Saturday, July 02, 2011




On June 27, Leonard Peltier was removed from the general population at USP-Lewisburg and thrown in the hole. Little else is known at this time. Due to his age and health status, please join us in demanding his immediate return to general population.

Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Web Site:
Phone: (202) 307-3198
Fax: (202) 514-6620
Address: 320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534


Launched into cyberspace by the
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Labor Witch Hunts And Effect In California
July 3 (Sunday) 2:00 PM (Free) ILWU Local 34 - 801 2nd St, Next to the AT&T Ball Park, SF

The McCarthyite witch hunts in California played an important role in shaping the labor movement in the state. Trade unionists faced attack on their jobs and their rights to make a living. The fight back included the large protest and sit-in at the HUAC hearings in San Francisco. Join with participants in this struggle and learn about their experiences and lessons for today.

Howard Keylor, Retired ILWU Local 10 member
Phiz Mezey, SFSU professor fired for not signing loyalty oath
Harvey Schwartz, ILWU Historian
Donna Carter, member CNA and participant in SF HUAC hearing
Don Watson, Retired member ILWU Local 34


International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
On the 5th of July Let's Raise Our Voices for the Cuban 5

THIS 5TH OF JULY, MAKE A CALL, OR SEND A FAX, OR AN E-MAIL, OR A TELEGRAM to the WHITE HOUSE to demand President Obama free the Cuban 5 imprisoned in the United States for defending their homeland. Ask all your friends to do the same.

Let's continue to demand President Obama to make use of the rights conferred upon him by the US Constitution, as a lawyer, as a father, as a son, as a husband, and as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, to END THIS COLOSSAL INJUSTICE AND TO FREE THE 5 NOW!!!

This month this ongoing campaign is receiving an added boost by the 22nd challenge to the unilateral blockade of Cuba by the Pastors for Peace Caravan. In many cities across Canada and the United States send off events on July 5th will highlight the campaign with spokes people putting an emphasis on the struggle for the freedom of the Cuban 5. Audiences attending will be asked to send e-mails, faxes or to call President Obama.




By phone: 202-456-1111

If calling from outside the United States, dial first the International Area Code
+ 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-1111

By Fax: 202-456-2461

If fax is sent from outside the United States, dial first the International Area
Code + 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-2461

To send an electronic message write to: HTTP://WWW.WHITEHOUSE.GOV/CONTACT

To send a telegram

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit:


Carlos Montes' Court Date is July 6. Call AG Holder that day!
(202) 514-2001

Support Carlos Montes!

National Call-in Day to
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Please call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
at (202) 514-2001

Suggested text: "My name is __________, I am from _______(city), in ______(state). I am calling to tell Attorney General Holder:

1. Drop the charges! Hands off Carlos Montes!
2. Stop the FBI raids and Grand Jury repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists.
3. Return all property to Carlos Montes and the other activists raided by the FBI.

On Wednesday, July 6, Carlos Montes will go to a Los Angeles court to face six felony charges and enter a plea. The charges all deal with firearms, ammunition and permits. Like millions of other Americans, Carlos has for years held legal permits for guns. The fact is that the charges against Carlos carry a total penalty of up to 18 years, and are aimed at his effective political organizing against war and for people's civil rights.

Carlos is a longtime Chicano activist known for his leadership during the 1968 L.A. high school reform walkouts (see HBO film "Walkout!") and the immigrants' rights mega-marches of 2006. More recently in September 2010, Carlos Montes' name appeared on the FBI search warrant left in the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, where the protests against the 2008 Republican National Convention were centered. The attack on Carlos Montes is part of a sweeping campaign tied to 23 Midwest activists whose homes the FBI raided or who were subpoenaed to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's Grand Jury in Chicago, as the Washington Post reported.

In addition, when the LA Sheriffs broke down Carlos' door and ransacked his home, they took political documents, a computer, cell phones and meeting notes having nothing to do with the legal charges. Later, the FBI approached Carlos to ask him questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the target of this new McCarthyism. Those who know the history of Martin Luther King Jr. and the American civil rights movement understand the repression Montes now faces.

When Carlos went to court on June 16, he demanded police and court documents. Not surprisingly, the District Attorney grew angry, at first refusing, and eventually relenting. There is the not-so-hidden hand of the FBI at work here and its goal is to disrupt and criminalize activists and movements for social justice.

Make no mistake: The U.S. government trial of Carlos Montes is an attack on the immigrants' rights and anti-war movements. So please call July 6 and let Attorney General Holder know we are building a movement that will not bow down to dirty tricks and political repression.

In addition, the Los Angeles Committee to Stop FBI Repression
is mobilizing to pack the courtroom at
8:30a.m. on July 6 when Carlos Montes appears at
Alhambra Courthouse,
150 W Common Wealth, Alhambra, CA 91801. See map.

We invite others to organize solidarity protests, events, or participate in the CSFR Call In Day on July 6, as you see fit.

Please sign the petition for Carlos on the International Action Center website.

Visit or write or call 612-379-3585.
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 55414


Sat. July 9, 12 noon
Protest at Powell and Market Sts., SF

Please bring your friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers to the San Francisco protest on Saturday July 9, 2011, to demand "Stop the Bombing of Libya!" There will be a joint action that day in Washington, D.C. in front of the White House.

Contrary to the absurd argument that the bombing of Libya does not constitute a "hostility," this is fierce and illegal war aimed at carrying out regime change in the country that possesses the largest oil reserves in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.

Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in Tripoli on June 17 against the U.S./NATO bombing and the terrible toll it has taken on the people, economy and infrastructure of Libya. Of course, you didn't see any coverage of this huge demonstration in the corporate media. That massive outpouring of humanity undoubtedly included many people who have grievances against the current Libyan government. But the people of Tripoli, like people everywhere, stand together against bombing by foreign powers in pursuit of an imperial agenda. Libyans want peace and they must be free to determine their own destiny.

The people of the United States are adding their voice of opposition on Saturday, July 9 in San Francisco and at the White House. By a margin of 2-to-1, the American people oppose this illegal and criminal war. There is no such thing as a "humanitarian" cruise missile. The U.S. government is spending $10 million a day bombing Libya while it bombs Afghanistan and still occupies Iraq with 47,000 troops.

In the name of "protecting civilians" NATO is killing civilians-and describing them as "legitimate military targets."

On June 20, for instance, NATO and the Pentagon pummeled the birthday party of a four-year-old boy with heavy missiles. They killed 16 civilians, including the four-year-old and his mom, as well as other children and their parents. The four-year-old was the grandson of Khweldi el-Hamedi, an associate of Colonel Gaddafi who participated in the 1969 coup that overthrew the old monarchy.

NATO is killing the civilian family members of the Libyan government in an attempt to break the will of those they have targeted for destruction and overthrow. The Pentagon used the same type of tactic in the 1991 Iraq war.

At a time when the U.S. government says that it is broke and that tens of thousands of teachers and nurses and other workers are being fired because of the "budget crisis," there seems to be limitless funds for war, bombing, invasion and occupation.

Please join us Saturday, July 9!

Three ways that you can help:
1. Endorse.
2. Download the flyer or poster and help spread the word.
3. Make a donation.

Call 415-821-6545 or visit for more info or to volunteer.

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


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


July 12-22
THE UNIMAGINABLE JOURNEY of S. Brian Willson an American Peacemaker
TUESDAY JULY 12 • SANTA ROSA 7:15pm - Santa Rosa Friends House, 684 Benicia Dr.
WEDNESDAY JULY 13 • WALNUT CREEK 7:00pm - Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, 55 Eckley Ln.
THURSDAY JULY 14 • SEBASTOPOL 7:00pm - Community Church of Sebastopol, 1000 Gravenstein Hwy North (sponsored by Copperfields)
FRIDAY JULY 15 • SAN RAFAEL 7:30pm - First United Methodist Church, 9 Ross Valley Dr. (at Third)
SUNDAY JULY 17 • SAN FRANCISCO 12:30pm - First Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin St. (at Geary)
MONDAY JULY 18 • BERKELEY 6:00pm (talk begins at 7) - Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St. (at Bonita)
TUESDAY JULY 19 • SAN JOSE 7:00pm - San Jose Peace AND Justice Center, 48 S. 7th St.
WEDNESDAY JULY 20 • CAPITOLA 7:30pm - Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Ave., Capitola
FRIDAY JULY 22 • SEASIDE 5:00pm - Peace Resource Center, 1364 Fremont Blvd.
BLOOD ON THE TRACKS is available for purchase from your favorite bookseller or from PM Press: (ISBN 978-1-60486-421-2)• For more information: • "Like" the book page on Facebook!
Follow Brian's journey...from high school Viet Nam peace activist...seeking right livelihood...and now...cycling to your town with his new book!
Global Exchange
Joanna Macy
Unitarian Universalists for Peace, San Francisco
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarians
Veterans For Peace San Francisco
Mt. Diablo Peace Center (Walnut Creek)
ANSWER - SF Bay Area
Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition (BALASC)
Peaceworkers (San Francisco)
Marin Task Force on the Americas
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Buddhist Peace Fellowship (Marin County)
School of the Americas Watch West (SOAWW)
The Metta Center
Pace e Bene
San Francisco Friends Meeting - Peace Committee
American Friends Service Committee Pacific Mountain Region
Progressive Democrats of America- San Francisco (PDA-SF)
Western States Legal Foundation
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center (Palo Alto)
VFW Bill Motto Post 5888
Veterans For Peace Santa Cruz
People United for Peace of Santa Cruz County
Resource Center for Nonviolence
GI Rights Hotline, Santa Cruz Node
Ecumenical Peace Institute (Berkeley)
Marin Friends Meeting


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


Saturday, August 20 at 2:00pm
Location: In front of SF City Hall, Polk Street side, between Grove & McAllister

On the 34th Birthday of Idriss Stelley, Killed by SFPD on 6-12-01 at the Sony Metreon Complex,

The event is meant to launch a citywide police accountability and transparency COLLECTIVE comprised of socially mindful grassroots entities , social/racial Justice activists, and "progressive "city officials, as well as mayoral candidates, HOLD THEM TO THEIR PROMISES!

Performances, music, spoken word, and speakers.

If you would like to speak or perform,
please contact Jeremy Miller at 415-595-2894,,
or mesha Monge-Irizarry at 415-595-8251

Please join our facebook group at
Idriss Stelley Foundation !


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.


(Please forward widely)
Save the dates of October 6, 15 to protest wars; and May 15-22, 2012--Northern California UNAC will be discussing plans for solidarity actions around the Chicago G-8 here.

United National Antiwar Committee or UNAC at P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054


On June 22, the White House defied the majority of Americans who want an end to the war in Afghanistan. Instead of announcing the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops, contractors, bases, and war dollars, Obama committed to removing only one twentieth of the US forces on the ground in Afghanistan over the next eight months. Another 23,000 will supposedly be withdrawn just in time to influence the 2012 elections. Even if the President follows thru on this plan, nearly 170,000 US soldiers and contractors will remain in Afghanistan. All veterans and soldiers will be raising the question, "Who will be the last U.S. combatant to die in Afghanistan?"

In truth, the President's plan is not a plan to end the war in Afghanistan. It was, instead, an announcement that the U.S. was changing strategy. As the New York Times reported, the US will be replacing the "counterinsurgency strategy" adopted 18 months ago with the kind of campaign of drone attacks, assassinations, and covert actions that the US has employed in Pakistan.

At a meeting of the United National Antiwar Committee's National Coordinating Committee, held in NYC on June 18, representatives of 47 groups voted to endorse the nonviolent civil resistance activities beginning on October 6 in Washington, D.C. and to call for nationally coordinated local actions on October 15 to protest the tenth anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan. UNAC urges activists in as many cities as possible to hold marches, picket lines, teach-ins, and other events to say:

· Withdraw ALL US/NATO Military Forces, Contractors, and Bases out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya NOW!
· End drone attacks on defenseless populations in Pakistan and Yemen!
· End US Aid to Israel! Hands Off Iran!
· Bring Our War Dollars Home Now! Money for Jobs and Education, Not for War and Incarceration!

Note these dates of upcoming significant events:
· November 11-13 UNAC National Conference - a gathering of all movement activists to learn, share, plan future actions.
· May 15-22, 2012 International Protest Actions against war criminals attending NATO meeting and G-8 summit in Chicago.

Challenge the NATO War Makers in Chicago May 15-22, 2012
NATO and the G8 are coming to Chicago - so are we!

The White House has just announced that the U.S. will host a major international meeting of NATO, the US-commanded and financed 28-nation military alliance, in Chicago from May 15 to May 22, 2012. It was further announced that at the same time and place, there will be a summit of the G-8 world powers. The meetings are expected to draw heads of state, generals and countless others.

At a day-long meeting in New York City on Saturday, June 18, the United National Antiwar Committee's national coordinating committee of 69 participants, representing, 47 organizations, unanimously passed a resolution to call for action at the upcoming NATO meeting.

UNAC is determined to mount a massive united outpouring in Chicago during the NATO gathering to put forth demands opposing endless wars and calling for billions spent on war and destruction be spent instead on people's needs for jobs, health care, housing and education.


Whereas, the U.S. is the major and pre-eminent military, economic and political power behind NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and

Whereas, the U.S. will be hosting a major NATO gathering in the spring of 2012, and

Whereas, U.S. and NATO-allied forces are actively engaged in the monstrous wars, occupations and military attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, the Middle East and elsewhere,

Be it resolved that:

1) UNAC, in conjunction with a broad range of groups and organizations that share general agreement with the major demands adopted at our 2010 Albany, NY national conference, initiate a mass demonstration at the site of the NATO gathering, and

2) UNAC welcomes and encourages the participation of all groups interested in mobilizing against war and for social justice in planning a broad range of other NATO meeting protests including teach-ins, alternative conferences and activities organized on the basis of direct action/civil resistance, and

3) UNAC will seek to make the NATO conference the occasion for internationally coordinated protests, and

4) UNAC will convene a meeting of all of the above forces to discuss and prepare initial plans to begin work on this spring action.

Resolution passed unanimously by the National Coordinating Committee of UNAC on Saturday, June 18, 2011

click here to donate to UNAC:

Click here for the Facebook UNAC group.


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


Arnie Gundersen Discusses Situation at flooded Ft. Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Power Plants.

Gundersen Discusses the Situation at the flooded Ft. Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Power Plants. from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.


Las Conchas fire, evening flames threatening Los Alamos

Uploaded by MichaelZeiler on Jun 29, 2011

On this fourth day of the devastating Las Conchas fire which is threatening Los Alamos, New Mexico, the night sky finally cleared enough to see the flames licking all around the labs and the city.

This time-lapse video is comprised of 113 photographs taken 30 seconds apart. Each photograph is shown for one second. My vantage point is from my home on a ridge just to the north of Santa Fe.

You can see quick changes in the fires, stars in the sky, and emergency vehicles making their way on fire duties. The brightest lights are the headquarters of the Los Alamos labs and other technical areas are to the left. To the right is the Los Alamos town site. Below the headquarters is the suburb of White Rock.


Let's torture the truth out of suicide bombers says new CIA chief Petraeus


Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant Main Building Underwater, 10 Mile Mandatory Evacuation Area


Gundersen: Intake Structure that cools reactor and spent fuel pool is probably most vulnerable part of Ft. Calhoun nuke plan - Critical that it stays dry (VIDEO)
June 28th, 2011 at 06:26 PM

Arnie Gundersen on Five O'clock Shadow with Robert Knight, WBAI, June 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm EDT:

* Intake structure probably the most vulnerable, not auxiliary and containment buildings...
* Intake structure draws in river water that cools reactor and spent fuel pool... critical that it stay dry...
* If gets water in it and emergency service water pumps fail then you've got a case where you're going to cause fuel damage...
* Probably the most vulnerable at Ft Calhoun...


Black Agenda Report Morning Shot 6.21.2011: Defying The Tomb


Labor Beat: Give It Back!

The Executive Summit of CEOs and CFOs at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago on June 14, 2011 was the target of a broad coalition of community and labor organizations, put together by Stand Up! Chicago. Several thousand protesters successfully pulled off 3 coordinated feeder marches (housing, jobs, education) that transformed the hub of corporate Chicago at Michigan and Wacker into protest central. We begin with the small band of movement artists (teachers, students and activists) as they plan the visuals and create the huge puppets (Kings of Corporate Welfare) which became the visual rallying points of the Give It Back march and rally. We show the process of how the big march came together and how working people were able to appropriate Chicago's showplace of big business and convert it into a movement theatrical backdrop. The CEOs at the Hyatt went on with their meeting, and a city-wide movement gained confidence in its organizing skills. Rod Wilson of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization observed: "This is definitely the beginning, not the end, not the culminating, but the beginning." Length - 18:33. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video, YouTube, or and search "Labor Beat". Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; St. Louis, MO; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at


Japanese Anti-Nuc Song Gone Viral

Kazuyoshi Saito On Ustream 2011/04/08
Song and Lyrics: Kazuyoshi Saito

"You have been telling a lie"

When we walk around this country,
we can find 54 Nuke power plants

My text book and CM always told me,
"It's SAFE"

You have been telling a lie,
then your excuse is just "UNEXPECTED"
I remember the clear sky,
but now, it turns black rain

You've been telling a lie,
it was exposed after all, I know
Yeah, it was a lie, "Nuke is completely safe"
You've been telling a lie,
I just wanna eat such a delicious spinach once again.

Yeah, it was a lie,
You should have noticed this ball game

We can't stop the contaminated wind anymore
Do you accept if you find it about how many people would be exposed by the radiation?
How do you think? I'm asking you, Jap Gov.

When you leave this town,
Could you find delicious water?
Tell me, whatever, there's no way to hide

They are all suck, Tepco, Hepco, Chuden and Kanden
We never dream a dream anymore
But they are all suck
They still keep going
They are truely suck
I wanna take action, how could I handle this feeling?

They are telling a lie....
We are all suck....


Flood Alert: Brownsville,NE Levee Breach- Cooper Nuclear Plant
Jun 20, 2011

Brownsville NE levee is breaching at Brownsville Bridge -
Brownsville is where the Cooper Nuclear Plant is located


Dr Helen Caldicott - Fukushima Nuclear Disaster- You won't hear this on the Main Stream News.


Choosing a Profession

An old country preacher had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young Men his age, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it. One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects...

1. A Bible.....?
2. A silver dollar.....?
3. A bottle of whisky......?
4. And a Playboy magazine.....?

'I'll just hide behind the door,' the old preacher said to himself. 'When he comes home from school today, I'll see which object he picks up.

If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be!

If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a business man, and that would be okay, too.

But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunken bum, and Lord, what a shame that would be.

And worst of all if he picks up that magazine he's going to be a
skirt-chasing womanizer.'

The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's foot-steps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room.

The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table..

With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink, while he admired this month's centerfold.

'Lord have mercy,' the old preacher disgustedly whispered.
'He's gonna run for Congress.'


Stop Police Brutality: Justice for Eric Radcliff

22 year old Eric Radcliff was shot and killed by police officers from the 35th district on the morning of Saturday May 21st, 2011. According to witnesses he was unarmed. The incident took place on the 5800 Block of Mascher Street in the 5th and Olney Section.

1. Open An Investigation Into the May 21st Shooting Death of 22 year old Eric Radcliff by officers of the Philadelphia Police Department's 35th District.
2. End Police Brutality! Serve and Protect, Not Disrespect and Victimize!
3. LETS GET OUR HOUSE IN ORDER. Let's Unite for Real Security and To Build a Better Future for Ourselves

Please come Join in UNITY AND LOVE! God is Good, We ARE winning!
215-954-2272 for more information
VIA Justice for Eric Radcliff


Stop Police Brutality: Justice for Albert Pernell Jr.


*High Alert* - Fire -Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant near Omaha Nebraska- Flooding Missouri River
\Five O'Clock Shadow" with Robert Knight and Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds Associates

Fire knocks out spent fuel cooling pool at nuclear plant near Omaha - Operating under heightened alert level because of nearby flooding on Missouri River.

On June 6, 2011, the Fort Calhoun pressurized water nuclear reactor 20 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska entered emergency status due to imminent flooding from the Missouri River. A day later, there was an electrical fire requiring plant evacuation. Then, on June 8th, NRC event reports confirmed the fire resulted in the loss of cooling for the reactor's spent fuel pool.


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:


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!


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


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.


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


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"


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




(Please post widely)

-- Introduction
-- Campaign to End the Death Penalty Solidarity Statement
-- CEDP Statement of Solidarity with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers
-- Solidarity Statement from Corcoran State Prisoners
-- Take Action!


Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of California's Pelican Bay state prison have announced that they will begin an indefinite hunger strike on July 1. Although prison officials aim to keep prisoners silenced and divided, the hunger strike has shown solidarity across racial, ethnic and religious lines and demands improvements in cruel and inhumane prison conditions.

In his statement "Why Prisoners are Protesting", prisoner Mutop DuGuya states, "Effective July 1st we are initiating a peaceful protest by way of an indefinite hunger strike in which we will not eat until our core demands are met.....we have decided to put our fate in our own hands. Some of us have already suffered a slow, agonizing death in which the state has shown no compassion toward these dying prisoners. Rather than compassion they turn up their ruthlessness. No one wants to die. Yet under this current system of what amounts to intense torture, what choice do we have? If one is to die, it will be on our own terms."

Prisons in this country stand as silent tombs. Millions are warehoused in "correctional" facilities that serve only to punish and dehumanize. These prisoners in Pelican Bay are standing bravely against tortuous conditions and those of us on the outside must stand with them and shine a light into the dark cages that politicians want us to forget.


The Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) stands in solidarity with the prisoners of Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) who will be engaged in a hunger strike on July 1 in protest of their deplorable conditions.

The prisoners at Pelican Bay prison in California live in a world in which collective punishment is common, sunlight is rare, and food is used as a tool of coercion. They live in a world that is so unlike the world that most of us take for granted that it strains our comprehension. The world of the prisoners has one goal, to create passive, compliant prisoners; prisoners who will not clamor for more; prisoners who will not rock the boat; prisoners who will not threaten to expose just how rotten the prison system is.

This world has failed. While these demands show us a world turned upside down, they also show us a prison population that is fighting back against their appalling conditions. The prisoners have stated that their hunger strike will be indefinite until their demands are met. This means they could face serious health issues or even death. For them, a fighting death is preferable to the hell they are living.

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty supports the Pelican Bay hunger strikers and stand with all prisoners who seek to better their lives. We stand in solidarity with these brave fighters in their quest for justice and humanity.

The demands of the prisoners clearly show the capricious and dehumanizing conditions in which they the prisoners are calling for:

1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh.

2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria.
Debriefing produces false information - wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.

3. End long-term solitary confinement. Segregation should be used as a last resort and prisoners require access to adequate healthcare and natural sunlight.

4. Provide wholesome, nutritious meals and access to vitamins.

5. Expand and provide constructive programming such as photos of loved ones, weekly phone calls, extension of visitation time, calendars, and radios, etc.

You can read the prisoner's full text of their demands here:


Statement of Solidarity with the Pelican Bay Collective Hunger Strike on July 1st.
From: the N.C.T.T. Corcoran SHU

Greetings to all who support freedom, justice, and equality. We here of the N.C.T.T. SHU stand in solidarity with, and in full support of the July 1st hunger strike and the 5 major action points and sub-points as laid out by the Pelican Bay Collective in the Policy Statements (See, "Archives", P.B.S.P.-SHU-D corridor hunger strike).

What many are unaware of is that facility 4B here in Corcoran SHU is designated to house validated prisoners in indefinite SHU confinement and have an identical ultra-super max isolation unit short corridor modeled after corridor D in Pelican Bay, complete with blacked out windows a mirror tinted glass on the towers so no one but the gun tower can see in [into our cells], and none of us can see out; flaps welded to the base of the doors and sandbags on the tiers to prevent "fishing" [a means of passing notes, etc. between cells using lengths of string]; IGI [Institutional Gang Investigators] transports us all to A.C.H. [?] medical appointments and we have no contact with any prisoners or staff outside of this section here in 4B/1C C Section the "short corridor" of the Corcoran SHU. All of the deprivations (save access to sunlight); outlines in the 5-point hunger strike statement are mirrored, and in some instances intensified here in the Corcoran SHU 4B/1C C Section isolation gang unit.

Medical care here, in a facility allegedly designed to house chronic care and prisoners with psychological problems, is so woefully inadequate that it borders on intentional disdain for the health of prisoners, especially where diabetics and cancer are an issue. Access to the law library is denied for the most mundane reasons, or, most often, no reason at all. Yet these things and more are outlined in the P.B.S.P.-SHU five core demands.

What is of note here, and something that should concern all U.S. citizens, is the increasing use of behavioral control (torture units) and human experimental techniques against prisoners not only in California but across the nation. Indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination, use of unsubstantiated lies from informants are the psychological billy clubs being used in these torture units. The purpose of this "treatment" is to stop prisoners from standing in opposition to inhumane prison conditions and prevent them from exercising their basic human rights.

Many lawsuits have been filed in opposition to the conditions in these conditions ... [unreadable] yet the courts have repeatedly re-interpreted and misinterpreted their own constitutional law ... [unreadable] to support the state's continued use of these torture units. When approved means of protest and redress of rights are prove meaningless and are fully exhausted, then the pursuit of those ends through other means is necessary.

It is important for all to know the Pelican Bay Collective is not (emphasis in original) alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike, the other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future. We urge all who reads these words to support us in this effort with your participation or your voices call your local news agencies, notify your friends on social networks, contact your legislators, tell your fellow faithful at church, mosques, temple or synagogues. Decades before Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs were described by Congressman Ralph Metcalfe as "the control unit treatment program is long-term punishment under the guise of what is, in fact, pseudo-scientific experimentation."

Our indefinite isolation here is both inhumane and illegal and the proponents of the prison industrial complex are hoping that their campaign to dehumanize us has succeeded to the degree that you don't care and will allow the torture to continue in your name. It is our belief that they have woefully underestimated the decency, principles, and humanity of the people. Join us in opposing this injustice without end. Thank you for your time and support.

In Solidarity,
N.C.T.T. Corcoran - SHU
4B/1C - C Section
Super-max isolation Unit


Pelican Bay Prisoners Go On Hunger Strike to Protest Grave Conditions July 1, 2011

Lawyers, Advocates, Organizations Hold Press Conference, Voice Prisoner Demand

Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Communications Director, Critical Resistance
Office: 510 444 0484; Cell: 510 517 6612

The Hunger Strikers need support from outside of prison bars. Here are a few things you can do:

Sign the Petition.

Get the word out about the hunger strike and the prisoner's demands to your family, friends, church, community groups, and over social networking sites.

Attend protests in solidarity. Rallies planned in San Francisco, Eureka, CA, Montreal, Toronto and New York. Send protest info to: to be listed!
Stay informed. Check the blog regularly for updates


Keep the Arboretum Free
Dear Arboretum Supporter,

It's been a few months since the Board of Supervisors extended the non-resident fee at the Arboretum until September 30th, 2013. Such policy and ongoing decisions are continuing to greatly impact our neighborhoods and city resources and out of this widespread concern a new coalition has formed - Take Back Our Parks. Community and park advocates have joined together from across the city, including representatives from Keep Arboretum Free, with the common goals of keeping parks and recreation facilities open and accessible to all, stopping privatization of public park properties, protecting the natural character of our parklands and ensuring inclusive community input in planning and decision-making.

This past week a key effort was made towards some of these goals when four City Supervisors placed a measure on the November ballot to put a moratorium on fees for park resources and the long-term leasing of club-houses to private organizations. The Parks For The Public measure can be an important step towards ending the loss of access and growing privatization that is a fallout of the Recreation and Park Department's strategy of using parks as a revenue source and which has imposed policies such as the Arboretum fee.

Please visit the TBOP website to learn more about the Parks For The Public ordinance available for voters on the ballot this fall:

It is vital that the public have a chance to shape the issues regarding our parks. We encourage you to write to the four sponsoring Supervisors (Avalos, Campos, Mar and Mirkarimi) to thank them for introducing Parks For The Public and let them know that you support limiting the privatization and unwarranted commercialization of our parks.

Please help spread the news about this measure to your community in the city and thank you very much for your continued support.


The Campaign to Keep The Arboretum Free


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.


Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana state prisons must end
Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:

For nearly four decades, 64-year-old Albert Woodfox and 69-year-old Herman Wallace have been held in solitary confinement, mostly in the Louisiana State Penitentiary (known as Angola prison). Throughout their prolonged incarceration in Closed Cell Restriction (CCR) Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace have endured very restrictive conditions including 23 hour cellular confinement. They have limited access to books, newspapers and TV and throughout the years of imprisonment they have been deprived of opportunities for mental stimulation and access to work and education. Social interaction has been restricted to occasional visits from friends and family and limited telephone calls.

Louisiana prison authorities have over the course of 39 years failed to provide a meaningful review of the men's continued isolation as they continue to rubberstamp the original decision to confine the men in CCR. Decades of solitary confinement have had a clear psychological effect on the men. Lawyers report that they are both suffering from serious health problems caused or exacerbated by their years of close confinement.

After being held together in the same prison for nearly 40 years, the men are now held in seperate institutions where they continue to be subjected to conditions that can only be described as cruel, inhuman and degrading.
Take action now to demand that Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace be immediately removed from solitary confinement

Sign our petition which will be sent to the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, calling on him to:

* take immediate steps to remove Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace from close confinement
* ensure that their treatment complies with the USA's obligations under international standards and the US Constitution.




Stop Coal Companies From Erasing Labor Union History


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!

Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

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


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!

Take Action! Tweet for Troy!

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


"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:



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:



"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!


Courage to Resist needs your support

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

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

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

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


Add your name! We stand with Bradley Manning.

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

Dear All,

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

Read the complete public letter and add your name at:

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


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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!


Support the troops who refuse to fight!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Cuomo Will Seek to Lift Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing
June 30, 2011

2) Democratic Action by Working People Critical in Today's Environmental Crisis
By Bonnie Weinstein
July/August 2011 Socialist Viewpoint Vol. 11, No. 4

3) Fukushima: The End of Nuclear Power?
By Dave Walters with an Introduction by Stuart King
July/August Socialist Viewpoint Vol. 11, No. 4

4) Secrets of the Deep Future
How Capitalist Energy Crimes Have Screwed Up Our Planet For Longer Than You Will Ever Know... and What You Can Do About It Now
By Chris Kinder
July/August Socialist Viewpoint Vol. 11, No. 4

5) MNN: 'War Department of Indian Affairs' run by RCMP
Mohawk Nation News
Thursday, June 30, 2011

6) Irish ship will not sail to Gaza after 'sabotage'
Thu, Jun 30, 2011

7) Washington Okays Attack on Unarmed U.S. Ship
by Stephen Zunes
Foreign Policy in Focus
June 30, 2011

8) June 30 national strike a great success - a turning point for Britain
Written by Alan Woods and Rob Sewell
Thursday, 30 June 2011

9) Budget Fight Shuts Down Minnesota Government
July 1, 2011

10) U.S. Widens Inquiries Into 2 Jail Deaths
"...but it was closing inquiries into the treatment of nearly 100 other detainees over the last decade."
June 30, 2011

11) Thousands in Cairo Protest Slow Pace of Change
July 1, 2011

12) Greece Bars Boats Leaving Greek Ports for Gaza
July 1, 2011

13) Chávez Says a Cancerous Tumor Was Removed
June 30, 2011

14) Germany: Nuclear Ban Approved
June 30, 2011

15) Danish Company Blocks Sale of Drug for U.S. Executions
July 1, 2011

16) Connecticut Steps Closer to Widespread Layoffs
"Mr. Malloy said before Thursday's session that he would also ask the General Assembly to increase his authority to privatize state government functions and to approve measures reducing state employees' accrued sick days, freezing longevity pay and changing the way pensions are calculated."
June 30, 2011

17) Two Rulings Find Cuts in Public Pensions Permissible
June 30, 2011

18) Richer People Want Fewer Children
July 1, 2011, 12:54 pm

19) U.S. Expands Its Drone War Into Somalia
July 1, 2011

20) Jordan's King Reshuffles Cabinet as Protests Grow
July 2, 2011

21) Stuck in Dock, Flotilla Activists See the Hand of Israel
July 1, 2011

22) Whipped by Winds Over Land Parched by Drought, a New Mexico Wildfire Rages
July 1, 2011

23) Court Won't Intervene in Fate of Nuclear Dump
July 1, 2011

24) Unknown bomber explodes levees near Ft Calhoun
By Deborah Dupre, Human Rights Examiner
July 1, 2011


1) Cuomo Will Seek to Lift Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing
June 30, 2011

The Cuomo administration is expected to lift what has been, in effect, a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technology used to extract natural gas from shale, people briefed on the administration's discussions said on Thursday.

Administration officials are discussing maintaining a ban on the process inside New York City's sprawling upstate watershed, as well as a watershed used by the city of Syracuse, according to people briefed on the plan. But by allowing the process in other parts of the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would open up New York to one of the fastest-growing - critics would say reckless - areas of the energy industry.

When the decision will be made public is less certain. On Friday, the State Department of Environmental Conservation is due to release a long-awaited study of the process, widely known as hydrofracking. But it was unclear if the Cuomo administration would use the occasion to announce its broader policy plans related to the issue as well. The report will likely include recommendations, and then there will be a period for public comments before a final determination can be made.

Hydrofracking has spurred intense protests from environmental activists, who say it threatens the cleanliness of ground water. The process involves injecting large volumes of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, deep into the ground to break up rock formations and release natural gas. It is legal in a number of other states, including Pennsylvania.

A primary concern among environmental groups has been the leftover waste water that can be contaminated with toxins buried underground, including naturally occurring radioactive elements or carcinogens like benzene.

Drilling for natural gas has been promoted both because it burns more cleanly than coal and it can reduce dependence on imported energy.

Josh Vlasto, a spokesman for the governor, said it was "baseless speculation and premature" to say the state's current moratorium on hydrofracking would be lifted.


2) Democratic Action by Working People Critical in Today's Environmental Crisis
By Bonnie Weinstein
July/August 2011 Socialist Viewpoint Vol. 11, No. 4

The Earth's environment is reeling from catastrophic forms of energy extraction and use, not only from nuclear power plants, but from coal extraction by mountain-top removal1, which not only poisons the land and ground water, but demolishes pristine mountains. And by gas extraction from hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which produces the powerful greenhouse gas, methane, and also dumps toxins used in the process into the environment2.

This does not even take into account the weapons of mass destruction the U.S. is producing and unleashing across the globe. Nor does it take into account the massive pollution due to the dependence on fossil fuels by the transportation and all other forms of for-profit industries.

The future of humanity and the planet Earth, at this point in time, is dubious, at best. We are in a crisis of monumental proportions, across all borders, across all industry and across all social and political aspects of human interaction.

Our only hope for survival, as a species, will depend upon a massive worldwide effort by the majority-by working people, scientists and engineers-to reverse the damages already caused, and to prevent new, and worse catastrophes from occurring.

The only way to achieve this is to take control of energy production and industry away from those who put private profit before everything else.

Current nuclear crisis

At Fukushima, TEPCO, the energy company that runs the nuclear power plant, announced that they had a "melt through.3" (A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor. A melt through means the fuel has melted through some layers of the containment vessel which could ultimately lead to a "China Syndrome," a worse case scenario, which occurs when molten reactor core components completely penetrate the containment vessel and building, causing direct contamination of the environment.)

If this isn't bad enough for Japan, their fast-breeder reactor prototype plant, the Monju, has been in a state of shutdown because 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. The recovery of the device is dangerous because the plant uses large quantities of liquid sodium to cool the nuclear fuel, which is highly flammable.4
And if you think we in the U.S. are immune to the nuclear crisis, think again. Right now, outside of Omaha, Nebraska, the Fort Calhoun reactor is surrounded by floodwaters.5

The problem there is that the river is expected to rise as much as five to seven feet above flood stage and the river has already risen 1.5 feet higher than Fort Calhoun's 1,004-foot elevation above sea level. And due to the extraordinary amount of snow accumulation, they expect the floodwaters to continue to rise until the middle of August! The only thing protecting the plant is an 8-foot rubber wall outside the reactor building.

And there's a second Nebraska nuclear plant, the Cooper Power Station, which is also under threat by floodwaters.6

Cleanup know-how for nuclear vs. fossil fuels

The crisis surrounding nuclear energy and weapons production will take a special effort since safe clean-up techniques have yet to be developed.

Think of the dangers and complications of just moving nuclear material from one place to another. What kind of vehicle do you transport it in? And which communities will these vehicles travel through? Obviously these are decisions that involve and effect masses of people. They are the ones who have a right to a say in these decisions since it's their lives that that are threatened by them.

Pollution due to nuclear energy and weapons transportation and clean-up differs from pollution as a result of fossil fuel production. For the latter, we do have the technological and scientific knowledge to transport the material safely and to clean up the resulting pollution, albeit it's a drain on profits to do so safely.

If the fossil fuel industry were nationalized and put under the democratic control of workers, technicians and scientists, with complete access to corporate profits-i.e., workers' control over all corporate profits-cleanup and safety measures could immediately begin to be implemented.

Capitalism fouls everything up

In each of these ongoing environmental catastrophes-in-the-making, the quest for ever-higher profits has been responsible for shortcuts, cover-ups and repeated safety violations. If nothing is done to take the profit out of energy production, these environmental crises will get worse and occur more frequently.

Even without any further catastrophes, the clean-up tasks in the nuclear industry are daunting, and already beyond our current scientific and technological ability to achieve.

It will take a monumental effort-a worldwide democratic collaboration of workers, engineers and scientists-to learn how to handle the nuclear material we are already using and storing; and to discover ways to restore the damage already done to our environment.

This will take a complete overhaul of the scientific and research communities and their dependence on these very corporations that now fund their research and development projects and educational goals.

The scientific community must be nationalized along with industry itself, and be held responsible to the democratic control of workers who work in these industries; and to the general public that relies on them; and not to the corporate profiteers who feed on these short cuts and violations!

To fund such a massive project, the corporate books have to be opened and the vast profits accumulated off the backs of the workers must be made available to correct the problems and to change the practices that led to these environmental disasters in the first place.

Nationalizing these industries and putting them under the democratic control of working people and their allies is the first step and ultimately the only way to ensure the safety and welfare of all people and the environment.

The workers, scientists and engineers at the production sites are the experts. They are the ones who can pinpoint the shortcuts; cover-ups, lies and dangers presented by these for-profit management henchmen. They are the ones who have the best chance of finding ways to make the whole industry safer. And to safely shut it down until they can be sure it is safe to operate.

With access to the vast profits created by their own labor, and through the research and discoveries they could uncover with those resources, workers can make the great leaps of knowledge necessary to solve these currently unsolvable environmental problems. And it would mean there would be no more limits to the development of new, innovative, energy alternatives and safer forms of energy production, distribution, transportation and use.

We need a democratic movement for control over our lives

This is very simple really. It's about our right and our dire need to have democratic control over all aspects of production-including but not limited to the energy industry.

What we are talking about is turning the social structure of society on its head.
Instead of those at the top of the economic ladder, i.e., the super-rich commanders of capital, having sole control over the decision-making about health and safety issues and control over profits-all these decisions and all profits produced would be placed under the democratic control of the majority of the working people who actually do the work and operate the industries.

What would this new, topsy-turvy society look like?

Removing the profit motive by turning production for profit into democratic production for fulfilling social needs and wants, insures that safety measures can finally have first priority.

Democracy starts at the point of production, spreading to communities and the public educational system, and workers organizations must remain strictly independent of the capitalist parties, the commanders of capital and the police under their direct control.

Workers have the power and the know-how to put safety first and needs before profits

Workers on the job are the best qualified to decide on safety measures; financial compensation; working conditions; on comfort, intensity and hours of labor; on benefits; and on improvements in product, safety, efficiency and production practices.
Doctors, patients and their families and hospital staff are the best qualified to democratically decide on the best patient care; as well as all the other aspects of good working conditions that help to guarantee good patient care.

Teachers, parents and students are best qualified to democratically collaborate to improve every aspect of education.

Construction workers and architects and engineers, are the ones best qualified to collaborate on the rebuilding of our infrastructure and to focus on its energy use, safety and efficiency.

You get the picture. This is a workers democratic model that cuts across all barriers to safety, efficiency and to increased production throughout all industry that will be capable of satisfying the needs of all.

It is the only rational way out of the chaos and poison of capitalist production based upon the accumulation of private profit by a tiny minority at the expense of all else.

1The Fight over Coal Mining is a 'Fight About Democracy'"
Democracy Now!, May 23, 2011
2 "Coal Seam Gas-Dirtier than Coal, Worse than Shale"
By Renfrey Clarke
GreenLeft, June 4, 2011
3 "Fukushima: It's Much Worse Than You Think"
By Dahr Jamail
Al Jazeera, June 16, 2011
4 "Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor Damaged Before Quake"
By Hiroki Tabuchi
June 17, 2011
5 "Giant rubber barrier around site; reactor has been shut down since April"
By Josh Funk
The Associated Press
updated 6/17/2011
6 "Second Nebraska Nuclear Plant Threatened By Flooding"
By Ricky Kreitner
June 17, 2011,


3) Fukushima: The End of Nuclear Power?
By Dave Walters with an Introduction by Stuart King
July/August Socialist Viewpoint Vol. 11, No. 4

When a massive earthquake hit Japan on March 11, followed immediately by a tsunami, the Fukushima nuclear plant suffered a major accident. It took weeks for the private operating company, TEPCO, to bring the crisis under control, and it will take at least another six to nine months to achieve a cold shut down of the plants nuclear reactors.

This was a very serious accident, rated 7 on the INES scale, the same as the Chernobyl accident, although Fukushima has released so far only ten percent of the radiation of the Ukrainian disaster. Immediate casualties were much lower. Unlike Chernobyl no one died as a result of the radiation leaks at Fukushima-two workers involved in the clean up were hospitalized when radioactive water seeped into their boots. By contrast an estimated 24,000 are dead or missing as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

This is not to belittle the accident, but to put it in perspective. The long-term effects of radiation are yet to be quantified but they will certainly be less damaging than Chernobyl, where incompetence by the Russian Soviet authorities exposed tens-of-thousands to contaminated food and milk for weeks after the event.

The Fukushima accident could have been much worse, reactor cores could have completely melted down, leading to much greater contamination and an even more difficult clean up operation.

The accompanying article by David Walters looks at the accident, its causes and consequences. Unlike many on the left he does not conclude that the accident was the "inevitable result" of an impossibly dangerous industry, rather that it was a result of a private company cutting corners on safety in the interests of short term profit.

For much of the far left Fukushima was just a confirmation of their anti-nuclear prejudices. Socialist Worker was typical. Its front-page headline declared "Nuclear Plants are never safe: shut them all down" (March 19, 2011). Inside its editorial declared "Every plan to build a nuclear plant in every country across the world should be stopped-now. And all existing plants should be shut down. That's the message we should take from the horrific events in Japan."

Now just a moment's thought by any serious thinking socialist would have revealed what a ludicrous demand this was. In Britain something like 19 percent of electricity comes from our nuclear power plants. Shutting them down immediately would lead to rolling blackouts across the country. In the medium term it would lead to electricity being produced by more carbon dioxide polluting forms of electricity production-gas and coal-increasing global warming with all the dangers that entails.

And in France where almost 80 percent of the country's electricity comes from nuclear? The economy would shut down and workers would be burning their furniture in the dark to keep warm. Now that would be a real vote winner!

The pat reply to this argument will be that nuclear can by replaced by renewables-wind, wave and solar power-and by better energy efficiency in homes, offices, etc. Well it can't-the figures don't add up.

Building offshore windfarms, renewing the grid to use them, developing wave power etc., will take years, if not a decade or more, even if a socialist government threw all its resources behind it. Even a massive public works program on energy conservation in homes and offices would take many years. At the same time we need to phase out all coal-fired power stations within the next decade or so, a really important demand in relation to carbon dioxide emissions-and in Britain they still produce just under a third of our electricity.

Renewables cannot fill the gap if we take out nuclear power as an option.

As socialists we cannot magic away these problems. We can bury our heads in the sand, raise demands that no one takes seriously (even ourselves) or provide some scientific based and socialist answers to the problems we face-the major one being how we put forward a program to massively reduce carbon dioxide emissions on a world scale to prevent global warming.

Nuclear power as a low carbon dioxide producing energy source, for all its drawbacks and dangers, will certainly be part of the solution. The lesson of Fukushima is not, as Socialist Worker would have it, that nuclear power is an impossibly dangerous industry, but that it is far too dangerous an industry to be in private hands and to be driven by the profit motive.

Of the ten commercially operating nuclear plants in the UK seven were built between 1962 and 1970. They are old technology, as was Fukushima, more dangerous to run than the new generation of nuclear power stations. They need to be phased out and replaced by new ones as part of an energy mix where renewables are the major source of electric power, a mix where coal and gas are phased out.

The whole of the nuclear industry (apart from decommissioning) has been privatized and is run by multinationals like EDF (Environmental Defense Fund). It needs to be nationalized with the profit motive removed. But it cannot be run by state bureaucrats who are as keen on cost cutting as any capitalist. It needs to be placed under the control of the workers who run it (and know the safety issues) alongside the communities that exist side by side with nuclear plants. Together they can monitor and control safety and management and should be given the resources by the state to employ their own experts and technicians to be able to do so.

Fukushima was a dangerous accident. Rejecting nuclear power in the context of uncontrolled global warming would be a disaster. -Stuart King, Editor of Permanent Revolution

With the recent tsunami induced accidents at the privately owned Fukushima power plants in Japan, the issue of nuclear energy has once again become a campaigning issue for anti-nuclear activists around the world. Many of the left groups that have spoken out, most notably those active in "Green" circles, have now gone on a major campaign to "Shut them all down now." Presumably this means the immediate closing of the world's 440 nuclear power reactors.

We see this call being made by various socialist organizations in Japan, and even some of the unions they lead. It should be noted, however, that the main union representing the workers who operate Japan's 54 reactors, including those placing themselves at great risk, do not echo this call.

The nuclear accident in Japan, where at the same time close to 30,000 people have lost their lives due to the earthquake and tsunami, certainly raises the question of safety at nuclear plants, not just in Japan, specifically the Fukushima reactors, but throughout the world. Socialists who are pro-nuclear do not shy away from these debates and discussions at all.

At the current time we know only a few facts about the accident at Fukushima. What we do know is that it appears the "physical plant" itself, that is the reactor housing, went mostly unscathed because of the tsunami or the earthquake. No nuclear plant in the world's 60 year history of civilian nuclear energy has ever been wrecked, destroyed or otherwise overwhelmed directly by these natural phenomenon. That is correct: no earthquake has significantly damaged a reactor to cause a release of radiation or a meltdown. Many in the anti-nuclear movement don't like to admit this, but it's true.

So what did happen at Fukushima?

The earthquake did two things. It caused the operating reactors to automatically shutdown. It also knocked out the grid, that is the outside power grid the plants send power into for distribution and take power from during outages, either routine ones or emergency ones. In case of this occurring, two forms of auxiliary power come into play: battery backup that will last a few dozen hours, and auxiliary diesel generators that can last days or weeks until power is restored.

The use of water for cooling in any reactor is well known. In the old Fukushima reactors electricity was essential to provide pumping and cooling. We do not have to review that here, as it is covered in many places already. Back-up power is provided but it failed in this case. We have to ask why it failed and what solutions could have mitigated this failure?

The batteries operated as they were designed to, essentially providing power to run the cooling pumps. However, TEPCO, the privately investor-owned utility that built and operates the plants (as well as numerous others) located the fuel tanks for the diesel generators at the oceanfront. This facilitates loading of fuel supplies, once every few years from, barges. They located them here because it was cheaper to do so. These fuel tanks were smashed by the ensuing tsunami caused by the earthquake. A double whammy, one that could have been predicted given the geological and quake-prone area Japan is close to.

Instead of building these fuel tanks up the hill behind the power plant, they took the cheap way out-for profit. Secondly, while TEPCO did install a breakwater, clearly visible on any available satellite imaging service such as Google Earth, they laid down the absolute minimum sized breakwater, which was clearly not sufficient to combat the 13-meter tsunami that hit this plant. Breakwaters are easy to build. A few million dollars worth of concrete and formed components and TEPCO could have easily built a break water that would of prevented the damage and subsequent disaster from occurring.

The operating engineer in me, like engineers everywhere, sees this disaster, but we do not run from it. We do not shout "Fear! Run! Shut it down!" No, we try to address the actual issues involved and seek a solution. What could have been done to prevent this disaster (I noted some precautions that could have been taken above.)

All seaside reactors everywhere in the world now have to be seen in the light of the experience of this tsunami and proceed to design fail-safe solutions so this can never happen again. We need to demand that worst-case tsunami possibilities be addressed and solutions applied. And it can be done, because humanity's cognitive ability to analyze and address these problems within the laws of physics and applied engineering, knows almost no bounds. But we don't run. We address the problem and we solve it.

If Japan actually shuts down 100 percent of their low carbon energy, that is their nuclear reactors, which make up 30 percent of the installed capacity (and closer to 40 percent of their actual generation) then they will have rolling blackouts and their society will go backwards, toward an increase in use of fossil fuels (already underway with the closing of Fukushima) and away from an eventual socialist solution for everything from feeding their nation to industrial production. And of course their contribution to global warming, with all the dangerous consequences of that, will increase.

But TEPCO didn't do any of these things, which could have prevented this accident. Like corporations all over the world, private enterprise does only that which they deem financially and politically necessary to get by. There is also a similar bureaucratic and cost-cutting compulsion even in state owned enterprises run, supposedly, for the public good.

Nuclear has been somewhat different historically from other forms of power generation, given the dangerous nature of generating energy from atomic fission. Everywhere it is highly regulated. This is true even in Japan where government and corporations are incestuously entangled with one other. In other countries, regulators have degrees more independence. Overall, there is no more regulated industry in the world than nuclear. But, as Japan shows, there are still vital safety issues that need to be addressed.

On a personal note, my own minimum experience with nuclear energy in the U.S. and having being a shop steward in a union local with 800 nuclear workers, has educated me on the importance of safety, of following regulatory guidelines, and seeing the consequences of not following those guidelines for workers involved.

I was convinced after visiting nuclear power plants and talking to my fellow union workers, that I didn't want to work in such an environment. Because it was unsafe? No, for just the opposite reason, in fact. The tremendous amount of NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Agency) oversight, training, regulations and paperwork, that is, the "safety culture," was simply too great for me to want to deal with. The workers there take these issues so seriously that I didn't believe I could tolerate this work environment.

In the beginning of May of this year the New York Times ran an editorial, disguised as an "article" (one of the authors being an anti-nuclear ideologue from Greenpeace), supposedly showing the "near misses" and accidents that were missed or not noted by the NRC. There is no doubt that some of this is true, while giving a false overall picture of the issue. But it's also true that despite these incidents, not one of these resulted in injury to the public or work force.

The fact is that, thanks to the workers involved in operating these plants, most of whom are union members, the safety record of the U.S. civilian nuclear energy industry and the sound regulatory oversight, has made even this, flawed, for-profit industry, the safest of any major industry in the U.S. for the last 50 years. Can we say the same about the refinery, pharmaceutical, chemical, coal, gas and oil industries? No, we cannot. The relative risk of these industries has to be looked at, and anti-nuclear "investigative" journalism routinely ignores this.

But it is not enough. And there are flaws in the entire system that warrant some serious revisions.

We have serious issues facing our class, our planet. From economic development of the productive forces in the oppressed neo-colonial world to raise their standard of living, to the phasing out of climate-changing fossil fuel use, we are going to require more, not, less energy, specifically electricity.

Most on the left are at best confused by this and at worse, seek a return to some sort of pastoral green, "democratic" pre-industrial utopia. As Marxists we should reject this "we use too much" scenario that has infected the left across the world. We certainly should use energy more wisely, more efficiently and with a sense of conservation. This can happen only when the profit motive is removed and scarcity in basic necessities is a thing of the past. No one should object to this. But these things do not produce one watt of power, especially if you consider what we have to do. These include:

• Switching off from fossil fuels completely (they should be used only as chemical feedstock, i.e. as the basic material to make chemicals and lubricants);

• Increasing the development of the productive forces especially in the developing world. This means developing whole electrical grids, new, primarily non-fossil fuel forms of generation and the infrastructure to support this, for the billions without any electrical usage at all;

• Freeing up the productive forces to eliminate all forms of want as the material basis for a true socialist mode of production. Using nuclear energy is both the cheapest and safest way to do this.

George Monbiot, in his latest entry on his blog challenges the renewable energy advocates with some hard questions. No socialist by any means, Monbiot has brought attention to the issue of energy and what it will take to reduce carbon emissions. He notes, writing on Britain, among other things:

"1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions means increasing electricity production. It is hard to see a way around this. Because low-carbon electricity is the best means of replacing the fossil fuels used for heating and transport, electricity generation will rise, even if we manage to engineer a massive reduction in overall energy consumption. The Zero Carbon Britain report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology envisages a 55 percent cut in overall energy demand by 2030-and a near-doubling of electricity production."

How is this electricity going to be produced in a sustained and regular way? We know wind generated power is erratic and variable, a problem only partially solvable by new continental wide electricity grids. We know other forms of low carbon power-tidal, coal with carbon capture and storage, large scale solar-are experimental and even if viable are likely to turn out more expensive than nuclear.

We get no answer from so-called socialist Greens on this problem, at least not yet. They simply have not considered the real issues.

Monbiot goes on:

"3. The only viable low-carbon alternative we have at the moment is nuclear power. This has the advantage of being confined to compact industrial sites, rather than sprawling over the countryside, and of requiring fewer new grid connections (especially if new plants are built next to the old ones). It has the following disadvantages:

"a. The current generation of power stations requires uranium mining, which destroys habitats and pollutes land and water. Though its global impacts are much smaller than the global impacts of coal, the damage it causes cannot be overlooked.

"b. The waste it produces must be stored for long enough to be rendered safe. It is not technically difficult to do this, with vitrification, encasement and deep burial, but governments keep delaying their decisions as a result of public opposition.

"Both these issues (as well as concerns about proliferation and security) could be addressed through the replacement of conventional nuclear power with thorium or integral fast reactors but, partly as a result of public resistance to atomic energy, neither technology has yet been developed. (I'll explore the potential of both approaches in a later column)."

I want to address this last point. Monbiot is slowly seeing his way to something that has taken a long time: that nuclear energy is really the only way to go, even in light of the "big three" accidents: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. These new technologies he mentions, the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (which doesn't require any uranium mining, enrichment or long term disposal of spent fuel) and the Integral Fast Reactor, provide the material basis for eliminating all fossil fuels and for a future society without want, wars or exploitation; that is a socialist one.

Where Monbiot and I come together is not, obviously, the socialist requirement to get rid of capitalism. It is over the need for more energy, not less. It is over the realization that renewables cannot do it except in the most utopian of fantasies.

The real "Great Divide" is between those among the Greens who run on fear and fantasy, and those socialists who have a materialist understanding of the need to move toward a society based not just on current human needs alone, but on expanding humanity's ability to power such a society.

Only nuclear can do this.

David Walters worked as a union power plant operator for 24 years in California. He is currently a member of Socialist Organizer, U.S. Section of the Fourth International. This article, however, reflects his own personal position on the questions and not that of his organization.

-Permanent Revolution, June 13, 2011


4) Secrets of the Deep Future
How Capitalist Energy Crimes Have Screwed Up Our Planet For Longer Than You Will Ever Know... and What You Can Do About It Now
By Chris Kinder
July/August Socialist Viewpoint Vol. 11, No. 4

In thousands of earth shattering explosions, most of the mountain tops in West Virginia have been blown up to scrape up the coal that lies within, and along the way bury countless stream beds with tons of debris, and pollute rivers with an alphabet soup of toxic materials. In Pennsylvania, New York and several other states, water laced with toxic chemicals has been pumped deep into the earth through hundreds of wells under enormous pressure to smash up mineral deposits and release natural gas for sale on an upbeat world market, while local water systems become so polluted that, in some cases, it becomes possible to light a flame at your kitchen faucet (as shown on a viral YouTube video).

Meanwhile, an area of formerly pristine wilderness the size of England is being raked clean of life and destroyed in Canada to extract oil from tar sands, the most carbon-intensive and counter-productive oil-producing method yet devised-again to capitalize on a rising market. And now, as BP's deep-water drilling "accident" in the Gulf of Mexico fades into media forgetfulness, we have the Fukushima nuclear meltdown disaster.

These insults and injuries-combined with the looming, devastating reality of global warming-are all outrageous crimes of a rapacious capitalist system, which puts profits ahead of both people and the planet, and devours nature as though it was "free lunch." We can fight back if we arm ourselves with a united working-class revolutionary program, but as shown by the debate around nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima, such a unity of program may be a little hard to come by.

A few days after the huge 9.0 earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, the world was made aware that damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima-Daichi plant in Japan were irradiating the earth and threatening to melt down. But from day one, authorities presented false assurances, premature evaluations and outright lies, hoping to cover up this developing disaster.

At first, Japanese authorities told people NOT to evacuate, but to stay inside with the windows closed, only to order an inadequate evacuation in several hours. Later it was reported that the whole prefecture of Fukushima had in fact been evacuated by most people, despite the government's limited 12-mile evacuation zone.1 For several days authorities squandered opportunities to control the dispersal of radiation, which some scientists say would have only been possible by immediate entombment of the nukes in concrete, as happened at Chernobyl. Now, given a worse-case scenario of the resulting situation, nuclear physicist Michio Kaku concluded that, "Huge parts of northern Japan could be off limits for centuries."2

Go ahead, eat the bitter fruit of nuclear power

Reports of radiation contamination of water and foodstuffs produced near the plant soon came in-contamination of leafy greens in Fukushima Prefecture, and of water in Tokyo. Furthermore, irradiated water had both leaked and been dumped into the ocean, resulting in contaminations of up to 7.5 million times the "acceptable" dose of radioactive iodine.3

Despite these reports, and despite bans on Japanese food imports spreading around the world, fishers were still fishing in radioactive waters, and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan ridiculed those calling for an end to nuclear reactors, declaring that produce from the region around the Fukushima plant was safe to eat, despite farmers' own misgivings about the radiation on their crops!4 This reminds us of George W. Bush's admonition after 9/11 to "go shopping," and the EPA's assertion that the air around the fallen twin towers was safe to breathe. And so it suggests the idea that maybe the rulers of modern capitalist society ARE just as criminally insane as Ghengis Khan or Emperor Nero after all.

Eventually the realities began to be admitted by officials that Fukushima was a "7" (the maximum, as with Chernobyl, which scientists had known all along), not a "5," on the nuclear disaster scale, as was earlier alleged. In fact, the exposed spent fuel pool at reactor No. 3 had exploded, sending pieces of plutonium-containing spent fuel rods up to two miles away.5 And in June, the Japanese government finally admitted that the radiation emitted from the plant was in fact about twice what had been earlier stated; that one reactor had experienced a fuel containment breach as early as five hours after the earthquake; and that three of the reactors had experienced fuel meltdowns.6

Capitalism can see neither forward nor backâ€_In Japan

In fact the Fukushima-Daichi plants could be called criminally experimental from day one. Designers clearly didn't know what they were doing by putting back-up generators at the bottom of the plant, where they could be inundated by a tsunami, with the ensuing loss of back-up electrical power; or by locating spent fuel pools high above the reactors, where they could-and did-dry out and explode in a crisis.

Perhaps most instructively, the designers overlooked the lesson of history, which was right before their eyes. Six hundred years ago, based on the experiences of earlier tsunamis no doubt, villagers had placed stone markers which were inscribed with the message, "Do not build any homes below this point." Villages-and the Fukushima power plants-that were built below these points were wiped out by the tsunami, while hamlets built above them survived.7

â€_Or in the U.S.

As with the inception and entire history of nuclear energy, deceptive and dishonest pronouncements held sway in the U.S. as well. Perhaps the most brazen such assertion came from Dr. Joseph Oehmen, an MIT professor, who wrote on March 13th, "I repeat, there was and will not be any significant release of radioactivity from the damaged Japanese reactors."8 This was a denial of the obvious, which was that radiation from Fukushima was going to spread around the globe. As of April 12th, radiation levels in U.S. milk supplies (of radioactive iodine, which can cause thyroid cancer, especially in children) were reported at 300 percent of the EPA's allowable maximum, due to the on-going plumes from Fukushima.9

None of this deterred the Obama administration however, which continues to pursue nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, despite major course changes away from new nuclear plant construction in Germany, Italy and now Japan itself.

Obama is continuing a key trajectory of U.S. imperialism, dating back to the World War II era. The United States, the only power (so far) to use atomic weapons, was also the mother of nuclear power development. This was a direct outgrowth of the military nuclear weapons program from day one. "Atoms for Peace" was put together by the Eisenhower administration to make the U.S. look good next to the Soviet Union, which had developed the A-bomb much quicker than the U.S. expected. The U.S.S.R. was looked to by the Third World as an alternative to European/U.S. imperialism in the post-war period, in which anti-colonial uprisings were sprouting around the globe. It wasn't just about the H-bomb, you see; it was about "peaceful use" of atomic energy! And, it was about U.S. imperialism being able to corner a new international market before the Soviets could get an oar in.

Just after the Soviet Union's first atomic bomb test in 1953, Congress was getting riled up:

"It is possible that the relations of the United States with every other country in the world could be seriously damaged if Russia were to build an atomic power plant for peace time use ahead of us. The possibility that Russia might actually demonstrate her 'peaceful' intentions in the field of atomic energy while we are still concentrating on atomic weapons could be a major blow to our position in the world."10

In war, hot or cold, truth is the first casualty

Right from the beginning however, the warnings were clearly made about both the dangers and problems of splitting the atom to make energy. Writing about future proliferation threats, then Under-Secretary of state Dean Acheson said in 1946 that, "The development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, and the development of atomic energy for bombs are in much of their course interchangeable and interdependent."11

Similar pronouncements were made by leaders of the Manhattan Project (developers of the atomic bomb) such as J. Robert Oppenheimer and others, about how the same methods and processes would be involved in both energy and bomb-making. These, and warnings over the basic safety of any industry based on nuclear reactions, were ignored. And as for the economics, no one who knew anything thought nuclear power would be cheap to produce. The propaganda about a "magical" energy source which would be "too cheap to meter" was just that, propaganda, churned out to justify an imperialist drive for a new market, and an edge against a perceived communist threat.

Nuclear capitalists are on welfare

The fact that nuclear power is not cheap is now well known, but it wouldn't have even gotten off the ground, let alone developed as far as it has, without massive government subsidies. It's hardly the cup of "tea" for Democratic and Republican small government deficit cutters, one would think, but nuclear power is so heavily supported that even its liabilities are covered. The Price-Anderson Act of 1957, as modified in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, set a limit on the liability of plant operators in the case of a catastrophic accident of $10.9 billion. Actual cost estimates of such an accident at a typical U.S. plant vary from somewhat over two-to over fifty-times this amount. Despite all the government support and what amounts to government insurance against damages, the big burst of nuclear power plant building in the U.S. in the 1960s turned out to be money-losers for GE and Westinghouse, because expected costs of operation were so much higher than estimates from the (since abolished) U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.12

Among the biggest crimes of the nuclear power industry is the deliberate and still-ongoing denial of the dangers of nuclear radiation, particularly long-term low-level exposures. This is first of all a crime of the capitalist class and its power-driven imperialist government, which ignored safety concerns in the drive to build and experiment with nuclear weapons. Atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site caused between 11,300 and 212,000 cases of thyroid cancer, according to a study done by the National Cancer Institute. And just as the potential connection between the nuclear power fuel cycle and nuclear weapons was evident from the first days of atomic power, so were the dangerous effects of radiation. The radioactive Iodine-131 being released in the tests, which caused the cancers, was known to the U.S. government to concentrate in milk, and from there, to be taken up by the thyroid gland. Children were thus at particular risk, but this was of no concern to the government.

"Companies like Eastman-Kodak were warned of fallout patterns so that they could protect their film stocks, but no such warnings were given to farmers or families so that they could protect their children."13

No comparable study of the effects on Canada or Mexico, which were known to have also received fallout, were done by the National Cancer Institute or any U.S. government agency. The atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and the lies and deceptions that went along with it, were, like the bombs themselves that were dropped on an already-defeated Japan in 1945, all about the mad drive of the U.S. to ensure its dominance, and destroy the Soviet Union.

Low-level radiation, high-level lies

The main dangers of radiation, particularly high-level bursts as in a bomb, or in the fallout from a nuclear weapons test, were known in the late 1940s and 50s. And while other aspects of the radiation issue had to be learned, there is absolutely no excuse today for the on-going lies about low-level exposures. We are bombarded with messages of "nothing to worry about" from Fukushima in the U.S., and the government doesn't even issue reports on radiation levels. Yet it has been conclusively shown by scientists such as physicist Ernest Sternglass and many others, that not only is there no safe dose of radiation, but low level doses, including levels only slightly above "normal" background radiation, "do not extrapolate into lower rates of cancer and other diseases." Moreover, Sternglass reports in "Nuclear Radiation and the Destruction of the Immune System,"

"Doses delivered slowly and continuously over extended periods of time, such as from the ingestion or inhalation of fission products, are hundreds of times as damaging as short, high intensity exposures at the same small total dose produced by a brief X-ray."14

Sternglass has confirmed this through numerous studies of the raw data, starting with the effects of fallout from atmospheric testing, and from extensive review of the data from the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986, in which he found that low-level radiation spreading from the site caused a measurable increase in mortality almost immediately.

"Infant and fetal mortality rates as far from Chernobyl as Germany and the U.S. increased significantly in the period immediately following the arrival of the fallout, just as they had done during the period of atmospheric weapons testing."

In the above-mentioned paper, Sternglass reports specific results that show this from around the country and world. The reason for these results dates back to research as early as 1972 which showed that the dominant biological damage from low doses at very low rates is produced by toxic, short-lived excited molecules, called "free radicals," a single one of which can destroy a cell by rupturing the cell membrane.

"The action of free radicals is a far more efficient process" than direct hits to the DNA, which is what happens in short-term high doses. "As a result, radioactive releases from nuclear bomb testing and normal as well as accidental releases from nuclear plants, turn out to be hundreds- to thousands-of-times more serious than is presently maintained by the nuclear industry." On-going, low-level releases from normally-operating nuclear power plants are also documented to have shown increases in cancer, premature under-weight births, high levels of Strontium-90 in baby teeth and autism in people living near power plants.15 So, for every nuclear power plant in the world, and there are hundreds, there is now an uninhabitable (or not safely habitable) zone, which will be there for uncountable thousands-of-years.

The long-term threat: spent nuclear fuel

Which brings us to the topic of the spent nuclear fuel pools (and occasional dry cask storage units), which surround all of these plants. No one has come up with a solution to the problem of spent fuel rods, so they sit in these pools, which are mostly not inside containment structures like the reactors are, and which, in the wisdom of the designers, were not supposed to be there very long at all. The pools need to be kept filled with water to keep them from over heating, exploding, and releasing radiation (as happened at Fukushima-Daichi No.3).

No nation, in fact no one, knows what to do with this stuff. Secure burial has always been considered the best solution, but the U.S. was at the head of the pack with Yucca Mountain disposal site in Nevada, and that has now been cancelled. Other countries' plans are less further along and equally dubious. The problem with Yucca Mountain, aside from local opposition including from native peoples whose land would be compromised, is similar to what is happening beneath the Nevada Test Site (NTS), as a result of underground nuclear testing.

Nevada test site: radioactive rubble seeps poison

The original Department of Energy (DOE) plan assumed that the heat from nuclear warhead explosions underground (921 of them) would fix the plutonium in the rock (which is now in an area of radioactive rubble the size of Rhode Island). But this analysis failed to take into consideration the action of small amounts of plutonium suspended in water, which would then gradually move downhill, which in this case, is toward Las Vegas. Of course, reaching Las Vegas could take this polluted water a few thousand years, but since the half-life of Plutonium-129 is 24,000 years... you do the math.

The Nevada legislature has taken the first step in demanding compensation from the federal government for radioactivity in the water table beneath the Nevada Test Site, (Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2011). Will there even be a Nevada legislature by the time the polluted water reaches Las Vegas?

The same problem has cropped up in numerous cases, such as Hanford, Washington, for instance, the location of one of the early weapons facilities. The Department Of Energy's early estimates were wrong again, and fission products and other radionuclides from leaking high-level waste tanks have been found to have reached the water table below Hanford, in some cases after just 60 years. Similarly, with Yucca Mountain, original estimates of the possibility of water penetration into the storage facility topped out at 20,000 years, leading the DOE to conclude that "there would be no release of radionuclides from Yucca Mountain into the biosphere within the first 10,000 years..." But subsequent findings in the 1990s showed that, "what was supposed to be a dry repository was now found to be potentially far wetter than expected."16

Yucca mountain can't contain it

Even if Yucca Mountain had been a suitable site, it would not have been enough. The projected amount of spent fuel that would need storage by 2012-the earliest projected date for the opening of the Yucca Mountain facility-was 67,500 metric tons. Yucca's maximum was 63,000 metric tons.17

Has mankind opened a Pandora's box here? No, capitalism opened this box, and mankind will suffer from that for longer than any of us will ever know. Consider that spent nuclear fuel contains: Strontium-90, with a half-life of 28 years; Cesium-137, half-life 30 years; and Plutonium-239, with a half-life of 24,000 years. (These are combined with some Technetium-99, half/life 212,000 years; Cesium-135, half/life 2.3 million years; and Iodine-129, half/life 15.7 million years.) Add into this frightening brew the depleted uranium which has been spread all over Iraq and Yugoslavia in the form of weapons remains-depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.468 billion (that's billion with a "b") years-and you begin to have an idea that capitalism, with its total disregard for the future beyond this year's bottom line, has compromised the rest of humanity's existence.

160,000 years and still glowing death

Let's run that by again, using only one example. Plutonium-239 is perhaps the most poisonous substance known to humanity. Any sizable dose kills instantly, and one microscopic particle lodged in the lung can cause cancer. Its half-life is 24,000 years. But "half-life" means that only half of it degrades to another form, giving off radiation in the process, while the other half remains waiting to degrade at any moment. Bottom line: of the amount of plutonium ready to go to Yucca Mountain in 2012, after 160,000 years there would still be more than four-and-a-half metric tons of radioactive Plutonium-239, enough to make nearly 570 nuclear bombs if recovered.18 In other words, this waste could still be spread around the planet in hundreds of no-go zones near dead nuclear plant sites in... 160,000 years or more! Think about it. The modern human species (homo sapiens) has only existed for at most 130,000 years!

As for depleted uranium, its half/life (nearly four-and-one-half billion years) equals the life span of the earth itself! As with other substances, a very long half/life means an extremely slow and weak rate of decay. Depleted uranium (which is essentially U-235, the naturally found uranium) is so weak that a piece of paper, or human skin, stops its radioactive penetration. But the inhalation or ingestion of the smallest particle presents a different story. All manner of diseases can be caused by a small particle lodged in the body, because the slow, low-level radiation repeatedly impacts the surrounding organs. Used in armor and munitions, this stuff gets pulverized and dispersed around the area in which it is used, and the medical record, particularly among Iraqis, is mounting.

Capitalism: destroying nature, destroying the future

Thus capitalism has succeeded in compromising our human future for longer than we've existed on the planet, and in some ways, for longer than the life of the planet itself. Yet some still would say, "someone will come up with a solution eventually." And even if some partial solutions do arise, needless to say, this is the height of arrogant hubris. This isn't the only problem with which capitalism has saddled humanity's future. Global warming now looms over us as a certain prospect, as capitalist governments around the world, particularly the U.S., dig in their heals to protect their bottom line and ignore the future.

Since the dire after effects of human atom-splitting (read capitalist nuclear criminality) will last for hundreds-of-thousands, or millions- or billions-of-years, conscious humans of today, lacking the answers that the capitalists should have had, must at least examine the consequences. One of the controversies around Fukushima involves the question of what was the real cause. This boils down to natural disaster, versus bad planning and unpreparedness on the part of the industry. Thus the "real" problem at Fukushima was the failure of the electrical back-up system for the cooling apparatus, not the tsunami. Back-up electrical systems can be knocked out in many ways, it is said: blizzards, tornados, etc. Of course this was human failure both in bad design and in getting into nuclear power in the first place. But now that we're in this mess, we must consider the future nuclear "legacy" to humankind in its entirety. And in this view, natural disasters offer a greatly expanded menu of possibilities.

A long, dark shadow is cast

Humanity's future-never considered by those that started down the nuclear road-depends in a big way on a stable, capable society in place to deal with the leftover nuclear plants and waste dumps, to make sure people are protected from them, and they are kept from exploding or otherwise getting worse. But what is human society going to look like over the next 160,000 years, and will it even be around to deal with all the leftover problems of the 20th and 21st centuries?

The first problem is global warming, which is also caused by the capitalist system, and "natural" only in its many manifestations. Oceans will rise perhaps as much as 25 feet in a couple centuries, water sources will be depleted, human migrations will be massive, agriculture will have to be reinvented, and weather patterns and even ocean currents will be dramatically altered. At worst, the human species could be on the brink of extinction, the surviving few barely making do with a subsistence agricultural society. Through all this instability, those nuclear waste dumps are still going to be there, and dozens of them are going to have to be moved up away from the rising oceans.

"The development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, and the development of atomic energy for bombs are in much of their course interchangeable and interdependent."

Let's assume that humanity survives the next two- or three-hundred years; the rest of our 160,000 years or more of waste dumps containing radioactive plutonium stretch out before us. On that time scale, based on the geological record, vast earthquakes, tsunamis and mega-volcanoes are possible. Tsunamis caused by volcanic landslides are the worst; Japan had one reaching a 330-foot wave amplitude that killed 15,000 people in 1792. And mega-volcanoes have threatened humanity in the past. One in particular, the Toba explosive eruption of 74,000 BCE, sent an estimated 1,000 cubic kilometers of material skyward in a plume that reached 25 kilometers high. It is thought to have devastated world climate, and brought the nascent human species almost to its knees. Perhaps 10,000 individuals survived through this. A similar event could occur within 160,000 years into the future, as there are many candidates for new mega eruptions on a long time scale. Will humanity be ready to deal with that and with the disruption, flooding or exposure of the still remaining nuclear waste dumps that could ensue from such an event?

Look at the big picture

All of this is not meant to focus our minds on a distant and possibly out-of-control future, but rather to see the big picture, starting with an understanding of the depth of depravity that the capitalist system represents. This system has rendered the future more and more dubious with its rapacious pursuit of profits, over both humanity and nature. The fossil fuel based and nuclear energy industries of capitalism are the leading edge of a mindless destructiveness that must be stopped. We must focus our energies around an anti-capitalist program that envisions how the working class can remake society to eliminate fossil fuel and nuclear power industries and replace them with clean, renewable energy sources on a world scale. To do this, we must not pick and choose between the alternatives presented to us by the system, but instead fight for a program built around the real needs of working people and all of humanity.

Viewed from this standpoint, it is disappointing to see that a left wing muck-raking journalist such as George Monbiot, has succumbed to the siren song of "clean" nuclear energy, and to do so explicitly in the wake of Fukushima, in order to ward off the specter of coal power. Monbiot, who once looked favorably on the prospects for renewable energy, now derides them as being based on a return to a primitive pre-industrialism that has its own environmental problems and cannot replace modern industry. But renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar, working in a coordinated overall plan with wave energy, geothermal and other sources, are hardly pre-industrial. An increasing number of observers are coming to the conclusion that such a program could be workable. See for instance a recent piece in Scientific American, based around a 2009 Stanford University study.19

The problem for both Monbiot and the Scientific American authors and others in the environmental movement is that they frame their arguments within the possibilities of capitalism. While Monbiot and other "green" pro-nukes (James Lovelock, author of Gaia, preceded Monbiot in this) endorse one of the most dangerous and destructive industries in the capitalist arsenal, environmentalists such as the Scientific American authors naively assume that capitalism can be persuaded to change its ways. Environmentalists such as the Scientific American authors cite the economic transformation in the U.S. in World War II, forgetting that this top-down transformation was in the service of imperialist war, not in serving the true needs of people.

Only one way forward: revolution

A transformation of the economy and industry such as the Scientific American authors suggest is technically feasible, but could only be brought about by overthrowing capitalism and revolutionizing society from top to bottom. Seizing the assets of the capitalist ruling class, and putting them to use rebuilding old industries and setting up new ones will be necessary in order to make a renewable future come into being soon. Time is of the essence, because the longer we wait, the worse the effects of global warming/nuclear accidents will be.

Many socialists, especially at times such as the present, in the wake of a major disaster, tend to focus on one target demand, such as "abolish nuclear," without tying that into an anti-capitalist whole. Simply abolishing nuclear, while necessary, is not enough. Stopping offshore oil drilling, the ravaging of rainforests and other natural landscapes by big oil, mountain top removal by the coal industry, and fracking for natural gas are all equally urgent demands. Getting rid of all of these industries, including nuclear is vital, but only within a plan of developing new jobs and new industries in the renewable sector to replace them.

The Trotskyist Transitional Program, based on the entire programmatic history of the Marxist communist movement, offers a framework for formulating programmatic demands, which address the immediate needs of the working people in a revolutionary way. Though forgotten or turned into a set of reform demands by many avowed revolutionaries, (many of whom support the nuclear industry out of mistaken belief that the workers can simply take over existing capitalist industry and run it for peoples' needs) the Transitional Program shows concretely how the real needs of working people and all humanity can only be achieved through revolutionary means. In the critical case of addressing global warming and nuclear atrocities while raising, not lowering the living standards of workers and poor, a transitional approach would begin by calling for the expropriation under workers control of all the big extractive and energy corporations, as well as the major manufacturers in the transportation sector, and organize a complete retooling and conversion of these industries into building a new, renewable infrastructure under a national/international plan that coordinates local efforts with general needs. Such a program would require workers to come to power with their own revolutionary party, counterposed to all capitalist parties, and capable of forming a workers' government.

1 Eileen Miyko Smith of Green Action Japan, on Flashpoints, KPFA Radio (, May 4th 2011.

2 Michio Kaku, Physics Professor at the City University of New York, on Flashpoints KPFA, April 12, 2011; and on Democracy Now!, WBAI NY, April 13, 2011.

3 KPFA Evening News, April 5, 2011.

4"Japanese nuclear plant hit by fire and third explosion," The Guardian, March 15, 2011, quoted in Mitchel Cohen, Is it too late to save this planet?

5 Arney Gundeerson, "Fair Winds", on Flashpoints, KPFA, April 27, 2011.

6"Radiation Understated After Quake, Japan Says," New York Times, June 6, 2011.

7 Jay Alabaster, Associated Press, "Tsunami-hit towns forgot warnings from ancestors," April 6, 2011; quoted in Mitchel Cohen, Is it too late to save this planet?

8 Quoted in Keith Harmon Snow, "Nuclear Apocalypse In Japan," March 18, 2011,

9"Radiation levels in U.S. milk now 300% of EPA maximum," Natural News, April 12, 2011,

10 Sterling Cole, chairman of the Joint Committee On Atomic Energy in the U.S. Congress, 1953, quoted in Brice Smith, Insurmountable Risks, RDR Books/IEER Press, 2006, p.iv. Brice Smith is a physicist and senior scientist at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research,

11 Dean Acheson et al, "A Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy," March 16, 1946, in Brice Smith, op cit, p. 100

12 Brice Smith, op cit, pp 7 & 194-95.

13 Brice Smith, op cit, p 101. Smith refers the reader to Ortmeyer and Makhejani, "Worse Than We Knew," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nov/Dec, 1997 for more on this history.

14Ernest J Sternglass, "Nuclear Radiation and the Destruction of the Immune System," in No Nukes, a Red Balloon Collective and Brooklyn Greens Pamphlet. See Sternglass is a former research director at Westinghouse, and chief technical officer of Radiation and Public Health Project, RPHP.

15 Sternglass, on "Your Own Health and Fitness," KPFA radio, March 29, 2011.

16 Brice Smith, op cit, p. 243-44, and 255

17 Brice Smith, op cit, p. 238

18 Brice Smith, op cit, P. 238

19 Mark Z Jacobson and Mark A Delucchi, "A plan to power 100 percent of the planet with renewables; wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here's how," Scientific American, October 26, 2009. Find a more detailed discussion of the same general idea in Arjun Makhijani, "The Technical and Economic Feasibility of a Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free Energy System in the United States," March 4, 2009,

11 Dean Acheson et al, "A Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy," March 16, 1946, in Brice Smith, op cit, p. 100


5) MNN: 'War Department of Indian Affairs' run by RCMP
Mohawk Nation News
Thursday, June 30, 2011

According to internal Indian Affairs files, in 2006 Prime Minister Stephen Harper set up Indian Affairs as a policing agency, run by the RCMP and other security forces. This chamber includes CSIS, Fisheries, Government of Canada, Natural Resources and Transportation.

It's called the "Hot Spot Reporting System"???

Since the 1990 Mohawk Oka Crisis, Canada, security, police agencies and the army have coordinated their forces to spy on us. The old assimilation policy of chasing us into the cities to be absorbed out of existence did not work. They're also concerned about "splinters" [or thorns in their side] who live outside of Indigenous communities and can't be watched by this upgraded and reorganized "war department."

Aren't the real splinters the colonial Indian Act, its policies and enforcers? So-called "Aboriginal extremists," Warrior Societies and non-Indigenous support groups are currently outside their surveillance web.

Phil Fontaine, former Assembly of First Nations National Chief, signed the agreement with the RCMP in 2006. For now the watch dog system is restricted to colonial band councils and Indigenous living in reserve communities. Harper is trying to herd the rest to the rez by supposedly fixing them up.

They're going to become "gated" havens of good housing, safe water and other modern amenities. They know very well that our land base is not limited to the fly specs called "reservations." In fact, all Indigenous anywhere on Onowaregeh, Great Turtle Island, should have all the necessities of life.

With government policy and policing amalgamated, our human rights will be compromised. Indian Affairs and band councils are part of this policing system. They are the Hot Spotters that gather intelligence on us for defending our birthright, our people, our unsurrendered territories and our resources. Almost anything we do can be deemed as criminal, not political. We are called terrorists. We are depicted as restless and militant, just waiting to protest and occupy our territories.

Canada can't deny our inherent sovereignty over land, air, water and resources. Our trade and commerce to feed our families is called an "illicit" agenda. Our trade relations with our native territories is legitimate. The rez policy was designed to cut off our self-reliance and try to keep us dependant. The Indian Act pushes a non-competition policy to keep our economy from competing with non-Indian businesses. The Band Councils deliver colonial programs for Ottawa. Our communities are divided into "progressives", who are rewarded, and "traditionals," who are punished. Canada worries about the Haudenbosaunee/Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. They fear our legitimate positions on land and resource issues are influencing others across Canada.

In both US and Canada we have the strongest position. We never made treaties and remain independent and sovereign. According to our way, land use is the women's duty. They hold it for the future generations. We can't relinquish title. It is like children being split from their mothers. Harper, Indian Affairs and the RCMP are concerned about the public sentiment for Indigenous people.

Then why the scheme to try to lock us up! Is it reverse assimilation? This ghettoization plan is designed to put us where they can control us. It's going to be another failure! The barn door was never closed and never will be.

MNN Mohawk Nation News MNN needs help! For more news, books, to donate to help pay legal fees go to PayPal at MNN website; and also to sign up for MNN newsletters. More stories on this issue, go to MNN Category "courts/police". Address: Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0 Store: Indigenous authors - Kahnawake books - Mohawk Warriors Three - Warriors Hand Book - Rebuilding the Iroquois Confederacy. Category: World - Colonialism - Indian holocaust/genocide - Great Turtle Island - History - New World Order - courts/police Economics/trade/commerce - Land/environment - military/industrial complex. Tags: North American Indians - Turtle Island - Indian holocaust/genocide - NAU North American Union - History Canada/US - United Nations - Cointelpro - colonialism. Based on Internal Indian Affairs documents: FIRST NATION UNDER SURVEILLANCE - Harper Government Prepares for First Nations "Unrest." Russell Diabo and Shiri Pasternak.


6) Irish ship will not sail to Gaza after 'sabotage'
Thu, Jun 30, 2011

AN IRISH ship, the MV Saoirse , will not take part in the planned freedom flotilla which is preparing to sail to Gaza because it has been sabotaged, according to one of the ship's intended passengers.

Speaking last night from the Turkish port of Göcek, Fintan Lane, the national co-ordinator of Irish Ship to Gaza organisation, said that the ship would not be able to sail as it had been "dangerously sabotaged", according to the organising campaign.

He said that the damage to the ship was discovered on Monday night when the captain noticed that there was something wrong. Divers found that a piece was missing from one of the propeller shafts.

"This was the type of sabotage that endangered human life," Mr Lane said last night. "They put divers under the boat who cut a piece out of the propeller shaft. That means that the damage would have happened gradually and what would have happened eventually is that the propeller would have come up through the bottom of the boat, caused a flood in the engine room and would have caused the boat to sink."

He said the attack was "unnerving" for the crew, classifying it as a "violent attack" on the lives of those aboard. He said pictures detailing the damage to the ship would be published by the campaign today during a press conference in Dublin.

Mr Lane said that, due to the extent of the damage, the MV Saoirse would not be in a position to sail, adding that just six of the 20-plus crew who had been due to set sail would be able to take part in the flotilla by joining an Italian-based vessel today.

Those passengers who intend to board the Italian vessel include Mr Lane, former Munster and Ireland rugby player Trevor Hogan, Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy, Libyan-born Irish citizen Hussein Hamed, Derry-based Sinn Féin councillor Gerry MacLochlainn, and Zoe Lawlor, who teaches at the University of Limerick and is a member of the national committee of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Mr Lane said the damage to the ship was similar to that caused to the Swedish ship the Juliano , which organisers claim was sabotaged in the Greek port of Piraeus by "hostile divers".

Israel has labelled the flotilla as a "dangerous provocation", and has warned that it will intercept any ships which attempt to break the naval blockade of the Palestinian occupied Gaza Strip.

In May 2010, Israel exhibited similar resolve when troops abseiled onto a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, and in the ensuing confrontations nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed.


7) Washington Okays Attack on Unarmed U.S. Ship
by Stephen Zunes
Foreign Policy in Focus
June 30, 2011

The Obama administration appears to have given a green light to an Israeli attack on an unarmed flotilla carrying peace and human rights activists - including a vessel with 50 Americans on board - bound for the besieged Gaza Strip. At a press conference on June 24, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized the flotilla organized by the Free Gaza Campaign by saying it would "provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves."

Clinton did not explain why a country had "the right to defend themselves" against ships which are clearly no threat. Not only have organizers of the flotilla gone to great steps to ensure are there no weapons on board, the only cargo bound for Gaza on the U.S. ship are letters of solidarity to the Palestinians in that besieged enclave who have suffered under devastating Israeli bombardments, a crippling blockade, and a right-wing Islamist government. Nor did Clinton explain why the State Department suddenly considers the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the port of Gaza to be "Israeli waters," when the entire international community recognizes Israeli territorial waters as being well to the northeast of the ships' intended route.

The risk of an Israeli attack on the flotilla is real. Israeli commandoes illegally assaulted a similar flotilla in international waters on May 31 of last year, killing nine people on board one of the vessels, including Furkan Dogan, a 19-year old U.S. citizen. Scores of others, including a number of Americans, were brutally beaten and more than a dozen others were shot but survived their wounds. According to a UN investigation, based on eyewitness testimony and analysis by a forensic pathologist and ballistic expert, Dogan was initially shot while filming the assault and then murdered while lying face down with a bullet shot at close range in the back of the head. The United States was the only one of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council to vote against the adoption of the report. The Obama administration never filed a complaint with the Israeli government, demonstrating its willingness to allow the armed forces of U.S. allies to murder U.S. citizens on the high seas.

As indicated by Clinton's statement of last week, the administration appears to be willing to let it happen again.

Congressional Response

Last year, 329 out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter that referred to Israel's attack that killed Dogan and the others as an act of "self-defense" which they "strongly support." A Senate letter - signed by 87 out of 100 senators - went on record "fully" supporting what it called "Israel's right to self-defense," claiming that the effort to relieve critical shortages of food and medicine in the besieged Gaza Strip was simply part of a "clever tactical and diplomatic ploy" by "Israel's opponents" to "challenge its international standing."

But not everyone in Congress believes the assaulting and killing human rights activists on the high seas is legitimate. Last week, on June 24, six members of Congress signed a letter to Secretary Clinton requesting that she "do everything in her power to work with the Israeli government to ensure the safety of the U.S. citizens on board." As of this writing, they have not received a response.

Earlier in the week, the State Department issued a public statement to discourage Americans from taking part in the second Gaza flotilla because they might be attacked by Israeli forces. Yet thus far neither the State Department nor the White House has issued a public statement demanding that Israel not attack Americans legally traveling in international waters. Indeed, on Friday, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland implied that the United States would blame those taking part in the flotilla rather than the rightist Israeli government should anything happen to them. Like those in the early 1960s who claimed civil rights protesters were responsible for the attacks by white racist mobs because they had "provoked them," Nuland stated, "Groups that seek to break Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers." Again, The Obama administration didn't offer even one word encouraging caution or restraint by the Israeli government, nor did it mention that the International Red Cross and other advocates of international humanitarian law recognize that the Israeli blockade is illegal.

Who's On Board

Passengers of the U.S. boat, christened The Audacity of Hope, include celebrated novelist Alice Walker, holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, veteran foreign service officer and retired lieutenant colonel Ann Wright, Israeli-American linguistics professor Hagit Borer, and prominent peace and human rights activists like Medea Benjamin, Robert Naiman, Steve Fake, and Kathy Kelly. Ten other boats are carrying hundreds of other civilians from dozens of other countries, along with nearly three thousand tons of aid. Those on board include members of national parliaments and other prominent political figures, writers, artists, clergy from various faith traditions, journalists, and athletes.

Fifteen ships have previously sailed or attempted to sail to Gaza as part of the Free Gaza Campaign. None was found to contain any weapons or materials that could be used for military purposes. The current flotilla organizers have stated that their cargoes are "open to international inspection." Despite this, however, the Obama State Department insists that the Israelis have the right to intercept the ships due to the "vital importance to Israel's security of ensuring that all cargo bound for Gaza is appropriately screened for illegal arms and dual-use materials."

Though the flotilla organizers have made clear that the U.S. boat is only carrying letters of support for the people of Gaza, the State Department has also threatened participants with "fines and incarceration" if they attempt to provide "material support or other resources to or for the benefit of a designated foreign terrorist organization, such as Hamas."

As with many actions supporting Palestinian rights, the coalition of groups endorsing the flotilla includes pro-Palestinian groups as well as peace, human rights, religious, pacifist and liberal organizations, including Progressive Democrats of America, Pax Christi, Peace Action, Nonviolence International, Jewish Voice for Peace, War Resisters League, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Despite this, Brad Sherman (D-CA), ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee's subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade, has claimed that organizers of the flotilla have "clear terrorist ties" and has called upon U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute U.S. citizens involved with the flotilla and ban foreign participants from ever entering the United States.

Israel's Position

Largely as a result of last year's flotilla, Israel has somewhat relaxed its draconian siege on the territory, which had resulted in a major public health crisis. The State Department has gone to some lengths to praise Israel for allowing some construction material into the Gaza Strip to make possible the rebuilding of some of the thousands of homes, businesses and public facilities destroyed in Israel's devastating U.S.-backed 2008-2009 military offensive, which resulted in the deaths of over 800 civilians. At no point, however, has the Obama administration ever criticized Israel for destroying those civilian structures in the first place.

As with many potentially confrontational nonviolent direct actions, there are genuine differences within the peace and human rights community regarding the timing, the nature, and other aspects of the forthcoming flotilla. However, the response to the Obama administration's position on the flotilla has been overwhelmingly negative. Many among his progressive base, already disappointed at his failure to take a tougher line against the rightist Israeli government as well as his reluctance to embrace human rights and international law as a basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace, feel increasingly alienated from the president.

More significantly, the Obama administration's response may signal a return to the Reagan administration's policies of defending the killing of U.S. human rights workers in order to discourage grassroots acts of international solidarity, as when Reagan officials sought to blame the victims and exonerate the perpetrators for the murder of four American churchwomen by the El Salvadoran junta and the murder of American engineer Ben Linder by the Nicaraguan Contras. Perhaps the Obama administration hopes that giving a green light to an Israeli attack on the U.S. ship and other vessels in the flotilla will serve as a warning. Perhaps they hope that Americans volunteering for groups like Peace Brigades International, Witness for Peace, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Christian Peacemaker Teams, International Solidarity Movement, and other groups operating in conflict zones like Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Nepal, Indonesia and elsewhere will think twice, knowing that the U.S. government will not live up to its obligations to try to protect nonviolent U.S. activists from violence perpetrated by allied governments.

Indeed, nothing frightens a militaristic state more than the power of nonviolent action.

Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern studies at the University of San Francisco and serves as a contributing editor of Tikkun. His most recent book, co-authored with Jacob Mundy, is Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010.)


8) June 30 national strike a great success - a turning point for Britain
Written by Alan Woods and Rob Sewell
Thursday, 30 June 2011

Thousands of trade unionists hit the streets of London and other cities all over Britain today in a national strike called by the Public and Civil Service Union (PCS), the National Union of Teachers (NUT), University and College Union (UCU) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) to protest the government's plan to vandalise pension schemes. This was an important turning-point for the British labour movement.

Today's Financial Times (30 June) commented on this very point:

"A 48-hour Greek general strike over austerity measures, coupled with running battles between police and stone-throwing youths, will surprise few. But today's one-day stoppage by up to 750,000 teachers, lecturers and civil servants in Britain, over reforms to public sector pensions, raises fears that trade union militancy is suddenly being reawakened in a nation where it has long been dormant.

"Schools, airports, ports, government offices, job centres, tax offices and courts all face disruption. Yet is this not the country where Margaret Thatcher put unions to the sword in the 1980s, seeking to banish the 'British disease' of strikes and shop-floor obstructiveness with ever tighter legal restrictions and facing down stoppages including an epic, year-long battle with Arthur Scargill's National Union of Mineworkers?

"The dispute creates a serious test for David Cameron's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. The situation may - so far - be nothing like as difficult as in the 1970s heyday of militancy, which culminated in a 'winter of discontent' that brought the Thatcher government to power. Nonetheless, it threatens to become the biggest labour struggle for a generation, the outcome of which could define the state of industrial relations in the globe's fifth-biggest economy for years to come."

A new mood is coming into existence in Britain. This was already shown by the militant movement of the youth at the end of last year, and also by the magnificent mass demonstration of the unions earlier this year on March 26. Now we have the first national co-ordinated strike for decades. Something is changing in Britain!

However, this change did not drop from a clear blue sky. It is an expression of the fact that a mood of anger and frustration has been building up for years beneath the surface and has now erupted onto the streets. It is a serious warning of things to come.
Government propaganda

The government has attempted to rubbish the strike in a carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign in the media. Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude accused the unions of announcing a strike before waiting for the outcome of negotiations.

"Any union or any public servant contemplating strike action at the moment is really jumping the gun. There's a long way to go on this yet. [...] I am sorry that a handful of unions are hell-bent on pursuing disruptive industrial action while those discussions are still continuing," he said.

This is a joke in very bad taste. The so-called negotiations are a farce. The government makes a show of "wanting to talk" while in reality has not given an inch on the most important issue - pension reform. Meanwhile the government loses no opportunity to attack the teachers and civil servants and smear their unions. Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that the whole thing was the work of sinister trade union leaders and that the majority of trade union members did not support the strike.

That is a straight lie. About 220,000 NUT members were balloted over the pension changes. Around nine out of 10 (92%) of those who voted, backed the strike action with a turnout of 40%. Let us remind ourselves that Cameron did not even win a majority in the general election. If we follow his line of argument, he should resign immediately.

Some 83% of the ATL members who voted backed the strike action - on a turn-out of 35%. And just over half of the ATL's members were eligible to vote - the rest are not members of the pension scheme.

It is the government, not the union leaders, that is stoking the fires of anger, resentment and militancy. By its provocative action this government has done more to radicalise the people of Britain than any other in recent times. Its accusations of alleged "mindless militancy" simply do not agree with the facts.

One of these unions, the ATL, voted for its first national strike in 127 years. This fact alone serves to underline the depth of anger that the LibDem-Tory Coalition has provoked by its constant attacks on living standards. ATL president Andy Brown has pointed out that the date set for the strike was picked to "avoid external exams and important school and college events so that any strike causes as little disruption as possible to children's education... We do not want to strike, but unless we take a stand now the government will irreparably damage education in this country and children will lose out."

NUT leader Christine Blower said that "teachers do not take strike action lightly" but accused the government of trying to "ride roughshod over them" in changes to their pensions. That is correct. This government is trying to ride roughshod over workers' rights and living standards. The workers are only trying to defend themselves against these savage attacks. The teachers and civil servants are campaigning against changes to their pensions which will mean working longer, paying more and getting less when they retire.

Following the very restrictive rules laid down by Britain's notorious anti-strike laws, all these unions held ballots, which received strong backing for strike action. Anyone who has spoken to civil servants, teachers or university lecturers lately will know that there is no mistaking the deep feelings of anger and resentment felt by people who would normally never consider going on strike and demonstrating.

One of the most disgusting aspects of the government's campaign of vilification of the public sector workers is the attempt to split them from the workers in the private sector. The civil servants in particular are portrayed as "privileged", when in reality most are on very low wages. At a crowded meeting on the eve of the strike, one civil servant stood up and protested: "My shoes are full of holes and my dilemma is: do I buy a new pair of shoes or buy food for my children?" These are the "privileged" workers whose pension Cameron, the Old Etonian posh boy, wishes to take away.

The following letter was sent to The Guardian (we do not know if it was published):

"I am a civil servant striking today. I don't want to be on strike, the loss of pay next month is going to hit me very hard, and I don't particularly want to cause other people inconvenience. But I feel it's necessary to show the government that civil servants are fed up of being deprived of decent pay rises and treated like scapegoats by government and media alike. We accepted a two year pay freeze to help the country out, whilst private sector got an average of a 3% pay rise. We have had our compensation scheme virtually destroyed, are losing jobs all over the place and now are expected to pay 3% extra for a pension, which was the only thing we had that made rubbish pay worthwhile. If this change comes in I will lose the equivalent of one day's pay a month. Can anyone afford to take that kind of pay cut?

"What's more, that money will not go into the pension but will go to pay for a crisis created by greedy people in the private sector who are walking away from this laughing.

"I believe everyone should have a good pension, no one should need to rely on benefits when they get old, and I don't accept that just because private sector employers are allowed to line their own pockets at the expense of their workers that it somehow puts me in the wrong for not being willing to accept the same thing. This government has no intention of negotiating in a meaningful way over pensions; it has already stated when these changes are coming in! Finally I pay tax, so I fund my pension that way, something that always seems to be 'overlooked' when ministers talk about being fair to tax payers."

The demonstration

Today's demonstration in London was massive. Tens of thousands marched to Westminster with union banners and placards, shouting slogans against the government and in support of the right to a decent pension. The mood was buoyant and defiant, and there were a lot of young people and, especially, a lot of women. Most of them had never been on strike before, but all were very firm in their opposition to the government's pension plan.

Daniel, a young NUT member from Seven Kings, London, said: "I've never been on strike before. I am definitely keen to get involved in this dispute as it is over my future. We can't just sit back and allow this government to ride over us. It is time all the unions got together and went on strike. That is the only thing that will force this government to retreat."

Michelle, a PCS member from Greenwich told Socialist Appeal: "We have all come out today and we have had a great show at this demo. I must say that on the whole this is better than the last time we went on strike. We are more confident striking with the other unions. We feel more determined than before. If we stick to our guns we can win this."

The London demonstration was very big, but it does not give an adequate idea of the scale of the movement. All up and down Britain there were demonstrations, rallies and pickets today, from Plymouth to Aberdeen. Chelmsford, a few miles from London, had its own demonstration, while pickets were out everywhere outside schools and government offices.

Despite the government's campaign of misinformation, there is no mistaking the massive sweep of this movement. Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS, ridiculing the government's claim that "only 100,000" civil servants had answered the strike call, stated that over 200,000 civil servants had struck all over Britain, that is 85% of union members.

The strike, which was the biggest since the miners' strike in the 1980s, affected ports, airports, job centres, schools, universities, prisons, the national driving license centre, passport offices, the police and courts of law. According to the unions, over 11,000 schools in England and 1,000 in Wales were closed.

The media, having tired of banging on about the schools and the "threat to our children's education", have now discovered a new "shock-horror" story about the wickedness of the strikers. On the one o'clock news, Sir Paul Stephenson, the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, announced that 999 calls (to the emergency services, police, fire and ambulances) might be disrupted, because 90% of the night shift did not report for duty last night, and 95% of the day shift also failed to appear.

This meant that 300 policemen were obliged to man the telephones at the 999 call centre. Even so, Sir Paul felt obliged to add that, of course, he was not expressing an opinion on "people doing what they had a right to do" (i.e. strike).

This mendacious propaganda was kept up by the hired Tory press today, even as the streets of London were filled with angry workers. The Evening Standard repeated the claims issues by Downing Street that the strike was a failure and that "70% of schools were working normally".

The government's lies contradict themselves. If it is true that the strike had no support, what are they so worried about? These ridiculous claims are contradicted by the facts. Answering the government lies, the ATL's deputy general secretary, Martin Johnson, predicted that the strike would affect the "vast majority" of state schools in England and Wales. And that is a fact. In the London Borough of Camden only three schools were open today, out of a total of 55. In Lambeth, the figure was 13 out of 59, and in Tory Wandsworth, 19 out of 79.

A YouGov poll for the union-bashing Murdoch Sun newspaper today claimed that 49% opposed the strike; while 40% expressed support. However, 47% said they were against the public sector pension reforms; and only 37% were in favour. But according to another poll conducted this evening by ITV's London Tonight, 53% were in favour of the strike, and 47% against. After a massive and sustained propaganda onslaught against the public sector unions by the government and the media, this shows that there is considerable public support for the workers' cause.

But this sympathy is not reflected in the right-wing leadership of the Labour Party, which is out of touch with the mood of the working class and reality in general. Ed Miliband, a true produce of the Blair New Labour School, fell over himself in his haste to disassociate himself from the strike. That a Labour leader should side with the Tories and Liberals and publicly denounce workers who are fighting for their rights is a shame and a disgrace. This underlines the urgent need for the unions to use their muscle, numbers and financial clout to call the ladies and gentlemen of the Parliamentary Labour party to order.

The workers of Britain will carry on the fight, irrespective of the lies and distortions of the Tories and LibDems, and the cowardly bleating of Miliband and the Labour right wing. The only way to defeat this reactionary government is by mobilizing the might of the labour movement. If the government does not back down, there must be a movement ten times bigger in the autumn.

Unity is our most powerful weapon. What contributed powerfully to the mood of optimism of the workers on today's demonstration was that several unions had decided to engage in joint action. The sense of unity considerably boosted morale. Julian Sharpe, PCS member in Isle of Dogs, East London, conveyed this mood of confidence:

"People think we can win. Everyone sees this as a weak government which can be forced to back down. The solidarity has been great where I work. Even the security staff of the building shook our hands and greeted the pickets this morning. They said the mess was caused by the bankers so why is it that they are not paying for it. In fact, despite the building being used by other companies, we only got a hostile reception from one person. It is a sign of the times."

It is time to mobilize the entire labour movement. It is time to prepare a general strike to bring down this rotten reactionary government.

London 30 June, 2011

[Due to technical problems there were a few important typos in the first version of this article which now have been fixed. Our apologies - Editor]


9) Budget Fight Shuts Down Minnesota Government
July 1, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota began what is expected to become the broadest shutdown of state services in its history on Friday, after Republicans and Democrats here failed to agree on how to solve the state's budget woes in time for the new fiscal year.

And so, as the holiday weekend opened, residents and visitors were finding the state's parks, historical sites and the Minnesota Zoo closed, new hunting and fishing licenses unavailable, and the state lottery and racetracks shuttered. Most rest areas along highways were closed. Tens of thousands of state employees were being sent home without pay, and contractors were told to walk away from hundreds of road construction projects already under way during Minnesota's often brief summer building season.

Since early this year, politicians in St. Paul have been locked in a battle over how to solve an expected $5 billion budget deficit under a divided government. Republicans, who took control of both chambers of the Legislature after last year's elections for the first time in almost four decades, called for limiting spending to the $34 billion that the state expected to take in over the next two years. But Gov. Mark Dayton, who was also elected in 2010, becoming the state's first Democratic governor in 20 years, called for collecting more in income taxes from the very highest earners to spare cuts in services to Minnesota's most vulnerable residents.

While intense, private negotiations went on, day after day, as the July 1 deadline approached, it seemed that the argument never really shifted much at all.

"This is a night of deep sorrow for me because I don't want to see this shutdown occur," Mr. Dayton told reporters shortly before midnight on Thursday, after a long, especially hot day of on-and-off negotiations between the Democrats and Republicans. "But I think there are basic principles and the well-being of millions of people in Minnesota that would be damaged not just for the next week or whatever long it takes, but the next two years and beyond with these kind of permanent cuts in personal care attendants and home health services and college tuition increases."

Late into the night, both sides sought to sway public opinion on the shutdown, even as hundreds of protesters demanding a solution to the impasse gathered outside the Capitol. Republican lawmakers, describing themselves as discouraged and disheartened, held what some described as a "sit-in" in their chambers urging the governor to call a special session so some state services might be temporarily kept running, even if negotiations took a bit longer.

Still, the philosophical rift - between holding the line on spending and raising taxes to maintain services for those most in need - seemed only to grow. And both sides pointed to the results of the 2010 election as evidence that voters had demanded their particular approach.

"We're talking about runaway spending that we can't afford," Kurt Zellers, the Republican House speaker, said late Thursday of Mr. Dayton's ideas. "And we will not saddle our children and grandchildren with mounds of debts with promises for funding levels that will not be there in the future."

Amy Koch, the Republican Senate majority leader, defended the Republicans' hold-the-line plans. "This was a balanced budget that did not raise taxes," she said. "It was good for Minnesota. It was good for Minnesota taxpayers, and it was what the people asked us for way back in November when they elected us in overwhelming historic majorities to the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate."

Under Mr. Dayton's plan - which he laid out during last fall's campaign in what some saw then as a politically risky move - the top earners in the state would be asked to pay more in income tax.

"I cannot accept a Minnesota where elderly widows are denied the at-home services that permit them to remain healthy and able to live in their own homes or a Minnesota where local governments have to further slash their firefighters and police forces or a Minnesota where special education is being cut so that millionaires do not have to pay one more dollar in taxes," said Mr. Dayton, who is a former United States senator and an heir to department stores founded by his family. "That is not Minnesota."

Numerous states' new budget years began on Friday, but Minnesota now finds itself in an unwanted spot: the rare state in shutdown, a prospect certain to bring political fallout even as state lawmakers face elections next year.

The only other such budget standoff in Minnesota history came in 2005 under an entirely different set of leaders, including Tim Pawlenty, a former governor who is now seeking the Republican nomination for president. But it involved the shutdown of far fewer services and lasted a matter of days.

That impasse ended after both sides agreed to a new fee for cigarettes. But observers here on Friday said they had trouble envisioning a way that this standoff, in which both sides seem dug in and the size of the financial gap is large, will similarly melt away.

"It's a very sad day for Minnesota," said Lawrence R. Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota, which will not close. "It's a state that had a well-earned reputation for being well governed, where, at the end of the day, politics were done in a fair and efficient manner. And it's now on the cusp of ungovernability. There's a new ethic here that compromise is weakness."

The list of state services singled out for closing is long: all sorts of state offices, including licensing agencies and dispatchers in the Twin Cities who monitor traffic jams and accidents and try to keep rush hours moving along. More than 20,000 state employees were expected to be out of work. Certain crucial services will stay open, such as state patrol work, prison operations, courts, and schools.


10) U.S. Widens Inquiries Into 2 Jail Deaths
"...but it was closing inquiries into the treatment of nearly 100 other detainees over the last decade."
June 30, 2011

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced Thursday that it was opening a full criminal investigation into the deaths of two terrorism suspects in C.I.A. custody overseas, but it was closing inquiries into the treatment of nearly 100 other detainees over the last decade.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that a two-year review by a specially appointed prosecutor, John H. Durham, had determined that any further investigation into that large group of cases "is not warranted." The inquiry into the two deaths, though, could result in criminal charges against Central Intelligence Agency officers or contractors.

Intelligence officials saw the announcement as a vindication of sorts.

"I welcome the news that the broader inquiries are behind us," Leon E. Panetta, director of the C.I.A., said in his last day in office before being sworn in Friday as defense secretary. "We are now finally about to close this chapter of our agency's history."

Still, the renewed attention to the volatile issue of C.I.A. interrogations - after the controversy had all but disappeared from public debate - is sure to set off a range of legal and political challenges for the Justice Department, the White House and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The Justice Department has faced years of criticism from the left for inaction on accusations of abuse by C.I.A. interrogators, while defenders of the C.I.A. have warned that any prosecutions would be deeply damaging to the agency. It will be left to Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was confirmed Thursday as C.I.A. director, to lead the agency through any turmoil from the criminal investigation.

The Justice Department did not identify the two detainees at the center of the criminal investigation. But government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing review, said the first case involved the well-publicized death of Manadel al-Jamadi, who died in C.I.A. custody in 2003 at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. He became publicly known as the Iceman after his body was photographed packed in ice and wrapped in plastic.

The second case involves the death of Gul Rahman, suspected of being a militant, who died in 2002 after being shackled to a concrete wall in a secret C.I.A. prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit, the officials said.

Beginning in 2002, Justice Department lawyers wrote a series of then-secret legal opinions authorizing intelligence officers to use increasingly harsh interrogation methods like sleep deprivation, slapping and waterboarding on dozens of terrorism suspects in an effort to elicit information about Al Qaeda.

Mr. Holder stressed Thursday in his statement, as he has before, that any intelligence officials who acted "in good faith" within the scope of the Justice Department's legal guidance at the time would not face prosecution. The review that led to the full criminal investigations focused primarily on whether "unauthorized interrogation techniques were used by C.I.A. interrogators" and, if so, whether they amounted to criminal violations of statutes against torture or other measures, he said.

In a nod to the tensions surrounding the issue, Mr. Holder was careful to emphasize the "incredibly important service to our nation" that intelligence officials provide. "They deserve our respect and gratitude for the work that they do," he said.

Civil rights leaders said Thursday that they were disappointed that Mr. Holder had not set a broader target for the current investigation by looking at the legality of the interrogation policies approved by senior lawyers and intelligence officials.

"With the approval of the Bush administration's most senior officials, the C.I.A. operated an interrogation program that subjected prisoners to unimaginable cruelty and violated both international and domestic law," said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The narrow investigation that Attorney General Holder announced today is not proportionate to the scale and scope of the wrongdoing."

But Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who leads the House Intelligence Committee, said the Justice Department's decision to close the book on all but two of the remaining cases "has finally substantially lifted an undeserved cloud of doubt and suspicion from all of our intelligence professionals."

President Obama signaled soon after his inauguration in January 2009 that he was reluctant to re-examine some of the most controversial counterterrorism tactics of the George W. Bush administration, including the treatment of prisoners and the use of harsh interrogation tactics.

Before Mr. Obama took office, though, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed Mr. Durham, a longtime organized-crime prosecutor from Connecticut, to examine evidence that the C.I.A. had improperly destroyed videotapes of interrogations in possible violation of court orders. The Justice Department declined to bring charges over the tapes' destruction, but Mr. Holder, in 2009, expanded Mr. Durham's inquiries to include possible mistreatment of prisoners.

Justice Department prosecutors and other officials, including the C.I.A. inspector general's office, began examining the tactics of American captors as early as 2004 to determine whether the use of the tough interrogation tactics may have violated laws or government policies.

Federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., looked into cases involving more than two dozen detainees, including Mr. Ramadi and Mr. Rahman. The Justice Department has not brought any charges to date.

Law enforcement and intelligence officials declined to discuss in detail the nearly 100 cases involving detainee treatment that have been dropped. It is not clear if any involved deaths.

Among those cases, an American official said Thursday, was one in which a C.I.A. interrogator told Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, charged with plotting the 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole, that failure to cooperate could result in his family members' being brought to prison. According to a 2004 report by the C.I.A. inspector general, the interrogator wanted Mr. Nashiri to infer for "psychological" reasons that his female relatives might be sexually abused.

The Justice Department's review of the C.I.A. cases angered Mr. Mukasey, Mr. Holder's predecessor. In an interview last month, Mr. Mukasey said the department's scrutiny of the C.I.A. interrogation cases was "absolutely outrageous" and "an unconscionable thing to do."

He and other opponents of the continuing investigations said prosecuting C.I.A. officials over the interrogations would not only demoralize the agency, but also unfairly penalize intelligence officials who believed they were acting under clear legal authority to protect the country.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, expressed relief on Thursday at having some resolution.

"Perhaps now our intelligence professionals in the field can stop looking over their shoulders," he said, "and the attorney general will quit armchair quarterbacking from Washington, D.C., intelligence decisions in the field."


11) Thousands in Cairo Protest Slow Pace of Change
July 1, 2011

CAIRO - Thousands of protesters returned to Tahrir Square here on Friday to voice frustration with what they called the slow pace of change five months after the revolution. The demonstration came just days after renewed clashes between protesters and the police left hundreds injured and underscored the lingering distrust between Egyptians and a police force long seen as a pillar of the former government.

Young men erected road blocks and protesters set up a small tent city, as demonstrators waved Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian flags to demand the prosecution of former government officials accused of ordering the use of deadly force during Egypt's 18-day revolution. Throughout the afternoon, protesters spilled from Tahrir Square to nearby landmarks, including the Parliament, the Interior Ministry and the headquarters of the country's state-run television network.

"The people demand the execution of Habib," they chanted, referring to former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly in a chant that played on a popular antigovernment slogan from the days of the revolution. "There is still a revolution in Tahrir!"

Despite the pounding summer sun, Protesters turned out to demand justice for those killed during the revolution, who are seen as martyrs for democracy. Few issues crystallize the lingering distrust between rulers and the ruled here more than the prosecution of former officials, including police officers, accused of the deadly violence that claimed more than 850 lives during the 18-day uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in February.

In May, Mr. Adly was convicted of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison, but a separate trial on charges of killing protesters was postponed last week for one month, sparking clashes outside the courthouse between the police and relatives of those who were killed. President Mubarak has so far escaped prosecution, deemed to ill to stand trial. On Thursday, a court in the port city of Alexandria postponed until September a verdict in the case of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man who witnesses said was beaten to death by two plainclothes police officers on a sidewalk near his home. In death, he became a focal point of antigovernment anger.

Legal proceedings have begun against former officials like Mr. Adly, said Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Cairo, but victims' families and their lawyers are often barred from court sessions. Cases have also been repeatedly adjourned and postponed for a month or more. All this contributes to a sense that the ruling military council's commitment to justice is superficial and that the families of those killed during the revolution are not getting a fair deal.

"We cannot rebuild trust between the people and the police through cosmetic measures," said Ms Morayef. "It can only happen through a genuine and comprehensive prosecution that will inspire confidence in the justice system and punish police for their abuses."

No one has yet been convicted of ordering or participating in the deaths of protesters, and this week's clashes were believed to have been sparked when the police turned away families of those killed from an event at a theater in Giza to commemorate them. A belief that is gaining wider currency among Egyptians is that while Mr. Mubarak may be gone, the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police force, remains above the law.

"Until this day we have not seen justice served," said the father of one man killed in the uprising, addressing the crowd in Tahrir from a stage set up on the sidewalk. He identified himself only as the father of Mahmoud Khaled. "Our sons have died, and if they were the sons of officers, we would have seen the men who did it arrested within a week."

Several thousand protesters marched to Parliament and the adjacent office of the prime minister, singing the national anthem and chanting, "The Interior Ministry are thugs!"

Nabila Mohamed Khattab, 53, said she came to Friday's protest because "nothing has changed."

Many in Tahrir expressed anger at the ruling military council for not doing more.

One demonstrator, Shady Maher, 26, said: "The military council have been doing the bare minimum to satisfy the people Yes, they have arrested symbols of the previous government and they say Mubarak will be put on trial, but people are still being treated with the same disregard as before the revolution.

"The families of the martyrs have been waiting for months for justice and we have seen nothing yet. It is just not right. This isn't justice."

As sunset approached, protesters began to settle in to a camp of a dozen white tents, spreading their blankets and vowing to remain in Tahrir Square until their demands for justice were met. "We'll stay here all night because the people who died, died for us," said a protester named Ramadan. "We need to give them their rights."

Lara El Gibaly contributed reporting.


12) Greece Bars Boats Leaving Greek Ports for Gaza
July 1, 2011

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greece on Friday banned ships heading to the Gaza Strip from leaving Greek ports, and a vessel carrying several dozen American protesters which left port without permission was ordered to return.

A flotilla of nine Greek and foreign-flagged vessels and several hundred activists have said they want to break Israel's sea blockade and deliver aid to the Palestinian territory.

Greece's Civil Protection Ministry said coast guard authorities had been ordered to take "all appropriate measures" to implement the ban. It also said the "broader maritime area of the eastern Mediterranean will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking, where applicable, the movements of the ships allegedly participating" in the flotilla.

Protest organizers said one of the boats, dubbed the Audacity of Hope and carrying several dozen Americans, had left the port of Perama near Athens Friday afternoon, but had been intercepted by coast guards on inflatable speedboats about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) out at sea.

"We're not moving because they put one of the (boats) in front of us, so we are stationary," vessel spokesperson Jane Hirschmann told reporters in Athens.

The Merchant Marine Ministry refused to give any details of the incident, saying only that the protest boat had not left the "general port area."

Head protest organizer Vangelis Pissias angrily condemned the ban and argued Greece had no legal grounds to block a privately leased ship from leaving one of its ports.

"We condemn the policy of the Greek government and its last actions ... The efforts to sail will continue," Pissias said.

A Greek government official said the boat had set sail without the permission required of all boats to leave port, and that the Coast Guard had asked it to return. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the situation was still evolving.

Israel has said it will thwart any effort to breach the sea blockade of Gaza, which was imposed on the Palestinian territory after Hamas militants overran it in 2007.

An Israeli raid on a similar flotilla last year killed nine activists on a Turkish ship and each side blamed the other for the violence.

On Thursday, an Irish ship, the MV Saoirse at the Turkish coastal town of Gocek, said it had to abandon plans to set sail because of what it called Israeli sabotage. Earlier this week, activists said Israeli agents damaged the propeller of a Swedish ship in the Greek port. Israel has refused AP requests for comment on the allegations.


Elena Becatoros in Athens and Darko Bandic in Perama contributed.


13) Chávez Says a Cancerous Tumor Was Removed
June 30, 2011

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chávez stunned this nation on Thursday night in an unusually concise 15-minute address on state television in which he acknowledged that he has been battling cancer. Mr. Chávez made the revelation from Cuba, where he has been in seclusion at a medical facility for the last three weeks.

Mr. Chávez, who appeared to have lost weight, delivered his remarks after rumors had swirled about his health. Senior officials in his political movement had denied news reports that he had received a diagnosis of some type of cancer. Officially, the government had said that Mr. Chávez underwent emergency surgery in Havana on June 10 for a pelvic abscess, a collection of pus deep inside the abdomen.

Mr. Chávez, 56, said Thursday night that the procedure for the abscess had in fact occurred, but that doctors had also carried out testing that detected cancerous cells. He said he had undergone a second operation to remove a cancerous tumor. He said he was receiving further treatment in Cuba, and that he would "continue battling."

"This has been a slow and careful process of diagnosis, of advances and discoveries at various stages," Mr. Chávez said. "They confirmed the existence of a tumorous abscess, with the presence of cancerous cells, which required a second operation to completely extract the said tumor."

He provided few other details, including what type of cancer was detected or where the tumor was located.

Mr. Chávez's acknowledgement raised new doubts in Venezuela. His political opponents have already contended that it was unconstitutional for him to continue governing from abroad.

Mr. Chávez did not say when he might return home, although he lauded his hosts in Cuba, Venezuela's top ally, saying he felt fortunate to be in the "greater fatherland."

He had already endured several other ailments this year, which had led him to reduce his appearances and foreign travel. His health problems were reported to include two severe colds and a knee injury that required him to use crutches.

The first prolonged absence of Mr. Chávez from daily political life in Venezuela in his 12 years in power has focused attention on how much the government here revolves around his strong personality and whims.

After the broadcast of Mr. Chávez's address, Vice President Elías Jaua also addressed the nation somberly, flanked by the chief of the armed forces, the oil minister and other officials. Mr. Jaua and other civilian cabinet ministers were dressed in suits and ties, in contrast to their usual casual style.

"It is not time for sadness," Mr. Jaua said. "Chávez's orientation is to continue advancing in the transformations of a socialist society."

Problems have mounted here while Mr. Chávez undergoes treatment in Cuba. More than 20 people were killed in a prison uprising. Blackouts in this energy-rich nation have plagued cities in the interior. While Mr. Chávez receives care in Havana, doctors at state hospitals in Venezuela went on strike on Thursday to demand better salaries.

Still, much of the nation has been focused on Mr. Chávez's absence and his health problems. The reinvigorated political opposition has said it would continue focusing on a presidential election next year, when it hopes to unseat him.

"The democratic alternative needs to be shown as the tranquilizing force of change," Jesús Torrealba, an independent journalist who covers issues in Venezuela's slums, said in a Twitter message sent after Mr. Chávez's address.


14) Germany: Nuclear Ban Approved
June 30, 2011

German lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly approved plans to shut nuclear plants by 2022. The lower house of Parliament voted 513-79 for the plan drawn up by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.


15) Danish Company Blocks Sale of Drug for U.S. Executions
July 1, 2011

PARIS - A Danish pharmaceutical company said Friday that it would stop shipping a powerful drug to American prisons that carry out the death penalty by lethal injection because some states began using it as a substitute for another compound that was taken off the market.

The company, Lundbeck, said in a statement that it "adamantly opposes the distressing misuse of our product in capital punishment." Lundbeck informed its distributors that from now on its sodium pentobarbital injection, a barbiturate sold under the brand name Nembutal, would be available in states that conduct lethal-injection executions on only a restricted basis.

"After much consideration, we have determined that a restricted distribution system is the most meaningful means through which we can restrict the misuse of Nembutal," Ulf Wiinberg, Lundbeck's chief executive, said in the statement. "While the company has never sold the product directly to prisons and therefore can't make guarantees, we are confident that our new distribution program will play a substantial role in restricting prisons' access to Nembutal for misuse as part of lethal injection."

The death penalty is prohibited throughout the 27-member European Union, and human rights groups have brought pressure on drugmakers not to supply lethal drugs for American executions.

In execution by lethal drugs, a prisoner is injected with one or more drugs, which can include anesthetics, barbiturates and muscle relaxants.

Lundbeck's decision applies to prisons in 14 states, said Mads Kronborg, a company spokesman. It follows moves by states including Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, to use the drug for executions. States began using pentobarbital as a substitute for the anesthetic sodium thiopental when that drug's only American producer, Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill., announced in January that it would stop selling the drug.

Reprieve, a human rights group in London that has led in the movement to stop European companies from selling lethal injection drugs to the United States, said pentobarbital had been used to execute 18 prisoners.

"We also need to see action from the European Commission to block the export of execution drugs from the E.U. to the U.S.," a Reprieve spokeswoman, Maya Foa, said in a statement. "Several European firms have already become involved in this grim business on their watch - this must not be allowed to happen again."

While pentobarbital is an old drug, vulnerable to competition from generics, Nembutal is currently the only version available in the United States that can be injected, Mr. Kronborg said.

"We would have withdrawn it from the market," he said. "Strategically, financially it's completely insignificant to us.

"But experts said it was important to have it available for therapeutic use," including as an emergency treatment of severe epilepsy and as a strong sedative, he added.

Lundbeck said it would review orders before providing clearance for shipping the drug and deny orders from prisons located in states currently carrying out executions. Purchasers must give written agreement that they will not redistribute the drug. Previously, distributors were required only to ensure that a buyer had the necessary licenses for ordering controlled substances.

"We were completely shocked and outraged" to learn that the drug was being used for executions, Mr. Kronborg said. "States and prisons never asked. We only found about it from the media. If they had asked, we would have said no."


16) Connecticut Steps Closer to Widespread Layoffs
"Mr. Malloy said before Thursday's session that he would also ask the General Assembly to increase his authority to privatize state government functions and to approve measures reducing state employees' accrued sick days, freezing longevity pay and changing the way pensions are calculated."
June 30, 2011

HARTFORD - Connecticut legislators appeared poised Thursday to give Gov. Dannel P. Malloy unprecedented authority to make radical cuts to programs and employment after state employee unions rejected a labor deal meant to balance the state's $40.1 billion two-year budget.

The looming question was whether the unions would reconsider the package they turned down last week, which would save the state $1.6 billion over two years and eliminate the need to cut up to 7,500 state jobs.

The General Assembly reconvened Thursday for a special session. Under the bill it is considering, Mr. Malloy, a Democrat elected last year, would be required to provide details on his proposed budget cuts by July 15. The legislature could then approve them in full or hold hearings to reject or change specific provisions before Aug. 30.

Lawmakers rejected a $54 million reduction of state aid to cities and towns. That decision could mean another 1,000 job losses in addition to the 6,500 Mr. Malloy had already proposed, putting added pressure on workers to somehow approve the deal they turned down last week.

Mr. Malloy said before Thursday's session that he would also ask the General Assembly to increase his authority to privatize state government functions and to approve measures reducing state employees' accrued sick days, freezing longevity pay and changing the way pensions are calculated. The House speaker, Christopher G. Donovan, a Democrat, declined to bring those suggestions up for a vote. But they could be brought back later, more inducement for workers to ratify the agreements.

The deal the unions rejected called for a wage freeze for two years, a no-layoff guarantee for four years and pension and health care concessions. A majority of union members, 57 percent, supported the deal, but it failed because collective bargaining rules required that at least 14 of the 15 unions ratify it and that the approving unions represent 80 percent of workers.

Union leaders planned to meet Friday, according to a union spokesman, Matt O'Connor, who said he was confident they would be able to report progress on moving toward a resolution to sustain the original agreement or something close to it. He said the impetus came from union members' unwillingness to accept widespread layoffs, adding: "It's important to let everyone know we're going to get there. We're going to get there. We just don't know exactly what that will look like when all is said and done."

Roy Occhiogrosso, a spokesman for the governor, said that there would be no renegotiation of substantive issues, but that Mr. Malloy would clarify language in the deal itself or in a separate document if it would help the ratification process.

"The agreement is written in legalese," Mr. Occhiogrosso said. "It is a confusing, lengthy, complex document. If there are things that the governor can do to clarify some of the provisions about which there might be some confusion because of language, he's happy to do it."

Finding a way to ratify an agreement that was turned down just a week ago is a delicate and tricky process. But Mr. O'Connor's optimism and the fact that most layoffs would not occur until late in the summer appeared to leave some leeway for a resurrection of the original agreement or for a slightly tweaked version that would eliminate the need for the job and program cuts.

Republicans were critical of both enhanced authority for the governor and the overall tenor of the special session.

The Senate minority leader, John McKinney, said the legislature was shirking its duties in giving the governor so much power to make cuts. He and the House minority leader, Larry Cafero, also lamented that none of Mr. Malloy's tough talk this week seemed likely to find its way into legislation passed by the General Assembly.

"This whole business about collective bargaining and the governor getting tough - it was all a sham," Mr. Cafero said. He added of union members who were at the Capitol today: "They're not sweating it at all. The macaroni's been cooked. They were told, 'Don't worry about it. You're not going to be touched. Whatever we're doing is for show and show alone.' "

Whether for show or not, it was clear that Democratic legislators hoped Thursday's session would be made moot by the unions' somehow finding a way to approve the agreement.

"It's in the cities' and towns' interests, it's in the state employees' interest, it's in the State of Connecticut's interest to get this done," Mr. Donovan, the House speaker, said. "It's a good, fair bill, and the majority of the members voted for it. I just see there's a deal there. There's got to be a deal there."


17) Two Rulings Find Cuts in Public Pensions Permissible
June 30, 2011

Judges in Colorado and Minnesota have dismissed court challenges by retired public workers whose pensions had been cut - developments that may embolden other states and cities to use pension reductions as a tool to help balance their budgets.

The two lawsuits sought to reverse reductions in the cost-of-living adjustments that Colorado and Minnesota had previously promised to retired public workers. Generally speaking, once lawmakers have agreed to provide certain pension benefits to public workers, it is difficult, if not impossible, to roll them back because of protective language in state laws and constitutions and years of court interpretations.

Public pensions are considered so bulletproof that when the city of Vallejo, Calif., recently restructured its finances in bankruptcy, it cut other costs but left worker pensions intact.

The two court decisions, issued Wednesday, suggest that the legal tide may be changing for public pensioners. The political tide has already turned in some places - in addition to Colorado and Minnesota, South Dakota and New Jersey have also cut cost-of-living benefits for current retirees, and other states have been awaiting legal guidance before doing the same.

In their court filings, retirees in Colorado and Minnesota had argued that their benefits were contractual in nature, and therefore protected by state and federal constitutional language barring the impairment of contracts.

However, in his ruling dismissing the Minnesota case, Judge Gregg E. Johnson of the state's Second Judicial District Court wrote that the retirees in that state "have not met their burden to show unconstitutionality beyond a reasonable doubt."

Judge Robert S. Hyatt, a district judge in Denver, offered a different line of thinking, noting that the 2010 state law that cut the benefits did not actually allow the state to remove money from the pension fund and use it to balance the budget.

Rather, he wrote, the law required the state to send even more money to the pension fund at the same time that it required retirees to give up part of their benefit, "in order to create a larger pool of investable funds and thus provide for sustainable pension benefits in the future."

He also drew a distinction between a base pension and a cost-of-living adjustment, often called a COLA. He suggested that the inflation adjustment could be reduced, but the base pension could not.

William T. Payne, a lawyer in Pittsburgh whose firm represented the retirees in both cases, said his clients were studying their options and might appeal.

Another lawyer at the firm, Stephen M. Pincus, said in a statement: "Under the courts' reasoning, the legislatures could eliminate the entire COLA and the retirees would have no recourse."

There has not yet been a decision in a third lawsuit challenging a cost-of-living adjustment cutback in South Dakota.

The three cases have been closely watched as bellwethers. Many states and cities have been trying to rein in the cost of their pension systems, but the easiest changes - like closing the pension plans to new members and making fixed contributions to 401(k) accounts instead - can take decades to produce any savings. Cuts in COLAs, by contrast, produce big savings immediately.

Mr. Pincus said it was not clear whether the two new rulings would affect the thinking of officials in other states. "Trial court decisions are not binding on courts in their own states, let alone other states," he said. He added that appellate courts in other states, including California and West Virginia, had found that cost-of-living adjustments could not be reduced.

Cost-of-living adjustments are found primarily in the public sector, and in the past, states and cities have prided themselves on the practice of shielding their retirees from inflation. Very few companies offer pensions with cost-of-living adjustments. Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation, but the adjustments can go both up and down.

Ever since the stock market crash of 2008 wiped out many people's retirement savings, officials have had a hard time persuading taxpayers of the virtues of covering the cost of inflation-adjusted pensions, which typical taxpayers no longer get themselves.


18) Richer People Want Fewer Children
July 1, 2011, 12:54 pm

The economist Justin Wolfers wrote a provocative post last month arguing that children are "inferior goods."

For most goods - "normal goods" - people desire more of them as their income increases. But for inferior goods (like rice) people tend to consume less as they get richer and are able to afford more desirable and expensive goods (like steak).

Professor Wolfers used the chart below as one piece of evidence for this theory. It plots each country's per capita income against how many children the average woman in that country has:
Gapminder Size of bubbles corresponds with size of population in each country.

As you can see, there is a strong inverse correlation between wealth and childbearing.

Another report, released Thursday by Gallup, may provides further support for Professor Wolfers's hypothesis.

Since 1936, Gallup has been asking Americans about the "ideal number of children" they believe a family should have. And over the last 75 years, as Americans have gotten wealthier, more and more of them have said they desire fewer children:

As you can see, since 1977, most Americans have said having no more than two children is ideal. I should note also that Americans have been making good on those desires, and the fertility rate has fallen greatly over the last half-century.

Even within the populace today, preferences for brood size correlate with income, Gallup found.

Only a third of people with annual household incomes over $75,000 say they want families with three or more children. Of all Americans with income levels below $75,000, 44 percent say they want families with at least three children.

In Lake Wobegone all children may be above average, but across America, children appear to be inferior - at least economically speaking.


19) U.S. Expands Its Drone War Into Somalia
July 1, 2011

WASHINGTON - The clandestine American military campaign to combat Al Qaeda's franchise in Yemen is expanding to fight the Islamist militancy in Somalia, as new evidence indicates that insurgents in the two countries are forging closer ties and possibly plotting attacks against the United States, American officials say.

An American military drone aircraft attacked several Somalis in the militant group the Shabab late last month, the officials said, killing at least one of its midlevel operatives and wounding others.

The strike was carried out by the same Special Operations Command unit now battling militants in Yemen, and it represented an intensification of an American military campaign in a mostly lawless region where weak governments have allowed groups with links to Al Qaeda to flourish.

The Obama administration's increased focus on Somalia comes as the White House has unveiled a new strategy to battle Al Qaeda in the post-Osama bin Laden era, and as some American military and intelligence officials view Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia as a greater threat to the United States than the group of operatives in Pakistan who have been barraged with hundreds of drone strikes directed by the Central Intelligence Agency in recent years.

The military drone strike in Somalia last month was the first American attack there since 2009, when helicopter-borne commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior leader of the group that carried out the 1998 attacks on the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Although it appears that no senior Somali militants were killed in last month's drone strike, a Pentagon official said Friday that one of the militants who was wounded had been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric now hiding in Yemen. The news that the strike was carried out by an American drone was first reported in The Washington Post this week.

American military officials said there was new intelligence that militants in Yemen and Somalia were communicating more frequently about operations, training and tactics, but the Pentagon is wading into the chaos in Somalia with some trepidation. Many are still haunted by the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" debacle, in which 18 elite American troops were killed in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, battling fighters aligned with warlords. Senior officials have repeatedly said in private in the past year that the administration does not intend to send American troops to Somalia beyond quick raids.

For several years, the United States has largely been relying on proxy forces in Somalia, including African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi, to support Somalia's fragile government. The Pentagon is sending nearly $45 million in military supplies, including night-vision equipment and four small unarmed drones, to Uganda and Burundi to help combat the rising terror threat in Somalia. During the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2007, clandestine operatives from the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command initiated missions into Somalia from an airstrip in Ethiopia.

Even as threat warnings grow, American officials say that the Shabab militants are under increasing pressure on various fronts, and that now is the time to attack the group aggressively. But it is unclear whether American intelligence about Somalia - often sketchy and inconclusive - has improved in recent months.

This week, Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, who was until recently in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command, told lawmakers that planners were "looking very hard at Yemen and at Somalia," but he said that the effectiveness of the missions there was occasionally hampered by limited availability of surveillance aircraft like drones.

One day later, President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said that Al Qaeda's badly weakened leadership in Pakistan had urged the group's regional affiliates to attack American targets. "From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States," Mr. Brennan said.

Over the past two years, the administration has wrestled with how to deal with the Shabab, many of whose midlevel fighters oppose Somalia's weak transitional government but are not necessarily seeking to battle the United States. Attacking them - not just their leaders - could push those militants to join Al Qaeda, some officials say. "That has led to a complicated policy debate over how you apply your counterterrorism tools against a group like Al Shabab, because it is not a given that going after them in the same way that you go after Al Qaeda would produce the best result," a senior administration official said last fall.

American officials said this week that they were trying to exploit the Shabab's recent setbacks. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Al Qaeda's leader in East Africa and the mastermind of the 1998 bombings, was killed on June 7 in a shootout at a security checkpoint in Somalia.

Somali clan militias, backed by Kenya and Ethiopia, have reclaimed Shabab-held territory in southwestern Somalia, putting more strain on the organization, said Andre Le Sage, a senior research fellow who specializes in Africa at the National Defense University in Washington.

Still, American intelligence and military officials warn of increasing operational ties between the Shabab and the Qaeda franchise in Yemen, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or A.Q.A.P. The group orchestrated a plot to blow up a jetliner headed to Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009, and another attempt nearly a year later to destroy cargo planes carrying printer cartridges packed with explosives. Both plots failed.

American intelligence officials say that the Shabab so far have carried out only one attack outside of Somalia, a series of coordinated bombings that killed more than 70 people in Uganda as crowds gathered to watch a World Cup match last year.

In statements in recent months, the Shabab have pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda and its new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. American officials said that Mr. Awlaki had developed close ties to senior Shabab leaders.

"What I'd be most concerned about is whether A.Q.A.P. could transfer to Shabab its knowledge of building I.E.D.'s and sophisticated plots, and Shabab could make available to A.Q.A.P. recruits with Western passports," said Mr. Le Sage, referring to improvised explosive devices.

More than 30 Somali-Americans from cities like Minneapolis have gone to fight in Somalia in recent years. Officials say they fear that Qaeda operatives could recruit those Americans to return home as suicide bombers.

"My main concern is that a U.S. citizen who joins, trains and then gains experience in the field with organizations such as Al Shabab returns to the U.S. with a much greater level of capability than when he left," said a senior law enforcement official. "Coupled with enhanced radicalization and operational direction, that person is now a clear threat."

Souad Mekhennet contributed reporting from Frankfurt, Germany.


20) Jordan's King Reshuffles Cabinet as Protests Grow
July 2, 2011

JERUSALEM - With antigovernment demonstrations growing across Jordan in recent weeks, King Abdullah II approved a cabinet reshuffle on Saturday that brought in a number of new officials, notably the interior minister, but the public's anger over accusations of corruption seemed unlikely to subside.

The deposed interior minister, Saad Hayel Srour, had been a focus of the protesters' anger both because he was thought to be responsible for the use of excessive force by the police against demonstrators and because he allowed a wealthy businessman serving a prison term for corruption to leave the country, ostensibly for medical treatment.

Thousands of Jordanians demonstrated on Friday in the cities of Irbid, Maan, Karak and Tafileh, in addition to the capital, Amman, demanding transparency and an end to corruption. The number of participants has been inching up in recent weeks, organizers and witnesses said, and the slogans have taken on a notable harshness.

The demonstrations began in January as unrest spread across the Arab world. The king responded quickly by changing the prime minister and much of his cabinet and promising a dialogue with opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

He has spent time addressing the public and visiting parts of the kingdom, and he recently vowed that the prime minister would be elected in the future rather than appointed. The focus of the dialogue and new legislative and legal frameworks has been on electoral reform.

But the core of the demonstrations has never been as much about democracy as about corruption and social justice. Some months ago, a multimillionaire businessman, Khaled Shaheen , was permitted to leave prison to fly to the United States for an operation thought too complicated to perform in Jordan. Shortly thereafter he was spotted eating lunch in London in apparently fine health, never having gone to the United States.

The public was incensed. Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit fired his justice and health ministers over the scandal, but popular focus remained on Mr. Srour, the interior minister.

The royal court had argued that the attention on corruption was misplaced and gave the kingdom a bad name as it tried to attract foreign investment. A new law was proposed to make it a crime to falsely accuse someone of corruption. That proposal and others, as well as the trashing of the office of the French news agency, presumably by government loyalists, after it reported on a demonstration against the king, led the information minister to resign in protest last month.

The cabinet announced on Saturday includes new ministers of health, justice and information, in addition to the new interior minister.

But it remained far from clear that protesters would be placated.

"Anyone who thinks that this quiet means the end of protests is mistaken," Amer Sabayleh, a professor of political science at the University of Jordan, said in a telephone interview. "Reform in the minds of most Jordanians is fighting corruption. The palace needs to promote a tsunami of change in words, politics and personnel."

Ranya Kadri contributed reporting from Amman, Jordan.


21) Stuck in Dock, Flotilla Activists See the Hand of Israel
July 1, 2011

ATHENS - With the propeller shafts of two ships mysteriously damaged, the Greek authorities holding other vessels in port on government orders and an American boat turned back by the Greek coast guard on Friday just 20 minutes off the coast, the international flotilla to Gaza has stalled.

Organizers say they see the long arm of Israel behind their improbable woes, and while Israeli officials have dismissed such accusations as so much conspiracy mongering, they have declined to deny them outright.

One year after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara during another flotilla, organizers had hoped once again to challenge the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip off its coast. It appears increasingly unlikely, however, that the eight boats now preparing to sail will ever be able or allowed to leave port.

Echoing a majority view among participants here, Johnny Leo Johansen, a ponytailed Norwegian photographer and activist, put it this way: "It's like they've moved the blockade from Gaza to Greece." On Friday the coast guard stopped the American boat in the flotilla, The Audacity of Hope, about one mile out to sea, quashing the initial excitement of the passengers, who were surprised to have been allowed to leave the harbor at all.

"We could see the handwriting on the wall, that they were going to try to shut down all the ports across the Mediterranean," said Ann Wright, the lead organizer of the American boat.

After a complaint about improper documentation filed by an Israeli advocacy group, the boat had been held in port outside Athens on police orders. Inspectors visited it a week ago Friday, but the results of their inspection had yet to be provided. Without them, the ship could not legally set sail.

The Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection decreed Friday that all vessels in Greek ports were prohibited from sailing toward "the maritime area of Gaza." No explanation was given, and ministry officials could not be reached for further comment.

The Americans decided to leave just the same. After chasing them down, a smiling, youthful coast guard captain leaned out his window and requested the ship's inspection papers. Passengers leaned over the upper-deck railing of the American boat, chanting, "Let us sail to Gaza!" Others held a cardboard sign asking, "Is it Poseidon or Netanyahu?" (That is, a passenger explained, "Who is the king of the Aegean?")

"The probability that the Greek government has already made a decision to not let us out of the port is probably quite high, I would think," Ms. Wright said earlier this week. "It's not surprising, in a way, that the Greek government has succumbed to the pressure."

[On Saturday, The Associated Press reported that Greek authorities had arrested the captain of the Audacity of Hope. The captain was being held at Piraeus police headquarters and would remain there until a court hearing Tuesday, The A.P. reported. Greece's coast guard said the captain faced charges of trying to leave port without permission and of endangering the lives of the boat's passengers. The latter charge is a felony.]

The Israeli government, she noted, has held cabinet meetings on the subject of the flotilla, and several rounds of military exercises have been conducted in preparation for a confrontation. "I'm shocked that they would be spending so much time, money, energy," Ms. Wright added, but in some ways, she has been pleased by the Israeli attention. "We couldn't have dreamed for a better thing. Usually, governments don't cooperate with us this way!"

On Thursday, Irish organizers announced that they had pulled their Turkish-docked ship from the flotilla after the crew discovered damage to the propeller shaft, the result of what they assume to have been sabotage by divers. Organizers said that the damage was discovered on a trial run, but that otherwise the vessel might have sunk at sea.

Activists discovered nearly identical damage to a Greek-Swedish-Norwegian passenger boat this week. That boat is now grounded for repairs.

Three boats with passengers principally from Canada, Spain and the Netherlands were awaiting clearance to sail Friday. All of the ships have ostensibly met the requirements of the Greek authorities, according to Adam Shapiro, a flotilla organizer and spokesman. But on Thursday, harbor officials barred a French boat from refueling, he said, an indication that Greek officials might find justifications for retaining the other ships in port.

As of Friday morning, after more than a week in ports across Greece, not a single ship had explicit clearance from the Greek authorities to set sail, and it remains unclear when more ships might sail, or what an eventual flotilla might resemble. "We're going to do something," Mr. Shapiro vowed. Still, he added, "It seems we're already doing something, given the kind of response we've gotten."

Asked about activists' suggestions that Israel was behind the apparent sabotage, Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said, "These activists are not renowned for being an objective source of information." He added: "These people have a tendency to blame Israel, to see Israel's hand behind every calamity. And of course that cannot be true." But when asked to deny their claims more categorically, he declined.

Israeli officials acknowledge that they have been seeking to head off the flotilla, not just because they consider it an attempt to besmirch the country's name and policies but because they believe the entire endeavor is largely organized and inspired by radical Islamists behind the scenes who are seeking a violent encounter with Israeli forces.

On Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu said in a speech, "Sometimes, we not only need to deflect our enemies' physical attacks, but also deflect the attack on our right to protect ourselves." Speaking at the Israeli Air Force flight school graduation ceremony, Mr. Netanyahu thanked world leaders who in recent days had spoken out and acted "against the provocation flotilla." He commended the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, who he said had been closely cooperating with Israel in coordinating moves related to the flotilla.

On Friday, the Israeli Army told journalists that Tarek Hamud, 32, a son-in-law of Khaled Meshal, the Damascus-based head of Hamas, was with the flotilla in Athens, playing a leading role in its organization. Mr. Hamud leads the Palestinian Association of Hamas, according to Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman.

Flotilla activists denied any links to radical or terrorist organizations and said they had never even heard of Mr. Hamud. Izzat al-Risheq, a spokesman for Hamas in Damascus, said Mr. Hamud "has nothing to do with the flotilla in any way. He is in his house right now in Damascus. This is a lie by the Israeli Army aimed at getting people to oppose this humane mission."

Hamas denies having any role in the flotilla.

Ethan Bronner contributed reporting from Jerusalem.


22) Whipped by Winds Over Land Parched by Drought, a New Mexico Wildfire Rages
July 1, 2011

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - Driven by a relentless drought and surging summer winds, a wildfire continued to burn virtually unchecked in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos National Laboratory on Friday, having already scorched tens of thousands of acres in its path and leaving firefighters scrambling to keep pace.

The Las Conchas Fire, now the largest in New Mexico's history, has not spread to the laboratory, which was one of the birthplaces of the atom bomb and still conducts nuclear research, and officials said Friday that they remained confident the blaze would not reach its confines.

So with the laboratory seemingly safe, attention shifted to the nearby Santa Clara Pueblo, which the fire raced toward late in the week, and where concerns were mounting over the safety of the tribe's cultural sites.

With more than 6,000 acres of tribal land already burned, the pueblo's governor, Walter Dasheno, issued a declaration of emergency on Thursday.

"We are devastated to witness the destruction of our precious homeland," he said in a statement. "From time immemorial to this day, our community has been stewards of this land, have fought to regain portions taken from us and have invested millions of dollars in restoring the forest and resources."

Speaking at a news conference in Los Alamos on Friday, Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, said the patchwork of Indian pueblos throughout northern New Mexico would bear the brunt of the fire.

"They have taken a real hit," he said. "The watersheds are hurt. Their sacred sites have been hurt by the fire. There is going to have to be a big, massive effort to try to help them restore their lands."

As of Friday, the Las Conchas Fire had burned more than 103,000 acres and was only 3 percent contained. Still, officials said Friday that they were optimistic about controlling more of the blaze in the coming days.

Up until now, the largest wildfire in New Mexico had been the Dry Lakes Fire, which charred 94,580 acres of the Gila National Forest in 2003.

"This is a very complex fire, which started quickly and has been difficult to control," said Lawrence Lujan, a fire information officer for the United States Forest Service.

Wind gusts and brittle conditions have made the blaze especially difficult to control, officials say, prompting evacuations of the town of Los Alamos on Monday and initial fears that it could reach the radioactive waste stored at the legendary laboratory.

With mandatory evacuation orders still in effect, Los Alamos was eerily quiet on Friday, save for the rumble of emergency vehicles patrolling the streets. The smell of smoke hung heavy over the town.

As the Las Conchas Fire blazed, other smaller wildfires were burning across New Mexico, forcing firefighters to divert manpower and resources.

The Pacheco Fire has been burning for two weeks through the Pecos Wilderness, not far from Santa Fe, scorching more than 10,000 acres. A fire also began this week in Mora County in the north, and another blaze burned more than 70,000 acres in southeastern New Mexico, including a portion of a ranch owned by the television newsman Sam Donaldson.

At night, pockets of flames licking up from the wildfires were visible from commercial flights flying into Albuquerque.

At a converted banquet hall at the Pojoaque Pueblo's Cities of Gold Casino, evacuees waited for word of when they might be able to return to Los Alamos, passing the time napping, reading and watching television.

Robert Trujillo, a radiation control technician at the laboratory, sat on a cot and considered the magnitude of the situation.

"Everybody knows it's dry," he said. "Everybody knows there hasn't been any rain. The winds have gotten really bad. How are you going to stop that?"


23) Court Won't Intervene in Fate of Nuclear Dump
July 1, 2011

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court on Friday declined to step into a dispute over the Obama administration's cancellation of a planned nuclear waste dump in the Nevada desert, saying the matter must be left for now to federal regulators.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a suit filed by South Carolina and Washington State challenging the Department of Energy's authority to withdraw a 2008 application to open the waste repository. But the court hinted that it might be ready to intervene if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not reach a decision on whether the department could withdraw the license request.

Congress directed the department in 1987 to develop an application to create the dump at Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and instructed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to determine whether the application met licensing requirements, which include isolating the radioactive waste for one million years.

But in March 2010, the Department of Energy withdrew its license request, making good on a campaign promise by President Obama.

A three-judge panel at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled that the Department of Energy could not withdraw the application, but that decision was appealed to the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission. One commissioner then recused himself from a vote because he had taken part, before he became a commissioner, in an independent review of Yucca Mountain's suitability as a disposal site.

From there, the issue became clouded. The other four commissioners are believed to be divided, 2 to 2, but the commission's chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, has maneuvered to delay a vote. Mr. Jaczko is a former member of the staff of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the leader of the Senate's Democratic majority, who is a determined foe of the waste disposal project.

Experts differ on whether a deadlock, if a vote were actually taken and a tie resulted, would allow the lower panel's ruling to stand or would overturn it.

South Carolina and Washington State both have nuclear military waste that was to be stored at Yucca Mountain.

Though Friday's ruling by a three-judge appeals court panel said the issue was not "ripe" for judicial intervention because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had not made a decision, it said that the plaintiffs and the court would know "very soon" whether the commission was going to take a vote.

"We will not permit an agency to insulate itself from judicial review by refusing to act," the court said. But it was not clear whether it was setting a strict deadline.

The decision noted that under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the commission is supposed to rule on a license within three years after an application is filed - meaning by last month - but could give itself another year if it needed it.

Still, many deadlines set in the act have been missed by many years in the past.

Ellen Ginsburg, a lawyer for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry's trade association, said that though the decision did not set a hard deadline for the agency, it was "effectively a notice to the N.R.C. that the court is looking at this very carefully - and although they decided on a procedural matter this time, they may not next time."


24) Unknown bomber explodes levees near Ft Calhoun
By Deborah Dupre, Human Rights Examiner
July 1, 2011

Neglected farmers taking matters in their own hands?

An investigation is underway in attempt to determine who used explosives to blow up levees upriver and east of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station around 10:00 Friday morning. In the rich farmland where families still depend on crops for a living and American families depend on those crops for their dinner table, officials report there has been "no damage" to the area, assuring that they had nothing to do with these levee explosions according to KETV News in Omaha, Nebraska.

Farmers have been increasingly disgruntled with the way officials are managing the epic flooding. The levee explosions come less than a week after "workers" punctured the aqua-dam, recently erected to help protect the nuclear station from rising waters, sending thousands of tons of flood waters into the nuclear plant area.

"We had nothing to do with it," stated Matt Wilber, the Pottawattamie County Attorney who is overseeing the county response to flooding.

"Someone went in and basically breached that levee, blew it up," Wilber told reporters for KETV.

"So, the water that was pooling there is now basically flowing back down."

County officials reported that a half-mile stretch of Vanmann #30 levee near Desoto Bend was mechanically excavated and then lowered by using explosives Friday morning but they did not know who was responsible according to KETV News.
People in the Fort Calhoun area heard explosions and then realized the levees were being exploded. They phoned Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Theulen on Friday morning, wanting to know why levees were being blown up.

"One caller claimed to have witnessed the explosion." reports KETV.

Authorities told KETV they’re investigating the levee breach.

"Pottawattamie County officials said no government entity had anything to do with the detonation, and they did not have advance notice from the people responsible for the breach."

The Pottawattamie County Assessor's Office reported to KETV that "trustees of a levee district ordinarily have control over levees in their jurisdiction" and that "the county attorney's office is investigating the possibility of charges and whether the people responsible obtained the explosives illegally."

Before Friday, officials' efforts failed to prevent flooding the farmlands in the area. Then the levee there broke. Crops were flooded. In the week that followed, there had been discussions with local government to lower the new levee according to KETV News but their had been "no clear answers."

The levee where the detonation occurred is on private land. During the investigation, neighbors might remain tight-lipped if they get along with each other. Negative sentiments about government are growing less than favorable, as reflected in the first comment posted under the report on the KETV website reads:

"Whoever did this is trying to protect private property from the mismanagement & misinformation of the Corps & others that are trying to drown us. I lost my home of 38 yrs and would have done the same to protect my neighbors & myself if I had the equipment & explosives.

"Keep in mind that 30,000 people in CB are in jeopardy thanks to the Clinton Administration & Corps of Engineer's poor choices for the last 18 yrs. Shame on them. God Bless America and protect her from her government gone astray."

Another reads, "Locals feel left very 'high & dry' all over the midwest, by govt. If it has to be done, so be it."