Thursday, April 14, 2011



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




ILWU 10 Defense Committee Formed-Meeting TONIGHT, April 14, 2011 7:00 PM

The following resolution was passed unanimously at the San Francisco Labor Council on April 11, 2011 and the first organizing committee to organize for action and solidarity will take place on Thursday April 14, 2011 at 7:00 PM on the 2nd Fl at the Henry Schmidt Room
400 North Point St/Mason St. San Francisco
Please come if you can and get your union/organization to support.

Sisters and Brothers:

The labor movement is under attack from Wisconsin to California and from New York and Ohio to Arizona. And we're beginning to fight back. On April 4th when working people across this country demonstrated in solidarity with the Wisconsin state workers, the longshore workers of Local 10 in San Francisco did what they've always done, implemented their union's slogan, "An injury to one is an injury to all." According to news media, the ports of San Francisco and Oakland were shut down in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin.

They did it in 1978 for the workers of Chile under the gun of Pinochet's bloody military dictatorship refusing to load bombs on a ship bound for Chile.

They did it in 1984 for the oppressed people of apartheid South Africa and according to Nelson Mandela helped bring down that racist regime.

They did it in 2000 for the Charleston longshore union under attack from police and politicians for defending their jobs.

They did it all in 2008 by shutting down all West Coast ports to demand an end to the imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And last year they did it in solidarity with the Palestinian people being massacred in Gaza and protesting against the police killing in Oakland of an innocent young black man, Oscar Grant.

ILWU Local 10 has been the moral compass of the American labor movement. Now the employers' group, the Pacific Maritime Association, is trying to put an end to workers' solidarity actions by intimidating the longshore union through a court suit. Their bullying tactics must be stopped. ILWU Local 10 and the San Francisco Labor Council are organizing a broad defense campaign. There will be an EMERGENCY DEFENSE MEETING at Local 10 located near Fisherman's Wharf at 400 North Point Street (corner of Mason) Thursday April 14 at 7PM in the Henry Schmidt room. Be there to defend organized labor, civil liberties, the antiwar movement and immigrant workers' rights!

In solidarity,
Trent Willis


[Note: The following resolution was adopted unanimously at the San Francisco Labor Council Delegates Meeting on April 11, 2011. The first meeting of the committee will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the Henry Schmidt Room of ILWU Local 10 (2nd floor), 400 North Point St/Mason St., San Francisco. Please come if you can and get your union/organization to support.]

Whereas, the delegates meeting of the Council voted unanimously on March 14 that "in the event that a Council affiliate votes to engage in an industrial action on April 4, the San Francisco Labor Council will call on all its affiliates ... to support such action ..."; and

Whereas, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 and its President Richard Mead are being sued in court by maritime employers of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) for a 24-hour shutdown of the Port of Oakland on April 4, a National Day of Action called by the AFL-CIO and a day for which ILWU International President Bob McEllrath on March 8th called for mobilizing in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin; and

Whereas, each rank-and-file member of Local 10 made this selfless choice on their own to stand up for public workers in Wisconsin and for all workers in the best tradition of the longshore union, as they have done since the Big Strike of 1934 and the historic San Francisco General Strike which built the foundation for the trade union movement in this city and on the West Coast; and

Whereas, these same maritime employers were unsuccessful in their attempt to use the slave labor Taft-Hartley Act to stop the ILWU from carrying out a Local 10-initiated coastwide shutdown of all ports on May Day 2008 to demand an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a first-ever in U.S. labor history; and

Whereas, Local 10, the heart and soul of the San Francisco labor movement, is now under attack for implementing the principled labor slogan "An Injury to One Is An Injury To All."

Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council, consistent with its March 14th resolution, initiate a broad defense campaign of ILWU Local 10 by setting up a defense committee in collaboration with Local 10, by contacting and mobilizing the Labor Councils and AFL-CIO of the Bay Area, California and nationally; and

Be it further resolved, that the first step in this campaign will be to call for a mass mobilization of all Bay Area Labor Councils and the California AFL-CIO to rally in front of PMA headquarters in San Francisco on Monday April 25th to demand that the court suit be dropped and that the vindictive lynch mob procedures against the union in the arbitration be halted immediately; and

Be it finally resolved that ILWU Local 10 be commended for its solidarity action and that we request that the state and national AFL-CIO do likewise.

Resolution submitted by the following SF Labor Council delegates:

Alan Benjamin, OPEIU Local 3 *; Frank Martin Del Campo, SF LCLAA; Tom Edminster, UESF *; Galina Gerasimova, AFT 2121 *; Maria Guillen, SEIU 1021 *; Ann Robertson, CFA, S.F. State *; Pablo Rodriguez, AFT 2121 *; Francesca Rosa, SEIU 1021 *; David Welsh, NALC 214 *

* * * * * * * * * *

"Hands Off Local 10!"

"Hands Off Local 10!" Says ILWU Local 10 Leader Clarence Thomas at 4/10/2011 SF Anti-War Rally

At an San Francisco anti-war rally on April 10, 2011, ILWU Local 10 past Secretary Treasurer and Executive Board member Clarence Thomas called for full support to the ILWU Local. The local has been sued by the Pacific Maritime Association PMA for stopping work on the national day of action for Wisconsin workers on April 4, 2011. Thomas called for full support to the local in its battle with the PMA.


International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
New Documentary on Terrorism Against Cuba
and the Reasons for the Cuban 5
Saturday April 16, 7:00PM
La Brava Theater
2781 24th Street, San Francisco
Doors will open at 6PM
Tickets $15.00

"Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up!"
and music by The Cuban Cowboys

Q & A by Saul Landau
Reception will follow

In April 1961, the CIA sent a force of Cuban exiles to overthrow the Cuban government. This resulted in the Bay of Pigs Fiasco. Fifty years later, a new documentary shows that US-backed violence against Cuba continued for decades. The new film, with Danny Glover, anti-Cuba terrorists, and Fidel Castro himself (filmed recently) is combined with fascinating archival footage and a rare recorded interview from prison with one of the Cuban 5. These men are serving long sentences in US prisons for trying to stop terrorism against tourist sites in their country.

"Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up!"provides every professor and specialist with an invaluable teaching and learning tool about US-Cuba policy and the history of terrorism in that policy. It also explains the story of and context for the "Cuban 5," the Cuban agents who penetrated Miami exile groups to stop their plans for violence against the island, and ended up in US prisons." Julia Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"It's a real Who's Who of key figures in the more than half-century-long grudge match over Cuba." Tracey Eaton former Dallas Morning News' Bureau Chief, Havana

"Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up!" produced by Emmy-Award Winner Saul Landau, with live music from the Cuban Cowboys. Won loud applause at the Havana Film Festival.

For more information call 415-647-2822 - To purchase tickets online go to

Organized by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

Special thanks to La Peña Cultural Center for their constant support
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

For updated information about the case visit:


by Coffee House Teach Ins

PROTEST against Diablo and stand up for clean energy.

Join at a peaceful demonstration on
Saturday, April 16.
Meet at Avila Pier in Avila Beach, CA, at noon.
Bring signs and the messages that:

We can no longer ignore the warnings from Fukushima Daiichi,
Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island

Diablo Canyon is on shaky ground; the area is riddled with over a
dozen earthquake faults

Nuclear Energy is not worth the risk to our lives and our planet

Stop the license renewal process at Diablo

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace
P.O. Box 3608
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403

Date: Sat, Apr 16th, 2011

Time: 12:00 pm

More Info:


Please circulate widely

Wed. April 20, 4-6pm
Protest at Obama Fundraiser in San Francisco
Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St.
(btwn Jones and Taylor), SF

President Obama will be in San Francisco for a $35,800 per plate fundraiser and other events. Join the ANSWER Coalition and other organizations to say:

End the Wars and Occupations
Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti & everywhere!

Fund Jobs, Healthcare, Schools and Housing, Not War!
Stop budget cuts & layoffs! Stop the war on working people!

The People & the Planet, Not Nuclear Profits
No more gov't subsidies for nuclear corporations!

Call 415-821-6545 or reply to this email to endorse or for more info.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
2969 Mission St.


Please announce, forward, share, come

For the Beauty of the Earth
Good Friday, Earth Day & the Bomb
The Cross in the Midst of Creation
Rev. Sharon Delgado, preaching
Liturgical dance led by Carla DeSolaa
April 22, 6:45 a.m.
Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory
Vasco Road & Patterson Pass Road, Livermore

Livermore Lab was founded to develop the hydrogen bomb, and new weapons of mass destruction are still designed there. For more than 25 years, people of faith and others concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons have gathered on Good Friday outside the Livermore Laboratory.

This year Good Friday and Earth Day coincide. We will hear from Sharon Delgado, a longtime advocate for peace, justice and the environment, a United Methodist clergywoman, founder of interfaith Earth Justice Ministries, and author of Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization.

We will be led in dance by Carla DeSola a nationally recognized teacher of liturgical dance, presently teaching at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and through the Center for the Arts, Religion & Education.

After the service we will walk about one-half mile to the main gate, where there will be opportunity for nonviolent witness. Please bring banners, puppets and other visuals for the walk to the gate.

We invite your participation in this event, your financial support, and, if available, your organization's co-sponsorship

Information, downloadable flyer etc at email to

Surface mail to EPI PO Box 9334, Berkeley, CA 94702

Write or email us if you can help or want to participate in some way. Please spread the word.


Do you want to work for peace and justice?
Do you want to see an end to the wars abroad?
Do you want to defend civil rights at home?

Come to the Next Meeting of UNAC, the United National Antiwar Committee, and Help Us Decide What to Do Next.

Saturday, April 23, 1pm
Centro Del Pueblo
474 Valencia Street (Between 15th St. & 16th St.)
San Francisco

Bring the Troops, Mercenaries, and War Dollars Home Now! Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan!
End all

U.S./U.N./NATO Hands Off North Africa and the Middle East! Stop the bombing of Libya! Hands off the internal affairs of other countries!

Stop Spending Trillions on Wars, Tax Breaks and Bailouts for the Wealthy! Money for Jobs, Housing, Universal Healthcare and Education!

No to Islamophobia and All Racism! Stop the Attacks at Home on People of Color!


No Nukes!

Free Bradley Manning! Hands Off Julian Assange and WikiLeaks · · · (415) 49-NO-WAR


Ninth Annual International Al-Awda Convention
April 29 & 30, 2011
The Embassy Suite Hotel, Anaheim South
11767 Harbor Boulevard
Garden Grove, Ca 92840
A significant event at a critical time in Arab history!

Ninth Annual International Al-Awda Convention - Onward, United and Stronger Until Return!

JUST IN: Hugh Lanning, Deputy General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, one of the 'big five' trade unions in Britain, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign's Chair UK will be addressing Al-Awda's Ninth Annual International Convention.

Strategy, tactics and planning discussions:

* The Palestine Papers and the Arab people's uprising; Impact on the Palestinian struggle and future organizing
* Boycotts & Divestment
* Refugee Support
* Return From Exile Project with Free Palestine Movement
* Cultural Resistance Through Various Forms of Art
* Palestinian Children's Rights Campaign
* Young activist program with hands on workshops

Speakers include:

* Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, Founding President of the Palestine Land Society
* Abbas Al-Nouri, Syrian Arab actor of "bab el-hara" fame, political activist
* Diana Buttu, Palestinian lawyer, former legal advisor to Palestinian negotiating team
* Hugh Lanning, Deputy General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign's Chair UK
* Ali Abunimah, Palestinian author and co-founder Electronic Intifada
* Lubna Masarwa, Palestinian activist, survivor of Mavi Marmara massacre
* Laila Al-Arian, Palestinian Author, writer and Al-Jazeera English producer
* Dr. Jamal Nassar, Specialist in Middle East politics, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSUSB
* Rim Banna, Palestinian singer & activist
* Najat El-Khairy, Palestinian porcelain painting artist
* Remi Kanazi, Palestinian spoken word artist, activist
* Youth from Al Bayader Center Yarmouk Refugee Camp

Plus . . .

Cultural presentations, films, books and solidarity items, network with friends and fellow activists & lunch keynote presentations & evening banquet with live music! (Baby-sitting available for entire convention)

Al-Awda Convention on Facebook




Saturday, APRIL 30, 4-6PM

La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley (wheelchair accessible)
$5-$20 donation requested (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Pierre Labossiere and Robert Roth, co-founders of Haiti Action Committee, were eyewitness to the joyful return of President Aristide and his family to Haiti. Come hear their account of the President's arrival and the response of the Haitian people, as well as the background to this remarkable event.

The program will include updates on the latest developments in fraudulent elections imposed on Haiti, and what's ahead for the solidarity movement.

In the wake of sham elections and an ongoing 7-year military occupation, Haiti's grassroots movement for democracy is vital and alive and an essential part of movements around the world fighting for dignity and freedom. Let us continue to stand in solidarity!

Haiti Action Committee


STRIKE MAY 1, 2011!

CodePINK, Cindy Sheehan, and all Vulnerable Folks are calling on you to join us May 1st, 11:30am at the IWD march & rally in San Francisco to Civic Center - where we will kick-off our STRIKE MAY 2011 march to Sacramento!

We are planning to take 8 days to march to Sacramento, doing actions - marches, rallies, press conferences, flyering, bannering - in towns along the way. We will do a combination walking, biking, skating, carpooling, train, etc. to get there.

And we are arriving in Sacramento on the 9th, the same day as the teachers occupation begins, setting up a tent city, occupying the grounds until the legislature votes OUR budget!

Our general theme is: 1) NO MORE TAXES for WARS & OCCUPATIONS; and 2) NO MORE TAX BREAKS for the RICH & their CORPORATIONS!

We are hoping everyone will join in the MARCH & TENT CITY for however long, however many day(s), hour(s) you choose.

AND we hope you will bring YOUR main focus/issue and represent! We are thinking of making each day of the walk a different issue/focus. And certainly at the TENT CITY, we are hoping everyone will do teach-ins to share their information and build a strong coalition.

If you are willing to endorse, please email info AT or call 510-540-7007 and leave your name, number, email, and organization.

If you are willing to be active and work on this STRIKE MAY 2011 for however long, in any capacity, before, after, during, please also email or call ASAP!


End war on women!
End war on workers, immigrants, people of color!
End wars of occupation!
End wars of corporate greed!
End wars on our Mother Earth!
End all wars!
Bring our tax$$ home!Take our tax$$ back from the rich!


Save the Date!
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio
June 24-26, 2011

Working people across the country - from Wisconsin and Ohio to New York and California - are facing unprecedented attacks by corpor-ations and the super rich and their allies in the federal, state and local governments.

In state capitols, communities and workplaces across the country, workers are fighting back in militant and creative ways. But if we're going be successful in defeating the attacks on collective bargaining, stopping the budget cuts and concessions, creating jobs, and defending social services, we need to build unity within the labor movement in support of a national campaign for an alternative agenda. And we also need to forge stronger ties with labor's allies: communities of color, students and youth, single-payer advocates, environmentalists, antiwar activists, immigrant rights supporters, and other progressive forces.

The Emergency Labor Network (ELN) was formed earlier this year at an historic meeting of 100 union leaders and activists from around the country. Join us June 24-26, 2011 for a national conference to kick off this national campaign for an alternative agenda - an agenda for jobs, peace and justice that says NO to cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, social services, and workers' rights, and instead would expand all of them at a time when workers and the ommunity are under such duress. To win this agenda we need a fighting mass movement hich the Kent State conference can call for and help to advance.

Further details and a full Call will be available shortly. For more information, e-mail or call 216-736-4715.


[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website: or]


Cuba: The Accidental Eden

[This is a stunningly beautiful portrait of the Cuban natural environment as it is today. However, several times throughout, the narrator tends to imply that if it werent for the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Cuba's natural environmet would be destroyed by the influx of tourism, ergo, the embargo is saving nature. But the Cuban scientists and naturalists tell a slightly different story. But I don't want to spoil the delightfully surprising ending. It's a beautiful film of a beautiful country full of beautiful, articulate and well-educated]

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.



width="160" height="135">

width="160" height="135" flashvars="file=" />


More than 800 Reasons (Engl. Sub) - Struggle for Education at the Uni of Puerto Rico


RSA Animate - The Empathic Civilisation


Join the Pan-Canadian day of action to end war in Afghanistan - April 9, 2011


1968 - Martin Luther King's Prophetic Last speech - Remember


VIDEO: SWAT Team Evicts Grandmother

Take Back the Land- Rochester Eviction Defense March 28, 2011


B. D. S. [Boycott, Divest, Sanction against Israel]
(Jackson 5) Chicago Flashmob


Labor Beat: Wisconsin and After

A overview of the recent weeks in the battle for public sector workers in Wisconsin, and touching upon the national ramifications. Key issues are raised, through interviews and documentary footage: concessions have been pushed and agreed to by the Democrats and top union leaderships, setting workers up for the current Republican attacks. "On the national level, the Democrats have bought into the idea that workers should pay for the crisis," points out AFSCME 2858 Pres. Steve Edwards. But the money is there, if we taxed the rich and ended war spending. Includes scenes of the return of the 14 Democrats, the capitol rotunda occupation, mass marches, Iraq Veterans Against the War, more. Connects state budget crises with the wars and Wall Street, and looks at the tactics of the recall election and a general strike. Interviews and speeches from: Steve Edwards, Pres. of AFSCME 2858 and member of Socialist Alternative; Andy Heidt, Pres. of AFSCME Local 1871 and member of; Jesse Sharkey, V.P. Chicago Teachers Union (for i.d. purposes only); Jan Rodolfo, National Outreach Coordinator, National Nurses United; Scott Kimbell, Iraq Veterans Against the War; Austin Thompson, labor organizer - Madison, WI. 25:30. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video, YouTube, or and search "Labor Beat". Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; St. Louis, MO; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at


Dr. Michio Kaku says three raging meltdowns under way at Fukushima (22442 views)
Uploaded 3/31/2011


Afghans for Peace


The Kill Team
How U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan murdered innocent civilians and mutilated their corpses - and how their officers failed to stop them. Plus: An exclusive look at the war crime photos censored by the Pentagon
Rolling Stone
March 27, 3011

Afghans respond to "Kill Team"




The Kill Team Photos More war crime images the Pentagon doesn't want you to see

'Death Zone' How U.S. soldiers turned a night-time airstrike into a chilling 'music video'

'Motorcycle Kill' Footage of an Army patrol gunning down two men in Afghanistan




Frederick Alexander Meade on The Prison Industrial Complex


Chernobyl 25 years on -- The Big Cover-Up


Dropkick Murphys - Worker's Song (with lyrics)

Worker's Song Lyrics
Artist(Band):Dropkick Murphys

Yeh, this one's for the workers who toil night and day
By hand and by brain to earn your pay
Who for centuries long past for no more than your bread
Have bled for your countries and counted your dead

In the factories and mills, in the shipyards and mines
We've often been told to keep up with the times
For our skills are not needed, they've streamlined the job
And with sliderule and stopwatch our pride they have robbed

We're the first ones to starve, we're the first ones to die
The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
And we're always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat's about

And when the sky darkens and the prospect is war
Who's given a gun and then pushed to the fore
And expected to die for the land of our birth
Though we've never owned one lousy handful of earth?

[Chorus x3]

All of these things the worker has done
From tilling the fields to carrying the gun
We've been yoked to the plough since time first began
And always expected to carry the can


BP Oil Spill Scientist Bob Naman: Seafood Still Not Safe


Exclusive: Flow Rate Scientist : How Much Oil Is Really Out There?


Iraq Veterans Against the War in Occupied Capitol, Madison, WI


Stop LAPD Stealing of Immigrant's Cars

On Februrary 19, 2011 Members of the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) organized and engaged in direct action to defend the people of Los Angeles, CA from the racist LAPD "Sobriety" Checkpoints that are a poorly disguised trap to legally steal the cars from working class people in general and undocumented people in particular. Please disseminate this link widely.




WikiLeaks Mirrors

Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack.

In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, you will find below a list of mirrors of Wikileaks website and CableGate pages.

Go to


Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.
"If trouble is not at your door. It's on it's way, or it just left."
"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse Sharkey, Vice President, Chicago Teachers Union


Oil Spill Commission Final Report: Catfish Responds


The Most Heroic Word in All Languages is Revolution

By Eugene Debs

Eugene Debs, that greatest son of the Middle American west, wrote this in 1907 in celebration of that year's May Day events. It retains all of its vibrancy and vitality as events breathe new life into the global struggle for emancipation. "Revolution" remains the most heroic word in every language. -The Rustbelt Radical

Today the slaves of all the world are taking a fresh breath in the long and weary march; pausing a moment to clear their lungs and shout for joy; celebrating in festal fellowship their coming Freedom.

All hail the Labor Day of May!

The day of the proletarian protest;

The day of stern resolve;

The day of noble aspiration.

Raise high this day the blood-red Standard of the Revolution!

The banner of the Workingman;

The flag, the only flag, of Freedom.

Slavery, even the most abject-dumb and despairing as it may seem-has yet its inspiration. Crushed it may be, but extinguished never. Chain the slave as you will, O Masters, brutalize him as you may, yet in his soul, though dead, he yearns for freedom still.

The great discovery the modern slaves have made is that they themselves must achieve. This is the secret of their solidarity; the heart of their hope; the inspiration that nerves them all with sinews of steel.

They are still in bondage, but no longer cower;

No longer grovel in the dust,

But stand erect like men.

Conscious of their growing power the future holds up to them her outstretched hands.

As the slavery of the working class is international, so the movement for its emancipation.

The salutation of slave to slave this day is repeated in every human tongue as it goes ringing round the world.

The many millions are at last awakening. For countless ages they have suffered; drained to the dregs the bitter cup of misery and woe.

At last, at last the historic limitation has been reached, and soon a new sun will light the world.

Red is the life-tide of our common humanity and red our symbol of universal kinship.

Tyrants deny it; fear it; tremble with rage and terror when they behold it.

We reaffirm it and on this day pledge anew our fidelity-come life or death-to the blood-red Banner of the Revolution.

Socialist greetings this day to all our fellow-workers! To the god-like souls in Russia marching grimly, sublimely into the jaws of hell with the Song of the Revolution in their death-rattle; to the Orient, the Occident and all the Isles of the Sea!


The most heroic word in all languages is REVOLUTION.

It thrills and vibrates; cheers and inspires. Tyrants and time-servers fear it, but the oppressed hail it with joy.

The throne trembles when this throbbing word is lisped, but to the hovel it is food for the famishing and hope for the victims of despair.

Let us glorify today the revolutions of the past and hail the Greater Revolution yet to come before Emancipation shall make all the days of the year May Days of peace and plenty for the sons and daughters of toil.

It was with Revolution as his theme that Mark Twain's soul drank deep from the fount of inspiration. His immortality will rest at last upon this royal tribute to the French Revolution:

"The ever memorable and blessed revolution, which swept a thousand years of villainy away in one swift tidal wave of blood-one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two Reigns of Terror, if we would but remember it and consider it: the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death on ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the horrors of the minor Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heartbreak? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror, which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over, but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves."

-The Rustbelt Radical, February 25, 2011


New antiwar song that's bound to be a classic:


by tommi avicolli mecca
(c) 2009
Credits are:
Tommi Avicolli Mecca, guitar/vocals
John Radogno, lead guitar
Diana Hartman, vocals, kazoo
Chris Weir, upright bass
Produced and recorded by Khalil Sullivan

I'm the recruiter and if truth be told/ I can lure the young and old

what I do you won't see/ til your kid's in JROTC

CHO ooh, put them in a box drape it with a flag and send them off to mom and dad

send them with a card from good ol' uncle sam, gee it's really just so sad

I'm the general and what I do/ is to teach them to be true

to god and country flag and oil/ by shedding their blood on foreign soil


I'm the corporate boss and well I know/ war is lots of dough dough dough

you won't find me over there/ they just ship the money right back here


last of all it's me the holy priest/ my part is not the least

I assure them it's god's will/ to go on out and kill kill kill


it's really just so sad


Free Bradley Manning


Domestic Espionage Alert - Houston PD to use surveillance drone in America!


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks




Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale


Flashmob: Cape Town Opera say NO


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




Abolish the Death Penalty Blog

Abolish the Death Penalty is a blog dedicated to...well, you know. The purpose of Abolish is to tell the personal stories of crime victims and their loved ones, people on death row and their loved ones and those activists who are working toward abolition. You may, from time to time, see news articles or press releases here, but that is not the primary mission of Abolish the Death Penalty. Our mission is to put a human face on the debate over capital punishment.
You can also follow death penalty news by reading our News page and by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

1 Million Tweets for Troy! April 12, 2011

Take Action! Tweet for Troy!

The state of Georgia is seeking to change the drugs they use to carry out executions so they can resume scheduling execution dates, including that of Troy Davis, a man with a strong claim of innocence. Doubts in the case persist, including the fact that no physical evidence links him to the murder, most of the witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony and newer testimony implicates a different person (including an eyewitness account).

The Davis case has already generated hundreds of thousands of emails, calls, and letters in support of clemency, including from leaders such as the Pope, Jimmy Carter and former FBI chief Bill Sessions. We need to continue to amass petitions in support of clemency, demonstrating the widespread concern about this case and what it represents.

Please help us send a message to Georgia officials that they can do the right thing - they can intervene as the final failsafe by commuting Davis' sentence. Please help us generate 1 million tweets for Troy Davis!

Share this tweet alert with your friends and family that care about justice and life as soon as you can.

More information about the case is available at

Here are some sample tweets:

When in doubt, don't execute!! Sign the petition for #TroyDavis!

Too much doubt! Stop the execution! #TroyDavis needs us!

No room for doubt! Stop the execution of #TroyDavis . Retweet, sign petition

Case not "ironclad", yet Georgiacould execute #TroyDavis ! Not on our watch! Petition:

No murder weapon. No physical evidence. Stop the execution! #TroyDavis petition:

7 out of 9 eyewitnesses recanted. No physical evidence. Stop the execution of Troy Davis #TroyDavis



What in the fuck has Obama done so far?




"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
I'm excited to tell you that yesterday over 1,000 actions took place not only around the country but around the world in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his assassination 43 years ago. We were able to talk about his role in the Memphis sanitation workers' strike and unionization campaign and how he viewed unions as a path way to a true democracy. It was with this thought, honor, and respect that we fought to keep progressing the struggle for social and economic justice moving forward yesterday. SLAP, Jobs with Justice and United States Student Association took part in over 50 of the actions yesterday, ranging from rallies to teach-ins held on campuses.

In Philadelphia: Over 1,000 community members, faith, students, young people and workers came out to rally in solidarity with the labor movement and battles happening around the country.

In Ann Arbor: At the University of Michigan, hundreds of students covered the campus as they demanded the right to an affordable and accessible education and demanded that our communities be run by us, not corporations.

In Altanta: Hundreds of workers, students, young people, faith and community came out to a march and rally to stand against the attacks being launched on our communities that included MLK III as a speaker.

These actions did not go unheard, either. The New York Times uplifted USSA's role in an article re-capping the actions and explaining Martin Luther King, Jr.'s role in the day of action.

But the fight is just beginning - and we have more to say. Today SLAP is proud to be participating in a national teach-in lead by Francis Fox Piven and Cornel West called: "Fight Back USA!" that will discuss austerity, debt, and corporate greed and how we as young people can fight back. You can tune into the national broadcast that will be online from 2-3:30 EST and then there nearly 225 local teach-ins scheduled.

And after today more will be happening. The United States Student Association Board of Directors, composed of students from around the country, have declared April a month of action. We will be fighting every day to make higher education a priority, workers' rights mandatory and scale back the corporate greed that is trying to take over our country.

It is in this struggle that all members of our communities - elderly and young, working and unemployed - share the same interests. The fight happening right now is simply "public need verses corporate greed." It is time for us to set our priorities as neighborhoods, communities, cities, states and a country.

In Solidarity,

Chris Hicks
Student Labor Action Project Coordinator

SLAPfacebook | SLAPtwitter | SLAPonline


In a recent New York Daily News Poll the question was asked:

Should Army pfc Bradley Manning face charges for allegedly stealing classified documents and providing them for WikiLeaks?
New York Daily News Poll Results:
Yes, he's a traitor for selling out his country! ...... 28%
No, he's a hero for standing up for what's right! ..... 62%
We need to see more evidence before passing judgment.. 10%

Sign the Petition:

We stand for truth, for government transparency, and for an end to our tax-dollars funding endless occupation abroad...

We stand with accused whistle-blower
US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning

Stand with Bradley!

A 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. Manning faces decades in prison for allegedly leaking a video of a US helicopter attack that killed at least eleven Iraqi civilians to the website Wikileaks. Among the dead were two working Reuters reporters. Two children were also severely wounded in the attack.

In addition to this "Collateral Murder" video, Pfc. Manning is suspected of leaking the "Afghan War Diaries" - tens of thousands of battlefield reports that explicitly describe civilian deaths and cover-ups, corrupt officials, collusion with warlords, and a failing US/NATO war effort.

"We only know these crimes took place because insiders blew the whistle at great personal risk ... Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal," noted Barack Obama while on the campaign trail in 2008. While the President was referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans, Pfc. Manning's alleged actions are just as noteworthy. If the military charges against him are accurate, they show that he had a reasonable belief that war crimes were being covered up, and that he took action based on a crisis of conscience.

After nearly a decade of war and occupation waged in our name, it is odd that it apparently fell on a young Army private to provide critical answers to the questions, "What have we purchased with well over a trillion tax dollars and the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan?" However, history is replete with unlikely heroes.

If Bradley Manning is indeed the source of these materials, the nation owes him our gratitude. We ask Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John M. McHugh, and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General George W. Casey, Jr., to release Pfc. Manning from pre-trial confinement and drop the charges against him.



San Francisco Health Center/PLANNED PARENTHOOD - San Francisco, CA
1650 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110



The Arab Revolutions:
Guiding Principles for Peace and Justice Organizations in the US
Please email endorsement to

We, the undersigned, support the guiding principles and demands listed in this statement. We call on groups who want to express solidarity with the Arab revolutions to join our growing movement by signing this statement or keeping with the demands put forward herewith.


The long-awaited Arab revolution has come. Like a geologic event with the reverberations of an earthquake, the timing and circumstances were unpredictable. In one Arab country after another, people are taking to the street demanding the fall of monarchies established during European colonial times. They are also calling to bring down dictatorships supported and manifested by neo-colonial policies. Although some of these autocratic regimes rose to power with popular support, the subsequent division and subjugation of the Arab World led to a uniform repressive political order across the region. The Arab masses in different Arab countries are therefore raising a uniform demand: "The People Want to Topple the Regimes!"

For the past two decades, the Arab people witnessed the invasion and occupation of Iraq with millions killed under blockade and occupation, Palestinians massacred with the aim to crush the anti-Zionist resistance, and Lebanon repeatedly invaded with the purposeful targeting of civilians. These actions all served to crush resistance movements longing for freedom, development, and self-determination. Meanwhile, despotic dictatorships, some going back 50 years, entrenched themselves by building police states, or fighting wars on behalf of imperialist interests.

Most Arab regimes systematically destroyed the social fabric of civil society, stifled social development, repressed all forms of political dissent and democratic expression, mortgaged their countries' wealth to foreign interests and enriched themselves and their cronies at the expense of impoverishing their populations. After pushing the Arab people to the brink, populations erupted.

The spark began in Tunisia where a police officer slapped and spat on Mohammad Bou Azizi, flipping over his produce cart for not delivering a bribe on time. . Unable to have his complaint heard, he self-immolated in protest, igniting the conscience of the Tunisian people and that of 300 million Arabs. In less than a month, the dictator, Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, was forced into exile by a Tunisian revolution. On its way out, the regime sealed its legacy by shooting at unarmed protestors and burning detention centers filled with political prisoners. Ben Ali was supported by the US and Europe in the fight against Islamic forces and organized labor.

Hosni Mubarak's brutal dictatorship fell less than a month after Tunisia's. The revolution erupted at a time when one half of the Egyptian population was living on less than $2/day while Mubarak's family amassed billions of dollars. The largest population recorded in Egyptian history was living in graveyards and raising their children among the dead while transportation and residential infrastructure was crumbling. Natural gas was supplied to Israel at 15% of the market price while the Rafah border was closed with an underground steel wall to complete the suffocation of the Palestinians in Gaza. Those who were deemed a threat swiftly met the fate of Khalid Said. 350 martyrs fell and 2,000 people were injured.

After Egypt and Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan exploded in protest. Some governments quickly reshuffled faces and ranks without any tangible change. Some, like Bahrain and Yemen, sent out their security forces to massacre civilians. Oman and Yemen represent strategic assets for the US as they are situated on the straits of Hormuz and Aden, respectively. Bahrain is an oil country that hosts a US military base, situated in the Persian Gulf. A new round of US funded blood-letting of Arab civilians has begun!

Libyan dictator Qaddafi did not prove to be an exception. He historically took anti-imperialist positions for a united Arab World and worked for an African Union. He later transformed his regime to a subservient state and opened Libya to British Petroleum and Italian interests, working diligently on privatization and political repression. He amassed more wealth than that of Mubarak. In the face of the Libyan revolution, Qaddafi exceeded the brutality of Ben Ali and Mubarak blind-folding and executing opponents, surrounding cities with tanks, and bombing his own country. Death toll is expected to be in the thousands.

Qaddafi's history makes Libya an easy target for imperialist interests. The Obama administration followed the Iraq cookbook by freezing Libyan assets amounting to 30% of the annual GDP. The White House, with the help of European governments, rapidly implemented sanctions and called for no-fly zones. These positions were precipitated shortly after the US vetoed a resolution condemning the illegal Israeli colonization of the West Bank. Special operations personnel from the UK were captured by the revolutionary commanders in Ben Ghazi and sent back. The Libyan revolutionary leadership, the National Council clearly stated: "We are completely against foreign intervention. The rest of Libya will be liberated by the people ... and Gaddafi's security forces will be eliminated by the people of Libya."

Demands of the Solidarity Movement with Arab Revolutions

1. We demand a stop to US support, financing and trade with Arab dictatorships. We oppose US policy that has favored Israeli expansionism, war, US oil interest and strategic shipping routes at the expense of Arab people's freedom and dignified living.

2. We support the people of Tunisia and Egypt as well as soon-to-be liberated nations to rid themselves of lingering remnants of the deposed dictatorships.

3. We support the Arab people's right to sovereignty and self-determination. We demand that the US government stop its interference in the internal affairs of all Arab countries and end subsidies to wars and occupation.

4. We support the Arab people's demands for political, civil and economic rights. The Arab people's movement is calling for:

a. Deposing the unelected regimes and all of its institutional remnants
b. Constitutional reform guaranteeing freedom of organizing, speech and press
c. Free and fair elections
d. Independent judiciary
e. National self-determination.

5. We oppose all forms of US and European military intervention with or without the legitimacy of the UN. Standing in solidarity with the revolution against Qaddafi, or any other dictator, does not equate to supporting direct or indirect colonization of an Arab country, its oil or its people. We therefore call for:

a. Absolute rejection of military blockades, no-fly zones and interventions.
b. Lifting all economic sanctions placed against Libya and allowing for the formation of an independent judiciary to prosecute Qaddafi and deposed dictators for their crimes.
c. Immediately withdrawing the US and NATO troops from the Arab region.

6. We support Iraq's right to sovereignty and self determination and call on the US to immediately withdraw all occupation personnel from Iraq.

7. We recognize that the borders separating Arab nations were imposed on the Arab people by the colonial agreements of Sykes-Picot and the Berlin Conference on Africa. As such, we support the anti-Zionist nature of this revolution in its call for:

a. Ending the siege and starvation of the Palestinian people in Gaza
b. Supporting the right of the Palestinian people to choose their own representation, independent of Israeli and US dictates
c. Supporting the right of the Lebanese people to defend their country from Israeli violations and their call to end vestiges of the colonial constitution constructed on the basis of sectarian representation
d. Supporting the right of the Jordanian people to rid themselves of their repressive monarchy
e. Ending all US aid to Israel.


Committee to Stop FBI Repression
to Fitzgerald, Holder and Obama

The Grand Jury is still on its witch hunt and the FBI is still
harassing activists. This must stop.
Please make these calls:
1. Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300 . Then dial 0
(zero) for operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk.
2. Call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder 202-353-1555
3. Call President Obama at 202-456-1111

Suggested text: "My name is __________, I am from _______(city), in
______(state). I am calling _____ to demand he call off the Grand Jury
and stop FBI repression against the anti-war and Palestine solidarity
movements. I oppose U.S. government political repression and support
the right to free speech and the right to assembly of the 23 activists
subpoenaed. We will not be criminalized. Tell him to stop this
McCarthy-type witch hunt against international solidarity activists!"

If your call doesn't go through, try again later.

Update: 800 anti-war and international solidarity activists
participated in four regional conferences, in Chicago, IL; Oakland,
CA; Chapel Hill, NC and New York City to stop U.S. Attorney Patrick
Fitzgerald's Grand Jury repression.

Still, in the last few weeks, the FBI has continued to call and harass
anti-war organizers, repressing free speech and the right to organize.
However, all of their intimidation tactics are bringing a movement
closer together to stop war and demand peace.

We demand:
-- Call Off the Grand Jury Witch-hunt Against International Solidarity
-- Support Free Speech!
-- Support the Right to Organize!
-- Stop FBI Repression!
-- International Solidarity Is Not a Crime!
-- Stop the Criminalization of Arab and Muslim Communities!

Background: Fitzgerald ordered FBI raids on anti-war and solidarity
activists' homes and subpoenaed fourteen activists in Chicago,
Minneapolis, and Michigan on September 24, 2010. All 14 refused to
speak before the Grand Jury in October. Then, 9 more Palestine
solidarity activists, most Arab-Americans, were subpoenaed to appear
at the Grand Jury on January 25, 2011, launching renewed protests.
There are now 23 who assert their right to not participate in
Fitzgerald's witch-hunt.

The Grand Jury is a secret and closed inquisition, with no judge, and
no press. The U.S. Attorney controls the entire proceedings and hand
picks the jurors, and the solidarity activists are not allowed a
lawyer. Even the date when the Grand Jury ends is a secret.

So please make these calls to those in charge of the repression aimed
against anti-war leaders and the growing Palestine solidarity
Email us to let us know your results. Send to

**Please sign and circulate our 2011 petition at

In Struggle,
Tom Burke,
for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

FFI: Visit or email or call
612-379-3585 .
Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights

Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55415


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

We write in haste, trying to reach as many of you as possible although the holiday break has begun.......This plan for an urgent "The Day After" demonstration is one we hope you and many, many more organizations will take up as your own, and mobilize for. World Can't Wait asks you to do all you can to spread it through list serves, Facebook, twitter, holiday gatherings.

Our proposal is very very simple, and you can use the following announcement to mobilize - or write your own....


An emergency public demonstration THE DAY AFTER any U.S. criminal indictment is announced against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Spread the word and call people to come out, across the whole range of movements and groups: anti-war, human rights, freedom of information/freedom of the press, peace, anti-torture, environmental, students and youth, radicals and revolutionaries, religious, civil liberties, teachers and educators, journalists, anti-imperialists, anti-censorship, anti-police state......

At the Federal Building in San Francisco, we'll form ourselves into a human chain "surrounding" the government that meets the Wikileaked truth with repression and wants to imprison and silence leakers, whistleblowers and truthtellers - when, in fact, these people are heroes. We'll say:


New Federal Building, 7th and Mission, San Francisco (nearest BART: Civic Center)
4:00-6:00 PM on The Day FOLLOWING U.S. indictment of Assange

Bring all your friends - signs and banners - bullhorns.

Those who dare at great risk to themselves to put the truth in the hands of the people - and others who might at this moment be thinking about doing more of this themselves -- need to see how much they are supported, and that despite harsh repression from the government and total spin by the mainstream media, the people do want the truth told.

Brad Manning's Christmas Eve statement was just released by his lawyer: "Pvt. Bradley Manning, the lone soldier who stands accused of stealing millions of pages secret US government documents and handing them over to secrets outlet WikiLeaks, wants his supporters to know that they've meant a lot to him. 'I greatly appreciate everyone's support and well wishes during this time,' he said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer...." Read more here:

Demonstrations defending Wikileaks and Assange, and Brad Manning, have already been flowering around the world. Make it happen here too.
Especially here . . .

To join into this action plan, or with questions, contact World Can't Wait or whichever organization or listserve you received this message from.

World Can't Wait, SF Bay


Email received from Lynne Stewart:
12/19/10; 12:03pm

Dear Folks:
Some nuts and bolts and trivia,

1. New Address
Lynne Stewart #53504 - 054
Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TEXAS 76127

2. Visiting is very liberal but first I have to get people on my visiting list Wait til I or the lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT, SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on weekends 8 to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the machines. Brief Kiss upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting forms it may be required that you knew me before I came to prison. Not a problem for most of you.

3. One hour time difference

4. Commissary Money is always welcome It is how I pay for the phone and for email. Also need it for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms of food and "sundries" (pens!) A very big list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing , ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely not from Antonys--more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa etc. To add money, you do this by using Western Union and a credit card by phone or you can send a USPO money order or Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to Federal Bureau of Prisons , 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa 50947-001 (Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or checks for 15 days. Western Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be on the envelope. Unnecessarily complicated ? Of course, it's the BOP !)

5. Food is vastly improved. Just had Sunday Brunch real scrambled eggs, PORK sausage, Baked or home fried potatoes, Butter(sweet whipped M'God !!) Grapefruit juice Toast , orange. I will probably regain the weight I lost at MCC! Weighing against that is the fact that to eat we need to walk to another building (about at far as from my house to the F Train) Also included is 3 flights of stairs up and down. May try to get an elevator pass and try NOT to use it.

6. In a room with 4 bunks(small) about two tiers of rooms with same with "atrium" in middle with tv sets and tables and chairs. Estimate about 500 on Unit 2N and there are 4 units. Population Black, Mexicano and other spanish speaking (all of whom iron their underwear, Marta), White, Native Americans (few), no orientals or foreign speaking caucasians--lots are doing long bits, victims of drugs (meth etc) and boyfriends. We wear army style (khaki) pants with pockets tee shirts and dress shirts long sleeved and short sleeved. When one of the women heard that I hadn't ironed in 40 years, they offered to do the shirts for me. (This is typical of the help I get--escorted to meals and every other protection, explanations, supplies, etc. Mostly from white women.) One drawback is not having a bathroom in the room---have to go about 75 yards at all hours of the day and night --clean though.

7. Final Note--the sunsets and sunrises are gorgeous, the place is very open and outdoors there are pecan trees and birds galore (I need books for trees and birds (west) The full moon last night gladdened my heart as I realized it was shining on all of you I hold dear.

Love Struggle

The address of her Defense Committee is:

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information:
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Please make a generous contribution to her defense.


Help end the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning!

Bradley Manning Support Network. December 22, 2010

The Marine Brig at Quantico, Virginia is using "injury prevention" as a vehicle to inflict extreme pre-trial punishment on accused Wikileaks whistleblower Army PFC Bradley Manning (photo right). These "maximum conditions" are not unheard-of during an inmate's first week at a military confinement facility, but when applied continuously for months and with no end in sight they amount to a form of torture. Bradley, who just turned 23-years-old last week, has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest in late May. We're now turning to Bradley's supporters worldwide to directly protest, and help bring a halt to, the extremely punitive conditions of Bradley's pre-trial detention.

We need your help in pressing the following demands:

End the inhumane, degrading conditions of pre-trial confinement and respect Bradley's human rights. Specifically, lift the "Prevention of Injury (POI) watch order". This would allow Bradley meaningful physical exercise, uninterrupted sleep during the night, and a release from isolation. We are not asking for "special treatment". In fact, we are demanding an immediate end to the special treatment.

Quantico Base Commander
Colonel Daniel Choike
3250 Catlin Ave, Quantico VA 22134
+1-703-784-2707 (phone)

Quantico Brig Commanding Officer
CWO4 James Averhart
3247 Elrod Ave, Quantico VA 22134
+1-703-784-4242 (fax)


In the wake of an investigative report last week by Glenn Greenwald of giving evidence that Bradley Manning was subject to "detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries", Bradley's attorney, David Coombs, published an article at his website on Saturday entitled "A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning". Mr. Coombs details the maximum custody conditions that Bradley is subject to at the Quantico Confinement Facility and highlights an additional set of restrictions imposed upon him under a Prevention of Injury (POI) watch order.

Usually enforced only through a detainee's first week at a confinement facility, or in cases of violent and/or suicidal inmates, the standing POI order has severely limited Manning's access to exercise, daylight and human contact for the past five months. The military's own psychologists assigned to Quantico have recommended that the POI order and the extra restrictions imposed on Bradley be lifted.

Despite not having been convicted of any crime or even yet formally indicted, the confinement regime Bradley lives under includes pronounced social isolation and a complete lack of opportunities for meaningful exercise. Additionally, Bradley's sleep is regularly interrupted. Coombs writes: "The guards are required to check on Manning every five minutes [...] At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay."

Denver Nicks writes in The Daily Beast that "[Bradley Manning's] attorney [...] says the extended isolation - now more than seven months of solitary confinement - is weighing on his client's psyche. [...] Both Coombs and Manning's psychologist, Coombs says, are sure Manning is mentally healthy, that there is no evidence he's a threat to himself, and shouldn't be held in such severe conditions under the artifice of his own protection."

In an article to be published at later today, David House, a friend of Bradley's who visits him regularly at Quantico, says that Bradley "has not been outside or into the brig yard for either recreation or exercise in four full weeks. He related that visits to the outdoors have been infrequent and sporadic for the past several months."

In an average military court martial situation, a defense attorney would be able to bring these issues of pre-trial punishment to the military judge assigned to the case (known as an Article 13 hearing). However, the military is unlikely to assign a judge to Bradley's case until the pre-trial Article 32 hearing is held (similar to an arraignment in civilian court), and that is not expected until February, March, or later-followed by the actual court martial trial months after that. In short, you are Bradley's best and most immediate hope.

What can you do?

Contact the Marine Corps officers above and respectfully, but firmly, ask that they lift the extreme pre-trial confinement conditions against Army PFC Bradley Manning.
Forward this urgent appeal for action widely.
Sign the "Stand with Brad" public petition and letter campaign at - Sign online, and we'll mail out two letters on your behalf to Army officials.

Donate to Bradley's defense fund at

"The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention", by Glenn Greenwald for, 15 December 2010

"A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning", by attorney David E. Coombs, 18 December 2010

"Bradley Manning's Life Behind Bars", by Denver Nicks for the Daily Beast, 17 December 2010

Bradley Manning Support Network

Courage To Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610


KOREA: Emergency Response Actions Needed

The United National Antiwar Committee urges the antiwar movement to begin to plan now for Emergency 5pm Day-of or Day-after demonstrations, should fighting break out on the Korean Peninsula or its surrounding waters.

As in past war crisis and U.S. attacks we propose:
NYC -- Times Square, Washington, D.C. -- the White House
In Many Cities - Federal Buildings

Many tens of thousands of U.S., Japanese and South Korean troops are mobilized on land and on hundreds of warships and aircraft carriers. The danger of a general war in Asia is acute.

China and Russia have made it clear that the scheduled military maneuvers and live-fire war "exercises" from an island right off the coast of north Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) by South Korea are very dangerous. The DPRK has made it clear that they consider these live-fire war exercises to be an act of war and they will again respond if they are again fired on.

The U.S. deployment of thousands of troops, ships, and aircraft in the area while South Korea is firing thousands of rounds of live ammunition and missiles is an enormously dangerous provocation, not only to the DPRK but to China. The Yellow Sea also borders China. The island and the waters where the war maneuvers are taking place are north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone and only eight miles from the coast of the DPRK.

On Sunday, December 19 in a day-long emergency session, the U.S. blocked in the UN Security Council any actions to resolve the crisis.

UNAC action program passed in Albany at the United National Antiwar Conference, July 2010 of over 800 antiwar, social justice and community organizations included the following Resolution on Korea:

15. In solidarity with the antiwar movements of Japan and Korea, each calling for U.S. Troops to Get Out Now, and given the great increase in U.S. military preparations against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, National Peace Conference participants will organize immediate protests following any attack by the U.S. on Korea. U.S. war preparations include stockpiling hundreds of bunker-busters and conducting major war games near the territorial waters of China and Korea. In keeping with our stand for the right of self-determination and our demand of Out Now, the National Peace Conference calls for Bringing All U.S. Troops Home Now!

UNAC urges the whole antiwar movement to begin to circulate messages alerts now in preparation. Together let's join together and demand: Bring all U.S. Troops Home Now! Stop the Wars and the Threats of War.

The United National Antiwar Committee,


In earnest support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:

We here undersigned express our support for the work and integrity of Julian Assange. We express concern that the charges against the WikiLeaks founder appear too convenient both in terms of timing and the novelty of their nature.

We call for this modern media innovator, and fighter for human rights extraordinaire, to be afforded the same rights to defend himself before Swedish justice that all others similarly charged might expect, and that his liberty not be compromised as a courtesy to those governments whose truths he has revealed have embarrassed.


GAP Inc: End Your Relationship with Supplier that Allows Workers to be Burned Alive



Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper
Chronicle Editorial
Monday, December 13, 2010

Death penalty -- Kevin Cooper is Innocent! Help save his life from San Quentin's death row!

- From Amnesty International USA
17 December 2010
Click here to take action online:

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):


Free the Children of Palestine!
Sign Petition:

Published by Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition on Dec 16, 2010
Category: Children's Rights
Region: GLOBAL
Target: President Obama
Web site:

Background (Preamble):

According to Israeli police, 1200 Palestinian children have been arrested, interrogated and imprisoned in the occupied city of Jerusalem alone this year. The youngest of these children was seven-years old.

Children and teen-agers were often dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night, taken in handcuffs for questioning, threatened, humiliated and many were subjected to physical violence while under arrest as part of an ongoing campaign against the children of Palestine. Since the year 2000, more than 8000 have been arrested by Israel, and reports of mistreatment are commonplace.

Further, based on sworn affidavits collected in 2009 from 100 of these children, lawyers working in the occupied West Bank with Defense Children International, a Geneva-based non governmental organization, found that 69% were beaten and kicked, 49% were threatened, 14% were held in solitary confinement, 12% were threatened with sexual assault, including rape, and 32% were forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.

Minors were often asked to give names and incriminate friends and relatives as a condition of their release. Such institutionalized and systematic mistreatment of Palestinian children by the state of Israel is a violation international law and specifically contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Israel is supposedly a signatory.


We, the undersigned call on US President Obama to direct Israel to

1. Stop all the night raids and arrests of Palestinian Children forthwith.

2. Immediately release all Palestinian children detained in its prisons and detention centers.

3. End all forms of systematic and institutionalized abuse against all Palestinian children.

4. Implement the full restoration of Palestinian children's rights in accordance with international law including, but not limited to, their right to return to their homes of origin, to education, to medical and psychological care, and to freedom of movement and expression.

The US government, which supports Israel to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars a year while most ordinary Americans are suffering in a very bad economy, is bound by its laws and international conventions to cut off all aid to Israel until it ends all of its violations of human rights and basic freedoms in a verifiable manner.


"Secret diplomacy is a necessary tool for a propertied minority, which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests."..."Publishing State Secrets" By Leon Trotsky
Documents on Soviet Policy, Trotsky, iii, 2 p. 64
November 22, 1917


To understand how much a trillion dollars is, consider looking at it in terms of time:

A million seconds would be about eleven-and-one-half days; a billion seconds would be 31 years; and a trillion seconds would be 31,000 years!

From the novel "A Dark Tide," by Andrew Gross

Now think of it in terms of U.S. war dollars and bankster bailouts!


For Immediate Release
Antiwar movement supports Wikileaks and calls for and independent, international investigation of the crimes that have been exposed. We call for the release of Bradley Manning and the end to the harassment of Julian Assange.
For more information: Joe Lombardo, 518-281-1968,,

Antiwar movement supports Wikileaks and calls for and independent, international investigation of the crimes that have been exposed. We call for the release of Bradley Manning and the end to the harassment of Julian Assange.

The United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC) calls for the release of Bradley Manning who is awaiting trial accused of leaking the material to Wikileaks that has been released over the past several months. We also call for an end to the harassment of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks and we call for an independent, international investigation of the illegal activity exposed through the material released by Wikileaks.

Before sending the material to Wikileaks, Bradley Manning tried to get his superiors in the military to do something about what he understood to be clear violations of international law. His superiors told him to keep quiet so Manning did the right thing; he exposed the illegal activity to the world.

The Afghan material leaked earlier shows military higher-ups telling soldiers to kill enemy combatants who were trying to surrender. The Iraq Wikileaks video from 2007 shows the US military killing civilians and news reporters from a helicopter while laughing about it. The widespread corruption among U.S. allies has been exposed by the most recent leaks of diplomatic cables. Yet, instead of calling for change in these policies, we hear only a call to suppress further leaks.

At the national antiwar conference held in Albany in July, 2010, at which UNAC was founded, we heard from Ethan McCord, one of the soldiers on the ground during the helicopter attack on the civilians in Iraq exposed by Wikileaks (see: ). He talked about removing wounded children from a civilian vehicle that the US military had shot up. It affected him so powerfully that he and another soldier who witnessed the massacre wrote a letter of apology to the families of the civilians who were killed.

We ask why this material was classified in the first place. There were no state secrets in the material, only evidence of illegal and immoral activity by the US military, the US government and its allies. To try to cover this up by classifying the material is a violation of our right to know the truth about these wars. In this respect, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange should be held up as heroes, not hounded for exposing the truth.

UNAC calls for an end to the illegal and immoral policies exposed by Wikileaks and an immediate end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to threats against Iran and North Korea.


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

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

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

Please donate today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might
also be interested in supporting GI resisters.


Add your name! We stand with Bradley Manning.

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

Dear All,

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

Read the complete public letter and add your name at:

Courage to Resist (
on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network (
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610


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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!


Support the troops who refuse to fight!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Police Officers in Swaziland Squash Rally for Democracy
April 12, 2011

2) Four Die in Smuggling Tunnel Under Gaza-Egypt Border
[These deaths are the direct result of the U.S. funding of Israel's occupation of Palestine and the imprisonment--by a separation wall secured by Israeli military outposts--of the whole of Gaza with the intent of genocide against the Palestinian]
April 12, 2011

3) High Prices Sow Seeds of Erosion
April 12, 2011

4) Quarterly Profit Surges 67% at JPMorgan
April 13, 2011, 7:36 am

5) Exxon's CEO Compensation Up 6.6 Percent
[In case you were concerned about their wellbeing, have no fear. They're in the money!]
April 13, 2011

6) Muslims made the history in New York on April 9,2011!
Standing Against Islamophobia, War & Terrorism
Muslim Peace Coalition USA
A New, More United & More Diverse Peace Movement launched on April 9
April 12, 2011
By Abdul Malik Mujahid

7) Fukushima Reactors Are a "Ticking Time Bomb," Japanese Govt in Denial
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Posted on April 13, 2011

8) Resistance to Jaitapur Nuclear Plant Grows in India
April 13, 2011

9) New C.I.A. Drone Attack Draws Rebuke From Pakistan
April 13, 2011

10) Three U.N. Investigators Reject Goldstone's Shift on Gaza War
April 14, 2011

11) Swaziland: Police Fight Teachers as Unrest Begins to Mount
April 13, 2011

12) Germany: An Appeal to Obama Over a U.S. Prisoner's Treatment
April 13, 2011

13) Officer Who Shot Student Gets Award
April 13, 2011

14) In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures
April 14, 2011


1) Police Officers in Swaziland Squash Rally for Democracy
April 12, 2011

JOHANNESBURG - The police in Swaziland, the last absolute monarchy in Africa, squelched a long-planned pro-democracy rally on Tuesday, firing water cannons and tear gas into crowds in Manzini, the nation's largest city.

Organizers had dubbed the protest "the April 12 Uprising," recalling the day, 38 years ago, when King Sobhuza II had abandoned the country's British-style Constitution and rid himself of the inconvenience of political parties.

His son, Mswati III, is now king. Some things have changed, some not. The old king had more than 70 wives, the new one 14. Mswati III is one of the world's richest monarchs, and he provides most of his spouses with their own retinue, a palace and a new BMW; two-thirds of his 1.2 million subjects live on less than $1 a day. They have the world's highest H.I.V. infection rate.

There is again a Constitution, instituted in 2006, though not one assuring political freedom. A pro-democracy movement has existed for decades, but it has had more fits than starts. Many of its leaders are routinely jailed, and on Tuesday, this was done peremptorily with the morning arrests of the trade unionists at the vanguard of the rally.

What followed then were blunt tactics of crowd dispersal. People standing in groups of more than two or three were clubbed by police officers, witnesses said. Buses full of protesters were stopped at roadblocks and turned back.

"Some people were taken away in big trucks, and they were dumped way out in the bush where there is no transportation," said Mary da Silva, a lawyer and coordinator of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign.

Ms. da Silva herself was briefly arrested, seized while giving an interview to a journalist. "Basically, what they are doing is kidnapping activists," she said in a telephone interview. "There are roadblocks all over the place. No one can get into Manzini. And those of us here, we are under constant threat. They punched me in the stomach."

The Rev. Pius Magagula, project manager for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, said, "The police tried to block people behind a gate, and then when the people fought their way out and went to the bus terminal, the police pounced on them like nobody's business."

The bare-knuckle tactics were successful against a crowd of about 2,000, according to Father Magagula, who was also contacted by phone.

"The police used water cannons and then the swinging batons," he said. "It was bad, very bad."

A police spokeswoman, Wendy Hleta, told The Associated Press that officials had been concerned about threats to overthrow the government. Force was used only after provocation, she said.

"The situation almost got out of control," Ms. Hleta said about a gathering of hundreds of teachers at a training site. The police "were compelled to shoot tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd."

The government is sure to draw international criticism. The United States Embassy in Mbabane, the capital, issued a statement expressing concern about efforts "to prevent the peaceful assembly of labor and opposition groups."

Swaziland, a mountainous and generally peaceful place, is wedged between South Africa and Mozambique. Its chief source of revenue has been its share of import duties from the multicountry Southern African Customs Union.

But the group's distribution formula was recently revised, and Swaziland's $741 million share was cut to $281 million. The government announced an austerity program. Every ministry had to cut its budget by as much as 25 percent. Thousands of public workers were furloughed. Street lights were turned off.

The dismal economy has heightened political discontent. Tuesday's rally follows a protest last month when 2,000 people marched to the prime minister's office. King Mswati III disapprovingly took note of the demonstration.

He told his people to "work harder and sacrifice more."


2) 4 Die in Smuggling Tunnel Under Gaza-Egypt Border
[These deaths are the direct result of the U.S. funding of Israel's occupation of Palestine and the imprisonment--by a separation wall secured by Israeli military outposts--of the whole of]
April 12, 2011

Four Palestinians died Tuesday in a smuggling tunnel beneath the Gaza-Egypt border, according to medics in Gaza. Authorities with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the men suffocated while repairing the tunnel, which they said had been hit by an Israeli missile several days ago during a recent wave of violence. Some people have died in the tunnels in the past after being overcome by fumes while smuggling fuel to Gaza.


3) High Prices Sow Seeds of Erosion
April 12, 2011

When prices for corn and soybeans surged last fall, Bill Hammitt, a farmer in the fertile hill country of western Iowa, began to see the bulldozers come out, clearing steep hillsides of trees and pastureland to make way for more acres of the state's staple crops. Now, as spring planting begins, with the chance of drenching rains, Mr. Hammitt worries that such steep ground is at high risk for soil erosion - a farmland scourge that feels as distant to most Americans as tales of the Dust Bowl and Woody Guthrie ballads.

Long in decline, erosion is once again rearing as a threat because of an aggressive push to plant on more land, changing weather patterns and inadequate enforcement of protections, scientists and environmentalists say.

"There's a lot of land being converted into row crop in this area that never has been farmed before," said Mr. Hammitt, 59, explaining that the bulldozed land was too steep and costly to farm to be profitable in years of ordinary prices. "It brings more highly erodible land into production because they're out to make more money on every acre."

Now, research by scientists at Iowa State University provides evidence that erosion in some parts of the state is occurring at levels far beyond government estimates. It is being exacerbated, they say, by severe storms, which have occurred more often in recent years, possibly because of broader climate shifts.

"The thing that's really smacking us now are the high-intensity, high-volume rainstorms that we're getting," said Richard M. Cruse, an agronomy professor at Iowa State who directs the Iowa Daily Erosion Project. "In a variety of locations, we're losing topsoil considerably faster - 10 to as much as 50 times faster - than it's forming."

Erosion can do major damage to water quality, silting streams and lakes and dumping fertilizers and pesticides into the water supply. Fertilizer runoff is responsible for a vast "dead zone," an oxygen-depleted region where little or no sea life can exist, in the Gulf of Mexico. And because it washes away rich topsoil, erosion can threaten crop yields. Significant gains were made in combating erosion in the 1980s and early 1990s, as the federal government began to require that farmers receiving agricultural subsidies carry out individually tailored soil conservation plans.

Those plans often included measures such as terracing steep ground or sowing buffer strips with perennial grasses to stabilize areas prone to erosion, such as the edges of fields near streams or borders between crops.

Many farmers, such as Mr. Hammitt, who is on the board of the Harrison County soil and water conservation district, also do little or no plowing and leave crop residues on harvested fields, techniques that reduce runoff.

But environmentalists claim that enforcement of conservation plans by the United States Department of Agriculture is not as strict as it should be and that the gains in fighting erosion have stalled or are being undercut.

U.S.D.A. data shows that the amount of farmland erosion nationwide from water fell substantially from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, then largely stagnated.

Enforcement is needed more than ever, environmentalists say, because high crop prices provide a strong incentive for farmers to plant as much ground as possible and to take fewer protective measures like grass buffer strips.

Other factors are also at work. Farmers increasingly rent the land they cultivate, which can mean they are less familiar with areas at risk for erosion or are less invested in caring for the land over the long run. In addition, farmers using modern supersize tractors, built to efficiently cover swaths of land, can find it inconvenient to break up land into smaller sections through buffer areas or terraces. Widely used herbicides can kill the grass in buffer strips, leaving them more vulnerable to erosion. And government biofuels policies that have increased the demand for corn have encouraged farmers to plant more. "You've got all these market forces and public policies and biofuel mandates and more severe storms," said Craig Cox, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group that will release a report on erosion Wednesday. "It's all coming together, and we're asleep at the switch."

Mr. Cox said that he flew over parts of Iowa in a helicopter last spring after a severe storm and found that deep gullies had formed in unprotected farmland, becoming conduits for soil runoff. Farmers frequently level off such gullies after harvesting in the fall, he said, and then replant the same low-lying areas year after year, leaving them susceptible to further erosion.

Thomas W. Christensen, an Agriculture Department regional conservationist, disagreed, saying, "Conservation compliance is working," and adding that improvements to its enforcement program were in the works. Last year, however, the agency reviewed fewer than 1 percent of the tracts nationwide that it considered highly erodible to make sure that farmers were following conservation plans. About 1 percent of those reviewed were found to be in violation. But the new federal budget deal cuts 12 percent from the agency's conservation spending, which could hamper soil efforts. Agency officials said they were still assessing the impact.

The information from the Iowa Daily Erosion Project paints a grimmer picture than a recent assessment by federal officials. The U.S.D.A's 2007 National Resources Inventory, released last year, estimated that erosion in Iowa averaged 5.2 tons an acre each year. That was slightly higher than the five tons per acre that the department estimated was a tolerable annual rate of erosion for most Iowa soils, meaning that it allowed a high level of crop productivity to be maintained indefinitely.

Five tons of soil would fill a small dump truck; spread over an acre it would make a layer slightly less than the thickness of a dime, Mr. Cruse said.

While the federal report estimates average rates of erosion for states and regions over a full year, the Erosion Project uses detailed information on rainfall and field conditions to estimate soil loss in 1,581 Iowa townships - nearly all of them - after each storm. Last year, according to Erosion Project data analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, the average estimated rate of erosion exceeded the sustainable level in 133 townships. In 2009, an estimated 641 townships exceeded the sustainable rate, including nearly 400 that had double or more that rate.

The project also provides a picture of the erosion caused by severe storms, like the one that dumped more than seven inches of rain in parts of southwest Iowa in May 2007. In a single day, the figures show, 69 townships had average estimated soil losses of more than 10 tons an acre. Of those, 14 townships were estimated to have an average loss between 20 tons and nearly 40 tons per acre. The 2007 storm was exceptionally damaging, but severe storms are becoming more frequent, according to a state report on climate change submitted in January to the Iowa Legislature and governor.

Despite the concerns, Iowa is not on the brink of becoming a new Dust Bowl. Many farmers use good conservation practices, and the state's rich topsoil in many areas is deep enough to last decades with moderate amounts of erosion.

But agronomists say that heavy erosion in unprotected areas can significantly diminish crop yields, and, over time, land that is not well cared for can become depleted. That means farmers must use more fertilizer to increase yields.

Erosion also does major harm to water quality.

More than anything else this year, farmers are making decisions based on how they can best take advantage of corn and soybean prices, which have soared in recent months.

Dr. Cruse said that creates a paradox. When crop prices are low and farmers are scraping by, many say they cannot afford to take steps to protect their fields from erosion. Now, he said, they say they still cannot afford it because there is too much profit to be made from farming every bit of land.

The same incentives have landowners clearing steep hillsides or converting pasture to cropland to cultivate or rent out.

"The requests to farm the marginal areas and the pressure on our noncropped areas have really increased with these commodity prices," said Todd G. Duncan, an Agriculture Department district conservationist in Winneshiek County in northeast Iowa, another area of the state with steep hills. "We have some people that are making bad land-use decisions right now."


4) Quarterly Profit Surges 67% at JPMorgan
April 13, 2011, 7:36 am

9:35 a.m. | Updated JPMorgan Chase kicked off bank earnings season on Wednesday, reporting that first quarter profit surged 67 percent even as problems in its mortgage lending business continued to mount.

Strong results from its investment banking and trading businesses helped offset losses from the retail bank, which continues to deal with bad loans and set aside an additional $650 million to cover potential legal claims. JPMorgan's first quarter numbers also got a boost from the credit card group, where the reversal of loan-loss provisions added $2 billion to the bottom line.

The bank's profit of $5.6 billion, or $1.28 a share, handily exceeded analysts' consensus estimate of $1.16. A year ago, the company earned $3.3 billion, or 74 cents a share.

But revenue - as is the case for much of the industry - remained under pressure. It fell to $25.8 billion in the first quarter, down 8 percent from a year earlier, driven by a slowdown in mortgage lending and new rules curtailing overdraft fees. Investors may see that drop as a indication of what's to come at other banks at a time when they are increasingly worried about the industry's ability to grow.

In early trading on Wednesday, shares of JPMorgan were essentially flat at roughly $46.50.

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's chairman and chief executive, offered an upbeat outlook for his bank. In a statement, he praised the "strong quarter" across most of its major businesses, like credit cards and investment banking, and said that the retail business demonstrated "good underlying performance."

Mr. Dimon also said he was pleased to have received approval from regulators to increase the bank's annual dividend to $1 from 20 cents, and to begin an $8 billion share buyback program.

"We will only buy back stock if we believe the price is appropriate," he said. "In the meantime, we will pursue the significant organic growth opportunities we see in each of our businesses."

Still, he acknowledged the troubles in home lending, where "extraordinarily high losses" have been running at $4 billion a year. "Rest assured, we are fully engaged in fixing our problems and addressing our mistakes from the past," he said.

JPMorgan, meanwhile, faces billions of dollars in potential legal claims stemming from the mortgage crisis. Federal regulators are expected to order the nation's biggest mortgage players to make sweeping changes to their loan servicing practices, which would drive up operating costs.

"We are adding a lot of intensive manpower and talent to fix the problems of the past," Mr. Dimon said, on a conference call with journalists. JPMorgan plans to add between 2,000 and 3,000 new employees in order to comply with the regulators demands. The bank, as a result, took a $1.1 billion charge to reflect the increased costs of its mortgage servicing operations.

The bank is also ensnared by state investigations over questionable foreclosure practices, as well as lawsuits from private investors seeking to recover losses on troubled loans and securities the bank sold.

The bank put aside an additional $650 million in the first quarter to cover those potential legal claims, after increasing its litigation reserves by more than $6.7 billion in 2010.

The bank previously set aside a separate reserve of more than $5.6 billion to cover expected losses stemming from the repurchase of faulty loans that it sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled housing finance companies. It absorbed about $420 million of losses on those loans in the first quarter. The bank also took a $1.1 billion charge to reflect the increased costs of its mortgage servicing business.

Banking analysts say the mortgage problems could end up costing the bank up to $10 billion. But armed with those reserves, JPMorgan executives have said they have ample resources to handle claims.

"I think a good global settlement will be good for everybody and most important, the United States of America, its citizens, and the housing market," Mr. Dimon said on the conference call. "Keeping this mess going on is not good for anybody

All told, Chase Retail Financial Services, the consumer banking arm that includes home lending, reported a loss of $208 million in first quarter, compared with a loss of $131 million the previous year. Revenue was down 19 percent, reflecting narrower lending margins and a slowdown in refinancing activity.

There was better news elsewhere. JPMorgan's investment bank had a solid quarter, although not as good as the period a year earlier, when unusually strong trading environment led to record profits. Investment banking fees were up 23 percent, with JPMorgan involved in dozens of deals, including AT&T's $39 billion planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

Fixed income trading revenue was up 33 percent from the prior year, while revenue from its equities group fell 8 percent on lower client volumes. Overall, earnings for the investment banking unit fell 4 percent, to $2.4 billion.

The corporate bank reported earnings of $546 million, up 3 percent from the period a year earlier. Bank officials said an improvement in the number of midsize businesses seeking credit helped the bottom line.

The credit card unit reported a $1.3 billion profit, up 3 percent from the period a year earlier. But much of that gain was a result of the bank's decision to release about $2 billion it had previously set aside to cover losses.

Revenue was down 10 percent, reflecting the effect of more stringent rules to protect consumers from abusive penalty fees and lower loan balances.

JPMorgan was the first major bank to report quarterly earnings, with Bank of America set to release its financial results on Friday. Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley report earnings next week.


5) Exxon's CEO Compensation Up 6.6 Percent
[In case you were concerned about their wellbeing, have no fear. They're in the money!]
April 13, 2011

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, received $29 million in total compensation in 2010, a 6.6 percent increase from the previous year, a regulatory filing showed on Wednesday.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson's pay included $2.2 million in salary, a $3.4 million bonus, and stock awards valued at $15.5 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Factors the company's board considered when awarding Tillerson's pay included a 58 percent increase in earnings, safety results and the completion and integration of Exxon's purchase of U.S. natural gas company XTO Energy Inc.

Exxon's shares rose 7 percent in 2010, underperforming a 12 percent increase in the CBOE index of oil companies and a 13 percent increase in the Standard and Poor's 500 index.

The compensation data was included in the company's proxy statement ahead of its May 25 annual meeting. Among the shareholder proposals is a call for Exxon to separate the jobs of CEO and chairman, positions Tillerson currently holds.

In 2008, the Irving, Texas, company faced a challenge from members of the wealthy U.S. Rockefeller family, who urged the company to name an independent chairman.

John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Co in 1870, which was a precursor to Exxon Mobil.

Shares of Exxon fell 14 cents to $83.04 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gunna Dickson)

Corrects month of annual meeting in paragraph 5


6) Muslims made the history in New York on April 9,2011!
Standing Against Islamophobia, War & Terrorism
Muslim Peace Coalition USA
A New, More United & More Diverse Peace Movement launched on April 9
April 12, 2011
By Abdul Malik Mujahid

Assalamu Alaikum

Muslims made the history in New York on April 9,2011!

Congratulations for a successful Rally focusing on War, Terrorism, and Islamophobia as one set.

Please fill out this survey with your feedback about the rally and the next steps.

Please donate 8 dollars today for the Muslim Peace Coalition USA so we can be effective member of the United National Anti-War Committee.

Ten unique things about April 9 anti-war rallies:

1. It was a younger crowd as compared to most other anti-war rallies
2. The crowd reflected the diversity of America
3. Muslims joined this anti-war rally in large numbers led by Muslim Peace Coalition USA reflecting a fresh assertiveness that they are no longer willing to stay silent
4. The connection of war at home and war abroad was well established
5. It was the largest anti-war march in the last five years in New York
6. Some protesters dressed as Guantanamo Bay Prisoners stood in silence at Union Square
7. The rally was endorsed by 100 plus imams from the New York area. Many of these imams were in the rally
8. The rally was endorsed by 500 organizations
9. There were many young children walking as well as elderly
10. There were signs for free Palestine, Free Bradely Mannings, Free Dr. Afia Siddiqi, Free Lynne Stewart, anti-Nuke signs carried by Japanese-Americans, and banners against Drone attacks on Pakistan

See photos of the rally here:

See videos of the Muslim speakers here (we are still waiting for Imam Zaid Shakir's video from San Francisco Rally):

A New, More United & More Diverse Peace Movement launched on April 9
April 12, 2011
By Abdul Malik Mujahid

He could barely walk. His could not even stand straight probably because of his age. But he marched for about two miles with ten thousand plus people on April 9, 2011 protesting war and asking for peace. I walked with him. He only paused a few brief moments to sip a little water but not rest. Sam initially did not share his age with me. But at the end of the rally he told me he is 87 years old. The first time he had marched in a rally was in the 60s. I didn't want to part from his wisdom so I forwent my invitation to lead the rally at the front. I marveled while walking with Sam how committed his generation is to peace; his resilience, determination, and patience are a lesson for all of us who wish to work towards peace and justice. Sam probably did not want to forgo the largest anti-war rally in New York in five years.

It was heartening for me to see the lively gathering of such diverse people coming together for peace, and justice. Although the resilient peaceniks generation was well represented, there was a refreshing presence of younger people as well as African Americans, Latinos and Muslims of diverse backgrounds. This pointed out the fact that the United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC) has come long way from its Albany summit last July where white folks of the sixties were the majority. More than 500 organizations endorsed this rally. Sara Flounders, one of the organizers felt that there were about 15,000 people who attended the rallies. Joe Lambardo, the co-chair of the United National Anti-War Committee said that "The march stretched for over 20 blocks at one point."

There was another significant rally taking place simultaneously in Time Square in support of Wisconsin labor. If both rallies were put together it might have been 50,000 strong. Unfortunately both rallies were miles apart, both still need to get the message from Wisconsin that war at home and war abroad are connected, money being spent in war is being sucked from social programs, economic programs and the workers unions' ability to bargain.

Major peace movement leaders like the former Attorney General Ramzi Clark, famous anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, & former Army Colonel Ann Wright who used to work for the state department were the major speakers.

A prominent element of this rally was the extraordinary mobilization of the Muslim Peace Coalition USA. More than a hundred Imams, led by Imam Shamsi Ali, Imam Al-Ameen Abdul Latif, and Imam Dalouer Hossain broke the silence of Muslims by opposing war. Often Muslims are so busy condemning terrorism, almost five times a day that it seems it is a pillar of Islam. Yet Imams are more effective when they have connected war, terror, and islamophobia as the conjoined triplet of evil. I sincerely hope that we will continue to see more of such movements that bring together diverse people in a shared effort to combat the injustices and dangers we as a nation and society face.

Join Our Mailing List!
Muslim Peace Coalition, USA
Facebook Twitter

Muslim Peace Coalition USA

The Muslim Peace Coalition USA is a grassroots alliance that has spread to 14 states since its inception. The Coalition's mission is to work closely with the peace movement and civil rights organizations to oppose war, terrorism and Islamophobia.


7) Fukushima Reactors Are a "Ticking Time Bomb," Japanese Govt in Denial
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Posted on April 13, 2011

Amy Goodman: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan tried Tuesday to calm fears about radiation levels and food safety in the region around the heavily damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. His comments came after Japan raised the severity rating of its nuclear crisis to the highest possible level, heightening concerns about the magnitude of the disaster.

Speaking at a news conference to mark one month since the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeastern coast of the country, Japanese Prime Minister Kan said produce from the region around the Fukushima plant is safe to eat despite radiation leaks.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan: [translated] From now on, people should not fall into an extreme self-restraint mood, and they should live life as normal. To consume products from the areas that have been affected is also a way in which to support the area. We should enjoy the use of such products and support the areas that have been affected. I ask you to do this.

Amy Goodman: A spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency said the latest food sample data indicates levels of contamination are below the limits set by domestic authorities. Denis Flory, IAEA spokesperson, also said yesterday Japan's nuclear crisis was not comparable to Chernobyl.

Denis Flory: The mechanics of the accidents are totally different. One happened when a reactor was at power, and the reactor containment exploded. In Fukushima, the reactor was stopped, and the containment, even if it may be somehow leaking today-and we do not know-the containment is here. So this is a totally different accident.

Amy Goodman: Japanese officials said they raised the severity level to 7 because of the total release of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, not because of a sudden deterioration in the situation. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster is the only other nuclear accident rated at the highest level, 7, on a scale developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency to assess nuclear accidents. But officials insist so far the power plant in Japan has released one-tenth as much radioactive material as Chernobyl.

To discuss the situation in Japan, as well as his latest book, we're joined by Dr. Michio Kaku, a Japanese American physicist, a bestselling author, professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York and the City College of New York. His brand new book is Physics of the Future: How Science Will Change Daily Life by 2100.

Welcome to Democracy Now! It's great to see you again.

Dr. Michio Kaku: Glad to be on the show, Amy.

Amy Goodman: So, talk about this raising of the category level to 7, on a par with Chernobyl.

Dr. Michio Kaku: Well, Tokyo Electric has been in denial, trying to downplay the full impact of this nuclear accident. However, there's a formula, a mathematical formula, by which you can determine what level this accident is. This accident has already released something on the order of 50,000 trillion becquerels of radiation. You do the math. That puts it right smack in the middle of a level 7 nuclear accident. Still, less than Chernobyl. However, radiation is continuing to leak out of the reactors. The situation is not stable at all. So, you're looking at basically a ticking time bomb. It appears stable, but the slightest disturbance-a secondary earthquake, a pipe break, evacuation of the crew at Fukushima-could set off a full-scale meltdown at three nuclear power stations, far beyond what we saw at Chernobyl.

Amy Goodman: Talk about exactly-I mean, as a physicist, to explain to people-exactly what has taken place in Japan at these nuclear power plants.

Dr. Michio Kaku: Think of driving a car, and the car all of a sudden lunges out of control. You hit the brakes. The brakes don't work. That's because the earthquake wiped out the safety systems in the first minute of the earthquake and tsunami. Then your radiator starts to heat up and explodes. That's the hydrogen gas explosion. And then, to make it worse, the gas tank is heating up, and all of a sudden your whole car is going to be in flames. That's the full-scale meltdown.

So what do you do? You drive the car into a river. That's what the utility did by putting seawater, seawater from the Pacific Ocean, in a desperate attempt to keep water on top of the core. But then, seawater has salt in it, and that gums up your radiator. And so, what do you do? You call out the local firemen. And so, now you have these Japanese samurai warriors. They know that this is potentially a suicide mission. They're coming in with hose water-hose water-trying to keep water over the melted nuclear reactor cores. So that's the situation now. So, when the utility says that things are stable, it's only stable in the sense that you're dangling from a cliff hanging by your fingernails. And as the time goes by, each fingernail starts to crack. That's the situation now.

Amy Goodman: What about the food, the level of contamination of the food? They are increasingly banning food exports.

Dr. Michio Kaku: The tragedy is, this accident has released enormous quantities of iodine, radioactive iodine-131, into the atmosphere, like what happened at Chernobyl, about 10 percent the level of Chernobyl. Iodine is water soluble. When it rains, it gets into the soil. Cows then eat the vegetation, create milk, and then it winds up in the milk. Farmers are now dumping milk right on their farms, because it's too radioactive. Foods have to be impounded in the area.

And let's be blunt about this: would you buy food that says "Made in Chernobyl"? And the Japanese people are also saying, "Should I buy food that says 'Made in Fukushima'?" We're talking about the collapse of the local economy. Just because the government tries to lowball all the numbers, downplay the severity of the accident, and that's making it much worse.

Amy Goodman: What do you think has to be done now? I mean, one of the biggest problems is secrecy, both with the Tokyo company that runs the plants and also the government, the constant downplaying from the beginning. And yet, there are so many people who have been evacuated, who are demanding compensation. There was just a major protest at TEPCO with the people in the area who have been evaluated-no jobs, no money-saying, "We demand compensation."

Dr. Michio Kaku: Well, TEPCO is like the little Dutch boy. All of a sudden we have cracks in the dike. You put a finger here, you put a finger there. And all of a sudden, new leaks start to occur, and they're overwhelmed.

I suggest that they be removed from leadership entirely and be put as consultants. An international team of top physicists and engineers should take over, with the authority to use the Japanese military. I think the Japanese military is the only organization capable of bringing this raging accident under control. And that's what Gorbachev did in 1986. He saw this flaming nuclear power station in Chernobyl. He called out the Red Air Force. He called out helicopters, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and buried the Chernobyl reactor in 5,000 tons of cement, sand and boric acid. That's, of course, a last ditch effort. But I think the Japanese military should be called out.

Amy Goodman: To do...?

Dr. Michio Kaku: Because of the fact that the radiation levels are so great, workers can only go in for perhaps 10 minutes, 15 minutes at a time, and they get their year's dose of radiation. You're there for one hour, and you have radiation sickness. You vomit. Your white corpuscle count goes down. Your hair falls out. You're there for a day, and you get a lethal amount of radiation. At Chernobyl, there were 600,000 people mobilized, each one going in for just a few minutes, dumping sand, concrete, boric acid onto the reactor site. Each one got a medal. That's what it took to bring one raging nuclear accident under control. And I think the utility here is simply outclassed and overwhelmed.

Amy Goodman: And yet, these workers are in for much longer periods of time.

Dr. Michio Kaku: That's right. And we don't even know how much radiation levels they're getting, because many areas around the site have no monitors. So we don't even know how much radiation many of these workers are getting. And that's why I'm saying, if you have access to the military, you can have the option of sandbagging the reactor, encasing it in concrete, or at least have a reserve of troops that can go in for brief periods of times and bring this monster under control.

Amy Goodman: What about the evacuation zone? Is it big enough?

Dr. Michio Kaku: It's pathetic. The United States government has already stated 50 miles for evacuating U.S. personnel. The French government has stated that all French people should consider leaving the entire islands. And here we are with a government talking about six miles, 10 miles, 12 miles. And the people there are wondering, "What's going on with the government? I mean, why aren't they telling us the truth?" Radiation levels are now rising 25 miles from the site, far beyond the evacuation zone. And remember that we could see an increase in leukemia. We could see an increase in thyroid cancers. That's the inevitable consequence of releasing enormous quantities of iodine into the environment.

Amy Goodman: What has to happen to the plant ultimately?

Dr. Michio Kaku: Well, in the best-case scenario-this is the scenario devised by the utility itself-they hope to bring it under control by the end of this year. By the end of this year, they hope to have the pumps working, and the reaction is finally stabilized by the end of this year.

Amy Goodman: Oddly, it's sounding a little bit like BP when they were trying to plug up the hole.

Dr. Michio Kaku: Right.

Amy Goodman: "It will happen. It will happen."

Dr. Michio Kaku: They're literally making it up as they go along. We're in totally uncharted territories. You get any nuclear engineering book, look at the last chapter, and this scenario is not contained in the last chapter of any nuclear engineering textbook on the planet earth. So they're making it up as they go along. And we are the guinea pigs for this science experiment that's taking place. Then it could take up to 10 years, up to 10 years to finally dismantle the reactor. The last stage is entombment. This is now the official recommendation of Toshiba, that they entomb the reactor over a period of many years, similar to what happened in Chernobyl.

Amy Goodman: Entomb it in...?

Dr. Michio Kaku: In a gigantic slab of concrete. You're going to have to drill underneath to make sure that the core does not melt right into the ground table. And you're going to put 5,000 tons of concrete and sand on top of the flaming reactor.

Amy Goodman: Should people be concerned about any food that says "From Japan"?

Dr. Michio Kaku: Not from Japan. But remember, in the area, the sea, we're talking about levels that are millions of times beyond legal levels found right there. However, as you start to get out further, radiation levels drop rather considerably.

Amy Goodman: I wanted to talk about policy in this country. I mean, we are now seeing happening in Japan this horrific event. Japan was the target of the dawn of the Nuclear Age, right?

Dr. Michio Kaku: Mm-hmm.

Amy Goodman: The U.S. dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Nagasaki. Your own family mirrors the history of the Nuclear Age. Can you talk just briefly about that, before we talk about current U.S. policy?

Dr. Michio Kaku: Yeah, first of all, I have relatives in Tokyo, and they're wondering about evacuation. In fact, some of my relatives have already evacuated from Tokyo. They have little children. And radiation has already appeared in the drinking water in Tokyo. And so, people are wondering, you know, especially for young children, for pregnant women, should they leave. People are voting with their feet now. A lot of people are voluntarily evacuating from Tokyo, because they simply don't believe the statements of the utility, which have consistently lowballed all the estimates of radiation damage.

Amy Goodman: And, though, in the past, in terms of your own family's history, your parents, being interned in the Japanese American internment camps?

Dr. Michio Kaku: That's right. In California, my parents were interned in the relocation camps from 1942 to 1946, four years where they were put essentially behind barbed wire and machine guns, under the supervision of the United States military.

Amy Goodman: And yet, you became a nuclear physicist, interestingly enough, and you worked with the people who made the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan.

Dr. Michio Kaku: Yeah. In fact, my high school adviser was Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb. And he arranged for me to get a scholarship to Harvard, in fact, and that began my career as a nuclear scientist. And Edward Teller, of course, wanted me to work on the Star Wars program. He put a lot of pressure and said, "Look, we'll give you fellowships, scholarships. Go to Los Alamos National Laboratory, Livermore National Laboratory. Design hydrogen bombs." But I said no. I said, "I cannot see my expertise being used to advance the cause of war."

Amy Goodman: And you've been very outspoken when it comes to nuclear power in the United States. This, of course, has raised major issues about nuclear power plants around the world, many countries saying they're not moving forward. President Obama is taking the opposite position. He really is very much the nuclear renaissance man. He is talking about a nuclear renaissance and has not backed off, in fact reiterated, saying this will not stop us from building the first nuclear power plants in, what, decades.

Dr. Michio Kaku: Well, there's something called a Faustian bargain. Faust was this mythical figure who sold his soul to the devil for unlimited power. Now, the Japanese government has thrown the dice with a Faustian bargain. Japan has very little fossil fuel reserves, no hydroelectric power to speak of, and so they went nuclear. However, in the United States, we're now poised, at this key juncture in history, where the government has to decide whether to go to the next generation of reactors. These are the so-called gas-cooled pebble bed reactors, which are safer than the current design, but they still melt down. The proponents of this new renaissance say that you can go out to dinner and basically have a leisurely conversation even as your reactor melts down. But it still melts. That's the bottom line.

Amy Goodman: And so, what do you think should happen? Do you think nuclear power plants should be built in this country?

Dr. Michio Kaku: I think there should be a national debate, a national debate about a potential moratorium. The American people have not been given the full truth, because, for example, right north of New York City, roughly 30 miles north of where we are right now, we have the Indian Point nuclear power plant, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has now admitted that of all the reactors prone to earthquakes, the one right next to New York City is number one on that list. And the government itself, back in 1980, estimated that property damage would be on the order of about $200 billion in case of an accident, in 1980 dollars, at the Indian Point nuclear power station.

Amy Goodman: No private corporation could even build a nuclear power plant: you have to have the taxpayers footing the bill.

Dr. Michio Kaku: You have to have what is called the Price-Anderson Act, having the United States government guarantee the insurance. Nobody will guarantee-nobody will sell an insurance policy for a nuclear power plant, because who can afford a $200 billion accident? That's why the United States government has underwritten the insurance for every nuclear power plant. So the Price-Anderson Act is an act of Congress that mandates the U.S. government, the taxpayers, will underwrite the insurance, because nuclear power stations are not insurable.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!.
(c) 2011 Democracy Now! All rights reserved.
View this story online at:


8) Resistance to Jaitapur Nuclear Plant Grows in India
April 13, 2011

MADBAN, India - When a farmer named Praveen Gawankar and two neighbors began a protest four years ago against a proposed nuclear power plant here in this coastal town, they were against it mainly for not-in-my-backyard reasons.

They stood to lose mango orchards, cashew trees and rice fields, as the government forcibly acquired 2,300 acres to build six nuclear reactors - the biggest nuclear power plant ever proposed anywhere.

But now, as a nuclear disaster unfolds in distant Japan, the lonely group of farmers has seen support for their protest swell to include a growing number of Indian scientists, academics and former government officials. "We are getting ready for bigger protests," Mr. Gawanker said.

While the government vows to push ahead - citing India's energy needs - Indian newspapers recently reported that the environment minister wrote Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to question the wisdom of large nuclear installations. And a group of 50 Indian scientists, academics and activists has called for a moratorium on new projects. "The Japanese nuclear crisis is a wake-up call for India," they wrote in an open letter.

Opponents note that the area was hit by 95 earthquakes from 1985 to 2005, although Indian officials counter that most were minor and that the plant's location on a high cliff would offer protection against tsunamis.

The heated debate shows how the politics of nuclear energy may be changing, not only in the United States and Europe but in developing countries whose economies desperately need cheap power to continue growing rapidly.

For Indian officials intent on promoting nuclear energy, the partial meltdowns and radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan could not have come at a worse time. Currently, India gets about 3 percent of its electricity from the 20 relatively small nuclear reactors in the country. But it is building five new reactors and has proposed 39 more, including the ones here in Madban, to help meet the voracious energy needs of India's fast-growing economy.

Only China, the other emerging-economy giant with a ravenous energy appetite, is planning a more rapid expansion of nuclear power. Beijing has indicated that it, too, plans to proceed cautiously with its nuclear rollout.

By 2050, the Indian government says a quarter of the nation's electricity should come from nuclear reactors. And the project here would be the biggest step yet toward that ambitious goal. The planned six reactors would produce a total of 9,900 megawatts of electricity - more than three times the power now used by India's financial capital, Mumbai, about 260 miles up the coast.

So far, workers on the site are simply digging trenches, as a dozen police officers provide round-the-clock watch. Protesters, including Mr. Gawankar, have been arrested at various times, and state police officials have banned gatherings of more than five people in the villages near the site.

Prime Minister Singh has been so committed to atomic power that he staked his government's survival in 2008 on a controversial civil nuclear deal with the United States. That agreement, completed last year, opened the door for India to buy nuclear technology and uranium fuel from Western nations that previously would not sell to it because of India's refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Most of India's reactors have been indigenously developed, but it is now building two reactors with Russian help. The proposed nuclear plant in Madban will use a new generation of reactors from the French company Areva. Projects using technology from the United States, and from Japan, are also planned.

Government officials have said that India will conduct more safety reviews to make sure its existing reactors and new proposals are safe. But they reiterated their commitment to nuclear projects, including the one in Madban, which has been named the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, after a nearby village.

Many Indian scientists, though, remain distrustful of India's nuclear establishment. And they criticize the decision to use Areva's new reactors, saying they are unproved.

Compared with the 40-year-old Fukushima Daiichi boiling water reactors, Areva's are of a newer sort known as pressurized water reactors, which the company describes as a major advance. But Areva's first commercial installations of the technology, in France and Finland, have been delayed by several years after the initial designs failed to meet meet safety criteria. The company is also building two of the new reactors in China.

Adinarayan Gopalakrishnan, a former Indian nuclear safety official, is among critics who argue that India should not import the reactors, which are known by the initials EPR, because they do not have a proven track record.

"In view of the vast nuclear devastation we are observing in Japan, I would strongly urge the government not to proceed with the Jaitapur project with purchase of EPRs from France or any other import of nuclear reactors," said Mr. Gopalakrishnan. He once led India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and has also criticized the structure and independence of his former agency.

The regulatory board reports to the Atomic Energy Commission, which runs India's nuclear energy program and has long championed atomic power as an alternative to fossil fuels. The chairman of the regulatory board, S. S. Bajaj, was previously a senior executive at the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India, which operates most of the country's reactors and will run the Jaitapur plant as well.

In an interview at his office in Mumbai, Mr. Bajaj said that despite being attached to the Atomic Energy Commission, his agency was "functionally independent" of the country's nuclear establishment and technically capable of reviewing the Areva reactors.

But farmers and fishers fear for their livelihoods.

Farmers say that some customers in Western countries have already indicated that once the plant starts operating in 2018, the fear of radioactive contamination will keep them from buying the area's acclaimed Alphonso mangoes. The fruit this season is fetching 900 rupees (or $20) for a dozen in Mumbai markets.

Fishers complain that even before the first reactors start operating, their ability to navigate the nearby waters will be restricted by security officials. And once the plant starts, locals say it will discharge millions of gallons of hot water into the sea. That, they say, will make the coast uninhabitable for mackerel and other fish, ruining an industry that provides jobs to more than 20,000 people and supplies seafood to Mumbai and Europe.

They say that about 160 miles north of the Jaitapur plant site, fishing has been severely curtailed by hot water from a controversial gas-fired power plant, built by Enron before it went bankrupt.

"Nobody will buy our fish when they know that this nuclear plant is nearby," Atiq Hathwardkar, 22, said on his family's fishing boat near the plant site. "They want to move the country forward," he said of government officials, "but they don't care what happens to the common man."

Many local residents, as a form of protest, have refused to accept payment for the land the government forcibly acquired for the plant. The government is offering 1.5 million rupees ($33,000) per hectare (about 2.5 acres). But only 153 of the more than 2,000 landowners have taken the money.

Pramila Gawankar, the wife of the mango farmer leading the protests, said she had no use for the money the government was offering and was adamant that she would reclaim her orchards and fields.

"It's nice to look out on the fields," she said. "We have the sea. We have fish. We want for nothing."

Heather Timmons contributed reporting from New Delhi.


9) New C.I.A. Drone Attack Draws Rebuke From Pakistan
April 13, 2011

WASHINGTON - C.I.A. drones fired two missiles at militants in Pakistan's tribal areas on Wednesday, two days after Pakistan's spy chief threatened to curtail the drone strikes and demanded more information about the Central Intelligence Agency's operations there.

The strikes drew a sharp rebuke from a Pakistani government that is increasingly public in its criticism of the C.I.A.'s covert role in its country.

"Pakistan strongly condemns the drone attack," according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, which said it had lodged "a strong protest" with the United States ambassador there, Cameron P. Munter. "We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counterproductive and only contribute to strengthen the hands of the terrorists."

On Monday, the chief of Pakistan's main spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, met with the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to try to resolve tensions between the two counterterrorism allies, most recently over the arrest in Pakistan of Raymond A. Davis, a C.I.A. security officer who killed two Pakistani men in January during what he said was a robbery attempt.

After the meeting, American and Pakistani officials said that Pakistan's request for advance notice of C.I.A. missile strikes, for fewer strikes over all, and for a fuller accounting of C.I.A. officers and contractors working in Pakistan "is being talked about." The American official added: "The bottom line is that joint cooperation is essential to the security of the two nations. The stakes are too high."

But the timing of the strikes on Wednesday served only to infuriate Pakistani officials and raised the question of whether Pakistan would retaliate by shutting down American supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan, which it had done in previous disputes.

The drone attack was widely interpreted by Pakistan's main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, as a deliberate effort by Washington to embarrass the country. "If the message was that business will continue as usual, it was a crude way of sending it," a senior Pakistani intelligence official said.

A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment. But an American official familiar with the operations defended the timing and targets, which came after a 27-day gap since the last strike on March 17, the day after Mr. Davis was released from Pakistani custody.

"These operations are consistent with the U.S.-Pakistan agreements that have been in place for some time," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the drone program. "This was about protecting Americans in the region. This is not about sending a signal to Pakistan."

The targets of the attack were militants commanded by Maulvi Nazir, a Taliban leader from South Waziristan who is closely allied to the Haqqani network, the main Afghan Taliban group supported by the Pakistani military. American and Pakistani intelligence officials say Mr. Nazir is known to harbor Arabs affiliated with Al Qaeda. The Haqqani network and fighters associated with it are also responsible for many of the attacks against American and Afghan troops in eastern Afghanistan.

The drones struck a double-cabin pickup truck and a motorcycle as they returned from Afghanistan into Pakistan, a Pakistani military official said. Seven fighters were killed and six others were wounded in the attack just south of the village of Angor Adda on the border between the two countries.

"It may have been for a very good reason and a quality target, but the politics of it look a little insensitive," said Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer and the author of "Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of Global Jihad."

In an additional irritant to relations between the United States and Pakistan, a federal court released statements on Tuesday by a Pakistani-American man named David Headley in which he says that he helped Lashkar-e-Taiba plot the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai with the support of top ISI officials. Mr. Headley's role in the Mumbai attacks has not only been a source of tension between Pakistan and the United States, but has also ignited outrage in India, where critics accuse the United States of allying itself with a government that they say knowingly colludes with terrorists. Pakistan has long denied that the spy agency itself had anything to do with the attacks.

Pakistan's military and civilian leaders have privately supported the drone strikes as a way to attack militants, particularly in North Waziristan, where the Pakistani Army has conducted few if any operations. In the past two years, however, the C.I.A. has developed its own network of covert Pakistani sources to help identify targets for drone strikes and no longer relies on the ISI for that type of assistance, American officials said.

Pakistani officials have grown more alarmed at the frequency of the drone attacks - 117 last year, more than all previous years combined - and the fact that the targets are now largely low-level fighters and junior commanders, not top operatives. Wednesday's strikes bring this year's number of attacks to 20, according to the Long War Journal, a Web site that tracks the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

On popular Pakistani television talk shows in the past several weeks, commentators have railed against the American drone campaign in unusually strong language. Some have suggested that Pakistan should shoot at the drones to stop them, an extreme measure that more moderate voices have said could result in American retaliation. The leadership of the Pakistani military knew that the drones could not be stopped by force, said Talat Masood, a retired lieutenant general and military analyst in Islamabad. "The army knows it can't stop completely the main counterterrorism tool of the United States," he said.

Moreover, as unpalatable as the drones are, the Pakistani Army does not want to see a possible alternative: American soldiers fighting against the militants on Pakistani territory, General Masood said. General Masood said that the most that Pakistanis could expect from the Americans was more limited use of the drones.

Some American experts on Pakistan, however, offered a counterexplanation to the Pakistani fury over the attacks. They say Pakistani protests may be part of a complicated political theater in which Pakistani officials angrily protest some affront to their sovereignty to whip up already fervent anti-Americanism in the country, and then use the tumult as leverage to extract concessions from the Americans.

"The Pakistanis are masterful at creating these imbroglios which become enormous domestic issues, which they then use to try to reset the relationship with the United States more on their terms," said Christine Fair, a political scientist at Georgetown University who has worked and traveled widely in Pakistan.

Reporting was contributed by Ismail Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan; Pir Zubair Shah in New York; Jane Perlez in Islamabad, Pakistan; and Ginger Thompson in Washington.


10) Three U.N. Investigators Reject Goldstone's Shift on Gaza War
April 14, 2011

JERUSALEM - Three members of the United Nations panel that investigated Israel's Gaza war two years ago rejected on Thursday an essay written by the fourth, the former chairman Richard Goldstone, in which he retracted the panel's key conclusions, especially that Israel had deliberately made civilians targets.

The three - Hina Jilani of Pakistan, Desmond Travers of Ireland and Christine Chinkin of Britain - issued a statement to The Guardian in London saying that any attempt to backtrack on their report amounted to yielding to outside pressure, and that doing so would deprive the victims of justice.

Although their statement did not refer directly to Mr. Goldstone's commentary in The Washington Post or to the issue of whether armed force was used intentionally against civilians, it was nonetheless a firm rebuke of Mr. Goldstone, and of efforts to reconsider and even nullify the report the panel submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2009. The report is headed for the Security Council and General Assembly this year.

"In recent days some articles and comments appearing in the press with respect to the report of the United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-2009 have misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimize the findings of this report and to cast doubts on its credibility," their joint statement began. "Members of the mission, signatories to this statement, find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission's report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate."

Mr. Goldstone's essay included this broad statement: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

In particular, he said that what his panel believed to be an intentional attack on a Palestinian family, gathered by Israeli troops into one building that was then bombed, now appeared to have been caused instead by the fog of war - a misread drone report that, he had noted elsewhere, showed men carrying firewood that may have looked like rockets.

Mr. Goldstone, who is Jewish and South African, said that Israeli military investigations, while slow and incomplete, were showing him that civilians were probably not targets. Meanwhile, he complained that Hamas had conducted no internal investigation of its firing of rockets at Israeli civilians, that it continued to launch such rockets and that the council should make a point of condemning those attacks.

He added, "I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted."

The biggest complaints that Israel and its backers had about the panel's original report was that it accused Israel of aiming to kill civilians and that it was too soft on Hamas.

The statement by Mr. Goldstone's three colleagues shows that they share none of his second thoughts about the report and that they are eager to prevent his essay from being used to cast aside the report entirely, as the Israeli government and some members of Congress are hoping it will.

Mr. Goldstone referred in his essay to a follow-up report by a panel led by a retired New York State judge, Mary McGowen Davis. His three colleagues refer to the same report but reach a very different conclusion. Mr. Goldstone notes that, according to the follow-up, Israel has begun 400 inquires into wrongdoing during the military campaign in Gaza, which it called Operation Cast Lead, and that much has been learned. His former colleagues say, by contrast, that of the 400 inquiries, only 3 have yielded submissions for prosecution and only 2 have led to someone being punished, in both cases with minor penalties.

"Therefore, the mechanisms that are being used by the Israeli authorities to investigate the incidents are proving inadequate to genuinely ascertain the facts and any ensuing legal responsibility," they write.

"In addition, with regard to the issue of the policies guiding Operation Cast Lead, the committee states that there is 'no indication that Israel has opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw Operation Cast Lead.' In other words, one of the most serious allegations about the conduct of Israel's military operations remains completely unaddressed."

The three conclude by saying that pressure had been applied to all members of the panel but that, unlike Mr. Goldstone, they had not yielded to it. They say: "Had we given in to pressures from any quarter to sanitize our conclusions, we would be doing a serious injustice to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed during the Gaza conflict, the thousands injured, and the hundreds of thousands whose lives continue to be deeply affected by the conflict and the blockade.

"The report has triggered a process that is still under way and should continue until justice is done and respect for international human rights and humanitarian law by everyone is ensured."


11) Swaziland: Police Fight Teachers as Unrest Begins to Mount
April 13, 2011

The police fired tear gas and water cannons for a second day on Wednesday at teachers poised to march in Swaziland's commercial capital, Manzini. Swazi union leaders and pro-democracy activists are divided as to whether and how to proceed with fighting to overthrow Swaziland's monarch after security forces on Tuesday fired tear gas and water cannons, beat people with batons, and arrested activists. As union leaders met Wednesday to discuss their protest strategy, the police burst into their headquarters, where more than 300 teachers were singing liberation songs, chanting and dancing. The police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.


12) Germany: An Appeal to Obama Over a U.S. Prisoner's Treatment
April 13, 2011

Germany's Parliament says its human rights committee is protesting the conditions in which a United States Army private suspected of giving classified material to WikiLeaks is being detained. A statement from Parliament's lower house on Wednesday said that committee members appealed in a letter to President Obama for him to ensure "humane" conditions for Pfc. Bradley E. Manning. Private Manning's defense lawyer has complained that his client is being held under unjustifiably restrictive conditions, including being largely isolated in his cell 23 hours a day and being stripped of his clothing each night and given a suicide-proof smock to wear to bed.


13) Officer Who Shot Student Gets Award
April 13, 2011

WHITE PLAINS (AP) - A police union has given the officer who shot and killed a Pace University football player during a disturbance in Westchester County last year its Officer of the Year award.

The student's father, Danroy Henry Sr., called the award insensitive and arrogant.

"We simply asked for truth and honesty, and we've gotten arrogance," Mr. Henry said. "Some people see themselves above the law and above simple human dignity."

The Police Benevolent Association of the Pleasantville Police Department said Wednesday that it honored the officer, Aaron Hess, for his dignity and professionalism since the October shooting of Danroy Henry Jr., 20, and throughout his career.

Officer Hess fired at Mr. Henry's car as Mr. Henry drove away from a disturbance that spilled out of a bar in Thornwood after Pace's homecoming game. Officer Hess was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a grand jury. He said he shot at Mr. Henry after Mr. Henry's car hit him. Some witnesses disputed that.

The Justice Department is reviewing the shooting to determine whether there were any civil rights violations.


14) In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures
April 14, 2011

It is a question asked repeatedly across America: why, in the aftermath of a financial mess that generated hundreds of billions in losses, have no high-profile participants in the disaster been prosecuted?

Answering such a question - the equivalent of determining why a dog did not bark - is anything but simple. But a private meeting in mid-October 2008 between Timothy F. Geithner, then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Andrew M. Cuomo, New York's attorney general at the time, illustrates the complexities of pursuing legal cases in a time of panic.

At the Fed, which oversees the nation's largest banks, Mr. Geithner worked with the Treasury Department on a large bailout fund for the banks and led efforts to shore up the American International Group, the giant insurer. His focus: stabilizing world financial markets.

Mr. Cuomo, as a Wall Street enforcer, had been questioning banks and rating agencies aggressively for more than a year about their roles in the growing debacle, and also looking into bonuses at A.I.G.

Friendly since their days in the Clinton administration, the two met in Mr. Cuomo's office in Lower Manhattan, steps from Wall Street and the New York Fed. According to three people briefed at the time about the meeting, Mr. Geithner expressed concern about the fragility of the financial system.

His worry, according to these people, sprang from a desire to calm markets, a goal that could be complicated by a hard-charging attorney general.

Asked whether the unusual meeting had altered his approach, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, now New York's governor, said Wednesday evening that "Mr. Geithner never suggested that there be any lack of diligence or any slowdown." Mr. Geithner, now the Treasury secretary, said through a spokesman that he had been focused on A.I.G. "to protect taxpayers."

Whether prosecutors and regulators have been aggressive enough in pursuing wrongdoing is likely to long be a subject of debate. All say they have done the best they could under difficult circumstances.

But several years after the financial crisis, which was caused in large part by reckless lending and excessive risk taking by major financial institutions, no senior executives have been charged or imprisoned, and a collective government effort has not emerged. This stands in stark contrast to the failure of many savings and loan institutions in the late 1980s. In the wake of that debacle, special government task forces referred 1,100 cases to prosecutors, resulting in more than 800 bank officials going to jail. Among the best-known: Charles H. Keating Jr., of Lincoln Savings and Loan in Arizona, and David Paul, of Centrust Bank in Florida.

Former prosecutors, lawyers, bankers and mortgage employees say that investigators and regulators ignored past lessons about how to crack financial fraud.

As the crisis was starting to deepen in the spring of 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation scaled back a plan to assign more field agents to investigate mortgage fraud. That summer, the Justice Department also rejected calls to create a task force devoted to mortgage-related investigations, leaving these complex cases understaffed and poorly funded, and only much later established a more general financial crimes task force.

Leading up to the financial crisis, many officials said in interviews, regulators failed in their crucial duty to compile the information that traditionally has helped build criminal cases. In effect, the same dynamic that helped enable the crisis - weak regulation - also made it harder to pursue fraud in its aftermath.

A more aggressive mind-set could have spurred far more prosecutions this time, officials involved in the S.&L. cleanup said.

"This is not some evil conspiracy of two guys sitting in a room saying we should let people create crony capitalism and steal with impunity," said William K. Black, a professor of law at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the federal government's director of litigation during the savings and loan crisis. "But their policies have created an exceptional criminogenic environment. There were no criminal referrals from the regulators. No fraud working groups. No national task force. There has been no effective punishment of the elites here."

Even civil actions by the government have been limited. The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a broad guideline in 2009 - distributed within the agency but never made public - to be cautious about pushing for hefty penalties from banks that had received bailout money. The agency was concerned about taxpayer money in effect being used to pay for settlements, according to four people briefed on the policy but who were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

To be sure, Wall Street's role in the crisis is complex, and cases related to mortgage securities are immensely technical. Criminal intent in particular is difficult to prove, and banks defend their actions with documents they say show they operated properly.

But legal experts point to numerous questionable activities where criminal probes might have borne fruit and possibly still could.

Investigators, they argue, could look more deeply at the failure of executives to fully disclose the scope of the risks on their books during the mortgage mania, or the amounts of questionable loans they bundled into securities sold to investors that soured.

Prosecutors also could pursue evidence that executives knowingly awarded bonuses to themselves and colleagues based on overly optimistic valuations of mortgage assets - in effect, creating illusory profits that were wiped out by subsequent losses on the same assets. And they might also investigate whether executives cashed in shares based on inside information, or misled regulators and their own boards about looming problems.

Merrill Lynch, for example, understated its risky mortgage holdings by hundreds of billions of dollars. And public comments made by Angelo R. Mozilo, the chief executive of Countrywide Financial, praising his mortgage company's practices were at odds with derisive statements he made privately in e-mails as he sold shares; the stock subsequently fell sharply as the company's losses became known.

Executives at Lehman Brothers assured investors in the summer of 2008 that the company's financial position was sound, even though they appeared to have counted as assets certain holdings pledged by Lehman to other companies, according to a person briefed on that case. At Bear Stearns, the first major Wall Street player to collapse, a private litigant says evidence shows that the firm's executives may have pocketed revenues that should have gone to investors to offset losses when complex mortgage securities soured.

But the Justice Department has decided not to pursue some of these matters - including possible criminal cases against Mr. Mozilo of Countrywide and Joseph J. Cassano, head of Financial Products at A.I.G., the business at the epicenter of that company's collapse. Mr. Cassano's lawyers said that documents they had given to prosecutors refuted accusations that he had misled investors or the company's board. Mr. Mozilo's lawyers have said he denies any wrongdoing.

Among the few exceptions so far in civil action against senior bankers is a lawsuit filed last month against top executives of Washington Mutual, the failed bank now owned by JPMorgan Chase. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sued Kerry K. Killinger, the company's former chief executive, and two other officials, accusing them of piling on risky loans to grow faster and increase their compensation. The S.E.C. also extracted a $550 million settlement from Goldman Sachs for a mortgage security the bank built, though the S.E.C. did not name executives in that case.

Representatives at the Justice Department and the S.E.C. say they are still pursuing financial crisis cases, but legal experts warn that they become more difficult as time passes.

"If you look at the last couple of years and say, 'This is the big-ticket prosecution that came out of the crisis,' you realize we haven't gotten very much," said David A. Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's consistent with what many people were worried about during the crisis, that different rules would be applied to different players. It goes to the whole perception that Wall Street was taken care of, and Main Street was not."

The Countrywide Puzzle

As nonprosecutions go, perhaps none is more puzzling to legal experts than the case of Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage lender. Last month, the office of the United States attorney for Los Angeles dropped its investigation of Mr. Mozilo after the S.E.C. extracted a settlement from him in a civil fraud case. Mr. Mozilo paid $22.5 million in penalties, without admitting or denying the accusations.

White-collar crime lawyers contend that Countrywide exemplifies the difficulties of mounting a criminal case without assistance and documentation from regulators - the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Fed, in Countrywide's case.

"When regulators don't believe in regulation and don't get what is going on at the companies they oversee, there can be no major white-collar crime prosecutions," said Henry N. Pontell, professor of criminology, law and society in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine. "If they don't understand what we call collective embezzlement, where people are literally looting their own firms, then it's impossible to bring cases."

Financial crisis cases can be brought by many parties. Since the big banks' mortgage machinery involved loans on properties across the country, attorneys general in most states have broad criminal authority over most of these institutions. The Justice Department can bring civil or criminal cases, while the S.E.C. can file only civil lawsuits.

All of these enforcement agencies traditionally depend heavily on referrals from bank regulators, who are more savvy on complex financial matters.

But data supplied by the Justice Department and compiled by a group at Syracuse University show that over the last decade, regulators have referred substantially fewer cases to criminal investigators than previously.

The university's 'Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse indicates that in 1995, bank regulators referred 1,837 cases to the Justice Department. In 2006, that number had fallen to 75. In the four subsequent years, a period encompassing the worst of the crisis, an average of only 72 a year have been referred for criminal prosecution.

Law enforcement officials say financial case referrals began declining under President Clinton as his administration shifted its focus to health care fraud. The trend continued in the Bush administration, except for a spike in prosecutions for Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and others for accounting fraud.

The Office of Thrift Supervision was in a particularly good position to help guide possible prosecutions. From the summer of 2007 to the end of 2008, O.T.S.-overseen banks with $355 billion in assets failed.

The thrift supervisor, however, has not referred a single case to the Justice Department since 2000, the Syracuse data show. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a unit of the Treasury Department, has referred only three in the last decade.

The comptroller's office declined to comment on its referrals. But a spokesman, Kevin Mukri, noted that bank regulators can and do bring their own civil enforcement actions. But most are against small banks and do not involve the stiff penalties that accompany criminal charges.

Historically, Countrywide's bank subsidiary was overseen by the comptroller, while the Federal Reserve supervised its home loans unit. But in March 2007, Countrywide switched oversight of both units to the thrift supervisor. That agency was overseen at the time by John M. Reich, a former banker and Senate staff member appointed in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

Robert Gnaizda, former general counsel at the Greenlining Institute, a nonprofit consumer organization in Oakland, Calif., said he had spoken often with Mr. Reich about Countrywide's reckless lending.

"We saw that people were getting bad loans," Mr. Gnaizda recalled. "We focused on Countrywide because they were the largest originator in California and they were the ones with the most exotic mortgages."

Mr. Gnaizda suggested many times that the thrift supervisor tighten its oversight of the company, he said. He said he advised Mr. Reich to set up a hot line for whistle-blowers inside Countrywide to communicate with regulators.

"I told John, 'This is what any police chief does if he wants to solve a crime,' " Mr. Gnaizda said in an interview. "John was uninterested. He told me he was a good friend of Mozilo's."

In an e-mail message, Mr. Reich said he did not recall the conversation with Mr. Gnaizda, and his relationships with the chief executives of banks overseen by his agency were strictly professional. "I met with Mr. Mozilo only a few times, always in a business environment, and any insinuation of a personal friendship is simply false," he wrote.

After the crisis had subsided, another opportunity to investigate Countrywide and its executives yielded little. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created by Congress to investigate the origins of the disaster, decided not to make an in-depth examination of the company - though some staff members felt strongly that it should.

In a January 2010 memo, Brad Bondi and Martin Biegelman, two assistant directors of the commission, outlined their recommendations for investigative targets and hearings, according to Tom Krebs, another assistant director of the commission. Countrywide and Mr. Mozilo were specifically named; the memo noted that subprime mortgage executives like Mr. Mozilo received hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation even though their companies collapsed.

However, the two soon received a startling message: Countrywide was off limits. In a staff meeting, deputies to Phil Angelides, the commission's chairman, said he had told them Countrywide should not be a target or featured at any hearing, said Mr. Krebs, who said he was briefed on that meeting by Mr. Bondi and Mr. Biegelman shortly after it occurred. His account has been confirmed by two other people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Angelides denied that he had said Countrywide or Mr. Mozilo were off limits. Chris Seefer, the F.C.I.C. official responsible for the Countrywide investigation, also said Countrywide had not been given a pass. Mr. Angelides said a full investigation was done on the company, including 40 interviews, and that a hearing was planned for the fall of 2010 to feature Mr. Mozilo. It was canceled because Republican members of the commission did not want any more hearings, he said.

"It got as full a scrub as A.I.G., Citi, anyone," Mr. Angelides said of Countrywide. "If you look at the report, it's extraordinarily condemnatory."

An F.B.I. Investigation Fizzles

The Justice Department in Washington was abuzz in the spring of 2008. Bear Stearns had collapsed, and some law enforcement insiders were suggesting an in-depth search for fraud throughout the mortgage pipeline.

The F.B.I. had expressed concerns about mortgage improprieties as early as 2004. But it was not until four years later that its officials recommended closing several investigative programs to free agents for financial fraud cases, according to two people briefed on a study by the bureau.

The study identified about two dozen regions where mortgage fraud was believed rampant, and the bureau's criminal division created a plan to investigate major banks and lenders. Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I., approved the plan, which was described in a memo sent in spring 2008 to the bureau's field offices.

"We were focused on the whole gamut: the individuals, the mortgage brokers and the top of the industry," said Kenneth W. Kaiser, the former assistant director of the criminal investigations unit. "We were looking at the corporate level."

Days after the memo was sent, however, prosecutors at some Justice Department offices began to complain that shifting agents to mortgage cases would hurt other investigations, he recalled. "We got told by the D.O.J. not to shift those resources," he said. About a week later, he said, he was told to send another memo undoing many of the changes. Some of the extra agents were not deployed.

A spokesman for the F.B.I., Michael Kortan, said that a second memo was sent out that allowed field offices to try to opt out of some of the changes in the first memo. Mr. Kaiser's account of pushback from the Justice Department was confirmed by two other people who were at the F.B.I. in 2008.

Around the same time, the Justice Department also considered setting up a financial fraud task force specifically to scrutinize the mortgage industry. Such task forces had been crucial to winning cases against Enron executives and those who looted savings and loans in the early 1990s.

Michael B. Mukasey, a former federal judge in New York who had been the head of the Justice Department less than a year when Bear Stearns fell, discussed the matter with deputies, three people briefed on the talks said. He decided against a task force and announced his decision in June 2008.

Last year, officials of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission interviewed Mr. Mukasey. Asked if he was aware of requests for more resources to be dedicated to mortgage fraud, Mr. Mukasey said he did not recall internal requests.

A spokesman for Mr. Mukasey, who is now at the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, said he would not comment beyond his F.C.I.C. testimony. He had no knowledge of the F.B.I. memo, his spokesman added.

A year later - with precious time lost - several lawmakers decided that the government needed more people tracking financial crimes. Congress passed a bill, providing a $165 million budget increase to the F.B.I. and Justice Department for investigations in this area. But when lawmakers got around to allocating the budget, only about $30 million in new money was provided.

Subsequently, in late 2009, the Justice Department announced a task force to focus broadly on financial crimes. But it received no additional resources.

A Break for 8 Banks

In July 2008, the staff of the S.E.C. received a phone call from Scott G. Alvarez, general counsel at the Federal Reserve in Washington.

The purpose: to discuss an S.E.C. investigation into improprieties by several of the nation's largest brokerage firms. Their actions had hammered thousands of investors holding the short-term investments known as auction-rate securities.

These investments carry interest rates that reset regularly, usually weekly, in auctions overseen by the brokerage firms that sell them. They were popular among investors because the interest rates they received were slightly higher than what they could earn elsewhere.

For years, companies like UBS and Goldman Sachs operated auctions of these securities, promoting them as highly liquid investments. But by mid-February 2008, as the subprime mortgage crisis began to spread, investors holding hundreds of billions of dollars of these securities could no longer cash them in.

As the S.E.C. investigated these events, several of its officials argued that the banks should make all investors whole on the securities, according to three people with knowledge of the negotiations but who were not authorized to speak publicly, because banks had marketed them as safe investments.

But Mr. Alvarez suggested that the S.E.C. soften the proposed terms of the auction-rate settlements. His staff followed up with more calls to the S.E.C., cautioning that banks might run short on capital if they had to pay the many billions of dollars needed to make all auction-rate clients whole, the people briefed on the conversations said. The S.E.C. wound up requiring eight banks to pay back only individual investors. For institutional investors - like pension funds - that bought the securities, the S.E.C. told the banks to make only their "best efforts."

This shift eased the pain significantly at some of the nation's biggest banks. For Citigroup, the new terms meant it had to redeem $7 billion in the securities for individual investors - but it was off the hook for about $12 billion owned by institutions. These institutions have subsequently recouped some but not all of their investments. Mr. Alvarez declined to comment, through a spokeswoman.

An S.E.C. spokesman said: "The primary consideration was remedying the alleged wrongdoing and in fashioning that remedy, the emphasis was placed on retail investors because they were suffering the greatest hardship and had the fewest avenues for redress."

A similar caution emerged in other civil cases after the bank bailouts in the autumn of 2008. The S.E.C.'s investigations of financial institutions began to be questioned by its staff and the agency's commissioners, who worried that the settlements might be paid using federal bailout money.

Four people briefed on the discussions, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said that in early 2009, the S.E.C. created a broad policy involving settlements with companies that had received taxpayer assistance. In discussions with the Treasury Department, the agency's division of enforcement devised a guideline stating that the financial health of those banks should be taken into account when the agency negotiated settlements with them.

"This wasn't a political thing so much as, 'We don't know if it makes sense to bring a big penalty against a bank that just got a check from the government,' " said one of the people briefed on the discussions.

The people briefed on the S.E.C.'s settlement policy said that, while it did not directly affect many settlements, it slowed down the investigative work on other cases. A spokesman for the S.E.C. declined to comment.

Attorney General Moves On

The final chapter still hasn't been written about the financial crisis and its aftermath. One thing has been especially challenging for regulators and law enforcement officials: balancing concerns for the state of the financial system even as they pursued immensely complicated cases.

The conundrum was especially clear back in the fall of 2008 when Mr. Geithner visited Mr. Cuomo and discussed A.I.G. Asked for details about the meeting, a spokesman for Mr. Geithner said: "As A.I.G.'s largest creditor, the New York Federal Reserve installed new management at A.I.G. in the fall of 2008 and directed the new C.E.O. to take steps to end wasteful spending by the company in order to protect taxpayers."

Mr. Cuomo's office said, "The attorney general went on to lead the most aggressive investigation of A.I.G. and other financial institutions in the nation." After that meeting, and until he left to become governor, Mr. Cuomo focused on the financial crisis, with mixed success. In late 2010, Mr. Cuomo sued the accounting firm Ernst & Young, accusing it of helping its client Lehman Brothers "engage in massive accounting fraud."

To date, however, no arm of government has sued Lehman or any of its executives on the same accounting tactic.

Other targets have also avoided legal action. Mr. Cuomo investigated the 2008 bonuses that were paid out by giant banks just after the bailout, and he considered bringing a case to try to claw back some of that money, two people familiar with the matter said. But ultimately he chose to publicly shame the companies by releasing their bonus figures.

Mr. Cuomo took a tough stance on Bank of America. While the S.E.C. settled its case with Bank of America without charging any executives with wrongdoing, Mr. Cuomo filed a civil fraud lawsuit against Kenneth D. Lewis, the former chief executive, and the bank's former chief financial officer. The suit accuses them of understating the losses of Merrill Lynch to shareholders before the deal was approved; the case is still pending.

Last spring, Mr. Cuomo issued new mortgage-related subpoenas to eight large banks. He was interested in whether the banks had misled the ratings agencies about the quality of the loans they were bundling and asked how many workers they had hired from the ratings agencies. But Mr. Cuomo did not bring a case on this matter before leaving office.


No comments: