Saturday, June 18, 2011



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Stand up for General Assistance Reform!
If you use General Assistance (GA) or serve people who do, we NEED YOU TO SPEAK OUT at the only County Budget meeting where they're discussing changes to GA.
June 20th (Mon) at 12:30 pm
County Admin Building
1221 Oak St. 5TH FLOOR
Oakland, CA
1. End the $40 medical
2. End the shared housing deduction
because it penalizes people looking for a job
3. Eliminate the car as an asset -
people need a car to survive and find a job
4. End the time limits: Some people need more
than 3 months to find a job. Restoring one more
month of aid is the first step to ending time limits.
The Coalition for a Compassionate GA Program is composed of legal aid advocates, direct service providers, faith groups and GA recipients


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.
78441123=85207452099==/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]


San Diego Sheriff's Beat up 16 year old kid, Ramona CA

Sheriff's Deputies Assault & Imprison Minor for alleged curfew violations?? The Day After Interview.


Protest at Chicago City Colleges Board Meeting

Watch it on YouTube:

On June 16, 2011 Chicago City Colleges students, teachers, clerical workers and community representatives protested in front of the CCC headquarters, and then attended, under restrictions set up by the Board, the Board meeting. The group discussed a large list of complaints, such as the firing of CCC presidents who are being replaced by outside administrators with no professional history in Chicago; or the fact that the Mayor-Daley-appointed-Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, a Commonwealth Edison exec with no educational experience, has forced through changes that will wreck the City Colleges system.

In the highly restricted public comment portion of the agenda, Nubian Malik, a community organizer, drew the situation into sharp focus: "I'm not going to pretend that this is a democratic process...I'm not going to pretend that you are actually, sincerely interested in hearing what we have to say...I'm not going to pretend that you are not going to aggressively continue to go after your own personal agenda."


Empty Chairs


Hot Particles From Japan to Seattle Virtually Undetectable when Inhaled or Swallowed

Original estimates of xenon and krypton releases remain the same, but a TEPCO recalculation shows dramatic increases in the release of hot particles. This confirms the results of air filter monitoring by independent scientists. Fairewinds' Arnie Gundersen explains how hot particles may react in mammals while escaping traditional detection. Reports of a metallic taste in the mouth, such as those now being reported in Japan and on the west coast, are a telltale sign of radiation exposure.


'Fukushima media cover-up - PR success, public health disaster'
June 11, 2011

Residents of the Fukushima district, and those who lived near-by have not only faced radiation exposure but also social exclusion... That's according to Dr. Robert Jacobs, Professor of nuclear history, at the Hiroshima Peace Institute.


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
In this episode, Sheriff Andy locks up a "Mister Blake," a suspected bank robber, and Opie, and his friend Arnold, bug a conversation between the prisoner and his lawyer with Arnold's new tape recorder.
Opie, bursts in, agitated and breathless, saying, "Paw! Paw! We hid it near the cell window..." and hands Sheriff Andy the tape recorder. "Wait, wait, what is it, Opie? What are you taking about?" asks Andy. "We bugged Mr. Blakes cell!" exclaims Opie. "You what?" responds Sheriff Andy. "We bugged the cell with Arnold's tape recorder, just listen to this, Paw!" Opie says. "I can't listen to that!" exclaims Andy. "But Paw..." says Opie, again. Interrupting Opie Andy says, "I can't listen to that, I'm not permitted!" "But, Paw, you don't understand..." pleads Opie. "Now, I can't listen to this. Now, I told you about eavesdropping..." says Andy. "But Paw, this is different..." says Opie. "Yes, its worse! You overheard a conversation that was supposed to be private. Now I can't be a party to that!" says the good Sheriff Taylor. "But Paw, if you just listen to this..." And at that moment Andy pushes the erase button. "Paw, you're erasing the tape!" cries Opie. "That what I mean to do! You bugged a conversation between a lawyer and his client. Now that's violating one of the most sacred rights of privacy," explains Andy. "But Paw..." cries Opie. "No buts!" says Andy. "But if it helps the law? ...." asks Opie. "Opie, the law can't use this kind of help...because whether a man is guilty or innocent, we have to find that out by due process of law."
Unfortunately, and predictably, at the end of the show, the tape recording proved to be useful, after all, to garner a "confession" from the prisoner.
Full Episode: Part 1:
Part 2:


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




Supporter of Leak Suspect Is Called Before Grand Jury
June 15, 2011

A supporter of Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, was called before a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday, but he said he declined to answer any questions. The supporter, David M. House, a freelance computer scientist, said he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, because he believes the Justice Department is "creating a climate of fear around WikiLeaks and the Bradley Manning support network." The grand jury inquiry is separate from the military prosecution of Private Manning and is believed to be exploring whether the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, or others in the group violated the law by acquiring and publishing military and State Department documents.


Support a documentary film about the war on Afghanistan.
Between July 1 and 12, Brazilian ecologist, anthropologist and documentary filmmaker Rodrigo Guim will be in the Bay Area to meet potential funders of a documentary featuring antiwar and human rights activist from Afghanistan, Malalai Joya. If you have any leads to send the filmmaker, or would like to schedule a meeting to know how you could contribute to the project, please write him directly at



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:

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Americans Support Offshore Drilling Even if Washington Wavers
June 16, 2011

2) Nuclear Plant, Left for Dead, Shows a Pulse
June 15, 2011

3) White House Defends Continuing U.S. Role in Libya Operation
"The White House, pushing hard against criticism in Congress over the deepening air war in Libya, asserted Wednesday that President Obama had the authority to continue the military campaign without Congressional approval because American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities."
June 15, 2011

4) Traces of Dioxin Found Near U.S. Base in South Korea
June 16, 2011

5) Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate, Group Says
"Mr. Borchardt also said that in Units 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima, 'The cores, to some degree, are ex-vessel,' meaning that the uranium fuel had melted and leaked out of the reactor vessels.
June 15, 2011

6) Most Mail Delivery in Canada Halts After Strikes
June 15, 2011

7) Supporter of Leak Suspect Is Called Before Grand Jury
June 15, 2011

8) No Strike at Macy's
June 16, 2011

9) 40 Years of Drug War Hasn't Worked; "Time for a Change," Says 9-Year Veteran
By Eric Sterling, AlterNet
Posted on June 15, 2011, Printed on June 17, 2011

10) Call Off the Global Drug War
By Jimmy Carter, The New York Times
June 17, 2011

11) Oakland Fire Dept. Refuses to Release Taped Racial Slurs and Comments Re. Oscar Grant
by Phil Horne
Tuesday Jun 7th, 2011 11:24 AM

12) Nuclear plant surrounded by flooding is safe, US says
Giant rubber barrier around site; reactor has been shut down since April
The Associated Press
updated 6/17/2011

13) For Want of a Word, Arizona's Jobless Lose Checks
"That last extension of unemployment benefits - typically received in weeks 80 through 99 of unemployment - is paid for entirely with federal money and does not affect state budgets. But because of ideological opposition and other legislative priorities, Arizona and a handful of other states, like Wisconsin and Alaska, have not made the one-word change necessary to keep the program going. Right now about 640,000 jobless Americans are receiving this last tier of benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project."
June 17, 2011

14) Tepco Halts Filtering of Tainted Water at Japanese Plant
"NHK, the national broadcaster, said that in five hours the filters had accumulated four millisieverts of radioactive material, about as much as was expected to be collected in a month. ...Tepco has not discussed alternatives to its filtration strategy. But some nuclear experts believe that the utility may again be forced to dump thousands-of-tons of low-level contaminated water into the ocean. In April, Tepco poured more than 11,000 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, prompting protests from neighboring countries, environmentalists and fishermen."
June 18, 2011

15) After Losing Vote, Union Vows to Try Again at Target
June 18, 2011

16) Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor Damaged Before Quake
"The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor - a long-troubled national project - has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactor's inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core. Engineers have tried repeatedly since the accident last August to recover the device, which appears to have gotten stuck. They will make another attempt as early as next week. But critics warn that the recovery process is fraught with dangers because the plant uses large quantities of liquid sodium, a highly flammable substance, to cool the nuclear fuel."
June 17, 2011

17) United States: Federal Court Drops Charges Against Bin Laden
[Speculation has it that the charges would be dropped against Bin Laden in order to avoid an investigation into the whole thing. Of course, it would also be quite akward to have a trial of a suspect after the death sentence has already, extra judicially, been carried out--that is, if it was Bin Laden that they dumped in the ocean?]
June 17, 2011

18) Israel: No Charges Over Prisoner Photos
June 17, 2011

19) Mayors See End to Wars as Fix for Struggling Cities
"Mayor Bernero [Lansing, Mich.] moved to make the first major cuts to the city's police and fire departments: 44 police officers and 44 firefighters face layoffs at the end of the month if no deal is reached with the unions, and the city will lose two of its eight fire houses. ...Providence saw more than $3 billion of its property values evaporate after its last revaluation. Now the struggling city is raising its property tax rate, forcing homeowners to pay more taxes on homes that are worth less money. It is also laying off 78 of its 468 police officers at the end of this month if the union fails to make concessions"
[Notice that while they may pass a resolution calling for, '...the speedy end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and calling on Congress to use the $126 billion a year the wars cost for urgent domestic needs.' they still manage to lay the blame on the]
June 17, 2011

20) A Watchdog Professor [David Protess, Innocence Project], Now Defending Himself
June 17, 2011

21) Casualties Mount in NJ Employee Benefits Battle
June 18, 2011

22) Paychecks as Big as Tajikistan
"Let's begin with the view from 30,000 feet. Total executive pay increased by 13.9 percent in 2010 among the 483 companies where data was available for the analysis. The total pay for those companies' 2,591 named executives, before taxes, was $14.3 billion. That's some pile of pay, right? But Mr. Ciesielski puts it into perspective by noting that the total is almost equal to the gross domestic product of Tajikistan, which has a population of more than 7 million."
June 18, 2011

23) Greeks Protest, Almost Half Oppose Austerity
June 18, 2011


1) Americans Support Offshore Drilling Even if Washington Wavers
June 16, 2011

WASHINGTON - The last year and a half has brought a rapid sequence of reversals in the Obama administration's policy toward oil and gas exploration on public lands and in United States waters.

Since the beginning of 2010, Washington has caromed from a restrictive approach to drilling to a permissive policy closely mirroring that of the Bush administration to a near-total shutdown of offshore drilling after the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. After that fatal accident, the administration decreed a deepwater drilling moratorium, lifted it six months later, then took five more months before beginning to issue drilling permits.

Throughout that time, the American public's attitudes toward domestic oil and gas development have been remarkably consistent: Americans are in favor of it, though Democrats and those on the coasts are much less likely than Republicans and those in the South and Southwest to be supportive.

National support for offshore drilling and for domestic oil and gas development generally dipped for a time after the BP disaster - from a strong majority to a bare majority - but quickly rebounded.

A Gallup poll taken immediately after the gulf spill showed that 50 percent of Americans supported offshore drilling while 46 percent opposed it. By March of this year, public support had risen to 60 percent versus 37 percent.

The administration's offshore drilling policy, like its fervor for domestic production more generally, has gone through rapid changes. In March 2010, President Obama announced that the United States would make vast tracts of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Arctic oceans available for leasing by oil and gas companies. After the BP spill began on April 20, 2010, he declared those areas off-limits for at least five years. Then, last month, the president announced that he would permit accelerated development in Alaska, the gulf and along parts of the Atlantic coast.

Administration officials defend the policy changes as reasonable responses to changed circumstances. Mr. Obama came to office as a proponent of increased domestic oil and gas development, as part of a broader strategy to reduce oil imports. Accordingly, they said, he took steps to accelerate development. He then imposed a sharp cutback after the BP disaster to give regulators and oil companies time to put new safeguards in place.

After the president was satisfied that drilling could resume safely, and in response to public anxiety about high fuel costs, he shifted back to a more pro-development stance, the aides said.

"These spikes in gas prices are often temporary," Mr. Obama said on May 14 in a radio and Internet address, "and while there are no quick fixes to the problem, there are a few steps we should take that make good sense."

The public's support for offshore drilling has tracked changes in the price of gasoline. When gas prices were near record highs in the summer of 2008 and again this spring, support for domestic drilling was highest.

Conversely, unease about the effects of offshore drilling peaked after the BP accident, which killed 11 rig workers and spewed nearly five million barrels of crude into the gulf.

"News of that incident has faded, possibly lessening Americans' resistance to coastal area drilling," Gallup said when releasing its poll in March that showed 60 percent of Americans supportive.

The poll found that 49 percent of Americans favor opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration, a step the Obama administration strongly opposes. That is the highest level of support for drilling in the Arctic refuge since Gallup first asked the question in 2002.

The nationwide poll of 1,021 adults was conducted by telephone in early March.

"Timing is everything," said Jack N. Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, the industry's most prominent lobbying group in Washington. "As the price of gasoline has increased, public attention has turned once again to the question of energy. When they hear their elected officials continue to resist development of American resources, they are appalled."

The Gallup survey found that men are more likely than women to support drilling offshore and in Alaska and support is much higher among Republicans than Democrats. It also found regional variations, with the strongest backing for aggressive oil exploration in the South and the most significant opposition along the East and West Coasts.

And while the public appears to support exploiting domestic oil and gas resources, there is also skepticism about the economic and environmental costs of America's continued reliance on oil. A New York Times/CBS News poll taken in March asked how important it was for the United States to develop an alternative to oil as a major source of energy. Fully 94 percent of respondents said it was very or somewhat important to do so.

The Times/CBS News poll was conducted by telephone with 1,266 adults nationwide.

Daniel J. Weiss, a senior fellow in Washington at the Center for American Progress, said that while the public tends to support more domestic oil and gas drilling, they see it as only one egg in a basket of policies to lower energy costs, reduce dependence on foreign oil and clean up the environment.

"Americans generally support an all-of-the-above strategy," Mr. Weiss said. "They say, 'Let's have more offshore drilling, but also higher mileage standards for our cars and trucks. Let's crack down on the speculators and invest in electric cars, natural gas trucks and biofuels.' "

Mr. Gerard said that Mr. Obama's sporadic and reluctant support for increased domestic production was largely politically driven and not part of a comprehensive energy strategy. But he praised the president for at least appearing responsive to public opinion in calling for more American oil and gas.

"Until the economy gets back on track, until the unemployment rate comes down, and with the price of energy high, I think you'll see the president focus more and more on the supply side," he said. "And as pressure continues to mount as we get closer to Election Day, I think you'll see more of that."


2) Nuclear Plant, Left for Dead, Shows a Pulse
June 15, 2011

HOLLYWOOD, Ala. - Spider webs line the 50-story cooling towers, parts have been amputated for the scrap value of their nickel or copper, and the control room still has analog dials at Bellefonte 1, a half-built nuclear plant here that was shelved 23 years ago.

This does not seem like a particularly opportune moment to breathe life back into a reactor that was designed before the computer age. But its owner, the quasi-governmental Tennessee Valley Authority, says the plant may be its best bet for generating cleaner and more economical new electricity.

Since an earthquake and tsunami unleashed a nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima reactors in March, several countries have distanced themselves from nuclear energy. The German chancellor announced her intention to shutter all of the country's nuclear facilities by 2022, and the Swiss Parliament is heading in the same direction.

A modern reactor project in Texas was canceled after Fukushima, and one in Maryland fell apart last year. And even before the catastrophe in Japan, the nuclear industry as a whole had been suffering from a surfeit of generating capacity, the cheap price of natural gas and the high price of construction.

So why is the Tennessee Valley Authority - which recently announced it would close 18 antiquated and dirty coal-fired plants - trying to revive a reactor that for years has served only as a salvage heap?

Right now, said Eric T. Beaumont, a nuclear expert and partner in Copia Capital, a private investment firm in Chicago, "it doesn't seem like the most prudent use of money."

"They should definitely be doing something different," said Louis A. Zeller, science director for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, a regional advocacy group. He likes to call Bellefonte "the zombie reactor" because it is neither dead nor alive.

Mr. Zeller and other skeptics say that beyond the obvious challenges the nuclear industry faces, the Bellefonte 1 project has inescapable flaws. The reactor is too expensive and too antiquated, they contend, and it lies in an earthquake zone.

But the authority is moving forward, estimating that Bellefonte 1 could be up and running as early as 2020, half a century after it was conceived. Cost estimates for completing the reactor run $4 billion to $5 billion on top of the $4 billion that has already been invested.

Thomas Kilgore, the authority's president and chief executive, said finishing it now would make more sense later. "Why nuclear?" he said. "Once you get the unit built, you've got inflation locked out."

Mr. Beaumont, the industry analyst, said that "based on cost, I absolutely think you can say it's crazy." But that assessment might change over time, he allowed.

The Environmental Protection Agency could force additional coal-generated power plants to close as it polices greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the demand for cleaner sources of energy, he said. The price of natural gas will eventually rise, making nuclear energy more competitive, he added, and at some point, existing nuclear plants will wear out.

T.V.A. executives have another troublesome variable to deal with, unpredictable changes in demand, which is what they say caused them to shut down construction in 1988.

"I can't forecast out 8 or 10 years," Mr. Kilgore said, but "we just know when we get there, Bellefonte 1 is a good economic proposition."

Because the plant already has a precious construction license, albeit from 1974, and because of the authority's independent status, it faces far fewer obstacles than most other reactor builders.

The T.V.A. does not answer to state regulators. It has no shareholders to worry. As a federally chartered corporation established in 1933 as part of the New Deal, it is overseen by nine directors who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Today it supplies electricity across parts of seven states, serving roughly nine million people.

It also enjoys financial advantages that most public utilities lack, borrowing money at rates similar to those paid by the United States Treasury, which is critical for building hugely expensive reactors.

That makes it one of the very few American builders that could pull off a nuclear power comeback in this climate. With the exception of Watts Bar 1, another T.V.A. plant that was mothballed for a time but was finished in 1996, no new reactor construction has been started since the early 1990s. Two new plants in Georgia and South Carolina are awaiting construction permits, and the authority is working on finishing a second Watts Bar reactor similar in vintage to Bellefonte 1 that is expected to be completed next year.

Authority managers have said they would ask their board this summer for money to complete Bellefonte 1; last year the board voted to allocate $248 million just to explore that possibility.

Currently, the T.V.A. gets 60 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, mostly coal, and in addition to the 18 generators it recently agreed to shut at the urging of the E.P.A., it must decide whether to scrub or close several more. The authority's goal is to have 50 percent of its generation come from "low or zero carbon-emitting sources" by 2020, which is why Bellefonte 1 is a dinosaur back in play.

Bellefonte 1 is the most on-again, off-again nuclear project in the country. In 1970, the T.V.A. said that within eight years it would build two nuclear reactors here for $650 million. Construction did not start until 1974, and by 1988, the authority had spent more than six times what it had budgeted.

When it realized there was no immediate need for the power, construction ceased. In 1994, the authority tried to arrange to sell the plant's output to the Philadelphia Electric Company. That deal fell through. In 1997, it tried to make another deal with the Energy Department, which needed a reactor to make tritium for nuclear weapons. But another T.V.A. reactor was enlisted.

Representative Mo Brooks, a Republican whose Congressional district covers northern Alabama, said he was all for completing the plant. "More people have been killed by coal than nuclear, by far, when you talk about the mining, the pollution of the water and the air pollution," he said. "Nuclear's not perfect, but it seems to be better than any alternative."

The City Council in nearby Scottsboro and the Jackson County Commission both adopted resolutions last year favoring either completion of Bellefonte 1 or construction of a new reactor.

Residents say Bellefonte 1 will do wonders for the local economy. Operating the completed plant is expected to take 2,800 workers, which would make it the largest employer in the county.

"Had it not been for the T.V.A., we would still be watching TV by candlelight," said Ron Bailey, the vice president for business development at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Kayla Thomas, 27, a school cafeteria worker shopping in Scottsboro with her 8-year-old daughter, Trinity, said the region needed a "pick-me-up."

"Even if some of those people are coming from out of town, guess what, they're going to be spending the money here," she said.

The prospect of nuclear accidents does not worry her, Ms. Thomas said. "Anything is going to have its safety issues," she said, using her fingers to draw quote marks in the air around the word safety.


3) White House Defends Continuing U.S. Role in Libya Operation
"The White House, pushing hard against criticism in Congress over the deepening air war in Libya, asserted Wednesday that President Obama had the authority to continue the military campaign without Congressional approval because American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities."
June 15, 2011

WASHINGTON - The White House, pushing hard against criticism in Congress over the deepening air war in Libya, asserted Wednesday that President Obama had the authority to continue the military campaign without Congressional approval because American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities.

In a 38-page report sent to lawmakers describing and defending the NATO-led operation, the White House said the mission was prying loose Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's grip on power.

In contending that the limited American role did not oblige the administration to ask for authorization under the War Powers Resolution, the report asserted that "U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops." Still, the White House acknowledged, the operation has cost the Pentagon $716 million in its first two months and will have cost $1.1 billion by September at the current scale of operations.

The report came one day after the House Speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, had sent a letter to Mr. Obama warning him that he appeared to be out of time under the Vietnam-era law that says presidents must terminate a mission 60 or 90 days after notifying Congress that troops have been deployed into hostilities, unless lawmakers authorize the operation to continue.

Mr. Boehner had demanded that Mr. Obama explain his legal justification for passing the deadline. On Wednesday, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, said he was still reviewing the documents, adding that "the creative arguments made by the White House raise a number of questions that must be further explored."

The escalating confrontation with Congress reflects the radically altered political landscape in Washington: a Democratic president asserting sweeping executive powers to deploy American forces overseas, while Republicans call for stricter oversight and voice fears about executive-branch power getting the United States bogged down in a foreign war.

"We are acting lawfully," said Harold H. Koh, the State Department legal adviser, who expanded on the administration's reasoning in a joint interview with the White House counsel, Robert Bauer.

The two senior administration lawyers contended that American forces had not been in "hostilities" at least since early April, when NATO took over the responsibility for the no-fly zone and the United States shifted to primarily a supporting role - providing refueling and surveillance to allied warplanes, although remotely piloted drones operated by the United States periodically fire missiles, too.

They argued that United States forces are at little risk because there are no troops on the ground and Libyan forces are unable to exchange fire with them meaningfully. And they said the military mission was constrained by a United Nations Security Council resolution, which authorized air power for the purpose of defending civilians.

"We are not saying the president can take the country into war on his own," said Mr. Koh, a former Yale Law School dean and outspoken critic of the Bush administration's expansive theories of executive power. "We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of 'hostilities' envisioned by the War Powers Resolution."

Jack L. Goldsmith, who led the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, said the Obama theory would set a precedent expanding future presidents' unauthorized war-making powers, especially given the rise of remote-controlled combat technology.

"The administration's theory implies that the president can wage war with drones and all manner of offshore missiles without having to bother with the War Powers Resolution's time limits," Mr. Goldsmith said.

It remains to be seen whether majorities in Congress will acquiesce to the administration's argument, defusing the confrontation, or if the theory will fuel greater criticism. Either way, because the statute does not define hostilities and the Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue, the debate is likely to be resolved politically, said Richard H. Pildes, a New York University law professor.

Also on Wednesday, 10 lawmakers - led by Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, and Representative Walter B. Jones, Republican of North Carolina - filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order Mr. Obama to pull out of the Libya operation because Congress did not authorize it. That lawsuit faces steep challenges, however, because courts in the past have dismissed similar cases on technical grounds.

The administration had earlier argued that Mr. Obama could initiate the intervention on his own authority as commander in chief because its anticipated nature, scope and duration fell short of a "war" in the constitutional sense. Since then, the conflict has dragged on for longer than expected, and the goal of the NATO allies has all but openly shifted from merely defending civilians to forcing the Libyan leader, Colonel Qaddafi, from power. But Mr. Koh and Mr. Bauer said that while regime change in Libya might be a diplomatic goal, the military's mission was separate and remained limited to protecting civilians.

While many presidents have challenged the constitutionality of other aspects of the War Powers Resolution - which Congress enacted over President Richard M. Nixon's veto - no administration has declared that the section imposing the 60-day clock is unconstitutional, and in 1980, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel concluded that it was within Congress's power to enact such a limit.

Mr. Bauer and Mr. Koh said that the 1980 memorandum remained in force, but that their legal argument was not invoking any constitutional challenge to bolster their interpretation of hostilities.

It was not clear whether the Justice Department had endorsed the White House's interpretation of hostilities. Mr. Bauer declined to say whether it had signed off on the theory, saying he would not discuss interagency deliberations. In his letter on Tuesday, Mr. Boehner demanded to know whether there was internal dissent about the administration's legal stance.

Mr. Koh noted that there had been disputes about whether the 60-day clock of the War Powers Resolution (a deadline that can be extended for 30 days under some circumstances) applied to deployments in which - unlike in Libya - there were troops on the ground and American casualties.

Still, such previous cases involved peacekeeping missions in which the United States had been invited in, and there were only infrequent outbreaks of violence - as in Lebanon, Somalia and Bosnia. The Libyan operation, by contrast, is an offensive mission involving sustained bombardments of a government's forces.

Jennifer Steinhauer contributed reporting.


4) Traces of Dioxin Found Near U.S. Base in South Korea
June 16, 2011

SEOUL, South Korea - Trace amounts of dioxin have been found in water samples taken near an American Army base in South Korea, according to a joint investigation into alleged chemical dumping that analysts said could have repercussions for the alliance between South Korea and the United States.

The discovery of the dioxin near Camp Carroll, in southeastern South Korea, was part of an initial report on water and soil tests being conducted by both countries.

The dioxin was found in three streams near Camp Carroll, investigators said, and all the samples were well within safe drinking standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tests of three other streams and 10 wells were negative for dioxin.

Dioxin, a component of the powerful defoliant Agent Orange, has been linked to an array of diseases, including cancer, heart conditions and birth defects. Agent Orange was widely used during the Vietnam War to expose the hiding places of enemy soldiers in jungles, swamps and forests.

Military officials in Seoul said Agent Orange also was sprayed along the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea in 1968. The spraying lasted about two months, they said, until local supplies of the herbicide were exhausted.

Political analysts said they have been encouraged by an unusually high level of cooperation between American and Korean military investigators, in part because the collaboration could defuse anger among those in South Korea who resent the American military presence here. Some 28,500 U.S. forces, primarily from the army, are currently based in South Korea.

"There has been no delay in conducting investigations of the allegations and in extending full cooperation to the Korean government," said Evans Revere, the former No. 2 diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul who is now a lecturer and diplomat-in-residence at Princeton University.

"Transparency is really important here," he said, "because of the need to deal with the inevitable conspiracy theories that will arise in the Korean media and among the political opposition."

But Mr. Revere, a longtime American diplomat in Asia, said the Agent Orange issue was a sensitive one and had the "potential to have a significant impact on popular attitudes toward the U.S.-South Korea alliance."

Three former American soldiers - Steven House, Richard Cramer and Robert Travis - recently said they had helped to bury about 250 drums of waste at Camp Carroll in 1978. Their allegations were first aired by KPHO, a television station in Phoenix, Arizona.

The men said the disposal site was a deep trench near a helicopter pad at Camp Carroll. The ditch was about 100 yards long and wide enough to accommodate a dump truck, they said.

Mr. Travis said the 55-gallon drums were olive-drab green, marked with a stripe and labeled "chemical type - Agent Orange." He said some of the barrels were "dated 1967 for the Republic of Vietnam."

The U.S. Army has acknowledged that pesticides, herbicides and other toxic compounds were buried at Camp Carroll, but the chemicals and some 60 tons of contaminated soil were later dug up and removed. An American military spokesman in Seoul, Lt. Col. Jeffrey S. Buczkowski, said the army was still searching its records to discover what became of the excavated chemicals and soil.

Investigators said Thursday they could not link the discovery of the dioxin to the chemicals buried in 1978. Meanwhile, the South Korean military is conducting environmental tests at 85 former American bases that have been returned to South Korean control.

The commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, held a town hall meeting two weeks ago with South Korean residents who live or work near Camp Carroll.

"I pledge that I will do everything necessary to determine the truth," General Johnson said at the meeting. "My focus is to ensure there is no risk to the health of the people on Camp Carroll or off Camp Carroll. And if there is, I'll fix it."

Although the investigation of the alleged chemical dumping is not yet complete, some observers saw little chance that public anger here would reach the level that caused hundreds of thousands of Koreans to take to the streets in the summer of 2008 to protest - sometimes violently - the lifting of a ban on imports of American beef. The ban was first imposed in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was detected in the United States.

The 2008 demonstrations, while ignited by the beef controversy, were also deeply tied to widespread frustrations over the early policies of the recently elected president, Lee Myung-bak.

"The beef issue was more about Lee Myung-bak and his leadership style," said Mr. Revere, "and the beef scare provided a convenient pretext to bash him."

The simple geography of a possible contamination near Camp Carroll, located 150 miles southeast of Seoul, also would dampen any nationwide outrage, said Lim Seong-ho, a professor of political science at Kyung Hee University in Seoul.

"While the alleged hazards of mad cow disease could have affected anybody, the chemical danger is far away from most of citizens," Mr. Lim said. "Certainly, some groups and people will try to reignite anti-American sentiment. But the chemical dumping is restricted to a small part of a remote area and does not bring a terrible sense of danger to the mind of the Korean public."

Some analysts saw possible comparisons between the Agent Orange issue and an incident in 2002, when an American armored vehicle killed two 14-year-old Korean girls walking to a birthday party. The accident became a flashpoint for local opposition to the 37,000 U.S. troops then stationed in South Korea. The subsequent acquittal of two American sergeants by a U.S. military panel elevated public outrage into outright anger.

At the time, Mr. Revere said, the South Korean government failed to "defend the alliance" against media speculations and "well-organized anti-American elements who sought to exploit the tragedy for political ends."


5) Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate, Group Says
"Mr. Borchardt also said that in Units 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima, 'The cores, to some degree, are ex-vessel,' meaning that the uranium fuel had melted and leaked out of the reactor vessels.
June 15, 2011

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Nuclear safety rules in the United States do not adequately weigh the risk that a single event would knock out electricity from both the grid and from emergency generators, as an earthquake and tsunami recently did at a nuclear plant in Japan, officials of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday.

A task force created after the accident at the nuclear plant, Fukushima Daiichi, delivered an oral progress report on Wednesday to the five-member commission. In that session, commission officials said they had learned that some of the safety equipment installed at American nuclear plants over the years, including hardware added after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is not maintained or inspected as diligently as the original components are.

A crucial reason for the extensive damage to the Fukushima plant's reactors was the loss of electricity needed to run water pumps and to reposition valves. The American nuclear industry has argued in recent months that its reactors are better prepared to cope with that kind of emergency.

But Charlie Miller, the chairman of the task force, said that studies by safety experts in the United States had analyzed the risk of losing electricity from the grid or from on-site emergency generators, but not both at the same time.

Steven P. Kraft, an executive of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry's trade association, speaking after the meeting said that in the past it was "not considered credible" that a single event could knock out both supplies. In view of recent events, he said, it is time to prepare for the possibility of an extended blackout.

One of the commissioners, George E. Apostolakis, pointed out that existing safety analyses also assume that electricity will be restored within four or eight hours after a power cutoff, but that blackouts on the grid often last far longer. "Why do we still assume things that are now, in retrospect, unrealistic?" he asked.

The task force, appointed in April, is supposed to complete its investigation in August but is periodically updating the commission. In another finding, it warned that emergency vents that had been added to American reactors to protect against a hydrogen explosion after an accident might not function, just as they proved inoperable in Fukushima.

"It may be a challenge to open the vent path in a scenario like the Fukushima accident," said Mr. Miller, who said that the types of valves used, and their accessibility in the event that they had to be operated manually, needed further evaluation.

Another challenge is that the commission's inspectors have not been trained to evaluate the condition of a variety of hardware or review procedures that were adopted as extra precautions after the Sept. 11 attacks. "We do not have the same kind of regulatory oversight on those enhancements," said R. William Borchardt, the commission's executive director for operations.

The commission's staff, which has been struggling to obtain as much information as possible about the Fukushima reactors, has revised its view of the condition of a pool of spent fuel at the plant's Unit 4 reactor, Mr. Borchardt said Wednesday.

An assumption that that pool was dry or nearly dry, raising the possibility of a massive release of radioactive materials, led the United States ambassador to Japan to recommend that Americans stay 50 miles away from the plant. The Japanese authorities had ordered the evacuation of people within about 12 miles of the plant.

"It's unlikely that the pool ever went completely dry," Mr. Borchardt told the commissioners. "The staff welcomes this as very good news, as it's one indication that the event may not have been as serious as previously believed for Unit 4." He said the conclusion was based on a recent video of the pool.

The commission has never explained why its chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, said that the pool was empty or nearly empty. But since the March 11 accident at Fukushima, the plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has reported a variety of instrument readings that later came into question.

Mr. Borchardt also said that in Units 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima, "The cores, to some degree, are ex-vessel," meaning that the uranium fuel had melted and leaked out of the reactor vessels.


6) Most Mail Delivery in Canada Halts After Strikes
June 15, 2011

OTTAWA - For the second day in a row, Canada's labor minister took steps toward legislating an end to major work stoppage on Wednesday.

Lisa Raitt, the labor minister, introduced a motion that can lead to back-to-work legislation, after Canada Post locked out its 48,000 unionized workers after 12 days of rotating strikes. While a small number of postal employees in rural areas covered by a separate contract remained at work, the lockout effectively shut down the country's postal system.

On Tuesday, Ms. Raitt said the government would move to end a strike by 3,800 customer service agents at Air Canada, which was causing some difficulties for travelers.

Neither the post office nor the Canadian Union of Postal Workers appeared confident that they would swiftly reach an agreement through negotiations. If that impasse continues, it is unlikely that Parliament would pass back-to-work legislation until later next week.

The post office said that the union's strike action had significantly cut mail volume, costing it about 100 million Canadian dollars ($103 million), and had prompted the lockout.

Despite that, Denis Lemelin, the president of the postal workers union, told reporters at a news conference that he still wanted a new contract that would be achieved through talks, not imposed by government action.

"We are supposed to be in a free society with free speech and free negotiations," he said.

In a statement, Canada Post said that Deepak Chopra, its chief executive, was prepared to meet with the union if it "moves off its costly demands and works with Canada Post to address pressing issues that are challenging the business."

Like Air Canada, Canada Post has a deficit in its pension funding currently totaling 3.2 billion Canadian dollars ($3.3 billion) in its case. It wants new employees to work an additional five years before they are eligible for a pension. It is also proposing a separate, lower wage structure for new employees.

Robert Campbell, the chairman of a an advisory panel that studied Canada Post for the government in 2008 and the president of Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, said that it would be difficult for the postal workers' union, which has historically been among Canada's most militant labor bodies, to accept a different approach to wages and benefits for new employees.

At the same time, Mr. Campbell said that after 15 years of "building a reasonable, reliable commercial operation," the management at Canada Post now found that "that strategy has kind of run itself out." It faces increased competition from several companies, including United Parcel Service Canada and the Canadian arm of FedEx. At the same time, its first-class mail business is being eroded rapidly by the Internet.

As a result, Mr. Campbell said, Canada has no choice but to reduce its cost structure.

Canada Post, which is government-owned but not directly subsidized, has one advantage over its private sector competitors. It is the only company that is able to deliver to every address in Canada, a challenge given the country's land mass and relatively small population, roughly a tenth that of the United States.

The strike works both ways for FedEx. James Anderson, a spokesman for its Canadian unit , said the company had introduced a contingency plan to handle increased volumes.

But Canada Post uses FedEx for its express international mail and parcel business. And FedEx uses Canada Post to ease the entry of parcels from merchants in the United States into Canada.

While some Canadian news media reports suggested that other shippers were offering discounts to permanently lure customers away from Canada Post, Pat Stanghieri, the vice president of U.P.S. Canada, said that was not the case with his company.

"I don't think we view this really as an opportunity," he said.


7) Supporter of Leak Suspect Is Called Before Grand Jury
June 15, 2011

A supporter of Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, was called before a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday, but he said he declined to answer any questions. The supporter, David M. House, a freelance computer scientist, said he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, because he believes the Justice Department is "creating a climate of fear around WikiLeaks and the Bradley Manning support network." The grand jury inquiry is separate from the military prosecution of Private Manning and is believed to be exploring whether the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, or others in the group violated the law by acquiring and publishing military and State Department documents.


8) No Strike at Macy's
June 16, 2011

Mary Altaffer/Associated PressThe Macy's flagship store at Herald Square in Manhattan, where there will be no picket lines, after all.

There will be no picket lines on 34th Street, no marching in Herald Square. Tourists who feared their jaunts to New York might be ruined by a strike at Macy's need worry no longer: the department store and its employees reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

The deal was reached around 7 a.m. Thursday after an all-night negotiating session, as talks continued beyond the union-imposed midnight deadline that would have put roughly 4,000 employees on strike at the flagship store in Manhattan, and three others in the Bronx, Queens and Westchester.

The workers must still ratify the contract through a vote.

While neither side would discuss specifics until after the contract is presented to the first group of employees at 5 p.m. Thursday, Joan Solomon, a Macy's worker who participated in the contract talks, said that a new health care plan is more affordable than the one previously presented.

Before the deal was reached, union officials said that management had proposed terms that would have raised health care costs, shift an unspecified number of full-time workers to part-time schedules, and institute a starting salary of $7.50 - all things that the union had been contesting.

Ken Bordieri, president of Local 1-S of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, called the tentative agreement a "solid contract," and a spokeswoman for Macy's, Elina Kazan, said in a statement that the new contract "addresses the economic and business realities of the retailing industry, while keeping jobs at Macy's among the best in the department store industry."

Stuart Appelbaum, the union's president, felt the agreement was symbolic in a union-busting recession. "All we hear is that working people have to give concessions and provide givebacks and just feel lucky to have any job at all and just agree with what is offered," he said. "These negotiations serve as an important symbol for working people in New York that you can make gains for yourself and your family."

Riding the bus back to her home in Canarsie, Brooklyn, after the all-night negotiation session, Ms. Solomon, who has worked at the flagship store's cosmetics counter for the past 15 years, said she was tired but happy. "You're not going to please everybody," she said. "But I'm quite sure the majority will be pleased."

She said she was going home to sleep until 5 p.m., when she needed to return to Manhattan for a vote. She, for one, said she would vote yes. The contract could be ratified by Wednesday, when the last group of the union's 3,800 workers covered under the contract will vote.


9) 40 Years of Drug War Hasn't Worked; "Time for a Change," Says 9-Year Veteran
By Eric Sterling, AlterNet
Posted on June 15, 2011, Printed on June 17, 2011

The "War on Drugs" was launched by President Richard Nixon 40 years ago this week. In 1980, at the end of its first decade, I began a nine-year career as a "captain" in the war on drugs. I was the attorney in the U.S. House of Representatives principally responsible for overseeing DEA and writing anti-drug laws as counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime.

White House leadership

The heart of Nixon's 5,300-word message to Congress on June 17, 1971 was a plan "to consolidate at the highest level a full-scale attack on the problem of drug abuse in America" in a White House Office. The office was dismantled soon after Nixon resigned having been resisted by Cabinet secretaries and anti-drug agencies.

Soon after the Reagan Administration took office in 1981, Democrats in Congress began attacking the disorganization of the anti-drug effort, and mocked administration witnesses who insisted that President Reagan was really in charge. Senator Joseph Biden's (D-DE) proposal to create a "drug czar" passed Congress in 1982 but led to President Reagan's only veto of an anti-crime, anti-drug package. The resulting political outrage led to appointment of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush to lead a South Florida anti-drug task force, a "mini drug czar."

Hearings I set up for the House Judiciary Committee helped lead to the 1984 enactment of an anti-drug strategy board led by the attorney general, and then its replacement in 1988 with our current White House "drug czar," the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). But, 40 years on, our anti-drug effort is no better managed now than when Nixon decried bureaucratic red-tape and jurisdictional disputes among agencies.

After 22 years, ONDCP has proven to be an ineffectual waste of money. Anti-drug efforts remain haphazard and uncoordinated. Federal anti-drug prosecutions are unfocused, wasteful and racially discriminatory. An examination of the 25,000 federal drug cases concluded each year reveals two outrageous facts. First, instead of high-impact investigations targeting the most dangerous and powerful drug traffickers, the typical federal cases target the lowest level offenders: local street dealers, lookouts, bodyguards, couriers, "mules," etc. selling small quantities of drugs that are tiny specks in the picture of the national and global drug trade. Second, the defendants in these cases are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic. Only about one in four federal drug defendants is white.

This regular pattern of mostly unimportant cases with very long sentences imposed predominately on racial minorities makes out a prima facie case of a pattern or practice of racial discrimination. But this well-known pattern has been ignored by the attorney general and the director of ONDCP in an egregious abandonment of their leadership responsibilities.

Another issue crying out for high-level coordination reveals the fundamental failure of the drug war approach. For most of the history of ONDCP, it has campaigned against state medical marijuana laws. Since 1996, 16 states have passed laws that recognize patient use of marijuana for medical treatment. But this conflicts with current federal law. As the leader of the drug war, the drug czar has done nothing to coordinate federal research, regulatory and enforcement efforts necessary to resolve this conflict that leads medical patients and doctors to legal danger and unsatisfactory medical care.

ONDCP's signature "achievement" has been to spend $1.4 billion in a youth anti-drug media campaign that has been demonstrated by the government's independent evaluators and the GAO to be utterly ineffectual.

Death and Disease

In his 1971 message, Nixon lamented 1,000 narcotics deaths in New York City in 1970, then the epicenter of the heroin addiction problem. At the end of 1979, the annual number of drug abuse deaths was 7,101, which grew to 9,976 in 1986, the year basketball star Len Bias died from a cocaine-induced seizure. But the death rate from illegal drugs has exploded! In 2007, there were an estimated 38,000 drug overdose deaths nationwide. The death rate has grown from 3.0 per 100,000 in 1980 to 12.8 in 2006.

Since 1981, when HIV entered the bloodstream of America's injecting drug users, epidemiologists' projects to protect the lives of drug users have been stymied by drug warriors. In 1998, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala endorsed sterile syringe exchange as scientifically proven to prevent the spread of blood-borne disease among injecting drug users. But implementing this lifesaving approach was blocked by White House ONDCP director, General Barry McCaffrey.

In February 2005, Bush White House ONDCP director John Walters was found by the Washington Post to have completely misrepresented the scientific research supporting syringe exchange. The opposition of the White House directors of drug policy is due to the distorting effects of the language and values of war introduced by President Nixon. The emotional mobilization for war against drugs (and drug users) barred acceptance of scientific findings that sterile needle exchange protected drug users from HIV and hepatitis and other blood-borne disease. In a war on drugs, users weren't supposed to be protected from disease and death, they were to be stopped from using drugs.

I recall a member of Congress in the late 1980s saying that America won't have to worry about the heroin problem anymore since the addicts will all soon die from AIDS. This indifference to the lives and dignity of drug users has been a hallmark of the war on drugs. Indeed, between 1999 and 2007, over 48,000 persons died in the U.S. from AIDS due to transmission by infected needles. These deaths are in large part due to the absolutist ideology of the drug war that Nixon inspired.

Drug Use and Treatment

Nixon said his initiative "must be judged by the number of human beings who are brought out of the hell of addiction, and by the number of human beings who are dissuaded from entering that hell."

Most school-based prevention efforts, such as D.A.R.E., have been proven to be ineffective. Yet hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on such efforts by federal, state and local governments and with private contributions. Not surprisingly, drug use has continued to grow, especially marijuana use. In 2009, there were 21.8 million users of illicit drugs.

Nevertheless, Nixon drove a dramatic expansion of federally funded drug treatment using methadone in many cities, and crime went down in time for the 1972 election. But over the long term, as the anti-drug effort conformed to the strident rhetoric of war that Nixon popularized, the supply of drug treatment has not kept pace with the demand. By 2008, an estimated 7,559,000 Americans needed drug treatment, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, but 6,351,000 did not receive any treatment. From 2002 to 2008, among youth aged 12 to 17, the number who received drug treatment declined from 142,000 to 111,000. Nixon's goal to expand drug treatment to meet the need has never been met.

Federal Anti-Drug Costs

Nixon asked Congress for $159 million dollars for his initiatives, plus an unspecified amount to pay 325 additional agents for what became the DEA.

Over the past 40 years, the federal government has spent, cumulatively, roughly a half trillion dollars on the "war on drugs." By FY 1975, federal anti-drug spending had climbed to $680 million. For the past 20 years, federal spending on drugs has exceeded $15 billion per year including the costs of imprisonment.

The costs are now so high, for a decade the "drug czars" seem to regularly conceal almost one-third of the anti-drug spending by excluding it from the formal anti-drug budget they report to Congress. ONDCP says that $14.8 billion was spent in FY 2009 to fight drugs. But another $6.9 billion was also spent in FY 2009 on anti-drug programs such as the incarceration of federal drug prisoners.

The FY 2011 formal anti-drug budget request is for $15.5 billion, excluding imprisonment and the many other costs which remain concealed in the budget submission.

The cost of imprisoning federal drug prisoners has been over $3 billion annually since FY 2008. On June 9, 2011 the total federal prison population exceeded 216,000. As of May 20, 2011, 50.8 percent of convicted federal prisoners were drug offenders.

Economic Impact

Nixon wanted research and "development of necessary reports, statistics, and social indicators for use by all public and private groups."

Unfortunately, we do not have a clear idea of the cost to the economy from the unemployment and underemployment of tens of millions who have criminal records for drug use or distribution. With criminal records, many such men are unmarriageable and can't obtain credit.

What has it meant to the shareholders and investment funds that own Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, and the union workers who build cars and components, that instead of the 200,000 prisoners in state and federal prisons in 1972, now there are about 1.6 million adults in prison (and another 600,000 in jails)? This is a population of about 1.4 million mostly young men (prime car owners) who can't buy a car.

America's economy is famously consumer driven and is terribly hurt when tens of millions of residents can't work and can't buy the goods manufactured and sold by American businesses. This constriction of our domestic market is not a problem our Japanese and German competitors face.


Nixon asked for $14 million "to make the facilities of the Veterans Administration available to all former servicemen in need of drug rehabilitation." SAMHSA, using data from National Surveys on Drug Use and Health from 2004-2006 indicate that out of a veteran population of 25.9 million persons, an annual average 7.1 percent of veterans met the criteria for a past year substance use disorder, and another 1.5 percent had co-occurring serious psychological distress and substance use disorder. We all know the population of veterans with physical and psychological injuries is rapidly growing and that substance abuse is growing in that population. The ONDCP focuses on the criminal cases, touting special criminal courts to treat veterans who commit crimes, while treatment in general languishes.

International initiatives

A major feature of Nixon's message stressed the need for international cooperation. He had already stumbled badly when "Operation Intercept" in September 1969 created enormous traffic jams at the Mexico-U.S. border, and severely damaged trade and bilateral relations.

Opium grown in Turkey was the source of 80 percent of the heroin consumed in the U.S. in 1968. Nixon made an overture to Turkey and they cracked down on illegal opium growing and required cultivation licenses. Opium is now grown legally there to make morphine, and none is diverted to heroin. Instead of following this successful legalization strategy, Nixon's successors tried to rely only on forceful crop eradication. But enforcement is like squeezing a balloon. The drug production shifts to new countries which render such successes meaningless. Sadly, expanding production of opium and heroin has become a disaster for other nations such as Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Afghanistan, fueling insurrection, wholesale corruption and widespread assassination.

Support for Prohibition Is Vanishing

In the face of threats of prosecution from the federal government, stuck in the ideology of the "war on drugs," state legislatures and governors continue to pass medical marijuana laws. On May 10, 2011, Maryland's governor signed a law creating a complete medical use defense to a marijuana prosecution and creating a state commission to write a model medical marijuana law. On May 13, 2011, Delaware's governor signed a medical marijuana law, making it the sixteenth state with a comprehensive law to protect medical use of marijuana. On June 2, 2011, Vermont's governor signed a law to add medical marijuana dispensaries to that state's medical marijuana law.

On June 7, 2011, the Connecticut legislature voted to decriminalize possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana and the governor has promised to sign the law. In November 2010, in California, 46.5 percent of the voters supported legalizing marijuana, and polls revealed that 30 percent of "no" voters said they supported legalization but not in the form of Proposition 19 that was the regime on the ballot.

I have been involved in making drug policy professionally for more than 30 years -- three-quarters of the war on drugs. On June 14, I joined five veteran police officers (local, state and federal), a former judge, and a corrections commissioner -- all speakers from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - to bring to ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske LEAP's indictment of the failures of war on drugs policy. We held a press conference on the sidewalk outside his office near the White House. As it was breaking up, four construction workers asked my chief of staff what it was all about. She told them it was about legalizing drugs. Immediately they started telling her all the various reasons why our drug policy is a failure.

For 10 minutes they described the racial disparity in arrests, the drug violence in Mexico and in American neighborhoods, the deaths from drug overdose, the pointlessness of arresting a drug dealer who gets immediately replaced or putting drug users in jail. They noted the parallels between the failure of alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition. They noted the tax revenues from drug sales that we are losing. This telling anecdote reveals how broadly the public understands that Nixon's "war on drugs" has been a widespread failure.

The next step is for the drug policy reform community to present concrete proposals for analysis to legislators and the public. Surely most of us can agree with prestigious groups such as the Global Commission on Drug Policy that the facts of the war on drugs after 40 years are clear signs we need a very different strategy.

Eric E. Sterling has been president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, a private non-profit educational organization, since 1989.


10) Call Off the Global Drug War
By Jimmy Carter, The New York Times
June 17, 2011

n an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America's "war on drugs," which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: "Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself."

These ideas were widely accepted at the time. But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.

This approach entailed an enormous expenditure of resources and the dependence on police and military forces to reduce the foreign cultivation of marijuana, coca and opium poppy and the production of cocaine and heroin. One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.

The commission's facts and arguments are persuasive. It recommends that governments be encouraged to experiment "with models of legal regulation of drugs ... that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens." For effective examples, they can look to policies that have shown promising results in Europe, Australia and other places.

But they probably won't turn to the United States for advice. Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about an explosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole - more than 3 percent of all American adults!

Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and "three strikes you're out" laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state's budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education.

Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America's drug policies. At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right.

A few years ago I worked side by side for four months with a group of prison inmates, who were learning the building trade, to renovate some public buildings in my hometown of Plains, Georgia. They were intelligent and dedicated young men, each preparing for a productive life after the completion of his sentence. More than half of them were in prison for drug-related crimes, and would have been better off in college or trade school.

To help such men remain valuable members of society, and to make drug policies more humane and more effective, the American government should support and enact the reforms laid out by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.


11) Oakland Fire Dept. Refuses to Release Taped Racial Slurs and Comments Re. Oscar Grant
by Phil Horne
Tuesday Jun 7th, 2011 11:24 AM

Whistleblower OFD Paramedic Sean Gillis, EMT-P announces that Oakland Fire has changed its story regarding releasing audio tapes of staff meetings which contain racial slurs and comments against Oscar Grant. Previously, OFD claimed the tapes did not exist. Now, OFD claims the tapes cannot be released "to protect Grant."

"Oakland Fire Department (OFD) finally admitted possessing audio recordings of staff meetings containing racial slurs and statements against Oscar Grant," announced whistleblower OFD Paramedic Sheehan (Sean) Gillis, EMT-P.

Gillis seeks the recordings via a Public Records Act request made in April 2011 for use in a Civil Service Board proceeding. He claims the recordings support his contention that disciplinary proceedings against him are retaliatory for Gillis' participation in law enforcement proceedings regarding misconduct against Oscar Grant.

Oscar Grant was killed on January 1st, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART when he was shot in the back at pointblank range by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

Oakland Fire was first responder. Questions have been raised by Gillis and others about the treatment Grant received from OFD. Gillis claims OFD has retaliated against him for raising questions.

The timeline is:
On February 3rd, 2011, OFD announced its intent to suspend Gillis.
On March 29th, 2011, Gillis requested the recordings.
On April 15th, 2011, Oakland Fire responded by letter, "There are no audio recordings of any staff meetings at Oakland Fire Department."
On May 18th, 2011, Gillis filed suit in Alameda County Superior Court for the recordings under the Public Records Act, the Brown Act (Open Meetings), and the Oakland Sunshine Ordinance.
On May 27th, 2011 by letter, OFD admitted it possesses the tapes, but OFD still refused to produce them. OFD now claims the tapes are being withheld to protect Grant's privacy.

"An absurd excuse coming from the City Attorney," said Philip Horne, Esq., attorney for Gillis, "and predictable. Our City Attorneys proclaim the benefits of open government, sunshine, and transparency when they are running for office, but once elected, they transform into public records czar's vainly trying to hide all the state's secrets. The public needs to know what happened on that platform. What their public servants did and did not do and what the lawyers then did and did not do. "

For more information, visit:


12) Nuclear plant surrounded by flooding is safe, US says
Giant rubber barrier around site; reactor has been shut down since April
The Associated Press
updated 6/17/2011

OMAHA, Neb. - Pictures of a nuclear power plant near Omaha show the facility surrounded by Missouri River floodwaters that have risen nearly to the reactor building.

But nuclear regulators and the utility that runs the Fort Calhoun reactor say the photos that attracted attention this week are little cause for immediate concern.

The plant, encircled by a giant rubber barrier, has been shut down since April. The Omaha Public Power District says the complex will not be reactivated until the flooding subsides.

And unlike Japan's infamous Fukushima Dai-ichi plan, the entire facility 20 miles north of Omaha still has full electrical power for safety systems, including those used to cool radioactive waste. It also has at least nine backup power sources.

The Fort Calhoun plant "is safe and it will continue to be safe throughout this flooding situation," said Dave Bannister, chief nuclear officer for the power district.

In another contrast to the March 11 tsunami in Japan, the Missouri River flooding has been predicted for weeks, so there was plenty of time to prepare.

Flooding remains a concern all along the river because of the massive amounts of water the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing downstream. The river is expected to rise as much as 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in much of Nebraska and Iowa and as much as 10 feet over flood stage in parts of Missouri.

The corps expects the river to remain high at least into August because of heavy spring rains in the upper Plains and substantial Rocky Mountain snowpack that will melt into the river basin.

Workers at the plant are still able to get inside the building and remain dry by using walkways that rise above the water.

The river has risen 1.5 feet higher than Fort Calhoun's 1,004-foot elevation above sea level, but the water is being held back by a series of protective barriers, including an 8-foot rubber wall outside the reactor building.

Bannister said Fort Calhoun can be fortified to handle water up to 1,014 feet above sea level.

The rubber barrier surrounding the plant is designed primarily to protect external equipment, not the reactor itself, which Banister said is encased in a watertight room. The building housing the reactor has been fortified with steel plates on the outside and a series of internal barriers.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Victor Dricks said Friday that both the Fort Calhoun plant near Blair and Nebraska Public Power District's Cooper plant near Brownville are safe.

"We think both plants are taking appropriate action," Dricks said.

The Cooper plant remains dry and is less of a concern because it is further from the river. Cooper is at 903 feet elevation, and Dricks said the river there is not predicted to climb above 900 feet.

But utility officials are monitoring the river levels closely, and they have installed some barricades around the plant as a precaution.

The river would have to climb to 902 feet at Brownville before officials would shut down the plant as a precaution.


13) For Want of a Word, Arizona's Jobless Lose Checks
"That last extension of unemployment benefits - typically received in weeks 80 through 99 of unemployment - is paid for entirely with federal money and does not affect state budgets. But because of ideological opposition and other legislative priorities, Arizona and a handful of other states, like Wisconsin and Alaska, have not made the one-word change necessary to keep the program going. Right now about 640,000 jobless Americans are receiving this last tier of benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project."
June 17, 2011

One word, just one little word.

That's all that Frank Ballesteros, a 62-year-old desperate for work, needs to stay afloat. The word is not "hope" or "God" or "patience." It is, improbably, "three."

Arizona's legislature has resisted making a small word change, from "two" to "three," in its statutes. Only if it does will Mr. Ballesteros continue to receive jobless benefits through November, allowing him to pay his mortgage and medical bills.

Otherwise, his checks stop next week.

"It is almost 100 degrees out there, and I am walking door to door handing out résumés," said Mr. Ballesteros, who worked for 21 years at a nonprofit group in Tucson before getting laid off when funding dried up. "Now Arizona decided to kill the benefits extension from the federal government because some legislator decided we're just sitting around on our butts waiting for a check."

That last extension of unemployment benefits - typically received in weeks 80 through 99 of unemployment - is paid for entirely with federal money and does not affect state budgets. But because of ideological opposition and other legislative priorities, Arizona and a handful of other states, like Wisconsin and Alaska, have not made the one-word change necessary to keep the program going.

Right now about 640,000 jobless Americans are receiving this last tier of benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project. The money, appropriated in the 2009 federal stimulus package, was initially intended for states with jobless rates higher than they were two years earlier. Since the recovery has been much slower than predicted, though, Congress decided last December to allow states to continue receiving the money if their unemployment rates were higher than they were three years earlier. States simply needed to change "two" to "three" in the relevant state law.

Some economists say that cutting off the long-term unemployed from extended federal assistance could backfire by putting further strain on state economies instead. Indeed, most states were quick to make the one-word change, counting on the federal money not only to support ailing families but also to serve as a strong stimulus (jobless benefits are normally spent more quickly than, say, tax refunds). Nearly every state - Arizona included - had opted into the extended benefits program when it was introduced.

But now Arizona is reluctant. When Gov. Jan Brewer called a special session to address the issue last week, legislators didn't introduce a bill. Republican legislators said they would consider the change only if it were packaged with other provisions, including tax cuts and stricter rules for receiving unemployment benefits in the first place.

"We prefer to look for long-term solutions so when the Obama administration money runs out Arizonans will have jobs," said Andy Tobin, the Republican speaker of the house.

Some Arizona lawmakers expressed discomfort with the prospect of accepting more federal money.

"This is not free money," said Al Melvin, a Republican state senator representing Tucson. "This is America's money. We have a $14 trillion debt that has to be paid, and we need to stop spending money we don't have."

The last tier of federal benefits injects about $2.3 million a week into Arizona, and Mr. Melvin says he believes "every dollar's important."

Arizona's deadline for continuing the federal benefits passed on June 11, though they could be reinstated retroactively. In the meantime, 15,000 workers have stopped receiving checks, and 30,000 more will most likely lose out on these benefits later this year, said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Governor Brewer.

Mr. Ballesteros, who is on his 78th week of unemployment, is one of those workers. He receives $240 a week in benefits, or about $5 an hour for a full-time worker.

"These politicians just don't realize how important that one $240 check is," he said.

When he worked at a nonprofit managing a microloan program, Mr. Ballesteros earned $73,000 annually; now, he says, he is getting rejected - or worse, ignored - by employers who pay minimum wage.

"A grocery store here announced it had 100 positions available, and then they had 1,500 applying for the job," he said. "I got there about 4:30 that first day but by that time it was too late. They told me they'd call me. That was a month ago."

Five states - Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Utah - never accepted these federally funded benefits. Of those that did, some fought for months over whether to extend the program before finally acting as the deadline approached, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Nevada just this week. In North Carolina, the governor issued an executive order forcing the change after a long standoff with legislators.

Besides Arizona, two other states have not yet made the one-word change required to continue receiving the money. In Wisconsin, for example, the advisory council that refers bills on unemployment insurance to the state legislature has not even taken up the issue. The council comprises representatives from business and labor; the labor side has been too busy fighting back attacks on public unions.

"The management side is not inclined to approve this anyway absent concessions on their part," said James Buchen, the lead management representative on the council. "The real question is whether there is still a need for extended benefits. We are increasingly hearing from people that they are having trouble hiring workers who are on unemployment because they want to wait until their benefits are exhausted."

In Alaska, the issue has fallen by the wayside as well, and the state's legislature has already adjourned for the year. In separate moves, five states - Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Arkansas and Missouri, according to the National Employment Law Project - have cut the first 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, which are paid by the state rather than the federal government. Labor leaders have argued that cutting jobless benefits - particularly money provided by the federal government - may be self-defeating.

When the unemployed stop receiving federal money they will cut back on spending, which means less income for local businesses. Many of them may also start relying more heavily on state services like Medicaid and homeless shelters, which are already strained for cash.

"I hate the idea that I'd become indigent if I can't even get unemployment anymore," Mr. Ballesteros said, fighting back tears as he described his unpaid medical bills and his struggles to afford his cholesterol medication. "I'm already afraid to get sick. I don't want to be standing in a stupid line waiting for food, too."

"I'm physically fit, and there's no reason I don't have another five years in me where I'll be able to work," he said. "For now I just need that stopgap."


14) Tepco Halts Filtering of Tainted Water at Japanese Plant
"NHK, the national broadcaster, said that in five hours the filters had accumulated four millisieverts of radioactive material, about as much as was expected to be collected in a month. ...Tepco has not discussed alternatives to its filtration strategy. But some nuclear experts believe that the utility may again be forced to dump thousands-of-tons of low-level contaminated water into the ocean. In April, Tepco poured more than 11,000 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, prompting protests from neighboring countries, environmentalists and fishermen."
June 18, 2011

TOKYO - The Tokyo Electric Power Company said Saturday that the filtration system it had struggled to put into operation at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had broken down after just five hours, a disappointing setback in its efforts to cool the reactors.

The company said that the sprawling system, which is designed to siphon oil, radioactive materials and salt from the water used to cool the reactors, had been shut down.

The filtration system was built ad hoc and rushed into service because Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, is quickly running out of space to store the tens of thousands of tons of water that have been contaminated after being poured into the reactors and spent-fuel pools.

Some of the tanks, basements and other storage facilities at the power plant have inches to spare and could overflow within days. Tepco hoped to reduce the amount of contaminated water by reusing the newly filtered water. The company is also bringing in hundreds of extra tanks.

A spokesman for Tepco, Junichi Matsumoto, said that the company was working to find the cause of the problem and that it would restart the machines as soon as possible. After several delays, the filtration system began operating at 8 p.m. Friday. Tepco shut down the system at 12:54 a.m. on Saturday.

NHK, the national broadcaster, said that in five hours the filters had accumulated four millisieverts of radioactive material, about as much as was expected to be collected in a month.

Tepco has not discussed alternatives to its filtration strategy. But some nuclear experts believe that the utility may again be forced to dump thousands of tons of low-level contaminated water into the ocean. In April, Tepco poured more than 11,000 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, prompting protests from neighboring countries, environmentalists and fishermen.

Yasuko Kamiizumi contributed reporting.


15) After Losing Vote, Union Vows to Try Again at Target
June 18, 2011

Even as the nation's main union for retail workers acknowledged that it lost a unionization vote on Friday at a Target store in Valley Stream, N.Y., it demanded a new election and accused the company of illegally intimidating workers.

The National Labor Relations Board announced on Saturday morning that 137 workers had voted against joining the union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, while 85 workers had voted for it. The unionization drive sought to make the store on Long Island the first of Target's 1,750 stores in the United States to be unionized.

In a statement, the president of U.F.C.W. Local 1500, Bruce W. Both, said that the workers at the Valley Stream store had endured a "campaign of threats, intimidation and illegal acts by Target management." As a result, he called on the National Labor Relations Board to direct a new election and order Target to cease its "illegal activity."

Responding to the union's allegations, Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, denied that the company had engaged in any intimidation or illegal practices. "Target believes we have followed all laws as outlined by the National Labor Relations Board," she said.

At the Valley Stream store on Saturday morning, Derek Jenkins, Target's senior vice president for stores in the Northeast, hailed the results and said, "At Target, it has always been our goal to have a culture where our team members don't want or need union representation."

In the days before the vote, union officials said a victory would be a coup that would create momentum for organizing drives at retail stores elsewhere in New York and across the country. Target executives repeatedly told the store's 250 hourly employees that no union was needed and that the union would make work rules more rigid and make it harder for Target to compete.

"Target did everything they could to deny these workers a chance at the American dream," said Mr. Both, of the union local. "However, the workers' pursuit of a better life and the ability to house and feed their families is proving more powerful. These workers are not backing down from this fight. They are demanding another election. They are demanding a fair election."

During the organizing drive, pro-union workers said the main issues included low wages and work assignments that often totaled just 10 or 20 hours a week - not enough, they said, to support themselves or their children.

The union filed a complaint with the labor board last month asserting that Target had unlawfully prohibited employees from wearing pro-union buttons and from discussing working conditions on online sites. It also said Target had unlawfully threatened employees with dismissal if they spoke about the union.

In meetings and fliers, Target officials told employees that a union could not guarantee better pay or benefits and that the organization only wanted their dues. In a move that worried numerous workers, the company said there were no guarantees that the store would remain open if the workers unionized.

"Target is committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful culture," Mr. Jenkins said. "We believe in solving issues and concerns by working together with the help and input of all team members. Our team has embraced that philosophy by rejecting union representation."


16) Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor Damaged Before Quake
"The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor - a long-troubled national project - has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactor's inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core. Engineers have tried repeatedly since the accident last August to recover the device, which appears to have gotten stuck. They will make another attempt as early as next week. But critics warn that the recovery process is fraught with dangers because the plant uses large quantities of liquid sodium, a highly flammable substance, to cool the nuclear fuel."
June 17, 2011

TSURUGA, Japan - Three hundred miles southwest of Fukushima, at a nuclear reactor perched on the slopes of this rustic peninsula, engineers are engaged in another precarious struggle.

The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor - a long-troubled national project - has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactor's inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core.

Engineers have tried repeatedly since the accident last August to recover the device, which appears to have gotten stuck. They will make another attempt as early as next week.

But critics warn that the recovery process is fraught with dangers because the plant uses large quantities of liquid sodium, a highly flammable substance, to cool the nuclear fuel.

The Monju reactor, which forms the cornerstone of a national project by resource-poor Japan to reuse and eventually produce nuclear fuel, shows the tensions between the scale of Japan's nuclear ambitions and the risks.

The plant, a $12 billion project, has a history of safety lapses. It was shuttered for 14 years after a devastating fire in 1995, one of Japan's most serious nuclear accidents before this year's crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Prefecture and city officials found that the operator had tampered with video images of the fire to hide the scale of the disaster. A top manager at the plant recently committed suicide, on the day that Japan's atomic energy agency announced that efforts to recover the device would cost almost $21.9 million. And, like several other reactors, Monju lies on an active fault.

Even if the device can be removed, restarting the reactor will be risky, given its safety record and its use of highly toxic plutonium as fuel, said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, a watchdog group, and a member of an advisory government committee on Japan's long-term nuclear energy policy. The plant is 60 miles from Kyoto, a city of 1.5 million people, and the fast-breeder design of the reactor makes it more prone to Chernobyl-type runaway reactions in the case of a severe accident, critics say.

"Let's say they make this fix, which is very complicated," Mr. Ban said. "The rest of the reactor remains highly dangerous. And an accident at Monju would have catastrophic consequences beyond what we are seeing at Fukushima."

Japan badly needs sources of energy. By closing the loop on its nuclear fuel cycle, Japan aims to reuse, recycle and produce fresh fuel for its 54 reactors.

"Monju is a vital national asset," said Noritomo Narita, a spokesman here in Tsuruga for the reactor's operator, the government-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency. "In a country so poor in resources, such as Japan, the efficient use of nuclear fuel is our national policy, and our mission."

Critics have been fighting the project since its inception in the 1970s. "It's Japan's most dangerous reactor," said Miwako Ogiso, secretary general of the Council of the People of Fukui Prefecture Against Nuclear Power. "It's Japan's most nonsensical reactor."

After promises of safety upgrades, as well as lavish subsidies and public works, the government has wooed local officials into allowing a restart of the reactor. In Fukui, the government had ready allies: with 14 nuclear reactors, it is Japan's most nuclear-friendly prefecture. (Fukushima, in second place, has 10 reactors.)

Monju was reopened in May 2010, and just three months later, the 3.3-ton fuel relay device fell into the pressure vessel when a loose clutch gave way. In the two decades since the reactor started tests in 1991, the atomic energy agency has managed to generate electricity at the reactor only for one full hour.

In Monju, Japan is pursuing a technology that most countries have long abandoned. Decades ago, a handful of countries, including the United States, started exploring similar programs. But severe technical difficulties, as well as fears about the weapons-grade plutonium that the cycle eventually produces, have led most countries to scrap their programs.

But Japan has remained staunchly committed to the Monju project. The government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan has shielded it from the deep cuts in spending that it has required of other national projects since it came to power in September 2009.

Under a government plan, Japan would use technology developed at Monju to commercialize fast-breeder reactors by 2050.

Mr. Kan has recently hinted at an overhaul of Japan's nuclear policy, though he has not commented specifically on the fate of the Monju reactor.

The commitment to Monju is rooted in the way Japan has sold its nuclear program to local communities, experts say. In persuading towns and villages to provide land for nuclear power stations, Japan has promised that the spent nuclear fuel - which remains highly radioactive for years - will not be stored permanently on site, but used as fresh fuel for the nuclear fuel cycle.

Giving up on any part of the fuel cycle would mean the government would have to find communities willing to become the final resting ground for the spent fuel.

"Of course, no community would accept that, and suddenly Japan's entire nuclear program would become unviable," said Keiji Kobayashi, a retired fast-breeder reactor expert formerly at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute.

But the technology comes with risks. Instead of water, which is used in commercial nuclear reactors, the prototype reactor uses 1,600 tons of liquid sodium, a hazardous material that reacts fiercely with water and air, to cool its fuel. The presence of an estimated 1.4 tons of highly toxic plutonium fuel at the reactor makes it more dangerous than light-water reactors, which use mainly uranium fuel, critics charge.

Meanwhile, other parts of Japan's nuclear fuel cycle are also unraveling. The full opening of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho, in Aomori Prefecture, has been delayed countless times, with more than $20 billion invested in the project.

Still, work continues to restart the Monju plant. In October, engineers used a crane to try to lift up the device, adding about 220 pounds of force a time. After 24 attempts, they gave up, fearful of the strains on the entire reactor.

Since mid-May, workers have been prepping for a different strategy, clearing the reactor's lid of various instruments. As early as next week, workers will try to remove the device by dismantling a part of the vessel's lid with it.

Workers face other dangers in fixing the plant. The reactor contains argon gas, which helps keep the sodium from burning but is a dangerous asphyxiant in confined spaces. And should the device fall farther into the reactor vessel, the damage could be substantial.

The atomic energy agency hopes the extraction will be complete by the end of the month. The agency says it will conduct extensive safety checks, and bolster its earthquake and tsunami defenses, before the reactor is eventually restarted.

"The device will definitely come out this time," said Toshikazu Takeda, director at the University of Fukui Research Institute of Nuclear Engineering, and head of a government panel that approved the latest repair plans. He said that engineers had recreated removal procedures at a lab and perfected their handling of the crane that will lift the device from the reactor vessel.

Once removed, the device will be checked thoroughly for missing parts or damage, he said. The liquid sodium coolant, heated to almost 400 degrees Fahrenheit, makes it impossible to check fully for any damage the device may have caused to the reactor vessel, however.

Still, Mr. Takeda said he hoped to see Monju complete safety checks and prepare for a restart within a year.

"Japan needs the nuclear fuel cycle," he said, because supplies of fuels will not last forever. "Uranium will last less than a hundred years. Plutonium will last over a thousand."


17) United States: Federal Court Drops Charges Against Bin Laden
[Speculation has it that the charges would be dropped against Bin Laden in order to avoid an investigation into the whole thing. Of course, it would also be quite akward to have a trial of a suspect after the death sentence has already, extra judicially, been carried out--that is, if it was Bin Laden that they dumped in the ocean?]
June 17, 2011

A federal judge in Manhattan formally dismissed charges against Osama bin Laden on Friday that were originally brought more than a decade ago. A first indictment, for conspiracy to attack United States defense installations, was filed in 1998 when the authorities were considering a plan to capture and try him in New York. Later indictments charged him in the 1998 bombings of two American Embassies in East Africa. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ordered the dismissals at the request of federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who filed papers citing proof of Bin Laden's death. Charges remain open against other Qaeda figures, including Ayman al-Zawahri, who has succeeded Bin Laden as the group's leader.


18) Israel: No Charges Over Prisoner Photos
June 17, 2011

There will be no criminal proceedings against a soldier who posted Facebook photographs of herself with bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners, Israel's Justice Ministry said on Friday. The soldier, Eden Aberjil, posted the photos last summer, provoking criticism of the military. The ministry said the soldier's actions were "unacceptable," but not criminal. A ministry spokesman said that two other soldiers who posted photos with prisoners would face criminal proceedings.


19) Mayors See End to Wars as Fix for Struggling Cities
"Mayor Bernero [Lansing, Mich.] moved to make the first major cuts to the city's police and fire departments: 44 police officers and 44 firefighters face layoffs at the end of the month if no deal is reached with the unions, and the city will lose two of its eight fire houses. ...Providence saw more than $3 billion of its property values evaporate after its last revaluation. Now the struggling city is raising its property tax rate, forcing homeowners to pay more taxes on homes that are worth less money. It is also laying off 78 of its 468 police officers at the end of this month if the union fails to make concessions"
[Notice that while they may pass a resolution calling for, '...the speedy end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and calling on Congress to use the $126 billion a year the wars cost for urgent domestic needs.' they still manage to lay the blame on the]
June 17, 2011

BALTIMORE - While states are seeing their tax collections begin to rise again, much to the relief of budget-battered officials, the nation's cities are having a far rougher time, with many losing state and federal aid just as the burst housing bubble is belatedly driving down property taxes.

Providence and Hollywood, Fla., issued layoff notices to police officers this month that will cut jobs in the coming weeks unless the cities get more union concessions. Lansing, Mich., and New York are threatening to close fire stations. Teachers are getting pink slips in Philadelphia, and schools in Montgomery, Ala., are being closed. Libraries are open less. And potholes are staying unfilled longer in cities like Minneapolis.

Local governments shed 28,000 jobs last month, the Department of Labor reported, and have lost 446,000 jobs since employment peaked in September 2008.

So when downturn-weary mayors from around the country gathered here on Friday for the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, they decided to make a statement: they introduced a resolution calling for the speedy end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and calling on Congress to use the $126 billion a year the wars cost for urgent domestic needs.

The resolution, which will be decided Monday, seems likely to pass. "There are so many better uses for the money," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore. Mayor R. T. Rybak of Minneapolis lamented that cities across the nation were being forced to make "deeply painful cuts to the most core services while the defense budget continued to escape scrutiny." And Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said that the idea "that we would build bridges in Baghdad and Kandahar and not Baltimore and Kansas City absolutely boggles the mind."

The rare foray of mayors into foreign policy - 40 years after the conference approved a resolution calling for an end to the Vietnam War - reflects not just the nation's increasing war weariness but a growing concern about the expense as Washington seems intent on cutting domestic spending even as many localities are struggling.

Many cities are hurting. They are losing federal aid, and at least 18 states are cutting aid to local governments. Ohio is planning some of the deepest cuts to local aid; Mayor Michael B. Coleman of Columbus said, "The state cut is a punch in the gut, and in the jaw, and for some cities, it's going to knock them out."

And because it often takes several years for property tax assessments to catch up with the state of the housing market, the real impact of the housing implosion is only now being felt in many cities. For the first time since the Great Recession began, property tax collections fell during the last three months of 2010, according to an analysis of data by the Rockefeller Institute, and many mayors expect the declines to continue.

Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing, Mich., said that some of his constituents wondered why things were still so tight at the local level. "Our cities - and it ain't just Lansing - our cities are stumbling, many of them, on the edge of receivership," he said. "We rely on property taxes. The silent scream that is happening out there is this continued foreclosure crisis. The unemployment rate is unacceptably high. But the foreclosure rate is outlandish. We rely on those property taxes, and they are in steep decline."

Lansing's property values have declined by $1.4 billion since the market peaked in 2007, and tax collections are coming in lower. After voters rejected a proposal to raise the tax rate this year, Mayor Bernero moved to make the first major cuts to the city's police and fire departments: 44 police officers and 44 firefighters face layoffs at the end of the month if no deal is reached with the unions, and the city will lose two of its eight fire houses. "I'm providing 2011 services with a 2001 budget," the mayor said, adding that even the high cost of gas is a strain.

Providence saw more than $3 billion of its property values evaporate after its last revaluation. Now the struggling city is raising its property tax rate, forcing homeowners to pay more taxes on homes that are worth less money. It is also laying off 78 of its 468 police officers at the end of this month if the union fails to make concessions, laying off teachers and closing six schools to save money. "We're on a precipice," its mayor, Angel Taveras, said in an interview here. "And we can go over it. I'm doing everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen."

In Atlanta, where property tax collections have fallen from $209.5 million in 2010 to an estimated $179 million in the coming fiscal year, Mayor Kasim Reed is pushing the City Council to take the extremely rare step this month of reducing the pensions of current employees. The pensions were sweetened several times over the last decade - always in election years, Mayor Reed noted - and are now underfinanced. "The money is not there," he said in a phone interview.

And here in Baltimore, property values have been falling for the last two years, and are expected to continue. Because of complicated formulas that phase in the increase of property taxes when values rise, the city still expects to collect a little more this year than last year. But next year officials expect revenues to fall for the first time in recent history. The city has resorted to "rolling brownouts" that close three fire stations each day, furloughs that keep city workers home for several days each year and cuts to its pensions, among other things.

The news is not all grim. Some cities are beginning to restore some of the harshest cuts they made earlier in the downturn. San Diego is ending its rolling brownouts of fire stations. And Colorado Springs, which turned off a third of its streetlights last year to save money, has turned the lights back on.

But with the end of the stimulus, and with cuts to the federal Community Development Block Grants program worrying many mayors, some seemed to look at one of the conference's newest members, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, who was President Obama's chief of staff, as a potentially powerful ally.

At a news conference, Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles joked that Mr. Emanuel had "a key to the front door, and the back door, of the White House."

"I'm not giving it up!" Mr. Emanuel responded.

"You don't have to give it up!" Mr. Villaraigosa said. "Just let the rest of us in."


20) A Watchdog Professor [David Protess, Innocence Project], Now Defending Himself
June 17, 2011

For the last two years, David Protess, a renowned journalist and professor who spent three decades fighting to prove the innocence of others, has been locked in a battle to do the same for himself. It hasn't gone as well.

Mr. Protess, who taught at the Medill journalism school at Northwestern University, was the founder and driving force behind the Medill Innocence Project, which was instrumental in exonerating at least 12 wrongly convicted defendants and freeing them from prison, including five who were on death row in Illinois, and in prompting then-governor George Ryan to clear the rest of death row in 2003.

But during an investigation into a questionable conviction, the Cook County state's attorney turned her attention instead on Mr. Protess and his students. Since then, questions have been raised about deceptive tactics used by the Medill students, about allegations that Mr. Protess cooperated with the defense lawyers (which would negate a journalist's legal privilege to resist subpoenas) and, most damning, whether he altered an e-mail to cover up that cooperation.

Medill, which enjoys an international reputation, in significant part because of his work, removed him from teaching in April, and this week he retired from Northwestern altogether, and now runs the Chicago Innocence Project. It has been a breathtaking reversal for Mr. Protess, who says he believes he is being pilloried for lapses in memory and a desire to defend his students.

"I have spent three decades exposing wrongful conviction only to find myself in the cross hairs of others who are wrongfully accusing me," he said in an interview.

It is often said that academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so low, but in the matter of Mr. Protess and the wrongly convicted men he helped to free, the stakes could not have been higher.

"He is in the hall of fame of investigative journalists in the 20th century," said Mark Feldstein, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. "Using cheap student labor, he has targeted a very specific issue, and that work has reopened cases, changed laws and saved lives."

Dennis Culloton, a lawyer who served as press secretary for Governor Ryan, said that Medill's work led in part to the decision to essentially shut down Illinois's death row. "I think it would have been an academic discussion if not for David's work," he said.

Behind that public success, however, there were gnawing tensions within Medill. Mr. Protess's tendency to clash with authority did not end with law enforcement. He came into conflict with at least two deans of the Medill school, including the current one, John Lavine, who started in 2006 after a long career in newspapers.

Mr. Lavine is a polarizing figure at Medill: he is widely credited with stabilizing an institution that was suffering financially but he also led a successful effort to rename the school the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, a change he said reflected the school's broader agenda but one that was widely ridiculed by alumni and journalists.

Mr. Protess said the project initially received support from the dean, but now says that was a charade, "an attempt to seem as if he were fighting for the First Amendment when in fact he was undermining the Innocence Project at every turn." Mr. Lavine counters that he had no choice but to remove Mr. Protess: "What I saw warranted the decision that I made."

Mr. Protess (whose son Ben is a reporter for The New York Times) started the Innocence Project at Medill in 1999 after spending much of his career looking into questionable convictions for Chicago Lawyer magazine. Working with the Center on Wrongful Convictions, a sibling project at the Northwestern Law School, Mr. Protess methodically vetted cases, laid out lines of inquiry for his student journalists and guided them through their reporting assignments.

As the list of exonerations grew, the global reputation of Medill - and Mr. Protess - soared and students were drawn to the project to be trained in the real-life crucible of capital cases.

"His class was life-changing," said Evan S. Benn, a former student of Mr. Protess who is now a reporter at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

It was an oddity of the Innocence Project that students rarely wrote their own articles (until 2008, when the project put them online). Instead, the students, sometimes working with private investigators, would produce one-page reports about their findings, then be partnered with well-known journalists to bring new information to light. The lack of direct journalistic output concerned at least one former dean.

"It was always kind of fuzzy whether he was engaged in journalism or a kind of guerrilla social justice law operation where the ends justified the means," said Michael Janeway, a dean at Medill from 1989 to 1996 who is now a professor of journalism at Columbia. "David was not totally irresponsible. He was zealot in pursuit of a cause, a cause you could not question."

Maurice Possley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a collaborator with Mr. Protess, said that Mr. Protess was not well served by a culture of permission that came to surround him.

"In the structure of a newspaper, you have an editor who is not vested in the reporting who can push back. I don't know if he had that kind of editor," he said, adding "David is a character, but in my dealing with him, he's always been incredibly professional."

In 2003, the Innocence Project became involved in the case of Anthony McKinney, a man sentenced to life on a murder conviction. Nine teams of student journalists concluded that Mr. McKinney, who was convicted in 1981 of killing a security guard, was actually watching the Spinks-Ali championship fight at the time of the killing.

Two eyewitnesses who had identified Mr. McKinney recanted when students working with Mr. Protess questioned them, and a story by Mr. Possley, using some of the students' work, was published in The Chicago Sun-Times in 2008.

The doubts raised by the Innocence Project led the Cook County state's attorney to re-examine the case, but investigators found instances in which "we were not getting the same answers the students claimed to have gotten," said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office. In 2009, the state's attorney Anita Alvarez filed a sweeping subpoena for Innocence Project materials, including students' notes, summaries, e-mails and even grades, on the theory that they would report tendentiously in favor of innocence in the hope of getting a better grade.

Mr. Protess immediately objected, saying that, as journalists, he and his students were protected under Illinois's shield law. He went further, saying that the prosecutor was more interested in going after students to discredit their reporting than getting to the bottom of what happened in the McKinney case.

Ms. Daly said that the state's attorney spent two years investigating, interviewing dozens of people in six states, before asking the court to force Northwestern to produce the information.

"The professor framed it as a vendetta," she said. "It was untrue."

At first, the project had the school's support. "At the time, I said if you are going to put a professor in jail because he is not turning over student grades and materials, all of which I believed were covered by the shield law, you are going to have to put me in jail first," said Mr. Lavine.

The attorney's office did uncover several situations in which students pushed professional boundaries. In November 2006, one of Mr. Protess's students identified herself as a census worker while trying to find a witness. In 2009, another student posed as a worker for the power company. In both cases, Mr. Protess says he didn't know about the tactics in advance but has no professional issue with them.

Last year, Northwestern started an internal investigation into the group. In September 2009, Karen Daniel, Mr. McKinney's lead counsel, made an explosive admission to university investigators: she received "a significant amount of materials" from Mr. Protess's students. That would negate the journalist's privilege that Mr. Protess had claimed in the hope of keeping the students' work out of Ms. Alvarez's hands.

Mr. Protess said then that it had been several years since the events and that he could not remember what he had and had not turned over. But in a search of Innocence Project computers, the university turned up an e-mail from Mr. Protess to his assistant in 2006 that indicated the students' reporting memos had been shared with the defense.

"My position about memos, as you know, is that we share everything with the legal team, and don't keep copies," he wrote, referring to Mr. McKinney's lawyers.

But the copy of the e-mail he provided to university lawyers was altered to read, "My position about memos, as you know, is that we don't keep copies."

Mr. Protess said that he altered the e-mail to reflect the actual practice of the Innocence Project as he remembered it.

"Everybody assigns sinister motives to what I did, but my intent was not to mislead; it was precisely the opposite," he said. "My part was due to memory failure about the extent to which I had shared student memos with the defense, and then I stubbornly stuck to that position when I felt ganged up on by everybody else."

With the discovery of the e-mail, what had been a publicly united front broke down behind the scenes. At a hastily called faculty meeting at Medill on April 6, Mr. Lavine presented his colleagues with a PowerPoint presentation of statements and actions by Mr. Protess that the dean considered misleading, and asked for opinions. But by the time the faculty members got back to their desks, a press release had already been issued announcing Mr. Protess would not be teaching spring semester and making it clear he would not be welcomed back after that.

"The situation turned on a dime," said Douglas Foster, an associate professor. "You have the most lionized member of the faculty suddenly becoming somebody who is summarily removed from teaching with no notice and subjected to a kind of banishment. It's a textbook case of how not to manage conflict."

Mr. Protess has since signed a negotiated agreement to leave the university. The work of the Innocence Project continues under the leadership of Alec Klein, a former investigative reporter for The Washington Post. At the beginning of June, the Innocence Project published a story students produced raising serious questions about the murder conviction of Donald Watkins, who was sentenced to 56 years in prison in 2007. Meanwhile, Mr. McKinney's appeal is at a standstill.

Another of Mr. Protess's former students, Jennifer Merritt, said that despite the difficulties, the Innocence Project should continue.

"The last thing I want is for the investigative journalism and the teaching to go away," said Ms. Merritt, now an editor at The Associated Press. "There may be some things that people question, but the end results are amazing."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 18, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the conclusion of David Protess's employment at Northwestern University. He retired, he did not resign.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 18, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Donald Watkins had spent 56 years in prison. He was sentenced to 56 years in 2007. He has not already spent 56 years in prison.


21) Casualties Mount in NJ Employee Benefits Battle
June 18, 2011

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The struggle to legislate higher pension and health benefits contributions for 500,000 public workers in New Jersey is shaking up the political status quo: Organized labor is attacking its traditional Democratic allies and pro-union Democrats are pitted against colleagues who plan to vote to limit collective bargaining.

The in-fighting, which shows no sign of letting up as the worker benefits bill moves through the Legislature, has diminished the unions' clout over the legislative process and driven a wedge through the state Democratic Party.

Among the discord, Republican Gov. Chris Christie appears to be the winner. Christie promised in his 2009 campaign to rein in public employee benefits as a way to help stabilize runaway property taxes. And his budget-slashing ways and "shared sacrifice" mantra have earned him the adoration of fiscal conservatives across the country.

"What you're seeing is reality settling in because if you're not going to raise taxes there's really no other way to do this," said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter. "This is something Chris Christie has been talking about for a long time. It's a win for him whether Democrats like it or not."

Christie announced last week that an agreement on the bill had been struck with Democrats who control the Legislature and Republican minority leaders, who are generally in lock step with the governor's agenda. The deal requires sharply higher pension and health insurance contributions from teachers, police and firefighters and other public workers. It also limits collective bargaining over health care, which the unions and some Democrats staunchly oppose.

Labor went ahead with a scheduled protest Thursday, drawing 3,500 union workers to the state Capitol as the bill was heard for the first time by a Senate committee. After a contentious hearing, during which two dozen demonstrators were removed from the room and cited for disorderly conduct, the measure passed 9-4. Democrats were split 4-4.

Bob Master, political director of the Communications Workers of America, with 55,000 state and local members, called out Democrats who support the bill during his testimony.

"Real Democrats, not Chris Christie Democrats, would have put together their own plan and fight for it - a plan that addresses taxpayers' needs while respecting the fundamental rights of workers," he said to rousing applause. "Real Democrats would kill this bill because workers' rights are human rights."

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who heads the Democratic State Committee, predicted limited long-term fallout.

"Ultimately, the party will be fine," Wisniewski said.

Similarly, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, an ironworker and a Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, said he didn't fear union retribution.

"If they want to put a Republican Legislature here, if they want to knock me out and put my opponent in my seat, they're going to do what they think is right," Sweeney said. "I'm not going to be here to be told what to do."

The effort to limit public employees' collective bargaining rights has gained support in other states. The GOP-led effort in Wisconsin calls for public workers to pay more for health and pension benefits beginning in late August unless a lawsuit by a coalition of unions is successful. The Massachusetts House passed a bill in late April stripping public-sector unions of the right to bargain over health care.

"No Legislature is more Democratic than Massachusetts," Duffy said. "If you can do it in Massachusetts, you can do it anywhere. Obviously, the unions went crazy."

No matter how angry the unions become with Sweeney or other Democrats who support the bill, they won't be able to exact much revenge in November, said Patrick Murray, a political scientist at Monmouth University. The primaries are over and the vast majority of districts are safe seats for the incumbent, he said.

The unions, particularly the cash-flush teachers union, have seen their influence erode with this governor after they refused to take a one-year pay freeze.

"With every loss the teachers' union suffers, they seem to compound it by attacking dissident Democrats," Murray said. "The traditional union-supporting wing of the party is put in a tough position. The public is starting to turn against the unions."


22) Paychecks as Big as Tajikistan
"Let's begin with the view from 30,000 feet. Total executive pay increased by 13.9 percent in 2010 among the 483 companies where data was available for the analysis. The total pay for those companies' 2,591 named executives, before taxes, was $14.3 billion. That's some pile of pay, right? But Mr. Ciesielski puts it into perspective by noting that the total is almost equal to the gross domestic product of Tajikistan, which has a population of more than 7 million."
June 18, 2011

WHEN does big become excessive? If the question involves executive pay, the answer is "often."

But despite the reams of figures about pay in any given year, shareholders often have to struggle to put those numbers into perspective. Companies typically hold up pay from previous years as a benchmark, but just how this paycheck stacks up against, say, a company's earnings or stock market performance is rarely laid out.

Investors can run the numbers themselves, of course, but it's a pretty laborious process. As a result, pay for most public companies' top executives exists in a sort of vacuum, as far as investors are concerned. Shareholders know they pay a lot for the hired help, but a lot compared with what?

Answers to that question come fast and furious in a recent, immensely detailed report in The Analyst's Accounting Observer, a publication of R. G. Associates, an independent research firm in Baltimore. Jack Ciesielski, the firm's president, and his colleague Melissa Herboldsheimer have examined proxy statements and financial filings for the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. In a report titled "S.& P. 500 Executive Pay: Bigger Than ...Whatever You Think It Is," they compare senior executives' pay with other corporate costs and measures.

It's an enlightening, if enraging, exercise. And it provides the perspective that shareholders desperately need, particularly now that they are being asked to vote on corporate pay practices.

Let's begin with the view from 30,000 feet. Total executive pay increased by 13.9 percent in 2010 among the 483 companies where data was available for the analysis. The total pay for those companies' 2,591 named executives, before taxes, was $14.3 billion.

That's some pile of pay, right? But Mr. Ciesielski puts it into perspective by noting that the total is almost equal to the gross domestic product of Tajikistan, which has a population of more than 7 million.

Warming to his subject, Mr. Ciesielski also determined that 158 companies paid more in cash compensation to their top guys and gals last year than they paid in audit fees to their accounting firms. Thirty-two companies paid their top executives more in 2010 than they paid in cash income taxes.

The report also blows a hole in the argument that stock grants to executives align the interests of managers with those of shareholders. The report calculated that at 179 companies in the study, the average value of stockholders' stakes fell between 2008 and 2010 while the top executives at those companies received raises. The report really gets meaty when it compares executive pay with items like research and development costs, and earnings per share.

The report, for instance, compared earnings per share with cash pay - just salary and bonus, if there is one. It identified 24 companies where cash compensation last year amounted to 2 percent or more of the company's net income from continuing operations.

Topping this list is Allergan Inc., the health care concern whose top executives received, after taxes, an estimated $2.6 million in salaries last year. That amounted to 50 percent of what the company earned from continuing operations, the report said.

Caroline Van Hove, an Allergan spokeswoman, said that the salaries were large when compared with net income in 2010 because one-time charges reduced earnings significantly that year; in previous years, she noted, earnings were far higher than executives' pay. She also said the company's C.E.O. had not received an increase in salary over the past three years.

Moving on to R.& D. costs, the report examined the 62 technology companies in its sampling that reported such an expense, excluding certain costs associated with acquisitions.

Mr. Ciesielski found that the median level of executive pay was equal to 5.3 percent of these companies' R.& D. expenditures.

Topping the pack was Jabil Circuit, a manufacturer of electronic circuits and boards for computer, communications and automotive markets. In 2010, its $27.7 million in total executive pay almost matched the $28.1 million it spent on R.& D. While last year may have been an outlier, over the past four years, Jabil's pay equaled 57.2 percent of the amount it spent on research and development.

Jabil did not respond to a request for comment.

Finally, there's the comparison of executive pay with market capitalization. As Mr. Ciesielski noted, this calculation provides the biggest shock value.

Eleven companies analyzed in the report gave top executives a combined pay package amounting to 1 percent or more of the companies' average market value over the course of the year. The Janus Capital Group, the mutual fund concern, topped the list, with pay totaling almost $41 million for five executives. This accounted for 1.95 percent of the company's average market value over 2010.

"To earn their keep," the report said, "managers would have to create stock market value in the full amount of their pay." The executives at Janus failed to increase value in 2010, when the stock closed out the year roughly where it had begun it. This year, the company's shares are down almost 30 percent.

Janus declined to comment.

Mr. Ciesielski says he believes that shareholders need more context when it comes to pay practices - and that rule makers should improve pay reports. "The disclosures really are not sufficient to get people fired up," he said in an interview last week, "unless they add up the compensation and find out how it relates to other things."

"We need a different model," he added. "There is a real lack of information here about how shareholders' funds are being managed."

THIS may explain why shareholders at annual general meetings so rarely vote against pay practices. Broc Romanek, who is editor of, said that a majority of shareholders at only 34 companies, or 2 percent of those that have held votes so far this year, have rejected executive pay packages.

If shareholders could size up the impact of pay on a company's operations, they'd be more informed, Mr. Ciesielski said. For example, why not show a company's total executive pay against its overall labor costs? Or disclose top pay as a percentage of marketing expenditures, if that is what propels a company's results?

"How does executive pay relate to the basic drivers of what makes the company work?" Mr. Ciesielski asked. "We should be exploring that kind of information."


23) Greeks Protest, Almost Half Oppose Austerity
June 18, 2011

ATHENS (Reuters) - Thousands of Greeks marched on parliament on Saturday in a show of unabated public anger after Prime Minister George Papandreou vowed to push on with an austerity campaign that a poll showed half the country opposed.

In a move meant to stifle dissent in his Socialist Party, Papandreou on Friday dismissed Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, architect of a new five-year austerity programme that has sparked weeks of protests.

The reshuffle coincided with a pledge by France and Germany to continue funding Athens, a move that may have bought Greece and its fellow euro zone members time to prevent a messy default, even if doubts over its longer-term solvency persist.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have made the reforms a condition for a new bailout package worth an estimated 120 billion euros ($170 billion) that Greece, shut out of markets, will need to fund itself through 2014.

Around 5,000 protesters from the Communist group PAME marched into Athens' central Syntagma square -- where demonstrations turned violent earlier this week -- chanting "the measures are killing us!"

French activists also performed with a three-metre puppet depicting a bloodied figure of Lady Justice to rhythmic drumming, in a gesture of solidarity with Greek protesters who have camped in the square for three weeks.

"What has changed with the reshuffle? Nothing," said Costas, a 22-year-old student who has been camping on the square since the beginning of the month. "We are not planning to leave unless they take back the measures."

An opinion poll taken before the reshuffle showed 47.5 percent of respondents wanted parliament to reject the reform package and for Greece to hold early elections.

Just over a third -- 34.8 percent -- wanted it to be approved so Athens could secure the second bailout.

Constantinos Routzounis, head of pollsters Kapa Research, said Greeks were not against austerity in itself but thought the reforms were unfairly aimed at the poor while wealthy tax evaders and corrupt politicians got off lightly.

"People don't want Greece to exit the euro zone. They do want fiscal consolidation measures -- but more just ones," he told Reuters.

Greece's biggest union GSEE, representing around 2 million workers in the private sector, called for a 48-hour strike when parliament votes on what has been dubbed the mid-term plan. The government hopes that will happen by end-June.


Papandreou appeared to curb a revolt in his party by including some of the austerity package's harshest critics in the new administration, but that might also lead to a weakening of the reforms.

He named political heavyweight Evangelos Venizelos, his biggest party rival, as finance minister.

Shortly after his nomination, Venizelos said he would travel to Luxembourg on Sunday to meet euro zone finance ministers and ask them to allow some "improvements ... for social justice" in the reforms, fuelling concerns that the new government has less resolve to hammer through the austerity programme.

The finance ministers are expected to agree to release a 12 billion euro tranche of an existing year-old bailout that Greece needs to pay back debt maturing in July and August and avoid default.

"They've bought themselves time until September," said Howard Wheeldon, strategist at BCG Capital Partners in London.

"Germany and France are the main countries involved here, and neither of them are going to let the euro fail, and they're not going to let Greece fail."

Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the euro zone finance ministers' Eurogroup, criticised German pressure to involve bondholders, telling a German newspaper this has pushed up the cost of the bailout.

"We are playing with fire," he said, adding that in the worst case, ratings agencies could declare a default leading to dire consequences for the currency union.

Papandreou's new cabinet is expected to survive a parliamentary confidence vote on Tuesday night, and then approve a package which envisages 28 billion euros in tax hikes and spending cuts by 2015.

But Greek media were less certain about implementation, an issue that dogged Venizelos's predecessor when he struggled to meet deficit targets agreed with Greece's bailout lenders.

"Greece needs a strong government. But does it need a strong government to finally implement what has been agreed with the EU or to break these deals?," columnist Yiorgos Karipidis wrote in main Greek financial daily Imerisia.


On Saturday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said all parties negotiating a new bailout had agreed that private creditors should be involved on a voluntary basis but details on how to do this still needed to be worked out.

A day earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed away from a demand that private bond holders swap their holdings for new Greek debt with maturities of seven years.

She said she now believed that an option based on investors voluntarily maintaining their exposure was a "good foundation" for a deal.

In St. Petersburg, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero also said the private sector would voluntarily take part. "Greece will be able to come out of it with the help of the IMF and Europe," he said.

"That will certainly cost money, efforts will have to be applied, but simply because we are going to do it the private sector will voluntarily participate in this process. Therefore there are no other alternatives."

On Friday Merkel also brushed aside reports that Germany had been pushing to delay agreement on a new bailout until September, instead calling for the quickest possible solution.

Olli Rehn, the European Commission's top economic official, said he was confident the next tranche of EU/IMF aid would be released next month and expected euro zone finance ministers to take decisions on a successor programme for Greece on July 11.

The Franco-German agreement on Friday reduced market risk premiums on Greek debt after a week-long financial retreat.

However, most economists are overwhelmingly sceptical that Greece can ever repay a debt pile that economists expect to rise to 170 percent of the country's annual economic output by 2013.

(Additional reporting by Barry Moody, Hugh Lawson in Athens, Brian Rohan in Berlin, and Tim Heritage in St. Petersburg; writing by Michael Winfrey; editing by Barry Moody and Ruth Pitchford)