technology to become more competitive in an economic slump. So far, more than 50,000 ShopperTrak sensors are in stores around the world.

Envirosell says this year is the busiest in its history.

The company uses video cameras as well as in-store researchers, or "trackers" in Envirosell parlance, to discreetly observe shoppers. They also interview customers.

At Mr. Underhill's New York office, young acolytes - his 1999 book "Why We Buy" is read by marketing students the world over - watch hours of video. Information collected by the trackers and the cameras enables the team to draw conclusions about things retailers and manufacturers want to know, like which merchandise areas are least popular. To explain the process, Mr. Underhill showed a reporter surveillance videos of teenagers touching the buxom mannequin.

"We call this being busted," he said dryly.

Such video has inspired malls to create inviting seating areas on the theory that if men stay out of trouble, women shop longer.

Privacy advocates know that stores are not public property, but they would still prefer to see ground rules like telling shoppers they are under a microscope.

But it may already be too late.

As Mr. Underhill pointed out, people are taped dozens of times each day doing routine chores like pumping gas. Cameras, it seems, are pervasive. Stores are merely the latest frontier.

"We live our lives surrounded by them," he said.


3) U.S. Plans Spot Tests of Organic Products
March 19, 2010

The Department of Agriculture said on Friday that it would begin enforcing rules requiring the spot testing of organically grown foods for traces of pesticides, after an auditor exposed major gaps in federal oversight of the organic food industry.

Spot testing is required by a 1990 law that established the basis for national organic standards, but in a report released on Thursday by the office of Phyllis K. Fong, the inspector general of agriculture, investigators wrote that regulators never made sure the testing was being carried out.

The report pointed to numerous shortcomings at the agriculture department's National Organic Program, which regulates the industry, including poor oversight of some organic operations overseas and a lack of urgency in cracking down on marketers of bogus organic products.

The audit did not name growers or processors that marketed products falsely labeled organic or say where any such products had been sold.

The head of the National Organic Program, Miles McEvoy, said on Friday that enforcing testing rules was one of several steps the agency was taking to improve oversight of the industry. It will also require unannounced inspections of organic producers and processors and start regular reviews of organic products in stores to make sure they are correctly labeled and meet federal regulations, he said.

"There's a real commitment from this administration to improve the integrity of this program," Mr. McEvoy said.

The testing for pesticide residues is expected to begin in September. It will be done by the network of independent certifying agents that are already accredited by the department to inspect and certify organic growers, processors and handlers.

As of last July, 98 independent agents were licensed to inspect and certify about 28,000 organic operations worldwide, the inspector general's report said.

Mr. McEvoy said that details of the pesticide inspections were still being worked out but that they would probably focus on growers whose risk of pesticide contamination might be highest, like those whose organic fields are cultivated next to nonorganic fields or those that raise both organic and conventional crops.

Some certifiers already do spot tests, he said, but many do not, testing only if they suspect a problem. The inspector general's report said a review of four large certifiers, which were collectively responsible for inspecting almost a third of the organic operations nationwide, found that none did regular spot testing.

The organic program's budget increased to $6.9 million for the current fiscal year, from $3.9 million the previous year, Mr. McEvoy said, while its staff is slated to nearly double, to 31 from 16. The Obama administration is seeking to increase the budget to $10 million in the next fiscal year and allow the program to expand to about 40 employees.

Christine M. Bushway, executive director of the Organic Trade Association, an industry group, said improved oversight, and more money to make it possible, were needed to ensure that consumers had faith in the United States Department of Agriculture's organic seal. "Compliance and enforcement are critical to the seal and the long-term health of the industry," she said.

Sales of organic products reached $26 billion last year and, until the recession hit, had been growing by double-digit percentages each year.

Ms. Bushway said the organic program never had the resources to keep up with the industry's growth. "They were underfunded and understaffed," she said.

The inspector general's report focused largely on conditions at the organic program at the end of the Bush administration, from 2006 through 2008.

It said that in several cases officials had taken up to 32 months to act against producers or processors that had sold conventional products claiming they were organic - even as those products remained on the market. In one case, the report said, officials failed entirely to take action against an operator that, for two years, sold nonorganic mint under an organic label.

The report also said that the organic program had failed to adequately vet several of the independent certifying agents it allowed to approve organic operations in foreign countries.

Under normal circumstances, the program gives preliminary accreditation to certifying agents based on a review of paperwork they submit. That allows them to begin certifying and inspecting organic producers and processors. But the program is supposed to follow up with a site visit to inspect a certifier's operations before making accreditation permanent.

In five cases, the inspector general found, officials failed to make the follow-up visits, allowing the certifiers to operate for as long as seven years with only preliminary accreditation.

Officials at the program said that in three cases, involving certifiers operating in Bolivia, Israel and Turkey, they did not send staff members to make the inspections because the State Department had issued travel warnings about potentially dangerous conditions in those countries.

In two other cases, involving certifying agents in Australia and Canada, officials said that scheduling problems blocked them from arranging visits - in one instance for as long as five years.

The Department of Agriculture said in its response to the audit that it had now visited and completed its review of four of the five foreign certifiers cited in the report and had scheduled a visit to the remaining certifier. It did not say if the reviews had found compliance problems.

The audit also highlighted numerous inconsistencies in the way that certifiers operating in the United States enforced organic regulations.

The report warned that officials must tighten oversight of the industry to give consumers the assurance "that products labeled as organic are meeting a uniform standard."


4) U.S. Frees Detainees, but Afghans' Anger Persists
March 19, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan - The tribal elders had traveled many hours to reach a windswept Afghan military base on the capital's outskirts to sign their names to a piece of paper allowing them to bring their countrymen home from American detention.

As an Afghan general read the document aloud, Cmdr. Dawood Zazai, a towering Pashtun tribal leader from Paktia Province who fought the Soviets, thumped his crutch for attention. Along with other elders, he did not like a clause in the document that said the detainees had been reasonably held based on intelligence.

"I cannot sign this," Commander Zazai said, thumping his crutch again. "I don't know what that intelligence said; we did not see that intelligence. It is right that we are illiterate, but we are not blind.

"Who proved that these men were guilty?"

No one answered because Commander Zazai had just touched on the crux of the legal debate that has raged for nearly a decade in the United States: Does the United States have the legal right to hold, indefinitely without charge or trial, people captured on the battlefield? His question also exposed a fundamental disagreement between the Afghans and the American military about whether people had been fairly detained.

This is the latest chapter in America's tortuous effort to repair the damage done over the last nine years by a troubled, overcrowded detention system that often produced more insurgents rather than reforming them. The problems were similar in the huge sweeps of suspected insurgents in Iraq.

Now, in Afghanistan, detainees who are deemed not to be a threat are handed over to local elders on the understanding that it is the community's responsibility to ensure that they stay on the right side of the law.

The releases that took place at a recent ceremony at the 201st Afghan Army Corps headquarters, as well as the release or assignment to Afghan detention of 70 to 80 detainees earlier this year, are part of a new effort to free detainees who are no longer thought to be an imminent threat to the government of Afghanistan or the international forces.

Under the program, recently overhauled by Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward and Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, a Harvard-trained lawyer with the army's Judge Advocate General's Corps, there is now an automatic administrative review devised to speed the release process, and for the first time it allows detainees to make a case for their release.

Once the review board has approved a release, the Afghan military, in conjunction with the Americans, asks the detainee to sign a pledge to stay away from the insurgency, from the Taliban and from Al Qaeda. The elders are asked to sign a similar pledge that they will help them. Similar programs have been used with considerable success in Iraq, and the new one in Afghanistan builds on that experience.

There are now about 800 detainees at the American-run Detention Facility in Parwan, the new detention center that opened at the end of 2009 to replace the notorious holding facility at Bagram Air Base, which is associated with abuses that resulted in the deaths of at least two detainees. The vast majority of detainees are Afghans, but about 32 are foreigners, according to a senior American officer.

The American plan is to hand control of the detention center to the Afghan Ministry of Defense by January 2011, but Americans will still be deeply involved in the detention operations. In the coming months, the Americans hope to use the review process to release as many detainees as possible if they are deemed no longer a threat and to transfer to Afghan custody those who can be tried for crimes under Afghan law.

But as the recent ceremony showed, beyond the cake and fruit and formal speeches lies a reservoir of resentment about how the United States has handled detentions since 2001.

In interviews, former detainees and their families said the Americans were routinely misled by informants who either had personal grudges against them or were paid by others to give information to the Americans that would put the person in jail.

In addition, many Afghans have experienced the detentions as humiliating, and found almost unbearable the depths of poverty borne by their families during their internment.

"The information you had about these men was wrong in the first place," said Hajji Azizullah, 54, a leader of the Andar tribe in Ghazni, who had come to sign for two detainees. "We are confident they were not involved with insurgents. If they were, we wouldn't be here to sign for them."

One detainee, Pacha Khan, 29, an illiterate bread baker from Kunar Province, said he was still puzzled about why he had been detained in the first place, let alone held for three years. "I was innocent," he insisted. "Spies took money and sold me to the Americans. The Americans treated us very well, but as you know, jail is a big thing - to be away from your family, your relatives."

His brother, Gul Ahmed Dindar, was less forgiving. He had to support his brother's family of eight children and a wife on the meager salary of a local police officer. "They were about to sell their children," he said. "They had very little to live on. They sold their one goat, their one sheep and their cow. Then they sold the furniture - it was not much. They have had a very tough life."

Admiral Harward insisted that the American intelligence was good and that these were insurgents, but on hearing the elders' protests about signing a document that made it sound as if the tribal leaders agreed with the American view, he offered to change the language to say that in the eyes of American forces these detainees were insurgents. The elders nodded their assent. The new language will be used on future sponsor forms. "We learn something every time we do this," Admiral Harward said.

The Afghan military made its own effort to solve the problem when it heard the elders' protests, by simply writing in the word "no" in front of the phrase saying the detainee had a "link to the insurgency." The version the elders signed said the detainee had "no link."

In the shifting shadows of this often invisible war, where no one is sure who is lying and who is telling the truth, it seemed a reasonable way to resolve the day's discord.


5) Heavy Rains Swamp Camps Holding Haiti's Homeless
March 19, 2010

Filed at 3:01 p.m. ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- One of the heaviest rainfalls since Haiti's Jan. 12 earthquake swamped homeless camps Friday, sweeping screaming residents into eddies of water, overflowing latrines and panicking thousands.

The overnight downpour sent water coursing down the slopes of a former golf course that now serves as a temporary home for about 45,000 people.

There were no reports of deaths in the camp, a town-size maze of blue, orange and silver tarps located behind the country club used by the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne as a forward-operating base.

But the deluge terrified families who just two months ago survived the collapse of their homes in the magnitude-7 earthquake and are now struggling to make do in tent-and-tarp camps that officials have repeatedly said must be relocated.

''I was on one side (of the tarp), the children were on the other side and I was trying to push the water out,'' Jackquine Exama, a 34-year-old mother of seven, said through tears.

''I'm not used to this,'' she said.

Aid workers said people were swept screaming into eddies of water and flows ripped down tents an Israeli aid group is using to teach school.

''They were crying. There was just fear down there. It was chaos,'' said Jim Wilson of the aid group Praecipio, who came running from his own shelter up the hill when he heard the screams.

After the sun rose Friday, people used sticks and their bare hands to dig drainage ditches around their tarps and shanties.

Marie Elba Sylvie, 50, could not decide whether it was worth repairing damage to her lean-to of scrap wood and plastic.

''It could be fixed but when it rains again it will be the same problem,'' said the 50-year-old mother of four.

Standing water and mud also pervaded a tarp-and-tent city on the outskirts of Cite Soleil, several miles away. Residents waded through the shallow flood collecting their belongings.

Officials know they must move many of the 1.3 million people displaced by the earthquake before the rainy season starts in earnest in April. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters at the golf-course camp Sunday that the people living there were in particular danger.

But after two months of searching and wrangling with landowners, the government has still not opened any of the five promised relocation sites that are better able to withstand rain and aftershocks on the capital's northeastern outskirts.

Aid groups are also struggling to open their own camps.

''It's been frustrating to us because we need to have those sites in order to build something ... better. Until we can do that people have no incentive to move,'' U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes told The Associated Press during Ban's visit.

''We're running out of time, honestly,'' Holmes said.


6) More Food Banks Helping to Feed Pets
March 19, 2010

The exploding demand among the needy for food banks is rapidly expanding to desperate pet owners who can no longer afford to feed their animals, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Animal shelters around the country are being flooded with hungry pets, and to tackle the problem, charitable organizations are setting up pet food banks, with products offered within regular food pantries.

"One of our goals is to keep pets in their homes if we can," said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, a nonprofit that works to find ways of limiting the number of animals in New York City that are euthanized. "It's heartbreaking when an animal has to go to a shelter simply because its family doesn't have the money to feed it."

She compared it to City Harvest, a nonprofit group in New York that distributes excess food from the city's restaurants to the needy.

The Mayor's Alliance is working with the Petco Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the pet store chain, to build a national network of pet food banks supplied in part out of donation bins that Petco is putting in its stores.

The idea grew out of a program the foundation started after the recession hit that aimed to keep pets with their families by providing some financing to animal welfare groups to support food supply, temporary shelters, new adoption programs and the like.

It has supported, for instance, a program Meals on Wheels started in 2006 to supply the elderly with food for their pets as well.

"In the last year or so, we've just had more and more groups asking for food and started thinking of ways we could address that need," said Peter Jolly, the executive director of the Petco Foundation.

Petco asked each of its stores to team up with a pet food bank operation. Those organizations will be responsible for collecting and distributing the food that is collected in the bins. It will spend $100,000 on the program.

"We also envision in the future going to our pet food vendors and asking them to run a special program so that if, say, someone buys a bag of Hill's Science Diet dog food to put in the bin, then Hill's Science Diet would match that gift with another bag," Mr. Jolly said.

PAWS Chicago, which aims to prevent animal deaths in that city, will distribute Petco food and products through its spay-and-neuter clinic.

Last year, the organization distributed 29,000 pounds of food for 745 dogs and cats, said Rochelle Michalek, executive director of PAWS, which stands for Pets Are Worth Saving.

"People don't want to give up their pets, but they're getting to a point where they have to make choices between putting food on the table, paying the electric bill, getting school supplies or buying pet food," she said. "Giving them a three-month supply of pet food means they don't have to make that choice."


7) Killer of Malcolm X Is Granted Parole
March 19, 2010

After being turned down for parole 16 times, Malcolm X's only confessed assassin is about to gain his freedom.

Thomas Hagan has been held since moments after shots rang out in the Audubon Ballroom in 1965. He has been on work release for more than two decades, but he still spends two days a week locked up at the Lincoln Correctional Facility on West 110th Street in Manhattan.

On March 3, however, on his 17th try, Mr. Hagan was granted parole, the State Division of Parole said. His final release date is tentatively scheduled for April 28. The news was reported Thursday on The Village Voice's Runnin' Scared blog.

Mr. Hagan, who turned 69 in jail on Tuesday, was a militant member of the Nation of Islam on Feb. 21, 1965, when Malcolm X was shot while giving a speech at the Audubon, in Washington Heights. Mr. Hagan, then known as Talmadge X. Hayer, was captured by the crowd and shot at and beaten before being rescued by the police.

Two other men, Muhammad Abdul Aziz (then known as Norman 3X Butler) and Kahlil Islam (then Thomas 15X Johnson), were also charged with the murder. They maintained their innocence. Mr. Hagan did not, testifying at his trial in 1966 that he was responsible for the murder and that his co-defendants were innocent.

All three men were sentenced to 20 years to life.

Mr. Hagan said in a 1977 affidavit that he and several accomplices (not Mr. Aziz or Mr. Islam) decided to kill Malcolm X because he was a "hypocrite" who had "gone against the leader of the Nation of Islam," Elijah Muhammad. Mr. Hagan said that after one man shot Malcolm X in the chest with a shotgun, he and another man fired several more rounds at him.

Mr. Aziz was paroled in 1985, and in 1998 was named by Louis Farrakhan to be chief of security for the Harlem mosque that Malcolm X once headed. Mr. Islam was paroled in 1987.

Mr. Hagan, who earned a master's degree while in prison, according to a 2008 profile in The New York Post, was placed on work release in 1988. In 2008, he was spending his free days with his wife and children in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and working in a fast food restaurant.

"I've been incarcerated for 40 years, and I've had a good record all around," he told The Post. "I don't see any reason for holding me."


8) Number of People Living on New York Streets Soars
March 19, 2010

The Bloomberg administration said Friday that the number of people living on New York's streets and subways soared 34 percent in a year, signaling a setback in one of the city's most intractable problems.

Appearing both startled and dismayed by the sharp increase, a year after a significant drop, administration officials attributed it to the recession, noting that city shelters for families and single adults had been inundated.

Robert V. Hess, the commissioner of homeless services, said in a subdued news conference that the city began feeling the increase in its vast shelter system more than two years ago. "And now we're seeing the devastating effect of this unprecedented poor economy on our streets as well," Mr. Hess said.

The city's annual tally indicated an additional 783 homeless people on the streets and in the subway system, for a total of 3,111, up from 2,328 last year. That is in addition to almost 38,000 people living in shelters, which is near the city's high.

The count came from an annual census of homeless people that is typically conducted on a cold January night, when more than 2,500 volunteers walk the streets and subway system between midnight and 4 a.m. to search for and identify the homeless. It took place this year on Jan. 25.

There were more homeless people found on the streets in every borough. The largest increase was in Brooklyn, where an additional 228 people were counted, more than double the total in January 2009. Manhattan had a 47 percent increase, or 368 more homeless people. In Staten Island, there was an increase of 45 percent, or 54 people; in Queens, a 14 percent increase, or 14 people; and in the Bronx, 6 percent, or 10 people.

Volunteers found 109 additional people - an increase of 11 percent - on subway trains and in stations.

Some of the homeless were found in out-of-the way corners in Queens and Staten Island.

A higher-than-usual concentration of homeless people have been recently seen in Pennsylvania Station. And a pocket of homeless men in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, appears to be new immigrants from Poland, trying to find work as day laborers.

The homeless population on the streets this year was down 29 percent from 2005, the first year of the count. The numbers had been steadily declining each year until the latest tally.

New York officials said the city still had a relatively small population of homeless people on the streets when compared with other large American cities.

There is one homeless person for every 2,688 people in the general New York population, compared with 1 in 154 for Los Angeles, 1 in 1,810 for Chicago and 1 in 1,844 for Washington. Among other cities conducting homeless counts this year, only Seattle, which showed a slight decrease, has so far announced results.

Mr. Hess promised that there would be new measures to encourage more of the homeless to get off the streets and into shelters. In the next month, the city will open two new housing facilities with 105 beds. And street-outreach workers will survey people to help understand why they are homeless.

Mr. Hess said he wanted to allow more people to go directly from the street to a shelter bed without an intake process and to cut out some of the bureaucracy that deterred them from entering shelters.

Tim Marx, the executive director of Common Ground, a nonprofit organization that provides homeless street outreach services in Brooklyn, Queens and parts of Manhattan, said he was not surprised by the increase.

"It just says that we have to keep up our efforts and intensify them," Mr. Marx said. "The more people we have on the streets, the more they are making demands of our emergency shelter system, emergency rooms, detox centers and jails."

Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, said he saw the count's results as a sign that the administration needed to revamp its policies.

"Based on the increase reported today, I hope we can agree that we need to change our approach," Mr. de Blasio said in a statement. "I continue to believe that we can do more to take on the growing problem of homelessness, including expanding prevention programs, re-examining our housing policies and maintaining support for critical services - such as drop-in centers and faith-based shelter beds - that often are all that stands between single homeless adults and the streets."

The count has attracted its share of skepticism since it was first conducted in 2005. Advocates for the homeless have questioned the city's methodology and have frequently accused the administration of underestimating the number.

The city says it follows a national standard and includes decoys as a way to measure the accuracy. The decoys, who are volunteers, station themselves around the city and note whether the official counters come by. In January, 90 percent of the decoys were counted, so the city assumed that 10 percent of the homeless were missed and adjusted its tabulation accordingly.

Last year, city officials said that the count revealed a 30 percent drop in the street homeless population since 2008, an announcement that was made at an elaborate news conference attended by volunteers, formerly homeless people and Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services, who spoke briefly.

This year's event was quiet and spare by comparison. Ms. Gibbs's commissioner, Mr. Hess, made the announcement in a conference room, seated at a long table.


9) U.S. Military Is the World's Number One Consumer of Fuel
Feb 11, 2010 08:30 ET
SOURCE: Save The World Air, Inc.

STWA's ELEKTRATM Technology Offers a 'Green' Solution to Help Reduce Consumption and Increase National Fuel Security

SANTA BARBARA, CA--(Marketwire - February 11, 2010) - Save the World Air, Inc. (OTCBB: ZERO), an innovative pioneer in the clean technology industry focused on energy efficiency and air quality issues, will be a "Midshipman" sponsor at the upcoming Energy Futures Symposium 2010. The event is being sponsored by the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) and STWA will use this venue to further advance its ELEKTRA technology with military decision-makers.

Fuel consumption by the military has been steadily increasing. According to U.S. government reporting, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is the single-largest consumer of fuel in the world. In Desert Storm, fuel usage was about four gallons per soldier per day. A article, "The World's Biggest Fuel Consumer," stated that, "By 2007, U.S. operations in the Middle East were using up to 16 gallons, or $3 million worth of fuel a day." Additionally, a Reuter's article entitled "Pentagon says cutting energy use is big priority" claims that, "In fiscal 2008, the Pentagon's fuel bill was $20 billion a year."

Mr. Cecil Bond Kyte, Chairman and CEO of Save The World Air, Inc., stated, "Our ELEKTRA(tm) technology can effectively reduce fuel consumption within the U.S. military fleet. The fleet consumes massive amounts of fuel, and it is a major part of the budget; however, cost is not the only concern. The military leadership is realizing that 'greening' the fleet is a top national security issue!"

A report released in May of 2009 by the Center for Naval Analyses, said the issue of fuel and energy consumption would play a 'key role' in ongoing reviews of defense programs at the Pentagon. The report concluded that heavy U.S. use of fossil fuels, combined with the fragile U.S. electricity grid, posed 'significant security risks' to the country and the military.

The report further warned of the destabilizing nature of increasingly scarce resources, calling on the Pentagon to fully integrate energy security and climate change goals into national security and military planning.

The military sector is well aware of the need to address the issue of fuel consumption and the 'greening' of its fleets. In May 2009, Dr. Ashton Carter, the DOD's Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, stated, "The department (DOD) had already tripled spending on energy research and development programs to $1.2 billion over the past two years, plus $300 million from the federal stimulus bill."

Military contractors are still scrambling to replace the military's fleet of thousands of Humvees. Fuel energy savings, like what could be gained by implementing the ELEKTRA technology within existing, or new vehicles, could contribute to greater security and safety for the troops.

According to Dr. Carter, the Pentagon uses 0.3 million barrels a day of oil, about 1.5 percent of the U.S. total usage of 21 million barrels a day. The U.S. accounts for about twenty five percent of total world consumption, which is approximately 86 million barrels a day.

"Energy is a driver. I'm seeing it crop up everywhere," Dr. Carter said. "I'm committed to staying on top of this."

More information on the ELEKTRA technology can be found at:

About Save The World Air, Inc.

Save The World Air, Inc. develops and licenses proprietary, patented and patent-pending flux field viscosity reduction, pollution control and performance improvement technologies. The company's technologies include: Advanced Oil Technology (AOT(tm)), which reduces viscosity in crude oil and diesel fuel; and, ELEKTRA(tm), ZEFS and MKIV, which have been scientifically tested and proven to significantly reduce harmful exhaust emissions, improve performance and enhance fuel economy. The Company's products have been engineered to serve as either stand-alone systems, or can be used (in conjunction with other technologies) to create a more effective viscosity reduction and pollution control system. When applied to internal combustion engines, the technologies not only reduce harmful emissions, but also decrease greenhouse gases, improve fuel efficiency and boost performance.

More information including a company Fact Sheet, logos and media articles are available at:, and at:

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10) The Right to Counsel: Woman Becomes a Test Case
March 19, 2010


SHE was poor and in trouble. He was the public defender appointed to represent her.

She was Kimberly Hurell-Harring, a nobody in the courts, a nursing home worker and a mother of two who had done something stupid. He was Patrick E. Barber, a lawyer with a silver stubble of a beard, paid by the county and state to help make the criminal justice system as fair to the poor as it is to the rich.

At his urging, she pleaded guilty and went to jail for a felony that turned out not to be a felony at all. "It seemed like he was on the D.A.'s side," she said later.

He said recently that he had done what he could: "They had her dead to rights."

Usually, such a minor case would go unnoticed; a little test of the constitutional right to a lawyer, results unknown. Instead it has made Mr. Barber an emblem of the problems of the state's ramshackle system of providing lawyers for indigent defendants. On Tuesday, New York's highest court is to consider a class-action suit, filed by civil liberties lawyers in Ms. Hurell-Harring's name, that seeks broad changes in the state's frayed network of public defenders, who are routinely unmonitored and often overwhelmed. Her case, now being pored over by some of the state's leading lawyers and judges, offers a window into the everyday corners of the legal system, where no one is usually watching.

It began two and a half years ago, in October 2007, in the Washington County Court here, not far from the Vermont border. In an area of the state where prisons are an industry, Ms. Hurell-Harring pleaded guilty to trying to sneak her inmate husband three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in a condom she had hidden in her vagina.

From the courtroom benches, the few spectators saw a frightened woman who had never been in trouble before and a public defender who was not fighting for her. "She was sitting there looking stunned and confused," said Daniel J. Freeman, a recent Yale Law School graduate who had been sent to observe by the New York Civil Liberties Union. "I didn't see him interacting much with her."

The story of this one defendant and her public defender, assembled through interviews and court records, is about a woman who was barely making it before the legal system helped shove her off track.

And it is also about a small-town lawyer and part-time public servant sinking in personal and professional quicksand that few people knew about when he showed up to represent Kimberly Hurell-Harring. Least of all her.

The Client

She was 31 in the fall of 2007, a spirited woman with a big smile and 13 gold hoops in one ear. Pregnant at 14, she could have become lost. But she had earned her high school diploma and done something with the nursing assistant's certificate she carried proudly in her wallet.

She worked nights, sometimes two jobs, changing bedpans and offering solace. When Amos D. Harring was arrested for assault, she stuck by him. The police said he had shot someone.

She arrived in Washington County on Sept. 29 on the journey thousands of women make every year to the state's far reaches, where their men are locked away. She came twice a month or even more often, sometimes alone, sometimes with her two girls, ages 16 and 4.

This time, the three of them had driven together, 240 miles across the state from Rochester, where they had always lived. There was to be a family visit the next day at the hulking maximum-security prison, Great Meadow Correctional Facility, where Mr. Harring, who was 30, was doing eight years.

But that morning, she left the girls at the Budget Inn and went by herself to see him. When she got to the turreted wall that makes Great Meadow look like some 1940s-movie prison, two investigators hustled her off. They had recordings of the couple's phone conversations. They knew about the marijuana in the condom, a tactic that was more of a prison cliché than an investigative challenge.

Three-quarters of an ounce was not much. But any marijuana is contraband.

She was terrified as the investigators laid out their case, and confessed. "I am very, very, very sorry that I did this," she wrote, acknowledging, too, that it was not the first time. Her husband said later that it had all been his idea. "I have threatened and forced her to bring drugs into the facility," he wrote in a notarized statement a few days after her arrest.

There was a frantic call to an aunt in Rochester to pick up the girls. A local judge set bail at $10,000, an impossible sum. Then she landed in Alpha Pod, the spartan women's dormitory at the county jail, where 22 women slept on metal bunks in a concrete-block room.

She worried. About her girls. About her mother, a stroke victim. About her future. She knew a felony conviction meant any nursing home job would be gone, along with her rent-subsidized apartment and a lot of other things.

She kept saying, to anyone who would listen, that she wanted a misdemeanor deal. She knew she had made a mistake, but, though she had not a day of legal training, it did not seem like a felony to her.

Some of the other women in Alpha Pod were hard cases, drug abusers and repeat petty criminals who warned her about public defenders. It is an article of jailhouse faith that poor people get what they pay for in lawyers: Nothing.

She said one of the women, named Becky, gave her a specific caution about Mr. Barber: "You got to be careful."

The Lawyer

Everybody around Fort Edward knew Pat Barber, a fixture at the courthouse and a stepfather of two whose family owned a local tavern. He had been here all his life except for college in western New York and law school at Syracuse.

So there was not much in the way of vetting when he put in a cost-conscious bid to become Washington County's chief public defender, a part-time position he added to his private practice of trial work, debt collections, wills and divorces. It was quickly settled. Beginning in 2006, he would get $50,000 a year and some rent for the office he had shared with a law partner who had recently died. "We have to have a good reason not to take the low bid," said John A. Rymph, the chairman of the County Board of Supervisors.

There were plenty of good reasons, according to court records released last month. Mr. Barber, 49 at the time, had been reprimanded twice - in 2002 and 2005 - by the Committee on Professional Standards, the state group that disciplines lawyers, for neglecting cases. He had been struggling with depression for years. "On some occasions he had to leave the courtroom because of panic attacks," a report from his psychiatrist said. "He had daily drinks to cope."

But the people reviewing the bids in Washington County knew none of that. The reprimands were confidential, though officials at the professional standards committee say they could have been released to a potential employer if Mr. Barber had signed a waiver. If, that is, anyone in Washington County had known to ask him to sign one.

Told recently about Mr. Barber's history, Roger Wickes, the county attorney, said, "I would have assumed the board would have been concerned had they known about it."

By the time Ms. Hurell-Harring made her trip across the state, Mr. Barber's troubles were piling up.

He had put $304,895.46 in checks for an auto-accident settlement into the file and never mailed them to his client, court records say. He kept telling another client he was finishing up some work related to her divorce. "I misled her as far as the progress of what was going on," he testified later.

In a third private-practice case, a man appealed his rape conviction, claiming that Mr. Barber had failed to do basic things at the trial like question some important witnesses. In time, a divided appeals court ruled that "no legitimate trial strategy existed."

The week in October that he went to court for Ms. Hurell-Harring, Mr. Barber was being pursued on yet another file full of trouble. At the request of county officials, John R. Winn, a local lawyer, had been asking questions about two estates Mr. Barber was supposed to be handling that had been so neglected that two properties had been sold for unpaid taxes.

Mr. Winn started calling Mr. Barber, and eventually he turned over a carton with all his records on the two estates - dividend checks, tax bills and bank statements, all in their original envelopes. "I looked, and I said, 'He's never opened anything,' " Mr. Winn said. One of the women had died six years earlier.

In a long interview this month, Mr. Barber blamed his depression. "You just develop this nausea fear of a file and you would do anything to stay away from it," he said.

He argued that his problems had not affected his public work. But his psychiatrist, Dr. Koock E. Jung, said in another disciplinary case against him, in 2009, that his symptoms included "breaking out sweating, dizziness and shortness of breath, which affected his law practice seriously, especially his public defender's job."

The Case

At the county jail, Ms. Hurell-Harring was growing frantic as she waited nearly a month for her sentencing. She called Mr. Barber's office every few days. Usually the secretary said he was busy. When they did talk, she said, Mr. Barber told her she had no options.

On Nov. 8, 2007, the civil liberties union filed its class-action suit in Albany, mentioning Ms. Hurell-Harring's contraband charge. A lawyer read it at the New York State Defenders Association, an organization that provides training and expertise to defense lawyers.

The lawyer, Alfred A. O'Connor, had been working for years on the very issue in her case: whether that small amount of marijuana should be defined as dangerous prison contraband, which could make her smuggling effort a felony, or whether it was ordinary contraband, a misdemeanor that might mean no jail time at all and none of the consequences that come with felony convictions.

Mr. O'Connor started calling Mr. Barber, too. "Good news," he recalls saying when they spoke on Nov. 15, the day before Ms. Hurell-Harring's sentencing. He told Mr. Barber that the state's highest court was considering the contraband question. Defense lawyers had already laid out the very argument that could mean freedom for his client.

But Mr. Barber did not ask for a copy of the briefs. "There wasn't any enthusiasm," Mr. O'Connor said. Asked about this in the recent interview, Mr. Barber said had not wanted to bring up anything that could make prosecutors ask for a longer sentence.

The next day in court, Judge Kelly S. McKeighan noted that Ms. Hurell-Harring had admitted to the felony charge: promoting prison contraband in the first degree. Mr. Barber agreed, never mentioning that it might not be a felony at all.

"I just want to go home to my kids and my mother," Ms. Hurell-Harring told the judge. Instead, she went back to jail, serving four months before she was released for good behavior. She left Washington County on Jan. 28, 2008, a convicted felon facing five years of probation.

The Aftermath

At home on Rochester's northwest side, things were rough. Her $12-an-hour job was gone. She and the girls moved into her mother's run-down house and survived on food stamps. The older one, Shaniqua, took a while to pick up where they left off.

"I promised her I would never leave her again," Ms. Hurell-Harring said.

In New York City, the civil liberties lawyers had asked Roberta A. Kaplan, a partner at one of the country's leading corporate firms, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, to see what could be done for Ms. Hurell-Harring.

Working without a fee, Ms. Kaplan and her team of lawyers did the kind of work lawyers there do for big companies like Citigroup and Time Warner and well-known people like Gov. David A. Paterson. They studied Mr. Barber's work. They started filing appeals on Ms. Hurell-Harring's behalf. One of them, Andrew J. Ehrlich, wondered: "How many other Kimberlys are there out there?" How many other Pat Barbers?

In June 2008, the State Court of Appeals ruled in the case Mr. O'Connor had worked on: that, indeed, a small amount of marijuana does not usually amount to dangerous prison contraband like a gun or a razor blade.

Pointing to that ruling, the Paul, Weiss lawyers persuaded a state appeals court in October 2009 to overturn Ms. Hurell-Harring's conviction. "The act of which defendant is accused," the court said, "does not constitute a crime."

In Rochester, Ms. Hurell-Harring talked to her husband on the phone for the first time in two years. This month, she went back to work at a nursing home, for $9.70 an hour. "I finally can try to get my life back," she said a few weeks ago.

In Washington County, court officials last spring noticed something odd in a judge's order in a paternity case Mr. Barber had handled in 2007. It seemed to be signed by a Family Court judge, but the court had no such document in its files.

In June, a suicidal Mr. Barber was briefly hospitalized. In September, he resigned as public defender. Five months later, he was arrested and charged with a felony: forging the court order. He was released without bail.

In February, he was disbarred. An appeals court said he had created fake documents to "deceive his clients into believing that he had undertaken the tasks for which he had been retained."

This month, still awaiting his own day in court on a felony charge, Mr. Barber sat at his law office desk sorting through a bunch of files. Inside, there was no heat. Outside, there was a "for sale" sign.

"Obviously, I did some stupid things," he said. "I even hurt a couple of people, which I am very regretful for."

But he defended some of his work, including the case of Kimberly Hurell-Harring.

He was asked what he remembered of her in those weeks in 2007 when their paths crossed. "Honestly," he said, "a lot of crying."

Alain Delaquérière and Toby Lyles contributed research.


11) Thousands Rally to Pull Troops From 2 War Zones
March 20, 2010

Filed at 9:10 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Thousands of protesters -- many directing their anger squarely at President Barack Obama -- marched through the nation's capital Saturday to urge immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

At least eight people, including activist Cindy Sheehan, were arrested by U.S. Park Police at the end of the march, after laying coffins at a fence outside the White House. Friday marked the seventh anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

''Arrest that war criminal!'' Sheehan shouted outside the White House before her arrest, referring to Obama.

At a rally before the march, Sheehan asked whether ''the honeymoon was over with that war criminal in the White House'' -- an apparent reference to Obama -- prompting moderate applause.

The protesters defied orders to clear the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House and park police say they face charges of failure to obey a lawful order.

Activist Ralph Nader told thousands who gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House that Obama has essentially continued the policies of the Bush administration, and it was foolish to have thought otherwise.

''He's kept Guantanamo open, he's continued to use indefinite detention,'' Nader said. The only real difference, he said is that ''Obama's speeches are better.''

Others were more conciliatory toward Obama. Shirley Allan of Silver Spring, Md., carried a sign that read, ''President Obama We love you but we need to tell you! Your hands are getting bloody!! Stop it now.''

Allan thought it was going too far to call Obama a war criminal but said she is deeply disappointed that the conflicts are continuing.

''He has to know it's unacceptable,'' Allan said. ''I am absolutely disappointed.''

The protest drew a smaller crowd than the tens of thousands who marched in 2006 and 2007. Protests in cities around the country also had far fewer participants than in the past.

San Francisco's rally brought out Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the top-secret Pentagon Papers study of the Vietnam War and is the subject of the recent documentary film, ''The Most Dangerous Man in America.'' He likened the protest and others like it around the country Saturday to a day of demonstrations organized against the conflict in Vietnam in 1969.

''They thought it had no effect,'' he told the crowd in San Francisco, referring to the 1969 protesters. ''They were wrong.''

Ellsberg said President Richard Nixon was planning to escalate the war around that time, but held off.

Protesters in Washington stopped at the offices of military contractor Halliburton -- where they tore apart an effigy of former Vice President and Halliburton Chief Executive Dick Cheney -- the Mortgage Bankers Association and The Washington Post offices.

Anna Berlinrut, of South Orange, N.J., was one of a number of protesters who have children who have served in Iraq, and said her son supports her protests.

''If there were a draft, we'd have a million people out here,'' Berlinrut said when asked about the turnout. The exact number of protesters was unclear, as D.C. authorities do not give out crowd estimates. Organizers estimated the march, which stretched for several blocks, at 10,000.

Despite the arrests, the protest was peaceful. At the outset, police closed a portion of the sidewalk in front of the White House fence after protesters tried to use mud and large stencils to spell out ''Iraq veterans against the war.''

Once the sidewalk was closed, the protesters stenciled the message on the street using mud they had carried in buckets to the rally.

Sheehan has been a vocal critic of the war since her 21-year-old son Casey was killed in Iraq in April 2004. She staged a prolonged demonstration in 2005 outside former President George W. Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas.

Fellow anti-war activist and attorney Stephen Pearcy of Sacramento keeps in touch and supports Sheehan in her efforts. Sheehan lived with his family for a year while traveling to peace events.

Pearcy said in an e-mail that in the last decade, the U.S. government has a widespread pattern of violating the constitutional rights of peaceful anti-war protesters, arresting them, then not pressing charges.

''We've essentially become a country of restrictions rather than a country of freedoms,'' he said.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark also spoke at the D.C. rally, calling on the Justice Department to investigate the officials who launched the Iraq war.

In New York City, a few dozen enthusiastic protesters gathered near a military recruiting station in Times Square, though they were far outnumbered by disinterested tourists.

A group of older women calling themselves the Raging Grannies sang, ''The country is broke, this war is a joke.'' Four demonstrators evoked images of the U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by dressing in orange uniforms and wearing black hoods.

Liz Proefriedt, a retired Roman Catholic nun, held up a banner that read, ''Bread not bombs.''

''It's sad that a lot of people did not come out for this protest,'' said Kathy Hoang, of Manchester, Conn. ''People are getting used to the war, and don't bother even to think about it anymore.''

In Los Angeles, hundreds chanted anti-war slogans and carried mock tombstones, and several hundred gathered in San Francisco. The Los Angeles march, which was under a mile, was to culminate with a rally in front of the famed Grauman's Chinese Theater.

''We want to see the troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq,'' said Corazon Esguerra with Act Now to Stop War and Racism or ANSWER, which organized the protest. ''We want all the troops wherever they are to come back.''

Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik from New York, Noaki Schwartz from Los Angeles and Sudhin Thanawala of San Francisco contributed to this report.