Saturday, January 22, 2011



This just in--they are torturing Bradley Manning:

Lawyer Protests Status of Soldier in Leaks Case
January 21, 2011

The lawyer for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst detained on charges of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, accused the military on Friday of abusing Private Manning by placing him unnecessarily on suicide watch. The lawyer, David E. Coombs, said psychiatric reviews had determined that Private Manning was not a suicide risk and should even be taken off the less restrictive "prevention of injury watch" and put on normal status at the jail at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va. Instead, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Private Manning was placed on the stricter suicide watch, eliminating his daily hour of exercise and stripping him of all clothing except underwear. After Mr. Coombs protested, Private Manning was returned to prevention-of-injury status.


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




This Saturday, on the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion - join us in San Francisco to stand up for women's rights to abortion and reproductive control.

Saturday Jan. 22 from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
San Francisco, Market & Embarcadero, Harry Bridges Plaza (median strip plaza in front of Ferry Building). Meet World Can't Wait at the north end of the Plaza
SPONSOR: BACORR (Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights), with many local organizations including World Can't Wait.

Every year since 2005, the anti-choice, anti-gay "Walk for Life" organization has marked January 22 with an anti-abortion march on San Francisco's waterfront (the Embarcadero). Largely organized through churches, "Walk for Life" buses in thousands of men, women, children, and men (including lots of clergy), mostly from around Central and Northern California. They parade down the Embarcadero to the Marina Green carrying "Women Deserve Better" signs , demanding the criminalization of abortion.

The "Walk for Life" is always met and challenged by pro-choice activists, and this Saturday, we will again counter them with a vociferous march alongside the anti's. The Pro-Choice rally starts at Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Building at Market and Embarcadero Streets at 11am.

NEW! This year, the Knights of Columbus will also sponsor a "Walk For Life" First Annual Youth Rally at 3pm at Fort Mason (adjacent to the Marina Green), immediately after the main "Walk for Life" march.

If you've never protested to support choice and women's reproductive rights, there is no better time to come out for the first time than right now. Displays of visible, public support are crucial -- the Center for Reproductive Rights has said that state legislatures this year "considered and enacted some of the most extreme restrictions on abortion in recent memory." And as the laws tighten, with no real opposition from the Democratic Party, which continues to seek "common ground," we see a rise in the work of violent and repressive Christian fascist organizations who assault clinics, and single out and threaten abortion providers like Dr. Leroy Carhart in Germantown, MD.

"Walk for Life? Your name's a lie! You don't care if women die!"

"A woman without CHOICE and ACCESS is little better than a slave!"

"Abortion Without Apology and On Demand!"



Join the National Day of Action:
January 25, 2011 -- from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Protest FBI and Grand Jury Repression!

US Federal Building
90 - 7th Street
San Francisco

On September 24, the FBI raided seven Chicago and Minneapolis homes of anti-war and international solidarity activists, and 14 activists were subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury. All 14 refused to participate.

In December, nine more Palestine solidarity and anti-war activists were subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury on January 25, 2011.

Fight U.S. Government Criminalization of Anti-War Activism!

JOIN organizations and individuals around the country to Protest in San Francisco on January 25.

Bay Area Committee to Stop Political Repression

Endorsers (partial):

Asian Law Caucus, Arab Resource & Organizing Center, National Lawyers Guild SF, Council on American-Islamic Relations SFBA, Arab American Union Members Council, USPCN, American Friends Service Committee, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Palestine Youth Network, ANSWER Coalition, San Francisco Labor Council, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, American Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International Solidarity Movement, United National Anti-War Committee, Arab American Cultural Center of Silicon Valley

Thank you for your support. Together we can overcome these unjust policies targeting our communities and join the global movement rising for justice. All for one, one for all.


Next meeting of UNAC Sunday, January 30, 1:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Bay Area Supporters of International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum invite you to:

"Honoring Revolutionary Continuity: An Afternoon Public Forum & Fundraiser for the Leon Trotsky Museum in Mexico City"

Sunday, February 13 @ 2:30 p.m.
Alameda Public Library
1550 Oak Street (@ Lincoln Ave.)
Alameda, Calif.


Presentation by ESTEBAN VOLKOV, Leon Trotsky's grandson and president of the Leon Trotsky Museum Foundation, and

Preview of "A Planet Without A Visa: The Movie" -- a film by DAVID WEISS, with presentations by LINDY LAUB, director of the documentary film, and SUZI WEISSMAN, historian of the revolutionary and socialist movements

Also: Honoring founding members of the American Trotskyist movement ESTAR BAUR, ERWIN BAUR & RUTH HARER

Sliding Scale $10 to $20

For more information, call Frank Fried at 510-459-0328

[If you are not able to make the event but would like to make a tax-deductible donation to International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum, please send your check, payable to Global Exchange (our fiscal sponsor), to International Friends, PO Box 40009, San Francisco, CA 94140.]


Saturday, March 19, 2011:
Day of Action to Resist the War Machine!
8th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq
Scores of organizations coming together for worldwide protests

In San Francisco, the theme of the March 19 march and rally will be "No to War & Colonial Occupation - Fund Jobs, Healthcare & Education - Solidarity with SF Hotel Workers!" 12,000 SF hotel workers, members of UNITE-HERE Local 2, have been fighting for a new contract that protects their healthcare, wages and working conditions. The SF action will include a march to boycotted hotels in solidarity with the Lo. 2 workers. The first organizing meeting for the SF March 19 march and rally will be on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2pm at the Local 2 union hall, 209 Golden Gate Ave.

In Los Angeles, the March 19 rally and march will gather at 12 noon at Hollywood and Vine.

March 19 is the 8th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Iraq today remains occupied by 50,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries.

The war in Afghanistan is raging. The U.S. is invading and bombing Pakistan. The U.S. is financing endless atrocities against the people of Palestine, relentlessly threatening Iran and bringing Korea to the brink of a new war.

While the United States will spend $1 trillion for war, occupation and weapons in 2011, 30 million people in the United States remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and cuts in education, housing and healthcare are imposing a huge toll on the people.

Actions of civil resistance are spreading.

On Dec. 16, 2010, a veterans-led civil resistance at the White House played an important role in bringing the anti-war movement from protest to resistance. Enduring hours of heavy snow, 131 veterans and other anti-war activists lined the White House fence and were arrested. Some of those arrested will be going to trial, which will be scheduled soon in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, March 19, 2011, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, will be an international day of action against the war machine.

Protest and resistance actions will take place in cities and towns across the United States. Scores of organizations are coming together. Demonstrations are scheduled for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and more.

Click this link to endorse the March 19, 2011, Call to Action:

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
Boston: 857-334-5084 | New York City: 212-694-8720 | Chicago: 773-463-0311
San Francisco: 415-821-6545| Los Angeles: 213-251-1025 | Albuquerque: 505-268-2488


Are you joining us on April 8 at the Pentagon in a climate chaos protest codenamed "Operation Disarmageddon?" It has been decided that affinity groups will engage in nonviolent autonomous actions. Do you have an affinity group? Do you have an idea for an action?

So far these are some of the suggested actions:

Send a letter to Sec. of War Robert Gates demanding a meeting to disclose the Pentagon's role in destroying the planet. He will ignore the letter, so a delegation would then go to the Metro Entrance to demand a meeting.

Use crime tape around some area of the Pentagon. The idea of crime/danger taping off the building could be done just outside the main Pentagon reservation entrance (intersection of Army/Navy) making the Alexandria PD the arresting authority (if needed) and where there is no ban on photography. Hazmat suits, a 'converted' truck (or other vehicle) could be part of the street theater. The area where I am thinking is also almost directly below I-95 and there is a bridge over the intersection - making a banner drop possible. Perhaps with the hazmat/street closure at ground level with a banner from above. If possible a coordinated action could be done at other Pentagon entrances and / or other war making institutions.

A procession onto the Pentagon reservation, without reservations, and set up a camp on one of the lawns surrounding The Pentagon. This contingent would reclaim the space in the name of peace and Mother Earth. This contingent would plan to stay there until The Pentagon is turned into a 100% green building using sustainable energy employing people who work for peace and the abolishment of war and life-affirming endeavors.

Bring a potted tree to be placed on the Pentagon's property to symbolize the need to radically reduce its environmental destructiveness.

Since the Pentagon is failing to return to the taxpayers the money it has misappropriated, "Foreclose on the Pentagon."

Banner hanging from a bridge.

Hand out copies of David Swanson's book WAR IS A LIE. Try to deliver a copy to Secretary of War Robert Gates.

Have short speeches in park between Pentagon and river; nice photo with Pentagon in background.

Die-in and chalk or paint outlines of victim's bodies everywhere that remain after the arrest to point to where real crimes are really being committed.

Establish command center, Peacecom? Paxcom? Put several people in white shirts and ties plus a few generals directing their armies for "Operation Disarmageddon."

Make the linkage between the tax dollars going to the Pentagon and war tax resistance. Use the WRL pie chart and carry banners "foreclose on war" and "money for green jobs not war jobs."

Hold a rally with representative speakers before going to the Pentagon Reservation. This would be an opportunity to speak out against warmongering and the Pentagon's role in destroying the environment.

As part of "Operation Disarmageddon," we will take a tree and plant it on the reservation. Our sign reads, "Plant trees not landmines."

Use crime tape on Army/Navy Drive to declare the Pentagon a crime scene. Do street theater there as well. Other affinity groups could go to selected entrances.

Establish a Peace Command Center at the Pentagon. Hold solidarity actions at federal buildings and corporate offices.

What groups have you contacted to suggest joining us at the Pentagon? See below for those who plan to be at the Pentagon on April 8 and for what groups have been contacted.



April 8, 2011 participants

Beth Adams
Ellen Barfield
Tim Chadwick
Joy First
Jeffrey Halperin
Malachy Kilbride
Max Obuszewski
David Swanson

April 8 Outreach

Beth Adams -- Earth First, Puppet Underground, Emma's Revolution, Joe Gerson-AFSC Cambridge, Code Pink(national via Lisa Savage in Maine), Vets for Peace, FOR, UCC Justice & Witness Ministries, Traprock, Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order, (National-INt'l) Vets for Peace and WILPF, Pace e Bene, Christian Peace Witness & UCC Justice & Witness (Cleveland).

Tim Chadwick -- Brandywine, Lepoco, Witness against Torture, Vets for Peace (Thomas Paine Chapter Lehigh Valley PA), and Witness for Peace DC.

Jeffrey Halperin -- peace groups in Saratoga Spring, NY

Jack Lombardo - UNAC will add April 8 2011 to the Future Actions page on our blog, and make note in upcoming E-bulletins, but would appreciate a bit of descriptive text from the organizers and contact point to include when we do - so please advise ASAP! Also, we'll want to have such an announcement for our next print newsletter, which will be coming out in mid-December.

Max Obuszewski - Jonah House & Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore

Bonnie Urfer notified 351 individuals and groups on the Nukewatch list


Endorse the call to action from the United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC)

Bring the Troops Home Now!

March and Rally

April 9th, 2011

New York City (Union Sq. at noon)and San Francisco APRIL 10*, Assemble at 11:00 A.M. (location to be announced)

*This date was changed because of the Annual Cesar Chavez Parade scheduled in San Francisco April 9. This is a huge community event that we can't conflict with. We are still negotiating permits and location.

--Bring U.S. Troops Now: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan! End the sanctions and stop the threats of war against the people of Iran, North Korea and Yemen. No to war and plunder of the people of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa! End U.S. Aid to Israel! End U.S. Support to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and the Siege of Gaza!

--Trillions for jobs, education, social services, an end to all foreclosures, quality single-payer healthcare for all, a massive conversion to sustainable and planet-saving energy systems and public transportation and reparations to the victims of U.S. terror at home and abroad.

--End FBI raids on antiwar, social justice, and international solidarity activists, an end to the racist persecution and prosecutions that ravage Muslim communities, an end to police terror in Black and Latino communities, full rights and legality for immigrants and an end to all efforts to repress and punish Wikileaks and its contributors and founders.
--Immediate end to torture, rendition, secret trials, drone bombings and death squads

To add your group's name to the endorser list, local, state or national, please contact:

United National Antiwar Committee
P.O. Box 123 Delmar, New York 12054

email you endorsement to: and cc:

Initial List of Endorsers (List in formation)
* = For Identification only

United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC)
Center for Constitutional Rights
Muslim Peace Coalition, USA
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Veterans for Peace
International Action Center
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Black Agenda Report
Code Pink
National Assembly to End U.S. Wars and Occupations
World Can't Wait
Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Project Salam
Canadian Peace Alliance
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Office of the Americas
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Middle East Children's Alliance
Tariq Ali
Dr. Margaret Flowers PNHP *
Ramsey Clark
Ambassador Syed Ahsani, Former Ambassador from Pakistan
Ahmed Shawki, editor, International Socialist Review
Ali Abunimah, Palestinian American Journalist
Alice Sturn Sutter, Washington Heights Women in Black *
Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
American Iranian Friendship Committee
American Muslim Task Force, Dallas/Ft. Worth
Ana Edwards, Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project - Richmond, Va.
Anthony Arnove, Author, "Iraq: The logic of Withdrawal"
Andy Griggs, Co-chair, California Teachers Association, Peace and Justice Caucus/UTLA-retired*
B. Ross Ashley, NDP Socialist Caucus, Canada *
Bail Out the People Movement
Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Barrio Unido, San Francisco
Bashir Abu-Manneh
Baltimore Job Is a Right Campaign
Baltimore-Washington Area Peace Council, US Peace Council Chapter
Battered Mother's Custody Conference
Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace
Blanca Misse, Student Worker Action Team/UC Berkeley, Academic Workers for Democratic Union - UAW 2865 *
Blauvelt Dominican sisters Social Justice Ministry
Bob Hernandez, Chapter President, SEIU Local 1021*
Bonnie Weinstein - Bay Area United Against Wars Newsletter
Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights
Boston UNAC
Boston University Anti-War Coalition
Café Intifada - Los Angeles
Camilo E. Mejia, Iraq war veteran and resister
Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor
Carole Seligman - Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal *
Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
Chesapeake Citizens
Howard Terry Adcock, Colombia Support Network, Austin (TX) , Center for Peace and Justice *
Coalition for Justice - Blacksburg, Va.
Colombian Front for Socialism (FECOPES)
Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
Committee for Justice to Defend the Los Angeles 8
Dave Welsh, Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council
David Swanson,
David Keil - Metro West Peace Action (MWPA) *
Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality - Virginia
Derrick O'Keefe, Co-chair (Vancouver)
Detroit Committee to Stop FBI/Grand Jury Repression.
Doug Bullock, Albany County Legislator
Dr. Andy Coates PNHP *
DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) - New York
Elaine Brower - national steering committee of World Can't Wait and anti-war military mom
Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST)
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Freedom Socialist Party
Gilbert Achcar - Lebanese academic and writer
Guilderland Neighbors for Peace
Haiti Action Committee
Haiti Liberte
Hands off Venezuela
Howie Hawkins, Co-Chair, Green Party of New York State *
IIan Pappe, Director Exeter University, European Centre for Palestine Studies
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
International Socialist Organization
International support Haiti Network (ISHN)
Iraq Peace Action Coalition - Minneapolis
Italo-American Progressive Fraternal Society
Janata Dal (United), India
Jersey City Peace Movement
Jimmy Massey, Founding member of IVAW
John Pilger, Journalist and Documentary film maker
Journal Square Homeless Coalition
Justice for Fallujah Project
Karen Schieve, United Educators of San Francisco *
Kim Nguyen, Metrowest Peace Action (MWPA)*
Kwame Binta, The November Coalition
Larry Pinkvey, Black Activist Writers Guild
Lillie "Ms. K" Branch-Kennedy - Director, Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (R.I.H.D.), Virginia
Lisa Savage, CODEPINK Maine, Bring Our War $$ Home Coalition *
Los Angeles - Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee
Maggie Zhou - ClimateSOS *
Maine Veterans for Peace
Malu Aina, Hawaii
Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Exec. Director, Companeros del Barrio
Mark Roman, Waterville Area Bridges for Peace & Justice
Marlena Santoyo, Germantown Friends Meeting, Philadelphia, PA
Mary Flanagan, United Teachers of Richmond *
Masjid As-Salam Mosque, Albany, NY
Mazin Qumsiyeh
Michigan Emergency Committee Against Wars and Injustice
Mike Alewitz, Central Ct. State University *
Middle East Crisis Committee
Mobilization Against War and Occupation - Vancouver, Canada
Mobilization to Free Mumia
Moratorium NOW Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs
Muslim Solidarity Committee
Nancy Murray, Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights*
Nancy Parten, Witness For Peace *
Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council *
New Abolitionist Movement
New England United
New Jersey Labor Against War
New Socialist Project
New York City Labor Against the War
New York Collective of Radical Educators
No More Victims
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
Northeast Peace and Justice Action Coalition
Northern California Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Northwest Greens
Nuestro Norte Es El Sur ((NUNO-SUR) Our North is the South
Omar Barghouti, Human rights activist (Palestine)
Pakistan USA Freedom Forum
Pakistani Trade Union Defense Campaign
Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People
Peace Action Maine
Peace Action Montgomery
Peacemakers of Schoharie County, New York
Peace and Freedom Party
People of Faith, Connecticut
Peninsula Peace & Justice, Blue Hill, Maine
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center - Palo Alto, Ca.
Peoples Video Network
Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Virginia Defender
Philadelphia Against War
Progressive Peace Coalition, Columbus Ohio
Queen Zakia Shabazz - Director, United Parents Against Lead National, Inc.
Radio Free Maine
Ralph Poynter, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Revolutionary Workers Group
Rhode Island Mobilization Committee
Roland Sheppard, Retired Business Agent Painters Local #4, San Francisco *
Rochester Against War
Ron Jacobs, writer
Saladin Muhammad - Founding Member, Black Workers for Justice
Sarah Roche-Mahdi, Code Pink Boston*
Saratoga Peace Alliance
Senior Action Network
Seth Farber, PhD., Institute of Mind and Behavior *
Sherry Wolf - International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Author Sexuality and Socialism
Siege Busters Working Group
Socialist Action
Socialist Organizer
Socialist Viewpoint
Solidarity Committee of the Capital District
Staten Island Council for Peace & Justice
Steve Scher, Breen Party of NYC 26 AD *
Stewart Robinson, Stop Targeting Ohio Poor *
Stop the Wars Coalition, Boston
Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace
The Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran
The Thomas Merton Center Antiwar Committee
Twin Cities Peace Campaign
Upper Hudson Peace Action
Virginia Defender
West Hartford Citizens for Peace and Justice
WESPAC Foundation
Women against Military Madness
Women in Black, Westchester
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Pittsburgh
Workers International League
Workers World Party
Youth for International Socialism

To add yourself to the UNAC listserv, please send an email to:


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


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


You might enjoy a bit of history:

William Buckley Show with Socialist Workers Party Presidential Candidates

William Buckley Show with Socialist Workers Party Presidential Candidates from asi somburu on Vimeo.


'CIA-created Frankenstein': US turns blind eye on terrorist?


Cathie Black Meets With Downtown Parents

Solution to Crowded Schools? How About Birth Control?
January 14, 2011, 4:55 pm


Wall Street Fat-Cats Flip Public Service Workers the Bird


Free Bradley Manning

Song for Bradley Manning


Supermax Prison Cell Extraction - Maine

Warning, this is an extremely brutal video. What do you think? Is this torture?


Rachel Maddow- New GOP scapegoat- public workers


Did You Know?


These videos refer to what happened at the G-20 Summit in Toronto June 26-27 of this year. The importance of this is that police were caught on tape and later confirmed that they sent police into the demonstration dressed as "rioting" protesters. One cop was caught with a large rock in his hand. Clearly, this is proof of police acting as agent provocatours. And we should expect this to continue and escalate. That's why everyone should be aware of these

police accused of attempting to incite violence at G20 summ
Protestors at Montebello are accusing police of trying to incite violence. Video on YouTube shows union officials confronting three men that were police officers dressing up as demonstrators. The union is demanding to know if the Prime Minister's Office was involved in trying to discredit the demonstrators.

quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests


The Wars in "Vietnamistan!" (The name Daniel Ellsberg gave to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as quoted from the
Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War


John Pilger: Global Support for WikiLeaks is "Rebellion" Against U.S. Militarism, Secrecy
December 15, 2010


WikiLeaks founder concern for Manning


Newsnight: Bailed Julian Assange live interview (16Dec10)


Julian Assange: 'ongoing attempts to extradite me'


Published on Thursday, December 16, 2010 by Countdown With Keith Olbermann
Quantico, the New Gitmo


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


15 year old Tells Establishment to Stick-it.




Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks




Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale


Flashmob: Cape Town Opera say NO


Video of massive French protest -- inspiring!


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




Lucasville Hunger Strike Ended, Some Demands Met
From: Freedom Archives
Denis O'Hearn 4:33pm Jan 15
Facebook Questions and comments may be sent to

Folks, I have a short report on today's rally at OSP in support of the three men on hunger strike. But, first, I can now report to you the wonderful news that all three have resumed eating because they achieved a victory. The prison authorities have provided, in writing, a set of conditions that virtually meets the demands set out by Bomani Shakur in his letter to Warden Bobby, provided elsewhere on this site.

The hunger strikers send you all thanks for your support and state that they couldn‚t have won their demands without support from people from around the world. But they add to their statement the following: this time they were fighting about their conditions of confinement but now they begin the fight for their lives. They were wrongfully convicted of complicity in 1993 murders in Lucasville prison and have faced retribution because they refused to provide snitch testimony against others who actually committed those murders. Now, because of Ohio's (and other states') application of the death penalty, they still face execution at a future date. Ohio is today exceeded only by Texas in its enthusiasm for applying the death penalty. We need to take some of this energy that was created around the hunger strike to help these men fight for their lives.

So, we may celebrate a great victory for now. Common sense has prevailed in a dark place where there appeared to be no light. But watch this space for further news on their ongoing campaign.

I hope to share a copy of the Ohio prison authorities' written statement that ended this hunger strike in a short time.

As Bomani has told me many times,
It ain't over...

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977 Questions and comments may be sent to


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
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
53504 - 054
Unit 2N
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



A handful of East Bay organizations have put together an open letter to the strikers. If your organization would like to become a signatory, you can email me to put you on it you and can do so here.

A Letter to the Prisoners on Strike in Georgia,

We, as members of activist and community organizations in the Bay Area of California, send our support for your strike against the terrible conditions you face in Georgia's prisons. We salute you for making history as your strike has become the largest prison strike in the history of this nation. As steadfast defenders of human and civil rights, we recognize the potential that your action has to improve the lives of millions subject to inhumane treatment in correctional facilities across this country.

Every single day, prisoners face the same deplorable and unnecessarily punitive conditions that you have courageously decided to stand up against. For too long, this nation has chosen silence in the face of the gross injustices that our brothers and sisters in prison are subjected to. Your fight against these injustices is a necessary and righteous struggle that must be carried out to victory.

We have heard about the brutal acts that Georgia Department of Corrections officers have been resorting to as a means of breaking your protest and we denounce them. In order to put a stop to the violence to which you have been subjected, we are in the process of contacting personnel at the different prison facilities and circulating petitions addressed to the governor and the Georgia DOC. We will continue to expose the DOC's shameless physical attacks on you and use our influence to call for an immediate end to the violence.

Here, in the Bay Area, we are all too familiar with the violence that this system is known to unleash upon our people. Recently, our community erupted in protest over the killing of an unarmed innocent black man named Oscar Grant by transit police in Oakland. We forced the authorities to arrest and convict the police officer responsible for Grant's murder by building up a mass movement. We intend to win justice with you and stop the violent repression of your peaceful protest in the same way-by appealing to the power and influence of the masses.

We fully support all of your demands. We strongly identify with your demand for expanded educational opportunities. In recent years, our state government has been initiating a series of massive cuts to our system of public education that continue to endanger our right to a quality, affordable education; in response, students all across our state have stood up and fought back just as you are doing now. In fact, students and workers across the globe have begun to organize and fight back against austerity measures and the corresponding violence of the state. Just in the past few weeks in Greece, Ireland, Spain, England, Italy, Haiti, Puerto Rico - tens and hundreds of thousands of students and workers have taken to the streets. We, as a movement, are gaining momentum and we do so even more as our struggles are unified and seen as interdependent. At times we are discouraged; it may seem insurmountable, but in the words of Malcolm X, "Power in defense of freedom is greater than power on behalf of tyranny and oppression."

You have inspired us. News of your strike, from day one, has served to inspire and invigorate hundreds of students and community organizers here in Berkeley and Oakland alone. We are especially inspired by your ability to organize across color lines and are interested in hearing an account from the inside of how this process developed and was accomplished. You have also encouraged us to take more direct actions toward radical prison reform in our own communities, namely Santa Rita County Jail and San Quentin Prison. We are now beginning the process of developing a similar set of demands regarding expediting processing (can take 20-30 hours to get a bed, they call it "bullpen therapy"), nutrition, visiting and phone calls, educational services, legal support, compensation for labor and humane treatment in general. We will also seek to unify the education and prison justice movements by collaborating with existing organizations that have been engaging in this work.

We echo your call: No more Slavery! Injustice to one is injustice to all!

In us, students, activists, the community members and people of the Bay Area, you have an ally. We will continue to spread the news about your cause all over the Bay Area and California, the country and world. We pledge to do everything in our power to make sure your demands are met.

In solidarity,
UC-Berkeley Student Worker Action Team (SWAT) _ Community Action Project (CAP) _ La Voz de los Trabajadores _ Laney College Student Unity & Power (SUP) _ Laney College Black Student Union (BSU)


In Solidarity
By Kevin Cooper

On Thursday, December 9, 2010, the inmates in the state of Georgia sat down in unity and peace in order to stand up for their human rights.

African American, White, and Latino inmates put aside their differences, if they had any, and came together as a 'People' fighting for their humanity in a system that dehumanizes all of them.

For this they have my utmost respect and appreciation and support. I am in true solidarity with them all!

For further information about Kevin Cooper:

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):

Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row in California for 25 years, is asking the outgoing state governor to commute his death sentence before leaving office on 2 January 2011. Kevin Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence of the four murders for which he was sentenced to death. Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

On the night of 4 June 1983, Douglas and Peggy Ryen were hacked and stabbed to death in their home in Chino Hills, California, along with their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old houseguest Christopher Hughes. The couple's eight-year-old son, Joshua Ryen, was seriously wounded, but survived. He told investigators that the attackers were three or four white men. In hospital, he saw a picture of Kevin Cooper on television and said that Cooper, who is black, was not the attacker. However, the boy's later testimony - that he only saw one attacker - was introduced at the 1985 trial. The case has many other troubling aspects which call into question the reliability of the state's case and its conduct in obtaining this conviction (see

Kevin Cooper was less than eight hours from execution in 2004 when the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a stay and sent the case back to the District Court for testing on blood and hair evidence, including to establish if the police had planted evidence. The District Court ruled in 2005 that the testing had not proved Kevin Cooper's innocence - his lawyers (and five Ninth Circuit judges) maintain that it did not do the testing as ordered. Nevertheless, in 2007, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court's ruling. One of the judges described the result as "wholly discomforting" because of evidence tampering and destruction, but noted that she was constrained by US law, which places substantial obstacles in the way of successful appeals.

In 2009, the Ninth Circuit refused to have the whole court rehear the case. Eleven of its judges dissented. One of the dissenting opinions, running to more than 80 pages and signed by five judges, warned that "the State of California may be about to execute an innocent man". On the question of the evidence testing, they said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing and...imposed unreasonable conditions on the testing" ordered by the Ninth Circuit. They pointed to a test result that, if valid, indicated that evidence had been planted, and they asserted that the district court had blocked further scrutiny of this issue.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had already denied clemency in 2004 when the Ninth Circuit issued its stay. At the time, he had said that the "courts have reviewed this case for more than eighteen years. Evidence establishing his guilt is overwhelming". Clearly, a notable number of federal judges disagree. The five judges in the Ninth Circuit's lengthy dissent in 2009 stated that the evidence of Kevin Cooper's guilt at his trial was "quite weak" and concluded that he "is probably innocent of the crimes for which the State of California is about to execute him".

On 2 June 1983, two days before the Chino Hills murders, Kevin Cooper had escaped from a minimum security prison, where he was serving a four-year term for burglary, and had hidden in an empty house near the Ryen home for two nights. After his arrest, he became the focus of public hatred. Outside the venue of his preliminary hearing, for example, people hung an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the Nigger!!" At the time of the trial, jurors were confronted by graffiti declaring "Die Kevin Cooper" and "Kevin Cooper Must Be Hanged". Kevin Cooper pleaded not guilty - the jury deliberated for seven days before convicting him - and he has maintained his innocence since then. Since Governor Schwarzenegger denied clemency in 2004, more evidence supporting Kevin Cooper's claim of innocence has emerged, including for example, testimony from three witnesses who say they saw three white men near the crime scene on the night of the murders with blood on them.

In 2007, Judge Margaret McKeown was the member of the Ninth Circuit's three-judge panel who indicated that she was upholding the District Court's 2005 ruling despite her serious concerns. She wrote: "Significant evidence bearing on Cooper's guilt has been lost, destroyed or left unpursued, including, for example, blood-covered coveralls belonging to a potential suspect who was a convicted murderer, and a bloody t-shirt, discovered alongside the road near the crime scene. The managing criminologist in charge of the evidence used to establish Cooper's guilt at trial was, as it turns out, a heroin addict, and was fired for stealing drugs seized by the police. Countless other alleged problems with the handling and disclosure of evidence and the integrity of the forensic testing and investigation undermine confidence in the evidence". She continued that "despite the presence of serious questions as to the integrity of the investigation and evidence supporting the conviction, we are constrained by the requirements of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)". Judge McKeown wrote that "the habeas process does not account for lingering doubt or new evidence that cannot leap the clear and convincing hurdle of AEDPA. Instead, we are left with a situation in which confidence in the blood sample is murky at best, and lost, destroyed or tampered evidence cannot be factored into the final analysis of doubt. The result is wholly discomforting, but one that the law demands".

Even if it is correct that the AEDPA demands this result, the power of executive clemency is not so confined. Last September, for example, the governor of Ohio commuted Kevin Keith's death sentence because of doubts about his guilt even though his death sentence had been upheld on appeal (see Governor Ted Strickland said that despite circumstantial evidence linking the condemned man to the crime, "many legitimate questions have been raised regarding the evidence in support of the conviction and the investigation which led to it. In particular, Mr Keith's conviction relied upon the linking of certain eyewitness testimony with certain forensic evidence about which important questions have been raised. I also find the absence of a full investigation of other credible suspects troubling." The same could be said in the case of Kevin Cooper, whose lawyer is asking Governor Schwarzenegger to commute the death sentence before he leaves office on 2 January 2011. While Kevin Cooper does not yet have an execution date, it is likely that one will be set, perhaps early in 2011.

More than 130 people have been released from death rows on grounds of innocence in the USA since 1976. At the original trial in each case, the defendant had been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is clear beyond any dispute that the USA's criminal justice system is capable of making mistakes. International safeguards require that the death penalty not be imposed if guilt is not "based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts". Amnesty International opposes all executions regardless of the seriousness of the crime or the guilt or innocence of the condemned.

California has the largest death row in the USA, with more than 700 prisoners under sentence of death out of a national total of some 3,200. California accounts for 13 of the 1,234 executions in the USA since judicial killing resumed there in 1977. There have been 46 executions in the USA this year. The last execution in California was in January 2006.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- Acknowledging the seriousness of the crime for which Kevin Cooper was sentenced to death;
- Urging Governor Schwarzenegger to take account of the continuing doubts about Kevin Cooper's guilt, including as expressed by more than 10 federal judges since 2004, when executive clemency was last requested;
- Urging the Governor to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence.


Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814, USA
Fax: 1 916-558-3160
Email: or via
Salutation : Dear Governor

Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 2 January 2011.

Tip of the Month:
Write as soon as you can. Try to write as close as possible to the date a case is issued.

Within the United States:
$0.28 - Postcards
$0.44 - Letters and Cards (up to 1 oz.)
To Canada:
$0.75 - Postcards
$0.75 - Airmail Letters and Cards (up to 1 oz.)
To Mexico:
$0.79 - Postcards
$0.79 - Airmail Letters and Cards (up to 1 oz.)
To all other destination countries:
$0.98 - Postcards
$0.98 - Airmail Letters and Cards (up to 1 oz.)

Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that promotes and defends human rights.

This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including contact information and stop action date (if applicable). Thank you for your help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE 5th fl
Washington DC 20003
Phone: 202.509.8193
Fax: 202.675.8566


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!


Your Year-End Gift for the Children
Double your impact with this matching gift opportunity!

Dear Friend of the Children,

You may have recently received a letter from me via regular mail with a review of the important things you helped MECA accomplish for the children in 2010, along with a special Maia Project decal.

My letter to you also included an announcement of MECA's first ever matching gift offer. One of our most generous supporters will match all gifts received by December 31. 2010 to a total of $35,000.

So, whether you are a long time supporter, or giving for the first-time... Whether you can give $10 or $1,000... This is a unique opportunity to double the impact of your year-end gift!
Your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar, making it go twice as far so that MECA can:

* Install twenty more permanent drinking water units in Gaza schools though our Maia Project
* Continue our work with Playgrounds for Palestine to complete a community park in the besieged East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where violent Israeli settlers attack children and adults, Israeli police arrest the victims, and the city conducts "administrative demolitions" of Palestinian homes.
* Send a large medical aid shipment to Gaza.
* Renew support for "Let the Children Play and Heal," a program in Gaza to help children cope with trauma and grief through arts programs, referrals to therapists, educational materials for families and training for mothers.

Your support for the Middle East Children's Alliance's delivers real, often life-saving, help. And it does more than that. It sends a message of hope and solidarity to Palestine-showing the people that we are standing beside them as they struggle to bring about a better life for their children.

With warm regards,
Barbara Lubin
Founder and Director

P.S. Please give as much as you possible can, and please make your contribution now, so it will be doubled. Thank you so much.

P.S.S. If you didn't receive a MAIA Project decal in the mail or if you would like another one, please send an email message to with "MAIA Project decal" in the subject line when you make your contribution.

To make a gift by mail send to:
MECA, 1101 8th Street, Berkley, CA 94710

To make a gift by phone, please call MECA's off at: 510-548-0542

To "GO PAPERLESS" and receive all your MECA communications by email, send a message to with "Paperless" in the subject line.


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) How Can the Richest 1 Percent Be Winning This Brutal Class War Against 99% of Us?
By Larry Beinhart, AlterNet
January 21, 2011

2) In the Presence of My Enemy: A Reflection on War and Forgiveness
By Ron Kovic
Posted on Jan 20, 2011

3) For Many Species, No Escape as Temperature Rises
January 21, 2011

4) Company Stops Making Key Death Penalty Drug
"The sole U.S. manufacturer of a key lethal injection drug said Friday it is ending production because of death-penalty opposition overseas - a move that could delay executions across the United States."
January 21, 2011

5) Tunisian Crowds Demand Eradication of Ruling Party
"The demonstrations, the biggest since the huge protests a week ago that pushed out Tunisia's dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, demanded the breakup of the old ruling party's continued domination of the interim government that replaced him. And Tunisia's powerful trade union, which withdrew its four members of the interim cabinet in protest a few days ago, called a general strike for Saturday in an effort to achieve the same goal."
January 21, 2011

6) Prominent British Muslim Assails Prejudice
January 20, 2011

7) Britain: 28-Day Limit to Be Halved on Detention Without Charges
January 20, 2011

8) Union Membership in U.S. Fell Sharply in 2010
"The number of American workers in unions declined sharply last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, with the percentage slipping to 11.9 percent, the lowest rate in more than 70 years... The number of private sector workers in unions fell by 339,000, to 7.1 million, while the number of public sector union members fell by 273,000, to 7.6 million. The percentage of private sector workers in unions fell to 6.9 percent, down from 7.2 percent, the lowest rate for private sector workers in unions in more than a century, labor historians said."
January 21, 2011

9) Detained Teenager Questioned by F.B.I.
January 21, 2011

10) California: Rocket Launches With Secret Payload
January 20, 2011

11) Family-Court Counselor Convicted of Sex Assaults
January 21, 2011, 2:13 pm

12) Beneath City's Falling Jobless Rate, a Less Rosy Reality
January 20, 2011, 2:19 pm

13) Citi Board Raises CEO Pandit's Salary to $1.75 Million
"Citigroup Inc's board raised the salary of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit to an annual base of $1.75 million, from a symbolic $1 per year, the bank said in a regulatory filing on Friday." [Quite a]
January 21, 2011

14) Who was Karen Sullivan? Minnesota activists remember the undercover government agent
By Nick Pinto
Thu., Jan. 20 2011 @ 7:11AM

15) David Morris: Tax compromise adds up to a raw deal
Social Security's funding security has gone away.
"But Obama's tax deal will cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points, reducing payments into the Social Security trust fund by $120 billion a year. Not to worry, says the White House....As many have pointed out, the modest shortfall could be fully made up by applying the existing payroll tax to incomes above the current cap of $106,800, an income level exceeded by only 6 percent of the population."
Last update: December 14, 2010 - 7:14 PM

16) Big Paydays Return With Big Profits at Wall St. Banks
January 21, 2011, 9:11 pm

17) Across Country, Lawmakers Push Abortion Curbs
January 21, 2011

18) Weld Flaws Found on Gas Pipe in Blast
"The board noted previously that utility records said the pipe was seamless, but that when excavated, it proved to have welded seams." ... PG&E lied!
January 21, 2011

19) Lawyer Protests Status of Soldier in Leaks Case
[They are torturing Bradley]
January 21, 2011

20) Illinois: Ex-Police Commander Sentenced
January 21, 2011

21) Pay Doubles for Bosses at Viacom
"Viacom awarded its chief executive, Philippe P. Dauman, total compensation for 2010 valued at about $84.5 million, more than double the 2009 figure, including salary, bonus and stock options, the company disclosed on Friday. It awarded its chief operating officer, Thomas E. Dooley, total compensation valued at about $64.7 million, also more than double the 2009 compensation."
January 21, 2011


1) How Can the Richest 1 Percent Be Winning This Brutal Class War Against 99% of Us?
By Larry Beinhart, AlterNet
January 21, 2011

Who are they? The richest 1 percent. And maybe the next 9 percent.

Who are we? All the rest.

Which poses an interesting question.

How has a tiny fraction of the population - which is diverse in many ways - arranged for their narrowest economic interests to dominate the economic interests of the vast majority? And, while they're at it, endanger the economic well-being of our nation, and bring the financial system of the whole world to the brink of collapse.

They have money.

We have votes.

Theoretically, that means we should have the government. Theoretically, government should be a countervailing force against the excesses of big money, take the long view for the good of the nation, and watch out for the majority. Let alone for the poor and downtrodden.

What we actually have is one political party that is flat out the party of big money and another party that sells out to big money.

Well, at least we have safety nets.

George Bush's biggest regret is that he didn't privatize social security. Why so eager?

One reason is that it is a big pile of money. Absolutely gigantic. It drives the bankers and brokers crazy that they can't get their hands on it.

The other is ideological hatred. Stephen Moore (senior fellow at the Cato Institute, contributing editor of National Review and president of the Free Enterprise Fund) wrote, "Social Security is the soft underbelly of the welfare state. If you can jab your spear through that, you can undermine the whole welfare state."

Where Bush failed, Obama has now taken the first step.

His recent tax deal includes cuts on employee contributions to Social Security. Which means defunding, weakening, and setting a new precedent, that Social Security contributions can be cut to "stimulate" the economy.

The crash has put the states in trouble. Rather than raise taxes, or borrow, several have decided on cuts to Medicaid, the program that services several categories of low income people: pregnant women, children under 19, the blind, disabled, or who need nursing home care. If you're a poor kid who needs a liver transplant, you can beg, rob a convenience store, or die.

This shift to the right is a triumph of a long and very well-funded propaganda campaign.

Every time I read an op-ed in the New York Times that was written by a "senior scholar" from the Hoover Institute or a "fellow" from the Cato Institute, I want to scream, please replace that with "paid whore funded by psychotic right-wing billionaire." Which is significantly more accurate.

They, in turn, have a great influence on the mainstream media. "As conservatives decried the media's left bias, they saw their institutions mentioned in various media almost 8,000 times in 1995, while liberal or progressive think tanks received only 1,152 citations" (How Conservative Philanthropies and Think Tanks Transform US Policy, by Sally Covington, Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1998).

Their influence on the national media affects the whole national dialogue.

Now, of course, they've taken the think tank concept to a whole new level - Fox News.

What about the media? Aren't journalists - outside of Fox News - supposed to be objective?

In journalism there is no objective reality. There are only objectively collated quotes. Quotes can only come from "valid" sources. A journalist cannot look at tax cuts and compare them to economic results - job growth, changes in the median wage, and the like - and report that tax cuts do not create jobs. They can only quote politicians, like Bush and Obama, who say that tax cuts are a stimulus, and then look for someone of equal authority - or at least significant authority - to say the opposite, then go Chinese menu, two quotes from column A, one for column B. But what if there are no heavyweights ready to go on record for column B?

Here's where it gets stranger than strange.

A whole field, economics, has lost its way.

This became obvious when 99.7 percent (that's a made-up but probably accurate number), failed to predict the crash of '08. Failed to diagnose the housing bubble, failed to understand the derivatives bubble, and failed to realize the world's biggest banks were all bankrupt.

After the crash, they failed to cry out against the tax cuts that brought it on. They failed to come up with a way to solve the problems. Which, based on history, seem fairly obvious, raise taxes and spend the money on useful things that private industry can't or won't do, like hiring people.

Paul Krugman's theory, loosely paraphrased, is that economists suffer from physics envy, which is like penis envy, but dumber. Economics is a social science, which is soft. Social scientists look at physics, the hardest of the hard sciences. They see lots of math and formulas. They imagine that if they have lots of math they will get hard, too. In order to create mathematical models out of the messy complexity of human activity, they presume perfect markets. So long as the economy is stable, that frequently works.

Faith in the perfection of markets promotes deregulation and tax cuts. That destabilizes the economy. The economists, therefore, help create the disasters that don't exist in their mathematical models.

Charles Ferguson, who directed the superb documentary Inside Job, is much more cynical. He believes that academic economists, like doctors who shill for pharmaceutical companies, are on the take from big money interests. He does a marvelous job in the film of demonstrating exactly that.

Indeed, all of academia - except perhaps for English departments - have become part of the business, banking, military, and political nexus.

The ivory tower was supposed to be above the mucky world. That was one of our final defenses in the class war -- a place devoted to knowledge for its own sake and truth just because it was true.

Now, universities pursue truths that someone will fund a grant for.

Tomorrow's truth is what's paid for today.

Larry Beinhart is the author of "Wag the Dog," "The Librarian," and "Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin." His latest book is Salvation Boulevard. Responses can be sent to


2) In the Presence of My Enemy: A Reflection on War and Forgiveness
By Ron Kovic
Posted on Jan 20, 2011

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over. (Psalms 23:5)

As this, the 43rd anniversary of my wounding in Vietnam approaches, and I once again try to find meaning in that day and the days which were to follow, my thoughts return to the northern bank of the Cua Viet River on Jan. 20, 1968. It is a day that will change my life forever.

I am medevaced from the battlefield to the intensive care ward in Da Nang, Vietnam. For the next several days I struggle with everything inside me to live. The dead and dying are everywhere. I am in and out of morphine every four hours. I awaken to the screams of the wounded all around me-young men like myself, 19, 20-year-olds. I am told by a doctor that I will never walk again, that I will be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

Still I am grateful to be alive, to still be breathing. I dream of my hometown, of my mother, my father and my backyard where I had played as a boy. All I want to do now is survive, to get out of this place somehow and return home. I completely lose track of time; I don't know if it is day or night. They keep bringing in the wounded and carting out the dead.

It is the eve of the Tet offensive. A young Vietnamese man who has been severely wounded is brought into the intensive care ward. I can still remember that day clearly-his face, the fear in his eyes. One of the nurses tells me that he is a Viet Cong soldier who had been shot in the chest only a few days before. I look into his eyes as he is carefully placed in his bed directly across from me. "He's the enemy, the Viet Cong, the 'Gook,' the Communist," I think to myself, "the one my country sent me to fight and kill. The one I must fear, the one I must hate, the man who is not even human."

That belief and hatred had been reinforced in Marine Corp boot camp, at Parris Island, S.C., where we had chanted, "I'm going to go to Vietnam. I'm going to kill the Viet Cong!" Perhaps he was the one who had pulled the trigger a few days before, trying to kill me, the one who had shot and paralyzed me from my mid-chest down for the rest of my life. I will never know for sure. Yet as I lie in that hospital bed and our eyes meet, I feel no hatred or animosity toward him. On the contrary, I feel compassion for this man I had been taught to hate, this man who is my enemy.

Each day upon awakening from the morphine I look at him and he looks back at me, our eyes meeting, our gaze a recognition of each other's presence, our humanity, an understanding that both our worlds have been turned upside down and we are now in a far different place than we had been only a few days before. We reach an equality of sorts in this place of the wounded and dying, that great leveler, where distinctions vanish, where there is no prejudice or hatred, where all becomes equal. We are two wounded young men in late January of 1968 simply trying to survive, two human beings who only want to live.

A sort of unique bond begins to develop between my "enemy" and myself over the next several days, a strange and at first somewhat uneasy camaraderie without words, which is both unsettling and at the same time seems completely natural to me. I do not think of him as my enemy anymore. I begin to care about him more and each time I awaken from the morphine, and with the screams of the wounded and dying all around me, I reach out to him with my eyes, with my heart, as he lies across from me in his bed. I now want him to live just as much as I want to live.

"Keep fighting," I think as I watch him trying to communicate. We are together in this now, and none of those other things seem to matter anymore. "If you don't give up I won't give up," I think, pressing my lips together, reaching out to him, one human being to another, no longer enemies-two young men struggling to live and go home, leave all of this sorrow behind, back to our families, our homes and our towns where it was simple again, where it was safe.

The days and nights and hours pass. The lights are always on and I never know if it is night or day, and after a while it doesn't really matter anymore. I awake one day and look across and see the empty hospital bed. He is gone, and the nurse tells me he has died. There is no emotion in her voice. She is very tired, and there will be many more dead and many more wounded before it is all over. I stare at his empty bed for a long time, feeling a sadness I could not fully comprehend.

In the years that have passed, I have often thought about those days on the intensive care ward and about that young Vietnamese man, my "enemy," who lay in that hospital bed across from me, and how we are all perhaps much closer to each other as brothers and sisters on this Earth than we realize. Despite all our differences, there is, I believe, a powerful connectedness to our humanity-a deep desire to reach out with kindness, with love and great caring toward each other, even to our supposed enemies, and to bring forth "the better angels of our nature"-that is undeniable and cannot be extinguished, even in death.

This, I believe, is the hope of the world. This is the faith we now need in these times.

In the years that followed, I would attempt to write about the war and about that long and often difficult journey home, trying to give meaning to what I and so many others had gone through. There would be other profound moments of reconciliation and forgiveness to come, but almost always my mind would drift back to that young Vietnamese man who laid across from me for those few brief days on the Da Nang intensive care ward in 1968.


3) For Many Species, No Escape as Temperature Rises
January 21, 2011

KINANGOP, Kenya - Simon Joakim Kiiru remembers a time not long ago when familiar birdsongs filled the air here and life was correlated with bird sightings. His lush, well-tended homestead is in the highlands next to the Aberdare National Park, one of the premier birding destinations in the world.

When the hornbill arrived, Mr. Kiiru recalled, the rains were near, meaning that it was time to plant. When a buzzard showed a man his chest, it meant a visitor was imminent. When an owl called at night, it foretold a death.

"There used to be myths because these are our giants," said Mr. Kiiru, 58. "But so many today are gone."

Over the past two decades, an increasing number of settlers who have moved here to farm have impinged on bird habitats and reduced bird populations by cutting down forests and turning grasslands into fields. Now the early effects of global warming and other climate changes have helped send the populations of many local mountain species into a steep downward spiral, from which many experts say they will never recover.

Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel.

Polar bears have become the icons of this climate threat. But scientists say that tens of thousands of smaller species that live in the tropics or on or near mountaintops are equally, if not more, vulnerable. These species, in habitats from the high plateaus of Africa to the jungles of Australia to the Sierra Nevada in the United States, are already experiencing climate pressures, and will be the bulk of the animals that disappear.

In response to warming, animals classically move to cooler ground, relocating either higher up in altitude or farther toward the poles. But in the tropics, animals have to move hundreds of miles north or south to find a different niche. Mountain species face even starker limitations: As they climb upward they find themselves competing for less and less space on the conical peaks, where they run into uninhabitable rocks or a lack of their usual foods - or have nowhere farther to go.

"It's a really simple story that at some point you can't go further north or higher up, so there's no doubt that species will go extinct," said Walter Jetz, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, whose research last year predicted that a third of the 1,000 mountain birds he studied, or 300 species, would be threatened because warming temperatures would decimate their habitats.

Birds are good barometers of biodiversity because amateur birdwatchers keep such extensive records of their sightings. But other animals are similarly affected.

Two years ago, scientists blamed a warming climate for the disappearance of the white lemuroid possum, a niche mountain dweller in Australia that prefers cool weather, and that was cute enough to be the object of nature tours. Many scientists, suspecting that the furry animal had died off during a period of unusually extreme heat, labeled the disappearance the first climate-related animal extinction.

Since then, biologists have found a few surviving animals, but the species remains "intensely vulnerable," said William F. Laurance, distinguished research professor at James Cook University in Australia, who said that in the future heat waves would probably be the "death knell" for a number of cold-adapted species.

For countries and communities, the issue means more than just the loss of pleasing variety. Mr. Kiiru regrets the vastly diminished populations of the mythic birds of Kikuyu tribal culture, like buzzards, owls and hawks. But also, the loss of bird species means that some plants have no way to pollinate and die off, too. And that means it is hard for Mr. Kiiru to tend bees, his major source of income.

Current methods for identifying and protecting threatened species - like the so-called red list criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a conservation gold standard - do not yet adequately factor in the impact of probable climate shifts, and the science is still evolving, many scientists say.

Some species that scientists say are at most risk in a warming climate are already considered threatened or endangered, like the Sharpe's longclaw and the Aberdare cisticola in Kenya. The cisticola, which lives only at altitudes above 7,500 feet, is considered endangered by the international union, and research predicts that climate change will reduce its already depleted habitat by a further 80 percent by 2100.

Other Kenyan birds that are at risk from climate warming, like the tufted, brightly colored Hartlaub's turaco, are not yet on watch lists, even though their numbers are severely reduced here. A rapid change of climate can quickly eliminate species that inhabit a narrow niche.

On a recent afternoon, Dominic Kimani, a research ornithologist at the National Museums of Kenya, combed a pasture on the Kinangop Plateau for 20 minutes before finding a single longclaw. "These used to be everywhere when I was growing up," he said.

He added: "But it's hard to get anyone to pay attention; they are just little brown birds. I know they're important for grazing animals because they keep the grasses short. But it's not dramatic, like you're losing an elephant."

As the climate shifts, mountain animals on all continents will face similar problems. Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley recently documented that in Yosemite National Park, where there is a century-old animal survey for comparison, half the mountain species had moved their habitats up by an average of 550 yards to find cooler ground. Elsewhere in the United States, the pika, the alpine chipmunk and the San Bernardino flying squirrel have all been moving upslope in a pattern tightly linked to rising temperatures. They are now considered at serious risk of disappearing, said Shaye Wolf, climate science director of the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco, which in 2010 applied to protect a number of American mountain species under the United States' Endangered Species Act.

Last year, new research in the journal Ecological Applications and elsewhere showed that the pika, a thick-furred, rabbitlike animal that takes refuge from the sun in piles of stones, was moving upslope at about 160 yards a decade and that in the past decade it had experienced a fivefold rise in local extinctions, the term used when a local population forever disappears.

On the Kinangop Plateau in Kenya, Mr. Kimani exults when he finds a Hartlaub's turaco, once a common sight, near Njabini town, in a stand of remaining of old growth forest, after engaging local teenagers to help locate the bird. The turaco could lose more than 60 percent of its already limited habitat if current predictions about global warming are accurate, according to Dr. Jetz.

"Even substantial movement wouldn't help them out," he said. "They would have to move to the Alps or Asian mountains to find their mountain climate niche in the future."


4) Company Stops Making Key Death Penalty Drug
"The sole U.S. manufacturer of a key lethal injection drug said Friday it is ending production because of death-penalty opposition overseas - a move that could delay executions across the United States."
January 21, 2011

Filed at 4:21 p.m. EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The sole U.S. manufacturer of a key lethal injection drug said Friday it is ending production because of death-penalty opposition overseas - a move that could delay executions across the United States.

Over the past several months, a growing shortage of the drug, sodium thiopental, has forced some states to put executions on hold. And the problem is likely to get worse with the announcement from Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill.

Hospira said it decided in recent months to switch manufacturing from its North Carolina plant to a more modern Hospira factory in Liscate, Italy. But Italian authorities demanded a guarantee the drug would not be used to put inmates to death - an assurance the company said it was not willing to give.

"We cannot take the risk that we will be held liable by the Italian authorities if the product is diverted for use in capital punishment," Hospira spokesman Dan Rosenberg said. "Exposing our employees or facilities to liability is not a risk we are prepared to take."

Italian Health Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

All but one of the 35 states that employ lethal injection use sodium thiopental. In nearly every case, they use it as part of a three-drug combination that sedates and paralyzes the inmate and stops the heart.

There are other, similar sedatives on the market, but substituting one drug for another would require new laws or lengthy administrative processes in some states, and could also lead to lawsuits from death row.

Similarly, switching to another manufacturer could invite lawsuits from inmates demanding proof that the drug will not cause pain in violation of their constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Hospira is the only sodium thiopental-maker approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Because of what Hospira described as problems with its raw-material suppliers, sodium thiopental is already scarce in the U.S., and any batches Hospira made before it suspended manufacturing more than a year ago are set to expire this year.

In Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state, the Department of Criminal Justice said Friday it is exploring the use of another anesthetic. The state has four executions scheduled between now and July but has enough sodium thiopental to carry out only two February executions, spokesman Jason Clark said.

Ohio has enough to carry out a Feb. 17 execution but will not comment on its supply after that, or on Hospira's announcement, said Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.

Hospira has long deplored the drug's use in executions but said it regretted having to stop production, because sodium thiopental has legitimate medical purposes as an anesthetic used in hospitals. Hospira continues to make two other drugs used in executions - pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes, and potassium chloride, which stop the heart.

Without providing details, Rosenberg said the company's state-of-the-art Italian factory was the only plant capable of manufacturing sodium thiopental.

Like most other European countries, however, Italy does not have capital punishment and opposes the death penalty. Italy's Radical Party brought a motion to Parliament, which passed overwhelmingly on Dec. 22, requiring Hospira to ensure that the drug would be used only for medical purposes and would not find its way into prisons.

The current shortage of the drug in the U.S. has delayed or disrupted executions in Arizona, California, Kentucky, Ohio and Oklahoma.

In the fall, states including Arizona, Arkansas, California and Tennessee turned to sodium thiopental made in Britain. But that supply dried up after the British government in November banned its export for use in executions.

Oklahoma went a different route, switching to pentobarbital, an anesthetic commonly used to put cats and dogs to sleep. The state has conducted two executions with that drug.


AP Business Writer Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.


5) Tunisian Crowds Demand Eradication of Ruling Party
"The demonstrations, the biggest since the huge protests a week ago that pushed out Tunisia's dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, demanded the breakup of the old ruling party's continued domination of the interim government that replaced him. And Tunisia's powerful trade union, which withdrew its four members of the interim cabinet in protest a few days ago, called a general strike for Saturday in an effort to achieve the same goal."
January 21, 2011

TUNIS - The powerful Tunisian trade union squared off against the interim government on Friday with thousands of protesters demanding the complete eradication of the old ruling party stormed into the streets.

The demonstrations, the biggest since the huge protests a week ago that pushed out Tunisia's dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, demanded the breakup of the old ruling party's continued domination of the interim government that replaced him. And Tunisia's powerful trade union, which withdrew its four members of the interim cabinet in protest a few days ago, called a general strike for Saturday in an effort to achieve the same goal.

Mouldi Jendoubi, the second-ranking leader of the union, said in an interview that his organization had helped turn out workers for this week's continued wave of protests. But he acknowledged that Friday's crowds were far bigger and more diverse than the trade union alone could muster. Waves of marchers - students as well as workers, male and female, a few in Muslim scarves or beards - poured through the narrow corridors of the old city to surround the prime minister's office, chanting that the people would rise up until the government collapsed.

"Long live the revolution" and "Death to the dictatorship" were spray-painted on the walls, and demonstrators hurled insults at top cabinet officials. "Coward," they called the interior minister.

But the police and soldiers stood by without interfering, allowing the crowd to vent some of the anger pent up under 23 years of Mr. Ben Ali's authoritarian rule.

After a total of five resignations this week, the cabinet has appeared to hold together. The interim prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, previously Mr. Ben Ali's right-hand man, appeared to hope that he can outlast the protests. They had ebbed slightly, but on Friday there were reports that demonstrations had flared anew around the country.

The Tunisian trade union, which has about a half a million members in a country of more than 10 million people, was controlled at the top by the government under Mr. Ben Ali. Initially, it only followed the youth-led protests that pushed Mr. Ben Ali from office, joining demands for more jobs and economic development. But by the end of the month of protests, the union had broken free of its government ties and its members leaped to the barricades to demand Mr. Ben Ali's resignation.

Now the union is the biggest institutional force still pushing for the breakup of the new interim government. The small, legally recognized opposition parties are represented in the cabinet, and the outlawed Islamist movement here is only beginning to reconstitute itself.

Some other opposition leaders say they fear a collapse of the new government could invite a military takeover. But Mr. Jendoubi said he was not worried.

"The Tunisian army is from the people and for the people," he said, noting that Mr. Ben Ali had risen through the bureaucracy and interior ministry rather than at the head of a military coup.

On their way to the protests, some Tunisians stopped to enjoy the first fruits of their new government. A crowd gathered outside a bookstore window to gawk at previously banned books, including Islamist tracts and a scathing biography of the former first lady, Leila Trabelsi. Cafe patrons listened, rapt, to news reports of the revolt form the pan-Arab news network Al Jazeera, which had previously been banned from such public sites. University professors convened a meeting to push members of the ruling party from faculty committees.

Tunisian state television started for the first time broadcasting talk shows with opposition leaders and angry person-on-the-street interviews, along with official announcements.

At Friday Prayer services in Tunis mosques, where imams had previously preached only government-approved sermons and dutifully included prayers for the state, many hailed as a martyr the vegetable peddler whose suicide kicked off the protests.

"It was the best Friday Prayers in 23 years," one man said, leaving a mosque in central Tunis.


6) Prominent British Muslim Assails Prejudice
January 20, 2011

Stirring a potentially explosive debate over faith and politics, the first Muslim woman to serve in the British cabinet said on Thursday that prejudice towards the country's Islamic minority is so prevalent that it is seen by many as normal and uncontroversial and has "passed the dinner table test."

"It seems to me that Islamophobia has now crossed the threshold of middle-class respectability," Baroness Sayeed Warsi told an audience at the University of Leicester in the English Midlands. "For far too many people, Islamophobia is seen as a legitimate, even commendable, thing."

Lady Warsi is the chairperson of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party and a minister without portfolio in the coalition government, making her Britain's highest-ranking Muslim leader. Her comments seemed likely to add fuel to a long-simmering debate that has never been far from the political forefront, particularly since the London suicide bombings of July 7, 2005.

The attacks by four British Muslims, killing 52 travelers on the bus and subway system, opened a passionate discussion both about what Muslim leaders depicted as a deep sense of alienation among some young Muslims and about the resentment of those complaints among some Britons.

Lady Warsi said terrorist offenses committed by a small number of Muslims should not be used to condemn all who follow Islam.

But, she said, terrorists "should face social rejection and alienation across their society, and their acts must not be used as an opportunity to tar all Muslims" who, according to the most resent statistics, represent less than five percent of Britain's population of 60 million. Many of them are descended from families who emigrated to Britain from Pakistan in the 1960s and provided cheap labor in industrial cities.

The remarks were widely publicized in Britain throughout Thursday and drew some sharp remarks from commentators such as Lord Norman Tebbit, an arch-conservative who once devised the so-called "cricket test" to determine the loyalties of Pakistani immigrants by the way they behaved at cricket matches between English and visiting Pakistani teams.

"The Muslim faith was not discussed over the dinner tables of England, nor in the saloon bars, before large numbers of Muslims came here to our country," Lord Tebbit said in a blog on The Daily Telegraph Web site.

But, blogging on the left-wing New Statesman Web site, columnist Mehdi Hasan said that, despite ideological differences, "I am delighted by her latest intervention precisely because I share her faith and am a co-religionist. Why wouldn't I be? Like every other Muslim I know, I've been waiting years for a leading politician to speak out against the growing, depressing and nasty anti-Muslim bigotry that has disfigured our public and private discourse."

In a statement, Farooq Murad, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella group, said Lady Warsi's remarks were welcome because "unfortunately, the language used with reference to Muslims is feeding into stigmatization of one section of our society."

It was not clear if her remarks had the endorsement of Prime Minister Cameron. "He thinks that equality in society is important, and he's wholly against any inequality or discrimination," a spokesman for him said, speaking in return for anonymity under departmental rules. "The prime minister's view is that he thinks it's an important debate."


7) Britain: 28-Day Limit to Be Halved on Detention Without Charges
January 20, 2011

Britain will amend rules allowing the police to hold terrorism suspects for up to 28 days before they must be charged with a crime or released, officials said Thursday. A new limit of 14 days will take effect on Tuesday, said Damian Green, a Home Office minister. The 28-day detention rule was introduced by the Labour government in 2006, after the London bombings of July 2005, but the police have not held anyone longer than 14 days since July 2007, Mr. Green said. Nonetheless, he said that officials would draw up emergency laws to prepare for "very exceptional circumstances" when a longer detention might be necessary. Home Secretary Theresa May plans to announce more details of a sweeping review of the government's counterterrorism measures on Wednesday.


8) Union Membership in U.S. Fell Sharply in 2010
"The number of American workers in unions declined sharply last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, with the percentage slipping to 11.9 percent, the lowest rate in more than 70 years... The number of private sector workers in unions fell by 339,000, to 7.1 million, while the number of public sector union members fell by 273,000, to 7.6 million. The percentage of private sector workers in unions fell to 6.9 percent, down from 7.2 percent, the lowest rate for private sector workers in unions in more than a century, labor historians said."
January 21, 2011

The number of American workers in unions declined sharply last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, with the percentage slipping to 11.9 percent, the lowest rate in more than 70 years.

The report found that the number of workers in unions fell by 612,000 last year to 14.7 million, an even larger decrease than the overall 417,000 decline in the total number of Americans working.

"It was a very tough year for unionized workers," said John Schmitt, a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. "We're seeing declines in the private sector, and we're seeing declines in the public sector."

The number of private sector workers in unions fell by 339,000, to 7.1 million, while the number of public sector union members fell by 273,000, to 7.6 million.

The percentage of private sector workers in unions fell to 6.9 percent, down from 7.2 percent, the lowest rate for private sector workers in unions in more than a century, labor historians said.

In 2009, for the first time in American history, government employees accounted for more than half the nation's union membership, but the percentage of government workers in unions fell to 36.2 percent last year, down from 37.4 percent the previous year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the 11.9 percent unionization rate last year was down from 12.3 percent the previous year and down from 20.1 percent in 1983, when there were 17.7 million union members. Labor historians say the peak unionization rate in the nation was 35 percent during the mid-1950s, resulting from a significant increase in unionization during the Great Depression and then after World War II.

In one of the few pieces of good news for unions, the bureau said that median weekly earnings for union members - $917 - remained higher than the $717 in earnings for workers not in unions. But some economists said the higher wages paid to workers helped explain why unionized jobs were disappearing at a faster rate than nonunion jobs.

The sharp drop in the number of union members was partly because of large-scale layoffs in several sectors with many union members, most notably construction and teaching.

According to the bureau report, New York had the highest unionization rate of any state, 24.2 percent, followed by Alaska, with 22.9 percent, and Hawaii, with 21.8 percent. North Carolina had the lowest unionization rate (3.2 percent) with Arkansas and Georgia tied for the second lowest (4 percent).

In 2009, union membership fell by 771,000 largely because employment declined over all, but that decline followed a surprising spurt in union membership. Union membership grew by a total of 739,000 the previous two years because of increases in employment and some large, successful unionization drives.

Eager to reverse their decline in membership and power, the nation's labor unions pushed hard in the last two years to persuade Congressional Democrats to enact a card check bill that would have made it easier to unionize. But the bill stalled because Democrats never had the 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a potential Republican filibuster. Now with the Republicans in control of the House, labor leaders acknowledge that that bill has no chance of passing in the current Congress.

Mr. Schmitt said, "With the unemployment rate close to 10 percent, if there is one thing union and nonunion workers share it is a substantial reduction in bargaining power."


9) Detained Teenager Questioned by F.B.I.
January 21, 2011

WASHINGTON - An American teenager who was detained for several weeks in Kuwait and placed on an American no-fly list landed at Dulles International Airport on Friday morning, where he was briefly questioned by the F.B.I. and then released to his family.

A lawyer for the 19-year-old Somali-American, Gulet Mohamed, said that F.B.I. agents talked to Mr. Mohamed shortly after he stepped off the plane, and eventually allowed him to pass through immigration and customs checkpoints.

The lawyer, Gadeir Abbas, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he was not present at the F.B.I.'s questioning of his client, who has sued the government after being placed on the no-fly list, apparently as a result of having traveled to Yemen and Somalia in 2009.

Justice Department lawyers told a federal judge on Tuesday that they were working to get Mr. Mohamed back to the United States, and he was allowed to board a plane in Kuwait City on Thursday night.

Mr. Mohamed said that he was first detained by Kuwaiti authorities Dec. 20, and was beaten and interrogated for a week in a cell in Kuwait. After he was moved to a deportation compound, he was questioned by F.B.I. agents about any contacts he might have had with Islamic militants overseas.

According to Mr. Mohammed, the F.B.I. agents in Kuwait were particularly interested to know if he had any dealings with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born Muslim cleric believed to be in Yemen whom American operatives have been hunting for years. He said that the interrogation session grew heated after the F.B.I. agents accused him of lying.

Mr. Mohamed said he has never had any contacts with militants. He said he went to Yemen to learn Arabic, but left after three weeks because of concerns about his safety.


10) California: Rocket Launches With Secret Payload
January 20, 2011

The largest rocket ever launched from the West Coast blasted off Thursday with a classified defense satellite on board. The 235-foot-tall Delta IV Heavy Launch Vehicle lifted off at 1:10 p.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of the rocket builders Lockheed Martin and Boeing, said in a statement that the launching of the rocket was a success. No payload details were released for the rocket, which is capable of generating nearly two million pounds of thrust. The reconnaissance office operates satellites that provide information to the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense.


11) Family-Court Counselor Convicted of Sex Assaults
January 21, 2011, 2:13 pm

A juvenile justice counselor was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting two girls under his care at the Family Court building in Lower Manhattan.

Jurors took about a day to reach guilty verdicts on 12 of 14 charges against the counselor, Tony Simmons, who was ordered held without bail after the verdict and faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

Mr. Simmons, 47, was acquitted of two counts of third-degree rape, but was convicted of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, a felony on the same level as the rape charges. The remaining convictions were for misdemeanors of sexual abuse.

The verdict was a grim twist for Mr. Simmons, who last year faced the prospect of avoiding jail time when he was offered 10 years' probation in exchange for pleading guilty to the charges.

But after outcries by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and victims' advocates, a judge in State Supreme Court in Manhattan withdrew the offer. The judge, Justice Cassandra M. Mullen, said she took the deal off the table because Mr. Simmons showed no remorse in interviews with the Probation Department, and even said that one of the girls had been flirting with him.

And so Mr. Simmons went on trial before Justice Carol Berkman.

After the first guilty verdict was read, Mr. Simmons's daughter, seated in the courtroom, began to sob and scream.

"That's my father," she hissed.

Outside the courtroom, she continued to weep as family members tried to comfort her. She crumpled to the floor and had to be helped up.

"I want to see my father," she shrieked.

The jurors left without commenting.

In the assault that landed the top conviction for Mr. Simmons, a young woman testified that when she was 16, Mr. Simmons slid his hand down her shorts in a holding area in Family Court as she awaited a court appearance.

When she turned her head, he started kissing her, she said, and they kissed for about 20 seconds. He then asked for her telephone number, and she gave him a number of someone she was dating at the time, she said.

Then she began to perform oral sex, stopping because she thought the girl in the adjacent room might have heard them.

In the other assault for which Mr. Simmons was convicted, prosecutors accused him of groping and kissing a 15-year-old girl in the kitchen of the holding area.

"This defendant had a duty to guard and protect these teenagers," Mr. Vance said. "Instead, he abused the authority of his position to sexually assault girls in a situation where they were most vulnerable."

The two rape charges Mr. Simmons was acquitted of involved allegations that he had raped a 15-year-old girl in an elevator of the Family Court building.

Mr. Simmons's lawyer, Gregory J. Watford, said he believe that that girl's story raised suspicion because she took three years to report it and could not recall details of the episode.

As for his client, Mr. Watford said: "Obviously, he's disappointed. We're going to explore whatever avenues of appeal that he has."


12) Beneath City's Falling Jobless Rate, a Less Rosy Reality
January 20, 2011, 2:19 pm

New York City's unemployment rate fell below 9 percent in December to its lowest level in 20 months, but not because more residents found work at the end of the year.

The decline in the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, from 9.1 percent in November, resulted from a decrease in the number of people looking for work, possibly because they were discouraged about their prospects. Indeed, data released Thursday by the state labor department showed that the number of private-sector jobs in the city declined slightly in December, shrinking by 3,600 jobs, or 0.1 percent.

Still, the unemployment rate continued the steady fall that began a year ago after it peaked at 10.5 percent in December 2009. Back then, unemployment was significantly higher in the city than in the nation. Since then, though, those positions have reversed: the national unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in December.

The city had about 355,000 unemployed residents last month, down more than 60,000 in a year, according to the state's figures. In December 2009, there were 418,000 unemployed city residents, the highest toll in 35 years of record-keeping.

Over the course of 2010, the city added 50,800 private-sector jobs, an increase of 1.6 percent. That was a third higher than the national rate of private-sector job growth, which was 1.2 percent last year.

But while the national economy added more than 100,000 jobs in December, the city ended 2010 on a weak note. It usually adds jobs in December as stores, hotels and restaurants take on extra workers for the holiday rush of tourists and other shoppers.

"Even though the city is enjoying generally strong job growth, hiring for the Christmas season was below average," said Elena Volovelsky, a senior economist with the New York State Department of Labor. She said that hiring by retailers was "disappointing" and that there was "weakness" in several industries that had been adding jobs. Employment on Wall Street, in hotels and restaurants and in professional and business services was "essentially flat" last month, Ms. Volovelsky said.

Statewide, the unemployment rate also dipped despite a drop in the number of private-sector jobs. In December, the state's unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent in November. But private-sector employment statewide declined by 22,600, or 0.3 percent, after adjustments for usual seasonal fluctuations.

There were still nearly 800,000 unemployed residents of New York state in December, but the number of them who were collecting unemployment benefits had declined significantly because so many had used up as many as 99 weeks of unemployment insurance payments.

"Job growth in New York state has been inconsistent month-to-month during this economic recovery," said Norman A. Steele, deputy director of the labor department's Division of Research and Statistics.


13) Citi Board Raises CEO Pandit's Salary to $1.75 Million
"Citigroup Inc's board raised the salary of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit to an annual base of $1.75 million, from a symbolic $1 per year, the bank said in a regulatory filing on Friday." [Quite a]
January 21, 2011

Filed at 4:48 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc's board raised the salary of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit to an annual base of $1.75 million, from a symbolic $1 per year, the bank said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

The pay raise will be effective immediately.

Pandit pledged in 2009 to receive an annual salary of $1 until the struggling Citigroup returned to sustained profitability. Massive losses during the financial crisis forced the bank to take $45 billion in U.S. government bailout funds.

The board's announcement came three days after Citigroup reported its fourth consecutive quarterly profit -- and its first full year in the black since 2007.

The bank also shed the last of the government's common stock stake in December.

Chairman Richard Parsons said in the filing that Pandit "has worked tirelessly to put Citi back on the right track, spearheading a restructuring that has returned the company to profitability and positioning the company for future growth. In light of these highly positive accomplishments, the base salary established for Vikram is merited."

Citigroup shares closed up 1.9 percent on Friday at $4.89.

(Reporting by Maria Aspan; Editing by Bernard Orr)


14) Who was Karen Sullivan? Minnesota activists remember the undercover government agent
By Nick Pinto
Thu., Jan. 20 2011 @ 7:11AM

Prosecutors investigating more than a dozen Minnesota anti-war activists recently confirmed that the charges rely on an undercover agent who spent two and a half years infiltrating their organization.

This is how the woman who called herself Karen Sullivan insinuated herself into the lives of local protesters, and how she mysteriously vanished just before FBI agents raided their homes.

In early 2008, the members of Minneapolis's Anti-War Committee were starting to plan their licensed protests against the upcoming Republican National Convention. There were a lot of new faces getting involved at the time, and the Committee was holding meetings for new members.

Sometime in winter or early spring, Karen Sullivan came to her first meeting.

"She came with her girlfriend, whose name was Joy," recalls Meredith Aby, one of the founders of the Anti-War Committee. "We never saw Joy again. I don't know what happened to her."

But Sullivan came back, to meeting after meeting. A woman in her early 40s with short, sandy hair and a Boston accent, Sullivan was quiet, and kept to herself for the most part. But she volunteered when tasks were handed out at the meetings, and always followed through.

"We were pretty excited that here was this person who seemed pretty reliable," Aby says.

It took a few months after Sullivan first started showing up before Aby really got to know her at all. The two went on a flyering run together, driving around to coffee shops to put the group's literature up on bulletin boards. They got into a conversation, asking about each others' lives.

"That was the first time we heard this story about her horribly tragic youth," Aby says.

The story Sullivan told Aby was the same she would eventually tell, with varying degrees of detail, to several members of the group with whom she became closest. In each case, it wasn't some polished biography. It came in dribs and drabs, a vague and tantalizing patchwork. "The way she told it, she seemed like a real person with an actual backstory," Aby says.

Sullivan said she had grown up in Boston, but left home at an early age because her family couldn't deal with her being gay. She was homeless for a while, drifting over to the Twin Cities. She gave the impression that she might have been the victim of violence or abuse during this time.

Eventually, Sullivan said, she joined the armed forces to put a roof over her head and get her life in order. But she said she was kicked out for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provision.

After that, Sullivan became more politically aware, spending time in Northern Ireland working for the Irish Republican Army, she claimed.

Somewhere along the way, she and a woman named Lee, who lived in Minnetonka and had an art-framing store, conceived a daughter through in-vitro fertilization. But Lee was jealous, and didn't like Sullivan's politics. The relationship soured.

After more restless moving around, Sullivan had finally returned to Minnesota to be close to her daughter, Taylor, who was enrolled in seventh grade at Hopkins Jr. High.

Sullivan was working for a friend as a property inspector, and though her existence seemed tenuous, she drove an expensive black SUV that she said her boss let her use.

"I thought, 'Wow, your boss is cool,'" Plotz remembered. "I hadn't thought that would be part of a gig like what she was doing."

After the Republican National Convention, many of the short-term enthusiasts in the movement faded away, but Karen stayed on, becoming one of the most regular attendees of the group's meetings. Sullivan was becoming indispensable, and at the same time, she was expanding her connections beyond the Anti-War Committee. She volunteered to represent the group at various other coalitions, and attended the meetings of other activist groups.

Mick Kelly, whose home would later be one of those raided by the FBI, met Sullivan through his work on the Minnesota Coalition for the People's Bailout, fighting for a moratorium on home foreclosures. Then he started seeing her everywhere.

"She was definitely around," Kelly says. "She was always talking with a lot of people."

Dan Dimaggio met her when she started attending meetings of the Iraq Peace Action Committee.

"She was at every frickin' demonstration, she went all in," Dimaggio says. "It can be really exciting to find somebody like that, somebody who's a bit older, who seems like a working-class person. A lot of times the meetings are dominated by the same old faces."

In November of 2008, Sullivan and other members of the group piled into a van for a road trip down to Columbus, Georgia, for the annual protest against the School of the Americas at Fort Benning. Aby, who has traveled several times to Colombia in support of trade unionists there, was giving a talk.

After the talk, she was approached by a Colombian woman who introduced herself as Daniela Cardenas, who thanked her for speaking. A few minutes later, Cardenas was back again, this time with Sullivan. They said they had struck up a conversation in the bathroom.

"I remember thinking Daniela was really weird," says Plotz, who was also on the trip. "She was talking really fast, and something just seemed off with her personality. But it seemed like she was really flirting with Karen."

Cardenas gave Sullivan her number that night, leading to lots of teasing from the others. The two didn't reconnect that trip, but a few weeks later, Sullivan admitted that they had been really hitting it off over email, and she was planning to visit her home in Miami. Soon Cardenas was making regular trips to Minneapolis, her visits often coinciding with the Anti-War Committee's major demonstrations.

Aby found the new romance baffling. For one thing, Sullivan had long repeated that she didn't want any long-term relationship.

"But also, I remember thinking there wasn't any sexual tension at all. I didn't even think Daniela was a lesbian. But what can you say? You can't say, 'She's an 8, you're a 4, this doesn't make sense.'"

The relationship makes more sense now: Prosecutors recently confirmed that Cardenas, like Sullivan, was an undercover federal agent sent to spy on the activists.

In March 2009, Aby gave birth to a baby girl. Shortly afterward, Karen came by to visit, bringing a gift.

"It was a stuffed animal, literally the ugliest stuffed animal I've ever seen," Aby says. "But I kept it because I thought it was super sweet that someone would bring her something in the first week of her life."

As Aby became more occupied by motherhood, Sullivan offered to pick up the slack in keeping the committee running. Soon she was helping to keep the group's financial books.

At the same time, Sullivan was showing a new interest in the Palestinian cause. She joined a group in opposition to the war in Gaza, and she asked to join a delegation being planned to visit a Palestinian women's group. She and Plotz were selected to represent the Anti-War Committee on the trip, along with another member, Sarah Martin.

"Leading up to the trip, Karen was especially anxious that we all get our stories straight," Plotz remembers.

Israeli immigration officials take a dim view of activists visiting the Palestinian territories, so the group planned to identify themselves as members of a church group visiting holy sites.

But now Plotz thinks that Sullivan knew all along what would happen when they landed at Tel Aviv Airport. Israeli immigrations officials somehow knew they were coming. The three were stopped, and told they wouldn't be let in the country. They were to get on the next plane home. Plotz and Martin refused, and the Israeli authorities put them in a detention center. Sullivan, to their surprise, wouldn't join them. She told them she had to think about her daughter, and couldn't get mixed up in something so serious.

"I was surprised, but it kind of made sense," Plotz says. "As she was getting ready to leave us, I gave her a hug. I was really concerned that she not feel bad about leaving us there. I thought that moment was a real bonding experience for us."

Plotz and Martin were eventually deported, but they didn't see much of Sullivan for a while. She was traveling a lot--her former partner's mother was in the hospital, she said. Also she was frequently traveling to Chicago, where she said her boss had recently acquired a similar business.

In February 2010, Sullivan left town again, telling friends in the group that her estranged father had died. When she returned, she was emotional and erratic. She often came over to Aby's house in tears. On these occasions, Aby says, Sullivan would frequently shift the conversation to politics, making extreme statements that Aby didn't know how to respond to.

"I didn't understand at the time that she was a provocateur," Aby says. "When people are first realizing that the U.S. is involved in a lot of nasty stuff in foreign countries, they can get really radicalized. I thought that was what was going on with her."

But even as she became more emotional and unpredictable, Sullivan remained a good friend. In March she and Cardenas stopped by Aby's apartment to bring her one-year-old daughter another set of birthday presents: Cardenas gave a stuffed bear; Sullivan gave a toy cell-phone.

"It's ironic, because I know now from my subpoena that they were tapping my cell phone the whole time," Aby says. "Of course I've since thrown all those things away."

That spring, Sullivan started planning a trip to Colombia. She and Cardenas were going to go on a personal trip to visit Cardenas's relatives. Sullivan began pressuring Aby to put her in touch with all the Colombian trade unionists she knew.

"That was really strange," Aby said. "This was a personal trip they were taking, not a political one. The people I know there are very busy, doing work that's often life-and-death. I wasn't going to ask them to meet a friend on vacation."

To Sullivan's frustration, Aby refused to introduce her to connections in Colombia. Still, planning for the trip went forward, and in September, Sullivan left the Twin Cities. It was the last any of her friends for the past two and a half years would see of her.

Sullivan was due to return on Wednesday, September 22, but didn't appear. Then, early on the morning of Friday the 24th, FBI agents raided five homes belonging to Minneapolis activists, including Aby, Jess Sundin, and Mick Kelly. Other activists, including Plotz, were handed grand jury subpoenas a few days later.

In the aftermath of the raids, everyone who had ever been part of the Anti-War Committee was calling and emailing, asking if everything was all right, offering their support. Sullivan wasn't heard from at all.

When the committee learned that FBI agents had entered their offices at the University Tech building using a key, they drew the obvious conclusion: As hard as it was to believe, Sullivan had been an undercover informant all along. They agreed not to make any more efforts to contact her, and she was never heard from again.

Well, almost never. Plotz agreed with her friends that no one should have any substantial communication with Sullivan, but she was also curious. What if it wasn't really true?

"If someone ever accused me of being an infiltrator, and all my friends were shutting me out, that would be terrible," Plotz says. "I wanted to make sure that we weren't putting someone undeserving in that situation."

So without telling her friends, Plotz sent a text message to the woman she had known as Karen Sullivan. What follows is their exchange:

Sat Oct 1
1:14 am
Katrina: hey what's up? where've you been?

9:41 am
Karen: Keeping a very low profile, trying not to get caught up in stuf, u?

4:55 pm
Katrina: bullshit. we know what you're doing.

Sun Oct 2
1:33 am
Karen: What ever ur funny, :)

3:07 pm
Katrina: nothing about this is funny. it's fucked up and sad. i miss the person i thought was Karen Sullivan. she was my friend.

6:28 pm
Karen: Wow! I thought u were giving me a hard time for leaving town. apperantly that is not the case.

1:08 am
Katrina: you know exactly what's going and so do we. you are not who you said you were. but you're wrong and you will fail. don't bother writing back. this will be the last text u ever get from me.


15) David Morris: Tax compromise adds up to a raw deal
Social Security's funding security has gone away.
"But Obama's tax deal will cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points, reducing payments into the Social Security trust fund by $120 billion a year. Not to worry, says the White House....As many have pointed out, the modest shortfall could be fully made up by applying the existing payroll tax to incomes above the current cap of $106,800, an income level exceeded by only 6 percent of the population."
Last update: December 14, 2010 - 7:14 PM


Today, 75 years and four months since Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, a Democratic president has abandoned FDR's strategy for protecting the program from shifting political winds.

If congressional Democrats go along with Obama on this, it could mark the beginning of the end of Social Security as we have known it.

Roosevelt regarded Social Security as the cornerstone of the New Deal.

Today, Social Security keeps more than 20 million Americans out of poverty. Almost 90 percent of the elderly receive benefits: 69 percent receive more than half their income from Social Security, and more than 40 percent receive 90 percent.

"No other New Deal measure proved more lastingly consequential," notes Stanford historian David M. Kennedy.

One reason Social Security has proven so enduring and substantial is because of the financing strategy chosen, a payroll tax.

Many of FDR's advisers wanted financing to come out of general appropriations. They counseled, using an argument eerily similar to that offered today, that in 1935 the economy was still emerging from a deep depression and a payroll tax would have a detrimental impact.

FDR understood the argument. But he believed it far more important to adopt a funding mechanism that would protect Social Security from the depredations of future politicians.

He had seen congressional Republicans overwhelmingly vote against the Social Security Act, and he knew the political wheel of fortune would turn in the future.

As FDR recalled in 1941, "We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral and political right to collect their pensions. ... With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program."

Social Security was to be an insurance fund. People paid in during their working years and received payouts when they stopped working. The money was theirs, by right. They didn't have to beg Congress for it.

But Obama's tax deal will cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points, reducing payments into the Social Security trust fund by $120 billion a year. Not to worry, says the White House.

The $120 billion will come from the general fund. Social Security revenues would remain intact. And the payroll tax reduction, they insist, will disappear in two years.

Well, if anyone believes that in two years the Republicans will agree to raise payroll taxes or that the Democrats will insist on it, I have a bridge to sell you.

The payroll tax cut will be permanent. The elderly and disabled will have to compete for $120 billion a year against all other claimants on the federal budget -- the Pentagon, Medicaid, education, environment. Or, the payroll tax will become a bargaining chip for a Republican demand that Social Security benefits be reduced.

I suspect that the first step will be for politicians to undermine the "social" in Social Security by insisting that the rich shouldn't receive benefits because they don't need them. That may sound equitable, but means-tested programs do not fare well. Look at welfare and Medicaid.

As Nancy Altman of Social Security Works, who has been leading the campaign to educate the nation about the implications of the payroll tax holiday, observes, New Dealers "understood the adage that programs exclusively for the poor made poor programs."

The irony is that Social Security's finances do need bolstering.

As many have pointed out, the modest shortfall could be fully made up by applying the existing payroll tax to incomes above the current cap of $106,800, an income level exceeded by only 6 percent of the population.

Instead the Democratic Party has decided to decrease the payroll tax and double Social Security's projected deficit.

The only obstacle to this ominous proposal is a revolt by House Democrats against the whole tax deal.

One hopes they will hold firm and that, as the implications of the deal for the future of Social Security become more widely known, the voters will rise up to put a stop to this mischief.

David Morris, Minneapolis, is the vice president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.


16) Big Paydays Return With Big Profits at Wall St. Banks
January 21, 2011, 9:11 pm

Talk about a raise.

Citigroup's chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, after nearly two years of earning a mere $1 in salary while he tried put the bank back on track, has been awarded a $1.75 million salary, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

The lifting of Mr. Pandit's symbolic hair shirt came as Morgan Stanley disclosed much, though not all, of the compensation for its leader. James P. Gorman, in his first year as chief executive of Morgan Stanley, will earn less than the $15 million he took home in 2009 when he was the firm's co-president, according to a person familiar with his compensation but not authorized to speak publicly about it.

Other Wall Street banks - including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America - are still to report what their leaders will be paid. JPMorgan Chase disclosed compensation for some of its senior mangers, but has not yet approved the pay package for its chief executive and chairman, Jamie Dimon. Mr. Dimon is expected to earn as much, if not more, than the $17.5 million he took home in 2009, which made him among the highest-paid Wall Street executives. No decision has been made. But JPMorgan had a banner 2010 - it was the most profitable year in the company's history - and four of Mr. Dimon's top lieutenants have already been awarded stock worth more than $10 million each.

Two years since emerging from the financial crisis, Wall Street profits - and big paychecks - appear to be back. But the public uproar that erupted over outsize bonuses that banks awarded, even after accepting a government bailouts, has not yet been tamed. Banks are still trying to balance the need to attract star executives and traders with regulators' demands to ensure that their pay programs do not create excessive risk. Gone is some of the sensitivity to lawmakers and the broader public, who were angry at seeing such lavish paydays as they were losing their homes and jobs.

As bonus checks were doled out at several big banks earlier this week, it is clear that 2010 is shaping up to be a very good year - although perhaps not as good as a year earlier. Alan Johnson, a longtime Wall Street compensation consultant, said that he expected pay to fall about 10 to 15 percent for 2010, and perhaps more than twice that amount in many trading businesses where the results were much weaker.

Amid greater scrutiny from the public and federal regulators since the financial crisis, the banks have awarded a greater portion of compensation in the form of stock - some even higher than 50 percent - and emphasized the use of deferred pay and policies to claw back ill-gotten bonuses.

Over all, what is remarkable is the wide variation in pay packages among the banking giants. At the industry's strongest banks, employee compensation, on average, fell markedly from a year ago. At Goldman Sachs, workers earned, on average, about $398,000 in 2010, down 11 percent from a year ago. At JPMorgan's investment bank, employee pay was, on average, about $370,000 - about 2.4 percent lower than in 2009 and in line with the overall firm's decline in compensation.

Wall Street's star bankers and traders, regardless of where they work, will still reap paychecks worth millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, several of the weaker players ratcheted their compensation packages upward. At Morgan Stanley, for example, workers' paychecks rose about 8 percent, on average, to about $257,000. Citigroup and Bank of America, whose average paychecks are substantially lower because they employ tens of thousands consumer bankers who draw smaller salaries and bonuses, reported increases of about 3 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Some pay analysts suspect that this divergence may stem, at least in part, from the need of these more troubled firms to offer bigger paydays to attract and retain top talent.

Those occupying offices in the corporate suite continued to score big paydays.

Citigroup's board had signaled a pay increase for Mr. Pandit last fall when they granted stock awards to several of his top lieutenants and announced that they planned to restore his compensation so that it would be in line with other Wall Street chiefs. Mr. Pandit had vowed at a Congressional hearing in February 2009 that he would accept only $1 until the bank returned to profitability.

On Tuesday, Citigroup posted an annual profit in 2010, the first time it had done so since the financial crisis struck. Richard D. Parsons, Citigroup's chairman, said that the board was "very pleased with the progress the company has made under Vikram's leadership" and that he merited the raise for the coming year. Citigroup's board could also choose to award him additional stock and options when it reviews his 2011 compensation later this year. Of course, Mr. Pandit still holds about $79.7 million in cash from the sale of his investment fund, Old Lane Partners, to Citigroup in April 2007.

At JPMorgan Chase, Jes Staley, the head of its investment bank, was awarded more than $14.5 million in stock and options, according to Equilar, a compensation research firm. His total compensation may be even higher when his salary and bonus are disclosed. Ina R. Drew, the bank's chief investment officer, and Mary Callahan Erdoes, the head of its asset management division, each received stock and options worth more than $11 million. That poises them to be among the highest-paid women on Wall Street.

On Friday, Morgan Stanley's board awarded Mr. Gorman stock and options valued at $7.4 million, according to Equilar. But this represents only the equity portion of Mr. Gorman's pay package; the cash component will be announced later this year.

Morgan Stanley also released details of more than $32 million in stock awards for 10 other top executives.


17) Across Country, Lawmakers Push Abortion Curbs
January 21, 2011

Newly energized by their success in November's midterm elections, conservative legislators in dozens of states are mounting aggressive campaigns to limit abortions.

The lawmakers are drafting, and some have already introduced, bills that would ban most abortions at 20 weeks after conception, push women considering abortions to view a live ultrasound of the fetus, or curb insurance coverage, among other proposals.

In Florida and Kansas, legislators plan to reintroduce measures that were vetoed by previous governors but have the support of the new chief executives, like ultrasound requirements and more stringent regulation of late-term abortions.

"I call on the Legislature to bring to my desk legislation that protects the unborn, establishing a culture of life in Kansas," Gov. Sam Brownback said last week in his first State of the State message.

"This is the best climate for passing pro-life laws in years," said Michael Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, expressing the mood in many states. "We've got a pro-life governor and a brand new pro-life speaker. Our government now is pro-life from top to bottom."

Abortion opponents plan marches in Washington and elsewhere this weekend and on Monday to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that established a woman's right to an abortion.

Republicans in Congress hope to strengthen measures to prevent even indirect public financing of abortions, but laws in the states have the greatest impact on access to them. Abortion opponents have been emboldened by major changes in the political landscape, with conservative Republicans making large gains.

Although social issues were often played down in the campaigns, many of the newly elected governors and legislators are also solidly anti-abortion, causing advocates of abortion rights to brace for a year of even tougher battles than usual.

The biggest shift is in the state capitols, with 29 governors now considered to be solidly anti-abortion, compared with 21 last year. "This is worrisome because the governors have been the firewall, they've vetoed a lot of bad anti-choice legislation," said Ted Miller, a spokesman for Naral Pro-Choice America.

In 15 states, compared with 10 last year, both the legislature and the governor are anti-abortion, according to a new report by Naral, and those joining this category include larger states like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as Georgia and Oklahoma. Maine and Pennsylvania are now strongly anti-abortion as well, if not quite as solidly.

Just which measures will pass is impossible to predict, particularly because many states are bogged down by budget crises.

Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state policies on abortion for the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization, said that while states would be preoccupied with budget issues, it appeared rather likely that more measures would pass this year than in 2010, which anti-abortion advocates considered a banner year, with more than 30 restrictive laws adopted in at least nine states.

The elections brought even more gains for their side than expected, said Mary Spaulding Balch, state policy director of the National Right to Life Committee, leading her group to call in its affiliates for a special strategy session on Dec. 7.

While many anti-abortion measures have been adopted or debated over the years, including requiring parental consent for minors and waiting periods, advocates have set a few top priorities for the months ahead:

¶Banning abortions earlier in pregnancy. Most states place restrictions on later abortions, often defined as after fetal viability, or around 22 to 26 weeks after conception. But last year, Nebraska set what many advocates consider a new gold standard, banning abortions, unless there is imminent danger to the woman's life or physical health, at 20 weeks after conception, on a disputed theory that the fetus can feel pain at that point. The measure has not been tested in court, but similar measures pushing back the permissible timing are being developed in Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and other states.

The 20-week law in Nebraska, which took effect in October, forced a prominent doctor who performed late-term abortions to leave the state. Jill June, president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said women suffering from complicated pregnancies but are not yet sick enough to qualify for an emergency abortion would be forced to travel to other states. Or, she said, doctors fearing prosecution will wait until such women become dangerously ill before considering an abortion.

¶Pressing women to view ultrasounds. While several states encourage women seeking abortions to view an ultrasound, Oklahoma last year adopted a requirement that doctors or technicians perform the procedure with the screen visible to the woman, and explain in detail what she is seeing. The measure is under court challenge, but the Kentucky Senate has passed a similar bill, and variants are expected to come up in states including Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

In Florida, former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed an ultrasound bill. The new governor, Rick Scott, attacked him for that veto and is expected to support a new proposal.

¶Banning any abortion coverage by insurance companies in the new health insurance exchanges. Numerous states are poised to impose the ban on plans that will be offered to small businesses and individual insurance buyers under the Obama administration health plan.

The shifts to conservative governors, in particular, have opened new opportunities for abortion opponents. In Kansas, legislators said they would act quickly to adopt measures that were previously vetoed, including regulations that will make it harder to open abortion clinics or to perform abortions in the second trimester.

"There's pent-up demand in the Legislature for these changes," said State Representative Lance Kinzer, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Kansas House. Once these long-debated steps are taken, he said, the Legislature will consider more sweeping restrictions, including banning most abortions after the 20th week.

The politics of abortion have changed profoundly in some larger states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

"We're facing the biggest threat to reproductive rights we've ever faced in this state," said Lisa Subeck, executive director for Naral Pro-Choice Wisconsin.

In Michigan, because of the switch to an anti-abortion governor, "the dominos are lined up well for us this time," said Ed Rivet, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan. For starters, advocates hope to pass a state ban on the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion that had been vetoed twice. After that, he said, "We have quite a list."

Many defenders of abortion rights argue that because the election hinged largely on the economy and the role of government, officials did not receive a mandate for sweeping new social measures. "This last election was not about these issues at all," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "We now are concerned about a real overreaching by some state legislators and governors that will make it very difficult for women to access reproductive health care."

Daniel S. McConchie, vice president for government affairs with Americans United for Life, responded that laws restricting abortion have been adopted right along by the states and that while he expected large gains in the year ahead, they will be part of steady trend.

The abortion rate in the United States, which had declined steadily since a 1981 peak of more than 29 abortions per 1,000 women, stalled between 2005 and 2008, at slightly under 20 abortions per 1,000 women, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute.

Robbie Brown contributed reporting from Atlanta, Dan Frosch from Denver and Emma Graves Fitzsimmons from Chicago.


18) Weld Flaws Found on Gas Pipe in Blast
"The board noted previously that utility records said the pipe was seamless, but that when excavated, it proved to have welded seams." ... PG&E lied!
January 21, 2011

WASHINGTON - The natural gas pipe that burst in San Bruno, Calif., on Sept. 9, killing nine people and destroying nearly 40 houses, had numerous flaws in its welds, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released Friday.

The board noted previously that utility records said the pipe was seamless, but that when excavated, it proved to have welded seams.

The board issued what it called a factual report, without any analysis, and the report did not say whether the maximum pressure that the welded pipe could contain was lower than what the utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, believed. But it also announced that a hearing scheduled for March to discuss issues raised by the accident would extend for three days, not the two days previously scheduled.

Welds on the seams running the length of the pipe segments showed "various defects," the report said. Some welds were porous and in some cases the weld material did not fill all the space it was supposed to, or fusion of the weld material with the pipe was incomplete.

In addition, the pipe was supposed to be coated to protect it underground, but big areas had no coating, the engineers found. But, the board said, there was no sign that the accident was caused by corrosion.

Flaws were also found in the girth welds, the ones that connect segments of pipe.

The pipe, 30 inches in diameter, buried three feet underground, was installed in 1948. Welding standards have been tightened since then, the report noted.

Another issue for the investigators is how high the pressure rose in the pipe just before the rupture. Just before the accident, Pacific Gas & Electric technicians inadvertently cut power to a computer system, and that triggered a valve to open, causing pressure to rise. The pressure measurements were reported by the same computer system. Pacific Gas said that the pressure did not rise above the levels it believed the pipe could handle, but the accuracy of the measurements themselves is also under investigation.


19) Lawyer Protests Status of Soldier in Leaks Case
[They are torturing Bradley]
January 21, 2011

The lawyer for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst detained on charges of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, accused the military on Friday of abusing Private Manning by placing him unnecessarily on suicide watch. The lawyer, David E. Coombs, said psychiatric reviews had determined that Private Manning was not a suicide risk and should even be taken off the less restrictive "prevention of injury watch" and put on normal status at the jail at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va. Instead, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Private Manning was placed on the stricter suicide watch, eliminating his daily hour of exercise and stripping him of all clothing except underwear. After Mr. Coombs protested, Private Manning was returned to prevention-of-injury status.


20) Illinois: Ex-Police Commander Sentenced
January 21, 2011

A former Chicago police commander was sentenced Friday to four and a half years in prison for obstruction of justice and lying about torturing murder suspects. The man, Jon Burge, 63, was found guilty in June of lying under oath in a 2003 civil court case about the torture of suspects in custody during the 1970s and 1980s. More than 100 black men accused Mr. Burge and other officers under his command of subjecting them to electrocution, beatings and other acts of torture to gain confessions in murder cases.


21) Pay Doubles for Bosses at Viacom
"Viacom awarded its chief executive, Philippe P. Dauman, total compensation for 2010 valued at about $84.5 million, more than double the 2009 figure, including salary, bonus and stock options, the company disclosed on Friday. It awarded its chief operating officer, Thomas E. Dooley, total compensation valued at about $64.7 million, also more than double the 2009 compensation."
January 21, 2011

Viacom presents: Big Payday II - the sequel.

Viacom awarded its chief executive, Philippe P. Dauman, total compensation for 2010 valued at about $84.5 million, more than double the 2009 figure, including salary, bonus and stock options, the company disclosed on Friday.

It awarded its chief operating officer, Thomas E. Dooley, total compensation valued at about $64.7 million, also more than double the 2009 compensation. Viacom disclosed the compensation in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the market closed on Friday.

The company said, however, that the compensation was inflated by one-time stock awards linked to long-term contracts the executives signed last year. These contracts, for six and a half years, were unusually long for the industry, a spokesman, Carl Folta, said, and reflected Viacom's recent better performance.

Without those one-time awards, Mr. Folta said, Mr. Dauman's compensation was valued at about $30 million, including both cash and stock, and Mr. Dooley's at about $23 million, both below their 2009 compensation.

However, the awards raised questions among compensation experts.

"This is spectacular money but where are the spectacular results?" said Brian Foley, a pay consultant in White Plains. "In terms of the stock price, they are back to where they were in 2008, about three years ago. That's great, but is that really worth this award?"

Compensation for Viacom's founder and executive chairman, Sumner M. Redstone, was more restrained. Mr. Redstone received compensation for the 2010 period valued at about $15 million, a decline from the $16.9 million he received in 2009, the company said.

Viacom's 2010 fiscal year covered the three quarters from January to September.

Last year, the company changed its fiscal year to begin in October to align its financial reporting more closely with the seasonality of the television industry, giving it only three quarters last year. It is scheduled to report results from the first quarter of its latest fiscal year on Feb. 3.

The compensation is reminiscent of the large payouts Viacom's top executives received in 2005. At that time, Mr. Redstone, then the chief executive, and Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves, both then presidents, received total compensation for the previous year valued at about $52 million to $56 million.

The company said Friday that about 90 percent of the compensation for its 2010 period was in long-term stock options, which aligned the executives' interests with those of the company. It said the compensation was also justified by Viacom's performance.

"In 2010 Viacom achieved outstanding operational and financial results, including double-digit growth in operating income, adjusted net earnings and total shareholder return," Viacom said in the statement. "Viacom shares appreciated 33 percent during calendar year 2010, versus the S.& P. 500 gain of 12 percent."

Mr. Folta predicted that executive compensation would be less for the current 2011 fiscal year because it would not be inflated by the one-time payments linked to the contract renewals.

In November, it reported third-quarter earnings that surpassed the expectations of analysts. Its flagship MTV has enjoyed something of a renaissance recently as a cultural tastemaker and a corresponding upswing in ratings. In that quarter, revenue rose 5 percent, to $3.3 billion.