Saturday, June 11, 2011



Johannes Mehserle received two years for the murder of Oscar Grant. He will be released this Sunday, June 12!


Mehserle the murderer will be released from jail on Sunday, June 12th. We will meet at the Fruitvale BART station at 3 PM, rally and then march to 14th & Broadway for arrival at approximately 5 PM.



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Next UNAC general meeting is Sunday, June 12, 2:00 PM at Redstone Bldg., 16th Street and Capp. (Capp Street is one block or so below Mission Street.) Third Floor Conference Room, San Francisco. MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW!


Defend Carlos Montes! Drop the Charges Now!
National Call-In Day to Eric Holder,
U.S. Attorney General
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Demand: Drop the Charges,
FBI Hands Off Carlos Montes
Call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
call the A.G. directly at 202-514-2001
(or try at 202-353-1555)

BAY AREA SOLIDARITY RALLY: Stop FBI Attacks on Political Activists
Thursday June 16, 4-6pm

1301 Clay Street, Oakland
Downtown Oakland near 12th Street BART

On May 17, 2011 at 5:00 AM the SWAT Team of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and members of the FBI raided the home of Carlos Montes, a long time Chicano activist and active member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Carlos has his first court date scheduled for June 16 in Los Angeles.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Arab Resource and Organizing Center, 415.861.7444 or


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.


Cultures of Resistance
Thursday June 30 -- 7pm, Berkeley City College, 2050 Center Street, 1/2 block from downtown Berkeley
The Middle East Children's Alliance & the Arab Film Festival present the Berkeley premiere of bay area filmmaker & activist Iara Lee's new feature film Cultures of Resistance.

The film won Best Documentary at the Tiburon International Film Festival and is showing around the globe, from Portugal to China to Ethiopia. Journeying through five continents, it captures creative change-makers using art and activism to turn our upside-down world right-side-up, for peace with justice. Their personal stories and strategies, told in many tongues, broaden our understanding of the geopolitical fault-lines behind modern day conflicts -- inspiring audiences to further engagement and action. Filmmaker Iara Lee will introduce the film and answer questions afterwards.

Tickets $10 general, $8 students. Benefit for clean water for children in Gaza. No one turned away for lack of funds. Wheelchair accessible.

For info: 510-548-0542,,
Cosponsored by: Global Studies Department/Berkeley City College and more!


Cuba Caravan Send Off Party!!
-come help send the Cuba Caravan to Cuba
Saturday, July 9, 2011
4pm- snacks and music
5pm- program
6pm- Tamale dinner and more music
Eastside Arts Alliance,C
2277 International, Oakland ( AC #1 or 1R )
Donation requested to help support the Caravan (no one turned away)

Video- "People to People" about the Caravan
Speakers- Including Graduate from the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba
Come learn about the Caravan and help send it to Cuba.

For More Info: 510-863-1737


Physicians for a National Health Program California is having our 2nd annual California Single-Payer Health Care Summer Conference at USC's Tutor Campus Center Ballroom on Saturday, July 16th, 2011 from 9am - 5pm.

Summer Conference 2011 is designed to teach attendees about just, guaranteed, comprehensive health care for ALL who live in California. We are gearing this conference toward professionals working in health, policy, advocacy, education, and organizing arenas.

This year's conference will feature Dr. Carmen Rita Nevarez, Immediate Past President, American Public Health Association as our keynote speaker, plus three Leadership Institutes that will help you develop your skills to build the movement through public speaking, coalition building or grassroots advocacy.

Ticket prices are on a sliding scale, and people who are "new to the movement" receive a discount.

For more information and to register, go to Please also download our flyer here. Please help us spread the word!
If your organization would like to sponsor this event, you can download our sponsorship form here.

Hope you can join us this summer in Los Angeles. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Molly Tavella, MPH
Shearer Student Fellow
Physicians for a National Health Program California
2344 6th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 665-8523 office
(408) 892-1255 mobile
(510) 665-6027 fax


Protest, March & Die-In on 10th Anniversary of Afghanistan War
Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, 4:30-6:30pm
New Federal Building, 7th & Mission Sts, SF

End All the Wars & Occupations-Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Haiti . . .
Money for Jobs, Healthcare & Schools-Not for the Pentagon

Friday, October 7, 2011 will be the exact 10th anniversary of the U.S./NATO war on the people of Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of Afghani people have been killed, wounded and displaced, and thousands of U.S. and NATO forces killed and wounded. The war costs more than $126 billion per year at a time when social programs are being slashed.

The true and brutal character of the U.S. strategy to "win hearts and minds" of the Afghani population was described by a Marine officer, quoted in a recent ANSWER Coalition statement:

"You can't just convince them [Afghani people] through projects and goodwill," another Marine officer said. "You have to show up at their door with two companies of Marines and start killing people. That's how you start convincing them." (To read the entire ANSWER statement, click here)

Mark your calendar now and help organize for the October 7 march and die-in in downtown San Francisco. There are several things you can do:

1. Reply to this email to endorse the protest and die-in.
2. Spread the word and help organize in your community, union, workplace and campus.
3. Make a donation to help with organizing expenses.

Only the people can stop the war!

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


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


QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, director of THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva. Together they reveal both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.
Official Film Website:


Cops arrest journalists in Wisconsin

Uploaded by RTAmerica on Jun 8, 2011

Wisconsin police are filmed arresting members of the press that were covering a demonstration at the state's Capitol Building this week. A cuffed reporter is dragged to the ground as an irate cop goes after another journalist.


Autopsy Released in Police Shooting of Man Holding Nozzle
Douglas Zerby was shot 12 times, in the chest, arms and lower legs.
Watch Mary Beth McDade's report,0,2471345.story



I Wanna Be A Pirate


Detained for photography in Baltimore Parts 1 and 2:

Part 1:

Part 2:


Arrested for Filming Police in MD?


Woman 'detained' for filming police search launches high court challenge


Adam Kokesh body slammed, choked, police brutality at Jefferson Memorial


Kim Ives & Dan Coughlin on WikiLeaks Cables that Reveal "Secret History" of U.S. Bullying in Haiti


Operation Empire State Rebellion


20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know
Click an image to learn more about a fact!


Just Released! ANONYMOUS declares war on the system! JOIN THE RESISTANCE!


Andy Griffith Vs the Patriot Act

[You gotta watch]


ustogaza1's Channel


Licensed to Kill Video

Gundersen Gives Testimony to NRC ACRS from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.


Gundersen Gives Testimony to NRC ACRS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) held a special ACRS meeting Thursday May 26, 2011 on the current status of Fukushima. Arnie Gundersen was invited to speak for 5 minutes concerning the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident as it pertains to the 23 Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors (BWR's) in the US and containment integrity. Mr. Gundersen was the first engineer to brief the NRC on the implication of Main Steam Isolation Valve (MSIV) Leakage in 1974, and he has been studying containment integrity since 1972. The NRC has constantly maintained in all of its calculations and reviews that there is zero probability of a containment leaking. For more than six years, in testimony and in correspondence with the NRC, Mr. Gundersen has disputed the NRC's stand that containment systems simply do not and cannot leak. The events at Fukushima have proven that Gundersen was correct. The explosions at Fukushima show that Mark 1 containments will lose their integrity and release huge amounts of radiation, as Mr. Gundersen has been telling the NRC for many years.


Guy on wheelchair taken down by officers


The Last Mountain': Appalachia vs. Big Coal
Janet Donovan

Actor Woody Harrelson was a surprise guest at D.C. premiere of "The Last Mountain" at E Street Cinema, also attended by Sens. Dennis Kucinich and Barbara Boxer, Director Bill Haney, and Bobby Kennedy Jr. who speaks out on West Virginia's struggle.


RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism


Paradise Gray Speaks At Jordan Miles Emergency Rally 05/06/2011

Police Reassigned While CAPA Student's Beatdown Investigated

Pittsburgh Student Claims Police Brutality; Shows Hospital Photos

Justice For Jordan Miles
By jasiri x

Monday, May 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Even though Pittsburgh Police beat Jordan Miles until he looked like this: (Photo at website)

And even though Jordan Miles, an honor student who plays the viola, broke no laws and committed no crimes, the Federal Government decided not to prosecute the 3 undercover Pittsburgh Police officers who savagely beat him.

To add insult to injury, Pittsburgh's Mayor and Police Chief immediately reinstated the 3 officers without so much as a apology. An outraged Pittsburgh community called for an emergency protest to pressure the local District Attorney to prosecute these officers to the fullest extent of the law.

Below is my good friend, and fellow One Hood founding member Paradise Gray (also a founding member of the Blackwatch Movement and the legendary rap group X-Clan) passionately demanding Justice for Jordan Miles and speaking on the futility of a war of terror overseas while black men are terrorized in their own neighborhoods.

For more information on how you can help get Justice For Jordan Miles go to


Tier Systems Cripple Middle Class Dreams for Young Workers


Epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wing, Discusses Global Radiation Exposures and Consequences with Gundersen
Epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wing and nuclear engineer, Arnie Gundersen, discuss the consequences of the Fukushima radioactive fallout on Japan, the USA, and the world. What are the long-term health effects? What should the government(s) do to protect citizens?

Epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wing, Discusses Global Radiation Exposures and Consequences with Gundersen from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.


New Video - Lupe Fiasco ft. Skylar Grey - 'Words I Never Said'
Thu, Apr 28 2011

Lupe Fiasco addresses some heavy issues in the latest video for his new single, 'Words I Never Said,' featuring Skylar Grey. In the 5 minute and 45 second dose of reality, Lupe tackles issues such as the war on terrorism, devastation, conspiracy theories, 9/11 and genocide. From the opening lyrics of "I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullsh*t", Lupe doesn't hold back as he voices his socio-political concerns.

"If you turn on TV all you see's a bunch of what the f-ks'
Dude is dating so and so blabbering bout such and such
And that ain't Jersey Shore, homie that's the news
And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth
Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn't say s-t
That's why I ain't vote for him, next one either
I'm a part of the problem, my problem is I'm peaceful."

Skylar Grey (who also lends her vocals to Dirty money's 'Coming Home' and Eminem's 'I Need A Doctor') does an excellent job of complementing the Alex Da Kid produced track.


BREAKING ALERT: Mass Arrests, Tear Gas, Sound Weapons used Against WIU Students


Union Town by Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman



"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political action.


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


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 environment would be destroyed by the influx of tourism, ergo, the embargo is saving nature. But the Cuban scientists and naturalists tell a slightly different story. But I don't want to spoil the delightfully surprising ending. It's a beautiful film of a beautiful country full of beautiful, articulate and well-educated]

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.


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


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




BP Oil Spill Scientist Bob Naman: Seafood Still Not Safe


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


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


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





Hello friends
This is to inform you that we have launched our new website, and we invite you to BE A WITNESS: access it, contribute to it, and join us as we work to break Israel's illegal blockade of Gaza.

Last year, millions accessed to get up-to-the-minute information, news and videos.

Freedom Flotilla 2 will sail the end of June, and we need your support.
Please send this to your lists. If possible, please post our logo and link on your website.

We hope that you will find this all of help -- and we look forward to your ideas and participation.

All the very best,

in Peace,
Witness Gaza Team
David Rubinson
Twitter: @witnessgaza

This is what the new WitnessGaza does:

1- WG aggregates everything published on the websites of the individual national Flotilla Initiatives, and makes it all accessible in one place, instantly and automatically. Plus, there is a NEWS section, where this information is expanded, and many other sources of news and information can be instantly accessed as well.

2- WG enables everyone everywhere, to Be a Witness - and post videos, text, breaking news, photos, or any similar content--

Anyone with internet access -- anywhere -- can post videos or photographs or content.
We will also run live streaming video of events that are happening locally, or on the ground anywhere.

Our goal is to have the whole world watch and know and then --- act.

3- WG posts links to one or two big news headlines.

4- WG enables all of this to be instantly distributed and shared via social networking sites- Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube.

5- WG publishes all the newest Twitter postings and connects instantly to Twitter for re-Tweets, or comments.

Please -- try to include our links and logos on ALL your postings, emails, letters, releases. Anything you put out.

Please include:
Twitter: @witnessgaza


Stop Coal Companies From Erasing Labor Union History

In just a few hours, this petition has gained more than 17,000 signatures.

Here's some text from the petition page:

The Battle of Blair Mountain was the largest armed conflict on American soil since the Civil War and the largest labor confrontation ever. It erupted when more than 10,000 West Virginia coal miners confronted an industry-backed army for a week in 1921. The miners were fighting to gain collective bargaining rights, to escape the domination of coal operators, and for the basic right to live and work in decent, safe conditions.

The history of Blair Mountain is that of all Americans.

The coal miners who worked and struggled during the West Virginia Mine Wars formed a rock-hard union solidarity that diffused to the rest of the nation through the Appalachian outmigration that has occurred from the 1930s until today. They went to steel foundries in Pittsburgh, the car factories in Detroit, and the mills in Ohio. They carried with them the memory and heritage of the labor struggles in central Appalachia, and they were a major force in building the labor unions that in themselves helped build the prosperous middle class of the 20th century.

Blair Mountain stands at the heart of American prosperity, and the coal miners who fought and died there did so for the basic freedom of living and working in decent, safe conditions.

But most people have never heard of Blair Mountain. That's because West Virginia has, for years, resisted preserving or commemorating the site. Nowadays, major coal companies Arch Coal and Massey Energy (the one responsible for the deadly explosion last April) own a lot of the land and hold permits to blast away the landscape for the most devastating of all coal mining practices: Mountaintop removal mining. They literally want to erase history here.

This can be stopped. If only the National Register of Historic Places would list the site, then its preservation would be required. Except that federal official ultimately turned down a listing this year -- amid objections of 57 "landowners" filed by the state. According to activists, however, this list is flawed and some of these people are even dead. And, already, Friends of Blair Mountain has documented the disturbance of five locations on the 1,700 acre site.

Tell Interior Department officials and the state of West Virginia to save the site of the Battle of Blair Mountain without delay. It's time to stop the destruction of West Virginia and preserve this one small example of rebellion from the grip of Big Coal.

P.S. From June 4th-11th, supporters will unite for a weeklong solidarity march on Blair Mountain.The March on Blair Mountain is a peaceful, unifying rally involving environmental justice organizations, workers, scholars, artists, and other citizens and groups. The march commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. It will start in Charleston, West Virginia and end 50 miles later with a rally at Blair Mountain. Please consider attending if you can!


best wishes,
richard myers


One year after Bradley's detainment, we need your support more than ever.

Dear Friends,

One year ago, on May 26, 2010, the U.S. government quietly arrested a humble young American intelligence analyst in Iraq and imprisoned him in a military camp in Kuwait. Over the coming weeks, the facts of the arrest and charges against this shy soldier would come to light. And across the world, people like you and I would step forward to help defend him.

Bradley Manning, now 23 years old, has never been to court but has already served a year in prison- including 10 months in conditions of confinement that were clear violation of the international conventions against torture. Bradley has been informally charged with releasing to the world documents that have revealed corruption by world leaders, widespread civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. forces, the true face of Guantanamo, an unvarnished view of the U.S.'s imperialistic foreign negotiations, and the murder of two employees of Reuters News Agency by American soldiers. These documents released by WikiLeaks have spurred democratic revolutions across the Arab world and have changed the face of journalism forever.

For his act of courage, Bradley Manning now faces life in prison-or even death.

But you can help save him-and we've already seen our collective power. Working together with concerned citizens around the world, the Bradley Manning Support Network has helped raise worldwide awareness about Manning's torturous confinement conditions. Through the collective actions of well over a half million people and scores of organizations, we successfully pressured the U.S. government to end the tortuous conditions of pre-trial confinement that Bradley was subjected to at the Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia. Today, Bradley is being treated humanely at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. T hanks to your support, Bradley is given leeway to interact with other pre-trial prisoners, read books, write letters, and even has a window in his cell.

Of course we didn't mount this campaign to just improve Bradley's conditions in jail. Our goal is to ensure that he can receive a fair and open trial. Our goal is to win Bradley's freedom so that he can be reunited with his family and fulfill his dream of going to college. Today, to commemorate Bradley's one year anniversary in prison, will you join me in making a donation to help support Bradley's defense?

We'll be facing incredible challenges in the coming months, and your tax-deductible donation today will help pay for Bradley's civilian legal counsel and the growing international grassroots campaign on his behalf. The U.S. government has already spent a year building its case against Bradley, and is now calling its witnesses to Virginia to testify before a grand jury.

What happens to Bradley may ripple through history - he is already considered by many to be the single most important person of his generation. Please show your commitment to Bradley and your support for whistle-blowers and the truth by making a donation today.

With your help, I hope we will come to remember May 26th as a day to commemorate all those who risk their lives and freedom to promote informed democracy - and as the birth of a movement that successfully defended one courageous whistle-blower against the full fury of the U.S. government.

Donate now:

In solidarity,

Jeff Paterson and Loraine Reitman,
On behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee

P.S. After you have donated, please help us by forwarding this email to your closest friends. Ask them to stand with you to support Bradley Manning, and the rights of all whistleblowers.

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:

I am Bradley Manning

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


Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes, Stop the FBI Attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movement, and Stop FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!Call Off the Expanding Grand Jury Witchhunt and FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!

Cancel the Subpoenas! Cancel the Grand Juries!
Condemn the FBI Raids and Harassment of Chicano, Immigrant Rights, Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists!

Tell US Attorney Fitzgerald, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, DOJ Inspector General Fine, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders, U.N. Secy Gen Ban, and members of the media to STOP THE FBI CAMPAIGN OF REPRESSION AGAINST CHICANO, IMMIGRANT RIGHTS, ANTI-WAR AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS NOW!
Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Petition Text:

To: U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder,

cc: Vice President Biden, DOJ Inspector General Fine, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders, the Congressional Black Caucus, U.N. Secy Gen Ban, and members of the media

** Drop All Charges against Carlos Montes, and immediately return all of his property!

** Stop the attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movements!

** Call Off the Chicago Grand Jury and Stop the Expanding Witchhunt against Anti-war and International Solidarity Activists!

** Hands Off Palestine Solidarity Activists!

** Throw Out the reactiviated subpoenas against Tracy Molm, Ann Pham and Sarah Martin in Minneapolis, and ALL of the 14 subpoenas from the September 24 FBI raids of homes of anti-war and international solidarity activists.

**Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.

**End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

I am writing to oppose the continuation and expansion of the FBI campaign of harassment of immigrant rights, anti-war and Palestine and other International Solidarity Activists, including the raid on the home of Carlos Montes and his arrest and the confiscation of his property, the 9 added subpoenas in the Chicago area, and reactivation of 3 of the original 14 subpoenas from the September 24 FBI raids of anti-war and international solidarity activists' homes.

These activists are guilty of no crime but opposition to U.S. foreign policy. On Friday, September 24, 2010 the FBI raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis. The FBI served subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to 13 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. The FBI also attempted to intimidate activists in California, Wisconsin and North Carolina. This is not the action of a lone prosecutor. The raids were coordinated nationally, spanned several cities, and many other activists have been visited and personally threatened by the FBI.

The FBI confiscated computers, email and mailing lists, cell phones , cameras, videos, books, and passports. This is a dangerous attack on the constitutional rights of free speech of every social justice, antiwar and human rights activist and organization in the U.S. today. The right to speak, meet and write opinions is guaranteed under the constitution.

This suppression of civil rights is aimed at those who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war. Grand Jury subpoenas investigating material support of terrorism are being used to silence highly respected and well known human rights activists. This is a dangerous national effort to shut down growing opposition to U.S. wars. It cannot be allowed.

The FBI and the Grand Jury are threatening courageous individuals who have written and spoken publicly to broaden understanding of social justice issues of war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including: the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. These activists came together with many others to organize the 2008 anti-war marches on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

The FBI and the U.S. government must end this campaign of intimidation against anti-war and international solidarity activists. I am outraged at this disrespect of democratic rights. I ask that you intervene immediately to:

**Stop the Grand Jury Witchhunt!

**Stop the expanded repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.

**Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.

**End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

(Your signature will be appended here based on the contact information you enter in the form above)

You can also call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 and U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300 or write an email to: demanding an end to the FBI raids, return of all confiscated materials and an end to the Grand Jury witchhunt. Fitzgerald is in charge of the Northern District of Illinois and responsible for the FBI raids and Grand Jury investigation.

Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression


Mumia Wins Decision Against Re-Imposition Of Death Sentence, But...
The Battle Is Still On To
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610


U.S. Attorney Escalates Attacks on Civil Liberties of Anti-War,
Palestinian Human Rights Activists

Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald first thing Monday morning! (contact info at bottom of this email)

On Friday, May 6, the U.S. government froze the bank accounts of Hatem Abudayyeh and his wife, Naima. This unwarranted attack on a leading member of the Palestinian community in Chicago is the latest escalation of the repression of anti-war and Palestinian community organizers by the FBI, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Hatem Abudayyeh is one of 23 activists from Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Chicago, and his home was raided by the FBI in September of last year. Neither Hatem Abudayyeh nor Naima Abudayyeh have been charged with any crime.

One of the bank accounts frozen was exclusively in Naima Abudayyeh's name. Leaders of the national Committee to Stop FBI Repression, as well as Chicago's Coalition to Protect People's Rights are appalled at the government's attempt to restrict the family's access to its finances, especially so soon before Mothers' Day. Not only does the government's action seriously disrupt the lives of the Abudayyehs and their five-year-old daughter, but it represents an attack on Chicago's Arab community and activist community and the fundamental rights of Americans to freedom of speech.

The persecution of the Abudayyeh family is another example of the criminalization of Palestinians, their supporters, and their movement for justice and liberation. There has been widespread criticism of the FBI and local law enforcement for their racial profiling and scapegoating of Arab and Muslim Americans. These repressive tactics include infiltration of community centers and mosques, entrapment of young men, and the prominent case of 11 students from the University of California campuses at Irvine and Riverside who have been subpoenaed to a grand jury and persecuted for disrupting a speech by Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US. The government's attempt to conflate the anti-war and human rights movements with terrorism is a cynical attempt to capitalize on the current political climate in order to silence Palestinians and other people of conscience who exercise their First Amendment rights in a manner which does not conform to the administration's foreign policy agenda in the Middle East.

The issuance of subpoenas against the 23 activists has been met with widespread opposition and criticism across the country. Six members of the U.S. Congress, including five in the past month, have sent letters to either Holder or President Obama, expressing grave concern for the violations of the civil liberties and rights of the 23 activists whose freedom is on the line. Three additional U.S. representatives have also promised letters, as thousands of constituents and other people of conscience across the U.S. have demanded an end to this assault on legitimate political activism and dissent. Over 60 Minnesota state legislators also issued a resolution condemning the subpoenas.

The Midwest activists have been expecting indictments for some time. The freezing of the Abudayyeh family's bank accounts suggests that the danger of indictments is imminent.

Take action:

Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300.
Then dial 0 (zero) for the operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk.
Demand Fitzgerald
-- Unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family and
-- Stop repression against Palestinian, anti-war and international solidarity activists.

In solidarity,
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression and
The Coalition to Protect People's Rights

For more info go to

follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend

Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:

Committee to Stop FBI Repression

PO Box 14183

Minneapolis, MN 55415


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


Exonerated Death Row Survivors Urge Georgia to:
Stop the Execution of Troy Davis
Chairman James E. Donald
Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
May 1, 2011

Dear Chairperson Donald and Members of the Board:

We, the undersigned, are alive today because some individual or small group of individuals decided that our insistent and persistent proclamations of innocence warranted one more look before we were sent to our death by execution. We are among the 138 individuals who have been legally exonerated and released from death rows in the United States since 1973. We are alive because a few thoughtful persons-attorneys, journalists, judges, jurists, etc.-had lingering doubts about our cases that caused them to say "stop" at a critical moment and halt the march to the execution chamber. When our innocence was ultimately revealed, when our lives were saved, and when our freedom was won, we thanked God and those individuals of conscience who took actions that allowed the truth to eventually come to light.

We are America's exonerated death row survivors. We are living proof that a system operated by human beings is capable of making an irreversible mistake. And while we have had our wrongful convictions overturned and have been freed from death row, we know that we are extremely fortunate to have been able to establish our innocence. We also know that many innocent people who have been executed or who face execution have not been so fortunate. Not all those with innocence claims have had access to the kinds of physical evidence, like DNA, that our courts accept as most reliable. However, we strongly believe that the examples of our cases are reason enough for those with power over life and death to choose life. We also believe that those in authority have a unique moral consideration when encountering individuals with cases where doubt still lingers about innocence or guilt.

One such case is the case of Troy Anthony Davis, whose 1991 conviction for killing Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail rested almost solely on witness testimony. We know that today, 20 years later, witness evidence is considered much less reliable than it was then. This has meant that, even though most of the witnesses who testified against him have now recanted, Troy Davis has been unable to convince the courts to overturn his conviction, or even his death sentence.

Troy Davis has been able to raise serious doubts about his guilt, however. Several witnesses testified at the evidentiary hearing last summer that they had been coerced by police into making false statements against Troy Davis. This courtroom testimony reinforced previous statements in sworn affidavits. Also at this hearing, one witness testified for the first time that he saw an alternative suspect, and not Troy Davis, commit the crime. We don't know if Troy Davis is in fact innocent, but, as people who were wrongfully sentenced to death (and in some cases scheduled for execution), we believe it is vitally important that no execution go forward when there are doubts about guilt. It is absolutely essential to ensuring that the innocent are not executed.

When you issued a temporary stay for Troy Davis in 2007, you stated that the Board "will not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused." This standard is a welcome development, and we urge you to apply it again now. Doubts persist in the case of Troy Davis, and commuting his sentence will reassure the people of Georgia that you will never permit an innocent person to be put to death in their name.

Freddie Lee Pitts, an exonerated death row survivor who faced execution by the state of Florida for a crime he didn't commit, once said, "You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can't release him from the grave."

Thank you for considering our request.

Kirk Bloodsworth, Exonerated and freed from death row Maryland; Clarence Brandley, Exonerated and freed from death row in Texas; Dan Bright, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Albert Burrell, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Perry Cobb, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Gary Drinkard, Exonerated and freed from death row in Alabama; Nathson Fields, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Gary Gauger, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Michael Graham, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Shujaa Graham, Exonerated and freed from death row in California; Paul House, Exonerated and freed from death row in Tennessee; Derrick Jamison, Exonerated and freed from death row in Ohio; Dale Johnston, Exonerated and freed from death row in Ohio; Ron Keine, Exonerated and freed from death row in New Mexico; Ron Kitchen, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Ray Krone, Exonerated and freed from death row in Arizona; Herman Lindsey, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Juan Melendez, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Randal Padgett, Exonerated and freed from death row in Alabama; Freddie Lee Pitts, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Randy Steidl, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; John Thompson, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Delbert Tibbs, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; David Keaton, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Greg Wilhoit, Exonerated and freed from death row in Oklahoma; Harold Wilson, Exonerated and freed from death row in Pennsylvania.
-Witness to Innocence, May 11, 2011


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.

Bulletin from the cause: Bradley Manning Support Network
Go to Cause
Posted By: Tom Baxter
To: Members in Bradley Manning Support Network
A Good Address for Bradley!!!

We have a good address for Bradley,

"A Fort Leavenworth mailing address has been released for Bradley Manning:

Bradley Manning 89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

This is also a Facebook event!/event.php?eid=207100509321891


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



Write to Lynne Stewart at:

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

Visiting Lynne:

Visiting is very liberal but first she has to get people on her visiting list; wait til she 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.

Commissary Money:

Commissary Money is always welcome It is how Lynne pay for the phone and for email. Also 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 !)

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.


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.



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

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

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

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

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


Free the Children of Palestine!
Sign Petition:

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

Background (Preamble):

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Please donate today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Add your name! We stand with Bradley Manning.

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

Dear All,

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

Read the complete public letter and add your name at:

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


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

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


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) Autopsy Released in Police Shooting of Man Holding Nozzle
Douglas Zerby was shot 12 times, in the chest, arms and lower legs.
Watch Mary Beth McDade's report
March 15, 2011,0,2471345.story

2) Widen evacuation zone for children, pregnant women: Greenpeace chief
"Naidoo's team of radiology experts found hot spots that had a maximum hourly reading of 45 microsieverts of radiation alongside a school zone.... The government recommends a maximum intake of 1 millisievert a year during normal times, but raises that to 20 millisieverts in times of a nuclear accident."
Staff writer, Japan Times

3) Jackson school district sued over punishments
Associated Press Associated Press
Picayune Item
Jun 10, 2011, 08:53 AM CDT

4) Michelle Obama Tells Kids to Lay Off Fast Food, But Where Are Their Parents Most Likely to Get a Job? McDonald's!
By Melissa McEwan, Shakesville
Posted on June 10, 2011, Printed on June 10, 2011

5) Alabama Signs God-Awful Immigration Law, Making it Illegal to Let an Undocumented Immigrant Into Your Car
By Lauren Kelley, AlterNet
Posted on June 10, 2011, Printed on June 10, 2011

6) Rule by Rentiers
June 9, 2011

7) Out of Prison, Into a Vicious Circle of Debt
June 9, 2011, 9:10 pm

8) Syrian Forces Advance on Restive Town Near Turkey
June 10, 2011

9) The Long Hard Ride of Damian Lopez Alfonso
June 9, 2011

10) As China's Workers Get a Raise, Companies Fret
Published: May 31, 2011

11) Berkeley [New Jersey] Township Council: Close Oyster Creek pronto
agency pans resolution
Asbury Park Press
Jun. 9, 2011
Written by Bob Vosseller | Staff Writer

12) A 35% Spike in Infant Mortality in Northwest Cities Since Meltdown
Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of Fukushima Fallout?
Counterpunch, Weekend Edition
June 10 - 12, 2011

13) Protests Challenge Japan's Use of Nuclear Power
"'I'm here for my children," said Aki Ishii, who had her 3-year-old daughter in tow. "We just want our old life back, where the water is safe and the air is clean." Her daughter wore a sign that said "Please let me play outside again.' Hiromasa Fujimoto, a rice and vegetable farmer, said it was his first protest, too. 'I want to tell people that I'm just so worried about the soil, about the water,' he said. 'I now farm with a Geiger counter in one hand, my tools in the other.''It's insane,' he added."
June 11, 2011

14) Japan: Plant Owner Reprimanded
June 10, 2011


1) Autopsy Released in Police Shooting of Man Holding Nozzle
Douglas Zerby was shot 12 times, in the chest, arms and lower legs.
Watch Mary Beth McDade's report
March 15, 2011,0,2471345.story

LONG BEACH (KTLA) -- An autopsy has revealed new information about an officer-involved shooting in Long Beach that left one man dead.

The incident happened three months ago in the 5300 block of Ocean Boulevard, near Glendora Avenue.

35-year-old Douglas Zerby was shot several times by Long Beach police officers after they were called to investigate a report of a man with a gun.

The officers had retreated into a nearby house for cover, and never revealed to Zerby that they were there. Seven minutes passed before the shooting occurred.

Officers say they fired at Douglas Zerby when he pointed the black metal-tipped object toward the house. The metal object turned out to be a garden nozzle.

Zerby was pronounced dead at the scene.

Now, preliminary autopsy results have been released in the case.

The results reveal that Zerby was shot 12 times in the chest, arms and lower legs.

"The location and pattern of injuries sustained by Mr. Zerby were consistent with someone in a seated position, feet flat on the floor, knees bent," Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said.

The chief acknowledged that there was no indication that Zerby, who had a blood-alcohol level of .42 and other drugs in his system, even knew officers were at the scene.

"We'll never be able to know what he saw, what his understanding was," McDonnell said.

McDonnell said officers did not reveal they were there because they were waiting for backup and a mental evaluation team to arrive. When Zerby pointed an object toward officers, they felt threatened, because they did not realize it was really a water nozzle and not a handgun.

Zerby's family says it was a tragedy that could have been avoided.

"It all comes back to, you observed this man for almost eight minutes, and never once in that eight minutes did you think to identify yourself," Zerby's sister, Eden Marie Belle, told KTLA.

"There was no verbal communication, there was no eye contact. My brother did not know he was being observed. He did not know there were police on site."

The family is currently pursuing civil litigation.


2) Widen evacuation zone for children, pregnant women: Greenpeace chief
"Naidoo's team of radiology experts found hot spots that had a maximum hourly reading of 45 microsieverts of radiation alongside a school zone.... The government recommends a maximum intake of 1 millisievert a year during normal times, but raises that to 20 millisieverts in times of a nuclear accident."
Staff writer, Japan Times

The government should consider evacuating children and pregnant women from a wider area around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant because radiation levels remain high even outside the 20-km no-go zone, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International, said Thursday in Tokyo.

Naidoo's team of radiology experts found hot spots that had a maximum hourly reading of 45 microsieverts of radiation alongside a school zone.

While the area likely had high levels of radiation as a result of the landscape or other natural conditions, Naidoo insisted the central government should conduct thorough checks and provide accurate and fast information to local residents.

"Enough lives have been lost already" due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and it is not justifiable for the government to neglect the health risks of high radiation in Fukushima, he told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Naidoo, who arrived in Japan on Sunday, visited Fukushima to meet with heads of local governments and people affected by the March 11 crisis.

During the news conference, Jan Beranek, an expert on radiology from Greenpeace International who joined Naidoo's trip to Fukushima, recommended that the government widen the evacuation zone to at least 60 or 70 km from the power plant.

He said there were parks and public spaces where the level of radiation activity hit 9 microsieverts per hour.

Even some nursery schools that have already undergone a decontamination process had a relatively high reading of 0.5 microsievert per hour, he said. That would translate into an annual exposure of 5 millisieverts, which was the evacuation threshold for Chernobyl, Beranek said.

The government recommends a maximum intake of 1 millisievert a year during normal times, but raises that to 20 millisieverts in times of a nuclear accident.

Beranek recommended that people in Fukushima residing in areas with high levels of radiation wear masks and remain inside their homes.

Radiation from some kinds of particles "is not something that goes away in weeks or months," he said, explaining that some chemical elements can be absorbed into organs and bones.

While expressing concern that the level of decontamination "hasn't been adequate" in Fukushima, Naidoo also said he fears that people there haven't received sufficient information from the central government.

Pointing out that many children living near areas with high levels of radiation are playing outdoors without proper masks, he criticized the government for being "too slow" in explaining the risks of exposure.

Naidoo, a native of South Africa, was named head of the global NGO in November 2009. He is scheduled to take part in a rally in Tokyo against nuclear power on Saturday.
New science policy

The new five-year basic science and technology plan will focus on rebuilding parts of the Tohoku region destroyed on March 11 and on developing energy technology, according to a draft released Thursday by a key government panel.

The Council for Science and Technology Policy's draft program, to be formalized in August, calls for promoting research and development to treat radioactive soil and water and dispose of waste from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The Japan Times: Friday, June 10, 2011
(C) All rights reserved


3) Jackson school district sued over punishments
Associated Press Associated Press
Picayune Item
Jun 10, 2011, 08:53 AM CDT

JACKSON - Civil rights advocates have filed suit against Jackson's public school district, claiming officials at one alternative school respond to minor violations by shackling children to railings and poles for hours at a time.

Alternative schools largely serve black students and pupils with special needs, and critics of the Capital City Alternative School in Jackson say the allegedly excessive punishment at the schools makes such students more likely to drop out of school and commit crimes later in life.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit on Wednesday in U.S. District Court. The suit names Jackson Public Schools and Capital City Alternative School officials and seeks class-action status on behalf of all students attending the school.

The complaint says the allegedly excessive punishment violates the U.S. Constitution and school board policy.

According to school board policy, handcuffs should only be used when a student is an "imminent danger" to himself, others or property, and the restraint should immediately be removed when the student is complying and is no longer dangerous.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. court for the Southern District of Mississippi, tells of several students who say they were restrained in a harmful and humiliating way. The sole plaintiff is an eighth-grade boy identified only as A.M., who the suit says has a history of Attention Deficit Disorder, asthma and seizures. He reports having been handcuffed to a pole in the gym for several hours at a time, multiple times each year since the fourth grade. The complaint says the punishment causes humiliation for the boy and makes him miss out on education.

The suit alleges this punishment was recently given for violating the school's dress code and talking back to administrators.

"An objectively reasonable school administrator and school safety officer would know that handcuffing a child, especially a child with known emotional and medical conditions, to a rail for hours over multiple days solely as a punishment for minor misconduct is unlawful and unreasonable," according to the complaint.

The complaint says the punishment is so common that administrators refer to it on a short-hand basis as "taking (someone) to the pole."

Jed Oppenheim, SPLC's senior advocate in Mississippi, says this "prison-like" atmosphere makes it difficult for kids to learn.

"Our children are not animals," Oppenheim said.

Jody Owens, who leads the SPLC's Mississippi office, says he hopes the school district will comply with the law without the group having to go through with the suit.

"These experiences of children described in this lawsuit are not isolated events," Owens said. "We have numerous reports of this brutal and unnecessary form of punishment that has been occurring at Capital City for the last five years."

The school covers grades 4 to 12. School district officials said the agency takes the allegations seriously and will respond through legal channels.

"JPS is totally and fully committed to providing a safe learning environment for all of its students," district spokesman Sherwin Johnson said in a statement.

The suit names as defendants the JPS Board of Trustees, Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Edwards, and Director of Security Glenn Davis. The suit also names Capital City Principal Marie Harris, Vice Principal Bobby Walden and school safety officers Franklin McKee and Stacey Greenwood.

The state legislature created alternative schools in the 1990s in an attempt to improve graduation among at-risk kids. Criteria for referring students to the schools are open-ended, but include students who have been expelled or who disrupt the learning environment. State law caps class sizes at 15 students to every teacher, requires that the schools provide educational and behavior counseling, and help kids return to a traditional program as quickly as possible.

In 2009 the American Civil Liberties Union criticized Mississippi's alternative school system for focusing on punishment, at the expense of education and counseling. The ACLU also said in its report that black students in the state are two times more likely than white students to be referred to alternative schools. In Jackson, that rate rises to six times more likely. The new lawsuit calls into question whether alternative schools in Mississippi have improved.

In response to the ACLU report, the state Department of Education formed a taskforce with the ACLU represented on board, and in 2010 issued a guidebook for alternative education and referrals.

The guidebook encourages local districts to give students an opportunity to appeal the referral, to evaluate the alternative programs every year, and to "provide adequate, caring, certified staff who are motivated and culturally diverse."

Toni Kersh, who leads the education department's office for Dropout Prevention and School Attendance, said the guidebook is just now being implemented in school districts across the state.

"The guidebook gives them the tools that they need in order to incorporate things within their districts like more positive behavior interventions, behavior strategies, behavior modifications that they can use within the traditional setting that may prevent some of those students from going over there," Kersh said.

Albert Sykes helped found the Young People's Project, which works with local students to improve math skills. He says the excessive punishment alleged by SPLC helps feed what is nationally known as the "school-to-prison pipeline," driving up incarceration rates of young black men in Mississippi.

"We have to end the intimidation that's going on in JPS with some of our young folks," Sykes said. "And I think this type of discipline leaves no understanding of the child, so we need to remind youth about how important they are, and we need to be more intent about building their confidence and character."


4) Michelle Obama Tells Kids to Lay Off Fast Food, But Where Are Their Parents Most Likely to Get a Job? McDonald's!
By Melissa McEwan, Shakesville
Posted on June 10, 2011, Printed on June 10, 2011

In case my two earlier posts, and Misty's follow-up, weren't depressing enough for you, I just read this alarming tidbit at Mother Jones:

"Up to 30,000 of the 54,000 jobs created in May were the result of a hiring spree by the hamburger chain, analysts at Morgan Stanley told Market Watch on Friday." So hiring at McDonald's accounted for about half of the nation's job growth in May.

Emphasis mine.

In addition to the economic implications of that scenario, while McDonald's is becoming US workers' best employment option, the First Lady is busily introducing her "Let's Move" campaign at fucking pre-schools.

Not everyone who is fat eats McDonald's; not everyone who eats McDonald's is fat; not everyone who eats McDonald's and is fat or not fat is unhealthy. But someone who eats McDonald's almost exclusively is very likely to have health problems irrespective of their weight as a result.

Does anyone else find it incredibly absurd to be investing money in a fat-shaming and ableist anti-obesity campaign aimed at children in a country where their unemployed parents are more likely to get hired at McDonald's than anywhere else, a job at which the compensation makes the dollar value menu a more affordable option for many meals than the local grocery store (that is, if they don't live in a food desert), and the likely lack of employer health insurance means that preventative healthcare will be a luxury the family cannot afford?

This country is so fucked up.


5) Alabama Signs God-Awful Immigration Law, Making it Illegal to Let an Undocumented Immigrant Into Your Car
By Lauren Kelley, AlterNet
Posted on June 10, 2011, Printed on June 10, 2011

Alabama is giving Arizona a run for its money when it comes to harsh and horrible anti-immigration laws. As the AP reports, Alabama's law was signed yesterday by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley:

Alabama's governor on Thursday signed a tough new illegal immigration crackdown that contains provisions requiring public schools to determine students' immigration status and making it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride.

The bill also allows police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if they're stopped for any other reason. Alabama employers also are now required to use a federal system called E-Verify to determine if new workers are in the country legally.

I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I have a hard time believing this law is really about immigration. Making it illegal to let an undocumented immigrant into your car helps solve our nation's immigration issues how, exactly? Ditto for stigmatizing immigrant school children. Come on.

(On the other hand, Herman Cain's idea about building a mote around our nation's borders and filling it with alligators would be great immigration policy.)

Everyone from Gov. Bentley himself to the ACLU agree that Alabama's new law is the harshest in the country -- which is saying something, of course, since the law passed in Arizona last year is pretty freaking harsh. Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the AP that she expects to see a lawsuit against the new legislation before it goes into effect on September 1.


6) Rule by Rentiers
June 9, 2011

The latest economic data have dashed any hope of a quick end to America's job drought, which has already gone on so long that the average unemployed American has been out of work for almost 40 weeks. Yet there is no political will to do anything about the situation. Far from being ready to spend more on job creation, both parties agree that it's time to slash spending - destroying jobs in the process - with the only difference being one of degree.

Nor is the Federal Reserve riding to the rescue. On Tuesday, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, acknowledged the grimness of the economic picture but indicated that he will do nothing about it.

And debt relief for homeowners - which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery - has simply dropped off the agenda. The existing program for mortgage relief has been a bust, spending only a tiny fraction of the funds allocated, but there seems to be no interest in revamping and restarting the effort.

The situation is similar in Europe, but arguably even worse. In particular, the European Central Bank's hard-money, anti-debt-relief rhetoric makes Mr. Bernanke sound like William Jennings Bryan.

What lies behind this trans-Atlantic policy paralysis? I'm increasingly convinced that it's a response to interest-group pressure. Consciously or not, policy makers are catering almost exclusively to the interests of rentiers - those who derive lots of income from assets, who lent large sums of money in the past, often unwisely, but are now being protected from loss at everyone else's expense.

Of course, that's not the way what I call the Pain Caucus makes its case. Instead, the argument against helping the unemployed is framed in terms of economic risks: Do anything to create jobs and interest rates will soar, runaway inflation will break out, and so on. But these risks keep not materializing. Interest rates remain near historic lows, while inflation outside the price of oil - which is determined by world markets and events, not U.S. policy - remains low.

And against these hypothetical risks one must set the reality of an economy that remains deeply depressed, at great cost both to today's workers and to our nation's future. After all, how can we expect to prosper two decades from now when millions of young graduates are, in effect, being denied the chance to get started on their careers?

Ask for a coherent theory behind the abandonment of the unemployed and you won't get an answer. Instead, members of the Pain Caucus seem to be making it up as they go along, inventing ever-changing rationales for their never-changing policy prescriptions.

While the ostensible reasons for inflicting pain keep changing, however, the policy prescriptions of the Pain Caucus all have one thing in common: They protect the interests of creditors, no matter the cost. Deficit spending could put the unemployed to work - but it might hurt the interests of existing bondholders. More aggressive action by the Fed could help boost us out of this slump - in fact, even Republican economists have argued that a bit of inflation might be exactly what the doctor ordered - but deflation, not inflation, serves the interests of creditors. And, of course, there's fierce opposition to anything smacking of debt relief.

Who are these creditors I'm talking about? Not hard-working, thrifty small business owners and workers, although it serves the interests of the big players to pretend that it's all about protecting little guys who play by the rules. The reality is that both small businesses and workers are hurt far more by the weak economy than they would be by, say, modest inflation that helps promote recovery.

No, the only real beneficiaries of Pain Caucus policies (aside from the Chinese government) are the rentiers: bankers and wealthy individuals with lots of bonds in their portfolios.

And that explains why creditor interests bulk so large in policy; not only is this the class that makes big campaign contributions, it's the class that has personal access to policy makers - many of whom go to work for these people when they exit government through the revolving door. The process of influence doesn't have to involve raw corruption (although that happens, too). All it requires is the tendency to assume that what's good for the people you hang out with, the people who seem so impressive in meetings - hey, they're rich, they're smart, and they have great tailors - must be good for the economy as a whole.

But the reality is just the opposite: creditor-friendly policies are crippling the economy. This is a negative-sum game, in which the attempt to protect the rentiers from any losses is inflicting much larger losses on everyone else. And the only way to get a real recovery is to stop playing that game.


7) Out of Prison, Into a Vicious Circle of Debt
June 9, 2011, 9:10 pm

Fixes looks at solutions to social problems and why they work.

Crime and Criminals, Decisions and Verdicts, Legal Aid for the Poor, Prisons and Prisoners, Probation and Parole

On Tuesday, I wrote about the Clapham Set, a Boston program that works with recently released prisoners. It asks judges to waive their court fees if the prisoners complete an academic course and work with a coach who helps them get jobs and services they need to turn their lives around.

The cost of putting debtors in jail far outweighs the money collected.

Surly and Old, from Virginia (5) expressed surprise that the program was needed at all. "I'm at least a thousand years old, and this is the first I've heard that states burden ex-cons with debt just as they're trying to re-start their lives," he wrote.

The fees levied on prisoners are put there by state legislatures who have found a group few people will stick up for. But this is short-term thinking at its finest. For example, a report on the issue by the Brennan Center for Justice studied Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, which in 2009 arrested 564 people for failing to pay their debts and jailed just under half of them for several days before their hearings. The cost of jailing them - even for a short time - far outweighed the money eventually collected.

"Look at the cost of year in jail for just one person," said Rebekah Diller, an author of the report. ($30,000 per year is the low end.) "If this only drives a few people back into the system you're already undermining any revenue you might raise."

These debts would seem to drive more than a few back into the system. Probation officers are the front line people pushing probationers to pay, and one of their most effective weapons is the threat of arrest. But this drives probationers into hiding if they don't have the money. "They end up going underground, not fulfilling their probation requirements because they can't fulfill the court fees," said Abrigal Forrester, a program coordinator for StreetSafe Boston, which does gang intervention and other work to help reduce crime in tough neighborhoods. If you skip your meetings with probation, you are probably going back to prison.

In most cases, you can't get off probation until the debt is paid. Here's a vicious circle: the longer probation lasts, the more money you owe. Nor are fees waived for indigence in the vast majority of cases. The Brennan Center found that of the 15 states with the largest number of prisoners, 13 of them charge fees for using public defenders - charging clients who are indigent by definition. For sheer outrage, perhaps nothing beats the story told by a reader, Kate Levine of New York (36), of an indigent client she represented as a student lawyer. All charges were dismissed. Let me repeat: the client was not convicted of a crime. But she was still assessed $150 in court fees. This is not an infrequent occurrence.

The American Civil Liberties Union also wrote a report on the subject last fall about five states' criminal justice fees. It found that Louisiana, for example, charges people hundreds of dollars for programs such as rehab that are a condition of their probation. Probationers who can't pay the charges drop out of the program - and are then sometimes arrested for violating the terms of probation.

The current system of fees not only cheats taxpayers, its constitutionality is questionable.

The debt also makes it harder to get a legitimate job. Anyone convicted of a drug crime in Massachusetts, for example, loses his driver license. He cannot get it back until the debt is paid. Many states suspend someone's license as a penalty for missing payments. In most of the country, holding a job is next to impossible without driving.

The system not only cheats taxpayers, its constitutionality is questionable. Debtor's prisons were abolished in the United States in the early 1800s and the Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to jail someone for failing to pay a debt. Courts get around the ruling by arguing that they are jailing people not for debt but for violating a court order. Charging people for using a public defender violates the spirit, if not the letter, of Gideon v Wainwright, the 1963 decision requiring state courts to provide counsel for criminal defendants who cannot afford it. Many states also block ex-offenders from recovering the right to vote until all fees are paid - making the fee effectively a poll tax.

Several readers wondered whether these fees are part of a conspiracy to keep the prison-industrial complex in business. Others wrote that they are a symptom of the risky politics of being anything less than hard-line on crime. "The motivation behind our criminal 'justice' system isn't correctional; it's punitive," wrote Martha Shelley (12) from Portland, Ore. "That's why prisoners and their families are charged exorbitant fees when they phone each other, when every study shows that a prisoner who maintains strong family ties is much less likely to re-offend,"

My view is that the imposition of more and more fees is simply a reflexive reaction from state legislators who haven't focused on how counterproductive they are. But with states drowning in prison costs - and California under Supreme Court order to lessen prison overcrowding by shedding more than 30,000 inmates - it would be helpful for them to figure it out.

Obviously, one solution to this problem is to fund court systems through taxes, the way other government programs are funded. It would certainly be cheaper for taxpayers. The Clapham Set program, while small and new, points the way to another possible solution. It is an idea similar to one we've written about before in Fixes: conditional cash transfers. These are programs, in use in dozens of countries but employed on the widest scale in Mexico and Brazil, that give poor people welfare payments if they keep their children in school, take the family for health checkups and attend workshops on health issues. Different countries use conditional cash transfers for different ends - to encourage people to get H.I.V. tests, for example, or to improve family nutrition.
Related More From Fixes

Read previous contributions to this series.

The Clapham Set gives its clients more choices than conditional cash transfer programs do. The men enrolled in it can choose the activities they need most, be it drug treatment, schooling or job search help, and the Clapham Set will seek to get credit from judges for those activities. (Another difference: it has two dozen clients, rather than hundreds of millions.) But the basic template is the same.

For the past several decades in America, the debate about the underclass, poverty and criminality has centered in large part on whether it is possible to change an immediate-gratification mindset into one that looks to the future. People who care little about the long-term consequences of their actions, even for themselves, are likely to stay mired in poverty and crime. It is not the only reason, but it is a major reason. Ironically, another important reason for the persistence of the underclass is a similar lack of future orientation on the part of policymakers. Our political system tilts in the direction of scrimping now, even if it will cost us more later. Court fees are a perfect example. If politicians want to help people on the margins of society acquire more future orientation, they might try developing some themselves.

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Tina Rosenberg won a Pulitzer Prize for her book "The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism." She is a former editorial writer for The Times and now a contributing writer for the paper's Sunday magazine. Her new book is "Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World."


8) Syrian Forces Advance on Restive Town Near Turkey
June 10, 2011

KARBEYAZ, Turkey -Backed by tanks and helicopters, Syrian forces swept into the restive northern village of Jisr al-Shoughour late Friday, pressing an offensive against a town that has offered the stiffest challenge yet to four decades of Assad family rule.

Syrian state television reported that troops began arresting members of "armed organizations," but gave no indication whether there was any fighting taking place. Frightened residents who fled the town, with more than 1,000 crossing into Turkey, said those who remained behind were armed and prepared to fight, setting the prospect of an uneven battle.

The Syrian forces stormed into the town after a day-long drive north , in which they burned fields and fired on civilians as they closed in. Only days earlier, the Syrian government said that 120 soldiers and police were killed in the town, representing the worst attack on government forces since popular protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad began in March. Syrian authorities became especially spooked when troops began to defect and local residents took up arms. It is unclear if some of the troops who might have defected remain in the town along with armed residents.

The Local Coordinating Committees in Syria, an activist coalition, said that at least 22 people died in clashes across the country on Friday, more than half killed in the northwestern towns around Jisr al-Shoughour.

The group reported that the army had begun shelling the towns of Maaret Al-Noman and Jarjanaz, about 25 miles from Jisr al-Shoughour. It also said there was heavy gunfire in Al Sarmaneyah, a village five miles from the town, as residents burned tires in the street to slow the advance of Syrian troops.

"The army is invading the villages and burning the surrounding farms and killing people randomly," said the group's spokesman, Hozan, who declined to give his full name for fear of government retribution.

A 60-year-old Syrian man at the refugee camp in Yayladagi on the Turkish side of the border said other refugees in the camp had spoken by telephone with relatives in the villages who gave similar reports. "They are talking about the army moving with all kinds of armed vehicles and shooting randomly" with tanks and heavy weapons, he said. "The army passed through Al Sarmaneyah and troops are shooting everyone who comes along their way. It is terrible there."

Jisr al-Shoughour has taken on critical importance for both the Syrian government and its opponents because the reports of defections, if true, would be a first. Although there have been reports of scattered desertions, activists said the numbers of defections in the town were higher - more than 100. The government has been counting on the loyalty of its troops to quell the unrest.

For days, activists have been saying soldiers there joined the opposition, after refusing to fire on civilian demonstrators. The government has steadfastly denied the reports.

The struggle to control the narrative of what happened in the town early this week continued Friday. Late in the day, SANA posted reports under a rubric, "The Reality of Events," casting doubt on activists' reports of defections. It included an interview with a white-haired man who claimed that he had been offered money to pose as a deserting general and with two men who said they had been reported to have been killed by fellow security officers, but were in fact alive.

Reports from Jisr al-Shoughour, which remained without electricity, water and Internet access, became increasingly difficult to confirm and even many cell and satellite phones seemed not to be working. Rami Abdelrahman, a Syrian activist based in Britain, said that by late Friday morning, all of his contacts there and in the surrounding area were "cut off."

By encircling Jisr al-Shoughour, Syria appears to be following the repressive playbook it has repeatedly deployed during the unrest challenging the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

But previous efforts to pacify cities by cutting them off and eventually sending in tanks have appeared to falter. On Friday, protesters in Homs and Dara'a - which had been besieged by troops in recent weeks - returned to the streets after noon prayers.

Activists reported similar demonstrations in Talkalakh, Aleppo, and in the suburbs of Damascus, the capital.

The Syrian government responded quickly and violently Friday, according to witnesses. In the Qaboun suburb of Damascus, security forces closed the main mosque in an apparent attempt to head off protests there. The measure angered local residents, many of whom prayed nearby before returning to the main mosque to protest, and Syrian state television reported clashes between security forces and protesters.

One of the protesters, Hassan, 22, said hundreds of soldiers and security officers faced off against more than 1,000 protesters in Qaboun before opening fire. "They shot us and three or four were killed and 30 wounded," he said, adding "they want to finish us off, but they won't be able to."

In Homs, a resident reached by telephone said, "There's been a curfew since 7 p.m.; the army was going around with their speakers asking residents to stay home." Asking to be identified only as Mohammed, he said, "Gunfire started from 9 a.m. and has gone on until now. Tanks are everywhere inside the neighborhoods and military forces are using cars and Mitsubishi pickups. They put machine guns in the cars' trunks and are shooting everywhere."

It was impossible to independently confirm the reports since Syria has kept most foreign reporters out of the country.

There was also a heavy security presence in the provincial capital, Idlib City, which was also surrounded by checkpoints. Reports suggested that more than 1,100 people have been killed, and "10,000 or more" detained since the unrest began, Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters Friday at the Yayladagi refugee camp, the Turkish justice minister, Sadullah Ergin, repeated a call for Syria to stop the violence against civilians. Asked if Turkey would participate in any international military intervention in Syria, Mr. Ergin said, "We don't even want to consider that possibility."

The Syrian government, meanwhile, attempted to deflect attention from the unrest roiling the country. All afternoon Friday, SANA's Web site carried as its lead story an account of President Assad's meeting with three Lebanese politicians. At the meeting, he expressed his hopes "that the Lebanese people will overcome their differences and the Lebanese government will be formed soon to serve the interests of all the Lebanese."

Sebnem Arsu reported from Karbeyaz, and Liam Stack from Cairo. Reporting was contributed by Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon, Katherine Zoepf and J. David Goodman from New York and an employee of The New York Times in Damascus..


9) The Long Hard Ride of Damian Lopez Alfonso
June 9, 2011

WITH only the tips of his elbows touching his bicycle's upturned handlebars, Damian Lopez Alfonso pedaled along the Hudson River bike path on a cool March day. His balancing act elicited stares from disbelieving pedestrians and curious double-takes from fellow cyclists.

Because not only does Mr. Alfonso ride his bike without forearms, lost in a devastating childhood accident, but he also rides it very, very fast.

Tracy Lea first witnessed his unorthodox cycling method during a race outside Havana nearly eight years ago.

Ms. Lea, a former elite racer from Maryland, found herself in a ragtag pack of riders on a highway pocked with "car eating" potholes outside the Cuban capital. "I'm worried about these guys in tight, fast conditions," she remembered thinking, "and all of a sudden, I'm racing next to a guy with no arms!"

She watched as he powered through the course, lifting his body to shift gears with the nubs of his elbows or press down on the brakes. "Then I realized he had more control than most of the people in the race," she said.

Despite his disadvantages, Mr. Alfonso, 34, has won local competitions at home in Cuba and he races nearly every weekend against able-bodied cyclists in informal events. But the alterations to his bike that allow him to do so - turning the handlebars nearly 180 degrees upward, so the brakes and gear shifters face him - have also kept him out of officially sanctioned international competitions, which have strict equipment rules.

But not for much longer.

In July, Mr. Alfonso is scheduled to race in Canada, the first event on his road to qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. If all goes well, it will be the culmination of a nearly decade-long journey for Mr. Alfonso, a story of sudden tragedy, grim determination and a little help from a lot of perfect strangers in a bicycling community thousands of miles away.

Since Ms. Lea and others began spreading word about the Cuban cyclist with no arms and disfiguring injuries to his face - also from the childhood accident - riders from as far away as California and Germany have sent money, and companies including Fuji, Shimano and a prosthetics maker, Hanger, have provided state-of-the-art products that will help him ride in the standard position so he can compete at an elite level.

But Mr. Alfonso's strongest supporters are in and around New York, following his progress on Facebook or the widely read local racing blog NYVelocity, and donating their time, money and spare bedrooms to help him in the city, where he came for medical tests and has spent nearly four months undergoing a series of painful reconstructive operations and being fitted for prosthetic arms.

The operations alone would normally have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but are being done free.

One rider provided the use of a car service to get Mr. Alfonso around town; another lent him an old iPhone; several have acted as translators on doctor visits; still others have made small cash donations totaling $8,000 to support him during his stay.

And a few have gone even further. Ace McDade, a former New York racer who lives in Ridgewood, N.J., opened his home after seeing a Facebook post early this year.

First it was for just a few days in March, before the operations.

Then there were 10 days between operations, and now Mr. Alfonso will probably stay with Mr. McDade, his wife and three daughters - ages 12, 9 and 7 - until he returns to Cuba late this month.

"It was an easy thing to offer; we have so much to give and he's in such a tough spot," Mr. McDade, 48, said. "He and my daughter Mei" - the 7-year-old - "have this wonderful relationship where he calls her crazy and she turns around says, 'No, you're crazy, Damian, Soy es loco.' "

Perhaps it is his surprising self-confidence that draws people in, leading them to help a stranger from Cuba who never asked for any help.

Whatever the reason, the cyclists who have rallied around Mr. Lopez took their common interest and used it to turn the big city into a small town, a place where bonds form by chance and compelling need is met with overwhelming generosity.

Mr. Alfonso, who had never visited New York before arriving in December for a series of medical tests, now calls it "the best city in the world." And here, as in his native Havana, everyone simply calls him Damian.

BUT last month, between rounds of facial operations at NYU Langone Medical Center, Mr. Alfonso was depressed.

Slumped in a black leather chair in the bustling hospital lobby, a gleaming white bandage wrapped around the top of his head, he wondered whether all the surgery and the prosthetics had been a mistake. He missed riding, had gained weight and was not sleeping because of pain from the operations.

And for what? After 20 years, he had long since learned to cope with his altered appearance and learned to ride despite his disability.

"The bicycle's on vacation," he said in Spanish, eyes half closed, pushing whole sentences forth in frustrated bursts. "It's going to be like that for a long time."

His aunt Edilia Tamargo, up from Tampa to help care for him, sat nearby and translated. He had been asking her to tell him stories about their family's hard times in Cuba - his grandfather's alcohol problems, a lack of money around the house, how as a girl she was forced to work in the house of a rich neighbor.

"I like to hear that everyone has suffered," Mr. Alfonso explained.

His curly hair usually bounds up confidently when not pressed down by a bicycle helmet, but the bandage pulled it low and tight over swollen skin that cut diagonally across the bridge between his closed eyes.

He sat forward and flicked back and forth two images on the donated iPhone with his right elbow: the first, a photo of him riding at a Pennsylvania track in March; the second, a black-and-white portrait of him as a fresh-faced blond boy in a Cuban school uniform.

Mr. Alfonso's childhood was radically altered at 13, a time when he was less passionate about cycling than about homemade wood-and-paper kites. "I had the record for finding the most lost kites of all my friends," he said in an interview in March.

So when he saw a particularly attractive one - large, and decorated with a hand-drawn picture of a skeleton - caught in the power lines above a neighbor's building, he and a friend climbed to the roof to get it down.

He recalled his friend, Igor, who was slightly older, telling him: "Just leave it there. Don't mess with that."

Ignoring the boy's advice, he reached for the kite with a metal rod.

"We heard an explosion," his aunt, Ms. Tamargo, recalled. She lived with Mr. Alfonso's family in a three-story green concrete home in the Casino neighborhood of Havana, where Mr. Alfonso still lives with his mother, a retired military typist.

"I look up," Ms. Tamargo said, holding back tears, "and I see this blond hair hanging off the roof."

She paused for a long time.

"Thirteen thousand volts," she said finally. "They lost the fridge, the TV - the whole building."

The metal rod had bounced off the power lines, delivering burns to Mr. Alfonso's face as well as to his arms and torso. Infections cost him his forearms; he was horribly disfigured; but a team of doctors, including a prominent Argentine plastic surgeon, were able to save his life. He spent about a year hospitalized in Havana.

"When he first saw himself, I was walking him around the hospital in a wheelchair," Ms. Tamargo said. "He saw in a crystal door and he screamed, 'I'm a monster!' But he didn't cry. He just hollered. He never cried. Never. Never. He has never been ashamed of himself."

Mr. Alfonso had raced only a few times before the accident, but afterward, he seized on the bicycle both as a mode of transportation and as a way of proving himself. "I wanted to beat a normal person," he said. "Whenever there was a bike race, I competed."

Over time, Mr. Alfonso became a fixture in Havana's small cycling scene, taking part in pickup races most Saturdays at the "guyava," a 12-mile loop of hills and fruit trees outside Havana.

Jesus Perara, a native of Havana and a bicycle racer now living in Hell's Kitchen, remembered him from these races, which often ended up at a local cafeteria, where riders traded stories over glasses of garapa, a sugar cane drink. "Everybody knows Damian," Mr. Perara said. "He rides the bike so fast, with no hands, it's unbelievable."

Indeed, nearly everyone who rides with Mr. Alfonso has been impressed by his endurance and bike handling.

"If he had never had this problem, I don't know if he would have excelled at this sport, whether he would have had that tenacity," said Mr. Perara's wife, Nanci Modica, who first met Mr. Alfonso in 2002 while racing in Havana and is among his biggest supporters in New York. "He's got something special that he can just dig right through the pain."

Ms. Lea, the Maryland rider who raced next to him in Cuba, saw him again during a later visit to Havana at the Reinaldo Paseiro Velodrome. "He came over and nudged me - because I don't have any Spanish - and took my Allen key away from me and fixed my bike," she said, adding that they grew closer during her trip. "That's when I said, there's got to be a way."

Soon she was spearheading an effort to bring him to the United States for surgery.

Ms. Lea, 56, struggled to get him a visa and find a foundation willing to take on his case. Most were focused on children and did not want an adult from abroad. Finally in 2008 she found the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction, which finances the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone. After seeing photographs of Mr. Alfonso, the foundation agreed to take on his case.

"He's probably one of the most difficult reconstructions I've ever seen," said Dr. Oren Tepper, who is treating Mr. Alfonso with Dr. Joseph McCarthy, director of plastic surgery at NYU Langone and the lead surgeon on the case.

THE electrical burns had singed deep scars across his face, destroying large swaths of blood vessels, which are needed to connect new tissue to build facial features.

The doctors, finding few options, relied on a method that involved creating a nose by pulling down the forehead skin, waiting for the blood vessels to connect, and snipping the "flap" back to create the new feature. They used a similar technique to create a lower eyelid using skin from the upper eyelid.

In two rounds of surgery in April and May, the doctors remade his nose, left eyelid, chin and cheeks, and worked to slim his neckline and to improve his mouth, which, because of the muscular complexity, proved most difficult.

"He lost his whole mouth," Dr. McCarthy said. "There's no great way to reconstruct that."

A separate team of specialists worked on the prosthetics that will allow Mr. Alfonso to ride with his handlebars in the normal position, which has proved to be challenging. Few if any cyclists have raced competitively without forearms, said John Rheinstein, a prosthetics designer at Hanger, so developing the right device has been a process of trial and error.

Because the rules prohibit attaching prosthetics to the bike itself, the arms must fit tightly enough to give Mr. Alfonso control over the bike while allowing enough free movement for him to shift gears and to brake.

"Nobody's ever done this before," said Mr. Rheinstein, who estimated the cost of the custom prosthetics, which are being donated, at $10,000.

On a crystalline June afternoon, Mr. Alfonso rode in Central Park for the first time with a prototype of the arm extensions - a plastic cup connected to metal tubing and a hard-rubber claw-like "hand."

Mr. Rheinstein and a team from Hanger stood along the park drive just north of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as Mr. Alfonso saddled up, clipped into his pedals and pushed off, gripping the handlebars with his new rubber claws.

He passed slowly around a bend, then stopped. Wrenching the arms off the handlebars, he clicked them together in disgust.

"I don't like it," he said. "I've ridden my whole life the other way, and now I can't brake. I don't know why I need this. Why do they have this stupid rule?"

Riders and runners passed along the drive, arching their heads to stare at the scene of Mr. Alfonso, in a blue, gray and white Fuji racing uniform, discussing changes to the prosthetics with Mr. Rheinstein and his team. Mr. Alfonso and Mr. Rheinstein decided to change the arm to make it shorter and retest it later in the afternoon.

"Unfortunately, I don't think the happy ending is going to come right away," Mr. Rheinstein said.

Indeed, learning to ride with the new arms will take time and training, as Mr. Alfonso adapts his highly developed riding style and gear. Despite state-of-the-art electronic shifters from Shimano, which allow him to change gears by lightly tapping a switch, using the prosthetics "will be hard," he said.

Mr. Alfonso knows he needs to adapt if he is going to win medals, and eventually his competitive drive will take over, he said. "Because winning means always going forward," he said. "Going forward, leading, always." At 34, he quite likely has two shots left at the Paralympics, in 2012 and 2016.

His facial reconstruction has not gone easily, either. His body rejected a chin implant, and doctors removed it on Thursday. Final, outpatient surgery for touchups to his rebuilt nose are to be done in a few days.

With so little time for Mr. Alfonso to adapt to the prosthetics and train before the July race in Canada, Ms. Lea petitioned last month for an exemption to the strict equipment rules; after a back and forth, the international body that oversees paracycling granted her request, though it remains unclear whether the exemption will extend beyond July.

In any case, the prosthetics will allow Mr. Alfonso to compete in official bike races, from London to Saturday mornings in Central Park, something he is keen to do. But on this afternoon in Central Park, as the Hanger team left to tweak his new arms, Mr. Alfonso returned to his old position and set off for a quick loop of the park drive.

He rode slowly at first, blending with the other cyclists out for an afternoon ride in the spring sun and looking entirely at ease. After a while, his legs began pumping strongly. He gripped the sides of his upturned handlebars with his bare arms, rose from the saddle and powered up Cat's Paw hill.

He was in total control of the bike, and he left every other rider behind.


10) As China's Workers Get a Raise, Companies Fret
Published: May 31, 2011

HONG KONG - Wages are surging this year in China and among its main low-wage
Asian rivals, benefiting workers across the region. But the increases confront
trading companies and Western retailers with cost increases and are making
higher prices likely for American and European consumers.

Bruce Rockowitz, the chief executive of Li & Fung, the largest trading company
supplying Chinese consumer goods to American retail chains, said in a speech
here on Tuesday that the company's average costs for goods rose 15 percent in
the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year.
Executives at other consumer goods companies have encountered similar or larger

Airline flights to Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and other low-wage Asian
countries are packed these days with executives looking for alternatives to
double-digit wage increases in China. But wages are rising as fast or faster in
many of these countries, following China's example, while commodity prices have
surged around the world, leaving buyers with few places to turn.

Bangladesh raised its minimum wage by 87 percent late last year, yet apparel
factories there are still struggling to find enough workers to complete
ever-rising numbers of orders. "Everywhere you see signs saying 'people wanted,'
" said Annisul Huq, the chairman of the Mohammadi Group, a large Bangladesh
garment manufacturer.

The Gap surprised financial markets on May 19 by announcing that a 20 percent
jump in costs from suppliers by the second half of this year would depress its
profits, prompting a 17.5 percent plunge of its shares the next day. Coach, the
luxury handbag company, announced in January that it would try to reduce its
reliance on China to less than half of its products within four years, from 80
percent now, by moving production to Vietnam and India.

Yet wages in Vietnam have been rising as fast as Chinese wages, or faster, while
India has posed many problems for large-scale manufacturers. Mr. Rockowitz said
that India's infrastructure - roads and ports - was "really poor," while labor
issues, including government regulations, make it hard to build Chinese-style
factories for tens of thousands of workers.

With costs rising in China and few alternatives elsewhere, "you have the perfect
storm for raising prices," said Bennett Model, the chief executive of Cassin, a
Manhattan-based line of designer clothing. The company's costs have risen 25 to
35 percent in the last year for cotton and fur garments alike.

Cassin has begun experimenting with garment production in Guatemala with some
success, Mr. Model said, adding that many garment companies were still leery of
buying from anywhere except China. "Everybody's scared of the quality - you
spend so many years training a factory" to meet detailed specifications, he

Yet with 14 million people, Guatemala has the population of only a single large
Chinese metropolitan area like Shenzhen or Guangzhou.

Workers in developing countries all over the world are becoming more aware of
pay elsewhere through the Internet and the use of social media like Facebook,
increasing the pressure for higher wages, Mr. Rockowitz said.

Li & Fung handles about 4 percent of American retailers' imports from China of
virtually all kinds of consumer goods, according to investment analysts. The
exception is electronics, which tend to be imported directly to the United
States by other companies like Apple.

Mr. Rockowitz and other executives predict that the extremely high concentration
of factories in southeastern China near Hong Kong will give way to a dispersal
across the country in the next five years. Workers are becoming much more
reluctant to spend up to three days on buses and trains from the interior to
reach coastal factories, particularly when the growth of domestic spending in
China is creating more jobs in the interior.

Even the recent opening of high-speed rail routes that cut travel times up to 80
percent has not been enough to revive the flow of migrants. "They don't have to
take a 1,000-mile trip to the coast - there's a shortage of people,
unbelievable," said Douglas Hsu, the chairman and chief executive of the Far
Eastern Group, a big Taiwanese multinational with extensive investments in
mainland China.

And wages in China's interior have been rising even faster in percentage terms
than in coastal provinces, steadily narrowing what was once a pattern of much
higher wages in coastal export zones.

Many companies have another reason for staying in China these days: that is
where their sales are growing fastest. "If the market is in China, which in many
cases it now is, there's much less incentive to move," said Charles Oliver, the
senior partner of GCiS China, a market research company in Shanghai.

China has become the world's largest market for a long list of products, like
cars and steel. Producing and selling in China protects companies from later
facing "Buy Chinese" policies, antidumping cases or other Chinese import

Manufacturing in China allows companies to incur costs in renminbi, the same
currency as a growing part of their sales. That insulates them from one kind of
currency volatility even as the renminbi fluctuates more against the dollar and

Rising wages and strengthening currencies in Asia are making it less attractive
to move higher-value industries like auto manufacturing out of the West. But
little mentioned by almost anyone making or trading consumer goods in Asia these
days is the possibility of moving these relatively labor-intensive manufacturing
industries back to the United States or Europe.

Mr. Rockowitz was dismissive of the idea in his remarks on Tuesday at the
Foreign Correspondents' Club.

"The Western world does not have the work force to do this kind of business," he
said. "For 'made in Italy,' the workers are old now and there are no new workers
coming in."


11) Berkeley [New Jersey] Township Council: Close Oyster Creek pronto
agency pans resolution
Asbury Park Press
Jun. 9, 2011
Written by Bob Vosseller | Staff Writer

LACEY - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission took exception to a resolution passed in April by the Berkeley Township Council which called for the immediate closure of the Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey.

Joseph G. Giitter, who serves as director of the agency's Division of Operating Reactor Licensing Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, stated in a June 8 letter to Berkeley Township Clerk Beverly M. Carle that his agency requires Exelon Nuclear, the owner of the facility, "to comply with all the conditions set forth in plant's operating license."

The NRC issued a license renewal for the plant to operate for another 20 years on April 8, 2009.

Exelon President Chris Crane said on Dec. 9, 2010, that the "plant faces a unique set of economic conditions and changing environmental regulations that make ending operations the best option for the company, employees and shareholders."

The decision was made as part of an agreement between the state Department of Environmental Protection and Exelon.

The agreement prevented Exelon from having to upgrade its reactor cooling system by installing cooling towers to the facility as the DEP was planning to require.

"The NRC monitors licensee's performance through our Reactor Oversight Process (ROP), and documents our findings in inspection reports and other assessment documents," Giitter added in the letter.


WHEREAS, recent inspections and testing have determined that the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant is deficient in certain safety features; and

WHEREAS, the safety features include radiation monitors which are non-functional and an alarm siren back-up system which is also non-functional in the event of a blackout; and

WHEREAS, the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant is presently over 40 years old; and

WHEREAS, the Plant has been determined to be the source of radioactive tritium into the groundwater; and

WHEREAS, the Plant continues to expose the public to daily air emissions of radioactive isotopes; and-
WHEREAS, the Township Council of the Township of Berkeley strongly feels that Exelon Corporation has failed to adequately address important safety features at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant which could have a significant impact on the local population,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF BERKELEY, IN THE COUNTY OF OCEAN, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, to urge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to immediately close and decommission the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant; and be it further

RESOLVED that a certified copy of the within Resolution be forwarded by the Township Clerk to the following:

1. Mayor and Council Members

2. Business Administrator

3. Township Attorney

4. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

5. Township Engineer

6. Ocean County Board of Freeholders

7. 9th & 10th District Legislators

8.Goernor Chris Christie

9. Exelon Corporation

10. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

KAREN DAVIS, Council President


12) A 35% Spike in Infant Mortality in Northwest Cities Since Meltdown
Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of Fukushima Fallout?
Counterpunch, Weekend Edition
June 10 - 12, 2011

U.S. babies are dying at an increased rate. While the United States spends billions on medical care, as of 2006, the US ranked 28th in the world in infant mortality, more than twice that of the lowest ranked countries. (DHHS, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States 2010, Table 20, p. 131, February 2011.)

The recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that eight cities in the northwest U.S. (Boise ID, Seattle WA, Portland OR, plus the northern California cities of Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley) reported the following data on deaths among those younger than one year of age:

4 weeks ending March 19, 2011 - 37 deaths (avg. 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011 - 125 deaths (avg.12.50 per week)

This amounts to an increase of 35% (the total for the entire U.S. rose about 2.3%), and is statistically significant. Of further significance is that those dates include the four weeks before and the ten weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In 2001 the infant mortality was 6.834 per 1000 live births, increasing to 6.845 in 2007. All years from 2002 to 2007 were higher than the 2001 rate.

Spewing from the Fukushima reactor are radioactive isotopes including those of iodine (I-131), strontium (Sr-90) and cesium (Cs-134 and Cs-137) all of which are taken up in food and water. Iodine is concentrated in the thyroid, Sr-90 in bones and teeth and Cs-134 and Cs-137 in soft tissues, including the heart. The unborn and babies are more vulnerable because the cells are rapidly dividing and the delivered dose is proportionally larger than that delivered to an adult.

Data from Chernobyl, which exploded 25 years ago, clearly shows increased numbers of sick and weak newborns and increased numbers of deaths in the unborn and newborns, especially soon after the meltdown. These occurred in Europe as well as the former Soviet Union. Similar findings are also seen in wildlife living in areas with increased radioactive fallout levels.
(Chernobyl - Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Alexeiy V. Yablokov, Vasily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko. Consulting Editor: Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger. New York Academy of Sciences, 2009.)

Levels of radioisotopes were measured in children who had died in the Minsk area that had received Chernobyl fallout. The cardiac findings were the same as those seen in test animals that had been administered Cs-137. Bandashevsky, Y. I, Pathology of Incorporated Ionizing Radiation, Belarus Technical University, Minsk. 136 pp., 1999. For his pioneering work, Prof. Bandashevsky was arrested in 2001 and imprisoned for five years of an eight year sentence.

The national low-weight (under 2500 grams, or 5.5 lbs) rate has risen 23% from 1984 to 2006. Nearly 400,000 infants are born under 2500g each year in the U.S. Most of the increase in infant mortality is due specifically to infants born weighing less than 750 grams (I lb 10 1/2 oz). Multiple births commonly result in underweight babies, but most of the increase in births at less than 750 grams occurred among singletons and among mothers 20-34 years of age. (CDC, National Vital Statistics Report, 52 (12): 1-24, 2005.)

From an obstetrical point of view, women in the age bracket 20 to 34 are those most physically able to deliver a healthy child. So what has gone wrong? Clues to causation are often revealed when there is a change in incidence, a suspicious geographical distribution, and/or an increase in hazards known to adversely affect health and development.

The risk of having a baby with birth defects is estimated at three to four of every 100 babies born. As of 2005, the Institute of medicine estimated the cost of pre-term births in the US at more than $2.6 billion, or $51,600 for each infant.

Low birth weight babies, born too soon and too small, face a lifetime of health problems, including cerebral palsy, and behavioral and learning problems placing an enormous physical, emotional and economic burdens on society as a whole and on those caring for them. Death of a young child is devastating to a family.

As of June 5, 2011, The Japan Times reported that radiation in the No. 1 plant was measured at 4,000 milliseverts per hour. To put that in perspective, a worker would receive a maximal "permissible" dose in 4 minutes. In addition there are over 40,000 tons of radioactive water under that reactor with more radioactivity escaping into the air and sea. Fuel rods are believed to have melted and sunk to the bottom of reactors 1, 2, and 3.

Tepco, the corporate owner took more than two months to confirm the meltdowns and admitted lying about the levels of destruction and subsequent contamination, resulting in "Public Distrust." Over 100,000 tons of radioactive waste are on the site.

Why should we care if there may be is a link between Fukushima and the death of children? Because we need to measure the actual levels of isotopes in the environment and in the bodies of people exposed to determine if the fallout is killing our most vulnerable. The research is not technically difficult - the political and economic barriers may be greater. Bandshevsky and others did it and confirmed the connection. The information is available in the Chernobyl book. (Previously cited.)

The biological findings of Chernobyl cannot be ignored: isotope incorporation will determine the future of all life on earth - animal, fish, bird, plant and human. It is crucial to know this information if we are to avoid further catastrophic damage.

Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is the author of Life's Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease, and is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She edited the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B., Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009. Her primary interest is the prevention of illness through public education. She can be reached at: and

Joseph Mangano is an epidemiologist, and Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project research group.


13) Protests Challenge Japan's Use of Nuclear Power
"'I'm here for my children," said Aki Ishii, who had her 3-year-old daughter in tow. "We just want our old life back, where the water is safe and the air is clean." Her daughter wore a sign that said "Please let me play outside again.' Hiromasa Fujimoto, a rice and vegetable farmer, said it was his first protest, too. 'I want to tell people that I'm just so worried about the soil, about the water,' he said. 'I now farm with a Geiger counter in one hand, my tools in the other.''It's insane,' he added."
June 11, 2011

TOKYO - Beating drums and waving flowers, protesters in Tokyo and other major cities rallied against the use of nuclear power on Saturday, three months after a devastating tsunami set off a nuclear crisis.

Anger over the government's handling of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant has erupted in recent weeks after revelations that the damage at the plant, and the release of radioactive material, was far worse than previously thought. Mothers worried for their children's health, as well as farmers and fishermen angry about their damaged livelihoods, have been especially critical of the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The disaster has also prompted a national debate about Japan's heavy reliance on nuclear power despite the country's history of devastating earthquakes and a deep public distrust of the nuclear industry. In perhaps his sole move that has won popular support, Mr. Kan ordered the shutdown of a separate nuclear power plant in central Japan until it can bolster its tsunami defenses. But recent politicking in a gridlocked Parliament has added to the public's disenchantment.

"We now know the dangers of relying on nuclear power, and it's time to make a change," Hajime Matsumoto, one of the rally's organizers, told a crowd in a central Tokyo square that eventually grew to about 20,000 people, according to organizers' estimates.

"And, yes, I believe Japan can change," he shouted, as the crowd roared back and people pumped their fists in the air.

Supporters of the rally here in Tokyo, and in coordinated events in many other cities in Japan, say the demonstration was remarkable not because of its size, but because it happened at all in a country that so values conformity and order.

"The Japanese haven't been big protesters, at least recently," said Junichi Sato, program director of the environmental group Greenpeace Japan, who said he had organized enough poorly attended rallies to know. "They're taking the first steps toward making themselves heard."

Many in the crowd said they were protesting for the first time.

"I'm here for my children," said Aki Ishii, who had her 3-year-old daughter in tow. "We just want our old life back, where the water is safe and the air is clean." Her daughter wore a sign that said "Please let me play outside again."

Hiromasa Fujimoto, a rice and vegetable farmer, said it was his first protest, too. "I want to tell people that I'm just so worried about the soil, about the water," he said. "I now farm with a Geiger counter in one hand, my tools in the other."

"It's insane," he added.

And while the rally started in a typically orderly way - "Let's all remember good manners!" organizers said at the start, as protesters lined up in neat rows - the crowd eventually took a more rowdy turn.

As protesters congregated in a Tokyo square after several marches through the city, there were some confrontations with the police. A police officer who refused to give his name explained breathlessly that protesters had not been given permission to congregate in the square.

"Disperse immediately!" police officers shouted through megaphones.

"Shut up and go away!" a young man screamed back.

About 9 p.m., however, police officers forcibly moved in to break up the crowd. There was some pushing and shoving, but no serious skirmishes.

Still, Mr. Matsumoto, the organizer, looked elated. "Who would have thought so many people would turn up?" he said. "I think that Japan is on the cusp of something new."

But some passers-by were less enthusiastic.

"What can they really do?" said Airi Ishii, 21, a shopper who had stopped to watch the rally with her boyfriend. "It looks fun, but if you think anything will change, it's naïve."


14) Japan: Plant Owner Reprimanded
June 10, 2011

Japan's nuclear safety officials reprimanded the operator of the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant on Friday and demanded an investigation into how two workers were exposed to more than twice the government limit of radiation. The operator, Tepco, was ordered to submit a report within a week giving the cause and prevention measures. The two men, one in his 30s and the other in his 40s, were confirmed last week as having exceeded the limit and were removed from working at the plant. A third man, a senior control room operator in his 50s, is being tested further after early findings showed high radiation exposure.