Saturday, July 16, 2011



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Labor's Fight:
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Free Fumiaki Hoshino!

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal invites you to attend:

Justice On Trial:
The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal
A film by Educators for Mumia and Big Noise Films

Tuesday July 19th, 7 pm
Centro del Pueblo auditorium
474 Valencia, San Francisco
(between 15th & 16th) FREE

This 70-minute film details the context of Mumia Abu-Jamal's case under the racist police regime in Philadelphia in the 1970's and '80s, and describes key evidence of innocence that was never heard in a courtroom. Despite the ongoing threat to his life from unjust incarceration and possible execution, Mumia Abu-Jamal, a working CWA NABET union journalist, supports working people world wide, honors picket lines, and defends victims of racist and imperialist oppression everywhere.

Speakers will answer questions and describe the case. Jack Heyman (ILWU retired); Bob Price, author of a resolution on Mumia passed by the California Federation of Teachers (CFT); and other labor speakers will discuss labor's fight back on Mumia's case.

Sponsored by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
INFO: 510 763-2347


"FROM HIROSHIMA TO FUKUSHIMA: Confronting the Two- Headed Monster of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power" is the timely subject of an event at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St., Berkeley, Saturday July 16, reception at 6 p.m., program at 7 p.m.


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


Housing Hearing
Wed. 7/20, 4-7PM
SF City Hall Room 263

Employment Hearing
Mon. 7/25, 4-7PM
SF City Hall Room 400



Katina Castillo
CJNY Regional Manager
W. Haywood Burns Institute
180 Howard Street, Suite 320
San Francisco, CA 94105
415-321-4100 x116
cell 415-596-4790

"Let me say, with the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by strong feelings of love. It is impossible to think of an authentic revolutionary without this quality." - Che



July 21st, Thursday, 4:00pm
Grand Hyatt Hotel (Stockton and Sutter Streets)
San Francisco


On May 10th, Hyatt offered to sign the Hilton deal. However, for the previous 19 month since our contract expired, Hyatt had been insisting on ripping off our medical benefits, freezing our pension, eliminating the room service bussers, and keeping us in a recession with their cheap wage proposal.

Ever since our contract expired on August 2009, Hyatt joined with other Class A (bigger) hotels to refuse a new, fair Union Contract. Had it not been for the Hilton which took the lead in signing the deal, Hyatt would still be offering the garbage they were offering before the Hilton signed.

Hyatt is notorious nationally for its attacks on its immigrant work force.

In August 2009, Hyatt fired its entire housekeeping department in Boston. Women, mostly immigrants (many of whom had been working for Hyatt for more than 20 years) were fired and replaced by a subcontractor company which pays its workers close to minimum wage. Read more about the Boston housekeepers.

Hyatt has also distinguished itself as the company which loads more and more work on room cleaners, often resulting in high levels of worker injuries. Hyatt has been cited by the government for unsafe working conditions in housekeeping. Read more on housekeepers' injuries, click here.

Join us for a nationwide protest against Hyatt's anti-worker actions on July 21st, Thursday, 4:00pm in front of the Grand Hyatt hotel on Stockton and Sutter Streets, San Francisco.


July 22nd March and Rally "We Are One - Fight for a Fair Economy"

FRIDAY JULY 22, 11:30am
Oakland City Hall

On Friday, July 22 at 11:30am a rally and march in downtown Oakland to highlight the contract fights and other issues our working families are facing will be co-sponsored by the Alameda Labor Council and APALA. This will be an important opportunity to highlight the issues facing workers in Alameda County and nationwide. We will put 1000 trade unionists and community allies together on the ground to create the "street heat" in support of contract fights and to make Wall Street pay!


After a decade of school "reform"
it is finally...
Our Day! Our March! Our Voice!
July 30th: Rally and march on the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

In 1963, over 200,000 concerned citizens marched on Washington to participate in a momentous event that forever shifted the national dialogue on race and justice. Consequently, policy changed. Laws changed. America changed.

In 2011, it is our time to change the national dialogue on public education.

For over a decade, education laws and policies have been enacted without input from those who REALLY know how to improve our schools and our society. And now, as we stand at a critical crossroads in the future of public schools and the teaching profession...

--The President has a voice
--The Secretary of Education has a voice
--Politicians have a voice
--Corporate billionaires have a voice
--The media have a voice

On July 30, 2011
The nation will finally hear OUR VOICE!

Teachers and parents will unite to tell the nation that. . .
--Testing is not the solution
--Privatization is not the solution
--Closing schools is not the solution
--Top-down reform is not the solution
--Blaming teachers is not the solution

Teachers and parents will unite to tell the nation that to save our schools, we need...

--Equitable funding for all public school communities
--Full and equitable public funding across all schools and systems, for community support services, for 21st century libraries.
--An end to racially and economically re-segregated schools
--End to high stakes testing used for student, teacher, and school evaluation
--Multiple, varied and fair assessments, no pay per test performance for teachers and administrators, an end to public school closures based upon test performance
--Curriculum developed for and by local school communities
--Small class sizes that foster caring, democratic learning communities, access to a --wide-range of instructional programs and technologies, a well-rounded education that develops students' intellectual, creative, and physical potential, opportunities for multicultural/multilingual curriculum for all students
--Teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies
--Educator and community leadership in drafting of new ESEA legislation, federal support for local school programs free of punitive and competitive funding, end to political and corporate control of curriculum, instruction and assessment decisions

Visit for more information about the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action events!
July 28 and 29: Educational activist conference, Washington, D.C.
Register on-line now, space limited!!
$80 cost for conference to go up to $100 on June 15.
Register for FREE on-line now to give us an idea of how many people will be showing up for the march
Save Our Schools Congress, July 31 in Washington, D.C.
Register for FREE on-line now; space is limited!

July 30th: Rally and march on the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

If there is one thing all teachers need to do over the 2011 summer break it is to attend the SOS March & National Call to Action in Washington, D.C.

Let US offer the solutions!
Let teachers and parents educate America!
Teachers and parents are the key to saving our schools!
Visit & Register at


Millions March In Harlem
Against the Attack on African People

the Bombing of Libya
the Illegal Sanctions in Zimbabwe
Bloomberg's Destruction
of Education, Housing, Health Care, Jobs and more!

Saturday, August 13, 2011
Pan Africanism Rising Against Imperialism!

Assemble at 10 AM
110th Street and Malcolm X Blvd
Harlem New York

Pan Africanism or Perish!
For more information and participation call (718) 398-1766
Forward to all your contacts and let us know how many will be attending!


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 !


United National Antiwar Committee
UNAC, P.O. Box 123, Delmar, New York 12054

Upcoming Actions:

August 20--Local actions or educational events on Other Wars
August 28--Organizing meeting for NATO/G-8 protests in Chicago
September 15 --Rally - Palestine is Coming to the UN!
October 6--Stop the Machine demonstration in Washington, DC
October 15--Local Afghanistan demonstrations or teach-ins
November11-13 --National UNAC Conference, Stamford, CT
May 15-22--Protest actions and educational events during NATO/G-8 Summits in Chicago

NEW YORK CITY, 6-18-11

A lively and hugely productive all-day meeting of the national UNAC Coordinating Committee and invited observers was attended by 69 people representing 46 organizations. The first leadership gathering since UNAC's formation at the national conference held in Albany last July was organized to review the current period and UNAC's first 10 months, and to project actions for the coming period.

Joe Lombardo, UNAC Co-Coordinator, began with an overview of the unprecedented events of the past year based on the US expansion of never-ending war along with a global economic crisis and attacks on workers and the poor at home. At the same time, conditions have worsened, the popular uprisings in North Africa and fightbacks in Madison, inspire new opportunities for organizing.

He started with the launch of UNAC in July, 2010 in Albany at the largest gathering of movement activists since 9/11 and the historic actions taken there that permanently changed the nature of the movement. One was the recognition of the monstrous growth of Islamophobia. The new alliance in defense of this community inspired the formation of the Muslim Peace Coalition and a broad coalition of organizations defending civil liberties. The second was the long overdue stand in solidarity with the Palestinians by demanding "End All US Aid to Israel". This unequivocal position has ended the marginalization of Palestinian rights and brought the antiwar and the Palestine solidarity movements together for the strengthening of both.

A highlight of the past year was the success of the April 9-10 national mobilizations, the largest in many years. These demonstrations were also the most diverse with a large number of Muslim families marching with students, Palestine solidarity activists, and thousands of others in NYC and SF.

Co-Coordinator, Marilyn Levin, addressed The Way Forward and Building UNAC. She outlined the challenge we face in this difficult period as we enter an election cycle and stressed that maintaining our basic principles of independence from political parties, unity of purpose and action in a broad, inclusive movement, defense of all individuals and constituencies under attack, and a commitment to mass action as the major strategy for movement building is the way to build the movement and strengthen UNAC.

Although the majority of the American people are with us re: ending the wars and redirecting the economy to maintain social services, the antiwar movement is still fragmented and the major constituencies do not act in a unified way, weakening all. There is even a discussion of whether we need an independent antiwar movement and the efficacy of mass action as counter to small acts of civil resistance. Given the current stresses, it seems inevitable that fight backs will increase and the need for a unified opposition will grow in spite of attempts to bring the movement into quiescence in the Democratic Party juggernaut.

Malik Mujahid of the Muslim Peace Coalition pointed out the growth of hate groups and violence with many states passing Islamopohobic, anti-immigrant and anti-union laws. He stressed outreach to faith groups and labor and ensuring the peace movement reflects the diversity of America, especially groups that are solidly against the war like students, Latinos, immigrants, African American, Muslims, and Native Americans. He emphasized the importance of using personal 1:1 communication to counter the din of electronic communication, while also using social and news media effectively. He also raised the issue of reframing the 9/11 message for the 10th anniversary when we can expect to see increased Islamophobia and repression of civil liberties. We can't appear to be anti-American or anti-religious. We must identify with America's future based on growing diversity.

Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report introduced a motion that stressed that our outreach and public statements must be broadened to include all oppressed nationalities, not only Muslims. This passed unanimously.

A discussion of upcoming UNAC actions followed.

Chris Gauvreau, CT United for Peace, addressed the fall actions marking the 10th year of war on Afghanistan. UNAC has endorsed and will build the October 6 actions in Washington, DC that will include nonviolent civil resistance actions and a plan to stay on. UNAC has also called for peaceful, legal national local demonstrations or other actions on Sat., Oct. 15 so that thousands will be visible in the streets in October.

A call for a second large, authoritative movement conference November 11-13, in Stamford, CT, was approved. Ashley Smith of the ISO outlined the plans and motivated the importance of bringing the entire movement together for education, training, bringing in new forces, and voting on action proposals for the coming period. A committee is already working on inviting prominent speakers and organizing workshops. The Coordinating Committee will formulate an Action Program to bring to the conference.

The escalation, brutality, and continuation of the UN/US war on Libya calls for vigorous action to defend the Libyan people and demand immediate withdrawal of all military forces. UNAC calls for demonstrations on Monday, June 27, the date that NATO has decided to extend hostilities for 90 more days. Regardless of different political views on the Qaddafi regime and the nature of the opposition in Libya, we all agree that foreign military forces, funding, and manipulation must cease and we support self-determination for the Libyans.

Sara Flounders from the International Action Center reported that NATO is coming to the US in the spring of 2012 for an international summit. UNAC will issue an international call for massive actions and a gathering of all sectors of the movement wherever and whenever this takes places. This will be the definitive spring action to galvanize the movement and demonstrate widespread opposition to US wars for domination and resources. (It is now known that this will be a NATO and G-8 gathering in Chicago May 15-22, 2012 and a broad call has been issued nationally.)

The gathering addressed proposals for ongoing work and actions.

There was a panel on fighting Islamophobia, attacks on civil liberties and targeting activists. Imam Latif described his experience with American Airlines not allowing he and his son to fly with no basis other than anti-Muslim/anti-Black profiling and bias, which they are legally challenging. Steve Downs from Project SALAM put the current attacks on Muslims (700,000 have been approached by the FBI) and activists in an historical perspective from the 1960's and 1970's attacks on black activists and civil rights workers and COINTELPRO tactics using agent provocateurs and frame-ups, resurrected with a vengeance. Attacks today include environmentalists and many groups of dissenters, whistle blowers, scapegoated communities. There are many political prisoners from the past that we mustn't forget. He also stressed the abuse prisoners suffer.

Jess Sundin, one of the targeted activists from the Twin Cities described the FBI targeting Latino activist Carlos Montes with trumped up criminal charges. His next court date is July 6 and actions will be organized in support. Carlos is available to speak and this is an opportunity to forge connections with the Latino community. Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait, reported on defense of Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks and the dangerous introduction of espionage charges and the death penalty. We are also approaching the ten year anniversary of opening Guantanamo prison. UNAC has played a leading role in calling for unified defense of all under attack.

Chris Hutchinson, from the CT Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, spoke of the exciting opportunities opening with the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. This national effort connects the war and the economy and is a natural vehicle for outreach and involvement with all the constituencies impacted by the economic crisis, particularly with workers, the poor, and youth. Creative use of petitions, resolutions, referenda, town meetings can be effectively used for outreach, education, and publicity. This outreach campaign is exciting to young activists and also to those who are engaged. It gives people who are never asked for their opinion a sense of ownership - this is "our" money.

Kathy Kelly, Voices of Creative Nonviolence, urged that we try to impact the electoral conversation by calling candidates to be accountable for their positions on the wars and other issues and pursue getting answers and to support actions like the veterans riding from Ground Zero to the Pentagon and the October 6 actions, and raising antiwar resolutions at Democratic Party caucuses.

The Other Wars have often been neglected by the antiwar movement. Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report explained that Black is Back was formed to expose Obama and call attention to US wars at home and abroad. These include US-proxy wars in Africa where the death tolls are far higher than in the acknowledged wars, particularly in Congo and Somalia. Haiti has lost its sovereignty and has the status of a protectorate, the fate awaiting Libya.

The evidence that there is a war going on at home is the number of prisoners, particularly young men of color. Other aspects of other wars discussed included the so-called "War on Drugs" and its devastating impact on Mexico, Colombia, and minorities and the poor in the US. Black youth do not use drugs disproportionately; however, the amount of surveillance and harsh penalties are disproportionate resulting in the alarming rates of incarceration. Iran and other countries that the US demonizes and threatens were highlighted; it is important that we take a firm position of non-intervention in sovereign countries. A resolution passed to condemn the role of the International Criminal Court in subverting its legal mandate through selective indictments of Africans.

Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Union and Black Agenda Report emphasized that the issue of mass incarceration is a burning issue with 2.3 million in prison and a disproportion of prisoners are African-American and Latino young men. UNAC needs to expand its base into the Black community by recognizing the crisis and supporting a national movement to end this assault on the youth and combat the prison industry, beginning with a statement.

UNAC has endorsed the Black is Back August 20 call for actions re: the Other Wars. A resource list of books, articles and speakers will be distributed.

There were several actions generated by panelists re: Palestine solidarity. Jenna Bittar from Hampshire College represented Students for Justice in Palestine. She pointed out that antiwar groups are scarce on college campuses and that SJP's have been the most politically active, particularly in BDS campaigns. She speculated that students have felt fairly powerless but the youth involvement and leadership in Egypt has raised awareness of student power and students might be more open to actions put forth by UNAC. Kathy Kelly will be on the U.S. boat to Gaza and spoke of plans to hold a memorial service for all those who have died on the boat. Stan Heller from the Middle East Crisis Committee brought a resolution from Stan, Medea Benjamin (Code PINK), and Kathy Kelly in solidarity with the flotilla. Actions included forming committees of boat watch volunteers to spread information; rallies, vigils, and meetings during the sailing; and demos the day after any attack. This resolution passed unanimously along with a resolution to denounce the U.S. tax dollar-financed murders of demonstrators for the right of return and to hold solidarity demonstrations with the third Nakba Right of Return demonstrations.

Judy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, spoke to the use of drones becoming the preferred weapons and surveillance tools for targeted assassinations. Demonstrators were arrested for protests at the Hancock AF drone base in Syracuse and expect trials this fall.

Bernadette Ellorin, Chair of BAYAN USA, spoke of the movement to close U.S. bases abroad. She described the Philippines as the "first Vietnam" where torture techniques and counterinsurgency tactics were developed and exported. UNAC voted to endorse a day of action to oppose military exercises on February 4, 2012, the anniversary of the Philippine-American war. She stressed the importance of recognizing the scope of U.S. military hegemony around the world. A motion was passed to oppose U.S. military bases, trainings, and funding and to support an educational campaign on U.S. counterinsurgency.

It was pointed out that Pakistan is the least understood country among the U.S. wars. Workshops were encouraged for the fall.

The following organizations were represented at the UNAC leadership meeting on June 18, 2011 in New York City

Action for a Progressive Pakistan; Al-Awda Palestine Right to ReturnCoalition - NY; Bayan-USA; Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace; Bail Out the People Movement; Black Agenda Report; Black is Back; Boston Stop the Wars; Code Pink; Committee to Stop FBI Repression; Ct. United for Peace; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Green Party; Haiti Liberte'; Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine; Honduras Resistencia- USA; International Action Center; International Support Haiti Network; International League of People'sStruggle; International Socialist Organization; Islamic Leadership Council ofMetropolitan NY; Jersey City Peace Movement; May 1st Workers and Immigrant Rights Coalition; Mobilization Against War and Occupation - Canada; Metro West Peace Action; Middle East Crisis Committee; Muslim Peace Coalition; New England United; Nodutdol Korean Community Development; Pakistan Solidarity Network; Philly Against War; Project Salam; Rhode Island Mobilization Committee; Rochester Against War; SI - Solidarity with Iran; Socialist Action; Socialist Party USA; Thomas MertonCenter Pittsburgh; United for Justice and Peace; Veterans for Peace; Voices for Creative Nonviolence; West Hartford Citizens for Peace; WESPAC; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Workers World; World Can't Wait


Palestine Is Coming to the U.N.!
Rally, Thursday, September 15, 5 pm: Gather at Times Square
6 pm: March to Grand Central and then over to the U.N. to demand:

Palestine: Sovereignty Now!

Palestine: Enforce the Right of Return!

Palestine: Full Equality for All!

5 pm: Gather at Times Square

6 pm: March to Grand Central and then over to the U.N., as we say:

End All U.S. Aid to Israel!

End the Occupation!

Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!

For more information, email

Sponsored by the Palestine U.N. Solidarity Coalition


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]


BART protest

Uploaded by TheBayCitizen on Jul 11, 2011

Protesters heckled deputy BART police chief Daniel Hartwig as he tries to get them to close the door on the BART train. About 50 gathered at Civic Center Station to protest the BART police shooting of Charles Hill.


Short URL:
horror stories
Chase Gets Man Thrown In Jail For Fraudulent Check. Except The Check Is Legit.
By Ben Popken on July 7, 2011 10:00 AM

Ikenna, a 28-year old construction worker, went to deposit a $8,463.21 Chase cashier's check at his local Chase branch, only for the teller to decide that neither he nor his check looked right and he got tossed in jail for forgery, KING5 reports. The next day, a Friday the bank realized its mistake and left a message with the detective. But it was her day off, so he spent the entire weekend in jail.

By the time he got out, he had been fired from his job for not showing up to work. His car had been towed as well. It ended up getting sold off at auction because he couldn't afford to get it out of the pound. He had been relying on that cashier's check for his money but it was taken as evidence and by the time he got it back it was auctioned off.

All this while the cashier's check had been issued by the very bank he was trying to cash it at.

Chase didn't even apologize, not even after a year. A lawyer volunteered to help write a strongly-worded letter requesting damages. After trying hard to get a response, they sent KING 5 a two-sentence reply: "We received the letter and are reviewing the situation. We'll be reaching out to the customer."


Oak Park Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden

Oak Park Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden:


Radioactive Container Truck Spewing Gamma Rays Into Traffic on I-270 in Saint Louis, Missouri

All Rights Reserved, (c) 2011
We got stuck next to this truck during the 7pm July 1st holiday traffic on North bound I-270, after seeing the Radioactive warning placards we pulled out the Geiger Counter and Camera. Lesson learned, AVOID RADIOACTIVE TRUCKS!

The Geiger counter samples over a 30 second moving average, updated every 3 seconds. Notice how the reading on the Geiger Counter keeps moving upwards after we pass the truck; had we stayed next to the radioactive truck the readings would have went even higher.

Pray for the truck driver; the source of gamma rays appeared to be located almost directly behind the driver. One would think that these things would be much more heavily shielded, located further away from the driver, and that such materials would be transported when other people are not on the road.
The truck exited I-270 at Lilac Ave.


Food, Inc

Documentary filmmaker Robert Kenner uses reports by FAST FOOD NATION author Eric Schlosser and THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA author Michael Pollan as a springboard to exploring where the food we purchase really comes from, and what it means for the health of future generations. By exposing the comfortable relationships between business and government, Kenner gradually shines light on the dark underbelly of the American food industry. The USDA and FDA are supposed to protect the public, so why is it that both government regulatory agencies have been complicit in allowing corporations to put profit ahead of consumer health, the American farmer, worker safety, and even the environment? As chicken breasts get bigger and tomatoes are genetically engineered not to go bad, 73,000 Americans fall ill from powerful new strains of E. coli every year, obesity levels are skyrocketing, and adult diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. Perhaps if the general public knew how corporations use exploited laws and subsidies to create powerful monopolies, the outrage would be enough to make us think more carefully about the food we put into our bodies.


CPS takes custody of 6 kids living with parents in storage shed


Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class [Full Film]

Narrated by Ed Asner

Based on the book by Pepi Leistyna, Class Dismissed navigates the steady stream of narrow working class representations from American television's beginnings to today's sitcoms, reality shows, police dramas, and daytime talk shows.

Featuring interviews with media analysts and cultural historians, this documentary examines the patterns inherent in TV's disturbing depictions of working class people as either clowns or social deviants -- stereotypical portrayals that reinforce the myth of meritocracy.

Class Dismissed breaks important new ground in exploring the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality intersect with class, offering a more complex reading of television's often one-dimensional representations. The video also links television portrayals to negative cultural attitudes and public policies that directly affect the lives of working class people.

Featuring interviews with Stanley Aronowitz, (City University of New York); Nickel and Dimed author, Barbara Ehrenreich; Herman Gray (University of California-Santa Cruz); Robin Kelley (Columbia University); Pepi Leistyna (University of Massachusetts-Boston) and Michael Zweig (State University of New York-Stony Brook). Also with Arlene Davila, Susan Douglas, Bambi Haggins, Lisa Henderson, and Andrea Press.

Sections: Class Matters | The American Dream Machine | From the Margins to the Middle | Women Have Class | Class Clowns | No Class | Class Action


Daily life in Fukushima: 'It was like visiting another universe'

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Jul 3, 2011

Jan Beranek, who is with a team of Greenpeace activists investigating the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, says Japanese are encouraged to return to their normal lives unaware of the dangers they face in the contaminated area. "I personally find it very disturbing, because on the one hand you see the Japanese authorities forcing people and society to get back to normal... And yet at the same time there are still extremely high levels of radiation and the contamination of the soil, and also potentially in the food," the activist told RT. "This is just unbelievable because at those levels of exposure it certainly poses a risk to the lives and health of the people. If you draw a parallel to the Chernobyl disaster, then actually the Soviets decided to evacuate everyone living in the place, where radiation was three or four times lower than what we see in Fukushima City today," added Beranek, who personally visited the Chernobyl area after the 1986 disaster. Greenpeace is putting pressure on the Japanese government to gather and provide more information about the contamination in addition to doing its independent effort, Beranek said. "We've actually forced the government to, for example, extend the monitoring of the sea. And we also hear that the government is now revising at least some of the protective measures for children, which is definitely good to see. Yet the government is too slow and doing too little actually [compared to] what the situation would deserve," he said. The activist hopes the consequences of the Fukushima disaster will make Japan and other nations change their stance on nuclear energy and phase it out. There is such change already in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. "Nuclear power, as we have seen, is inherently unsafe. There is always an unpredictable combination of natural catastrophe, technological failure, human error that can result in a situation when a reactor gets out of control very fast. It's a question of a few hours before full meltdown happens. It's unsafe to take the bets and continue with nuclear power," Beranek believes.
RT on Facebook:
RT on Twitter:


New Analysis of Unit 3 Fuel Pool Video Reveals Top of Fuel Bundle

New Analysis of Unit 3 Fuel Pool Video Reveals Top of Fuel Bundle from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

A video first released by TEPCO in April has been re-analyzed by Ian Goddard and appears to reveal a handle found atop a single nuclear fuel bundle. This raises more questions about the condition of any fuel still remaining in the Unit 3 fuel pool.

Hi I'm Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds.

If you have been watching the site lately, it has been about 3 weeks since we have updated a video. During that time, Maggie and I have been on the road making a couple of presentations in Massachusetts, a couple of TV shows and some radio and print. That will be on the site over the next couple of weeks to inform you of what we have been up to. But something happened last night that I really wanted to share with you right now.

I got an email last night from Ian Goddard. And Ian is a long time watcher of this site and has done some really great analysis in the past as well. He took a look at an old TEPCO video. And Tokyo Electric had gone into the Unit 3 fuel pool just once. You remember that Unit 3 is the reactor that is blown to smithereens. The video showed a lot of damage. But Ian Goddard was able to find one spot where there is clearly something that appears to be discernible. It looks like the handle of a BWR fuel bundle.

Ian compares that bundle to other bundles which were looked at over in Unit 4 and it is pretty clear to me and a couple of other nuclear engineers I have shown it to, that this might be a single nuclear fuel bundle in the Unit 3 fuel pool.

It raises more questions than it answers. First of all, there should be a lot of bundles there. Yet, obviously, there is only one in this picture. Where are the other bundles? The other part of the question is, this should be under about 25 feet of water. It is not, it is very near to the surface. So what has happened to that particular bundle, or to the water level in the pool that caused it to come in such close contact with atmosphere?

Like I said, it raises more questions than it answers, but I really do want to thank Ian Goddard for discovering this. If you have any comments or questions or thoughts on what you think it might be, please send in through the comments section on the website.

Thanks, we will get back to you soon.


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


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





According to a source at Pelican Bay State Prison, who prefers to be anonymous, the medical conditions for many strikers have deteriorated to critical levels, with fears some prisoners could start to die if immediate action isn't taken. For at least 200 prisoners in the SHU at Pelican Bay, medical staff have stated:

"The prisoners are progressing rapidly to the organ damaging consequences of dehydration. They are not drinking water and have decompensated rapidly. A few have tried to sip water but are so sick that they are vomiting it back up. Some are in renal failure and have been unable to make urine for 3 days. Some are having measured blood sugars in the 30 range, which can be fatal if not treated."

Since the hunger strike has spread to at least a third of CA's prisons, family members have informed Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity of their loved one's conditions. They have reported hunger strikers have lost 20-30 pounds, are incredibly pale, and that a number of prisoners fainted and/or went into diabetic shock during family visits this past weekend. Some prisoners have been taken to the prison hospital in at least Corcoran and Pelican Bay.

TODAY: Take Action! Call NOW!

Governor Jerry Brown: 916-445-2841 "Hi my name is _________ . I'm calling about the statewide prisoner hunger strike that began at Pelican Bay. I support the prisoners & their reasonable "five core demands." I am alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating medical conditions of the hunger strikers & the inaction of the CDCR. I urge you to make sure the CDCR negotiates with the prisoners immediately & in good faith, before prisoners are force-fed or even die. Thank you."

***Also call your legislators and urge them to make sure the CDCR negotiates with the prisoners in good faith.***

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate: 916-323-6001
"Hi my name is _____. I'm calling about the statewide prisoner hunger strike that began at Pelican Bay. I support the prisoners & their reasonable "five core demands." I am alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating medical conditions of the hunger strikers & the inaction of the CDCR. I urge the CDCR to negotiate with the prisoners immediately & in good faith, before prisoners are force-fed or even die. Thank You."

Other Ways to Support the Hunger Strike:

The prisoners need international support! No matter where you are geographically, you can help amplify the prisoner's voices and demands:

Check out the blog and Attend Solidarity Events & Demonstrations!
Sign the online petition!

Organize a Solidarity Event/Action in a city or town near you!
Share this information with everyone you know through phone calls, emails, facebook, twitter, and more!

Use grassroots & mainstream media to raise awareness and amplify the prisoner's demands!

If you have a loved one locked up and want support contacting them about the hunger strike, reach out to the coalition by sending an email to:

It is important that they have updates on the status of the hunger strike both at Pelican Bay and across California, including how people are showing solidarity & support for the hunger strike outside.

Thank you for your support!

In Struggle,
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity*

Five Core Demands Petition:

Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (California) began an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011 to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment. The hunger strike was organized by prisoners in an unusual show of racial unity. The hunger strikers developed five core demands. Briefly they are:

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. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to longterm isolation (SHU). They can escape these tortuous conditions only if they "debrief," that is, provide information on gang activity. Debriefing produces false information (wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, in an endless cycle) and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.

3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. This bipartisan commission specifically recommended to "make segregation a last resort" and "end conditions of isolation." Yet as of May 18, 2011, California kept 3,259 prisoners in SHUs and hundreds more in Administrative Segregation waiting for a SHU cell to open up. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.

4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations. There is no accountability or independent quality control of meals.

5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates. The hunger strikers are pressing for opportunities "to engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities..." Currently these opportunities are routinely denied, even if the prisoners want to pay for correspondence courses themselves. Examples of privileges the prisoners want are: one phone call per week, and permission to have sweatsuits and watch caps. (Often warm clothing is denied, though the cells and exercise cage can be bitterly cold.) All of the privileges mentioned in the demands are already allowed at other SuperMax prisons (in the federal prison system and other states).



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


(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) Panetta Says U.S. Presence in Iraq Will Endure
July 11, 2011

2) Message From a Charter School: Thrive or Transfer
July 10, 2011

3) Chernobyl's Lingering Scars
July 11, 2011

4) With Sonic, G.M. Stands Automaking on Its Head
"The radically revamped factory here operates with fewer and cheaper workers, many of whom are paid $14 an hour rather than the full U.A.W. wage of $28 an hour. ...The Sonic will be G.M.'s littlest, and most fuel-efficient, conventionally powered vehicle. It was conceived in 2008 before the federal government's bailout of the bankrupt automaker, when negotiators from the company and the union began brainstorming about what it would take to make a profitable subcompact car in the United States rather than in low-wage countries. ...In a groundbreaking labor agreement, the union allowed G.M. to pay 40 percent of its union workers at Orion Township an 'entry-level' wage that sharply reduces overall production costs. ...'We are committed to the success of the company,' Mr. King [UAW President, Bob King] said recently. 'We had to talk about a business model that makes sense.' ...'This plant has the potential to redefine American manufacturing,' said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley. 'A success here indicates untapped capabilities.'"
July 12, 2011

5) It's Hot Around the U.S. Again
"'We're definitely hotter than normal,' said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. 'It's not uncommon to get above 100 for a few days in a row, but this is different.'...In Wichita, the temperature has reached at least 100 degrees on 20 consecutive days."
July 12, 2011

6) Overriding the Jury in Capital Cases
"Justice Marshall was a fierce opponent of the death penalty. But, according to Judge McRae, the justice also saw the wisdom of the override system. 'He thought it was better that someone who had seen more than one case was making the decision,' Judge McRae said. What Justice Marshall probably did not anticipate, though, was that judges in Alabama would not use their power for mercy - that they would, in fact, be even tougher than juries. Since 1976, according to a new report, Alabama judges have rejected sentencing recommendations from capital juries 107 times. In 98 of those cases, or 92 percent of them, judges imposed the death penalty after juries had called for a life sentence."
July 11, 2011

7) Berlusconi Pledges to Push Through Austerity Bill
July 12, 2011

8) US & Canada
Bradley Manning visit limits 'break UN probe rules'

9) Monsanto and Gates Foundation Push GE Crops on Africa
by: Mike Ludwig
Truthout | Report
Tuesday 12 July 2011

10) The Budget-Slashing Hysteria's Latest Victim: Legal Aid for the Poor
By Kat Aaron
Mother Jones
July 12, 2011

11) Not Satisfied, Protesters Return to Tahrir Square
July 12, 2011

12) Task Force Recommends Improvements for Nuclear Plants
July 12, 2011

13) Why Are Your Tax Dollars Funding Secret CIA Prisons in Somalia?
By Jeremy Scahill, The Nation
Posted on July 13, 2011, Printed on July 14, 2011

14) Utility Shelves Ambitious Plan to Limit Carbon
"Company officials, who plan an announcement on Thursday, said they were dropping the larger, $668 million project because they did not believe state regulators would let the company recover its costs by charging customers, thus leaving it no compelling regulatory or business reason to continue the program."
July 13, 2011

14) Utility Shelves Ambitious Plan to Limit Carbon
"Company officials, who plan an announcement on Thursday, said they were dropping the larger, $668 million project because they did not believe state regulators would let the company recover its costs by charging customers, thus leaving it no compelling regulatory or business reason to continue the program."
July 13, 2011

15) To Track Militants, U.S. Has System That Never Forgets a Face
"With little notice and only occasional complaints, the American military and local authorities have been engaged in an ambitious effort to record biometric identifying information on a remarkable number of people in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly men of fighting age. Information about more than 1.5 million Afghans has been put in databases operated by American, NATO and local forces. While that is one of every 20 Afghan residents, it is the equivalent of roughly one of every six males of fighting age, ages 15 to 64. In Iraq, an even larger number of people, and a larger percentage of the population, have been registered. Data have been gathered on roughly 2.2 million Iraqis, or one in every 14 citizens - and the equivalent of one in four males of fighting age. ...While the systems are attractive to American law enforcement agencies, there is serious legal and political opposition to imposing routine collection on American citizens. ...Defense Department spending on biometrics programs is enormous, set at $3.5 billion for the 2007 through 2015 fiscal years, according to the Government Accountability Office."
July 13, 2011

16) WikiLeaks Files Complaint Over Visa and Mastercard
July 14, 2011

17) The Real Reason Big Macs Are Cheaper Than More Nutritious Alternatives
By David Sirota, Salon
Posted on July 15, 2011, Printed on July 16, 2011

18) Starbucks' First Strike: Chilean Workers Hold Out for Better Pay, Benefits
By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, AlterNet
Posted on July 16, 2011, Printed on July 16, 2011

19) The Revolution Is Not Over Yet
July 15, 2011

20) Union Yields on Benefits in Agreement With Cuomo
July 16, 2011

21) Misery Follows as Somalis Try to Flee Hunger
July 15, 2011

22) Libya Rebels Get Formal Backing, and $30 Billion
"The United States formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya as the country's legitimate government on Friday, allowing the rebel government access to $30 billion in Libyan assets held in the United States. It is not yet clear how and when the money would be released."
July 15, 2011

22) Libya Rebels Get Formal Backing, and $30 Billion
"The United States formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya as the country's legitimate government on Friday, allowing the rebel government access to $30 billion in Libyan assets held in the United States. It is not yet clear how and when the money would be released."
July 15, 2011

23) Foreclosure Protesters in Spain's Cities Now Go Door to Door
"Now some of those protesters are using their Internet savvy to gather crowds on behalf of beleaguered homeowners. Hundreds of protesters are showing up at threatened evictions like Ms. del Coto's. They are getting press coverage as never before - and, some say, results."
July 15, 2011

24) BBC Journalists Strike to Protest Planned Job Cuts
July 15, 2011

25) Pentagon Declares the Internet a War Domain
By John T. Bennett, The Hill
14 July 11


1) Panetta Says U.S. Presence in Iraq Will Endure
July 11, 2011

BAGHDAD - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta pressured Prime Minister Nuri Kamal-al Maliki of Iraq on Monday to tell the United States whether he wanted some American troops to remain in Iraq into 2012, although Mr. Panetta predicted that the United States military would have an "enduring presence" for many years in the Middle East.

"I'd like things to move a lot faster here, frankly, in terms of the decision-making process," Mr. Panetta told a gathering of American troops as he expressed exasperation with the Iraqi government and pushed Mr. Maliki to make a key government appointment. "Do they want us to stay, don't they want us to stay? Do they want to get a minister of defense or don't they want to get a minister of defense?" He concluded, "Dammit, make a decision."

Making his first visit to Iraq as defense secretary, Mr. Panetta also said flatly - before he and a Pentagon spokesman qualified his remarks - that United States forces were in Iraq because of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That was part of the narrative advanced by the Bush White House, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, but it is now widely dismissed.

"The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked, and 3,000 not just Americans, but 3,000 human beings got killed, innocent human beings, because of Al Qaeda," Mr. Panetta told Army troops at Camp Victory, the sprawling American military base in Baghdad.

Later, Mr. Panetta told reporters that he was not speaking of the reasons for the 2003 American-led invasion but rather was referring to events afterward.

"I wasn't saying, you know, the invasion, or going into the issues or the justification of that," Mr. Panetta said. "It was more the fact that we really had to deal with Al Qaeda here."

In the run-up to the 2003 war, Bush administration officials repeatedly cited ties between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq, but a government investigation found no meaningful operational link between the two. After the invasion, Al Qaeda fighters did pour into Iraq to launch attacks on the American military.

Doug Wilson, a Pentagon spokesman traveling with Mr. Panetta, described Mr. Panetta as a "very plain-spoken defense secretary" who he said was not getting into the arguments over Iraq from 2002 and 2003. "I don't think he's going down that rabbit hole," Mr. Wilson said.

Mr. Panetta arrived in Iraq on Sunday from Afghanistan, and his visit was not announced in advance. He was scheduled to meet on Monday with Mr. Maliki. Defense officials said that Mr. Panetta's top priority in the meeting with Mr. Maliki - aside from pressing for a decision about American troops - was to urge him to go after Shiite militias that the United States says are using Iranian-supplied weapons to attack American forces in Iraq.

Mr. Panetta, who warned about the Iranian weapons on Sunday, intensified his words on Monday. Last month, 15 American troops died in Iraq, nine in attacks by rockets supplied by Iran, American officials said. The attacks made June the bloodiest month for American combat-related fatalities since June 2008.

"We cannot just simply stand back and allow this to continue to happen," Mr. Panetta said. "I assure you that this is not something we're just going to walk away from. We're going to take this on, straight on."

Mr. Panetta said that American forces were already responding to the threat "unilaterally," implying that they were taking offensive action on their own, without Iraqi troops alongside. American military officials would not specify what he meant.

All 46,000 remaining United States troops in Iraq are scheduled to leave by the end of this year under an agreement between the two countries, but both Iraqi and American military commanders believe that some American forces should stay beyond 2011. Few Iraqi politicians are willing to admit publicly that they need American help, but Obama administration officials say the United States will consider staying only if the Iraqis ask.

The subject is particularly sensitive because the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr helped the current government come to power. Mr. Sadr has said many times that the United States should leave immediately.

Mr. Panetta's remarks demanding that Mr. Maliki make a decision were the strongest on the subject to date from the Obama administration. American officials say that if the Iraqis wait too long to make a formal request, it will come too late, given the complexity of military withdrawals. Once the Americans withdraw completely, they say, it would be expensive and difficult politically in both the United States and Iraq to bring them back.


2) Message From a Charter School: Thrive or Transfer
July 10, 2011

In 2008, when Katherine Sprowal's son, Matthew, was selected in a lottery to attend the Harlem Success Academy 3 charter school, she was thrilled. "I felt like we were getting the best private school, and we didn't have to pay for it," she recalled.

And so, when Eva S. Moskowitz, the former city councilwoman who operates seven Success charter schools in Harlem and the Bronx, asked Ms. Sprowal to be in a promotional video, she was happy to be included.

Matthew is bright but can be disruptive and easily distracted. It was not a natural fit for the Success charters, which are known for discipline and long school days. From Day 1 of kindergarten, Ms. Sprowal said, he was punished for acting out.

"They kept him after school to practice walking in the hallway," she said.

Several times, she was called to pick him up early, she said, and in his third week he was suspended three days for bothering other children.

In Matthew's three years of preschool, Ms. Sprowal said, he had never missed time for behavior problems. "After only 12 days in your school," she wrote the principal, "you have assessed and concluded that our son is defective and will not meet your school criteria."

Five days later, Ms. Sprowal got an e-mail from Ms. Moskowitz that she took as a veiled message to leave. "Am not familiar with the issue," Ms. Moskowitz wrote, "but it is extremely important that children feel successful and a nine-hour day with more than 23 children (and that's our small class size!) where they are constantly being asked to focus and concentrate can overwhelm children and be a bad environment."

The next week, the school psychologist evaluated Matthew and concluded he would be better suited elsewhere: "He may need a smaller classroom than his current school has available."

By then, Matthew was throwing up most mornings and asking his mother if he was going to be fired from school. Worn down, Ms. Sprowal requested help finding her son another school, and Success officials were delighted to refer him to Public School 75 on the Upper West Side.

At that point, Ms. Sprowal had come to believe her son was so difficult that she was lucky anyone would take him. She wrote several e-mails thanking Ms. Moskowitz, saying she hoped that Matthew would someday be well-behaved enough to return to her "phenomenal" school.

Three years later, looking back, Ms. Sprowal said she felt her son had been done an injustice. Matthew, who has had a diagnosis of an attention disorder, has thrived at P.S. 75. His second-grade teachers, Johanny Lopez and Chanté Martindale, have taught him many ways to calm himself, including stepping into the hallway for an exercise break. His report card last month was all 3s and 4s, the top marks; the teachers commented, "Matthew is a sweet boy who is a joy to have in the classroom."

Matthew's story raises perhaps the most critical question in the debate about charter schools: do they cherry-pick students, if not by gaming the admissions process, then by counseling out children who might be more expensive or difficult to educate - and who could bring down their test scores, graduation rates and safety records?

Kim Sweet, director of Advocates for Children of New York, said she had heard many such stories. "When we look at our cases where children are sent away from schools because of disabilities," she said, "there are a disproportionate number of calls about charter schools."

There is no more tenacious champion of charters than Ms. Moskowitz, whose students earn top test scores and who has plans to build a chain of 40 schools. She saw Matthew's experience in a far different light, as her spokeswoman, Jenny Sedlis, explained in two voluminous e-mails totaling 5,701 words.

"We helped place him in a school that would better suit his needs," Ms. Sedlis wrote. "His success today confirms the correctness of his placement. I believe that 100 percent of the time we were acting in Matthew's best interest and that the end result benefited him and benefited P.S. 75, which now has a child excelling."

Ms. Sedlis denied that Matthew had been suspended, and said he was not disciplined when he was kept after school.

"Practicing walking through the halls is the opposite of a punishment," she wrote. "Just as in math, when a child does not get a concept, we re-teach. We don't let the child fail. We ensure he gets it. We take the same approach with behavior. If a child is struggling, we re-teach. This is an example of when the school went out of its way to help Matthew be successful."

Ms. Sedlis noted that two Success board members were leaders of well-respected special-education schools, Donna Kennedy of Gillen Brewer and Scott Gaynor of the Stephen Gaynor School.

She also offered counterexamples, like Iris Ayala, whose 6-year-old son, Alexander, has an attention disorder and speech problem but has thrived at a Success school.

Ms. Ayala said Alexander often acted up, running out of the classroom. But the school gave him special-education help, she said, and now he is reading above grade level. "I love the school," Ms. Ayala said.

Alex or Matthew - whose experience is more emblematic? You would think data could help shed light here.

Indeed, Ms. Sedlis cited figures from the city Education Department's Web site showing that the attrition rate is lower at the Harlem Success schools than at traditional public schools in the same district.

On the other hand, every traditional public school that is housed with a Success charter has more special-education children as well as students for whom English is the second language, according to numbers posted on city and state Web sites. At Success 3, the school Matthew attended, 10 percent are in special education and 2 percent are English language learners, according to the publicly available data; Mosaic Prep Academy, a district school that shares its building, has 23 percent in special education and 13 percent learning English as a second language.

But Ms. Sedlis said that the Web sites were wrong, and that 7.6 percent of students at Success 3 had limited English. "It is imperative that you not use incorrect data," she wrote. "It is a complex system and I will walk you through it and produce voluminous documentation."

Even if not a single number on the Education Department's Web sites can be trusted, there is one indisputable fact: The traditional public schools handle the most severely disabled children, which Success charters do not serve. At Mosaic Prep, 58 percent of the special-education students - 46 children - are those requiring the "most restrictive environment" and are in classrooms of their own. At Success charters, the special-education children are classified as needing the "least restrictive environment" and are mainstreamed, though two of the charters will add classes strictly for special-education students in September.

Ms. Moskowitz has enormous political clout, and without my asking, Laura Rodriguez, a deputy chancellor, sent an e-mail saying the Success charters were getting better about special education. "Harlem Success has made a real commitment to improving services for students with disabilities," she wrote, "and we'll continue working with them to enroll and serve even more of these students moving forward."

Serving children with special needs lowers test scores. At P.S. 75, Matthew's new school, 17 percent are in special education, and for 17 percent, English is a second language. In 2009, 76 percent of the school's general education students were proficient in language arts. But when special-education scores were factored in, proficiency dropped to 69 percent.

Still, Robert O'Brien, who has been principal there for 14 years, says the most gratifying part of his work is with the children who lower his test scores.

E-mail: oneducation


3) Chernobyl's Lingering Scars
July 11, 2011

Oddly enough, the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history has been marked by journalism about animals. Two magazines, Wired and Harper's, have published lengthy articles about the rebirth of animal life in the so-called exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.

All well and good, but given the recent Japanese nuclear accident, wouldn't you rather know what has happened to the, er, people who were affected by Chernobyl?

I know such a person. Her name is Maria Gawronska. Thirty years old, smart and attractive, Maria is a native of Poland who moved to New York in 2004. I met her through my fiancée maybe four years ago. She always wore a turtleneck, even on the hottest of days.

Maria's hometown, Olsztyn, in northern Poland, is more than 400 miles from Chernobyl. She was 5 years old in April 1986 when the reactor melted down, spewing immense amounts of radioactivity upwind, where it spread across Ukraine, Belarus and, yes, northern Poland.

"At first," Maria said, "they said it was an explosion but it wasn't dangerous." But within a few days, the Soviet Union grudgingly acknowledged the accident. Maria recalls that everyone was given iodine tablets, and told to remain indoors. She stayed in the house for the next two weeks.

She also remembers hearing people say that it would be years before Poles knew the health consequences of the accident. Among other things, radiation can wreak havoc on the thyroid gland; that is why people take iodine tablets, to minimize the amount of radioactive iodine that their thyroids absorb.

Sure enough, over the course of the last quarter-century, there has been an explosion of thyroid problems in Olsztyn. Maria told me that entire hospital wings are now devoted to thyroid disease. This is no exaggeration. Dr. Artur Zalewski, an Olsztyn thyroid surgeon, confirmed that his practice had seen a huge increase in thyroid operations since the early 1990s. Some people have cancerous thyroids, but many more have enlarged thyroids, or thyroids that have stopped functioning properly.

Dr. Zalewski also cautioned me, though, that there was no scientific proof connecting thyroid disease to Chernobyl. Partly because of Soviet intransigence, and partly because of what The Lancet would describe as "considerable logistical challenges," epidemiological studies were never begun that might have helped link the disaster to Poland's thyroid problems.

The studies that have been done have focused on cancer. According to The Lancet, it is possible that increases in childhood leukemia and breast cancer in Belarus and Ukraine can be attributed to Chernobyl. But because of "flawed study design," these studies are not definitive.

When I e-mailed Maria's mother, Barbara Gawronska-Kozak, however, she was adamant: "I am convinced that Chernobyl increased thyroid problems." Barbara, a scientist herself (though not an epidemiologist), told me that this was what the "average citizen of Poland" believed. She herself required a thyroid operation a decade after the accident. Her mother had two thyroid operations. Her best friend had a thyroid operation. An old high school friend recently had a goiter removed. Maria told me that her father was the only family member who had not had a thyroid problem.

Around five years ago, it was Maria's turn. Gradually, her thyroid had become so enlarged that it impinged on her trachea, making it hard to breathe in certain positions. The unsightly growth, of course, was why she always wore a turtleneck. A specialist in New York told her that he had never seen anything quite like it, and that the operation to correct it was high risk and could possibly damage her vocal cords. So Maria decided to return to Poland and have the operation in her hometown. She did so earlier this year.

Just as in Chernobyl's case, it will be years before we know how the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station will affect the health of those who lived nearby. Although much less radiation escaped, it did leak into the water, and traces have been found in the food supply. It makes one wonder how to deal with nuclear power, which offers the tantalizing prospect of clean energy - along with the ever-present risk of disaster should something go wrong. These are not simple questions - as we are reminded whenever there is an accident like Fukushima Daiichi. Or Chernobyl.

For Maria, at least, the story ends happily. Dr. Zalewski, who operated on her, didn't flinch when he saw the size of her thyroid. The operation was a success. Her vocal cords are just fine. She has more energy than she has had in years.

Maria told me that while she was in Olsztyn, she sought out old friends. As soon as they heard why she had returned, she said, "They all laughed and pointed to their own scars."

When I saw her not long after she returned to New York, I couldn't help noticing her own small scar. She wasn't wearing a turtleneck.


4) With Sonic, G.M. Stands Automaking on Its Head
"The radically revamped factory here operates with fewer and cheaper workers, many of whom are paid $14 an hour rather than the full U.A.W. wage of $28 an hour. ...The Sonic will be G.M.'s littlest, and most fuel-efficient, conventionally powered vehicle. It was conceived in 2008 before the federal government's bailout of the bankrupt automaker, when negotiators from the company and the union began brainstorming about what it would take to make a profitable subcompact car in the United States rather than in low-wage countries. ...In a groundbreaking labor agreement, the union allowed G.M. to pay 40 percent of its union workers at Orion Township an 'entry-level' wage that sharply reduces overall production costs. ...'We are committed to the success of the company,' Mr. King [UAW President, Bob King] said recently. 'We had to talk about a business model that makes sense.' ...'This plant has the potential to redefine American manufacturing,' said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley. 'A success here indicates untapped capabilities.'"
July 12, 2011

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. - The only subcompact car being built on American soil will soon roll out of an assembly plant here in suburban Detroit that is as unusual as the car itself.

The production line has been squeezed into half the space of a traditional plant. Welding robots are concentrated in efficient clusters, instead of being spaced along the line, while many of the workers earn half the typical union wage. Even the first coat of rust-proofing has been reformulated so that it is one-hundredth as thick as - and thereby cheaper than - the coating on other cars.

One of the oldest axioms in the auto industry is that no company can build a subcompact car in the United States and make money because they are priced too low. The Ford Fiesta is built in Mexico. The Honda Fit is made in several places, including China and Brazil. But with Americans - and Detroit - rediscovering small cars because of high gasoline prices, General Motors is intent on shattering that notion with its new Chevrolet Sonic. Not only does it give G.M. a new entry in the lowest tier of the market when it goes on sale this fall, the Sonic is expected to be a breakthrough in establishing a new level of cooperation between Detroit and the United Automobile Workers.

The radically revamped factory here operates with fewer and cheaper workers, many of whom are paid $14 an hour rather than the full U.A.W. wage of $28 an hour.

The plant itself is smaller and reconfigured to save money, with company executives modeling some of the changes after G.M.'s most efficient factories in Germany and Korea. The production line's footprint alone was reduced from 1 million square feet to 500,000 - the equivalent of losing the space of more than two Wal-Mart Super Stores. The energy bill was cut by powering some operations with methane gas from neighboring landfills.

The Sonic will be G.M.'s littlest, and most fuel-efficient, conventionally powered vehicle. It was conceived in 2008 before the federal government's bailout of the bankrupt automaker, when negotiators from the company and the union began brainstorming about what it would take to make a profitable subcompact car in the United States rather than in low-wage countries.

"We wanted to prove we could do it," said Diana D. Tremblay, G.M.'s head of labor relations , "and we went into it with an open mind."

The U.A.W. tried to persuade the Ford Motor Company to build the Fiesta subcompact in the United States. But Ford chose a plant in Mexico, where the combined wages and benefits of a production worker total less than $10 an hour. By contrast, a full-wage union member in the United States costs G.M. close to $60 an hour. Even an entry-level wage employee costs about $30 an hour in wages and benefits.

While it is not the only factor in producing a profitable subcompact, lower employment costs were critical to the decision to build the Sonic in Michigan. In a groundbreaking labor agreement, the union allowed G.M. to pay 40 percent of its union workers at Orion Township an "entry-level" wage that sharply reduces overall production costs.

"The entry-level wage structure was an important enabler, because obviously the smaller the car the less the margin," said Ms. Tremblay.

The U.A.W.'s president, Bob King, said the union considered the significance of a competitive subcompact to G.M.'s overall product lineup. The Sonic is the first subcompact that G.M. has tried to build in its home market since the Chevrolet Chevette almost 40 years ago, aside from a brief joint effort with Toyota to build Geo Prisms. The smallest car in its lineup now is the Chevrolet Aveo, a subcompact developed by G.M.'s South Korean subsidiary.

"We are committed to the success of the company," Mr. King said recently. "We had to talk about a business model that makes sense."

For all its promise, the Sonic still has to convince consumers that G.M. has found the right formula for an attractive and affordable subcompact. Previous efforts like the Geo Prism and the Aveo were bland and underpowered, and contributed to G.M.'s lackluster reputation in the overall car market.

"G.M. has a lot to prove with the Sonic," said Joseph Phillippi of the research firm Auto Trends . "They have to cut costs but still put out a competitive car."

The car itself is a mosaic of innovation to make the Sonic lighter, less costly and more fuel-efficient, including high-strength steel used in its windshield pillars and the ultra-thin film applied to prevent rust. The Sonic sedan resembles a shrunken version of the Cruze, while the hatchback version is distinguished by its short rear overhang and upright stance.

The Sonic weighs 500 pounds less and is eight inches shorter than the next biggest car G.M. makes, and its little 1.4-.liter turbocharged engine will deliver the best gas mileage in the company's fleet. "It will be north of 40 miles per gallon," said Jim Federico, head of G.M.'s global small cars and electric vehicles.

Still, to get the car to meet cost-saving goals, a team of G.M. engineers and manufacturing specialists also had to adapt and reconfigure the Orion plant. It opened in 1983, and was used to build big cars like the Buick Riviera in the 1990s. It nearly closed two years ago, when three other large assembly plants were shut down to reduce capacity.

G.M. spent heavily in converting the plant, investing $545 million in new equipment and retraining workers - and it shows, from the gleaming floors to the banks of fluorescent lighting that brighten the plant and save $430,000 a year in energy costs. The plant is also the company's greenest, producing 80 percent less solid waste and using 20 percent less water, all at a savings.

Various stages along the assembly line, like the body shop and trim area, are more compact, with teams of six workers installing parts fed to them on automated carts by independent suppliers who operate inside the plant. That reduces costly inventory and improves productivity. "Normally the suppliers would be five miles away versus 50 feet," said John Barry, a G.M. manager.

The plant over all employs 1,800, a reduction of 25 percent. To augment the small profit earned on the Sonic, the workers will also make the larger, more upscale Buick Verano on the same line. Even the shifts have been fine-tuned to four 10-hour days rather than the usual five-day week to save wear and tear on the machinery.

Every dollar saved is essential for the Sonic to compete, auto experts said. And if the car is a winner with consumers - production begins in August - Orion Township could become a model.

"This plant has the potential to redefine American manufacturing," said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "A success here indicates untapped capabilities."


5) It's Hot Around the U.S. Again
"'We're definitely hotter than normal,' said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. 'It's not uncommon to get above 100 for a few days in a row, but this is different.'...In Wichita, the temperature has reached at least 100 degrees on 20 consecutive days."
July 12, 2011

Hot summer weather across the country will continue on Tuesday with temperatures expected to top 95 degrees in cities from St. Louis and Atlanta to Baltimore and Montgomery, Ala.

The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories in areas across the country as the central and southern sections, accustomed to hot summers, are experiencing temperatures even higher than are typical this year.

Atlanta expects a high of 97 on Tuesday, some 8 degrees higher than average. Wichita, Kan., expects to reach 103 degrees on Tuesday, after hitting 105 degrees on Monday. Houston will get to 97 with high humidity making it feel like even warmer, and Tulsa, Okla., will hit 101 degrees.

Tuesday's forecast calls for temperatures to reach 97 in Washington, D.C.; 94 in Philadelphia and New York; and 92 in Boston.

The scorching temperatures along the East Coast are being caused by a low-pressure system moving across eastern Canada that is pulling warm, moist air into the East from the Gulf of Mexico, according to Weather Underground, a forecasting service. Cooler air flowing behind the system could produce thunderstorms, hail and possibly tornadoes in the Midwest on Tuesday, particularly in the Ohio River Valley.

"We're definitely hotter than normal," said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. "It's not uncommon to get above 100 for a few days in a row, but this is different."

In Wichita, the temperature has reached at least 100 degrees on 20 consecutive days.

Meteorologists said the causes for the weeks of hot temperatures in the nation's interior include a high-pressure pattern that has stubbornly stayed over much of the country's midsection, making it difficult for cooler air from the north to break through. A continuing drought is also to blame. That pattern could break somewhat on Tuesday, however, as cities that had been suffering under 100-degree weather may see temperatures dip into the 90s, according to forecasts.


6) Overriding the Jury in Capital Cases
"Justice Marshall was a fierce opponent of the death penalty. But, according to Judge McRae, the justice also saw the wisdom of the override system. 'He thought it was better that someone who had seen more than one case was making the decision,' Judge McRae said. What Justice Marshall probably did not anticipate, though, was that judges in Alabama would not use their power for mercy - that they would, in fact, be even tougher than juries. Since 1976, according to a new report, Alabama judges have rejected sentencing recommendations from capital juries 107 times. In 98 of those cases, or 92 percent of them, judges imposed the death penalty after juries had called for a life sentence."
July 11, 2011

WASHINGTON - Alabama allows judges to reject sentencing decisions from capital juries, which sounds like a sensible idea. You might want a mature and dispassionate jurist standing between a wounded community's impulse toward vengeance and a defendant at risk of execution.

"If you didn't have something like that," said Judge Ferrill D. McRae, who spent 40 years on the bench in Mobile before he retired in 2006, "a jury with no experience in other cases would be making the ultimate decision, based on nothing. The judge has seen many, many cases, not just one."

Judge McRae, chatting on the phone the other day, recalled having breakfast with Justice Thurgood Marshall at an American Bar Association meeting not long after the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Justice Marshall was a fierce opponent of the death penalty. But, according to Judge McRae, the justice also saw the wisdom of the override system. "He thought it was better that someone who had seen more than one case was making the decision," Judge McRae said.

What Justice Marshall probably did not anticipate, though, was that judges in Alabama would not use their power for mercy - that they would, in fact, be even tougher than juries. Since 1976, according to a new report, Alabama judges have rejected sentencing recommendations from capital juries 107 times. In 98 of those cases, or 92 percent of them, judges imposed the death penalty after juries had called for a life sentence.

More than 20 percent of the people on death row in Alabama are there because of such overrides, according to the report, from the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law firm that represents poor people and prisoners. The overrides in Alabama contributed to the highest per capita death sentencing rate in the nation, far outstripping Texas.

Judge McRae himself ordered six defendants executed notwithstanding jury verdicts calling for life sentences, more than any other judge in Alabama in the modern history of capital punishment. But he never rejected a jury's recommendation of death.

Judge McRae said he had tried to determine, in the words of an Alabama law, whether the crime in question was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel." Having seen a lot of cases helped him make that decision, he said. "Juries don't know," he said, "what is 'especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.' "

Alabama judges have justified their decisions to override in favor of death on other grounds as well. Judge Dale Segrest, who retired in 2001, said he had rejected one jury's recommendation that a white defendant's life be spared on the ground of racial equality. "If I had not imposed the death sentence, I would have sentenced three black people to death and no white people," he said at a sentencing hearing in 2000.

Judge Charles C. Partin, who sat in Bay Minette, said the defendant before him was probably not mentally disabled, a factor that may have figured in the jury's life verdict. "The sociological literature suggests that Gypsies intentionally test low on standard I.Q. tests," he wrote in a 1990 sentencing order.

Florida and Delaware also allow overrides, but they are subject to strict standards. No one has been sentenced to death in Florida as a result of a judicial override since 1999, and no one is on death row in Delaware as a consequence of an override. The most recent override in favor of death in Alabama was in March.

Judges in Delaware are appointed and generally use their authority to reject death sentences. Alabama judges are elected, often running on tough-on-crime platforms. Overrides are more common in election years.

"Not surprisingly, given the political pressures they face, judges are far more likely than juries to impose the death penalty," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in a 1995 dissent from a decision that upheld Alabama's capital sentencing system. Much has changed in sentencing law since then, and it is not clear that the system would survive a new look from the Supreme Court.

One thing that is clear is that Justice Marshall, whatever he said at breakfast, was appalled by how things turned out in Alabama. "It approaches the most literal sense of the word 'arbitrary,' " he wrote in a 1988 dissent, "to put one to death in the face of a contrary jury determination where it is accepted that the jury had indeed responsibly carried out its task."

Alabama jurors are not notably squeamish about the death penalty, and those opposed to it are automatically excluded from service. Deliberations can be agonizing, former jurors say, adding that they would expect their recommendations to count.

William Davis, who served on a capital jury that voted for a life sentence, said he did not see the point of the exercise after a judge dismissed the jury's unanimous recommendation as "not helpful."

"If the judge is going to overrule the jury," he said in a court hearing in Montgomery last year, "then you don't need a jury. The jury don't serve a purpose."


7) Berlusconi Pledges to Push Through Austerity Bill
July 12, 2011

ROME - Acknowledging for the first time publicly that Italy was in danger of getting sucked into Europe's sovereign debt crisis, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi insisted on Tuesday that his government was united and would push through a contentious austerity bill.

In his first statement since Friday, when he disparaged his finance minister, Giulio Tremonti, in a newspaper interview, Mr. Berlusconi said the government was "stable and strong, the majority cohesive and determined" to pass the bill, which calls for 40 billion euros, or $56 billion, in tax increases and cuts to public spending.

Leaders of the Italian senate said they would speed discussion of the bill for approval as early as Thursday, allowing it to pass directly to the lower house. Mr. Tremonti was expected to meet with senators from the government and center-left opposition on Tuesday to discuss the budget bill.

Mr. Tremonti is considered by many investors to be instrumental to Italy's bid for market credibility. Comments last week by the embattled prime minister that Mr. Tremonti may be on the way out led investors to ditch Italian debt, sending yields soaring.

The interest on its 10-year bond rose to nearly 6 percent Tuesday morning, but fell back to 5.56 percent, down slightly, after Mr. Tremonti returned to Rome early from a meeting of euro zone officials to take charge of discussions on the austerity measures, and the government successfully sold one-year debt.

In a country where the term "austerity" has only entered the national conversation recently and where the government's rhetoric has often been a remove from economic reality, Mr. Berlusconi's statement was notable for its tone as well as its contents.

While underlining the strengths of Italy's economy, Mr. Berlusconi for the first time acknowledged that "for us, for Italy, this moment is certainly not easy."

"We need to be united and cohesive in our common interest, aware that the efforts and sacrifices made in the short-term will result in permanent and secure gains," he added.

He said that the "crisis of confidence" had hit not only Italy but also the common currency itself.

"We have Europe by our side and we can count on undeniable points of strength," Mr. Berlusconi added.

In recent days, Mr. Berlusconi has been conspicuously absent from television, the medium through which he normally communicates, in a sign that as his era draws to a close, he may now be seen as a liability to Italy's international credibility. He also has not appeared with Mr. Tremonti, indicating to some analysts that the tensions within the governing coalition have been only covered temporarily in an effort to pass the budget, but remain boiling beneath the surface.

In spite of Italy's high public debt, low growth and political instability, economists said that Italy was objectively in better shape than Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland because it did not have a housing bubble, its budget deficit is relatively small compared to the size of its economy, and the majority of its debt is owned domestically.

But the worries about Italy have further shaken already fragile global market sentiment. Asian and European stocks fell Tuesday and the euro was also down, although markets in Europe recovered ground during the day.

Alessandro Frigerio, a fund manager at R.M.J. Sgr in Milan, likened market movements to a game of pinball.

"It's not usual to see a 1,000-point one-day comeback in Italian stocks," he said. "It's hard to say what's going to happen when the ball bounces off the flipper and into the corner."

One measure of the sharp swing in mood, Mr. Frigerio noted, was the shares of Unicredit, one of the largest Italian banks, were down by their daily limit of more than 7 percent before turning around to close 5 percent higher. In the same period, the spread between Italian and German 10-year bonds widened to 3.75 percentage points before shrinking to 3.15 points.

The recovery might have been related to market rumors that the European Central Bank had been buying the bonds of Italy and other countries that have come under pressure. "I can't say whether the E.C.B. was buying or not," Mr. Frigerio said. "What matters, for the speculators, is what you think happened."

David Jolly reported from Paris.


8) US & Canada
Bradley Manning visit limits 'break UN probe rules'

The US is violating UN rules by refusing unmonitored access to the Army private who is accused of passing secret documents to WikiLeaks, the UN's chief torture investigator has said.

UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said the US had has broken rules by insisting on monitoring conversations with Pte Bradley Manning.

Mr Mendez says he needs unrestricted access to Pte Manning to do his job.

Pte Manning, 23, is being held in a military prison awaiting trial.

The intelligence analyst, who joined the US Army in 2007, is accused of leaking 720,000 secret military and diplomatic US government documents.

They were later published by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

Advocates for government transparency have called for the released of Pte Manning, placing pressure on the US government.

'Unfettered access'
After being confined alone in a cell for 23 hours per day in a detention facility in Quantico in the state of Virginia, Pte Manning was transferred to Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas in April.

Mr Mendez said the US had told him Mr Manning was being treated better now than when he was in Quantico.

But the UN investigator said the US must allow him to determine whether the conditions at Quantico that Pte Manning experienced amounted to "torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".

"For that, it is imperative that I talk to Mr Manning under conditions where I can be assured that he is being absolutely candid," Mr Mendez said in a statement.

Mr Mendez said that because the US is a "strong supporter of the international human rights system", the country's actions "must seek to set the pace in good practices that enhance the role of human rights mechanisms, ensuring and maintaining unfettered access to detainees during enquiries".

Pentagon officials have previously said Pte Manning is being held in appropriate conditions considering the seriousness of the charges against him.

He has been charged with using unauthorised software on government computers to download classified information and to make intelligence available to "the enemy", as well as other counts related to leaking intelligence and theft of public records.


9) Monsanto and Gates Foundation Push GE Crops on Africa
by: Mike Ludwig
Truthout | Report
Tuesday 12 July 2011

"The World According to Monsanto," a groundbreaking documentary on this insidious company's massive influence, was a recent Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week. Get the DVD by making a donation of $30 or more to Truthout!

Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation's fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a "Trojan horse" to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program was launched in 2008 with a $47 million grant from mega-rich philanthropists Warrant Buffet and Bill Gates. The program is supposed to help farmers in several African countries increase their yields with drought- and heat-tolerant corn varieties, but a report released last month by the African Centre for Biosafety claims WEMA is threatening Africa's food sovereignty and opening new markets for agribusiness giants like Monsanto.

The Gates Foundation claims that biotechnology, GE crops and Western agricultural methods are needed to feed the world's growing population and programs like WEMA will help end poverty and hunger in the developing world. Critics say the foundation is using its billions to shape the global food agenda and the motivations behind WEMA were recently called into question when activists discovered the Gates foundation had spent $27.6 million on 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock between April and June 2010.

Water shortages in parts of Africa and beyond have created a market for "climate ready" crops worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Leading biotech companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow are currently racing to develop crops that will grow in drought conditions caused by climate change, and by participating in the WEMA program, Monsanto is gaining a leg up by establishing new markets and regulatory approvals for its patented transgenes in five Sub-Saharan African countries, according to the Centre's report.

Monsanto teamed up with BASF, another industrial giant, to donate technology and transgenes to WEMA and its partner organizations. Seed companies and researchers will receive the GE seed for free and small-scale farmers can plant the corn without making the royalty payments that Monsanto usually demands from farmers each season.

Monsanto is donating the seeds for now, but the company has a reputation for aggressively defending its patents. In the past, Monsanto has sued farmers for growing crops that cross-pollinated with Monsanto crops and became contaminated with the company's patented genetic codes.

In 2009, Monsanto and BASF discovered a gene in a bacterium that is believed to help plants like corn survive on less water and soon the companies developed a corn seed know as MON 87460. It remains unclear if MON 87460 will out-compete conventional drought-tolerant hybrids, but the United States Department of Agriculture could approve the corn for commercial use in the US as soon as July 11. Monsanto plans to make the seed available to American farmers by next year.

GE crops like MON 87460 can only be tested and sold in countries that, like the US, are friendly toward biotech agriculture. WEMA's target areas could add five countries to that list: South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique. The Biosafety Centre reports that WEMA's massive funding opportunities pressure politicians to pass weak biosafety laws and welcome GE crops and the agrichemical drenched growing systems that come with them. Field trials of MON 87460 and other drought-tolerant varieties are already underway in South Africa, where Monsanto already has considerable political influence. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are expected to begin field trials of WEMA corn varieties in 2011.

The agency that is implementing WEMA is the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a pro-biotechnology group funded completely by the US government's USAID program, the United Kingdom and the Buffet and Gates foundations. The AATF is a nonprofit charity that lobbies African governments and promotes partnerships between public groups and private companies to make agricultural technology available in Africa. The Biosafety Centre accuses the AATF of essentially being a front group for the US government, allowing USAID to "meddle" in African politics by promoting weak biosafety regulation that makes it easier for American corporations to export biotechnology to African countries.

WEMA and AATF swim in a myriad alphabet soup of NGOs and nonprofits propped up by Western nations and wealthy philanthropists that promote everything from fertilizer to food crops with enhanced nutritional content as solutions to world hunger. Together, these groups are promoting a Second Green Revolution and sparking a worldwide debate over the future of food production. The Gates Foundation alone has committed $1.7 billion to the effort to date.

There was nothing "green" about the first Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s. As population skyrocketed during the last century, multinationals pushed Western agriculture's fertilizers, irrigation, oil-thirsty machinery and pesticides on farmers in the developing world. Historians often point out that promoting industrial agriculture to keep developing countries well fed was crucial to the US effort to stop the spread of Soviet Communism.

The Second Green Revolution, which is focused on Africa, seeks to solve hunger problems with education, biotechnology, high-tech breeding, and other industrial agricultural methods popular in countries like the US, Brazil and Mexico.

Africa has landed in the center of a global food debate over a central question: with the world's growing population expected to reach nine billion by 2045, how will farmers feed everyone, especially those in developing countries? The lines of the debate are drawn. The Second Green Revolutionaries are now facing off with activists and researchers who doubt the West's petroleum and technology-based agricultural systems can sustainably feed the world.

The African Centre for Biosafety and its allies often point to a report recently released by IAASTD, a research group supported by the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization, and others. IAASTD found that industrial agriculture has been successful in its goal of increasing crop yields worldwide, but has caused environmental degradation and deforestation that disproportionately affects small farmers and poorer nations. Widespread use of pesticides and fertilizer, for instance, cause dead zones in coastal areas. Massive irrigation projects now account for 70 percent of water withdrawal globally and approximately 1.6 billion people live in water-scarce basins.

Increasing crop yields is the bottom line for groups like the Gates Foundation, but the IAASTD recommends that sustainability should be the goal. The report does not rule out biotechnology, but suggests high-tech agriculture is just one tool in the toolbox. The report promotes "agroecology," which seeks to replace the chemical and biochemical inputs of industrial agriculture with resources found in the natural environment.

In March, a UN expert released a report showing that small-scale farmers could double their food production in a decade with the simple agroecological methods. The report flies in the face of the Second Green Revolutionaries.

"Today's scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live - especially in unfavorable environments," said Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and author of the report. "Malawi, a country that launched a massive chemical fertilizer subsidy program a few years ago, is now implementing agroecology, benefiting more than 1.3 million of the poorest people, with maize yields increasing from 1 ton per hectare to 2 to 3 tons per hectare."

De Schutter said private companies like Monsanto will not invest in agroecology because it does not open new markets for agrichemicals or GE seeds, so it's up to governments and the public to support the switch to more sustainable agriculture. But with more than a billion dollars already spent, the Second Green Revolutionaries are determined to have a say in how the world grows its food, and agroecology is not on their agenda. To them, sustainability means bringing private innovation to the developing world. The Gates Foundation can donate billions to the fight against hunger, but when private companies like Monsanto stand to benefit, it makes feeding the world look like a for-profit scheme.


10) The Budget-Slashing Hysteria's Latest Victim: Legal Aid for the Poor
By Kat Aaron
Mother Jones
July 12, 2011

Legal assistance for the poor will take a huge hit under a proposal just released by the House Appropriations Committee, which aims to slash the budget of the Legal Services Corporation back to 1999 levels. Officials at LSC, which has been around for four decades and supports 136 independent legal-aid outposts all over America, knew big cuts were coming-the program was by no means exempt from DC's budget-slashing hysteria. But supporters were betting on losing $70 million, the figure proposed last year during budget negotiations.

The new proposal would take away $104 million-26 percent of the program's resources-at a time when demand is soaring. Legal-aid offices from Texas to Maine report that the need for their services already has been outstripping funding for years.

"Demand is just going to keep going up. People are still losing their jobs. People are still struggling to put food on the table. Foreclosures are still happening," says Cynthia Martinez, spokeswoman for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the state's largest legal-services agency. "Last year, we had to turn away half of the people that came to us because we just don't have the resources. And it's not like when we say no, the legal problems just go away."

You'll hear similar stories nationwide. "We know that in February we were only able to handle about 20 percent of the calls that were actually tracked on our voicemail system, in one office location," said Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Maine's largest legal-services provider. "And a lot of people don't even get through on the phones because they're busy."

More of those who do get through, Heald says, "are getting limited service rather than full representation, because we're trying to manage the demand with reduced staff." She has lost seven staffers since 2009. It's not just the federal cuts that are hurting these agencies. "We get foundations, we get individual donations, state grants, state funding. All of our funding sources are dropping," Heald adds.

In Texas, a bill providing $20 million for legal services was passed only after a major fight in the state legislature, and Gov. Rick Perry has yet to sign it. In Florida, renowned for its "rocket-docket" foreclosure courts, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill providing $1 million in funding for legal aid, despite broad bipartisan support.

Another key funding source for legal services comes through interest on lawyers' trust accounts. When a lawyer wins a cash settlement for a client, the money often goes into a pooled account before it's paid out. The interest on that money is used to support civil legal services. But with interest rates plummeting, that revenue source has also been gutted.

Already, the legal-aid nonprofits supported by the LSC are slated to lose a total of 445 staff members, including 200 lawyers, by the end of 2011, according to a survey of the groups. Last year, 63 million people-an all-time high-qualified for their help, an increase of 11 percent from the year before. "This is not the time to undercut the fundamental American commitment to equal justice for all," says Legal Services president James Sandman.

"There is never a convenient time to make tough decisions," counters Frank Wolf, chair of the House subcommittee responsible for the LSC's budget. "But the longer we put off fixing the problem, the worse the medicine will be...The bill represents our best take on matching needs with scarce resources."

Heald says she understands the need to cut spending, but explains that legal services has a "preventive effect" that actually saves money for the states. Housing a family in a homeless shelter in Maine for just two or three weeks is five to ten times more expensive than supporting a lawyer who can help keep the family in stable housing, she says. "And that's just the cost of the shelter nights, and not the cost on all the other supportive systems a family might need."

"I think it's important to have the full picture, and not to see just part of it," she adds.

For now, the hopes of the legal aid community hinge on the Senate. "We're hopeful that things will continue to be okay, and we're not going to face these major cuts," said Linda Perle, director of legal services at the DC-based Center for Law and Social Policy. "But that might just be wishful thinking."

If the proposed cuts do take effect, the LSC estimates that 235,000 people eligible for help will be turned away. And that will have a direct impact on vulnerable Americans, Rodriguez says.

"It means that more people won't have the support they need," she says, "to assert their rights in desperate situations."

Kat Aaron is a project editor at the Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington, DC.


11) Not Satisfied, Protesters Return to Tahrir Square
July 12, 2011

CAIRO - Past a battered Fiat displaying T-shirts on its hood with the words "I am free," and a little way from a vendor hawking roasted sweet potatoes wrapped in membership applications for the former ruling party, a sign hangs from a tent in Tahrir Square that says something about the pride, regret and hope of Egypt's revolution.

"Our mistake," it declares, "is that we left the square."

Eighteen days of protests here reached a climax on Feb. 11, a moment celebrated across the Arab world, when the crumbling government of President Hosni Mubarak finally gave way. Now, in a summer of discontent, thousands of protesters have returned to the square, and after midnight on Tuesday, as on many recent nights, they offered a rebuttal to the idea that a revolution is a moment.

Egypt is a turbulent place these days, as is the Arab world it once led. Defiant, festive and messy scenes unfold at night in a square that is at once a place and an idea. Revolutions are about expectations, and everywhere in Egypt, it seems, expectations - about who should rule, how they should rule and who should decide the way they rule - have not been met.

"Sit-in! Sit-in!" young men shouted. "A sit-in until the regime is put on trial."

"We have a feeling the regime is still there, somehow," said Tarek Geddawy, 25, a musician, who returned to the square on Friday and has stayed since then. "They sacrificed the icons of the regime, but the cornerstone is still there."

From a cluster of tents, a song by an Egyptian icon of another age, Abdel-Halim Hafez, played from a loudspeaker, seeming to echo Mr. Geddawy's words.

"If the world falls asleep, I will keep my guard up," the song goes. "My weapon in my hand, day and night awake, telling revolutionaries that our enemy can't be trusted."

Even in its reincarnation, Tahrir Square has kept the ebullience of months past. Artists like Nour Ramadan painted Egyptian flags on tired faces, charging a dollar or so. Musicians like Cairokee took the stage, giving way at 1 a.m. to impromptu poetry, oud recitals, children's a cappella songs and Arabic rap that denounced American and Israeli policies in the same riff with calls for speedier trials of Mr. Mubarak and his men.

But a unity of purpose has given way to a multiplicity of demands, mirroring the divides that trouble Egypt's political life these days. Debates rage over the timing of elections, the power of Islamists, the weakness of civilian rulers and the lack of accountability of their military counterparts, who suggested on Tuesday, in a seeming concession to protesters, that they would help protect civil liberties in the drafting of a new constitution.

The iconic slogan - "People want to topple the regime" - has given rise to endless corollaries, even among the largely secular crowd here. In any gaggle of youths, "the regime" was replaced with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf; the military council; and the corruption that seems a synonym for decades of misrule.

In the revolutionary fervor of February, Tahrir Square was a liberated enclave in an authoritarian country, an imagined community of sorts. Now it is Egypt itself, the distilled scene of all the fights and struggles, debates and fears that will decide its future.

"The revolution has informed people of the meaning of politics," said Abdel-Aziz Moussa, a 25-year-old dentist. "We all know when we're being played now."

In that, he captured a microcosm of the square today that stands as perhaps the revolution's most remarkable legacy. For so long, Arab leaders endured despite their relentless repression, colossal mismanagement or subservience to the West, because they managed to depoliticize their populations, often by force. But today, everyone in the square seemed to talk politics, with skepticism and critique.

"We changed, and they didn't," Ayman Abu Zeid, a 25-year-old doctor, said of the old government. He slept under tanks parked in Tahrir Square in February, blocking their way in case they tried to assault the protesters, and now he is in the square again. "Nobody is going to go back home," he added. "No one."

As a phrase, "the Arab spring" may never have captured what has unfolded this year. Libya is a civil war, Syria depressingly bloody. Bahrain was manipulated into a sectarian formula, and Yemen wrestled with the remarkable obstinacy of its leader. But it does suggest what the events meant for politics in nearly all those places, rejuvenating societies.

Under a large tent in the square, a collection of lean-tos bear the names of, by one activist's count, 42 different groups. There is the Tomorrow Party, Youth of Tahrir Square, the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Alliance of Revolutionary Forces, the Party of the Democratic Front and, somewhat poetically, the Movement of the Beginning.

At 4 a.m., debates raged over a white loudspeaker: should protesters besiege the Mugamma, a behemoth of Egyptian bureaucracy in the square, or march on a building housing the cabinet? Youths warned one another of American and Saudi intentions to undermine the revolution. Others worried about the power of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest Islamic group. One insisted that the military council should dissolve.

"If it does," another said angrily, "don't ever cry again: 'Help us! Help us!' "

At dawn, Julia Milad, 33, a real estate agent, ambled past tents strewn with trash. The square has become as untidy as the politics, and in an arena filled with uncertain intentions - of the military, of a feared shadow state, of the Muslim Brotherhood - Ms. Milad insisted that the legitimacy that eluded occupiers and dictators, strongmen and monarchs for so long in Egypt now rested with the protesters. It is a point even the military council seems to acknowledge.

"We're the revolution, and revolutionary legitimacy is stronger than the power of the government, the power of the army, and the power of any other institution in society," she said. "Revolutionary legitimacy is there in every square in Egypt."

Long after the morning call to prayer on Tuesday, as streetlights switched off and clouds moved over the square, a couple in gown and tie joined protesters to celebrate their wedding. Nour Ramadan painted their faces, this time without charge. Protesters snapped shots with their cellphones. Others greeted the couple with boisterous chants. "Let's go, everyone, to Tahrir," they cried. "Tomorrow is the revolution of change."

They passed displays of newspapers heralding the protesters' anger at a prime minister they once claimed as their own.

"Tahrir Calls for Sharaf's Resignation," said one front page. "Tahrir Square Rejects Sharaf's Speech," declared another. One celebrated "the youth of the revolution," a phrase that may, like Tahrir Square, suggest foremost an idea.


12) Task Force Recommends Improvements for Nuclear Plants
July 12, 2011

WASHINGTON - The Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns show that it is time for "redefining the level of protection that is regarded as adequate" at American nuclear plants, a special task force of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded.

The task force recommendations were to be released Wednesday, but a copy of the summary was obtained Tuesday evening by The New York Times.

It lays out numerous areas for improvement, based on the experience in Japan after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. American plants need to plan for simultaneous accidents at adjacent reactors, something they have never done, the task force said.

They also need to make sure that the "hardened vents" added to reactors over the years to prevent hydrogen explosions would actually work in an emergency, the report said, and determine where hydrogen, which is produced by overheated fuel, might flow. Japanese operators had trouble using the vents, resulting in the explosions in the secondary containments.

Some of the improvements the industry voluntarily adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks have not been regularly inspected or maintained, the report said. Those should be inspected using the more "formal" procedures that are in place for the plants' original safety equipment, the task force recommended.

And plants should have a better way to add water to spent fuel pools and monitor conditions in those pools, the task force said.

Fukushima focused new attention on spent fuel pools, which usually have more radioactive materials in them than the reactors do. In desperation, the Japanese used water cannons to refill them.

Even now, the task force wrote, there was uncertainty about what happened at Fukushima, and information was "unavailable, unreliable or ambiguous because of damage to equipment at the site and because the Japanese response continues to focus on actions to stop the ongoing radioactive release."

The five-member commission is scheduled to meet next week to consider the work of the task force, which it considers a quick, first look at the Fukushima disaster's relevance to reactors in the United States.


13) Why Are Your Tax Dollars Funding Secret CIA Prisons in Somalia?
By Jeremy Scahill, The Nation
Posted on July 13, 2011, Printed on July 14, 2011

The following article first appeared on the Web site of The Nation. For more great content from the Nation, sign up for their e-mail newsletters here.

Nestled in a back corner of Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport is a sprawling walled compound run by the Central Intelligence Agency. Set on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the facility looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen buildings behind large protective walls and secured by guard towers at each of its four corners. Adjacent to the compound are eight large metal hangars, and the CIA has its own aircraft at the airport. The site, which airport officials and Somali intelligence sources say was completed four months ago, is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access. At the facility, the CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted "combat" operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.

As part of its expanding counterterrorism program in Somalia, the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia's National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shabab members or of having links to the group are held. Some of the prisoners have been snatched off the streets of Kenya and rendered by plane to Mogadishu. While the underground prison is officially run by the Somali NSA, US intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners. The existence of both facilities and the CIA role was uncovered by The Nation during an extensive on-the-ground investigation in Mogadishu. Among the sources who provided information for this story are senior Somali intelligence officials; senior members of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG); former prisoners held at the underground prison; and several well-connected Somali analysts and militia leaders, some of whom have worked with US agents, including those from the CIA. A US official, who confirmed the existence of both sites, told The Nation, "It makes complete sense to have a strong counterterrorism partnership" with the Somali government.

The CIA presence in Mogadishu is part of Washington's intensifying counterterrorism focus on Somalia, which includes targeted strikes by US Special Operations forces, drone attacks and expanded surveillance operations. The US agents "are here full time," a senior Somali intelligence official told me. At times, he said, there are as many as thirty of them in Mogadishu, but he stressed that those working with the Somali NSA do not conduct operations; rather, they advise and train Somali agents. "In this environment, it's very tricky. They want to help us, but the situation is not allowing them to do [it] however they want. They are not in control of the politics, they are not in control of the security," he adds. "They are not controlling the environment like Afghanistan and Iraq. In Somalia, the situation is fluid, the situation is changing, personalities changing."

According to well-connected Somali sources, the CIA is reluctant to deal directly with Somali political leaders, who are regarded by US officials as corrupt and untrustworthy. Instead, the United States has Somali intelligence agents on its payroll. Somali sources with knowledge of the program described the agents as lining up to receive $200 monthly cash payments from Americans. "They support us in a big way financially," says the senior Somali intelligence official. "They are the largest [funder] by far."

According to former detainees, the underground prison, which is staffed by Somali guards, consists of a long corridor lined with filthy small cells infested with bedbugs and mosquitoes. One said that when he arrived in February, he saw two white men wearing military boots, combat trousers, gray tucked-in shirts and black sunglasses. The former prisoners described the cells as windowless and the air thick, moist and disgusting. Prisoners, they said, are not allowed outside. Many have developed rashes and scratch themselves incessantly. Some have been detained for a year or more. According to one former prisoner, inmates who had been there for long periods would pace around constantly, while others leaned against walls rocking.

A Somali who was arrested in Mogadishu and taken to the prison told The Nation that he was held in a windowless underground cell. Among the prisoners he met during his time there was a man who held a Western passport (he declined to identify the man's nationality). Some of the prisoners told him they were picked up in Nairobi and rendered on small aircraft to Mogadishu, where they were handed over to Somali intelligence agents. Once in custody, according to the senior Somali intelligence official and former prisoners, some detainees are freely interrogated by US and French agents. "Our goal is to please our partners, so we get more [out] of them, like any relationship," said the Somali intelligence official in describing the policy of allowing foreign agents, including from the CIA, to interrogate prisoners. The Americans, according to the Somali official, operate unilaterally in the country, while the French agents are embedded within the African Union force known as AMISOM.

Among the men believed to be held in the secret underground prison is Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, a 25- or 26-year-old Kenyan citizen who disappeared from the congested Somali slum of Eastleigh in Nairobi around July 2009. After he went missing, Hassan's family retained Mbugua Mureithi, a well-known Kenyan human rights lawyer, who filed a habeas petition on his behalf. The Kenyan government responded that Hassan was not being held in Kenya and said it had no knowledge of his whereabouts. His fate remained a mystery until this spring, when another man who had been held in the Mogadishu prison contacted Clara Gutteridge, a veteran human rights investigator with the British legal organization Reprieve, and told her he had met Hassan in the prison. Hassan, he said, had told him how Kenyan police had knocked down his door, snatched him and taken him to a secret location in Nairobi. The next night, Hassan had said, he was rendered to Mogadishu.

According to the former fellow prisoner, Hassan told him that his captors took him to Wilson Airport: "'They put a bag on my head, Guantánamo style. They tied my hands behind my back and put me on a plane. In the early hours we landed in Mogadishu. The way I realized I was in Mogadishu was because of the smell of the sea-the runway is just next to the seashore. The plane lands and touches the sea. They took me to this prison, where I have been up to now. I have been here for one year, seven months. I have been interrogated so many times. Interrogated by Somali men and white men. Every day. New faces show up. They have nothing on me. I have never seen a lawyer, never seen an outsider. Only other prisoners, interrogators, guards. Here there is no court or tribunal.'"

After meeting the man who had spoken with Hassan in the underground prison, Gutteridge began working with Hassan's Kenyan lawyers to determine his whereabouts. She says he has never been charged or brought before a court. "Hassan's abduction from Nairobi and rendition to a secret prison in Somalia bears all the hallmarks of a classic US rendition operation," she says. The US official interviewed for this article denied the CIA had rendered Hassan but said, "The United States provided information which helped get Hassan-a dangerous terrorist-off the street." Human Rights Watch and Reprieve have documented that Kenyan security and intelligence forces have facilitated scores of renditions for the US and other governments, including eighty-five people rendered to Somalia in 2007 alone. Gutteridge says the director of the Mogadishu prison told one of her sources that Hassan had been targeted in Nairobi because of intelligence suggesting he was the "right-hand man" of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, at the time a leader of Al Qaeda in East Africa. Nabhan, a Kenyan citizen of Yemeni descent, was among the top suspects sought for questioning by US authorities over his alleged role in the coordinated 2002 attacks on a tourist hotel and an Israeli aircraft in Mombasa, Kenya, and possible links to the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

An intelligence report leaked by the Kenyan Anti-Terrorist Police Unit in October 2010 alleged that Hassan, a "former personal assistant to Nabhan...was injured while fighting near the presidential palace in Mogadishu in 2009." The authenticity of the report cannot be independently confirmed, though Hassan did have a leg amputated below the knee, according to his former fellow prisoner in Mogadishu.

Two months after Hassan was allegedly rendered to the secret Mogadishu prison, Nabhan, the man believed to be his Al Qaeda boss, was killed in the first known targeted killing operation in Somalia authorized by President Obama. On September 14, 2009, a team from the elite US counterterrorism force, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), took off by helicopters from a US Navy ship off Somalia's coast and penetrated Somali airspace. In broad daylight, in an operation code-named Celestial Balance, they gunned down Nabhan's convoy from the air. JSOC troops then landed and collected at least two of the bodies, including Nabhan's.

Hassan's lawyers are preparing to file a habeas petition on his behalf in US courts. "Hassan's case suggests that the US may be involved in a decentralized, out-sourced Guantánamo Bay in central Mogadishu," his legal team asserted in a statement to The Nation. "Mr. Hassan must be given the opportunity to challenge both his rendition and continued detention as a matter of urgency. The US must urgently confirm exactly what has been done to Mr. Hassan, why he is being held, and when he will be given a fair hearing."

Gutteridge, who has worked extensively tracking the disappearances of terror suspects in Kenya, was deported from Kenya on May 11.

The underground prison where Hassan is allegedly being held is housed in the same building once occupied by Somalia's infamous National Security Service (NSS) during the military regime of Siad Barre, who ruled from 1969 to 1991. The former prisoner who met Hassan there said he saw an old NSS sign outside. During Barre's regime, the notorious basement prison and interrogation center, which sits behind the presidential palace in Mogadishu, was a staple of the state's apparatus of repression. It was referred to as Godka, "The Hole."

"The bunker is there, and that's where the intelligence agency does interrogate people," says Abdirahman "Aynte" Ali, a Somali analyst who has researched the Shabab and Somali security forces. "When CIA and other intelligence agencies-who actually are in Mogadishu-want to interrogate those people, they usually just do that." Somali officials "start the interrogation, but then foreign intelligence agencies eventually do their own interrogation as well, the Americans and the French." The US official said that US agents' "debriefing" prisoners in the facility has "been done on only rare occasions" and always jointly with Somali agents.

Some prisoners, like Hassan, were allegedly rendered from Nairobi, while in other cases, according to Aynte, "the US and other intelligence agencies have notified the Somali intelligence agency that some people, some suspects, people who have been in contact with the leadership of Al Shabab, are on their way to Mogadishu on a [commercial] plane, and to essentially be at the airport for those people. Catch them, interrogate them."

* * *

In the eighteen years since the infamous "Black Hawk Down" incident in Mogadishu, US policy on Somalia has been marked by neglect, miscalculation and failed attempts to use warlords to build indigenous counterterrorism capacity, many of which have backfired dramatically. At times, largely because of abuses committed by Somali militias the CIA has supported, US policy has strengthened the hand of the very groups it purports to oppose and inadvertently aided the rise of militant groups, including the Shabab. Many Somalis viewed the Islamic movement known as the Islamic Courts Union, which defeated the CIA's warlords in Mogadishu in 2006, as a stabilizing, albeit ruthless, force. The ICU was dismantled in a US-backed Ethiopian invasion in 2007. Over the years, a series of weak Somali administrations have been recognized by the United States and other powers as Somalia's legitimate government. Ironically, its current president is a former leader of the ICU.

Today, Somali government forces control roughly thirty square miles of territory in Mogadishu thanks in large part to the US-funded and -armed 9,000-member AMISOM force. Much of the rest of the city is under the control of the Shabab or warlords. Outgunned, the Shabab has increasingly relied on the linchpins of asymmetric warfare-suicide bombings, roadside bombs and targeted assassinations. The militant group has repeatedly shown that it can strike deep in the heart of its enemies' territory. On June 9, in one of its most spectacular suicide attacks to date, the Shabab assassinated the Somali government's minister of interior affairs and national security, Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan Farah, who was attacked in his residence by his niece. The girl, whom the minister was putting through university, blew herself up and fatally wounded her uncle. He died hours later in the hospital. Farah was the fifth Somali minister killed by the Shabab in the past two years and the seventeenth official assassinated since 2006. Among the suicide bombers the Shabab has deployed were at least three US citizens of Somali descent; at least seven other Americans have died fighting alongside the Shabab, a fact that has not gone unnoticed in Washington or Mogadishu.

During his confirmation hearings in June to become the head of the US Special Operations Command, Vice Admiral William McRaven said, "From my standpoint as a former JSOC commander, I can tell you we were looking very hard" at Somalia. McRaven said that in order to expand successful "kinetic strikes" there, the United States will have to increase its use of drones as well as on-the-ground intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. "Any expansion of manpower is going to have to come with a commensurate expansion of the enablers," McRaven declared. The expanding US counterterrorism program in Mogadishu appears to be part of that effort.

In an interview with The Nation in Mogadishu, Abdulkadir Moallin Noor, the minister of state for the presidency, confirmed that US agents "are working with our intelligence" and "giving them training." Regarding the US counterterrorism effort, Noor said bluntly, "We need more; otherwise, the terrorists will take over the country."

It is unclear how much control, if any, Somalia's internationally recognized president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, has over this counterterrorism force or if he is even fully briefed on its operations. The CIA personnel and other US intelligence agents "do not bother to be in touch with the political leadership of the country. And that says a lot about the intentions," says Aynte. "Essentially, the CIA seems to be operating, doing the foreign policy of the United States. You should have had State Department people doing foreign policy, but the CIA seems to be doing it across the country."

While the Somali officials interviewed for this story said the CIA is the lead US agency on the Mogadishu counterterrorism program, they also indicated that US military intelligence agents are at times involved. When asked if they are from JSOC or the Defense Intelligence Agency, the senior Somali intelligence official responded, "We don't know. They don't tell us."

In April Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali man the United States alleged had links to the Shabab, was captured by JSOC forces in the Gulf of Aden. He was held incommunicado on a US Navy vessel for more than two months; in July he was transferred to New York and indicted on terrorism charges. Warsame's case ignited a legal debate over the Obama administration's policies on capturing and detaining terror suspects, particularly in light of the widening counterterrorism campaigns in Somalia and Yemen.

On June 23 the United States reportedly carried out a drone strike against alleged Shabab members near Kismayo, 300 miles from the Somali capital. As with the Nabhan operation, a JSOC team swooped in on helicopters and reportedly snatched the bodies of those killed and wounded. The men were taken to an undisclosed location. On July 6 three more US strikes reportedly targeted Shabab training camps in the same area. Somali analysts warned that if the US bombings cause civilian deaths, as they have in the past, they could increase support for the Shabab. Asked in an interview with The Nation in Mogadishu if US drone strikes strengthen or weaken his government, President Sharif replied, "Both at the same time. For our sovereignty, it's not good to attack a sovereign country. That's the negative part. The positive part is you're targeting individuals who are criminals."

A week after the June 23 strike, President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, described an emerging US strategy that would focus not on "deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us." Brennan singled out the Shabab, saying, "From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States," adding, "We cannot and we will not let down our guard. We will continue to pummel Al Qaeda and its ilk."

While the United States appears to be ratcheting up both its rhetoric and its drone strikes against the Shabab, it has thus far been able to strike only in rural areas outside Mogadishu. These operations have been isolated and infrequent, and Somali analysts say they have failed to disrupt the Shabab's core leadership, particularly in Mogadishu.

In a series of interviews in Mogadishu, several of the country's recognized leaders, including President Sharif, called on the US government to quickly and dramatically increase its assistance to the Somali military in the form of training, equipment and weapons. Moreover, they argue that without viable civilian institutions, Somalia will remain ripe for terrorist groups that can further destabilize not only Somalia but the region. "I believe that the US should help the Somalis to establish a government that protects civilians and its people," Sharif said.

In the battle against the Shabab, the United States does not, in fact, appear to have cast its lot with the Somali government. The emerging US strategy on Somalia-borne out in stated policy, expanded covert presence and funding plans-is two-pronged: On the one hand, the CIA is training, paying and at times directing Somali intelligence agents who are not firmly under the control of the Somali government, while JSOC conducts unilateral strikes without the prior knowledge of the government; on the other, the Pentagon is increasing its support for and arming of the counterterrorism operations of non-Somali African military forces.

A draft of a defense spending bill approved in late June by the Senate Armed Services Committee would authorize more than $75 million in US counterterrorism assistance aimed at fighting the Shabab and Al Qaeda in Somalia. The bill, however, did not authorize additional funding for Somalia's military, as the country's leaders have repeatedly asked. Instead, the aid package would dramatically increase US arming and financing of AMISOM's forces, particularly from Uganda and Burundi, as well as the militaries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia. The Somali military, the committee asserted, is unable to "exercise control of its territory."

That makes it all the more ironic that perhaps the greatest tactical victory won in recent years in Somalia was delivered not by AMISOM, the CIA or JSOC but by members of a Somali militia fighting as part of the government's chaotic local military. And it was a pure accident.

Late in the evening on June 7, a man whose South African passport identified him as Daniel Robinson was in the passenger seat of a Toyota SUV driving on the outskirts of Mogadishu when his driver, a Kenyan national, missed a turn and headed straight toward a checkpoint manned by Somali forces. A firefight broke out, and the two men inside the car were killed. The Somali forces promptly looted the laptops, cellphones, documents, weapons and $40,000 in cash they found in the car, according to the senior Somali intelligence official.

Upon discovering that the men were foreigners, the Somali NSA launched an investigation and recovered the items that had been looted. "There was a lot of English and Arabic stuff, papers," recalls the Somali intelligence official, containing "very tactical stuff" that appeared to be linked to Al Qaeda, including "two senior people communicating." The Somali agents "realized it was an important man" and informed the CIA in Mogadishu. The men's bodies were taken to the NSA. The Americans took DNA samples and fingerprints and flew them to Nairobi for processing.

Within hours, the United States confirmed that Robinson was in fact Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a top leader of Al Qaeda in East Africa and its chief liaison with the Shabab. Fazul, a twenty-year veteran of Al Qaeda, had been indicted by the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings and was on the FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorists" list. A JSOC attempt to kill him in a January 2007 airstrike resulted in the deaths of at least seventy nomads in rural Somalia, and he had been underground ever since. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Fazul's death "a significant blow to Al Qaeda, its extremist allies and its operations in East Africa. It is a just end for a terrorist who brought so much death and pain to so many innocents."

At its facilities in Mogadishu, the CIA and its Somali NSA agents continue to pore over the materials recovered from Fazul's car, which served as a mobile headquarters. Some deleted and encrypted files were recovered and decoded by US agents. The senior Somali intelligence official said that the intelligence may prove more valuable on a tactical level than the cache found in Osama bin Laden's house in Pakistan, especially in light of the increasing US focus on East Africa. The Americans, he said, were "unbelievably grateful"; he hopes it means they will take Somalia's forces more seriously and provide more support.

But the United States continues to wage its campaign against the Shabab primarily by funding the AMISOM forces, which are not conducting their mission with anything resembling surgical precision. Instead, over the past several months the AMISOM forces in Mogadishu have waged a merciless campaign of indiscriminate shelling of Shabab areas, some of which are heavily populated by civilians. While AMISOM regularly puts out press releases boasting of gains against the Shabab and the retaking of territory, the reality paints a far more complicated picture.

Throughout the areas AMISOM has retaken is a honeycomb of underground tunnels once used by Shabab fighters to move from building to building. By some accounts, the tunnels stretch continuously for miles. Leftover food, blankets and ammo cartridges lay scattered near "pop-up" positions once used by Shabab snipers and guarded by sandbags-all that remain of guerrilla warfare positions. Not only have the Shabab fighters been cleared from the aboveground areas; the civilians that once resided there have been cleared too. On several occasions in late June, AMISOM forces fired artillery from their airport base at the Bakaara market, where whole neighborhoods are totally abandoned. Houses lie in ruins and animals wander aimlessly, chewing trash. In some areas, bodies have been hastily buried in trenches with dirt barely masking the remains. On the side of the road in one former Shabab neighborhood, a decapitated corpse lay just meters from a new government checkpoint.

In late June the Pentagon approved plans to send $45 million worth of military equipment to Uganda and Burundi, the two major forces in the AMISOM operation. Among the new items are four small Raven surveillance drones, night-vision and communications equipment and other surveillance gear, all of which augur a more targeted campaign. Combined with the attempt to build an indigenous counterterrorism force at the Somali NSA, a new US counterterrorism strategy is emerging.

But according to the senior Somali intelligence official, who works directly with the US agents, the CIA-led program in Mogadishu has brought few tangible gains. "So far what we have not seen is the results in terms of the capacity of the [Somali] agency," says the official. He conceded that neither US nor Somali forces have been able to conduct a single successful targeted mission in the Shabab's areas in the capital. In late 2010, according to the official, US-trained Somali agents conducted an operation in a Shabab area that failed terribly and resulted in several of them being killed. "There was an attempt, but it was a haphazard one," he recalls. They have not tried another targeted operation in Shabab-controlled territory since.

Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who reports frequently for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!, has spent extensive time reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is currently a Puffin Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His writing and reporting is available at


14) Utility Shelves Ambitious Plan to Limit Carbon
"Company officials, who plan an announcement on Thursday, said they were dropping the larger, $668 million project because they did not believe state regulators would let the company recover its costs by charging customers, thus leaving it no compelling regulatory or business reason to continue the program."
July 13, 2011

WASHINGTON - A major American utility is shelving the nation's most prominent effort to capture carbon dioxide from an existing coal-burning power plant, dealing a severe blow to efforts to rein in emissions responsible for global warming.

American Electric Power has decided to table plans to build a full-scale carbon-capture plant at Mountaineer, a 31-year-old coal-fired plant in West Virginia, where the company has successfully captured and buried carbon dioxide in a small pilot program for two years.

The technology had been heralded as the quickest solution to help the coal industry weather tougher federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. But Congressional inaction on climate change diminished the incentives that had spurred A.E.P. to take the leap.

Company officials, who plan an announcement on Thursday, said they were dropping the larger, $668 million project because they did not believe state regulators would let the company recover its costs by charging customers, thus leaving it no compelling regulatory or business reason to continue the program.

The federal Department of Energy had pledged to cover half the cost, but A.E.P. said it was unwilling to spend the remainder in a political climate that had changed strikingly since it began the project.

"We are placing the project on hold until economic and policy conditions create a viable path forward," said Michael G. Morris, chairman of American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, one of the largest operators of coal-fired generating plants in the United States. He said his company and other coal-burning utilities were caught in a quandary: they need to develop carbon-capture technology to meet any future greenhouse-gas emissions rules, but they cannot afford the projects without federal standards that will require them to act and will persuade the states to allow reimbursement.

The decision could set back for years efforts to learn how best to capture carbon emissions that result from burning fossil fuels and then inject them deep under-ground to keep them from accumulating in the atmosphere and heating the planet. The procedure, formally known as carbon capture and sequestration or C.C.S., offers the best current technology for taming greenhouse-gas emissions from traditional fuels burned at existing plants.

The abandonment of the A.E.P. plant comes in response to a string of reversals for federal climate change policy. President Obama spent his first year in office pushing a goal of an 80 percent reduction in climate-altering emissions by 2050, a target that could be met only with widespread adoption of carbon-capture and storage at coal plants around the country. The administration's stimulus package provided billions of dollars to speed development of the technology; the climate change bill passed by the House in 2009 would have provided tens of billions of dollars in additional incentives for what industry calls "clean coal."

But all such efforts collapsed last year with the Republican takeover of the House and the continuing softness in the economy, which killed any appetite for far-reaching environmental measures.

A senior Obama administration official said that the A.E.P. decision was a direct result of the political stalemate.

"This is what happens when you don't get a climate bill," the official said, insisting on anonymity to discuss a corporate decision that had not yet been publicly announced.

At the Energy Department, Charles McConnell, the acting assistant secretary of energy for fossil energy, said no carbon legislation was near and unless there was a place to sell the carbon dioxide, utilities would have great difficulties in justifying the expense. "You could have the debate all day long about whether people are enlightened about whether carbon dioxide should be sequestered," he said. But, he added, "it's not a situation that is going to promote investment."

His department has pledged more than $3 billion to other industrial plants to encourage the capture of carbon dioxide for sale to oil drillers, who use it to more easily get crude out of wells.

The West Virginia project was one of the most advanced and successful in the world. "While the coal industry's commitment and ability to develop this technology on a large scale was always uncertain, the continued pollution from old-style, coal-fired power plants will certainly be damaging to the environment without the installation of carbon capture and other pollution control updates," said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, co-author of the House climate bill. "A.E.P., the American coal industry and the Republicans who blocked help for this technology have done our economy and energy workers a disservice by likely ceding the development of carbon-capture technology to countries like China."

A.E.P., which serves five million customers in 11 states, operated a pilot-scale capture plant at its Mountaineer generating station in New Haven, W.Va., on the Ohio River, from 2009 until May of this year. But the company plans to announce on Thursday that it will complete early engineering studies and then will suspend the project indefinitely.

Public service commissions of both West Virginia and Virginia turned down the company's request for full reimbursement for the pilot plant. West Virginia said earlier this year that the cost should have been shared among all the states where A.E.P. does business; Virginia hinted last July that it should have been paid for by all utilities around the United States, since a successful project would benefit all of them.

Five years ago, when global warming ranked higher on the national political agenda, the consensus was that this decade would be one of research and demonstration in new technologies. A comprehensive 2007 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that global coal use was inevitable and that the ensuing few years should be used to quickly find ways to burn the cheap, abundant fuel cleanly. But with the demise of the Mountaineer project, the United States, the largest historic emitter of global warming gases, now appears to have made little progress solving the problem.

Robert H. Socolow, an engineering professor at Princeton and the co-director of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative there, said he was encouraged that some chemical factories and other industries were working on carbon capture without government incentives.

Mr. Socolow, the co-author of an influential 2004 paper that identified carbon capture as one of the critical technologies needed to slow global warming, said that there was a trap ahead. "Lull yourself into believing that there is no climate problem, or that there is lots of time to fix it, and the policy driver dissolves," he said in an e-mail. He added that for companies like A.E.P., "business wants to be ahead of the curve, but not a lap ahead."


15) To Track Militants, U.S. Has System That Never Forgets a Face
"With little notice and only occasional complaints, the American military and local authorities have been engaged in an ambitious effort to record biometric identifying information on a remarkable number of people in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly men of fighting age. Information about more than 1.5 million Afghans has been put in databases operated by American, NATO and local forces. While that is one of every 20 Afghan residents, it is the equivalent of roughly one of every six males of fighting age, ages 15 to 64. In Iraq, an even larger number of people, and a larger percentage of the population, have been registered. Data have been gathered on roughly 2.2 million Iraqis, or one in every 14 citizens - and the equivalent of one in four males of fighting age. ...While the systems are attractive to American law enforcement agencies, there is serious legal and political opposition to imposing routine collection on American citizens. ...Defense Department spending on biometrics programs is enormous, set at $3.5 billion for the 2007 through 2015 fiscal years, according to the Government Accountability Office."
July 13, 2011

WASHINGTON - When the Taliban dug an elaborate tunnel system beneath the largest prison in southern Afghanistan this spring, they set off a scramble to catch the 475 inmates who escaped.

One thing made it easier. Just a month before the April jailbreak, Afghan officials, using technology provided by the United States, recorded eye scans, fingerprints and facial images of each militant and criminal detainee in the giant Sarposa Prison.

Within days of the breakout, about 35 escapees were recaptured at internal checkpoints and border crossings; they were returned to prison after their identities were confirmed by biometric files.

One escapee was seized during a routine traffic stop less than two miles from his home village. Another was recaptured at a local recruiting station where he was trying to infiltrate Afghan security forces.

With little notice and only occasional complaints, the American military and local authorities have been engaged in an ambitious effort to record biometric identifying information on a remarkable number of people in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly men of fighting age.

Information about more than 1.5 million Afghans has been put in databases operated by American, NATO and local forces. While that is one of every 20 Afghan residents, it is the equivalent of roughly one of every six males of fighting age, ages 15 to 64.

In Iraq, an even larger number of people, and a larger percentage of the population, have been registered. Data have been gathered on roughly 2.2 million Iraqis, or one in every 14 citizens - and the equivalent of one in four males of fighting age.

To get the information, soldiers and police officers take digital scans of eyes, photographs of the face, and fingerprints. In Iraq and Afghanistan, all detainees and prisoners must submit to such scrutiny. But so do local residents who apply for a government job, in particular those with the security forces and the police and at American installations. A citizen in Afghanistan or Iraq would almost have to spend every minute in a home village and never seek government services to avoid ever crossing paths with a biometric system.

What is different from traditional fingerprinting is that the government can scan through millions of digital files in a matter of seconds, even at remote checkpoints, using hand-held devices distributed widely across the security forces.

While the systems are attractive to American law enforcement agencies, there is serious legal and political opposition to imposing routine collection on American citizens.

Various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have discussed biometric scanning, and many have even spent money on hand-held devices. But the proposed uses are much more limited, with questions being raised about constitutional rights of privacy and protection from warrantless searches.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, there are some complaints - but rarely on grounds recognizable to Americans as civil liberties issues.

Afghanistan, in particular, is a nation with no legacy of birth certificates, driver's licenses or social security numbers, and where there is a thriving black market in forged national identity papers. Some Afghans are concerned that in the future the growing biometric database could be abused as a weapon of ethnic, tribal or political retaliation - a census of any particular group's adversaries. Even Afghan officials who support the program want to take it over themselves, and not have the Americans do it.

"To be sure, there must be sound and responsible policies and oversight regarding enrollment and the storage, use and sharing of private individual data," said Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, commander of the military's new Rule of Law Field Force in Afghanistan.

But he stressed that biometric systems "can combat fraud and corruption, place law enforcement on a sounder evidentiary footing, and greatly improve security."

Instant, computerized iris scans as a tool of population control used to be the monopoly of science fiction films. Even real-world use of biometric identification technologies overseas was for years reserved for the intelligence agencies and the military's elite hunter-killer commando units.

But a new generation of hand-held biometric systems has spread across the military.

"You can present a fake identification card," said Sgt. Maj. Robert Haemmerle of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435. "You can shave your beard off. But you can't change your biometrics." The task force conducts detention, judicial and biometrics operations - responsibilities that will be turned over to the Afghan government.

Defense Department spending on biometrics programs is enormous, set at $3.5 billion for the 2007 through 2015 fiscal years, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The concept of expanding biometrics for wholesale application on the battlefield was first tested in 2004 by Marine Corps units in Falluja, a militant stronghold in Anbar Province, Iraq. The insurgent safe haven was walled off, and only those who submitted to biometrics were allowed in and out.

In late 2004, when an Iraqi militant was allowed on to an American base in Mosul, where he detonated a suicide vest and killed 22 in a dining tent, commanders ordered a stringent identification program for Iraqi and third-country citizens entering American facilities.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, reviewing these efforts when he took command in Iraq in 2007, ordered a surge of biometric scans across the war zone to match the increase in American troops.

General Petraeus lauds the technology, not only for separating insurgents from the population in which they seek to hide, but also for cracking cells that build and plant roadside bombs, the greatest killer of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fingerprints and other forensic tidbits can be lifted from a defused bomb or from remnants after a blast, and compared with the biometric files on former detainees and suspected or known militants.

"This data is virtually irrefutable and generally is very helpful in identifying who was responsible for a particular device in a particular attack, enabling subsequent targeting," said General Petraeus, who will soon retire as commander in Afghanistan to become director of central intelligence. "Based on our experience in Iraq, I pushed this hard here in Afghanistan, too, and the Afghan authorities have recognized the value and embraced the systems."

Military officials acknowledge that the new systems fielded by American, coalition and Afghan units do not all speak to one another. The hand-held devices fail in the awesome heat of the Afghan summer. Screens break when dropped. But a significant challenge in spreading biometric devices among an illiterate Afghan security force was resolved when the operating system was changed from English to an easy-to-teach system of color-coded commands.


16) WikiLeaks Files Complaint Over Visa and Mastercard
July 14, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks and the Icelandic IT company DataCell filed a formal complaint to the European Commission on Thursday, saying payment companies Visa Europe and MasterCard Inc violated EU antitrust laws by blocking donations.

Visa Europe, which runs the largest card network in the European Union, and MasterCard blocked WikiLeaks from using its network to collect funds from donors in December 2010.

The complaint, filed to the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission, says Visa and MasterCard breached antitrust provisions set out by Articles 101 and 102 of the EU Treaty.

DataCell, which has an agreement to collect credit card donations on behalf of WikiLeaks, says the credit card giants engaged in anti-competitive behavior and abused their dominant market position.

WikiLeaks, led by Australian Julian Assange, urged the EU Commission to order both credit card companies to lift their ban with "immediate effect."

Visa and MasterCard stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks after the United States criticized the organization's release of sensitive diplomatic cables.

Visa said last December that it was investigating whether the nature of WikiLeaks' business contravened its operating rules.

Cyber hackers supporting WikiLeaks retaliated by attacking the Visa and Mastercard websites.

WikiLeaks has come under increased international scrutiny after releasing a slew of diplomatic cables that have embarrassed Washington.

Assange has also been subject to allegations of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden, which date from August, 2010. He appeared at the High Court in London this week to appeal against his extradition to Sweden to face the charges.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan)


17) The Real Reason Big Macs Are Cheaper Than More Nutritious Alternatives
By David Sirota, Salon
Posted on July 15, 2011, Printed on July 16, 2011

This story first appeared on

The easiest way to explain Gallup's discovery that millions of Americans are eating fewer fruits and vegetables than they ate last year is to simply crack a snarky joke about Whole Foods really being "Whole Paycheck." Rooted in the old limousine liberal iconography, the quip conjures the notion that only Birkenstock-wearing trust-funders can afford to eat right in tough times.

It seems a tidy explanation for a disturbing trend, implying that healthy food is inherently more expensive, and thus can only be for wealthy Endive Elitists when the economy falters. But if the talking point's carefully crafted mix of faux populism and oversimplification seems a bit facile -- if the glib explanation seems almost too perfectly sculpted for your local right-wing radio blowhard -- that's because it dishonestly omits the most important part of the story. The part about how healthy food could easily be more affordable for everyone right now, if not for those ultimate elitists: agribusiness CEOs, their lobbyists and the politicians they own.

As with most issues in this new Gilded Age, the tale of the American diet is a story of the worst form of corporatism -- the kind whereby the government uses public monies to protect private profit.

In this chapter of that larger tragicomedy, lawmakers whose campaigns are underwritten by agribusinesses have used billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize those agribusinesses' specific commodities (corn, soybeans, wheat, etc.) that are the key ingredients of unhealthy food. Not surprisingly, the subsidies have manufactured a price inequality that helps junk food undersell nutritious-but-unsubsidized foodstuffs like fruits and vegetables. The end result is that recession-battered consumers are increasingly forced by economic circumstance to "choose" the lower-priced junk food that their taxes support.

Corn -- which is processed into the junk-food staple corn syrup and which feeds the livestock that produce meat -- exemplifies the scheme.

"Over the past decade, the federal government has poured more than $50 billion into the corn industry, keeping prices for the crop ... artificially low," reports Time magazine. "That's why McDonald's can sell you a Big Mac, fries and a Coke for around $5 -- a bargain."

Yes, it is a bargain, but one created by deliberate government policy that serves the corn industry titans, not by any genetic advantage that makes corn derivatives automatically more affordable for the budget-strapped commoner.

The aggregate effect of such market manipulation across the agriculture industry, notes Time, is "that a dollar [can] buy 1,200 calories of potato chips or 875 calories of soda but just 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit."

So while it may be amusing to use Americans' worsening recession-era diet as another excuse to promote cultural stereotypes, the nutrition crisis costing us billions in unnecessary healthcare costs is more about public policy and powerful special interests than it is about epicurean snobs and affluent tastes. Indeed, this is a problem not of individual proclivities or of agricultural biology that supposedly makes nutrition naturally unaffordable -- it is a problem of rigged economics and corrupt policymaking.

Solving the crisis, then, requires everything from recalibrating our subsidies to halting the low-income school lunch program's support for the pizza and French fry lobby (yes, they have a powerful lobby). It requires, in other words, a new level of maturity, a better appreciation for the nuanced politics of food and a commitment to changing those politics for the future.

Impossible? Hardly. A country that can engineer the seemingly unattainable economics of a $5 McDonald's feast certainly has the capacity to produce a healthy meal for the same price. It's just a matter of will -- or won't.

(c) 2011
David Sirota is a best-selling author whose new book "Back to Our Future" is now available. He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and is a contributing writer at E-mail him at, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at


18) Starbucks' First Strike: Chilean Workers Hold Out for Better Pay, Benefits
By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, AlterNet
Posted on July 16, 2011, Printed on July 16, 2011

Seattle-based latte behemoth Starbucks is well known in the States for having competitive (read: relatively humane) wages, benefits and programs, and this year was ranked for the fifth time as one of Ethisphere's "World's Most Ethical Companies." But that's not enough for workers at Chile's 31 Starbucks franchises, as they earn the distinction of staging Starbucks' first-ever striking employees, demanding increased pay-including inflation increases, a no-brainer-and better benefits. Reuters via Raw Story:

Starbucks was quick to say that its 31 cafes in Chile would remain open despite the absence of union workers, who account for less than one-third of its employees there.

Starbucks is seen as having some of the restaurant industry's best pay and benefits, which has helped it fend off union organization efforts in the United States, where the coffee chain has the vast majority of its sales.

Starbucks operates roughly 17,000 cafes in more than 50 countries around the world. The vast majority of its cafes are not unionized.

Chile has seen a growing wave of protests in recent weeks, led by students, environmentalists and miners.

The company is covering the shifts of union workers in Chile with nonunion employees, said Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson.

Two hundred of 670 workers belong to Sindecato de Trabajadores de Starbucks Coffee Chile Union, and their July 7 strike was verified by the Labor Bureau when it found less than 50% of workers showed up that day. Starbucks will appeal the decision, saying the numbers of strike participants were inaccurate, but so far is complying with the Labor Bureau. Andres Giordano, the union's president, called it "an incredible victory for the union, and obviously very symbolic for the company internationally." Read the full story here.


19) The Revolution Is Not Over Yet
July 15, 2011


SIX months ago, after weeks of protests, the Tunisian people gathered in front of the Interior Ministry to demand that their longtime president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, leave the country. He fled for Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14.

But the country's future remains uncertain. Giant sit-ins by opposition groups plagued the interim government that replaced Mr. Ben Ali. As in the French Revolution, they came armed with "Lists of Grievances." The standoff ended when an interim prime minister, Béji Caïd Essebsi, an old hand in Tunisian politics, took office at the end of February. He managed the trick of both placating the impatient and not alarming those who want nothing to change.

The key to establishing a new democracy will be how the interim government deals with members of the old regime. Unfortunately, it has been reluctant to bring them to justice immediately, opting instead to leave this pivotal responsibility to the government that will take power after elections in October.

There has been some progress. The assets of Mr. Ben Ali's inner circle have been confiscated, his party has been dissolved, the secret police have been dismantled and a number of high officials are being investigated for abuse of authority and misuse of funds.

Yet the flawed and lumbering legal system has not satisfied a population yearning for genuine justice. So far not a single dollar transferred out of the country by the Ben Ali family has found its way back to the state's coffers, not a single police officer implicated in the murders of almost 300 protesters has been convicted and not a single member of the ruling clan that fled the country has been extradited to Tunisia - including Mr. Ben Ali. The interim government has relied on a traditional legal process headed by the same magistrates who worked for the old regime rather than pursuing a system of transitional justice - with truth commissions and informal trials - which would be faster and more flexible.

The trial of Mr. Ben Ali and his wife took place on June 20, with the couple facing close to 100 charges, including conspiracy against the state and possession of drugs and weapons. They were sentenced, in absentia, to 35 years in prison and fined $66 million. But in the absence of both the accused and their foreign lawyers - Tunisian law prohibits Tunisians from being represented by foreign lawyers - many decried the trial as a mockery of justice.

But this is much ado about nothing. The justice system, albeit freed of the worst of its constraints, is still barely functioning. Judges in Tunisia are among the most poorly paid in the world, just behind their counterparts in Bangladesh.

The social problems that prompted the current unrest also continue to poison the transition process. Endemic unemployment and low levels of education could undermine Tunisia's democratic transition. The school system, which has long hurt Tunisia's competitiveness by favoring quantity over quality, desperately needs in-depth reforms. Meanwhile, more than 1.2 million Tunisians, over 11 percent of the country's population, live in poverty. (The interim government's estimates have placed the figure as high as 24 percent.)

Mr. Essebsi requested $25 billion in aid over five years at the recent meeting of the Group of 8 powers in Deauville, France. The G-8, along with other governments and institutions, endorsed a combined $40 billion aid package for Egypt and Tunisia - an amount that pales in comparison with the modern-day Marshall Plan that the region desperately needs.

On Oct. 23 Tunisians will decide whether they want a presidential or a parliamentary system, and elect a new government. More than 90 parties could appear on the ballot, meaning that a highly divided assembly is likely. Early polls show that Al Nahda - the previously banned Islamist party - enjoys the support of more than 20 percent of voters.

To its credit, Al Nahda accepts the rights that have long been enjoyed by Tunisian citizens - the most far-reaching in the Arab world - and the newly established principle that women and men should serve in the future democratic legislature in equal numbers. To placate the West, it wants to fashion itself in the image of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, known as the A.K.P.

Yet unlike the A.K.P., Al Nahda has never abandoned its hopes for an Islamic state and is strongly opposed to the separation of religion and the state. Moreover, it favors a draft constitutional provision, along with Arab nationalists and the extreme left, that would ban the normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel. This is a foolish position that harks back to the obsolete rhetoric of the 1960s.

Tunisia is seeking to fully integrate its Islamists - but perhaps at its peril. If Al Nahda emerges from the election with a dominant plurality, it may decide to be modest and support a government of national unity, so as to reassure Washington and the country's foreign lenders. And if it ends up in a minority position, it will probably bide its time, knowing that one day it could win and run the country.

Whether Tunisia's Islamists follow the moderate example of the A.K.P. or regress into radical Islamism will depend on the willingness of new leaders to chart a responsible course and on secular and moderate parties' capacity to challenge pan-Arab and Islamist groups. Only then will we know whether Tunisia's revolution represents a triumph of liberalism or an open door for extremists.

Hamadi Redissi is a professor of political science at the University of Tunis and president of the Tunisian Observatory for a Democratic Transition. This article was translated by Vivien Watts and Matthew Watkins from the French.


20) Union Yields on Benefits in Agreement With Cuomo
July 16, 2011

New York State's second-largest union of public workers, facing hundreds of layoffs that had been scheduled to take effect within days, agreed on Saturday to significant wage and benefit concessions in order to save the jobs of its members.

The five-year agreement between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Public Employees Federation largely mirrors the deal struck last month with the state's largest public employee union, the Civil Service Employees Association, which also agreed to big concessions in exchange for giving its members immunity from most layoffs.

The federation, which represents about 55,000 state workers, agreed to forgo any raises for three years, accept furlough days for the first time and increase the amount members contribute toward their health insurance coverage.

The concessions in the deal, which must be ratified by the union's membership, would save the state $75 million this fiscal year and nearly $400 million over the course of the contract, the governor's office said.

"This agreement reflects the financial reality of the times," Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. "I am pleased that we could avoid these layoffs, protect the work force and the taxpayer."

The union's president. Kenneth Brynien, made clear that the impending layoffs were a driving force in reaching the deal.

"This was a difficult agreement to reach, but with our members' jobs in peril and the state's fiscal hardship, we've stepped up and made the necessary sacrifices," Mr. Brynien said in a statement. "The agreement will preserve our members' jobs and careers while bringing long-term fiscal stability to the state."

The pact came less than a month after the Civil Service Employees Association, which generally represents workers who are paid less than the more white-collar membership of the Public Employees Federation, reached a pact with the governor.

At the time, the federation and Mr. Cuomo's representatives were still at odds. The negotiations with both unions lacked the sort of public enmity seen recently in other states like Wisconsin and New Jersey, where the governors took a more confrontational approach.

Mr. Cuomo's budget assumed $450 million in savings from reduced labor costs, and the governor had said that as many as 9,800 layoffs could be necessary if none of the state's public employee unions accepted wage freezes and other concessions.

As negotiations with the Public Employees Federation dragged on, the Cuomo administration notified 700 union members in recent weeks that their positions were scheduled to be eliminated if no agreement were reached.

The first wave of layoffs was scheduled to take effect on Friday, providing something of a hard deadline for Mr. Cuomo and union representatives to reach an agreement.

The governor's office directed state agencies on Saturday to rescind the layoff notices in light of the agreement.

Like the deal with the Civil Service Employees Association, the agreement with the Public Employees Federation would impose a wage freeze for three years, followed by raises of 2 percent in the contract's final two years.

Workers would also have to take nine furlough days over the next two years, though four of the days would be repaid at the end of the contract.

The agreement would also require increased employee contributions to health care plans. For example, a lower-paid state worker who now contributes 10 percent toward his or her individual health insurance premiums would have to pay 12 percent under the new contract; for a higher-paid worker, the required contribution would rise to 16 percent.

Over all, the state would save $54 million annually and as much as $248 million over the course of the contract from the health care changes, the governor's office said.

If both major labor deals are ratified, a majority of state workers would be protected from most layoffs for the next two years as Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, seeks to reduce the cost of the state's bureaucracy.

Agreements have still not been reached with several smaller bargaining units that represent state employees.

A Cuomo spokesman said on Saturday that it was still possible that other state workers could be laid off if their unions did not also strike agreements with the administration.


21) Misery Follows as Somalis Try to Flee Hunger
July 15, 2011

DADAAB, Kenya - The people start trudging in at dawn, more than a thousand every day, exhausted, sick and starving, materializing out of the thin desert air to take their places at the gates of the world's largest refugee camp, here in northern Kenya.

They are fleeing one of the worst droughts in Somalia in 60 years and many have walked for weeks through an anarchic landscape replete with bandits and militants but little food.

By the time they get here, many can barely stand or talk or swallow. Some mothers have even shown up with the bodies of shriveled babies strapped to their backs.

Abdio Ali Elmoi clutches her son, Mustapha, whose eyes are dimming. Her face is grooved with grief. She has already lost three children to gaajo, or hunger, a common word around here.

"I walked all day and all night," she whispered, barely able to speak. "Where I come from, there is no food."

Somalia is once again spewing misery across its borders, and once again man-made dimensions are making this natural disaster more acute.

The Islamist militants controlling southern Somalia forced out Western aid organizations last year, yanking away the only safety net just when the soil was drying up and the drought was coming. Only now, when the scale of the catastrophe is becoming clear, with nearly three million Somalis in urgent need and more than 10 million at risk across the parched Horn of Africa, have the militants relented and invited aid groups back. But few are rushing in because of the complications and dangers of dealing with a brutal group that is aligned with Al Qaeda and has turned Somalia into a focal point of American concerns on terrorism.

The Somalis are not waiting. Tens of thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands, are now fleeing to Kenya and Ethiopia for help, but the Kenyan government says it is overwhelmed and has been blocking the United Nations from opening a new $15 million camp here in Dadaab that could help absorb the influx.

Everything is in place to house 40,000 more refugees - new water towers, new latrines, new office blocks and perfectly straight rows of new mud-brick houses that look sturdy enough to live in for years. But that is precisely what the Kenyans fear.

As many as 380,000 people already live in the amalgam of camps that make up Dadaab (it was intended to hold 90,000), and the Kenyans worry that Somalis will continue flocking here and never go home, given the perennial turmoil in their country since the central government collapsed in 1991.

"Personally, I've done what I could," said Gerald Otieno Kajwang', Kenya's immigration minister. "But the numbers coming in are too large that they threaten our security."

The Kenyan government has been facing intense pressure to open the new camp, and several Western aid officials contended that the Kenyans were simply trying to extract more money from Western allies before relenting. On Friday, Kenyan officials indicated that the camp would open soon, but the delay has stranded thousands of refugees on the outskirts of Dadaab in the desert, increasingly far from hospitals, clean water or latrines, many with sick children curled up under trees.

"It's shocking," said Alexandra Lopoukhine, a spokeswoman for CARE, an aid group working in Dadaab.

Those who make it to one of the few hospitals in the camps might have a chance. The pediatric ward in the Dagahaley section is a fluorescent-lighted purgatory. Dozens of wizened children lie on rough wool blankets - nurses say probably fewer than half will make it - their skin slack, their eyes glassy, their heads far too big for their bodies. Many have IVs taped to the sides of their skulls.

"Vascular collapse," explained a Kenyan doctor. "We couldn't find a vein anywhere else."

Isak Abdi Saney, a destitute farmer, is on a death watch. He gently lifts up the shirt on his 6-month-old son. Every rib shows, beneath skin as translucent as rice paper. Every breath looks as if it could be his last.

"We don't know if he is dead or alive, so we just keep watching him here," Mr. Isak says, tapping his son's tiny chest.

Mr. Isak walked for 20 days from Somalia to get here. What he encountered was what so many other refugees described: piles of dead animals, empty villages, people dying of starvation, an unbroken trail of bodies from his village to the camp.

"There is nothing left back there," he said.

Another refugee spoke of his village in similar terms: "There is nothing alive."

Because it is so difficult and dangerous for outsiders to even visit areas controlled by the Shabab militant group, it is hard to gauge the full depth of this drought. Somalia seems to be perpetually on the brink. With a shattered economy, no functioning central government and aid flows blocked, countless Somalis starve every year.

But according to a famine monitoring program financed by the United States, "over the past year, the eastern Horn of Africa has experienced consecutive poor rainy seasons, resulting in one of the driest years since 1950-1951 in many pastoral zones."

The years of conflict - and recent increases in food prices - have depleted Somalia's ability to withstand it. Thousands of people are leaving relatively uneventful rural areas to seek refuge even in Mogadishu, Somalia's bullet-riddled capital, which has experienced a mass exodus for years because of fighting between the shaky government and Islamist militants.

The route to Dadaab, which lies about 50 miles inside Kenya's border, is especially perilous, winding through one of the most unforgiving environments in the world. Refugees have been marauded, raped and killed by the various armed groups that haunt the land. Most arrive here penniless and demoralized. Many parents said they buried children along the way.

Some die just within reach of finally getting help. Right in front of a reception area at the camp are dozens of freshly dug graves.

Once proud young men find themselves sitting in the dirt, waiting to be registered. Life as a refugee is humiliating, especially in a culture that prizes independence. The first step is clawing through a crowd to get a cup of flour and some glucose biscuits. Then comes registration, getting fingerprinted twice, photographed, logged in, cataloged. Kenyan government workers scurry around, wearing blue surgical masks and polo shirts that say "Refugees Are Real People."

Somali refugees are typically not allowed to work in Kenya, and without special permission they are not supposed to leave the camp. Dadaab is a place to warehouse people, often for years. Aid workers predict the numbers here could soon swell to half a million, sprawled across miles of scrub brush.

"I never thought I'd lose all my cattle," said Abdi Farah Hassan, who looked visibly uncomfortable in line to be photographed. "I never thought I'd be a refugee."

Reuben Kyama contributed reporting from Nairobi, Kenya, and Mohamed Ibrahim from Mogadishu, Somalia.


22) Libya Rebels Get Formal Backing, and $30 Billion
"The United States formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya as the country's legitimate government on Friday, allowing the rebel government access to $30 billion in Libyan assets held in the United States. It is not yet clear how and when the money would be released."
July 15, 2011

ISTANBUL - The United States formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya as the country's legitimate government on Friday, allowing the rebel government access to $30 billion in Libyan assets held in the United States. It is not yet clear how and when the money would be released.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at an international gathering held to discuss the Libyan conflict that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's government no longer had any legitimacy, and that the United States would join more than 30 countries in extending diplomatic recognition to the main opposition group, known as the Transitional National Council.

"We will help the T.N.C. sustain its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya," Mrs. Clinton said, "and we will look to it to remain steadfast in its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms." The decision by Washington not only increased diplomatic pressure on Colonel Qaddafi to step down, but also held the prospect of funneling money to rebels to propel an offensive that has proceeded in fits and starts.

American officials explained Saturday that the vast bulk of the roughly $30 billion of Libyan assets frozen by the United States was not liquid, since much of it consists of property. About $3.5 billion of the sum is liquid, the officials said, and could be provided to the Transitional National Council over time.

Although the officials expressed hope that the newly recognized Transitional National Council would use the money for traditional public services - to pay for health care and electrical power, for example - one of the council's immediate priorities is arming and training its fighters so they can finally defeat the forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi.

But even a major increase in financing for the rebel war effort is not expected to yield immediate results on the battlefield, according to senior officials involved in the NATO-led air campaign against Colonel Qaddafi. The rebels are severely lacking in training as well as equipment, and NATO has been frustrated by the rebels' inability to organize themselves into a force strong enough to topple the government, even with thousands of airstrikes on Colonel Qaddafi's strongholds.

With a "no boots on the ground" policy in Libya, Western nations have found it hard to dislodge Colonel Qaddafi from power, as his forces have dug in around the capital, Tripoli, and other strategic cities where he retains at least some support among the civilian populations. Possibly reflecting their frustrations, several countries, including Britain and France, have sent arms, ammunition and other military supplies to the rebels in an effort to accelerate the development of their war-fighting capacity.

While the opening of the money spigots holds out some hope that the rebels can eventually turn the military tide against Colonel Qaddafi, it has also raised concerns about controls on the money and the potential for corruption.

"The Transitional National Council, in its discussions today, did pledge that this assistance would be delivered in a transparent manner and that it would indeed be inclusive in how it was delivered to the Libyan people," said Mark C. Toner, the State Department's deputy spokesman.

Mr. Toner acknowledged that there was "a sense of urgency" in transferring funds to the rebel group, and he stressed that the Departments of State and Treasury would keep watch to ensure "that accountability and transparency and monitoring is in place."

In the early stages of the war, Western nations were reluctant to extend recognition to the rebels, uncertain of who they were and worried about possible ties to Al Qaeda and other militant groups. Over the months, though, those fears have been assuaged, and most nations are lining up behind the transitional government.

Mahmoud Shammam, a rebel spokesman, tried to address the concerns of Western nations, saying that the Transitional Council had "assured them in many ways that we are heading towards a democratic state, and with the support of allies, friends we would make that happen."

Colonel Qaddafi lashed back in a speech on Friday night, dismissing the significance of the broad recognition of the rebel government.

"Trample on those recognitions, trample on them under your feet," he told thousands of supporters in a speech broadcast to a televised rally in the coastal city of Zlitan, news agencies reported. "They are worthless."

The Transitional Council issued a statement after the Istanbul meeting emphasizing Colonel Qaddafi's loss of legitimacy. It said: "Qaddafi has not yet realized that Libyans have moved on. His rhetoric focuses on aggression and intimidation but no one is interested. We have had 42 years of looking over our shoulder in fear and now we want to face forwards in hope for a great Libya."

One chronic problem for the anti-Qaddafi coalition is that its various members have not always spoken with one voice, diplomats said. The Istanbul meeting provided an opportunity, they said, to try to forge a consensus on the core elements of a Western negotiating position: what will happen to Colonel Qaddafi and his family, the mechanics of a political transition and the formation of a unity government.

The intention of the gathering was also to stop Colonel Qaddafi from trying to play one country off against another, by dealing separately with the French, the African Union, the Turks and the Russians, the diplomats said.

Some countries appear willing to have Colonel Qaddafi and his family remain in Libya if they give up power either to the rebel council or to a new, negotiated national unity government. In other words, there seems to be a new distinction being made between giving up power and going into exile.

While everyone speaks of Colonel Qaddafi's "leaving" or "going," they are much vaguer now about whether he must leave Libya, or whether leaving power is sufficient. The Libyan government has made similar overtures in the past, with the proviso that Colonel Qaddafi's son Seif succeed his father - a condition that is absolutely unacceptable to the rebels, and to the Western powers.

How that fits with the indictment of Colonel Qaddafi on war-crimes charges by the International Criminal Court, or with the United Nations Security Council resolution calling on all member states to bring him to trial, is unclear. But as the war drags on in Libya, and Colonel Qaddafi remains in power in Tripoli, there is more pressure to find a negotiated solution.

Matters seemed simpler in the rebel-held city of Zintan, on the high plateau of the mountains in western Libya, where a group of elderly men sat in the shade beside the main mosque.

They were buoyed by the news from Istanbul, which all of them had heard.

"The recognition of America has opened a door for us, from Africa to the world," said one of them, Mohammed el-Judaya.

Beyond the geopolitics, the men made it clear that they still had practical concerns. Much of the mountainous area is short of food, fuel and water, phone service has been mostly cut off and the Qaddafi forces are not far away. The war goes on, with life stalled and hardships ahead.

"We have no money for Ramadan," which begins Aug. 1, said another man at the mosque, Muftah Benghazi. "This is difficult for us."

Sebnem Arsu reported from Istanbul, and Steven Erlanger from Paris. Reporting was contributed by J. David Goodman from New York; C. J. Chivers from Zintan, Libya; Kareem Fahim from Amman, Jordan; and Thom Shanker from Washington.


23) Foreclosure Protesters in Spain's Cities Now Go Door to Door
"Now some of those protesters are using their Internet savvy to gather crowds on behalf of beleaguered homeowners. Hundreds of protesters are showing up at threatened evictions like Ms. del Coto's. They are getting press coverage as never before - and, some say, results."
July 15, 2011

MADRID - When the police arrived recently to evict María José del Coto Maeso, 53, they found the street in front of her ground-floor apartment crowded with protesters, and they retreated.

"It was a day that for many people would have been depressing," Ms. del Coto said afterward. "But for me it turned out to be a day of privilege. I met all these marvelous people. And I was very grateful."

The young demonstrators who camped out by the thousands in Spain's major city squares for much of May and June, protesting government corruption and an economy that has left them jobless, have mostly gone home.

But the movement has produced an army of volunteers who are making their presence felt in the tangled world of Spain's foreclosure system - perhaps the harshest in Europe - which usually leaves former homeowners in debt for the rest of their lives.

Organizing the protest in front of Ms. del Coto's modest home was Eloi Morte, 28, who was juggling several cellphones. Mr. Morte, a flight attendant, decided to help block evictions after he attended a neighborhood meeting organized by the protesters who had occupied the Puerta del Sol, the city's central square.

"This was something very concrete that I could do," he said. "I wanted to see results, not just vague protests against the financial establishment, the banks. I wanted to do something constructive."

Spain, like the United States, experienced a huge housing boom that came to a crashing halt in 2008. As the economy stalled, unemployment rates soared to the highest in the European Union, hovering at 40 percent for young people - who until recently seemed apathetic. That changed on May 15, when young people began congregating across the country in peaceful protests that lasted weeks in some cities.

Now some of those protesters are using their Internet savvy to gather crowds on behalf of beleaguered homeowners. Hundreds of protesters are showing up at threatened evictions like Ms. del Coto's. They are getting press coverage as never before - and, some say, results.

Since June, about 30 evictions have been blocked, according to a nonprofit housing advocacy group known by its initials, P.A.H. - more than twice the rate than before. And eviction protests are taking place in more cities.

This month, the government and the opposition in Parliament, no doubt looking toward elections next year, issued statements saying they would overhaul the foreclosure laws.

"We are proud that today our demands have become a popular clamor," said Ada Colau, a human rights lawyer with P.A.H. "This has forced the government to react, despite the pressure from the banks."

When Spanish mortgage debtors cannot make their payments, Spanish law denies them two ways out that are common elsewhere: they cannot simply hand the keys back to the bank and walk away, and they cannot discharge their debt in bankruptcy. They remain personally liable for the full amount of the loan after foreclosure, and when penalty and interest charges and tens of thousands of dollars in court fees are counted, they can end up on the street facing a mountain of debt.

Housing advocates would like to see Spain move to a system that more resembles that of the United States. But the new proposals do not go nearly that far. Most are meant only to ease the current conditions. For instance, banks would still be allowed to take a percentage of a debtor's salary, but not quite so large a percentage. Similarly, if no one appears at a foreclosure auction and the bank buys the property itself, it will have to pay 60 percent of market value, up from 50 percent under current law.

Still, housing advocates say the proposals are a start.

Santos González Sánchez, the president of a lender's trade group, the Spanish Mortgage Association, says some of the proposals are not well thought out and that the issues need further study. He dismisses the protesters as "more anecdotal than effective."

There were about 94,000 foreclosures in Spain last year, nearly four times the number for 2007. It can take more than a year to evict the occupants after a foreclosure, and banks sometimes agree to lease the homes back to their former owners.

The excesses in real estate and banking here were profound, with banks lending at an astonishing pace, often to customers who were poor risks and did not understand the fine print. People who signed mortgages as guarantors were often surprised to realize that they could lose everything they owned.

Ms. del Coto guaranteed a loan for a partner who has since left her and her children, including a disabled 26-year-old son who fell from a window as a toddler. She said she was looking for work as a maid again, but had not found any. Nor does she have a place to move if she is turned out of the tidy home she has been in for 25 years.

The protests block the evictions only temporarily. Advocates say that when the police and other officials involved in the eviction see the crowds, they usually walk away. It takes at least a month to organize another eviction effort, they said, and sometimes much longer.

Mr. Morte said the protesters hoped that in the meantime the bank would be persuaded to rent the house to Ms. del Coto at a price she could afford.

"That is our hope with all of these protests," he said, "that a negotiation can keep people from being put out on the street."

Rachel Chaundler contributed reporting.


24) BBC Journalists Strike to Protest Planned Job Cuts
July 15, 2011

LONDON - Journalists at the British Broadcasting Corporation walked off their jobs Friday to protest planned job cuts as a result of lower government funding.

About 3,000 journalists who are members of the National Union of Journalists took part in the one-day strike, which caused some disruption to programming.

In a statement on its Web site, the BBC said it was "disappointed" that the strike went ahead and apologized "to our audience for any disruption to services." Some programs, including its flagship radio news program "Today" were cut short and the BBC was forced to run repeats of old shows in Britain and on the World Service.

The statement said that "industrial action does not alter the fact that the BBC is faced with a number of potential compulsory redundancies following significant cuts to the central government grants that support the World Service and BBC Monitoring."

The strike is the second in less than a year at the broadcaster. About 4,100 BBC journalists went on a 48-hour strike last November to protest planned cuts to pensions.

BBC said at the beginning of this year that it would need to cut costs by £3 million ($4.8 million) over two years, following a reduction of £1.4 million in government funding in April 2010. It has already announced 360 job cuts at its online operation and said that 480 jobs at the World Service would be eliminated. The Albanian, Macedonian and Serbian language services will be shut.

Michelle Stanistreet, the union's general secretary, said on Friday that the situation was "hugely frustrating for members." The union has argued that last year's decision by the government to freeze the licensing fee paid by taxpayers for the broadcaster should be renegotiated.

It claimed that the cuts in state funding were a result of "a shabby deal done by BBC management and the government behind closed doors." It added that "Rupert Murdoch and News International executives were exerting huge influence on key government figures."

News International, which effectively controls British Sky Broadcasting, has long charged that the BBC's public funding gives it an unfair competitive advantage.

The BBC press office declined to comment beyond the statement on its Web site.

The union also accused the management of "indifference" and said it had declined to meet with the journalist representatives. This "suggests that our members' concern that many more redundancies are planned is fully justified," the union said.


25) Pentagon Declares the Internet a War Domain
By John T. Bennett, The Hill
14 July 11

The Pentagon released a long-promised cybersecurity plan Thursday that declares the Internet a domain of war.

The plan notably does not spell out how the US military would use the Web for offensive strikes, however.

The Defense Department's first-ever plan for cyberspace calls on the department to expand its ability to thwart attacks from other nations and groups, beef up its cyber-workforce and expand collaboration with the private sector.

Like major corporations and the rest of the federal government, the military "depends on cyberspace to function," the DoD plan says. The US military uses cyberspace for everything from carrying out military operations to sharing intelligence data internally to managing personnel.

"The department and the nation have vulnerabilities in cyberspace," the document states. "Our reliance on cyberspace stands in stark contrast to the inadequacy of our cybersecurity."

Other nations "are working to exploit DoD unclassified and classified networks, and some foreign intelligence organizations have already acquired the capacity to disrupt elements of DoD's information infrastructure," the plan states. "Moreover, non-state actors increasingly threaten to penetrate and disrupt DoD networks and systems."

Groups are capable of this largely because "small-scale technologies" that have "an impact disproportionate to their size" are relatively inexpensive and readily available.

The Pentagon plans to focus heavily on three areas under the new strategy: the theft or exploitation of data; attempts to deny or disrupt access to US military networks; and attempts to "destroy or degrade networks or connected systems."

One problem highlighted in the strategy is a baked-in threat: "The majority of information technology products used in the United States are manufactured and assembled overseas."

DoD laid out a multi-pronged approach to address those issues.

As foreshadowed by Pentagon officials' comments in recent years, the plan etches in stone that cyberspace is now an "operational domain" for the military, just as land, air, sea and space have been for decades.

"This allows DoD to organize, train and equip for cyberspace" as in those other areas, the plan states. It also notes the 2010 establishment of US Cyber Command to oversee all DoD work in the cyber-realm.

The second leg of the plan is to employ new defensive ways of operating in cyberspace, first by enhancing the DoD's "cyber hygiene." That term covers ensuring that data on military networks remains secure, using the Internet wisely and designing systems and networks to guard against cyberstrikes.

The military will continue its "active cyber defense" approach of "using sensors, software, and intelligence to detect and stop malicious activity before it can affect DoD networks and systems." It also will look for new "approaches and paradigms" that will include "development and integration ... of mobile media and secure cloud computing."

The plan underscores efforts long under way at the Pentagon to work with other government agencies and the private sector. It also says the Pentagon will continue strong cyber R&D spending, even in a time of declining national security budgets.

Notably, the plan calls the Department of Homeland Security the lead for "interagency efforts to identify and mitigate cyber vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructure." Some experts have warned against DoD overstepping on domestic cyber-matters.

The Pentagon also announced a new pilot program with industry designed to encourage companies to "voluntarily [opt] into increased sharing of information about malicious or unauthorized cyber activity."

The strategy calls for a larger DoD cyber-workforce.

One challenge, Pentagon experts say, will be attracting top IT talent because the private sector can pay much larger salaries - especially in times of shrinking Defense budgets. To that end, "DoD will focus on the establishment of dynamic programs to attract talent early," the plan states.

On IT acquisition, the plan lays out several changes, including faster delivery of systems; moving to incremental development and upgrading instead of waiting to buy "large, complex systems"; and improved security measures.

Finally, the strategy states an intention to work more closely with "small- and medium-sized business" and "entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and other US technology innovation hubs."

The reaction from Capitol Hill in the immediate wake of the plan's unveiling was mostly muted. Cybersecurity is not a polarizing political issue in the way some defense issues are, like missile defense.

Claude Chafin, a spokesman for House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), called the strategy "the next step in an important national conversation on securing critical systems and information, one that the Armed Services Committee has been having for some time."

That panel already has set up its own cybersecurity task force, which Chafin said would "consider this [DOD] plan in its sweeping review of America's ability to defend against cyber attacks."

As the Pentagon tweaks its approaches to cybersecurity, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday wrote Senate leaders saying that chamber must as well. McCain asked Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to establish a temporary Select Committee on Cyber Security and Electronic Intelligence Leaks.

"Cybersecurity proposals have been put forth by numerous Senate committees, the White House and various government agencies; however, the Senate has yet to coalesce around one comprehensive proposal that adequately addresses the government-wide threats we face," McCain's office said in a statement. "A select committee would be capable of drafting comprehensive cybersecurity legislation quickly without needing to work through numerous and in some cases competing committees of jurisdiction."