Saturday, April 23, 2011



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:





The Irvine 11 are students from UC Irvine who spoke out against Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren for Israel's massacre of over 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza during "Operation Cast Lead." For this exercise of their free speech, they have faced academic suspension and probation, and misdemeanor criminal charges that they continue to fight. (Visit for more info).

Wednesday, April 27, 5:30pm at UC Berkeley
Clark Kerr Campus
Dining Center (Building 10) • Garden Room
Warring Street and Parking Street
Berkeley, CA
With Summer Hararah, Civil Rights Organizer with the Asian Law Caucus, and Eric-Michael Wilson

Thursday, April 28, 7pm at San Francisco State University
Business 113
1600 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA
With Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of CAIR in San Francisco, and Claire Douglas, activist at SFSU against budget cuts

Eric-Michael Wilson is a UC Berkeley student and activist against the budget cuts and fee hikes. He attended a protest in November outside the office of the UC Regents, where the Regents were considering whether to raise tuition for the 6th time in 4 years. At this protest, a UCSF police officer drew his gun on the protesters.

Eric-Michael -- despite clear video evidence to the contrary -- is accused of assaulting a police officer, when in fact he was only exercising his right to protest to fight for the rights of everyone to get an education. He will talk about his case and the fight against the budget cuts.

We will meet twice this week to build awareness of these cases and discuss what we can do to defend these activists.

Cosponsored by the International Socialist Organization, United National Antiwar Committee, Socialist Action, Berkeley SJP, Committee to Defend Lynne Stewart, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.

For more information, contact


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!


Middle East Children's Alliance
Bay Area book release event: The Goldstone Report
Thursday, May 5, 2011, 7:00 P.M.
First Congregational Church
2501 Harrison St.
Oakland, Ca. 94610
$15, $10 low income/ students

The Middle East Children's Alliance presents the bay area book release of "The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict" -- an edited version of Judge Richard Goldstone's UN report which documents war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, with a Forward by Desmond Tutu, an Introduction by Naomi Klein, and essays by leading journalists/activists/academics. Two of the book's editors, Phillip Weiss & Adam Horowitz of, will speak about first-hand testimonies and lead a discussion about why these stories matter and what we can do. Also, George Bisharat, law professor at UC Hastings, will introduce the event.


A Benefit for MECA's Maia Project:

Event page:




The Jeremy Marks case is one of the worst cases of state repression and deserving of everyone's support across the state of California and the country.

In May 2010 Jeremy videotaped a school police woman brutalizing one of his fellow students at a school bus stop. The police officer assault was witnessed by many at Marks' high school that day. Unbelievably Jeremy was arrested for "Attempted Lynching" an outdated charge of inciting a riot. 18 year old Jeremy was put in jail with a $150,000 bail. He stayed in jail until December when a Google engineer put up the bail money and he got out of jail in time to spend Christmas at home.


Our collective reality has been drastically changed since New Year's 2009 when witnesses captured BART police on video murdering Oscar Grant and since the outbreak of rebellions in Oakland of 2009 and 2010. For the first time in our lifetimes a white policeman is doing time for murdering an unarmed black man.

An Injury to One is an Injury to All

The powers that be certainly do not want the people to photograph police when they brutalize, terrorize and murder our people. But we will continue to film the brutal actions of the police and share those videos for all to see. There is no stopping the people's demand to be free from police terror.

Since Oscar's murder, laws are pending in 13 states making it illegal to record on-duty police. Prior to Oscar's assassination, only three states had such anti-copwatching laws!

The Oscar Grant Committee stands in solidarity with Jeremy Marks and in defense of all copwatchers! We support his struggle for justice and demand that the DA drop all the charges against him now!

A Black Mother's Fight to Save Her Son

Please join Ms. Rochelle Pittman, Jeremy's mother, on Mother's Day for a very special afternoon in Solidarity with Jeremy Marks

Sunday, May 8th at 3 p.m.
Eastside Arts Alliance Center
2277 International Boulevard, Oakland

Hear Ms. Pittman speak on:

Monday, May 9th at 7:00 pm
Humanist Hall
390-27th Street, Oakland
(between Broadway & Telegraph)

Also on:

Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m.

1612 - 45th Avenue - Eastlake YMCA
2 blocks from Fremont High School

Sign the on-line petition at:

Sponsored by: Jeremy Marks Defense Committee, ANSWER Coalition, Berkeley CopWatch, Center for Progressive Action, Homies Empowerment Program & OSCAR GRANT COMMITTEE Against Police Brutality & State Repression

For more info: call (510) 225-9212 or email


Save the Date!

Kent State University
Kent, Ohio
June 24-26, 2011

Working people across the country -- from Wisconsin and Ohio to New York, Oregon, and California -- are facing unprecedented attacks by corporations and the rich with the help of the federal, state and local politicians that they fund.

The corporate agenda is clear: It is to bust unions and cut workers' pay and benefits -- both in the private and public sectors. It is to erode and privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is to dismantle the public sector and social services by denying funds for job creation, education, health care, environmental protection, and rebuilding the infrastructure. It is to ensure that taxes on the wealthy are constantly lowered while the bite on workers and the poor is constantly increased. It is to perpetuate U.S. wars and occupations whenever it serves the interests of the multinationals. It is to divide the working class by race, gender, national origin, religion, and sexual orientation. It is also to limit and restrict constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties. The list goes on.

In state capitals, communities and workplaces across the country, workers are fighting back. But if we're going to be successful in pushing back the attacks on collective bargaining, stopping the budget cuts and concessions, creating jobs, and defending social services and education, we need to build unity within our movement, including forging 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.

Relying on politicians to defend us -- the so-called "friends of labor" -- has proven to be disastrous. During the past three decades, working people have suffered a dramatic decline in their standard of living while the rich have amassed an unprecedented amount of wealth at the top, regardless of which of the major parties was running the government. We have had every combination imaginable: Republicans occupying the White House with a majority in Congress, Democrats occupying the White House with a majority in Congress, or some kind of "divided government." But in each case the result for working people has been the same: conditions got worse for workers while the corporations prospered even more. Why should we continue this vicious cycle?

The working class has the power to put an end to this situation. And as the debate over the debt and the deficit intensifies, the need has never been greater for an organized campaign to demand "No Cuts, No Concessions!" whether in regard to social programs or workers' wages and benefits. We say place the burden for solving the financial crises squarely where it belongs: on the rich. They caused the crisis, let them pay for it!

The Emergency Labor Network (ELN) was initiated earlier this year at a historic meeting of 100 union leaders and activists from around the country. Join us June 24-26, 2011 at Kent State University in Ohio for a national labor-community conference to spur the campaign to build a more militant fight-back movement and to launch a national campaign for an alternative agenda for working people. Together we can move forward on both fronts.

This conference is open to all who agree with its purpose, as explained in this Call. To register for the conference, please go to our website at If you prefer to register offline, write or call 216-736-4715 for a registration form.

For more information, e-mail or call 216-736-4715.


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


More troops join anti-government protests in Yemen
More soldiers have been joining anti-government protests on the streets of the capital Sana'a.


W.E. A.L.L. B.E.: Miss. Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker On Frederick Carter Hanging (4/19/2011)


Egyptian Soldiers Join Protest Demanding End to Military Dictatorship
Adam Hanieh: Class struggle in Egypt enters a new stage


Our Government at Work????? Not......

Oh Wonderful, while we are all praying to keep our jobs!!!!!!!!!!
This picture is worth a trillion $$$

House Minority Leader pictured standing, far right, speaks while colleagues play solitaire Monday night as the House convened to vote on a new budget. (AP)

The guy sitting in the row in front of these two....he's on Facebook, and the guy behind Hennessy is checking out the baseball scores.

These are the folks that couldn't get the budget out by Oct. 1, and are about to control your health care, cap and trade, and the list goes on and on?.
Should we buy them larger screen computers - or - a ticket home, permanently?

This is one of their 3-DAY WORK WEEKS that we all pay for (salary is about $179,000 per year).



Row over Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning treatment (12Apr11)


AP writer pwned State Department on Human Rights Abuse of Bradley Manning


Max Romeo - Socialism Is Love


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]




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




Defend our liberties! In solidarity, buy a Civil Liberty Bond today
Committee to Stop FBI Repression Defend Our Civil Liberties!
PO Box 14183, Minneapolis MN 55414 Buy a Civil Liberty Bond Today! An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

Dear Friends,

Statements of support and actions taken by your organization are deeply appreciated. Thank you!

Do you want another way to actively support the defense of our Civil Liberties and the antiwar and international solidarity activists targeted by the FBI in the current sweep of repression?

Civil Liberty Bonds are perfect birthday or holiday or any-day gifts! For organizations and for individuals.

Civil Liberty Bonds are available in denominations of $10, $25, $50, $100, $250 & $500. They may be purchased online and printed directly from the website by clicking on this link: Civil Liberty Bonds.  Or from a link that appears in the upper right corner on the home page that takes you directly to the Civil Liberty Bond page.

Show your visible support for Civil Liberties. Buy a Civil Liberty Bond for your organization! Civil Liberty Bond can a gift to a liberty-loving individual or presented to honor a courageous organization like yours. Or a bond may be framed to hang on wall in an office or home to boldly declare, as it says: Material Support for the defense of freedom of speech, thought and action in the service of solidarity and peace. The bearer is entitled "as are we all" to a future free from harassment and repression.

All 23 of the targeted activists say that they will not cooperate with this witch hunt against the movements so many of us have worked to build. The U.S. attorney is working to put these activists in prison. Whether some of them are indicted, or others are jailed for refusing to testify, the threat is very real. We will carry forward the fight for our right to speak out, organize and to stand in solidarity with those who want freedom.

We invite your organization to purchase a Civil Liberty Bond to help with legal expenses for the subpoenaed activists. National Lawyers Guild attorneys are donating countless hours of time and expertise to ensure the protection of First Amendment rights. As the legal processes continue and several more people have been subpoenaed, the costs of legal office staff, court fees, and supplies are mounting.

Please also forward this request to purchase bonds to your membership via a special mailing or your regular communications. Remember that Civil Liberty Bonds are perfect birthday or holiday or any-day gifts!

Gratitude for your solidarity can hardly be expressed in words. Thank you for your continuing support of our Civil Liberties and those who are specifically targeted by the FBI. Your support is essential for all of us.


the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis MN Â 55414

P.S. Don't forget to go to Stop and sign the Pledge to Resist!


Please forward and otherwise distribute this message!

Committee to Stop FBI Repression


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
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Add your name! We stand with Bradley Manning.

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

Dear All,

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

Read the complete public letter and add your name at:

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) Patients Are Not Consumers
April 21, 2011

2) Drone Strikes Militants in Northwest Pakistan
"Friday's attack could further fuel antidrone sentiment among the Pakistani public. A government official in North Waziristan told Pakistani reporters that five children and four women were among the 23 who were killed."
April 22, 2011

3) Libyan Rebels Advance; U.S. Will Deploy Drones
April 21, 2011

4) Nation's Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows
April 21, 2011

5) Protests in Uganda Over Rising Prices Grow Violent
April 21, 2011

6) New Hampshire Senate Approves Bill Curbing Unions
"...a law is expected to be adopted that would prohibit unions from collecting mandatory fees and disallow collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union."
April 21, 2011

7) Syrian Security Forces Fire on Mourners in Several Towns
April 23, 2011

8) Camouflaging Price Creep
"By this fall, many have said, they must charge customers more." [That means more costs for back-to-school clothes for kids. They're the ones that must have new clothes because every year they grow!]
April 22, 2011

9) Rio Tinto in Deal to Develop Iron Mine in Guinea
April 22, 2011

10) Subaru Car Ad In Israel Shows "Power" By Running Over Palestinian Children
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
by occupiedpalestine
Friday April 22, 2011 03:38

11) Impact of Gulf Spill Persists
By Robert Redford, Reader Supported News
In New Film, Residents of the Gulf Say Impact of Spill Persists
April 23, 2011

12) Study estimates that illegal immigrants paid $11.2B in taxes last year, unlike GE, which paid zero
By Albor Ruiz
NY Daily News
Saturday, Apr 23, 2011

13) Classified Files Offer New Insights Into Detainees
April 24, 2011

14) WikiLeaks: Shocking Revelations in Guantanamo Files
By David Leigh and James Ball and Ian Cobain and Jason Burke, The Guardian
Posted on April 24, 2011, Printed on April 25, 2011

15) Study: Most Americans Want Wealth Distribution Similar to Sweden
By Daniel Tencer, 1319
"Norton and Ariely estimate that the one percent wealthiest Americans hold nearly 50 percent of the country's wealth, while the richest 20 percent hold 84 percent of the wealth."
Posted on April 24, 2011, Printed on April 25, 2011

16) PMA sues ILWU Bay Area local
By Richard Knee
April 21, 2011

17) Syria Escalates Crackdown as Tanks Go to Restive City
April 25, 2011

18) NATO Strikes Qaddafi Compound
April 25, 2011

19) As Acts of War or Despair, Suicides Rattle a Prison
April 24, 2011


1) Patients Are Not Consumers
April 21, 2011

Earlier this week, The Times reported on Congressional backlash against the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a key part of efforts to rein in health care costs. This backlash was predictable; it is also profoundly irresponsible, as I'll explain in a minute.

But something else struck me as I looked at Republican arguments against the board, which hinge on the notion that what we really need to do, as the House budget proposal put it, is to "make government health care programs more responsive to consumer choice."

Here's my question: How did it become normal, or for that matter even acceptable, to refer to medical patients as "consumers"? The relationship between patient and doctor used to be considered something special, almost sacred. Now politicians and supposed reformers talk about the act of receiving care as if it were no different from a commercial transaction, like buying a car - and their only complaint is that it isn't commercial enough.

What has gone wrong with us?

About that advisory board: We have to do something about health care costs, which means that we have to find a way to start saying no. In particular, given continuing medical innovation, we can't maintain a system in which Medicare essentially pays for anything a doctor recommends. And that's especially true when that blank-check approach is combined with a system that gives doctors and hospitals - who aren't saints - a strong financial incentive to engage in excessive care.

Hence the advisory board, whose creation was mandated by last year's health reform. The board, composed of health-care experts, would be given a target rate of growth in Medicare spending. To keep spending at or below this target, the board would submit "fast-track" recommendations for cost control that would go into effect automatically unless overruled by Congress.

Before you start yelling about "rationing" and "death panels," bear in mind that we're not talking about limits on what health care you're allowed to buy with your own (or your insurance company's) money. We're talking only about what will be paid for with taxpayers' money. And the last time I looked at it, the Declaration of Independence didn't declare that we had the right to life, liberty, and the all-expenses-paid pursuit of happiness.

And the point is that choices must be made; one way or another, government spending on health care must be limited.

Now, what House Republicans propose is that the government simply push the problem of rising health care costs on to seniors; that is, that we replace Medicare with vouchers that can be applied to private insurance, and that we count on seniors and insurance companies to work it out somehow. This, they claim, would be superior to expert review because it would open health care to the wonders of "consumer choice."

What's wrong with this idea (aside from the grossly inadequate value of the proposed vouchers)? One answer is that it wouldn't work. "Consumer-based" medicine has been a bust everywhere it has been tried. To take the most directly relevant example, Medicare Advantage, which was originally called Medicare + Choice, was supposed to save money; it ended up costing substantially more than traditional Medicare. America has the most "consumer-driven" health care system in the advanced world. It also has by far the highest costs yet provides a quality of care no better than far cheaper systems in other countries.

But the fact that Republicans are demanding that we literally stake our health, even our lives, on an already failed approach is only part of what's wrong here. As I said earlier, there's something terribly wrong with the whole notion of patients as "consumers" and health care as simply a financial transaction.

Medical care, after all, is an area in which crucial decisions - life and death decisions - must be made. Yet making such decisions intelligently requires a vast amount of specialized knowledge. Furthermore, those decisions often must be made under conditions in which the patient is incapacitated, under severe stress, or needs action immediately, with no time for discussion, let alone comparison shopping.

That's why we have medical ethics. That's why doctors have traditionally both been viewed as something special and been expected to behave according to higher standards than the average professional. There's a reason we have TV series about heroic doctors, while we don't have TV series about heroic middle managers.

The idea that all this can be reduced to money - that doctors are just "providers" selling services to health care "consumers" - is, well, sickening. And the prevalence of this kind of language is a sign that something has gone very wrong not just with this discussion, but with our society's values.


2) Drone Strikes Militants in Northwest Pakistan
"Friday's attack could further fuel antidrone sentiment among the Pakistani public. A government official in North Waziristan told Pakistani reporters that five children and four women were among the 23 who were killed."
April 22, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - An American drone attack killed 23 people in North Waziristan on Friday, Pakistani military officials said, a strike against militants that appeared to signify unyielding pressure by the United States on Pakistan's military amid increasing public and private opposition to such strikes.

The American strike came a day after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, met with the chief of the Pakistani military, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and appealed to Pakistan to do more to fight the militants that use North Waziristan as a base from which to attack United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The strike was the second show of determination to continue drone attacks since the head of Pakistan's spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, met with the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, in Washington to request a halt to the strikes.

Friday's attack could further fuel antidrone sentiment among the Pakistani public. A government official in North Waziristan told Pakistani reporters that five children and four women were among the 23 who were killed.

The attack singled out forces of a militant commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, whose forces cross the border into Afghanistan to make targets of American and NATO soldiers, the government official said.

Mr. Bahadur keeps a peace accord with the Pakistani Army that ensures that militants under his control do not attack Pakistani soldiers but concentrate only on allied soldiers in Afghanistan.

Those killed Friday were gathered in Spinwam, an area close to Mir Ali in North Waziristan that had become a hub for militants in the past several months, the official said.

In the increasing public war of nerves between the American and Pakistani armies, the provincial government is allowing a planned anti-NATO protest to go ahead in Peshawar during the weekend. The political leader, Imran Khan, has called protesters for a sit-in Saturday to block trucks carrying NATO supplies for the war in Afghanistan. The trucks move through Peshawar from the sea port of Karachi to Torkham, the gateway to Afghanistan.

The drone strike Friday came after Admiral Mullen delivered an unusually harsh message during his visit here, saying publicly that the Pakistani spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, directly supported and abetted the Haqqani network of militants in North Waziristan. The militants of that network are responsible for many of the casualties of American soldiers in Afghanistan, American commanders say.

The United States has long held that the Haqqani network was supported by the Pakistani spy agency, but rarely says so in public.

In an incident involving the Pakistani military and the Taliban, 16 soldiers from the Pakistani Frontier Corps were killed Thursday when their checkpoint was overrun by 150 militants near the Afghanistan border, a Pakistani security official said.

The battle continued for close to 12 hours at Kharkai in the northern district of Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, formerly North-West Frontier Province. Two officers sent to reinforce the troops were gunned down in an ambush, the official said.

The attack by the militants on Pakistani soldiers came as the army embarked on a renewed assault in Mohmand, a part of the tribal agency that has proven difficult for the Pakistani Army to control and hold.

In a report to Congress this month, the Obama administration complained that the Pakistani Army had "no clear path" toward defeating the insurgency inside Pakistan, and cited the failed efforts to eradicate the militants from Mohmand as an illustration. The army "was failing for the third time in two years" to clear militants from Mohmand, the report said.

The 150 militants who carried out the attack on Thursday appeared to have fled the army assault into Afghanistan and then re-entered Pakistan to strike at the soldiers.

General Kayani, the chief of the Pakistani military, visited Mohmand on Thursday for the second stage of the new assault focused on the Suran, a narrow valley on the border with Afghanistan.

The American and NATO forces on the other side of the border of Mohmand had helped Pakistan in attacking the militants as they escaped into Afghanistan in the last few months, the official said.

But the group of militants that attacked in Dir on Thursday appeared to have escaped before the assault on the Suran began, and had been allowed to re-enter Pakistan by elements in the Afghan Army who were assisting the Pakistani militants, the official said.

Jane Perlez reported from Islamabad, and Ismail Khan from Peshawar, Pakistan.


3) Libyan Rebels Advance; U.S. Will Deploy Drones
April 21, 2011

CAIRO - The government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi suffered setbacks on multiple fronts on Thursday as rebels in the western mountains seized a Tunisian border crossing, fighters in the besieged city of Misurata said they were gaining ground and President Obama authorized the use of armed drones for close-in fighting against the Qaddafi forces.

The rebels in the Western mountains took control of a border crossing in the town of Wazen after an early morning battle that sent a small number of Libyan soldiers fleeing across the frontier, the official Tunisian news agency reported. The news agency said 13 of the Libyan soldiers, including a colonel and two commanders, had been detained, while a rebel spokesman in the eastern city of Benghazi asserted that more than 100 had sought asylum.

As the fighting in the mountains has escalated over the last two weeks, United Nations aid workers say that more than 14,000 Libyan refugees - many of them members of the Berber minority, which is prevalent in the area - have fled across the same border, with as many as 6,000 a day crossing recently, a spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Commission said.

While it is unclear that the rebels can hold Wazen, their success is the first major crack in Colonel Qaddafi's control of the western region since he crushed the uprisings that broke out in Tripoli and many other cities and towns across Libya when the insurrection erupted two months ago. It opens the possibility of the rebels there importing aid or weapons and provides the first hint of a break in the stalemate that has settled over the Libyan civil war in recent weeks.

In a move that seemed to be aimed at ending that deadlock, the Pentagon said Thursday that President Obama had authorized the use of armed Predator drones against Colonel Qaddafi's forces, which have partly evaded the airstrikes by intermingling with civilian populations and operating out of unmarked vehicles.

The American military has used the Predator, a remotely piloted aircraft outfitted with Hellfire missiles, to hit targets in urban and rural areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen.

In announcing the deployment, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates described the addition of armed Predators as "a modest contribution" to the NATO attack mission. But Mr. Obama's approval of their deployment seemed to be another sign of gaps in NATO's ability to carry out complicated, extended combat missions without continued and significant American support.

Those gaps have become more apparent since the United States transferred command of the Libya mission to NATO on April 4, when the American military stepped back to a supporting role. Despite that move, American planes have dropped significant numbers of bombs, more than any of the other countries in the alliance.

In Misurata, the rebel-held port city where rebels have pleaded for weeks for such weaponry to beat back a siege by Qaddafi forces, a rebel spokesman said Thursday that recent airstrikes and aid shipments had enabled rebel fighters to take the offensive. The spokesman, Mohamed, whose full name was withheld for the protection of his family, said the rebels killed more than 100 Qaddafi soldiers on Thursday and 51 on Wednesday, when they also captured 40 others. "People are celebrating in Misurata," he said, speaking over an Internet connection because most telephone service and electricity to the city was cut off.

Among other advances, he said the rebels had driven away snipers who had terrorized civilians along the city's central Tripoli Avenue. "There is a pattern of collapse among the Qaddafi troops in and around Misurata," he said.

In the rebels' eastern stronghold of Benghazi, Col. Ahmed Bani, a spokesman for the rebel military, said anti-Qaddafi fighters had attacked the western border crossing at Wazen repeatedly in the past before succeeding on Thursday. "This is a supply line linking us to Tunisia," he said, adding that the rebel forces in Wazen were communicating with the leadership in Benghazi.

So far, NATO airstrikes against the Qaddafi forces have enabled the rebels to retain control of Benghazi and a handful of eastern towns, the western commercial port of Misurata and, according to some reports, the western mountain towns of Nalut and Zintan. But the Qaddafi forces have maintained tight control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and kept up a fierce siege on Misurata and the other rebel-held towns, and rebel leaders have complained bitterly about the relative paucity of NATO airstrikes in recent weeks.

While most attention has focused on the major port cities of Benghazi and Misurata, the mountainous western region stretching from Wazen to nearby Nalut and Zintan has simmered with opposition to Qaddafi. The Berbers there have long chafed under the Qaddafi government, which has sought to deny their status as a culturally distinct minority.

After rebels took control of Benghazi on Feb. 20, residents of Nalut and Zintan joined others from Tripoli, Misurata, Zawiyah, Zawarah, Sabratha and other towns in taking to the streets to burn police stations and the headquarters of Colonel Qaddafi's local "revolutionary committees." In the following weeks, however, his security forces re-established a firm grip on Tripoli and gradually recaptured most of the other towns as well, leaving Zintan and Misurata as the main western centers of resistance.

Faras Kaya, a spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Commission, said many fleeing to the camps described escalating clashes in the mountains around Zintan and Nalut over the last two weeks, as Qaddafi forces fired artillery toward the towns and the rebels lashed back. "The western mountain region has been under siege for a month or so," Mr. Kaya said. "What is clear is that they have fled because of the intensifying violence."

About a quarter of a million refugees have fled Libya into Tunisia over the last two months, he said. At the other main crossing near the Mediterranean, most of those fleeing were foreign workers, he said, but the 14,000 who have fled through Wazen have been Libyan families.

The deployment of the Predators follows weeks when rebels have complained of a lack of support from NATO after the United States handed over direction of the air campaign to NATO. In announcing the addition of the new weapon, Mr. Gates suggested that the United States was filling in a gap in the other arsenals of the other allies, who do not have similar attack drones.

"The president has said that where we have some unique capabilities, he is willing to use those," Mr. Gates said at a Pentagon news conference, suggesting the Predators would provide "some precision capability."

David D. Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, and Thom Shanker from Washington. Rod Nordland contributed reporting from Benghazi, Libya, and Mona El Naggar from Cairo.


4) Nation's Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows
April 21, 2011

Americans are more pessimistic about the nation's economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama's first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Amid rising gas prices, stubborn unemployment and a cacophonous debate in Washington over the federal government's ability to meet its future obligations, the poll presents stark evidence that the slow, if unsteady, gains in public confidence earlier this year that a recovery was under way are now all but gone.

Capturing what appears to be an abrupt change in attitude, the survey shows that the number of Americans who think the economy is getting worse has jumped 13 percentage points in just one month. Though there have been encouraging signs of renewed growth since last fall, many economists are having second thoughts, warning that the pace of expansion might not be fast enough to create significant numbers of new jobs.

The dour public mood is dragging down ratings for both parties in Congress and for President Obama, the poll found.

After the first 100 days of divided government, and a new Republican leadership controlling the House of Representatives, 75 percent of respondents disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job.

Disapproval of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy has never been broader - at 57 percent of Americans - a warning sign as he begins to set his sights on re-election in 2012. And a similar percentage disapprove of how Mr. Obama is handling the federal budget deficit, though more disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are.

Still, for all the talk from Congressional Republicans and Mr. Obama of cutting the deficit as a way to improve the economy, only 29 percent of respondents said it would create more jobs. Twenty-seven percent said it would have no effect on the employment outlook, and 29 percent said it would cost jobs.

When it comes to cutting the deficit and the costs of the nation's costliest entitlement programs, the poll found conflicting and sometimes contradictory views, with hints of encouragement and peril for both parties.

Mr. Obama has considerable support for his proposal to end tax cuts for those households earning $250,000 a year and more: 72 percent of respondents approved of doing so as a way to address the deficit.

And, in what he can take as a positive sign for his argument the nation has a duty to protect its most vulnerable citizens, about three-quarters of Americans polled think the federal government has a responsibility to provide health care for the elderly, and 56 percent believe it has a similar duty to the poor.

"Keep people's taxes and give them medical benefits," Richard Sterling, an independent voter of Naugatuck, Conn., said in a follow-up interview.

In what Republicans can take as a positive sign as they seek a more limited government, 55 percent of poll respondents said they would rather have fewer services from a smaller government than more services from a bigger one, as opposed to 33 percent who said the opposite, a continuation of a trend in Times/CBS polls.

And slightly more Americans approve than disapprove of a proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin to change Medicare from a program that pays doctors and hospitals directly for treating older people to one in which the government helps such patients pay for private plans, though that support derived more from Republicans and independents. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll that found 65 percent opposed Mr. Ryan's plan, suggesting results can vary based on how the question is asked.

Twice as many respondents said they would prefer cuts in spending on federal programs that benefit people like them as said they would favor a rise in taxes to pay for such programs.

Yet more than 6 in 10 of those surveyed said they believed Medicare was worth the costs. And when asked specifically about Medicare, respondents said they would rather see higher taxes than see a reduction in its available medical services if they had to choose between the two.

Given the choice of cutting military, Social Security or Medicare spending as a way to reduce the overall budget, 45 percent chose military cuts, compared with those to Social Security (17 percent) or Medicare (21 percent.)

The opposition by Tea Party supporters to raising the level of debt the nation can legally carry was shared by nearly two-thirds of poll respondents, including nearly half of Democrats; administration officials say blocking the government from raising that limit could force it to default on its debt payments.

For the most part, Americans split sharply along party lines when it comes to whom they trust most on the deficit, Medicare and Social Security.

But with 70 percent of poll respondents saying that the country was heading in the wrong direction, the public was not exhibiting warm feelings toward officeholders of either party.

Most Americans think neither Mr. Obama nor the Congressional Republicans share their priorities for the country. Mr. Obama's job approval remains below a majority, with 46 percent saying they approve of his performance in office, while 45 percent do not. And support for his handling of the military campaign in Libya has fallen since last month: 39 percent approve and 45 percent disapprove. In a CBS poll in March, 50 percent approved and 29 percent disapproved.

Republicans have their own challenges. More than half of poll respondents, 56 percent, said they did not have a favorable view of the party, as opposed to 37 percent who said they did. (The Democratic Party fared somewhat better: 49 percent did not have favorable views of it and 44 percent did.)

As the House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, becomes the face of his party in Congress, more disapprove of his job performance (41 percent) than approve of it (32 percent); 27 percent said they did not have an opinion of him.

The displeasure with officeholders of both parties is reminiscent of the mood that prevailed in November, when anti-incumbent sentiment swept Democrats out of power in the House and diminished their edge in the Senate.

Frustration with the pace of economic growth has grown since, with 28 percent of respondents in a New York Times/CBS poll in late October saying the economy was getting worse, and 39 percent saying so in the latest poll. "They're saying it will get better, but it's not," Frank Tufenkdjian, a Republican of Bayville, N.Y., said in a follow-up interview. "I know so many people who are unemployed and can't find a job."

The nationwide telephone survey was conducted Friday through Wednesday with 1,224 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.


5) Protests in Uganda Over Rising Prices Grow Violent
April 21, 2011

KAMPALA, Uganda - Riots broke out in downtown Kampala on Thursday as another round of street demonstrations over commodity prices spread after a leading opposition politician was arrested for the third time in two weeks, significantly heightening tensions here.

President Yoweri Museveni addressed the nation on Thursday evening, defending his government's action against protesters and the spending decisions that the protesters blame for the rising cost of living.

"Nobody can take over power through an uprising," Mr. Museveni said in televised remarks that were transcribed by New Vision, a state-owned newspaper. "Whoever thinks like that, I pity such a person."

Demonstrations over rising food and fuel prices started two weeks ago, spearheaded by two politicians who lost to Mr. Museveni in elections in February.

Despite the meager size of the protests, government security forces have responded with overwhelming force, killing at least five people since the protests began, including a young child, and wounding and arresting hundreds more.

On Thursday, the former presidential candidate who is the protest leader, Kizza Besigye, was bundled into a police van and taken to court within minutes of stepping onto a Kampala street. But unlike his previous arrests during the protest movement, Mr. Besigye was not granted bail on Thursday, and was later whisked away to a prison far outside of the city.

Norbert Mao, another jailed former presidential candidate who is leading protests, was transferred to the same prison outside of Kampala, indicating a growing sensitivity on the part of the government to the politicians' provocations and influence.

Until Thursday, the protesters in Kampala seemed only as bold as the senior politicians often at the front of the march. But with the leaders jailed, the demonstrations on Thursday grew on their own and evolved into a violent parade of protesters, some holding up banners attacking government corruption, and many with rocks.

"The situation is pushing us," said Jamo Luyombya, 24, a day laborer. "They are controlling us with the power of the gun, but not with their power of love."

In Kampala, heavily armed soldiers and police officers fought running street battles with stone-wielding protesters through a popular market as thousands stood on rooftops and balconies to watch.

In the town of Masaka, far from journalists covering the protests in Kampala, a 2-year-old was killed after being shot in the chest and head when the police opened fire with live ammunition near a crowd of unarmed protesters, according to Ugandan news reports.

Many more were reported wounded in Masaka, and two police officers were hospitalized after being severely beaten by protesters there, the police said. A news report said that the two officers had died on the way to the hospital.

"The Ugandan government must immediately end the excessive use of force against protesters," Amnesty International said in a statement on Thursday. "The police have a duty to protect themselves and uphold the law, but it is completely unacceptable to fire live ammunition at peaceful protesters."

The events could prove pivotal for a movement that so far has failed to gain the same momentum and social cohesion as protests over similar concerns in northern Africa.

"The rioting shows that people need change of government," said Annek Cabine, a bystander at the market where the protest came through. "Otherwise, this problem could become like Libya."

But many still see the protest movement as contrived, propped up by politicians bitter over brutal electoral losses. Others wonder whether it has a chance of displacing Mr. Museveni, who has been in power for a quarter-century.

"The key to regime change is of course the army," said Dr. Elliot Green, a Uganda specialist at the London School of Economics, who said that Mr. Museveni had "done well" in keeping the army "in his pocket."

But Dr. Green said Africa had a long history of urban food riots that brought down governments.

"Obviously the current situation in Burkina Faso should also worry Museveni, where a riot by soldiers was sparked by a food riot," said Dr. Green. "Museveni has a lot to be worried about."


6) New Hampshire Senate Approves Bill Curbing Unions
"...a law is expected to be adopted that would prohibit unions from collecting mandatory fees and disallow collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union."
April 21, 2011

The latest battle front over limitations on unions has opened in New Hampshire, where a law is expected to be adopted that would prohibit unions from collecting mandatory fees and disallow collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.

The State Senate passed the bill Wednesday - by a veto-proof vote of 16 to 8 - that would make New Hampshire the 23rd right-to-work state, and the first in the Northeast. The House passed a similar bill in February.

"I thought it was simply a freedom-of-choice issue," said State Senator Raymond White, a Republican who supported the bill. "At the end of the day it's simply a bill about does a person have to pay union dues?"

The two houses of the Legislature must work out a compromise bill that will be sent to Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, who has said he will veto it. The bill will then return to the Legislature for an expected override vote, at which point it will become law.

"The governor has been clear he would veto this legislation," Colin Manning, a spokesman for Mr. Lynch, said in an e-mail. "The governor does not believe the state should be passing laws dictating the terms of contracts between private employers and workers."

The battle over the legislation has been especially rancorous for New Hampshire. Protests were held at the Capitol in Concord last week, unusually loud and vitriolic events in a state where only 11 percent of employees are union members.

"We see this as an attack, really, on the middle class and working people and on our ability to negotiate," said Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire A.F.L.-C.I.O. "Our economy is doing better than most. There is no public outcry for right-to-work in the state."

The vote illustrates the major political shift that occurred in November, when conservative Republicans took a majority of the House and swept into the Senate, replacing the moderate bloc.

"These are not your typical New England moderate Republicans," said Dante J. Scala, a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire. "They're more libertarian-minded Republicans that think unions should be out of the question in a contract between employee and employer."

Like Republicans in other states, supporters in New Hampshire say the legislation is a way to improve a business climate in which there is competition with businesses in neighboring states.

"Right to work means more economic growth and more jobs here in New Hampshire, plain and simple," House Speaker William O'Brien and the majority leader, David Bettencourt, said in a statement.

Labor groups plan to mobilize for the veto fight with rallies this weekend and calls to legislators.

"The antiworker group has taken control of the State Capitol," Mr. MacKenzie said. "This is a street fight now."


7) Syrian Security Forces Fire on Mourners in Several Towns
April 23, 2011

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Syrian security forces fired their weapons into crowds of mourners in at least three towns on Saturday, as tens of thousands of Syrians buried protesters killed a day earlier in the worst bloodshed since the Syrian uprising began last month. Human rights activists and witnesses said at least six people were killed on Saturday.

The new violence came as the death toll from Friday, one of the bloodiest days in the so-called Arab Spring, reached 104 people, a number that activists said was likely to rise even higher as more bodies were returned to their families.

The bloodshed Saturday followed a pattern seen frequently in the tumult that has swept the Arab world. Deaths have begotten funerals, where more people were killed by security forces bent on crushing dissent against authoritarian leaders. While the toll paled before Friday's count, it suggested that Syria might be entering a prolonged period of turmoil, as protesters mount the greatest challenge to four decades of rule by President Bashar al-Assad and his father, Hafez.

Mr. Assad's government has struggled to cope with the unrest, offering concessions while wielding violence against those who persist in demonstrations. Even though the revolt has drawn large numbers into the streets since it started on March 15, it has yet to achieve the critical mass of revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, though organizers believe the bloodshed may draw more and more into the uprising's fold.

In a possible sign of cracks in the government's facade, two members of Syria's largely powerless Parliament resigned on Saturday. Khalil al-Rifai and Nasser al-Hariri, independent lawmakers from Dara'a, where the uprising started, told Al Jazeera that they were resigning in protest of the killing of demonstrators.

Wissam Tarif, the executive director of Insan, a human rights group, said that security forces fired at mourners after they buried their dead. The funerals soon became protests, replete with calls for the fall of Mr. Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000. Such demands, uttered publicly, were once unheard of and served as a marker of the degree to which fear has crumbled in the repressive state.

Mr. Tarif said two people were killed in the town of Douma and three in Barza, both on the outskirts of Damascus, where some of the worst bloodshed was reported Friday. One person was killed in Azra, a town in southwestern Syria.

In Barza, a witness said at least 1,000 mourners came under fire as they prepared to bury four men and two children, 7 and 14. The witness, who spoke anonymously for fear of reprisal, said security forces aimed directly at the mourners, many of whom sought shelter in the nearby Salam mosque.

He said the shooting lasted for at least 10 minutes. Religious figures inside the mosque pleaded on loudspeakers for security forces to stop firing at unarmed protesters and called for medical assistance for the wounded.

"They shot directly at people, and all hell broke lose," the witness said. "We could hear voices of children and people screaming frantically. We don't know how many were killed, but we heard one saying on the phone that four of his neighbors were killed and many were injured."

Across Syria, where clashes erupted in more than a dozen towns, residents braced for more violence, as the government signaled its determination to crush the protests.

"People are in a state of panic," said Abu Ahmad al-Dimashki, an activist in Homs. "Today is going to be a big day, and we don't know what the reaction of the security forces will be, but almost all of us expect another brutal crackdown, which will complicate things."

Mr. Dimashki said Homs, Syria's third largest city, remained completely shut for the sixth day. Last Tuesday, security forces and police in plain clothes attacked protesters trying to stage an Egypt-style sit-in in a city square.

Friday's violence started after the Muslim noon prayers, when scores of Syrians gathered in protests. Their demands have grown since the uprising began in March - from calls for reform to demands that Mr. Assad step down. In moments laden with symbolism, protesters tore down Mr. Assad's picture and wrecked statues of his father, who seized power in 1970.


8) Camouflaging Price Creep
"By this fall, many have said, they must charge customers more." [That means more costs for back-to-school clothes for kids. They're the ones that must have new clothes because every year they grow!]
April 22, 2011

The Easter special at many retailers this year involves higher price tags.

As retailers have been warning, their costs are rising as cotton and other materials get more expensive, laborers in China demand higher wages and fuel prices go up. By this fall, many have said, they must charge customers more. Because retailers pay for items about six months in advance, spring merchandise on the shelves for a few months was ordered and paid for in late summer, before costs soared. And when costs first started creeping up, clothing makers used an array of tactics to keep prices flat, whether by moving production to lower-cost countries like Bangladesh, using cheaper fabrics or ordering early to lock in prices.

By this time, though, retailers are running out of ways to avoid passing on the higher expenses. An uptick has quietly begun.

Companies are "raising prices, but are trying not to broadcast it for competitive reasons, and it also doesn't look good for public relations reasons," said John D. Morris, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets.

"They're doing it before they're actually incurring some of the higher costs," Mr. Morris said, adding that steeper increases will mainly occur in the fall and winter.

Several stores have couched recent increases inside promotions, or nudged price tags up by a little under 10 percent, the point at which many shoppers' radar picks up on the move. For example, at American Eagle Outfitters, the price of striped polo shirts was raised about a week ago to $34.50, up from $29.50. At Brooks Brothers, a wrinkle-free shirt is $88, up from $79.50 in January.

The increases have not been imposed from rack to rack. Retailers and analysts say stores are testing to see where customers will accept higher prices. Will shoppers accept more expensive jeans, but revolt if the price of T-shirts rises? Will they stop buying socks if the price goes up by 50 cents? What about $3?

Gauging customers' reactions could help retailers avoid errors in pricing when they make widespread changes in the autumn. At American Eagle, "there are areas within the categories that we do believe that we can take prices up," said Roger S. Markfield, vice chairman and executive creative director, in the company's March conference call. "In the right items, the customer responds as though there was no price increase."

"In the areas where we have tested and it is not possible, we will not do that," he said.

Aéropostale, too, has begun increasing prices selectively, executives said on its fourth-quarter conference call.

"Like us, some of our peers are testing different things and testing higher prices, and primarily in preparation for the back half of the year," Thomas P. Johnson, the chief executive of Aéropostale, said. "However, there is still uncertainty surrounding the macroeconomic environment and the consumers' response to higher prices." Right now, a long-sleeved Ralph Lauren men's shirt costs $95, up from $89, an increase of about 7 percent, while a women's gingham oxford at J. Crew costs $72, up from $69.50 a year ago, an increase of nearly 4 percent.

Janney Capital Markets follows prices and promotions at a group of specialty retailers. In mid-April of last year, it noted that Charlotte Russe was selling swimwear at $14.50 and up. Now, swimsuits sell for $16.50 and up.

Flip-flops at The Children's Place had been two for $5, and now are two for $6.

Bullhead-brand jeans for girls at Pacific Sunwear were two for $55 last year, Janney said. Now, they are two for $59.

And cotton underwear at Soma Intimates, once five for $25, now sell for five for $25.50.

Like Soma, other retailers are hiding higher prices in complicated promotions. The teenage retailer Zumiez, for instance, went from an offer of three T-shirts and two pairs of jeans for $85, to two T-shirts and two pairs of jeans for $80. (Hopefully its customers have already taken algebra.)

While virtually all retailers have said that prices will climb in 2011, across-the-board price increases have not yet been reflected in the Consumer Price Index. In March, apparel and jewelry prices were 0.5 percent below where they had been in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Though retailers were expecting more outrage, shoppers so far do not seem put off by the increases.

"A number of them seemed encouraged that customers weren't backing away as of yet," said John Long, a retail strategist at the consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates. "They hadn't encountered much in the way of resistance, which they found surprising."

At The Children's Place, which recently changed the standard ending on its items from X.50 to X.95, customers "didn't really even notice in these early rounds," Mr. Morris of BMO Capital Markets said.

Although shoppers are taking the hit on the higher prices for now, Mr. Morris said the tactic could be smart for the retailers.

"In a way, that's not a bad strategy because their customer is less likely to have sticker shock when they really have to ratchet up come the third quarter," he said.


9) Rio Tinto in Deal to Develop Iron Mine in Guinea
April 22, 2011

The mining company Rio Tinto said on Friday that it would pay the government of Guinea $700 million after reaching an agreement to resolve disputes over an iron ore project in the southeastern Guinean region of Simandou. The company said that it had signed a settlement to secure Rio's mining title for the project, paving the way for $10 billion in investment and the first shipment of iron ore by mid-2015.


10) Subaru Car Ad In Israel Shows "Power" By Running Over Palestinian Children
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
by occupiedpalestine
Friday April 22, 2011 03:38

A new advertisement in Israel, meant to show the "power and durability" of the Japanese Subaru car, caused outrage after showing a Subaru driven by a Jewish settler striking two Palestinian children in occupied East Jerusalem.

The advertisement was published by the Subaru dealership in Israel, featuring an incident that took place last year when the settler struck two Palestinian children with his Subaru car.

The settler, known to the Israeli police, fled the scene after injuring the two children. The attack was capture on video.

"We Will See Who Can Stand Against You", was written in the right corner of the horrific picture of a Palestinian child flying into the air after being rammed by the settlers' Subaru.

The victims were two Palestinian children aged 10 and 12. The 10-year-old child suffered a broken leg. The settler is at large, and is not even wanted for his crime.

The Fateh movement of President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the Subaru ad and described it as an act of aggression, promoting the harm and murder of Palestinian children.

The settler who rammed the children with his car was identified as David Be'eri, Director-General of the Elad settlement organization, an extremist settler real estate corporation that heavily promotes removing the Palestinians from Palestine, especially from Jerusalem, and replacing them with Jewish settlers.

The Elad movement heavily encourages Jewish settlers to move into Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, and provides them with financial support. Most of its financial comes from Zionist groups in the United States.


11) Impact of Gulf Spill Persists
By Robert Redford, Reader Supported News
In New Film, Residents of the Gulf Say Impact of Spill Persists
April 23, 2011

n the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout last year, BP repeatedly misled the public about how much oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the blowout, company executives would like us to believe that the spill has been cleaned up and the Gulf of Mexico is back to normal.

The people who actually live along the Gulf Coast tell us something different.

In a powerful new documentary airing on Saturday on Planet Green called 'Stories From the Gulf,' residents make it clear they are still suffering the aftermath of the largest oil spill in American history.

The movie is based on interviews produced by NRDC and Bridge the Gulf and recorded by Story Corps. I had the opportunity to provide the opening narration for the film, but most of the voices come right out of the Gulf.

Finally, the people whose voices were so often drowned out by BP's multimillion dollar PR machine have a chance to speak for themselves.

They describe the struggle to feed their families after fishing grounds were closed and tourism dried up. Captain Darla Rooks talks about the persistent rashes, headaches, and other illnesses she's experienced after coming into contact with oil and dispersants.

Rosina Philippe laments the dead porpoises and star fish she still sees washing ashore. Eric Tiser says, "I've been in the bayou my whole life, and ain't never seen so much dead stuff in the last six months."

These Gulf Coast residents also worry what the spill will do to the future health of marine life. "My community is a fishing community," says Wendy Billiot. "And we're concerned about the long-reaching effects that the dispersants are going to have on the seafood. Are the fish going to continue to follow their life cycles? Are they going to grow past the larval stage? How much of all of these natural resources are going to be affected long-term? I think it's a lot of question marks."

Uncertainty weighs heavily on most of the people in the film. "I never thought at the time that it would impact us the way it has," says Ryan Lambert. "After 30 years of building the largest guide business on the Gulf Coast, here we are down 90-something percent, we're going to have to rebrand and put the perception that everything is fine. But how do you do that if you don't know that it's fine?"

Listening to people describe how much the bayou means to them, you realize how painful it must be not to know if their way of life can survive. But to know that the damage was wrought not by the caprice of a hurricane but by the greed and negligence of oil companies is just plain infuriating.

Numerous investigations, including President Obama's National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, found that while BP, Halliburton, and Transocean made many reckless decisions before the blowout, the entire oil and gas industry lacks a culture of safety and risk assessment. The federal government, in turn, lacks the power and capacity to oversee offshore drilling.

The oil industry, the government, and Congress must take steps to strengthen the safeguards that protect workers and the Gulf environment. America, meanwhile, must reduce the addiction to oil that drives companies into ever riskier conditions, like the deepwater.

But even as we put these changes in place, we must not disregard the people on the frontlines of this spill. We must not minimize their struggle or the sense of loss and sorrow that persists to this day.

Instead, we should listen to what they have to say.

Don't miss 'Stories From the Gulf': tune in Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on Planet Green. Find Planet Green on your TV.


12) Study estimates that illegal immigrants paid $11.2B in taxes last year, unlike GE, which paid zero
By Albor Ruiz
NY Daily News
Saturday, Apr 23, 2011

I bet most of you didn't know undocumented immigrants contributed more - much more - to the national treasury last year than General Electric. Surprised? Yet it's true.

While GE - which earned a whopping $14 billion last year - is reported to have paid nothing, nada, zero in taxes (GE denies it), the undocumented paid billions in state and local taxes in 2010.

No, it's not me talking; it's the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy(, a prestigious, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that works on federal, state and local tax policy issues.

Obviously the old saying, "Nothing is certain but death and taxes," is not to be believed anymore. Or rather, only half of it can be believed.

Because death, of course, remains as dreaded and inevitable as ever, but with taxes the story is different.

"The rich are different from you and me," the famous F. Scott Fitzgeraldquote, is a much more accurate description of what's going on in the country.

To no one's surprise, taxes are still as certain for working people - and whatever is left of the middle class - as they ever were. But for, well, GE and other corporate giants, the only certainty is that many found ways to contribute as little to the country's coffers as possible.

At the same time, Republicans in Washington are involved in a mighty struggle to protect the tax breaks of the country's richest 2%, while happily proposing to cut the most basic social services to Americans who really need them.

Closer to home, Gov. Cuomo has announced the so-called millionaires tax will not be renewed once it expires in December, although since it was established in 2009 it has brought in as much as $5 billion annually.

There is no doubt, when it comes to taxes the rich are really different.

Ironically the vilified undocumented population, among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country, does its part when it comes to taxes.

They pay sales taxes and property taxes - even if they rent, ITEP said. At least half of them pay income taxes. And, I believe, if they were ever legalized, close to 100% would do the same. "Add this all up," ITEP said, "and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments."

ITEP estimates that households that are headed by undocumented immigrants (which may include members who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants) paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes last year. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.

New Yorkis fourth in the country in tax revenue - $662.4 million - from households headed by undocumented immigrants, after California, Texas and Florida.

"These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States," ITEP wisely advises.

"[These] immigrants - and their family members - are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers and entrepreneurs as well."

Enough with those people - and they are many - who think they are the only ones paying taxes, and who accuse the undocumented of being "leeches" who contribute nothing. How about redirecting their fury to the real leeches, those with enough means and political clout to exploit every single loophole in our tax laws not to pay their fair share?


13) Classified Files Offer New Insights Into Detainees
April 24, 2011

WASHINGTON — A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.

Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.

The documents meticulously record the detainees’ “pocket litter” when they were captured: a bus ticket to Kabul, a fake passport and forged student ID, a restaurant receipt, even a poem. They list the prisoners’ illnesses — hepatitis, gout, tuberculosis, depression. They note their serial interrogations, enumerating — even after six or more years of relentless questioning — remaining “areas of potential exploitation.” They describe inmates’ infractions — punching guards, tearing apart shower shoes, shouting across cellblocks. And, as analysts try to bolster the case for continued incarceration, they record years of detainees’ comments about one another.

The secret documents, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, reveal that most of the 172 remaining prisoners have been rated as a “high risk” of posing a threat to the United States and its allies if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision. But they also show that an even larger number of the prisoners who have left Cuba — about a third of the 600 already transferred to other countries — were also designated “high risk” before they were freed or passed to the custody of other governments.

The documents are largely silent about the use of the harsh interrogation tactics at Guantánamo — including sleep deprivation, shackling in stress positions and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures — that drew global condemnation. Several prisoners, though, are portrayed as making up false stories about being subjected to abuse.

The government’s basic allegations against many detainees have long been public, and have often been challenged by prisoners and their lawyers. But the dossiers, prepared under the Bush administration, provide a deeper look at the frightening, if flawed, intelligence that has persuaded the Obama administration, too, that the prison cannot readily be closed.

Prisoners who especially worried counterterrorism officials included some accused of being assassins for Al Qaeda, operatives for a canceled suicide mission and detainees who vowed to their interrogators that they would wreak revenge against America.

The military analysts’ files provide new details about the most infamous of their prisoners, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Sometime around March 2002, he ordered a former Baltimore resident to don a suicide bomb vest and carry out a “martyrdom” attack against Pervez Musharraf, then Pakistan’s president, according to the documents. But when the man, Majid Khan, got to the Pakistani mosque that he had been told Mr. Musharraf would visit, the assignment turned out to be just a test of his “willingness to die for the cause.”

The dossiers also show the seat-of-the-pants intelligence gathering in war zones that led to the incarcerations of innocent men for years in cases of mistaken identity or simple misfortune. In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.

Obama administration officials condemned the publication of the classified documents, which were obtained by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks last year but provided to The Times by another source. The officials pointed out that an administration task force set up in January 2009 reviewed the information in the prisoner assessments, and in some cases came to different conclusions. Thus, they said, the documents published by The Times may not represent the government’s current view of detainees at Guantánamo.

Among the findings in the files:

¶The 20th hijacker: The best-documented case of an abusive interrogation at Guantánamo was the coercive questioning, in late 2002 and early 2003, of Mohammed Qahtani. A Saudi believed to have been an intended participant in the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Qahtani was leashed like a dog, sexually humiliated and forced to urinate on himself. His file says, “Although publicly released records allege detainee was subject to harsh interrogation techniques in the early stages of detention,” his confessions “appear to be true and are corroborated in reporting from other sources.” But claims that he is said to have made about at least 16 other prisoners — mostly in April and May 2003 — are cited in their files without any caveat.

¶Threats against captors: While some detainees are described in the documents as “mostly compliant and rarely hostile to guard force and staff,” others spoke of violence. One detainee said “he would like to tell his friends in Iraq to find the interrogator, slice him up, and make a shwarma (a type of sandwich) out of him, with the interrogator’s head sticking out of the end of the shwarma.” Another “threatened to kill a U.S. service member by chopping off his head and hands when he gets out,” and informed a guard that “he will murder him and drink his blood for lunch. Detainee also stated he would fly planes into houses and prayed that President Bush would die.”

¶The role of foreign officials: The leaked documents show how many foreign countries sent intelligence officers to question Guantánamo detainees — among them China, Russia, Tajikistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Algeria and Tunisia. One such visit changed a detainee’s account: a Saudi prisoner initially told American interrogators he had traveled to Afghanistan to train at a Libyan-run terrorist training camp. But an analyst added: “Detainee changed his story to a less incriminating one after the Saudi Delegation came and spoke to the detainees.”

¶A Qaeda leader’s reputation: The file for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was charged before a military commission last week for plotting the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in 2000, says he was “more senior” in Al Qaeda than Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and describes him as “so dedicated to jihad that he reportedly received injections to promote impotence and recommended the injections to others so more time could be spent on the jihad (rather than being distracted by women).”

¶The Yemenis’ hard luck: The files for dozens of the remaining prisoners portray them as low-level foot-soldiers who traveled from Yemen to Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks to receive basic military training and fight in the civil war there, not as global terrorists. Otherwise identical detainees from other countries were sent home many years ago, the files show, but the Yemenis remain at Guantánamo because of concerns over the stability of their country and its ability to monitor them.

¶Dubious information: Some assessments revealed the risk of relying on information supplied by people whose motives were murky. Hajji Jalil, then a 33-year-old Afghan, was captured in July 2003, after the Afghan chief of intelligence in Helmand Province said Mr. Jalil had taken an “active part” in an ambush that killed two American soldiers. But American officials, citing “fraudulent circumstances,” said later that the intelligence chief and others had participated in the ambush, and they had “targeted” Mr. Jalil “to provide cover for their own involvement.” He was sent home in March 2005.

¶A British agent: One report reveals that American officials discovered a detainee had been recruited by British and Canadian intelligence to work as an agent because of his “connections to members of various Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.” But the report suggests that he had never shifted his militant loyalties. It says that the Central Intelligence Agency, after repeated interrogations of the detainee, concluded that he had “withheld important information” from the British and Canadians, and assessed him “to be a threat” to American and allied personnel in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has since been sent back to his country.

¶A journalist’s interrogation: The documents show that a major reason a Sudanese cameraman for Al Jazeera, Sami al-Hajj, was held at Guantánamo for six years was for questioning about the television network’s “training program, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo, and Afghanistan,” including contacts with terrorist groups. While Mr. Hajj insisted he was just a journalist, his file says he helped Islamic extremist groups courier money and obtain Stinger missiles and cites the United Arab Emirates’ claim that he was a Qaeda member. He was released in 2008 and returned to work for Al Jazeera.

¶The first to leave: The documents offer the first public look at the military’s views of 158 detainees who did not receive a formal hearing under a system instituted in 2004. Many were assessed to be “of little intelligence value” with no ties to or significant knowledge about Al Qaeda or the Taliban, as was the case of a detainee who was an Afghan used car salesman. But also among those freed early was a Pakistani who would become a suicide attacker three years later.

Many of the dossiers include official close-up photographs of the detainees, providing images of hundreds of the prisoners, many of whom have not been seen publicly in years.

The files — classified “secret” and marked “noforn,” meaning they should not be shared with foreign governments — represent the fourth major collection of secret American documents that have become public over the past year; earlier releases included military incident reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and portions of an archive of some 250,000 diplomatic cables. Military prosecutors have accused an Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, of leaking the materials.

The Guantánamo assessments seem unlikely to end the long-running debate about America’s most controversial prison. The documents can be mined for evidence supporting beliefs across the political spectrum about the relative perils posed by the detainees and whether the government’s system of holding most without trials is justified.

Much of the information in the documents is impossible to verify. The documents were prepared by intelligence and military officials operating at first in the haze of war, then, as the years passed, in a prison under international criticism. In some cases, judges have rejected the government’s allegations, because confessions were made during coercive interrogation or other sources were not credible.

In 2009, a task force of officials from the government’s national security agencies re-evaluated all 240 detainees then remaining at the prison. They vetted the military’s assessments against information held by other agencies, and dropped the “high/medium/low” risk ratings in favor of a more nuanced look at how each detainee might fare if released, in light of his specific family and national environment. But those newer assessments are still secret and not available for comparison.

Moreover, the leaked archive is not complete; it contains no assessments for about 75 of the detainees.

Yet for all the limitations of the files, they still offer an extraordinary look inside a prison that has long been known for its secrecy and for a struggle between the military that runs it — using constant surveillance, forced removal from cells and other tools to exert control — and detainees who often fought back with the limited tools available to them: hunger strikes, threats of retribution and hoarded contraband ranging from a metal screw to leftover food.

Scores of detainees were given disciplinary citations for “inappropriate use of bodily fluids,” as some files delicately say; other files make clear that detainees on a fairly regular basis were accused by guards of throwing urine and feces.

No new prisoners have been transferred to Guantánamo since 2007. Some Republicans are urging the Obama administration to send newly captured terrorism suspects to the prison, but so far officials have refused to increase the inmate population.

As a result, Guantánamo seems increasingly frozen in time, with detainees locked into their roles at the receding moment of their capture.

For example, an assessment of a former top Taliban official said he “appears to be resentful of being apprehended while he claimed he was working for the US and Coalition forces to find Mullah Omar,” a reference to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban chief who is in hiding.

But whatever the truth about the detainee’s role before his capture in 2002, it is receding into the past. So, presumably, is the value of whatever information he possesses. Still, his jailers have continued to press him for answers. His assessment of January 2008 — six years after he arrived in Cuba — contended that it was worthwhile to continue to interrogate him, in part because he might know about Mullah Omar’s “possible whereabouts.”

Charlie Savage reported from Washington, and William Glaberson and Andrew W. Lehren from New York. Scott Shane contributed reporting from Washington, and Benjamin Weiser and Andrei Scheinkman from New York.


14) WikiLeaks: Shocking Revelations in Guantanamo Files
By David Leigh and James Ball and Ian Cobain and Jason Burke, The Guardian
Posted on April 24, 2011, Printed on April 25, 2011

More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America's controversial prison camp in Cuba.

The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called "worst of the worst", many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.

The 759 Guantánamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there.

The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim.

The old man was transported to Cuba to interrogate him about "suspicious phone numbers" found in his compound. The 14-year-old was shipped out merely because of "his possible knowledge of Taliban...local leaders"

The documents also reveal:

• US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation alongside groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence.

Interrogators were told to regard links to any of these as an indication of terrorist or insurgent activity.

• Almost 100 of the inmates who passed through Guantánamo are listed by their captors as having had depressive or psychotic illnesses. Many went on hunger strike or attempted suicide.

• A number of British nationals and residents were held for years even though US authorities knew they were not Taliban or al-Qaida members. One Briton, Jamal al-Harith, was rendered to Guantánamo simply because he had been held in a Taliban prison and was thought to have knowledge of their interrogation techniques. The US military tried to hang on to another Briton, Binyam Mohamed, even after charges had been dropped and evidence emerged he had been tortured.

• US authorities relied heavily on information obtained from a small number of detainees under torture. They continued to maintain this testimony was reliable even after admitting that the prisoners who provided it had been mistreated.

The leaked files include guidance for US interrogators on how to decide whether to hold or release detainees, and how to spot al-Qaida cover stories. One warns interrogators: "Travel to Afghanistan for any reason after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 is likely a total fabrication with the true intentions being to support Usama Bin Laden through direct hostilities against the US forces."

Another 17-page file, titled "GTMO matrix of threat indicators for enemy combatants", advises interrogators to look out for signs of terrorist activity ranging from links to a number of mosques around the world, including two in London, to ownership of a particular model of Casio watch.

"The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bombmaking training courses in Afghanistan," it states.

The inclusion of association with the ISI as a "threat indicator" in this document is likely to pour fuel on the flames of Washington's already strained relationship with its key regional ally.A number of the detainee files also contain references, apparently based on intelligence reporting, to the ISI supporting, co-ordinating and protecting insurgents fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan, or even assisting al-Qaida.

Obama's inability to shut Guantánamo has been one of the White House's most internationally embarrassing policy failures. The files offer an insight into why the administration has been unable to transfer many of the 172 existing prisoners from the island prison where they remain outside the protection of the US courts or the prisoner-of-war provisions of the Geneva conventions.

The range of those still held captive includes detainees who have been admittedly tortured so badly they can never be successfully tried, informers who must be protected from reprisals, and a group of Chinese Muslims from the Uighur minority who have nowhere to go.

One of those officially admitted to have been so maltreated that it amounted to torture is prisoner No 63, Maad al-Qahtani. He was captured more than nine years ago, fleeing from the site of Osama bin Laden's last stand in the mountain caves of Tora Bora in 2001. The report says Qahtani, allegedly one of the "Dirty 30" who were Bin Laden's bodyguards, must not be released: "HIGH risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies." The report's military authors admit his admissions were obtained by what they call "harsh interrogation techniques in the early stages of detention".

At the other end of the spectrum the files detail many innocents or marginal figures swept up by the Guantánamo dragnet because US forces considered they might be of some intelligence value.

One man was transferred to the facility "because he was a mullah, who led prayers at Manu mosque in Kandahar province, Afghanistan … which placed him in a position to have special knowledge of the Taliban". US authorities eventually released him after more than a year's captivity, deciding he had no intelligence value.

Another prisoner was shipped to the base "because of his general knowledge of activities in the areas of Khowst and Kabul based as a result of his frequent travels through the region as a taxi driver".

The files also reveal that an al-Jazeera journalist was held at Guantánamo for six years, partly in order to be interrogated about the Arabic news network.

His dossier states that one of the reasons was "to provide information on … the al-Jazeera news network's training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network's acquisition of a video of UBL [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview with UBL".

The Guantánamo files are among hundreds of thousands of documents US soldier Bradley Manning is accused of having turned over to the WikiLeaks website more than a year ago.

The documents were obtained by the New York Times and shared with the Guardian and National Public Radio, which is publishing extracts, having redacted information which might identify informants.

A Pentagon spokesperson said: "Naturally we would prefer that no legitimately classified information be released into the public domain, as by definition it can be expected to cause damage to US national security. The situation with the Guantánamo detention facility is exceptionally complex and releasing any records will further complicate ongoing actions."


15) Study: Most Americans Want Wealth Distribution Similar to Sweden
By Daniel Tencer, 1319
"...92 percent of Americans would choose to live in a society with far less income disparity than the US, choosing Sweden's model over that of the US. ...Norton and Ariely estimate that the one percent wealthiest Americans hold nearly 50 percent of the country's wealth, while the richest 20 percent hold 84 percent of the wealth."
Posted on April 24, 2011, Printed on April 25, 2011

Americans generally underestimate the degree of income inequality in the United States, and if given a choice, would distribute wealth in a similar way to the social democracies of Scandinavia, a new study finds.

For decades, polls have shown that a plurality of Americans -- around 40 percent -- consider themselves conservative, while only around 20 percent self-identify as liberals. But a new study from two noted economists casts doubt on what values lie beneath those political labels.

According to research (PDF) carried out by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely of Duke University, and flagged by Paul Kedrosky at the Infectious Greed blog, 92 percent of Americans would choose to live in a society with far less income disparity than the US, choosing Sweden's model over that of the US.

What's more, the study's authors say that this applies to people of all income levels and all political leanings: The poor and the rich, Democrats and Republicans are all equally likely to choose the Swedish model.

But the study also found that respondents preferred Sweden's model over a model of perfect income equality for everyone, "suggesting that Americans prefer some inequality to perfect equality, but not to the degree currently present in the United States," the authors state.

Recent analyses have shown that income inequality in the US has grown steadily for the past three decades and reached its highest level on record, exceeding even the large disparities seen in the 1920s, before the Great Depression. Norton and Ariely estimate that the one percent wealthiest Americans hold nearly 50 percent of the country's wealth, while the richest 20 percent hold 84 percent of the wealth.

But in their study, the authors found Americans generally underestimate the income disparity. When asked to estimate, respondents on average estimated that the top 20 percent have 59 percent of the wealth (as opposed to the real number, 84 percent). And when asked to choose how much the top 20 percent should have, on average respondents said 32 percent -- a number similar to the wealth distribution seen in Sweden.

"What is most striking" about the results, argue the authors, is that they show "more consensus than disagreement among ... different demographic groups. All groups – even the wealthiest respondents – desired a more equal distribution of wealth than what they estimated the current United States level to be, while all groups also desired some inequality – even the poorest respondents."

The authors suggest the reason that American voters have not made more of an issue of the growing income gap is that they may simply not be aware of it. "Second, just as people have erroneous beliefs about the actual level of wealth inequality, they may also hold overly optimistic beliefs about opportunities for social mobility in the United States, beliefs which in turn may drive support for unequal distributions of wealth," they write.

The authors also note that, though there may be widespread agreement about income inequality, there is no agreement on what caused it or what should be done about it.

"Americans exhibit a general disconnect between their attitudes towards economic inequality and their self-interest and public policy preferences, suggesting that even given increased awareness of the gap between ideal and actual wealth distributions, Americans may remain unlikely to advocate for policies that would narrow this gap," the authors argue.

Norton and Ariely's survey was carried out on 5,522 respondents in 47 states in December of 2005. The results are to be published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.


16) PMA sues ILWU Bay Area local
By Richard Knee
April 21, 2011

The organization representing most West Coast marine terminal operators is suing a San Francisco Bay Area dockworkers' union local in federal court for alleged, unspecified damages stemming from an April 4 work slowdown at the Port of Oakland.

Both sides have maintained silence on the case (No. 11-1659), which the Pacific Maritime Association filed against International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 and its president, Richard Mead, in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
Cargo Business News learned of the lawsuit from labor activists planning a midday rally next Monday [April 25 at 555 Market St.--U&I] in front of PMA headquarters in downtown San Francisco to urge the organization to abandon the court action.

Cargo Business News obtained a copy of the plaintiffs' court petition courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

In it, the PMA is asking the court to confirm and enforce an arbitrator's finding that the work slowdown violated the contract between the PMA and the ILWU, and to award "all damages sustained by PMA and its member companies as a result of defendants' illegal violation of the (contract); PMA's costs of suit Š including reasonable attorney's fees; and such other relief as the court may deem just and proper."

Local 10 dockworkers shut down one of Oakland's seven container terminals and pared operations at two others on the daytime shift on April 4 but information on how much cargo and how many ships were affected has not been made known.

The work slowdown was tied to a series of rallies and other actions that organized labor staged across the country to voice solidarity with public employees in Wisconsin, where a bill stripping them of collective-bargaining rights was enacted by lawmakers and then put on hold by a judge.

Oakland was apparently the only West Coast container port where cargo-handling activity halted. Port authority representatives in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland, Tacoma and Seattle said operations proceeded as normal.

Port of Oakland spokesman Robert Bernardo said dockworkers walked of the job at the SSA terminal a bit before the 9 a.m. start of the day shift. In addition, they "curtailed or stopped" some activities at APL's facility, and handled only refrigerated boxes at Hanjin's, he said. The PMA took the matter to arbitration and received a favorable ruling at about noon, and operations resumed at the terminals at 5 p.m., he said.

The slowdowns caused a backup of truck traffic, which cleared up once operations resumed, he said.

Local 10 dockworkers also walked off in San Francisco, which is primarily a bulk and breakbulk port, but no cargo or cruise ship was docked there that day, port marketing manager Michael Nerney said.


17) Syria Escalates Crackdown as Tanks Go to Restive City
April 25, 2011

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Syrian Army stormed the restive city of Dara’a with tanks and thousands of soldiers and carried out arrests in poor towns on the capital’s outskirts on Monday in a sharp escalation of a widening crackdown on Syria’s five-week-old uprising, according to human rights activists and accounts posted on social networking sites. They said at least 25 people were killed in Dara’a, with bodies strewn in the streets.

The move into the town seemed to signal a new, harrowing chapter in a crackdown that has already killed nearly 400 people, with the single highest toll coming on Friday, when more than 110 people were killed in 14 towns and cities. So far hewing to a mix of concessions and brute force, the government’s actions on Monday indicated that it had chosen the latter, seeking to crush a wave of dissent in virtually every Syrian province that has shaken the once-uncontested rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Residents said at least eight tanks entered Dara’a before dawn from four directions, with anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 troops. Water, electricity and phone lines were cut to the area, making first-hand accounts difficult, and nearby border crossings with Jordan were reportedly sealed. Snipers took positions on the roofs of mosques, residents said, and a mix of soldiers and armed irregulars went house to house to search for protesters.

“There are bodies in the streets we can’t reach; anyone who walks outside is getting shot at,” said a resident of Dara’a who gave his name as Abdullah, reached by satellite phone. “They want to teach Syria a lesson by teaching Dara’a a lesson.”

A handful of videos posted on the Internet, along with residents’ accounts, painted a picture of a city under broad military assault, in what appeared to mark a new phase in the government crackdown. Tanks had not previously been used against protesters, and the force of the assault suggested the military planned some sort of occupation of the town.

“It’s an attempt to occupy Dara’a,” Abdullah said.

He said soldiers had taken three mosques, but had yet to capture the Omari Mosque, where thousands had reportedly sought refuge. Since the beginning of the uprising last month, it has served as a headquarters of sorts for demonstrators. He quoted people there shouting, “We swear you will not enter but over our dead bodies.”

For weeks, organizers have managed to circumvent the government’s effort to black out news from Dara’a and cities like Homs. But it appeared to have more success Monday. Organizers themselves had trouble reaching contacts, and only occasional videos emerged from the tumult. One showed heavily armed soldiers taking up positions behind walls, a few feet away from a tank parked in a leafy avenue. In another, a young boy threw a chunk of concrete at a passing tank. Other videos showed a cloud of black smoke rising on the horizon and volleys of heavy gunfire echoing in the distance.

“God is great, Bashar,” a protester cried in one. “Why are you attacking us?”

The town of low-slung buildings, with about 75,000 inhabitants, has become almost synonymous with the revolt, which has posed the greatest challenge to four decades of rule by the Assad family. Protests erupted there in March after security forces arrested a group of high school students accused of scrawling antigovernment graffiti on a wall, galvanizing demonstrations that have spread to virtually every province in Syria.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, urged a halt to the killings Monday, condemning “such disregard for human life by Syrian security forces.”

The United States called the violence “completely deplorable.” Tommy Vietor, a National Security Council spokesman, said the Obama administration was considering sanctions against Syrian officials to “make clear that this behavior is unacceptable.”

The government moved against other regions, too. Activists said security forces entered two towns on the capital’s outskirts — Douma and Maadamiah — carrying out dozens of arrests. Clashes have been especially pronounced in the poor, restive towns that encircle the capital, Damascus, and activists said there were reports of shooting during the raids.

Residents said security forces had surrounded the towns Sunday, with tanks and checkpoints. Anyone leaving or entering was searched, they said, either in preparation for Monday’s raids or in an effort to stop protesters from marching on the capital, a bulwark of the Assad family’s four decades of rule.

In Jabla, a coastal city inhabited by Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority and members of the minority Alawite sect, from which the government draws much of its support, security forces killed at least 12 people in a crackdown that began Sunday and persisted into the night. One resident said protesters had burned an army car and took a soldier hostage.

“The army is deployed all over the area,” said another resident who gave his name as Abu Ahmed. “I can’t describe how bad the situation was all night. It’s a street war.”

He said the shootings had exacerbated tension between Sunnis and Alawites in the city, a potentially dangerous manifestation in a country with a mosaic of religious and ethnic minorities, many of whom fear the government’s collapse may endanger them.

“The plate has shattered,” he said, using an Arabic expression. “There’s strife between us now; it’s been planted, and the problem is going to exist forever in Jabla.”

The widening crackdown comes amid reports that scores of residents have gone missing in Syria since Friday, many of them from Homs and the towns near Damascus, activists say. In Saqba alone, one of the capital’s suburbs, an organizer said that 100 people had disappeared Friday, with no record of their arrest.

“There is going to be much more bloodshed,” said Wissam Tarif, head of Insan, a Syrian human rights group, “All the signals from my perspective indicate that.”

Mr. Tarif said his organization had compiled the names of 217 people, in all, who had disappeared since early Friday. At least 70 of them were from the towns near the capital’s outskirts and 68 others were from Homs, Syria’s third-largest city and the site of especially vigorous protests the past week. Taken together, he said the group had documented names of the missing from 17 cities and villages.

“It just doesn’t stop,” he said. “Names keep pouring in.”

The crackdown is yet another indication that the government’s decision to lift draconian emergency rule, in place since 1963, may be more rhetoric than reform. Though the government has touted its repeal Thursday as a sweeping step, the past few days have proved some of the bloodiest and most repressive since the uprising began.

“We don’t trust this regime anymore,” another protester said in Jabla.

Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations to set up an international inquiry into the deaths and urged the United States and Europe to impose sanctions on officials responsible for the shootings and detentions of hundreds of protesters.

“After Friday’s carnage, it is no longer enough to condemn the violence,” said Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director at the organization, which is based in New York.

At the United Nations, European nations and the United States are circulating a draft Security Council statement condemning the violence of the crackdown in Syria and calling on the government there to respect human rights and freedom of expression. The draft also endorses a call by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, released last Friday, calling for an independent investigation into the mounting death toll.

The statement is due to be discussed Tuesday, but diplomats said it was unclear whether it could garner sufficient support in the 15-member council to become an official position. Russia in particular has contended that nations have exceeded the mandate of a Security Council resolution meant to protect Libyan civilians in order to take sides in the country’s internal affairs.

Employees of The New York Times contributed to this report from Beirut and Damascus, Syria. Neil MacFarquhar contributed from the United Nations.


18) NATO Strikes Qaddafi Compound
April 25, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya — NATO warplanes struck Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound here early Monday and bombed a state television facility in an escalation of the air campaign to aid the rebellion against his four decades in power.

The attack on the compound was the third since air raids began in mid-March, but the strike at the television facility was the most significant broadening yet of the NATO air campaign, suggesting that nonmilitary targets would be hit in an effort to break down the instruments of Colonel Qaddafi’s broader control.

A senior Libyan government official said Monday that the strike knocked state television off the air for about half an hour.

In the port of Misurata, 130 miles east of the capital, rebels reported that a widely publicized government pullback had given way to renewed shelling by government forces outside the city. The initial withdrawal by pro-Qaddafi forces over the weekend after a nearly two-month siege had bewildered some rebels.

In Tripoli, at least two large bomb blasts thundered over the capital just after midnight, and journalists escorted to the compound by government officials saw firefighters hosing down the smoldering remains of an office complex where Colonel Qaddafi works and meets visitors. The explosions sent cement and debris flying more than 50 yards. There were no signs of armaments and Libyan officials said no one was killed, although they said as many as 45 people were slightly injured by the blast.

Appearing on state television, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, one of the Libyan leader’s sons, asserted that the attack would not shake the Libyan people. It would only scare “children,” he said, according to the official news agency.

At the compound, a small crowd of young Qaddafi supporters gathered a few hundred yards from the blast site. The so-called voluntary human shields chanted and rallied before state television and the visiting journalists. But elsewhere loyalist government officials appeared more anxious than usual about the stepped up pace of the bombing attacks, accusing the NATO allies of seeking to terrorize the Libyan people.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity moments after the attack, said in exasperation that the strikes had gone too far and would justify terrorist counterattacks by Libyan forces in the cities of NATO countries. Other officials were already worrying aloud about the safety of their families in places like Surt, a center of support for Colonel Qaddafi that has also come under attack by NATO planes.

The attack was the third on or near the compound since the airstrikes began in mid-March. Several nights ago, two NATO missiles slammed into some kind of underground concrete bunker just outside the walls. An attack soon after the start of the air raids mangled a building described by NATO officials as a command and control center.

In Misurata, pro-Qaddafi officials said in recent days that loyalist forces had pulled back to permit a group of neighboring tribes to broker a ceasefire or continue the fight.

But rebels speaking over Internet connections on Monday said that neither a military pullback nor tribal intervention had materialized.

Mohamed, a rebel spokesman whose full name was withheld to protect his family, said his 92-year-old father and a cousin were killed along with 32 others in shelling Saturday night and eight more people died Sunday night.

“It has been a bloody two days,” he said. “There was no pull back. There was defeat and then revenge,” he added, referring to the rebels’ recent success at driving some pro-Qaddafi gunmen out of certain buildings they had controlled inside Misurata.

“We think the ‘pull back’ was actually a signal to escalate,” he said.


19) As Acts of War or Despair, Suicides Rattle a Prison
April 24, 2011

WASHINGTON — By October 2004, two years into his detention at the Guantánamo Bay prison, Ali Abdullah Ahmed had established a corrosive reputation among prison officials. Mr. Ahmed’s classified file said he was a hunger striker, “completely uncooperative with interrogators,” and “had a history of aggressive behavior in the camp, often defiantly failing to comply with instructions.”

Twenty-one months later, the military announced that Mr. Ahmed, a Yemeni, and two other prisoners had simultaneously hanged themselves.

Their deaths in June 2006 — the first at Guantánamo — fueled a debate between military officials, who deemed the suicides “an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us” by jihadists seeking martyrdom, and prison critics, who interpreted them as an act of despair by men with little hope of a fair trial or release.

Since then, two other detainees have succeeded in killing themselves — one in 2007, and another in 2009. Against that backdrop, a collection of secret detainee assessment files obtained by The New York Times reveal that the threat of suicide has created a chronic tension at the prison — a tactic frequently discussed by the captives and a constant fear for their captors.

The files for about two dozen detainees refer to suicide attempts or threats. Others mention informants who pass on rumors about which prisoner had volunteered to kill himself next and efforts to organize suicide attempts. Two prisoners were overheard weighing whether it would create enough time for someone to end his life if fellow prisoners blocked their cell windows, distracting guards who would have to remove the obstructions.

While medical officials struggled to keep hunger strikers alive, other officials were on constant alert for signs of trouble. In May 2008, a detainee ordered fellow prisoners to “stop singing that song; we will sing it on Monday when our brothers leave.” His file noted: “It was assessed he meant planning suicide attempts.”

Even stray remarks about suicide could have consequences. When assessing detainees’ risk level, analysts noted whether they were said to have expressed support for suicides — lowering their chances of release.

And both sides were focused on the public-relations implications: one prisoner told others in February 2006 that a detainee’s death would “open the eyes of the world and result in the closure of the base.”

In the early years at the prison, where many detainees experienced mental health problems, suicide attempts were typically described as a medical issue. A Saudi who incurred brain damage after trying to hang himself had been “treated here for depression,” his 2004 assessment noted. The file for another detainee with 12 “serious suicide attempts,” including cutting his throat in December 2005, said he suffered from a “major depressive disorder.”

Over time, though, officials appeared to take a more wary view, the documents suggest. In January 2005, a prisoner tried to hang himself after being placed in a cell next to another detainee he suspected of being an informant. An analyst noted that he “knows how the logistics work” and that “if he ‘attempted suicide’ that he would be moved from his cell and away from” the other detainee.

But the death of Mr. Ahmed and two others in June 2006 was a turning point. It marked the climax of a period of intense mass protests and turmoil, including a failed attempt at a multiple suicide the previous month by several detainees who swallowed prescription drugs they and others had hoarded.

The three deaths have gained particular notoriety among prison critics, with some skeptics even saying that they may have been homicides. The three men’s assessments do not address how they later died.

The records, part of a collection leaked last year to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, show that the men shared a history of hostile, defiant behavior toward their captors, but also that the evidence against them varied widely.

Mr. Ahmed was arrested during a raid on a guesthouse in Pakistan that officials believed had links to Al Qaeda. He said he was a religious student who had never been to Afghanistan. Analysts thought he was lying, his file shows, because several other detainees claimed they had seen him at training camps and with members of Al Qaeda.

The second detainee, a Saudi named Mani Shaman al-Utaybi, was arrested at a Pakistani checkpoint in a taxi with four other men, all hiding under burqas. He said he was a preacher for an Islamic missionary group, an organization officials believed had sometimes helped extremists.

Mr. Utaybi’s file said had been carrying someone else’s passport and made “inconsistent statements.” One of the men arrested with him had been to a terrorist training camp — but two others had already been released. Analysts said he knew little, and recommended sending him to Saudi Arabia for continued detention.

By contrast, the file for the third detainee, a Saudi named Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, said he freely admitted that he went to Afghanistan to be a jihadist fighter. It also said he had laughingly shouted “9/11 you not forget” at a prison staff member and told a guard “he would use a knife to cut his stomach open, cut his face off, and then drink his blood, smiling and laughing as he said it.”

Several later assessments of other detainees make references to the three suicides. One such file, for example, mentions in passing that a prisoner reported that another detainee had told him “he had been approached and recruited by the three detainees who had committed suicide.”

And Mr. Ahmed’s brother, Muhammaed Yasir Ahmed Taher, who was also a detainee until his repatriation in 2009, wrote to a family member depicting Mr. Ahmed “as a martyr,” according to an assessment. An analyst concluded that both brothers “viewed the suicide as a continuance of their jihad against the US.”

Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting from New York.


20) Protesters Distrust Deal for Yemen Leader to Quit
"The protesters are taking a harder line, and say that the J.M.P. is out of touch with the demands of what are known as the “independent” youth not affiliated with standing political parties. Leaders of some of the tens of thousands of street protesters — originally young people but now Yemenis from all segments of society who have set up permanent protests camps in cities throughout the country — said they suspected that Mr. Saleh could wiggle out of the deal at a later date, and try to extend his 33-year rule. ...Some protesters rejected the offer outright. Others, like Atiaf Alwazir, a youth organizer in Sana, said that her feelings were mixed, at best. 'It’s just another game,' she said. 'Let the J.M.P. do what they have to do politically, negotiate, and the youth will do what they have to do and stay in the streets.'”
April 24, 2011

Street demonstrators and youth leaders voiced skepticism on Sunday over an offer by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office in 30 days after agreeing to a plan that would grant him and his sons immunity from prosecution for any crimes, saying they did not trust his intention to step down and would continue their protests.

Mr. Saleh’s offer, which was mediated by his Arab neighbors, has accentuated the divisions within his opposition. The opposition coalition, known as the J.M.P., said Sunday that it welcomed the initiative, but only if a national unity government was formed after Mr. Saleh stepped down, not immediately as the current proposal put together by the Gulf Cooperation Council calls for. The coalition parties do not want to be part of a government with Mr. Saleh.

The protesters are taking a harder line, and say that the J.M.P. is out of touch with the demands of what are known as the “independent” youth not affiliated with standing political parties. Leaders of some of the tens of thousands of street protesters — originally young people but now Yemenis from all segments of society who have set up permanent protests camps in cities throughout the country — said they suspected that Mr. Saleh could wiggle out of the deal at a later date, and try to extend his 33-year rule.

Many said they were inspired by the youthful protests in Tunisia and Egypt, which forced autocrats in those countries out relatively quickly and without conditions. They said they wanted a similar outcome here.

Some protesters rejected the offer outright. Others, like Atiaf Alwazir, a youth organizer in Sana, said that her feelings were mixed, at best. “It’s just another game,” she said. “Let the J.M.P. do what they have to do politically, negotiate, and the youth will do what they have to do and stay in the streets.”

Ms. Alwazir said the idea of immunity for Mr. Saleh and his sons had divided many as well.

Protesters have repeatedly voiced their rejection of the offer of immunity for the president, though on Sunday there was some chatter via social networking Web sites arguing for a more pragmatic approach if it meant ushering Mr. Saleh to exit.

Other protesters feel that Mr. Saleh’s acceptance of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s proposal was typical of his political cunning and a move to put the opposition in a bad light and make it seem as if he were the one working to stop the country from falling into chaos.

“This initiative is for the sake of the regime,” said Tawfiq al-Shaoubi, a protest leader in the central city of Taiz, home to Yemen’s largest demonstration. “We will keep protesting,” he said. “This is regime must go so we can a build a new modern society in Yemen.”

In Sana, protesters who have camped out for weeks appeared to have no intention of moving and continued with their demonstrations on Sunday, chanting, “No negotiation, no dialogue — resign or flee,” according to Reuters.

In an interview with BBC Arabic television on Sunday, Mr. Saleh said he would not hand over power to what he termed “insurrectionists.”

“Who shall I hand it over to?” he told the BBC. “Those who are trying to make a coup? No. We will do it through ballot boxes and referendums. We’ll invite international observers to monitor. Any coup is rejected because we are committed to the constitutional legitimacy and don’t accept chaos.”

Mr. Saleh also said that Al Qaeda, which is known to have a presence in the country, had infiltrated protest camps. “Al Qaeda are moving inside the camps, and this is very dangerous,” he said. “Why is the West not looking at this destructive work and its dangerous implications for the future?”

His call to use the ballot box added to the distrust among his opponents. “The G.C.C. announced that he agrees to leave after 30 days, and he says he’s only leaving through the ballot box,” said Ms. Alwazir, the youth leader. “There’s not trust,” she said. “Especially since he’s contradicting himself right now.”

An independent Yemeni diplomat, who did not want to be identified, said that Mr. Saleh seemed confused and reluctant to step aside, but that he had drawn his own lessons from the experience of Egypt and knew he should take advantage of this offer of immunity.

He said that some in the opposition understood Yemen’s delicate state, with violence in outlying provinces increasing and the economy floundering, which is why they were willing to compromise slightly.

“Some J.M.P. leaders understand the current state of the Yemeni scene,” the diplomat said. “They realize that Yemen is on the brink of total collapse and might face a civil war.” But others, he said, chiefly Islamists from the Islah Party, want to keep pushing until they seize power, signaling a split not just between protesters and the formal political parties but also within the coalition itself.