Saturday, April 16, 2011



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




From our deepest concern, CodePINK, Cindy Sheehan & all vulnerable folks urgently request your presence in coalition 6pm Monday evening April 18th, to continue planning our MARCH, STRIKE, and TENT CITY to begin MayDay.

Please come, help organize, spread the word, find others to attend this Organizing/Strategizing Meeting at Mudrakers' Café back room, 2801 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley.

We are all deeply concerned. ¡Basta! It is time to step up our activism. The time is now. Please join us.


Please circulate widely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Please announce, forward, share, come

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information, downloadable flyer etc at email to

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


No Nukes!

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


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

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

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

Strategy, tactics and planning discussions:

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

Speakers include:

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

Plus . . .

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

Al-Awda Convention on Facebook




Saturday, APRIL 30, 4-6PM

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

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

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

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

Haiti Action Committee


STRIKE MAY 1, 2011!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


Cuba: The Accidental Eden

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

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.



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


RSA Animate - The Empathic Civilisation


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


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


VIDEO: SWAT Team Evicts Grandmother

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


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


Labor Beat: Wisconsin and After

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


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


Afghans for Peace


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

Afghans respond to "Kill Team"




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

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

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




Frederick Alexander Meade on The Prison Industrial Complex


Chernobyl 25 years on -- The Big Cover-Up


Dropkick Murphys - Worker's Song (with lyrics)

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

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

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

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

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

[Chorus x3]

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


BP Oil Spill Scientist Bob Naman: Seafood Still Not Safe


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


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


Stop LAPD Stealing of Immigrant's Cars

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




WikiLeaks Mirrors

Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack.

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

Go to


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


Oil Spill Commission Final Report: Catfish Responds


The Most Heroic Word in All Languages is Revolution

By Eugene Debs

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

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

All hail the Labor Day of May!

The day of the proletarian protest;

The day of stern resolve;

The day of noble aspiration.

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

The banner of the Workingman;

The flag, the only flag, of Freedom.

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

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

They are still in bondage, but no longer cower;

No longer grovel in the dust,

But stand erect like men.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The most heroic word in all languages is REVOLUTION.

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

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

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

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

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

-The Rustbelt Radical, February 25, 2011


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


it's really just so sad


Free Bradley Manning


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


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks




Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale


Flashmob: Cape Town Opera say NO


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




Abolish the Death Penalty Blog

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

1 Million Tweets for Troy! April 12, 2011

Take Action! Tweet for Troy!

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

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

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

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

More information about the case is available at

Here are some sample tweets:

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

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

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

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

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

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



What in the fuck has Obama done so far?




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Solidarity,

Chris Hicks
Student Labor Action Project Coordinator

SLAPfacebook | SLAPtwitter | SLAPonline


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

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

Sign the Petition:

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

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

Stand with Bradley!

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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demands of the Solidarity Movement with Arab Revolutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Committee to Stop FBI Repression
to Fitzgerald, Holder and Obama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**Please sign and circulate our 2011 petition at

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

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

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


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

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

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


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

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


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

Bring all your friends - signs and banners - bullhorns.

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

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

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

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

World Can't Wait, SF Bay


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

Dear Folks:
Some nuts and bolts and trivia,

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

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

3. One hour time difference

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

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

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

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

Love Struggle

The address of her Defense Committee is:

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

Please make a generous contribution to her defense.


Help end the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning!

Bradley Manning Support Network. December 22, 2010

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

We need your help in pressing the following demands:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

What can you do?

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

Donate to Bradley's defense fund at

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

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

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

Bradley Manning Support Network

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


KOREA: Emergency Response Actions Needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The United National Antiwar Committee,


In earnest support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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


Free the Children of Palestine!
Sign Petition:

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

Background (Preamble):

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Please donate today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Add your name! We stand with Bradley Manning.

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

Dear All,

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

Read the complete public letter and add your name at:

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


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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!


Support the troops who refuse to fight!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Nuclear Cleanup Plans Hinge on Unknowns
April 14, 2011

2) Britain Blocks Export of Lethal Injection Drugs to U.S.
April 14, 2011

3) C.I.A. Sued for Failure to Release Bay of Pigs History
April 14, 2011

4) Despite Setbacks, Arizona Sheriff Won't Yield the Spotlight
April 14, 2011

5) Study Ties Suicide Rate in Work Force to Economy
April 14, 2011

6) T.V.A. Considers Improvements for 6 U.S. Nuclear Reactors
April 14, 2011

8) Offshore Banking and Tax Havens Have Become Heart of Global Economy
Democracy Now! Interview with Micholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens
Democracy Now!
April 15, 2011

9) Radioactivity Rises in Sea Off Japan Nuclear Plant
April 15, 2011

10) Syrians Renew Protests Despite Concessions
April 15, 2011

11) Cuba Stages Vast March to Recall the Failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961
April 16, 2011

12) When Unemployment and Profits Are High
Letter to the Editor, New York Times
April 16, 2011


1) Nuclear Cleanup Plans Hinge on Unknowns
April 14, 2011

TOKYO - Even before the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant has been brought under control, two conglomerates vying for contracts in an eventual cleanup are estimating that the effort could take 10 years - or 30.

The widely divergent outlooks underscore the basic uncertainties clouding any forecast for Fukushima: when cooling stems will be restored and radiation emission halted; how soon workers can access some parts of the plant; and how bad the damage to the reactors, their fuel, and nearby stored fuel turns out to be. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has warned that at least one reactor's fuel may even have leaked out of the reactor pressure vessel, something that has never before happened in a nuclear accident.

A global team led by Hitachi said Thursday that it would take at least three decades to return the site to what engineers refer to as a "green field" state, meaning within legal limits of radiation for any residents. Toshiba, Japan's biggest supplier of nuclear reactors, said it could take as little as 10 years

Both companies have large nuclear-related businesses and appear to be eager to speak about endgame scenarios to a crisis that has heightened global public mistrust over nuclear power. There are also billions of dollars likely at stake in the clean-up, which could help Hitachi and Toshiba buoy their sinking bottom lines. The two said this week that annual profits would fall short of their forecasts because of the widespread disruptions in production and supply chains.

At a roundtable with reporters on Thursday, Toshiba's chief executive, Norio Sasaki, wielded an inch-thick proposal outlining the dismantlement plan submitted to the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, last week. Hitachi has presented a competing plan.

The scale and complexity of the challenge is unprecedented. No nuclear reactor has ever been fully decommissioned in Japan, let alone the four certain to be dismantled at Fukushima, after being flooded with seawater to avert meltdowns, and after suffering explosions and other damage. The final fate of the two other reactors there has not been announced, but they too may need to be decommissioned.

The accident at Three Mile Island in 1979 involved just one reactor, and thought there was a partial meltdown of the nuclear fuel rods, the chamber holding them did not rupture. The cleanup there still took 14 years and cost about $1 billion. (Two reactors that continue to operate at the site are set to be decommissioned in 2014.)

Recovery from the disaster at Cherynobyl in 1986, meanwhile, is an example engineers are not eager to study. Following the multiple explosions and fire that sent huge radioactive plumes into the atmosphere, workers covered the remains of the reactor with sand, lead and eventually entombed it with concrete to halt the release of radiation. The concrete coffin still remains at Chernobyl, and the area remains uninhabitable.

For now, workers continue to try to stem leaks of highly radioactive water from the plant even as they add to the flow by continuing to pump in water - now fresh, not salts. They are also are racing to revive the contained cooling systems that circulate water and do not bleed contaminants.

But serious challenges that remain, including what Japan's nuclear regulator said Thursday were rising temperatures at one of the units , as well as a series of strong aftershocks. Later, Hidehiko Nishiyama, the deputy director-general of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said the situation at the plant remained "difficult."

Still, Toshiba's engineers expect the plant to stabilize "in several months," Mr. Sasaki said, and for full-scale cooling to resume. It would be five years before engineers would be able to open up the pressure vessels to remove the nuclear fuel, he said, and dismantling the reactors and cleaning up radiation at the plant would take at least another five years.

Toshiba's team includes engineers from Westinghouse, whose majority owner is Toshiba, and the Babcock & Wilcox Company, an energy technology and services company that handles the disposal of hazardous materials. The two companies helped shut down the damaged reactor at Three Mile Island.

A Hitachi spokesman in Tokyo, Yuichi Izumisawa, said that the 10-year scenario was overly optimistic. He said that Hitachi's engineers expect that it will take that long just to remove the nuclear fuel rods from the plant and place them in casks to transport to a safe storage facility.

Only then can dismantling the plant's structures begin, he said, followed by cleaning up remaining radiation.

Hitachi, the country's second-biggest supplier of reactors, has a team of 50 experts working on its dismantling plan. It has a joint nuclear venture with General Electric and is also working with the American nuclear operator, Exelon, and Bechtel, the engineering firm.

"You basically need to dismantle the plant from the inside, and the inside is till very radioactive," he said. "At Hitachi, we are baffled over what kind of technology would allow everything to be finished in 10 years."

Tetsuo Matsumoto, a professor in nuclear engineering at Tokyo City University, said that how long the decommissioning process would take depended heavily on the state of the nuclear fuel.

"Will it still be shaped like rods? Or will it have melted and collapsed into a big mass?" he said. "It could be 10 years or it could be 30. You just won't know until you open up the reactor."

Ken Ijichi contributed reporting.


2) Britain Blocks Export of Lethal Injection Drugs to U.S.
April 14, 2011

Britain said Thursday it would block the export of three lethal injection drugs to the United States and is urging the European Union to do the same. Business Secretary Vince Cable, left, said Britain would not allow pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride to be sold to the United States. In November, Britain blocked exports of sodium thiopental for use in executions after a legal challenge by a human rights group.


3) C.I.A. Sued for Failure to Release Bay of Pigs History
April 14, 2011

A group in Washington sued the C.I.A. on Thursday over its failure to release its history of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the United States-sponsored effort to topple Fidel Castro in 1961. The group, the National Security Archive, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the five-volume history in 2005, but says it never received the required response. Only one volume has been released.


4) Despite Setbacks, Arizona Sheriff Won't Yield the Spotlight
April 14, 2011

MESA, Ariz. - It is not uncommon for law enforcement agencies to have helicopters and planes to patrol from above, but Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, has created what he calls his own air force: a collection of 30 private planes that his "air posse" uses to track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.

In what Mr. Arpaio is calling Operation Desert Sky, private pilots have begun flying over central Arizona to act as spotters for Maricopa County Sheriff's Department deputies. The overhead surveillance has not yet led to any arrests, two weeks after it began, but Mr. Arpaio said it would have a deterrent effect.

In short, Sheriff Joe - as he is widely known - is still at it.

Despite court setbacks to Arizona's aggressive illegal immigration law, two continuing federal investigations into his law enforcement practices and an audit of his budget released this week that found that millions of dollars had been misspent, the sheriff - as vividly highlighted by the creation of the Arpaio air force - is not backing down in his pursuit of illegal immigrants, or the limelight.

"This is just another controversial program that I don't think is controversial," Mr. Arpaio said in his characteristic gruff way.

On Wednesday, budget officials in Maricopa County - a sprawling place as large as some states that includes Phoenix, the country's sixth-largest city - found that Mr. Arpaio's department had used nearly $100 million in funds meant to run the jails for other activities, including paying the salaries of deputies assigned to his contentious efforts to uncover human smuggling and public corruption.

Mr. Arpaio, who blames accounting errors for the audit finding and accuses critics of trying to exploit it, skipped the budget hearing and instead showed up outside Monte Carlo Dry Cleaners here, where his deputies led away six women who were charged with using false identification to get jobs, a state crime.

As always, the news media were called to capture the tough-talking sheriff, who declared that this represented the 44th business he had raided in search of illegal immigrants in recent years. If he was feeling the heat from the growing criticism of his department, Mr. Arpaio, dressed in a uniform jacket with four gold stars on each shoulder, was not showing it.

Before the dry cleaners, Mr. Arpaio's deputies had raided a string of Pei Wei Asian Diners, detaining scores of workers and prompting the chain to take out a full-page help-wanted ad to keep its kitchens going. Across the region are fast food shops, car washes, furniture stores and other establishments that have had sheriff's deputies unexpectedly rush in demanding papers.

"We're creating vacancies so these businesses can hire people legally," Mr. Arpaio said. "I've just done something for the economy. I don't get enough credit for that, from the Justice Department and the rest of the critics. They just think it's the bad sheriff going in and grabbing dishwashers."

Maricopa has a love-hate relationship with Mr. Arpaio, 78, an 18-year veteran who has regular protesters outside his downtown offices but still receives kudos from fans on the street and invitations from politicians eager for his endorsement.

Outside the dry cleaners, a man who was not able to drop off some shirts on Wednesday morning, because the store was not accepting new laundry, lauded Mr. Arpaio's raids and declared of the detained workers: "If they were in the country illegally, they need to get out of here."

But a woman who was picking up her cleaning was fuming as she waited for the commotion to end. "We're tired of Sheriff Joe," said the woman, who like several others at the scene declined to identify themselves. "These workers were supporting their families. They weren't violent. This is ridiculous."

The criticism was just as fierce last month when Mr. Arpaio allowed the actor Steven Seagal to ride in an armored vehicle to execute a search warrant in a major raid on a suspected cockfighting operation.

"I've never seen a bigger spectacle," said Robert J. Campos, the lawyer for the accused man, Jesus Llovera. "You had Steven Seagal on a tank and a SWAT team swarming a home, but the reality is they arrested an unarmed man."

Mr. Arpaio said Mr. Seagal was one of his many volunteer posse members who help out deputies. But Mr. Campos said the raid was filmed as part of Mr. Seagal's reality television show, "Lawman," on the A&E Network.

To get tips on which business to raid next, Mr. Arpaio uses a confidential hot line, the number of which is emblazoned on the side of the wagon used to transport suspects to Mr. Arpaio's tent-city jail.

"My activist friends don't like it," Mr. Arpaio said of the use of tipsters. "Some politicians don't like it. But I decide what goes on."

Disgruntled current and former workers make up the most effective informants, deputies say, since they offer the most precise information on suspected illegal immigrants working at a business. Many tips, however, are from customers upset to find so many Latinos working in a particular place.

"We get calls all the time that say, 'There's Hispanics in a McDonald's and they don't speak English,' " said Lt. Joe Sousa, commander of the department's human smuggling division. "That's racial profiling, and I ignore that. We need specifics."

The hot line also receives plenty of calls commenting on Mr. Arpaio. "A lot of calls are 'Way to go, Joe!' or 'We hate you, Joe.' " Lieutenant Sousa acknowledged.

Mr. Arpaio has growing competition for the title of the most outspoken Arizona sheriff when it comes to illegal immigration.

Larry Dever, the sheriff of Cochise County, on the Mexican border, recently drew the ire of Michael J. Fisher, chief of the federal Border Patrol, when he claimed that the patrol's agents were intentionally not arresting some illegal immigrants to keep apprehension numbers down. "Completely, 100 percent false," Mr. Fisher responded in a letter.

And Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County has declared his county to be ground zero when it comes to smuggling. In early February, he predicted that his deputies would engage in a major shootout with drug cartel members in a month or two. His remarks prompted three border mayors to write a letter telling him to stop stretching the truth and "creating panic."

Mr. Arpaio asked Mr. Babeu to investigate allegations that three of Mr. Arpaio's aides, including his chief deputy, David Hendershott, had engaged in misconduct on the job. Mr. Babeu delivered the results to Mr. Arpaio this week, although they have not yet been made public.

In an interview in his office, Mr. Arpaio was dismissive of the growing chorus of criticism of his stewardship. He said he might introduce a new set of pink underwear for his inmates, a sample of which he pulled out of a filing cabinet with a flourish.

"The president may have a no-fly zone over Libya, but there will never be a no-fly zone over my area," he said, pausing for a moment and then adding, "That's a good line, isn't it?


5) Study Ties Suicide Rate in Work Force to Economy
April 14, 2011

The suicide rate increased 3 percent in the 2001 recession and has generally ridden the tide of the economy since the Great Depression, rising in bad times and falling in good ones, according to a comprehensive government analysis released Thursday.

Experts said the new study may help clarify a long-clouded relationship between suicide and economic trends.

While many researchers have argued that economic hardship can raise the likelihood of suicide in people who are already vulnerable - like those with depression or other mental illnesses - research has been mixed. Some studies have supported such a link, but others have found the opposite: that rates drop in periods of high unemployment, as if people exhibit resilience when they need it most.

Using more comprehensive data to nail down economic trends, the new study found a clear correlation between suicide rates and the business cycle among young and middle-age adults. That correlation vanished when researchers looked only at children and the elderly. It may not be the case that economic troubles cause suicide attempts, but they can be factors.

"They did a nice job of adding a piece to a very complex puzzle," said Eve Moscicki, a researcher at the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education who was not involved in the study. "It may be that when people who are more vulnerable to suicide to begin with lose a job or get a pay cut, it adds one more stressor."

In the study, which appears in The American Journal of Public Health, researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined suicide rates per 100,000 Americans for every year from 1928 to 2007.

The overall rate fell by more than a third in that time, to 11.2 from 18.0, with most of the decline occurring before 1945. It fluctuated in the mid-1950s, trended upward through the late 1970s, and back down between the mid-1980s and 2000. Over the years, researchers have attributed this general downward trend to improved access to care, rising standards of living and better drugs, among other things.

To investigate the effect of business cycles, the researchers calculated the average rate during periods when the economy contracted and compared it with the average during the years leading to downturns. The sharpest increase occurred at the start of the Great Depression, when rates jumped 23 percent - to 22.1 in 1932, from 18.0 in 1928. The study found smaller bumps during the oil crisis of the early 1970s and the double-dip recession of the early 1980s, among other economic troughs.

The suicide rate generally fell during periods of economic expansion, with some exceptions. Rates among people in their 30s and 40s went up during the booming 1960s and actually decreased among the elderly in the severe recession of the mid-1970s.

Cultural factors played a role, the authors argue. "The social unrest and tumult of the 1960s may have added to young people's mental stress and therefore contributed to their continually rising suicide rates," they wrote. "For the elderly groups, the rapid increase in Social Security benefits in the late 1960s may have provided a safety net in hard times."

Feijun Luo, the lead author of the study, said, "The findings suggest the potential to see a big increase in the rates during this current recession." His co-authors were Curtis S. Florence, Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, Lijing Ouyang, and Dr. Alexander E. Crosby, all of the C.D.C.

Suicide is impossible to predict, and rare even in the most dire circumstances, which is why prevention programs and early treatments have had mixed results. Most address specific problems like substance abuse, depression, isolation and troubled family relationships. But this study should give communities and doctors a better sense not only of when risk is high, but in whom - working-age adults, in this case.

"Once people age out of the work force, there seems to be no relationship between the business cycle and their vulnerability," Dr. Florence said.


6) T.V.A. Considers Improvements for 6 U.S. Nuclear Reactors
April 14, 2011

WASHINGTON - The Tennessee Valley Authority said Thursday it was considering millions of dollars of improvements to protect its six nuclear reactors from earthquakes and floods.

It is the first American reactor operator to announce safety changes that it is weighing since an earthquake and tsunami set off a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan last month. Other operators have said publicly that they might have to make changes, but they have avoided saying what those were.

The T.V.A. issued a fact sheet saying that it was considering reducing the amount of fuel in its spent fuel pools by transferring older fuel to passively cooled "dry casks" and adding additional backup diesel generators.

It also listed three changes that are less commonly discussed: improving electrical switchyards to make them more resistant to earthquakes, adding small generators to recharge cellphone batteries and keep the lights on, and reinforcing the pipes that provide cooling water to spent fuel pools.

Of the six reactors operated by the T.V.A., three are boiling water reactors that resemble the Fukushima reactors. The authority said that none of its reactors are in areas where an earthquake risk is high. But it said it was looking at "potential vulnerabilities from a chain of events, such as damage from a tornado or earthquake combined with flooding from a dam failure."

Nuclear critics have argued that all plants should be required to undertake such analyses of simultaneous events, although the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has generally rejected such hazards as too unlikely for such studies to be mandated. The commission's staff recently began a 90-day review of how prepared American reactors are for severe accidents, but the first progress report on that effort is not expected until early next month.

The spent fuel storage problem has been debated for years. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to look into the problem, and in 2005 the academy reported that the pools might in fact be vulnerable to terrorism. It said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should evaluate whether some of the fuel should be moved to dry casks.

Lately some members of Congress have suggested more use of dry casks.

When spent fuel is removed from a reactor, it continues to generate heat and must be kept submerged for about five years. But after that it can be sealed inside a steel can that is filled with inert gas to prevent rust; the can is then loaded into a small concrete silo with air vents. Air circulating around the can keeps the fuel well below the melting point.

American reactor operators have so far resorted to that technique only when their pools have reached capacity. The pools were designed in an era when nuclear engineers thought the fuel would be hauled away from reactors after a few years for recycling or burial and are therefore quite small; most reactors have installed new equipment in their pools to be able to squeeze in more than was originally intended. But some engineers say that this raises the risk that if the pool were emptied, the fuel could heat to the point that the metal it contains is ignited.

Thinning out the pools by removing old fuel would still leave the hottest materials in place but would reduce the chance of fire.

Robert Alvarez, a former Energy Department official, calculated recently that removing the backlog of fuel older than five years from the spent fuel pools of all 104 operating reactors would cost $3.5 billion to $7 billion and take several years to accomplish.


7) Obama Job Approval at 41%, Tying His Low
Independents' approval rating down to 35%
by Jeffrey M. Jones
April 15, 2011

PRINCETON, NJ - The latest Gallup Daily tracking three-day average shows 41% of Americans approving of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. That ties his low as president, which he registered three times previously -- twice in August 2010 and once in October 2010.

The current 41% approval rating from April 12-14 polling includes interviews conducted before and after Obama announced his plan for deficit reduction on Wednesday. It also comes in the same week Congress is voting on the 2011 budget deal reached last Friday. The deal did not seem to have an immediate effect on the way Americans viewed Obama, given his 44% approval rating in the three days prior to the agreement and his 46% rating in the initial days after the agreement.

The economy is likely also a factor in Obama's declining ratings. Though unemployment is improving according to government estimates, the economic recovery remains slow and is being challenged by rising fuel prices. Presidents' approval ratings have historically suffered in times of high gas prices.

The current three-day average finds 50% of Americans disapproving of Obama, two percentage points below his high disapproval rating of 52% from Aug. 15-17 and Aug. 16-18, 2010, polling.

Obama's approval rating has averaged 48% thus far in 2011, including a slightly higher 50% average during the last two weeks in January.

Declining Approval Most Apparent Among Independents

Obama's approval rating in April 12-14 polling is down most among independents when compared with his 2011 average to date as well as his term average among this group. Currently, 35% of independents approve of the president, nine points off his average from independents this year. Democrats' current ratings are also below what he has averaged thus far in 2011 (down four points), while Republicans' are the same.


President Obama is now as unpopular as he has been at any time since he became president. He faces difficult challenges ahead in trying to improve the economy and get the federal budget deficit under control, and must do so with Republicans in control of the House. His ability to navigate these challenges will help determine whether he will be elected to a second term as president. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton all were similarly unpopular at this stage of their presidencies, but the last two were able to turn things around in time to win a second term in office.

Explore President Obama's approval ratings in depth and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.
Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 12-14, 2011, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,540 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone-only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit


8) Offshore Banking and Tax Havens Have Become Heart of Global Economy
Democracy Now! Interview with Micholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens
Democracy Now!
April 15, 2011

Juan Gonzalez: As millions of Americans are preparing to file their income taxes ahead of Monday's deadline, we look today at how corporations and the wealthy are utilizing offshore banks and tax havens to avoid paying taxes and other governmental regulations.

Earlier this year, Democratic Senator Carl Levin introduced two bills to crack down on tax havens. Levin estimates that nearly $100 billion is lost each year by not closing tax loopholes.

Besides Levin's bill, there has been little discussion in Washington on the issue, despite the intense debate over the budget. During President Obama's budget speech on Wednesday, he uttered the words "tax" and "taxes" nearly 40 times. Never once did he mention tax havens.

Amy Goodman: Our first guest today is the British journalist Nicholas Shaxson, author of the new book Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens. In the book Shaxson writes, quote, "The offshore system is the secret underpinning for the political and financial power of Wall Street today. It is the fortified refuge of Big Finance." Nicholas Shaxson joins us from Washington, D.C.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about what you're calling "Treasure Islands."

Nicholas Shaxson? We'll go to a music break, and we'll come back to see if we can get the audio of Nicholas Shaxson. Looks like we got it right now. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Nicholas.

Nicholas Shaxson: Thanks. Thank you very much.

Amy Goodman: It's good to have you with us. OK, explain what these "Treasure Islands" are.

Nicholas Shaxson: Well, my book is about tax havens, and one of the big themes of my books is-one of the big things in my book is that tax havens are much, much bigger and much more important than almost anybody realizes. Most people think of tax havens as just a bunch of shady places, perhaps out in the Caribbean, Switzerland, a couple of other places, where a few celebrity tax dodgers maybe and some mafiosi and some criminals go and put their money. And they see it as a kind of exotic sideshow to the global economy.

One of the central messages of my book-and I explore the history of this in quite a lot of detail-is that tax havens have grown so fast in the era of globalization, since kind of the 1970s, that they have now become right-they are now right at the heart of the global economy and are absolutely huge. I mean, there are 10-anywhere between 10 and 20 trillion U.S. dollars sitting offshore at the moment. Half of world trade is processed in one way or another through tax havens. It's all around us, and it's absolutely huge.

Part of that-part of that message is that the biggest tax havens in the world are not so much these little islands, but big, rich countries. The United Kingdom, my country, is one of the world's most important tax havens. And right now in Washington, D.C., I'm sitting in one of the world's biggest tax havens, as well: the United States. So, this is something we need to really reappraise, the whole geography of the system, and understand how important it is. And when we're hearing figures of $100-plus billion lost to the U.S. taxpayers, I would argue that is just one aspect of the problem. The problem is much, much bigger. There are many, many other aspects to consider here.

Juan Gonzalez: Well, when you say that United Kingdom itself is a tax haven, what do you mean? And how did that develop?

Nicholas Shaxson: Well, there are two aspects to this, really. One is the U.K., the city of London, which is the financial district of the United Kingdom, is itself a tax haven. And I need to explain a little bit what I mean by "tax haven." There's no general agreement worldwide as to what a tax haven is. A lot of people focus on the tax element, but it's much more than that. Tax havens do offer zero or low taxes to people elsewhere, but they also offer secrecy. They offer escape routes from financial regulation. They offer escape routes from criminal laws. The key theme here is escape. If you don't want to do-if you are constrained by democratic rules and curbs at home, you take your money offshore, you take it elsewhere, to a place where they'll let you do what you're not allowed to do at home.

And looking at the history of this, Wall Street, after the Second World War, they were-after the Bretton Woods agreement, 1946, there was a cooperative international order set up where capital was tightly controlled around the world. Wall Street was very firmly put in its place. And, you know, there were very high taxes on the wealthy. And for about a quarter of a century, this system more or less worked out, and capital was quite tightly constrained. It was also an era of very high, broad-based economic growth, not just in the United States, but around the world. What happened during that period, though, was that the banks, Wall Street, in particular, didn't-obviously didn't like these curbs, didn't like the Glass-Steagall Act that was separating commercial from investment banking, didn't like interest rate caps, didn't like these controls. And essentially, they went off to London. And in London, the Bank of England and the city of London said, basically, "You bring your money here, and you can do what you like. You don't-we're not going to worry about Glass-Steagall. We're not going to worry about interest rate caps." And so, what happened is Wall Street piled into London from about the '60s onwards, and that really marked the unraveling of-part of the unraveling of the Bretton Woods arrangements.

And Wall Street was able to grow incredibly fast offshore, much, much faster than it had been before. And this ability to grow offshore, first in London and then in a wider network of tax havens around the world, this has been one of the great reasons why it has been able to grow so fast. And now we have "too big to fail" banks and this offshore system, the ability of banks in the United States to go elsewhere to do things that allow them to grow faster and take more risks, away from the democratic curbs. It's one of the reasons why they've grown so powerful and why we have got such a difficult situation today with Wall Street having such power over the politicians in this country and my country and others.

Juan Gonzalez: You talk in your book also about Britain recreating a new empire. You mention all of the Caribbean islands, that most Americans have heard about as vacation spots but really don't pay much attention to: Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos. What role do they play in this exploding situation with tax havens?

Nicholas Shaxson: It's a very curious story. I and my researchers, my co-researchers, went into the archives in the United Kingdom and looked at what they were saying at the time. What we had was a-we have a series of partly British territories spread around the world, notably the overseas-the British Overseas Territories, which include the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos, Gibraltar, Anguilla, and the so-called Crown Dependencies, which are closer to the U.K. That's Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. And all of these centers were allowed-they're partly controlled by Britain; they do have independent politics, as well. It's a sort of half-in, half-out kind of offshore system. So Britain has this kind of network around the world.

But what this network does is that these places serve as conduits; they serve as channels for business to be passed to the city of London. So there's this kind of network of havens around the world, capturing business. And in the Caribbean, a lot of business captured from the United States, Latin American. And this is licit and illicit business; it's a mixture of the two. And the Crown Dependencies-Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man-capturing business focusing more on Europe, perhaps in Africa and the Middle East. And all this-so they're serving as feeders for the city of London.

And I was talking about how the offshore system has been used to-used by Wall Street to become so big and powerful. Well, the U.K. has its own special version of that, and that's this network, which has really-as well as the U.K. itself being a tax haven, this network feeding business into the city of London is an absolutely colossal reason why the city of London is now, by some measure, the world's biggest financial center. So, it's something that has-you know it is at the period of decolonization, this is when the system really started getting together and started working. And one can make an argument that this is a new kind of financial empire that Britain-you know, a kind of hidden empire that nobody really has really paid much attention to now, but it is of absolutely tremendous importance. And we in the United Kingdom-I just as-we have the banks holding our politicians by the throat, I think, just as much as you do here in the United States.

Amy Goodman: I wanted to go to U.S. presidential politics. One of the leading Republican presidential contenders, Mitt Romney, has a history profiting from offshore tax havens. In 2008, the Los Angeles Times exposed how Romney, as head of Bain Capital, utilized shell companies and two offshore tax havens in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands to help eligible investors avoid paying U.S. taxes. The tax-friendly jurisdictions helped attract billions of investment dollars to Bain Capital. Los Angeles Times reporter Bob Drogin spoke to us about this in 2008.

BOB DROGIN: A side light of that was Bain Capital, which today has assets of about $60 billion-that's their-the number that they officially say-and about a third of that comes from these offshore operations that Romney set up when he was still there, in particular, companies that are set up-really, they're just mail drops, they're mailboxes; they don't have any staff, they don't have any operations. The one on Grand Cayman Island is a Post Office Box 60D, I think, on Grand Cayman Island, and the ones in Bermuda are also at a lawyer's office. But they've got them in other places as well. And they bring in somewhere above $25 billion a year.

And again, it's-these are companies-these are operations set up through various systems. They're blocker corporations. They are investment-or rather, equity groups that are set up to attract, for the large part, foreign capital. And the reason these are set up overseas is so that foreign investors in these private companies can avoid paying U.S. taxes. Mitt Romney and his colleagues don't get that advantage. So it's not like they're avoiding taxes through this. It's simply-what happens is, they're helping other people avoid paying U.S. taxes, and as a result they make enormous profits.

Amy Goodman: That's Los Angeles Times reporter Bob Drogin speaking to us in 2008. Nicholas Shaxson, your response?

Nicholas Shaxson: Yeah, this is-I mean, there are two things I would respond to this. First of all, there is-a lot of this business is legal. It is. There are two terms: tax avoidance and tax evasion. Avoidance is, by definition, not doing anything illegal, but also, by definition, getting around the spirit of the law; this is not what legislators intended when they set up the legislation. Tax evasion, on the other hand, is, by definition, criminal. It is-you're breaking the law. But in between these two poles of evasion and avoidance is a huge gray area, and often you don't find out which side of the law a company is until there's been, you know, a challenge by the IRS or a court case or something like that. A British-former British Chancellor Denis Healey once said, "The difference between avoidance and evasion is the thickness of a prison wall."

But also, the example of Mitt Romney-I imagine what he was doing was on the avoidance, not on the evasion side-is this issue of intermediaries, people who help others. And we're talking here particularly about accountancy firms, law firms and banks, and also company formation agents. These intermediaries have, for such a long time, seen a very simple calculus. They get-I saw a statistic yesterday that, for the big four accountancy firms on certain kinds of business, the average profit for a client was something like $360. The maximum fine for infringement for assisting a client to do things that have gone wrong is $10,000. So it's a very simple calculation. You know, if you get caught, well, you pay a bit of money, but it will only be a fraction of your profits. And as a result of these kinds of incentives, you've had the complete corruption of the culture of these industries, saying, "We're just going to, you know, help these people. We don't care if they're breaking the law or avoiding taxes or whatever. We'll just help them do what they want to do." And it's a terrible-this corruption of the culture is one of the biggest problems of the whole-the whole issue.

Juan Gonzalez: Nicholas Shaxson, I want to ask you about the portion of your book that deals with the impact of these tax havens on the poor countries of the world. You say, at one point in the book, "Nearly every effort to generate large flows of capital to developing countries since the 1980s has ended in crisis because the money has escaped offshore. Towering inequalities in Europe and the United States, not to mention in underdeveloped countries, cannot be understood properly without exploring the role of secrecy jurisdictions. The systematic looting of the former Soviet Union, and the merging of the nuclear-armed country's intelligence apparatus with organized crime, is substantially a story that unfolds in London and its offshore satellites." You also talk about Saddam Hussein's billions and the power of North Korea's Kim Jong-il. Could you explain?

Nicholas Shaxson: Yeah, offshore-if you look at these crises, offshore is always a part of the story. It's never the whole story; you can always point to other factors in, you know, the corruption of a country or economic crisis. But offshore is always a huge part of the story.

And you've had-in these debt crises, you have had huge lending to developing countries. And the rulers in these countries, and the ruling elites, are able to appropriate this money, the money that comes in from borrowing, and they just-they take it offshore. And you have countries left saddled with debts. Recent studies have indicated-in Africa, at least-that the private assets, the assets held by Africans, far outsee the debts of African countries. The difference is that the assets are held in private hands. These are assets offshore in banks overseas. They could easily pay off the debts. The income on those assets could easily pay off, you know, all the debt repayments. But we have this mismatch, and the burden is that the debts are borne by the African people in the form of either higher taxes for themselves or degraded public services and an elite that benefits from complete impunity for what they're doing. The money is offshore. There's nothing that anybody can do about it. And this leads to the corruption of countries and a wholesale subversion of democracy. So it's an absolute scourge on developing countries.

Global Financial Integrity, which is a Washington think tank, in January estimated that illicit financial flows out of developing countries in 2008 added up to $1.2 trillion U.S. dollars into tax havens and rich world economies. A lot of that came here into the United States. A lot of Latin American money comes here. And so, the United States itself is a tax haven. United States has a kind of two-faced problem. One is that it's losing money to foreign tax havens, but also it is itself offering secrecy facilities, offering tax-free treatment to foreigners who bring their money here, and helping foreigners evade taxes and commit crimes. And one of the arguments, great arguments, in my book is that this money that's coming in does not make up for the money being lost. Instead, it causes harm. It further puffs up wasteful property bubbles, further puffs up Wall Street, and has contributed even more to this, you know, "too big to fail" problem and the problem the financial capture of the political process. So we have a double-the inflow problem and the outflow problem both being harmful for the United States, but also for the developing countries.

Amy Goodman: So what do you think-how should this change? I mean, you have this enormous emphasis on the deficit in this country. You say that offshore tax evasion has cost the United States $100 billion a year. How can we turn this around?

Nicholas Shaxson: Well, as I said, the $100 billion, I see, is just one part of the picture. I think that there are-there is some legislation that is coming in to try and crack down on this stuff. There was a bill originally co-sponsored by Barack Obama before he was president, and now it has not-it has not yet passed through, but Senator Levin, I believe, is-it's called the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act-Senator Levin is, I believe, trying to reintroduce this.

There is no magic bullet that is going to solve this problem, but there are a series of different measures that can be and need to be taken. And the first thing that really has to be done is for people to start to see how big and bad this system has become. While people think it's just a few islands out in the Caribbean doing a little bit of tax evasion-I'm not saying $100 billion is just a little bit of tax evasion, but while people still see it as a problem just on that scale, there won't be the political momentum for reform. One of my central arguments is this is so much bigger and so much badder than almost anybody knows. We need to-as a first step for reform, we need to understand that and spread the message.

Amy Goodman: Well, I mean, you say it was President Obama who was pushing this as senator, but it's the same President Obama who is trying to raise a billion dollars in 2012. What would you say is the single most powerful force that is stopping any kind of crackdown on this?

Nicholas Shaxson: Well, I think, of course, Wall Street banks and financial institutions, which are huge fans of the offshore system. Multinational corporations are able to use the offshore system through-particularly through tax avoidance, sending their money offshore, not getting taxed on it until they bring the money back home, so they are huge, huge proponents of this system. So, corporate lobbying power is also a huge part of the problem.

Another part of the problem is that there is this kind of self-reinforcing dynamic of the offshore system. When one country cuts its tax rates, its corporation taxes, or it creates a new loophole, others in the game which are tax havens, which have a business model of being tax havens, then feel they have to keep up, and they think, "OK, we've got to create an even better loophole." When one country creates a nicely-a very strong form of secrecy, the other countries will say, "Ah, we've got to create an even stronger form." So you have this kind of race to the bottom.

And one of the big effects from a tax point of view-and this also happens with financial regulation-but from a tax point of view, what you will get is the tax charge on mobile capital, which is very often the form of how wealthy people and corporations receive their income and how they're taxed, the tax charge on mobile capital falls. That means somebody else has to pay for those taxes that aren't being paid by the wealthy people and corporations, so other people have to pick up the slack. So you get a kind of compression of the tax system because of this dynamic. So you get ordinary people having to pay more in order to pay the taxes that the wealthier people are not paying. And this is a kind of impersonal dynamic that is inherent to the offshore system. And one thing that is especially required to deal with that is international cooperation, and I think the United States can take a lead, a global lead, and should take a global lead, on getting cooperation on this kind of problem that is a part of the offshore system.

Juan Gonzalez: And isn't part of the problem that any talk of reform has to run up against the fact that the international banking system, to one degree or another, benefits from the entire situation of these tax havens? Because I would assume that the money is always held in banks, whether it's in the United States or in England or in these other countries, and I would assume that the banks that help facilitate this kind of avoidance or evasion end up with bigger fees as a result of their extra assistance to the holders of these accounts, so that, in essence, the banking system doesn't want to see this changed.

Nicholas Shaxson: No, I think that's probably fairly true to say. We should not underestimate also the lobbying power of the accounting firms. They are-that's something that people don't really consider. Of course the banks are huge. The accounting firms, the legal firms that are involved in this are absolutely enormous.

I think one of the things that could be done is to look at ways of having much more severe penalties on people who assist particularly criminal tax evasion and other aspects of it. But we also mustn't lose sight of the financial regulation aspect of this. And when countries like the United Kingdom, but other tax havens like Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, which are not traditionally regarded as tax havens, but they're huge, huge players in this business, we must increasingly recognize them as engaging in what is nothing short of economic warfare against the United States and other countries. We really need to start recognizing that this is-you know, this is conflict. This is economic conflict. When one country tries to suck tax revenue or illicit flows or whatever out of another country, that is an aggressive act. And we need to start taking much more robust action to defend all of our countries against what's going on in the offshore system.

Amy Goodman: Nicholas, very quickly, as we wrap up, the two powers-corporate power and grassroots power. On the corporate side, you have people like Rupert Murdoch, who determines much of the debate in this country with his ownership of media. You call him a "master of offshore gymnastics." And then you've got the grassroots movements, Uncut, both in Britain and the United States, this growing movement that's going after tax avoiders. Talk about both. Start with Rupert Murdoch.

Nicholas Shaxson: OK, Rupert Murdoch. Now he-the last investigation into his tax affairs I'm aware of is one conducted by The Economist in, I think, 1998 or 1999, so we don't have very updated data on him, but he had cut his tax rate down to six percent, when others were paying, you know, much higher rates. A recent Government Accountability Office report in 2008 estimated that News Corporation has 152 offshore subsidiaries, according to their definition of tax havens. So he is certainly a big player in the game. And when you have-you know, he's not the only-obviously not the only media player using offshore tax havens; it's very widespread. But when you have big players in the game defending this, then you have a big problem from the media point of view, as well.

On the grassroots side, this is incredibly heartening, what's been happening. There has been until, I would say, a year ago almost complete radio silence on this issue. Very few people were taking an interest in it. We saw-we have seen the Uncut movement is something that emerges, spontaneous protests against corporate tax avoidance. In my country, in the U.K., where there's big spending cuts happening, people turning around, saying, "How come we're giving these effective subsidies to corporations, these tax subsidies to corporations, and now we're having to cut schools and hospitals?" And people are coming out onto the streets. And this is absolutely new, and this is thrilling to see. And it's happening in the United States. And stories such as General Electric's ability to get away with paying no tax in the United States is, you know, a catalyst for something. So something very new is happening now, and it's tremendously refreshing. And this is, you know, the beginning, I believe, of something much bigger that will, as austerity and deficits continue to bite, will get more people into the streets.

Amy Goodman: We have video of the protesters, the Uncut folks in the United States, holding up Treasure Islands, your book. Nicholas Shaxson, we want to thank you very much for being with us-

Nicholas Shaxson: Thanks very much.

Amy Goodman:-author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens.


9) Radioactivity Rises in Sea Off Japan Nuclear Plant
April 15, 2011

TOKYO (AP) - Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near a tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in northern Japan, signaling the possibility of new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday.

The announcement came after a magnitude-5.9 earthquake jolted Japan on Saturday morning, hours after the country's nuclear safety agency ordered plant operators to beef up their quake preparedness systems to prevent a recurrence of the nuclear crisis.

There were no reports of damage from the earthquake, and there was no risk of a tsunami similar to the one that struck the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant March 11 after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake, causing Japan's worst-ever nuclear plant disaster.

Since the tsunami knocked out the plant's cooling systems, workers have been spraying massive amounts of water on the overheated reactors. Some of that water, contaminated with radiation, leaked into the Pacific. Plant officials said they plugged that leak on April 5 and radiation levels in the sea dropped.

But the government said Saturday that radioactivity in the seawater has risen again in recent days. The level of radioactive iodine-131 spiked to 6,500 times the legal limit, according to samples taken Friday, up from 1,100 times the limit in samples taken the day before. Levels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 rose nearly fourfold. The increased levels are still far below those recorded earlier this month before the initial leak was plugged.

The new rise in radioactivity could have been caused by the installation Friday of steel panels intended to contain radiation that may have temporarily stirred up stagnant waste in the area, Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told reporters. However, the increase in iodine-131, which has a relatively short eight-day half life, could signal the possibility of a new leak, he said.

"We want to determine the origin and contain the leak, but I must admit that tracking it down is difficult," he said.

Authorities have insisted the radioactivity will dissipate and poses no immediate threat to sea creatures or people who might eat them. Most experts agree.

Regardless, plant workers on Saturday began dumping sandbags filled with zeolite, a mineral that absorbs radioactive cesium, into the sea to combat the radiation leaks.

Meanwhile, the newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported, without citing its sources, that a secret plan to dismantle Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the radiation-leaking Fukushima plant, was circulating within the government. The proposal calls for putting TEPCO, the world's largest private electricity company, under close government supervision before putting it into bankruptcy and thoroughly restructuring its assets. Most government offices were closed Saturday, and the report could not be immediately confirmed.

In the wake of the nuclear crisis, the government ordered 13 nuclear plant operators to check and improve outside power links to avoid earthquake-related outages that could cause safety systems to fail as they did at the Fukushima plant, Nishiyama told reporters late Friday. The operators, including TEPCO, are to report back by May 16.

Power outages during a strong aftershock on April 7 drove home the need to ensure that plants are able to continue to operate crucial cooling systems and other equipment despite earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters, Nishiyama said.

Utility companies were ordered to reinforce the quake resistance of power lines connected to each reactor or to rebuild them. They also must store all electrical equipment in watertight structures. Earlier, the nuclear agency ordered plant operators to store at least two emergency backup generators per reactor and to install fire pumps and power supply vehicles as further precautions.

The massive 46-foot (14-meter) wave that swamped Fukushima Dai-ichi last month knocked out emergency generators meant to power cooling systems. Since then, explosions, fires and other malfunctions have compounded efforts by TEPCO to repair the plant and stem radiation leaks.

TEPCO said Saturday it had moved power sources for some of the reactors at the stricken plant to higher ground by Friday evening in order to avoid another disastrous failure in the event of a tsunami.

Goshi Hosono, an adviser to the prime minister and member of the nuclear crisis management task force, said the damaged reactors were much more stable than they had been earlier in the crisis and TEPCO was preparing to unveil a plan for restoring cooling capacity to the ailing reactors "soon."

"Problems are still piled up and we are far from the end of crisis," he told a TV news program, citing radioactive water as one of the biggest headaches. "I expect there will be more mountains that we have to climb over."

The crisis at the Fukushima plant has forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate the area, while radiation leaks have contaminated crops and left fishermen unable to sell their catches, adding to the suffering of communities already devastated by earthquake and tsunami damage.

Government officials fanned out across the affected areas to explain their decisions and calm nerves.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama apologized for the uncertainty and confusion to residents in Iitate village, parts of which the government recommended be evacuated because of the nuclear crisis.

"Everyone in the village must be extremely troubled, uncertain and worried," he said, promising to provide temporary housing and financial support for the residents, many of them farmers.

In the city of Inawashiro, Hiroshima University Professor Kenji Kamiya, who has been appointed a health risk adviser to Fukushima prefecture, met with about 250 education officials to explain that radiation levels in the area do not pose an immediate or significant threat to the public.

"I hope people understand that the levels we are seeing are fairly low. Even in the most impacted areas, we have screened more than 1,000 children for radiation abnormalities in their thyroids and have found none at all," he said.

Kamiya has been giving almost daily lectures in an effort to prevent people from overreacting to the possible danger.

"People fear things that they don't understand. We were even afraid before of the rain, because we just didn't know if it was safe," said Takaaki Kobayashi, a father of two grade school children. "I feel more comfortable now about sending kids to school. It helps to understand."

Associated Press writers Eric Talmadge in Inawashiro and Elaine Kurtenbach and Noriko Kitano in Tokyo contributed to this report.


10) Syrians Renew Protests Despite Concessions
April 15, 2011

CAIRO - The largest group of protesters yet thronged the Syrian capital, Damascus, in a widening challenge to the government, defying a nationwide crackdown in which hundreds of demonstrators have been killed by security forces. Marches across the country were met with tear gas, beatings and reports of gunfire.

The security forces' apparent inability to keep protesters in different suburbs from converging in a large demonstration was ominous for the government, activists said.

Tens of thousands of protesters chanted, "Freedom! Freedom!" and "The people want to overthrow the regime!" as they marched into Damascus from its restive suburbs on Friday afternoon, according to Razan Zeitouneh, a human rights activist. Previously, the government had managed to hold a tense calm for weeks in the capital.

Ms. Zeitouneh estimated that the march began with 20,000 people in Douma, the site of large protests each of the past two weekends, and passed through a string of suburbs including Harasta and Arbeen, gathering new protesters as it went.

Security forces responded with live ammunition and tear gas, she said, but no deaths were reported and a witness said that the forces were firing into the air. At midday, the march was continuing to push toward Abbasayeen Square in the heart of Damascus, where traitors have traditionally been hanged. By the time the column of marchers had reached the city limits, it had snowballed into a potentially serious challenge for the government of President Bashar al-Assad, whose 11-year tenure has been badly shaken by the recent weeks of unrest.

Analysts said that the less aggressive response to the demonstrations on Friday represented a sudden change in tack by the Assad government. "They were huge, they were massive, but what is most interesting is that they seem not to have been repressed," Amr al-Azm, a Syrian historian, said of the day's protests. "For the most part, the authorities let them demonstrate. Violence didn't work, so they changed their strategy."

He continued, "So far there's been nothing of the serious dispersal methods that were used in recent weeks."

But the Assad government's campaign of arrests has remained vigorous, Mr. Azm added. "I think it's 'Let's go out and photograph them and go to their homes later on and round them up,' rather than busting up the protest in full view of the cameras that they seem unable to stop."

Witnesses in Damascus said that the security services blocked roads and prevented most of the demonstrators from reaching Abbasayeen Square itself, but that at 9 p.m. in Damascus, marchers continued to surge toward it. A witness who was near the square as night fell said that despite dozens of cars filled with security personnel armed with assault rifles, tear gas was the only weapon being used against demonstrators shouting: "No more corruption and thieves! No more state of emergency!"

A government employee named Mahmoud, 31, said that he had gone to Friday's protest because "Egyptians and Tunisians are not better than us."

He continued: "Syria used to be the most democratic country in the region. In the past, no one could come to your house or shop and arrest you. We want to live in a free country with no emergency law and no Baath Party."

Beyond the capital, there were reports of sizable protests in Homs and other cities and in the besieged southern town of Dara'a, which has been isolated behind a tight security cordon since the early days of unrest in mid-March. But there were far fewer reports of violence by the security services than there have been in recent weeks, and none of the deadly force that has killed more than 200 protesters in Syria to date, according to rights advocates.

The protests came despite measures announced on Thursday that were meant to mollify demonstrators.

"Why should we live in fear forever?" asked Omar, 25, a carpenter from Douma interviewed near Abbasayeen Square. "I want to say to the security forces, 'When you kill or shoot some of us, we will come back next Friday in bigger numbers.' "

Friday began with a wave of early morning detentions in the Druse village of Sweida and in a string of villages around Dara'a. At least 43 people were detained in Sweida, said Wissam Tarif, the executive director of Insan, a Syrian human rights group; by its count, at least 172 people had been arrested from 11 villages around Dara'a in the previous 24 hours.

Demonstrations were reported in towns that had not been affected by the unrest before, activists said. One of the largest was in Deir al Zour, a large town on the Euphrates River that is a center of Syria's oil industry, where security forces used tear gas in the afternoon to try to disperse the crowd.

There were reports of violence in Latakia, a coastal town where security forces were said to have fired live ammunition into the air.

Ms. Zeitouneh said that her organization, the Syrian Human Rights Information Link, had been informed of two deaths in Latakia, but that they had not been confirmed. Protests were also reported in the towns of Qamishli, Amouda and El Darbeseya in northern Hasaka Province and in coastal Jebla.

Security forces also massed in the main square of Homs to preclude demonstrations there, Mr. Tarif said. In response, protesters gathered in scattered neighborhood rallies, he said. Television images showed security forces there opening fire on protesters. Shots can be heard booming across a palm-lined square in the images, broadcast on Al Jazeera, as groups of men run shouting toward the source of the sound.

A rights activist in Homs said, "What is happening today is bigger than the last few days."

In Dara'a, thousands of protesters flooded the streets on Friday. Images on Al Jazeera showed people leaning over balcony railings to cheer and wave.

Protests continued in the predominantly Kurdish area of north Syria as well, but witnesses said the security forces there were out in smaller numbers and responding less harshly. Fouad Aleiku, a leading member of the Kurdish Yekiti Party, estimated that 3,000 people, both Kurds and Arabs, demonstrated in Mounir Habib Square in Qamishli, a town on Syria's border with Turkey that has a large Kurdish population.

The protesters chanted for reform of the government rather than its overthrow, which may signal that officials are making progress in taming some protests through dialogue with local leaders. Mr. Aleiku, who took part in a meeting with the provincial governor last week, said, "If the president engages in true reforms, I think that is most important."

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called upon the Syrian government to stop repressing its citizens. "The arbitrary arrests, the detentions, the reports of torture of prisoners must end now," she said.

Mr. Azm, the historian, said that he had been stunned at how quickly the protests had created momentum for change in Syria. "The regime has failed to impress people with both its basket of reforms and its campaign of intimidation and violence," he said. "It's to the point where, if they're going to stay in power, they'll have to either really massacre people or they'll have to get very serious about reform."

Liam Stack reported from Cairo, and Katherine Zoepf from New York. Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting from Berlin, and an employee of The New York Times from Syria.


11) Cuba Stages Vast March to Recall the Failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961
April 16, 2011

HAVANA - Fighter jets streaked overhead, gleaming olive-colored tanks rumbled down streets and hundreds of thousands of people chanted in revolutionary fervor as Cuba on Saturday at once looked back with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and ahead to a congress that may decide its future.

The demonstration was typical of most government-organized mass marches here. In the early morning, buses from across the country disgorged workers waving Cuban flags, sporting T-shirts bearing the image of Che Guevara and other icons, carrying all manner of placards and banners, and dancing to pounding, patriotic salsa rhythms.

They marched along the Malecón seaside drive and then to Revolution Plaza, where President Raúl Castro and other dignitaries beamed at the show of force "to fight whatever imperialist aggression," as the announcer put it.

The failure of Cuban exiles, trained and assisted by the C.I.A., to topple Fidel Castro's government still ranks here as an important triumph over the United States, all these years later.

"Long live Fidel! Long live Raúl! Long live our Communist Party!" the crowd shouted.

Apart from the victory, the day also commemorated the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro proclaiming the revolution as socialist, forever. Timing the beginning of the congress - the sixth it has conducted and the first since 1997 - to a day draped in such history sends the message that the Cuban system can overcome the worst economic crisis in decades as well, analysts said.

"The symbolism of holding the party congress on the anniversary is that of a historic victory," said Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Cuban Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, a Washington group that has sued the C.I.A. to release its official history of the invasion. "Victory over the colossus of the north, and, Cubans will be reminded, the potential for victory over the economic problems."

President Castro, heralding the most significant changes since businesses were nationalized in 1968, has declared Cuba will not abandon socialism. He already warned that the state could no longer afford to keep four-fifths of the work force on its payrolls, though he has indefinitely delayed the layoffs of 500,000 state workers announced last year.

He also has expanded opportunities for entrepreneurs, granting 180,000 licenses for small businesses such as coffee vendors, fast-food stands and house rentals, with tens of thousands more expected to be issued in the coming months. At the same time, health and food subsidies are being cut back.

The party is expected to reveal further changes - it calls them "updates" - in the next few days, with analysts wondering whether President Castro will open the way to more drastic steps like relaxing rules on buying and selling homes and cars.

The economy has been crippled by the global recession of 2008, the free fall of its sugar market and, Cuban economists assert, the effects of the four-decade United States economic embargo.

The party is also expected to officially name Raúl Castro, who holds the second highest position, as its leader and designate a new No. 2, who will be watched as a possible successor. Fidel Castro last month disclosed he no longer was first secretary, the party's top position, though it is often under his picture in government offices that workers toil.

"Really, we do not know what is coming next," said Armando, a teacher making his way to the parade who, like many others still fearful of speaking their minds here, would give only his first name. "It is worrying, but look around you. Nothing changes here and that is the problem. We are like a living museum here."

In pictures and on television, these masses appear full of revolutionary fervor, but on the sidelines the scene is more typical of any march.

In a park, a group of men sipped rum from plastic cups - at 7:30 in the morning - and chatted more about baseball than anything else. A middle-aged man on a porch stood shirtless as marchers passed, feeding his menagerie of birds. A few women sat on a curb drinking water in exhaustion from a two-hour walk toward the plaza, they said, well before the proceedings began.

Still, a few handmade placards seemed to nod to the future.

"Efficiency," said one, "and victory."


12) When Unemployment and Profits Are High
Letter to the Editor, New York Times
April 16, 2011

To the Editor:

Re "Jobless Rate Is Not the New Normal" (Economic View, April 10), in which Christina D. Romer discussed the natural rate of unemployment that policy makers could see as a realistic goal:

There is one possible cause of persistently high unemployment that Ms. Romer does not mention: corporations like it high. It keeps employees, worried about keeping their jobs, from getting uppity. In another recent column, the chief investment officer of Citi Private Bank, Richard Cookson, said that in the current economic climate, "you don't have the ability for employees to gouge more from their employers." But when wages have been stagnant and corporations' profits and executive pay are soaring, would it be a sin against the social order for common employees to share in the fruits of their labor? As long as corporate interests remain politically ascendant, there is every reason to believe that this process of wealth extraction from the middle class - and, indeed, from the nation itself, as falling tax revenue saps its infrastructure - will only accelerate.__Mark W. Budwig

New York, April 11