Saturday, September 10, 2011





We've just received terrible news: The state of Georgia has set Troy Davis's execution date for midnight on September 21st, just two weeks from today.

This is our justice system at its very worst, and we are alive to witness it. There is just too much doubt.

Even though seven out of nine witnesses have recanted their statements, a judge labeled his own ruling as "not ironclad" and the original prosecutor has voiced reservations about Davis's guilt, the state of Georgia is set to execute Troy anyway.

Time is running out, and this is truly Troy's last chance for life.

But through the frustration and the tears, there is one thing to remain focused on: We are now Troy Davis's only hope. And I know we won't let him down.

There are three steps you can take to help Troy:

1. Send a message of support to Troy as he fights for justice on what may be the final days of his life:

2. Sign the name wall, if you haven't already. And if you have, send it to your friends and family. Each name means a more united front for justice:

3. Make sure everyone knows about this injustice. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #TooMuchDoubt) so that Troy Davis's story can be heard. We still have a chance to save his life, but only if people are willing to speak out against injustice.

Today, the state of Georgia has declared their intention to execute a man even though the majority of the people who put him on the row now say he is innocent and many implicate one of the other witnesses as the actual killer. Now that a date has been set, we cannot relent. We must redouble our efforts.

Thank you. Please act quickly and forward this message to all who believe the justice system defeats itself when it allows a man to be executed amid so much doubt.


Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO

Trailer: Examining the Troy Davis Case

Troy Davis Case: Part One:

Troy Davis Case: Part Two:

Troy Davis Case: Part Three:

Troy Davis Case: Part Four:

Here are the mailing addresses for both the Bd. of Pardons and the Georgia Gov. for folks who will write snail mail appeals for Troy Davis.

Mailing Addresses:

State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909
Telephone: (404) 656-5651

Governor Nathan Deal
Office of the Governor
203 State Capitol
Atlanta,Georgia 30334
(404) 656-1776,2657,165937316_166563415,00.html


This drawing has come to symbolize the California prison hunger strike and the solidarity it has generated. It was contributed by Rashid Johnson, a prisoner in Red Onion Prison, Virginia.

Pelican Bay SHU prisoners plan to resume hunger strike Sept. 26
by Mutope Duguma (s/n James Crawford)
September 1, 2011


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Please Circulate Widely

Mon. Sept. 12, 6-8pm
Join ANSWER on Local 2 Picket Line!
Hyatt Hotel Workers are on Strike!
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 5 Embarcadero Center
Market and Drumm Sts., near Embarcadero BART, SF

The ANSWER Coalition has answered the solidarity call by Local 2 to adopt a picket line. Join ANSWER activists and supporters from 6-8pm for a spirited evening of chanting and picketing.

700 San Francisco Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency workers are joining thousands of Hyatt workers nationwide in launching week-long strikes today. Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst employer in the hotel industry. Hyatt has abused its housekeepers, replacing career housekeepers with minimum wage temporary workers and imposing dangerous workloads on those housekeepers who remain. By striking, workers are demanding the right to help themselves and other Hyatt workers across the United States contend with an abusive employer, intent on destroying decent jobs.


For more information on other picket actions contact: Julia Wong at 203-915-9572 or

For more information on Local 2, visit
For updates on the strike, visit

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


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


September 10-21
The 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla:
What Happened? What's next?

Sept 10, 7:00 p.m. Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1924 Cedar (at Bonita)in Berkeley
$5-$20 suggested donation

Sept 12, 7:00 p.m. San Jose Peace & Justice Center
48 S. 7th St. in San Jose, $5-$10 suggested donation, no one turned away

Sept 13, 7:00 p.m., San Mateo Peace Action, Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez, free, donations accepted

Sept 14, 4:00 p.m., JVJP & MESG, Vista Room, 3400 Golden Rain Rd., in Walnut Creek (Rossmoor), free, donations accepted

Sept 15, 7:00 p.m., SACPJC, Westminster Hills Community Center, 27287 Patrick Ave, Hayward, $15 suggested donation

Sept 21, 7:30 p.m., Peninsula Peace & Justice, First Baptist Church, 305 N. California Ave, Palo Alto, free, donations accepted

FOR MORE INFO: 510-232-2500 | |

In June, 2011, hundreds of people from around the world, including at least 44 Americans, gathered in the Mediterranean to board eleven vessels bound for Gaza. But only one, the French boat DignitÃ(c)/Karama, met Israeli forces at sea.

What happened? Where are the boats now? What is being planned?

Four passengers (more welcome!) from the San Francisco area will hold panel discussions to respond to these questions and discuss their experiences.

Regina Carey , strategic planner and planned giving
consultant, defends original peoples. She co-founded
Marin Black/Jewish Dialogue Group and participated
in the World Social Forum and UN Conference Against

Paul Larudee , co-founder of the movement to break
the siege of Gaza by sea, works as a piano technician
and part time NGO administrator in El Cerrito, CA.

Henry Norr , former columnist at the SF Chronicle, has been a human rights volunteer in Palestine and an advocate in the U.S., which contributed to his firing in 2003.

Jimbo Simmons, American Indian Movement - West, resists colonization,, protects traditional knowledge and sacred sites, and is in solidarity with Palestinians and all indigenous peoples facing expulsion and ethnic cleansing.


An Evening with Ali Abunimah -- with Special Guest Alice Walker
Wednesday, October 5th, 7:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway
Buy Your Tickets Today:

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Alice Walker is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer, including her book Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel. She participated in the US Boat to Gaza, part of the Freedom Flotilla.

Tickets: $15, $10 students/low-income, available at through Brown Paper Tickets, or at local bookstores: (East Bay) Books, Inc.; Diesel; Moe's Books; Walden Pond; (SF) Modern Times. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Benefit for MECA's Maia Project: Clean Water for the Children of Palestine
Wheelchair accessible & ASL interpreted.

Cosponsors: KPFA, Arab Film Festival, Arab Resource & Organizing Center, US Palestinian Community Network, Arab Cultural & Community Center, Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area Women in Black, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Global Exchange.


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]


Benton Harbor REPEAL RECALL.wmv

A few facts from the video:

Whirlpool has been meddling in [Benton Harbor] city politics for 30 years. For every tax break and advantage it can get. As the neighborhoods crumble...

With global sales of $18 Billion Whirpool paid 0% in 2010 federal taxes.

It received a refund of $64 Million.

Whirlpool has received 500 Million in tax breaks just since 2005.

Millions more in the past 3 decades.

Whirlpool took 19 Billion in federal stimulus funds. Then closed plants in the US. Including the plant in BH.

Rep. Fred Upton receives substantial campaign contributions from Whirlpool. And the Koch brothers.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the Emergency Manager Law. And a budget that taxes pensions and cuts education funding in Michigan.

Then gave corporations (like Whirlpool) a $1.8 Billion tax break."




The Preacher and the Slave - Joe Hill


Michael Allison Faces 75 Years In Illinois Prison for recording police WTWO!

Michael Allison faces 75 years in prison for recording public servants. Shame on Crawford County States Atty Tom Wiseman!
Here is the contact information for the State Attorney prosecuting this_ guy. I think we should all give him a call and tell him our opinion!
Crawford County States Attorney
Tom Wiseman
Crawford County Courthouse
105 Douglas St.
Robinson, IL 62454


London Riots. (The BBC will never replay this. Send it out)


Protest which sparked Tottenham riot
Hours before the riot which swept the area demonstrators gather outside Tottenham Police Station in North London demanding "justice" for the killing of a 29-year-old man, Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police.
By Alastair Good
August 7, 2011


Visualizing a Trillion: Just How Big That Number Is?
"1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years."
Digital Inspiration

How Much Is $1 Trillion?

Courtesy the credit crisis and big bailout packages, the figure "trillion" has suddenly become part of our everyday conversations. One trillion dollars, or 1 followed by 12 zeros, is lots of money but have you ever tried visualizing how big that number actually is?

For people who can visualize one million dollars, the comparison made on CNN should give you an idea about a trillion - "if you start spending a million dollars every single day since Jesus was born, you still wouldn't have spend a trillion dollars".

Another mathematician puts it like this: "1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years".

Now if the above comparisons weren't really helpful, check another illustration that compares the built of an average human being against a stack of $100 currency notes bundles.

A bundle of $100 notes is equivalent to $10,000 and that can easily fit in your pocket. 1 million dollars will probably fit inside a standard shopping bag while a billion dollars would occupy a small room of your house.

With this background in mind, 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) is 1000 times bigger than 1 billion and would therefore take up an entire football field - the man is still standing in the bottom-left corner. (See visuals -- including a video -- at website:


One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." Thomas Jefferson


Very reminiscent of

Pat Paulsen 1968


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)
Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am

The video above documents what I am told is a meeting between Fukushima residents and government officials from Tokyo, said to have taken place on 19 July 2011. The citizens are demanding their government evacuate people from a broader area around the Fukushima nuclear plant, because of ever-increasing fears about the still-spreading radiation. They are demanding that their government provide financial and logistical support to get out. In the video above, you can see that some participants actually brought samples of their children's urine to the meeting, and they demanded that the government test it for radioactivity.

When asked by one person at the meeting about citizens' right to live a healthy and radioactive-free life, Local Nuclear Emergency Response Team Director Akira Satoh replies "I don't know if they have that right."


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


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


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!


Licensed to Kill Video

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


Tier Systems Cripple Middle Class Dreams for Young Workers


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.


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.


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"


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


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




Oppose the Death Penalty for Troy Davis
Take Action On This Issue

Troy Davis has faced execution three times for a crime he may not have committed. In an unprecedented evidentiary hearing held in a federal district court in Savannah, Georgia in June, 2010, he was able to present evidence supporting his innocence claim. However, the standard for proving his innocence was "extraordinarily high", especially given the lack of physical and scientific evidence in his case. The federal judge ruled that he did not meet the high standard, despite the fact that doubts about his guilt remain unresolved. It is more important than ever that we continue to let Georgia authorities know that we oppose any effort to execute Troy Davis. Sign the petition today!


Your help is needed to defend free speech rights
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
Boston: 857-334-5084 | New York City: 212-694-8720 | Chicago: 773-463-0311
San Francisco: 415-821-6545| Los Angeles: 213-251-1025 | Albuquerque: 505-268-2488

We are writing to urge you to send an email letter today that can make a big difference in the outcome of a free speech fight that is vital to all grassroots movements that support social justice and peace.

It will just take a moment of your time but it will make a big difference.

All across the country people and organizations engaged in producing and disseminating leaflets and posters - the classic method of grassroots outreach used by those without institutional power and corporate money - are being faced with bankrupting fines.

This has been happening with ferocity in the nation's capital ever since the ANSWER Coalition was fined over $50,000 in the span of a few weeks for posters advertising the Sept. 15, 2007, protest against the Iraq war.

Attorneys for the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) filed a major lawsuit in August 2007 against the unconstitutional postering regulations in Washington, D.C.

"The District has employed an illegal system that creates a hierarchy of speech, favoring the speech of politicians and punishing grassroots outreach," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, stated in explaining a basic tenet of the lawsuit. "It's time for that system to end, and it will."

The hard-fought four-year-long lawsuit filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund against Washington, D.C.'s unconstitutional postering regulations has succeeded in achieving a number of important victories, including the issuance of new regulations after the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia warned just last month of an impending declaration of unconstitutionality against the District.

In July 2011 the federal District Court issued a preliminary opinion regarding one aspect of our lawsuit and suggested that the D.C. government "revise the regulations to include a single, across-the-board durational restriction that applies equally to all viewpoints and subject matters."

But this battle is not finished. The new regulations still contain dissent-crushing "strict liability" provisions (explained below) and remain unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous. Plus the District has never withdrawn the tens of thousands of dollars of fines against ANSWER.

The District of Columbia is required by law to open the new rules to public comment, which it has done with an extremely short comment period that is now open. We need people to send a comment today to the government of Washington, D.C. It just takes a minute using our online Submit a Comment tool, which will send your comment by email.

Send a letter today in support of the right to produce and disseminate leaflets and posters in Washington, D.C. We have included a sample comment but we encourage people to use or add your own language.

An Opportunity for You to Make a Difference

In response to our lawsuit, the District of Columbia has now issued "Emergency Regulations" replacing the current system which the city now admits are a "threat to the public welfare," after the court issued a preliminary opinion that agreed with a basic argument of the lawsuit.

This is an important moment and we need you and others who believe in Free Speech to weigh in during the short 15-day public comment period in response to the proposed Emergency Regulations for postering. Submit an online Comment now that makes one or more of three vital points:

Drop the $70,000 fines that have been applied to the ANSWER Coalition for anti-war posters during the past four years.

End "Strict Liability" fines and penalities. Strict Liability constitutes something of a death penalty for Free Speech activities such as producing leaflets and posters. It means that an organization referenced on posted signs can be held "strictly liable" for any materials alleged to be improperly posted, even if the group never even posted a single sign or poster. The D.C. government is even going further than that - it just levied fines against a disabled Vietnam veteran who didn't put up a single poster but was fined $450 because three posted signs were seen referencing a Veterans for Peace demonstration last December, and the District's enforcement agents researched that his name was on the permit application for the peace demonstration at the White House. Any group or person that leaves literature at a bookstore, or distributes literature, or posts .pdf fliers on the Internet, can be fined tens of thousands of dollars simply for having done nothing more than making political literature available.

Insist that any new regulations be clear, unambiguous and fair. The District's new "Emergency" Regulations are still inadequate because they are vague and ambiguous. Vaguely worded regulations in the hands of vindictive authority can and will be used to punish, penalize and fine grassroots organizations that seek to redress grievances while allowing the powerful and moneyed interests to do as they please. The District's postering regulations must be clear and unambiguous if they are to be fair, uniform and constitutional.

Take two minutes right now, click through to our online comment submission tool.

Thank you for your continued support. After you send your comment today to the District of Columbia please send this email to your friends and encourage them to take action as well. Click here to send your comment to the District.


ANSWER Coalition



This is San Francisco, not Egypt.

Sign the Petition:

The petition reads:

"A government agency cannot shut down an entire cell phone communications network just because it is being used to express dissent. BART Police must be held accountable for their actions. Stop the heavy handed tactics that violate free speech rights in an attempt to quell dissent."

You don't lose your First Amendment rights when you decide to take public transit. But that's what happened last week when BART Police turned off for three hours the underground network that allows passengers to communicate by cell phone on trains and on underground station platforms.

The BART Police suspended cell phone service in order to silence dissent. It was the first time ever in the United States that a government agency shut down cell phone service in order to suppress a public protest.

"All over the world, people are using mobile devices to protest oppressive regimes, and governments are shutting down cell phone towers and the Internet to stop them," said Michael Risher of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. "It's outrageous that in San Francisco, BART is doing the same thing."1

Tell the BART Board of Directors: Stop the BART Police from suspending cell phone service and violating free speech rights.

A government agency cannot shut down an entire cell phone communications network just because it's being used to express dissent.

It's shocking that a transit agency would go rogue and shut down a cell phone network in a major U.S. city. The incident, not surprisingly has sparked outrage from local elected officials and civil liberties groups and garnered national and international attention.

In the light of pressure from elected officials and national and international news coverage, the elected board that governs the Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority cannot ignore this blatant and mass violation of civil rights. We must take advantage of this moment to pressure the BART Board of Directors to step in and take action to hold the BART Police accountable and stop them from suspending our First Amendment rights.

Tell the BART Board of Directors: The BART Police must be held accountable for their actions -- stop the heavy handed tactics that violate free speech rights in an attempt to quell dissent.

BART Police have been the center of controversy in recent years and have a history of cover ups in response to public outrage over its use of deadly force. Last week's cell phone disruption was aimed at disrupting protests of a fatal July 3 shooting of a knife-wielding homeless man.

Despite local, national and international outrage, BART officials haven't gotten the message yet. BART spokesman Linton Johnson said that the agency may cut cell phone service again in the future, explaining that riders "don't have the right to free speech inside the fare gates."2 It's up to the elected BART Board of Directors, who are accountable directly to the voters, to hold BART officials accountable.

Sign our petition and we will deliver your signatures to the elected members of the BART Board of Directors. And please share this petition with your Bay Area friends and family so they can take action, too.

1 BART admits halting cell service to stop protests, San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 2011
2 Cell service stays on during BART protest in SF, San Francisco Chronicle, August 16, 2011


Statement by Angela Davis regarding Troy Davis

I urgently appeal to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and to the members of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole - L. Gale Buckner , Robert E. Keller, James E. Donald, Albert Murray, and Terry Barnard - to spare the life of Troy Davis, a young African American citizen of your state.

I hope everyone within sight or sound of my words or my voice will likewise urgently call and fax Gov. Neal and the members of the Board. Under Georgia law, only they can stop the execution of Troy Davis.

First of all, there is very compelling evidence that Troy Davis may be innocent of the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in 1989 in Savannah. The case against Davis has all but collapsed: seven of nine witnesses against him have recanted their testimony and said that they were pressured by police to lie; and nine other witnesses have implicated one of the remaining two as the actual killer. No weapon or physical evidence linking Davis to the murder was ever found. No jury has ever heard this new information, and four of the jurors who originally found him guilty have signed statements in support of Mr. Davis.

More importantly, the planned execution of a likely innocent young Black man in the state of Georgia has become a terrible blot on the status of the United States in the international community of nations. All modern industrial and democratic nations and 16 states within the United States have abolished capital punishment. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the men and women on death rows across the country are Black and other people of color, and are universally poor, severely undermines our country's standing in the eyes of the people of the world.

Most importantly, the execution of Troy Davis will contribute to an atmosphere of violence and racism and a devaluation of life itself within our country. If we can execute anyone, especially a man who may be innocent of any crime, it fosters disrespect for the law and life itself. This exacerbates every social problem at a time when the people of our country face some of the most difficult challenges regarding our economic security and future.

I urge everyone to join with me in urging Governor Neal and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to stay the execution of Troy Davis and commute his death sentence. Give this young man a life, and an opportunity to prove his innocence.

Please, call or fax today. Stop the execution of Troy Davis!

Gov. Nathan Deal
Tel: (404)651-1776
Fax: (404)657-7332

Web contact form: web:

Georgia Board of Parsons and Parole
L. Gale Buckner
Robert E. Keller
James E. Donald
Albert Murray
Terry Barnard

Tel: (404) 656-5651
Fax: (404) 651-8502

Angela Y. Davis
July 14, 2011


Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests

The CSFR Signs Letter to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

The CSFR is working with the United National Antiwar Committee and many other anti-war groups to organize mass rallies and protests on May 15 and May 19, 2012. We will protest the powerful and wealthy war-makers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Group of 8. Mobilize your groups, unions, and houses of worship. Bring your children, friends, and community. Demand jobs, healthcare, housing and education, not war!

Office of the Mayor
City of Chicago
To: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

We, the undersigned, demand that your administration grant us permits for protests on May 15 and 19, 2012, including appropriate rally gathering locations and march routes to the venue for the NATO/G8 summit taking place that week. We come to you because your administration has already spoken to us through Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. He has threatened mass arrests and violence against protestors.

[Read the full text of the letter here:]

For the 10s of thousands of people from Chicago, around the country and across the world who will gather here to protest against NATO and the G8, we demand that the City of Chicago:

1. Grant us permits to rally and march to the NATO/G8 summit
2. Guarantee our civil liberties
3. Guarantee us there will be no spying, infiltration of organizations or other attacks by the FBI or partner law enforcement agencies.



Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106


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):


"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) Yes, We Need Jobs. But What Kind?
September 5, 2011

2) Black Man's Family to Sue White Teenagers for Wrongful Death
September 6, 2011

3) U.N. Officials Say Famine Is Widening in Somalia
September 5, 2011

4) Italian Workers Strike Against Austerity Measures
September 6, 2011

5) Fukushima's Long Link to a Dark Nuclear Past
September 5, 2011

6) Great Labor Day Speech, Mr. President - Right Up to the Okedoke
By Eric L. Wattree
September 06, 2011 09:31 AM

7) AFRICOM and the Neo-Colonialists
NATO's War on Libya is an Attack on African Development
September 6, 2011

8) Families Feel Sharp Edge of State Budget Cuts
September 6, 2011

9) Councilman Says Racial Bias Led the Police to Detain Him at a Parade
September 6, 2011, 2:24 pm

10) Hayward's Vallares to Buy Iraqi Oil Company in $2.1 Billion Deal
September 7, 2011, 7:14 am

11) Our Creeping Police State: How Going to the Mall of America Can Land You in an FBI Counterterrorism Report
"In 2005, the Mall of America hired Mike Rozin to lead a new special security unit. Rozin served as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces before working in a protective division at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport."
By G.W. Schulz and Andrew Becker and Daniel Zwerdling, America's War Within
Posted on September 7, 2011, Printed on September 8, 2011

12) Order Signed for Sept. Execution of Troy Davis
By GREG BLUESTEIN Associated Press
ATLANTA September 7, 2011 (AP)

13) Japan Official Ordered Fake E-Mails, Investigators Say
September 8, 2011

14) Iraqi Death Called a 'Great Stain' on British Army
September 8, 2011

15) After Quake, Virginia Nuclear Plant Takes Stock
September 7, 2011

16) Postal Workers: The Last Union
by: Allison Kilkenny, Truthout | News Analysis
Thursday 8 September 2011

17) A Bipartisan Move to Tackle Benefits Programs
"...Republicans and Democrats are no longer fighting over whether to tackle the popular entitlement programs - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - but over how to do it."
September 8, 2011

18) Union Dispute, Turning Violent, Spreads and Idles Ports
September 8, 2011

19) GM Chief Says US Needs to Live Within Its Means
[Note: "Newly named General Motors Chief Executive Daniel Akerson reportedly will receive compensation of about $9 million, which includes a $1.7 million annual salary, the automaker disclosed Friday in a regulatory filing. Akerson, who assumed the post Sept. 1, will also receive a portion of his salary in the form of stock, totaling $5.3 million, which will be paid out over three years beginning September 2011. The former telecommunications executive will also get $2 million in restricted stock through GM's long-term incentive plan. ..."GM's New CEO Daniel Akerson to Get $9 Million Pay Package," By David Schepp Posted 5:40PM 09/10/10. ...For Your Information]
September 9, 2011

20) Addressing confusion about PFC Bradley Manning's case
By the Bradley Manning Support Network
September 1, 2011

21) 9-11 Ten Years Later
By John Reimann
September 8, 2011

22) Egyptian protesters pull down Israel embassy wall
By Sami Aboudi and Yasmine Saleh
CAIRO | Fri Sep 9, 2011 7:48pm EDT

23) Pelican Bay SHU prisoners plan to resume hunger strike Sept. 26
by Mutope Duguma (s/n James Crawford)
September 1, 2011

24) The Lingering Injustice of Attica
September 8, 2011

25) Israelis Flee Cairo Embassy as Protesters Invade Offices
September 10, 2011

26) Pipeline Spills Put Safeguards Under Scrutiny
September 9, 2011

27) Deal Reached on Dialysis for Immigrants
September 9, 2011

28) Rich Tax Breaks Bolster Makers of Video Games
"All told, the federal government gave $123 billion in tax incentives to corporations in 2010, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, with breaks for groups and people as diverse as Nascar track owners, mohair producers, hedge fund managers, chicken farmers, automakers and oil companies. Many tax policy analysts say the breaks for the video game industry - whose domestic sales of $15 billion a year now exceed those of the music business - are a vivid example of a tax system that defies common sense. ...Video game industry officials say that by improving technology, they are indirectly helping society at large. Dean Zerbe, national managing director at Alliantgroup, said that the military had used some video game technology to train soldiers and pilots." [UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE!!!]
September 10, 2011


1) Yes, We Need Jobs. But What Kind?
September 5, 2011

Cambridge, Mass.

ON Thursday, President Obama will deliver a major speech on America's employment crisis. But too often, what is lost in the call for job creation is a clear idea of what jobs we want to create.

I recently led a research team to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has advertised his track record of creating jobs. From January 2000 to January 2010, employment in the Valley grew by a remarkable 42 percent, compared with our nation's anemic 1 percent job growth.

But the median wage for adults in the Valley between 2005 and 2008 was a stunningly low $8.14 an hour (in 2008 dollars). One in four employed adults earned less than $6.19 an hour. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that the per capita income in the two metropolitan statistical areas spanning the Valley ranked lowest and second lowest in the nation.

These workers aren't alone. Last year, one in five American adults worked in jobs that paid poverty-level wages. Worker displacement contributes to the problem. People who are laid off from previously stable employment, if they are lucky enough to find work, take a median wage hit of over 20 percent, which can persist for decades.

To understand the impact of low wages, in the Valley and elsewhere, we interviewed a wide range of people, including two directors of public health clinics, three priests, a school principal and four focus groups of residents. Everyone described a life of constantly trying to scrape by. One month they might pay for the phone, another, for utilities. Everyone knew how long each company would carry unpaid bills before cutting service. People spoke not only of their fear of an unexpected crisis - an illness, a broken car - but also of the challenge of paying for basic needs like school supplies. Many used the phrase "one paycheck away from homelessness."

Because their parents cannot afford child care, children move among relatives and neighbors. They watch too much TV. They don't finish their homework. Older children grow up too fast from parenting their younger siblings. As one person observed, "All you think about is which bill is more important."

Economic stress strains marriages. Parents cannot afford quinceañeras for their daughters. In church youth groups, teenagers ask why they should stay in school if all they can get are low wages.

Many children are latchkey kids. Accidents are frequent; we heard of an elementary school student who badly burned himself in a science experiment, with his older brother watching. Their father couldn't take time off from work to visit his son in the hospital. Children come to school sick. Parents miss teacher conferences because they can't afford time off. Type 2 diabetes is a scourge in the Valley. Since Type 2 diabetics can be asymptomatic for years, many don't buy medicine; as time passes, they become severely ill, often losing sight or a limb.

The director at one clinic, with nearly 70,000 visits a year, estimated that half of its patients had anxiety or depression. Often people can't get to the clinic because they cannot afford to lose work time or because gas costs too much. When they go, they take their families, because they have no child care.

And yet the Valley is not hopeless. Teachers stay late to help with homework. They make home visits to meet parents. Health clinic employees work overtime. The community organization Valley Interfaith has pushed for training opportunities and living-wage jobs. There is no "culture of poverty," but the low-wage economy has corrosive and tragic consequences.

Must we choose between job quality and quantity? We have solid evidence that when employees are paid better and given more opportunities within a company, the gains outweigh the costs. For example, after a living wage ordinance took effect for employees at the San Francisco International Airport, in 1999, turnover fell and productivity rose.

Contrary to the antigovernment rhetoric, there is much that the public sector can do to improve the quality of jobs.

A recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute reported that 20 percent of federal contract employees earned less than the poverty level for a family of four, as opposed to 8 percent of traditional federal workers. Many low-wage jobs in the private sector (notably, the health care industry) are financed by taxpayers. The government can set an example by setting and enforcing wage standards for contractors.

When states and localities use their zoning powers to approve commercial projects, or offer tax incentives to attract new employers, they can require that workers be paid living wages; research shows this will not hurt job growth.

Labor standards have to be upgraded and enforced, particularly for those employers, typically in low-wage industries, who engage in "wage theft," by failing to pay required overtime wages or misclassifying workers as independent contractors so that they do not receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Americans have long believed that there should be a floor below which job quality does not fall. Today, polls show widespread support for upgrading employment standards, including raising the minimum wage - which is lower, in inflation-adjusted terms, than it was in 1968. It's time for the federal government to take the lead in creating not just more jobs, but more good jobs. The job-growth mirage of the Rio Grande Valley cannot be our model.

Paul Osterman, an economist at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, is the co-author of "Good Jobs America: Making Work Better for Everyone."


2) Black Man's Family to Sue White Teenagers for Wrongful Death
September 6, 2011

ATLANTA - The family of a black man run down and killed in a motel parking lot in Jackson, Miss., filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against the group of white teenagers it says is responsible.

The lawsuit, filed in Hinds County Circuit Court in Jackson, paints the death of James Craig Anderson as a hate crime, and outlines an evening of drinking that culminated with a caravan of teenagers from a largely white suburban county intent on finding African-Americans to harass.

Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center joined Winston Thompson III, the family's lawyer, in preparing the suit, which includes charges of battery and negligence.

Mr. Anderson, 48, died shortly after 5 a.m. on June 26. He had been leaving a motel in south Jackson, and had either lost his keys or locked them in his car, police investigators said.

Images from a widely circulated security video show that two carloads of teenagers drove into the parking lot, and some jumped out and went toward Mr. Anderson.

The police say he was beaten and robbed, and then, as he staggered along a grassy strip at the edge of a parking lot, a teenager driving a Ford pickup truck backed up and then accelerated forward, running over and killing him.

The lawsuit makes public for the first time the names of all seven young people who had piled into the two vehicles that night, and alleges that while some were directly responsible for assaulting and killing Mr. Anderson, others were negligent because they acted as "look-outs" and did not help Mr. Anderson once he was beaten.

One of the people yelled "white power" during the attack, and others used a racial epithet, according to the lawsuit and prosecutors, who are also taking criminal action in the case.

Only two of the seven named in the suit have been charged in the attack.

Deryl Dedmon, the young man believed to be driving the pickup, is facing capital murder charges, which require that a murder be committed in connection with another felony.

In this case, lawyers and the man's family said, the teenagers took Mr. Anderson's cellphone, ring and wallet.

Mr. Dedmon, who is being held without bond, will go before a Hinds County judge on Tuesdayafternoon in a preliminary hearing. John Aaron Rice, who was in the second car at the scene, is charged with assault and has been released on bond.

The district attorney for Hinds County, Robert Shuler Smith, has said he will try to implicate other teenagers when he takes the case to a grand jury, expected to happen this month. The F.B.I. has also gotten involved, with civil rights investigators helping Mr. Smith piece together the case, which was hampered early on by missing evidence and holes in some initial police work.

The family has created the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance, and has not spoken much publicly about their brother's death. In an interview with The New York Times last month, his family described Mr. Anderson as a good country cook, a gifted gardener and always genial. He liked his job on the assembly line at the Nissan plant, which he had held for about seven years.

"If you met him, the first thing you were going to see was that grand piano smile," said his oldest sister, Barbara Anderson Young, who is one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

James Bradfield, Mr. Anderson's partner of 17 years who was raising his 4-year-old relative with him, is not named in the suit but was scheduled to be at a family news conference Tuesday. There was no indication that Mr. Anderson's sexual orientation was a factor in the crime.


3) U.N. Officials Say Famine Is Widening in Somalia
September 5, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya - The United Nations announced Monday that Somalia's famine had spread to a sixth area within the country, with officials warning that 750,000 people could die in the next few months unless aid efforts were scaled up.

A combination of drought, war, restrictions on aid groups and years of chaos have pushed four million Somalis - more than half the population - into "crisis," according to the United Nations. Agricultural production is just a quarter of what it normally is, and food prices continue to soar.

"We can't underestimate the scale of the crisis," said Mark Bowden, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Somalia. "Southern Somalia is the epicenter of the famine area in the Horn of Africa. It's the source of most of the refugees, and we need to refocus our efforts."

In July, the United Nations declared that parts of southern Somalia had met the technical criteria of famine as defined by certain thresholds of death and malnutrition rates. Since then, the famine has slowly spread, covering a large chunk of the southern third of Somalia, including parts of the capital, Mogadishu, and several farming areas, which means food production has been crippled.

On Monday, the United Nations added the entire Bay region, where nearly 60 percent of children are acutely malnourished, to the list of famine-stricken areas. When pushed for numbers on how many people have died across Somalia so far, Mr. Bowden said: "We can't give an exact figure, but we can say tens of thousands of people have died over the last three to four months, over half of whom are children. That translates into hundreds a day."

Somalia has lurched from crisis to crisis since its central government collapsed in 1991. There have been more than a dozen attempts to restore a functioning central government, and the United Nations is currently holding a conference in Mogadishu to bring political leaders together to discuss future plans.

But much of southern Somalia is still ruled by the Shabab, an Islamist militant group, which has forced out many large aid organizations and has even prevented starving people from fleeing drought areas. Though the International Committee of the Red Cross and several Muslim charities are bringing food aid to Shabab-controlled areas, residents there complain that gunmen steal much of the food. Similar complaints have been lodged in the government-controlled areas of Mogadishu.

Another rising concern is disease. Measles, cholera, malaria and typhoid have already begun to sweep through displaced persons' camps, where sick and starving people have congregated in the hopes of getting aid. Aid officials predict that the drought, which has hit Kenya and Ethiopia as well, will end in October, but the ensuing rains could raise the risk of waterborne and infectious diseases.

"A massive, multisectoral response is critical to prevent additional deaths and total livelihood/social collapse," said a statement on Monday by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, which are financed by the American government and the United Nations. "Assuming current levels of response continue, famine is expected to spread further over the coming four months."

Reuben Kyama contributed reporting.


4) Italian Workers Strike Against Austerity Measures
September 6, 2011

ROME - Thousands of workers took to the streets in Italy on Tuesday in a general strike to protest a package of ever-changing austerity measures required by the European Central Bank and now up for debate in the Italian Senate.

The eight-hour strike shut down transport and businesses nationwide. It was called by the C.G.I.L. union, which represents 2 million public and private sector workers, in opposition to a 45.5 billion-euro austerity package of tax hikes and spending cuts proposed by the Italian government last month to reduce Italy's budget deficit by 2013.

The measures were required by the European Central Bank in exchange for buying Italian debt to help keep the country's borrowing costs from rising out of control. But the measures have come under near-daily revision, as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi struggles to satisfy objections from within his governing coalition and from the center-left opposition.

The latest incarnation, which comes up for a vote in the Senate later this week, would change Italian labor law to permit Italian to bypass national labor contracts, making it easier to hire and fire workers.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Berlusconi's office said the bill would also raise VAT tax to 21 percent from 20 percent; adding an additional "solidarity tax" of 3 percent on Italians who earn more than 500,000 euros annually; and increasing the retirement age for women in the private sector starting in 2014.

The Northern League, the most powerful party in Mr. Berlusconi's coalition, had been vehemently opposed to raising the retirement age for women, since in Italy public day care is scarce and grandmothers routinely serve as child care providers.

On Tuesday, the government said it planned to call a confidence vote on the measures in the Senate, where Mr. Berlusconi has a significant majority.

Addressing a crowd of an estimated 70,000 people in Rome on Tuesday, Susanna Camusso, the leader of C.G.I.L., called the change to the labor law "unjust" and threatened more strike actions if it weren't removed.

"If Parliament doesn't strike this from the bill, they have to know that we will use every path and initiative possible so that this shameful measure is removed," she told an estimated 70,000 supporters outside the Colosseum on Tuesday.

Pierluigi Bersani, the leader of the center-left opposition, criticized the measures. "This package should be strengthened and made more equitable," he said. "It's useless to pass it quickly if it's not done well. Otherwise we will end up having a new austerity package every week."

After dropping a proposed 1.8 billion euros in cuts to regional governments, the new austerity bill proposes stepping up efforts to crack down on tax evasion, which Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti estimates will bring in billions in evaded taxes.

In recent days, Mr. Berlusconi has come under intense European pressure to pass the measures, which are seen as vital to the strength of the euro.

On Monday, Mario Draghi, the outgoing Bank of Italy president and incoming president of the European Central Bank, became the latest European leader to pressure Mr. Berlusconi to approve the measures swiftly.

He said that Italy should "not take it for granted" that the European Central Bank would continue buying Italian debt.

But the measures are not popular with many Italians, who are feeling increasingly squeezed. As he walked around Rome's Piazza Navona, Pasquale Nappo, 47, a public employee in the Rome Province, wore a butcher's apron covered in fake blood to protest what he called the "social butchery" of the austerity measures.

"The politicians don't seem to understand and haven't for years that they need to give people answers," said Mr. Nappo, who said that three of his four children were unemployed. "They don't understand that if I earn 1,300 euros a month, I can't pay a rent of 1,200 euros, which is what it costs to live in Rome."

Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting.


5) Fukushima's Long Link to a Dark Nuclear Past
September 5, 2011

ISHIKAWA, Japan - Kiwamu Ariga skirted the paddies of ripening rice, moving briskly despite his 81 years to reach a pile of yellowish rocks at the foot of a steep, forested hillside.

It was here that, as a junior high school student in the final months of World War II, Mr. Ariga and his classmates were put to work hacking rocks out of the hill's then exposed stone face until the blood ran from their sandaled feet. The soldiers told them nothing beyond instructing them to look for stones with brown or black spots.

Then one day, Mr. Ariga recalled, an officer finally explained what they were after: "With the stones that you boys are digging up, we can make a bomb the size of a matchbox that will destroy all of New York." Mr. Ariga said he did not learn other details of Japan's secrecy-wrapped efforts to build an atomic bomb until years after the war.

"We had no idea what we were doing here, in our bare feet, digging out radioactive uranium," Mr. Ariga said, standing between cedar saplings as spindly as his aging legs. "Now, 66 years later, we are exposed to radiation again."

This quiet mining town, nestled amid gentle green mountains, is located in Fukushima Prefecture, the rural district that is home to the radiation-spewing nuclear plant that bears its name, just an hour's drive over mountains to the northeast. The accident five months ago has prompted aging residents like Mr. Arigato speak out about how Fukushima, a name that has now become synonymous with civilian nuclear disaster, also has an older, lesser-known link to an even darker side of atomic energy.

Now in their 80s, the former schoolchildren who worked Ishikawa's uranium mines find themselves making increasing appearances in major Japanese media.

"Maybe it is Fukushima's unlucky mission to stand as a warning against the dangers of nuclear power," both civilian and military, said Etsuo Hashimoto, a retiree and amateur historian who volunteers at Ishikawa's one-room mineral museum, where rocks with printed labels collect dust on shelves.

Mr. Hashimoto stood before the museum's single display panel describing the imperial army's attempt here in 1945 to mine uranium and develop ways of refining it for use in building a bomb. Compared with the United States' vast Manhattan Project, historians describe Japan's two bomb-building programs - the imperial navy also ran a separate project - as minuscule, last-ditch efforts, hindered by a lack of resources and pessimism among the projects' own scientists that such a weapon could actually be completed.

As Mr. Hashimoto spoke, sirens began to wail, in one of the routine checks of emergency-response systems that this town of almost 18,000 residents has held since the accident in March at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 36 miles away. Officials also regularly measure the fallout that has blown this way from the stricken plant, though they say radiation levels are not high enough to endanger health.

Still, the irony of Ishikawa's current predicament has proven rich enough to draw renewed attention to Japan's wartime atomic bomb programs, which are not well known here.

The programs were revealed soon after the war, but for decades Ishikawa's role went largely unnoticed, as an economically resurgent Japan tried its best to put its wartime past behind it. Since the 1990s, major media have become less inhibited about discussing the war, including Japan's atomic bomb programs. However, the programs still seem to be easily forgotten in a nation that is more accustomed to thinking of itself as the victim of the deadly American atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Mr. Ariga, who in recent years has begun telling his story to local schoolchildren, says that most Japanese are shocked to hear that their nation also tried to build an atomic bomb. "I have no doubt Japan would have used it if it succeeded," he added.

Historians say Japan never got as far as even designing, much less actually building, an atomic weapon. Indeed, its wartime efforts can seem woefully insufficient for the task: in Ishikawa, about 130 schoolchildren were put to work digging for uranium ore because the adult men had all been sent off to war.

"Ishikawa is a symbol of how inanely inadequate it was, using schoolchildren to build an atomic bomb," said Masayasu Hosaka, a historian who has written on Japan's atomic bomb projects.

For years after the war, no one in Ishikawa talked about the uranium mines, residents say. Fortunately, they add, no one got sick from radiation exposure. However, many feared they might face the same discrimination as survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who were denied marriage and jobs out of fear that radiation was contagious.

"The mines were the town's secret," according to Kuniteru Maeda, 81, who also worked at the uranium mine.

Mr. Maeda and Mr. Ariga, who both became schoolteachers in Ishikawa after the war, said their silence continued until after retirement two decades ago, when they had time to ponder their wartime experiences. In 1993, they pooled their money to self-publish a small book on the bomb project in Ishikawa.

Sitting on the tatami floor of his two-century-old farmhouse, under the black-and-white photographs of recent ancestors, Mr. Ariga grows angry describing the parallels he sees between the wartime bomb projects and Japan's current nuclear crisis. The biggest similarity, he says, is that in both cases, the public was deceived by what he called hubris-filled leaders.

During the war, he said, generals and admirals believed their own propaganda about Japan being a sacred country that could defeat its foes with spiritual purity alone, and thus allowed themselves to fall behind the United States in the race to build the bomb. Now, he said, the Fukushima Daiichi accident exposed how Japan had let itself be led astray once again, this time by economic planners who promoted a "safety myth" that Japanese technology could never fail.

"We were brainwashed during the war, and we were brainwashed again after the war," Mr. Ariga said. "Maybe we will get wise the third time."


6) Great Labor Day Speech, Mr. President - Right Up to the Okedoke
By Eric L. Wattree
September 06, 2011 09:31 AM

Yeah, I caught it, Mr. President. You slipped it in there very slyly, but it stuck out at me like a neo sign. You know, the part where you said,"In the private sector, we live in a more competitive global economy - so unions like the UAW understand that workers have to work with management to revamp business models, to innovate so we can sell our products around the world. We understand that the world is changing; unions understand that the world is changing. Unions understand they need to help drive the change, whether it's on the factory floor, or in the classroom, or in the government office (Applause)."

That sounds like politispeak for, during this time of record corporate profits that the unions should refrain from fighting for every penny they can get for their members, and they should 'compromise' with corporations for the sake of even higher corporate profits and CEO salaries and bonuses. In short, the unions should allow the corporations to enhance their corporate greed on the backs of poor and middle-class workers, yet, again.

Here's an alterative - how about asking corporations to settle for merely billions of dollars in profits instead of holding out for hundreds of billions, or an even better alternative would be to modify our trade laws to reflect reality.

You also said: "But what unions also know is that the values at the core of the union movement, those don't change. Those are the values that have made this country great. (Applause.) That's what the folks trying to undermine your rights don't understand. When union workers agree to pay freezes and pay cuts - they're not doing it just to keep their jobs. They're doing it so that their fellow workers - their fellow Americans - can keep their jobs. (Applause.)"

Wrong again, Mr. President. They did it because the government has policies in place that have allowed corporations to hold American workers hostage in pursuit of ever-expanding greed.

Then you went on to say, "When teachers agree to reforms in how schools are run at the same time as they're digging into their pockets to buy school supplies for those kids, they do so because they believe every child can learn. (Applause.) They do it because they know something that those who seek to divide us don't understand: We are all in this together. That's why those crowds came out to support you in Madison and in Columbus. We are one nation. We are one people. We will rise and we will fall together."

Why didn't you make that past tense, Mr. President? You should have said that "Teachers AGREED to dig into their pockets." If I didn't know better, Mr. President, I'd think you were saying that it's a foregone conclusion that teachers are going to have to continue to sacrifice for the good of the nation. Why does all the sacrifice always have to come from those who have least to give?

You went on to say, "We are one nation. We are one people. We will rise and we will fall together." Well, I'm not seeing that. What I see is the business community, and our government, writing off the poor and middle-class as expendable, and secondary to profits. We see it everywhere, including on the battlefield, with the endless wars that use poor and middle-class troops as cannon fodder to promote the interests of war profiteers and oil companies. As we speak, the oil companies are rushing into Lybia to divide up the spoils that poor and middle-class troops have died for, while thinking they were fighting to defend this country.
And the irony is, the children of the people who benefit most from the death of the poor and middle class troops - the rich - are no longer even expected to defend this country. Dying for this country is now considered the job of the "little people."

So, tell me Mr. President, exactly what are the sacrifices being made by the top 2% of the country? They don't pay taxes - which amounts to getting a bonus while you ask the rest of us sacrifice - their children are not expected to die in our endless corporate wars, and while the rest of us were losing our jobs and homes, congress was voting itself a $93,000 raise over and above their salaries in "petty cash."

So again, Mr. President, please explain to me what sacrifices are the rich making for this country? Maybe you see something that I'm missing, but all I see is the rich sitting back and reaping the benefits from the sacrifices made by the poor and middle class, while complaining that the social security and medicare being paid to the grandparents of the people who are dying for this country are a burden on the nation - in spite of the fact that the government owes the people $2.5 trillion that it "borrowed" from Social Security. So on top of everything else, including the tax cut you're giving to the rich, you now expect us to sacrifice to repay ourselves? Oh, really.

So if your Labor Day speech was a trial balloon, it's a lead one. Thus, I sincerely hope, not only for the sake of America, but for the sake of your legacy and career, that you don't come at us with a similar kind nonsense in your formal speech on job creation. Because if you do, admittedly, it would be a change, but it wouldn't be the kind of change that any Democrat could believe in, in over seventy years.

Mr. President, many of us like you, and we want to support you, but as progreessives, we like and support justice much, much, more.

Eric L. Wattree is a writer, poet, and musician, born in Los Angeles. He's a columnist for The Los Angeles Sentinel, Black Star News, The Atlanta Post, and several other publications. He's also a staff writer for Veterans Today and the author of "A Message From the Hood."


7) AFRICOM and the Neo-Colonialists
NATO's War on Libya is an Attack on African Development
September 6, 2011

"Africa the key to global economic growth"; this was a refreshingly honest recent headline from the Washington Post, but hardly one that qualifies as 'news'. African labour and resources- as any decent economic historian will tell you - has been key to global economic growth for centuries.

When the Europeans discovered America five hundred years ago, their economic system went viral. Increasingly, European powers realised that the balance of power at home would be dictated by the strength they were able to draw from their colonies abroad. Imperialism (aka capitalism) has been the fundamental hallmark of the world's economic structure ever since.

For Africa, this has meant nonstop subjection to an increasingly systematic plunder of people and resources that has been unrelenting to this day. First was the brutal kidnapping of tens of millions of Africans to replace the indigenous American workforce that had been wiped out by the Europeans.

The slave trade was devastating for African economies, which were rarely able to withstand the population collapse; but the capital it created for plantation owners in the Caribbean laid the foundations for Europe's industrial revolution. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as more and more precious materials were found in Africa (especially tin, rubber, gold and silver), the theft of land and resources ultimately resulted in the so-called "Scramble for Africa" of the 1870s, when, over the course of a few years, Europeans divided up the entire continent (with the exception of Ethiopia) amongst themselves. By this point, the world's economy was increasingly becoming an integrated whole, with Africa continuing to provide the basis for European industrial development as Africans were stripped of their land and forced down gold mines and onto rubber plantations.

After the Second World War, the European powers, weakened by years of unremitting industrial slaughter of each another, contrived to adapt colonialism to the new conditions in which they found themselves. As liberation movements grew in strength, the European powers confronted a new economic reality - the cost of subduing the 'restless natives' was starting to near the level of wealth they were able to extract from them.

Their favoured solution was what Kwame Nkrumah termed 'neo-colonialism' - handing over the formal attributes of political sovereignty to a trusted bunch of hand-picked cronies who would allow the economic exploitation of their countries to continue unabated. In other words, adapting colonialism so that Africans themselves were forced to shoulder the burden and cost of policing their own populations.

In practice, it wasn't that simple. All across Asia, Africa and Latin America, mass movements began to demand control of their own resources, and in many places, these movements managed to gain power - sometimes through guerrilla struggle, sometimes through the ballot box. This led to vicious wars by the European powers - now under the leadership of their upstart protege, the USA - to destroy such movements. This struggle, not the so-called "Cold War", is what defined the history of post-war international relations.

So far, neo-colonialism has largely been a successful project for the Europeans and the US. Africa's role as provider of cheap, often slave, labour and minerals has largely continued unabated. Poverty and disunity have been the essential ingredients that have allowed this exploitation to continue. However both are now under serious threat.

Chinese investment in Africa over the past ten years has been building up African industry and infrastructure in a way that may begin to seriously tackle the continent's poverty. In China, these policies have brought about unprecedented reductions in poverty and have helped to lift the country into the position it will shortly hold as the world's leading economic power. If Africa follows this model, or anything like it, the West's five hundred year plunder of Africa's wealth may be nearing a close.

To prevent this 'threat of African development', the Europeans and the USA have responded in the only way they know how - militarily. Four years ago, the US set up a new "command and control centre" for the military subjugation of the Africa, called AFRICOM. The problem for the US was that no African country wanted to host them; indeed, until very recently, Africa was unique in being the only continent in the world without a US military base. And this fact is in no small part, thanks to the efforts of the Libyan government.

Before Gaddafi's revolution deposed the British-backed King Idris in 1969, Libya had hosted one of the world's biggest US airbases, the Wheelus Air Base; but within a year of the revolution, it had been closed down and all foreign military personnel expelled.

More recently, Gaddafi had been actively working to scupper AFRICOM. African governments that were offered money by the US to host a base were typically offered double by Gaddafi to refuse it, and in 2008 this ad-hoc opposition crystallised into a formal rejection of AFRICOM by the African Union.

Perhaps even more worrying for US and European domination of the continent were the huge resources that Gaddafi was channelling into African development. The Libyan government was by far the largest investor in Africa's first ever satellite, launched in 2007, which freed Africa from $500million per year in payments to European satellite companies. Even worse for the colonial powers, Libya had allocated $30billion for the African Union's three big financial projects (5), aimed at ending African dependence on Western finance. The African Investment Bank - with its headquarters in Libya - was to invest in African development at no interest, which would have seriously threatened the International Monetary Fund's domination of Africa - a crucial pillar for keeping Africa in its impoverished position. And Gaddafi was leading the AU's development of a new gold-backed African currency, which would have cut yet another of the strings that keep Africa at the mercy of the West, with $42billion already allocated to this project - again, much of it by Libya.

NATO's war is aimed at ending Libya's trajectory as a socialist, anti-imperialist, pan-Africanist nation in the forefront of moves to srengthen African unity and independence. The rebels have made clear their virulent racism from the very start of their insurrection, rounding up or executing thousands of black African workers and students. All the African development funds for the projects described above have been 'frozen' by the NATO countries and are to be handed over to their hand-picked buddies in the NTC to spend instead on weapons to facilitate their war.

For Africa, the war is far from over. The African continent must recognise that NATO's lashing out is a sign of desperation, of impotence, of its inability to stop the inevitable rise of Africa on the world stage. Africa must learn the lessons from Libya, continue the drive towards pan-African unity, and continue to resist AFRICOM. Plenty of Libyans will still be with them when they do so.

DAN GLAZEBROOK writes for the Morning Star newspaper and is one of the co-ordinators for the British branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine. He can be contacted at

Further reading
Gold, Oil, Africa and Why the West wants Gaddafi Dead
by Brian E Muhammed for the Final Call
Why the West wants Gaddafi Out
by Jean-Paul Pougala for the Southern Times


8) Families Feel Sharp Edge of State Budget Cuts
September 6, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Stretched beyond their limits and searching for new corners of their budgets to find spending cuts, states are now trimming benefits for residents who are in grim financial shape themselves.

Some states, including Florida and Missouri, have decided to shrink the duration of state unemployment benefits paid to laid-off workers, while others, including Arizona and California, are creating new restrictions on cash aid for low-income residents.

Here in Michigan, more than 11,000 families received letters last week notifying them that in October they will lose the cash assistance they have been provided for years. Next year, people who lose their jobs here will receive fewer weeks of state unemployment benefits, and those making little enough to qualify for the state's earned income tax credit will see a far smaller benefit from it.

Some political leaders see these sorts of cuts as unfortunate necessities to help bridge their state's financial gaps. Others see them as overdue limits on out-of-control government handouts - some lawmakers here fumed, for example, that 30,000 college students, newly dropped from the state's food stamp rolls, should never have been allowed to collect such benefits in the first place.

Whatever the motive, such policy changes come as the downturn has left a growing number of low-income families in worse financial trouble.

The percentage of children living in poverty rose during the last decade, particularly once the recession hit and unemployment soared.

By 2009, about 2.4 million more children's families lived below the poverty line than in 2000, an increase of 18 percent, according to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a child advocacy group. In states like this, where Republicans took control of the capital this year, the new cuts have helped resolve Michigan's expected budget gap, once estimated at $1.4 billion.

"Michigan can no longer afford to provide lifetime assistance," said Sheryl Thompson, an official with the state Department of Human Services, which reported that of those being dropped from the state's cash-assistance rolls, some 1,200 families had been receiving payments for 10 years, more than 700 others for a dozen years, and an additional 400 families had been getting payments for 14 years.

The pattern of new cuts around the nation leads some advocates to fear that the number of low-income families will only grow in the next few years if programs they can lean on shrink or vanish.

"We're O.K. unless something - anything at all - goes wrong," said Rachel Haifley, who lives here in Lansing and said she works part-time making a little less than $9 an hour and receives child support for her two young sons, 1 and 3.

Ms. Haifley said she has become an expert at seeking out giveaways, thrift shops and bargains - for clothes, portable cribs, toys for the boys. "All I want is for them to feel like everyone else," she said. "I don't want them to grow up and ask me why they're poor."

In Dearborn Heights, Celia Kane-Fecay, another mother of two, said she has given up on the job hunt for now and returned to college - with help from $597 a month in cash assistance, Medicaid and any other aid she can track down with what she has come to describe unhappily as her daily list of begging phone calls. "You don't ever want to be here," she said.

Signs of new poverty are already evident. A project by the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book found that by 2010, nearly 11 percent of the nation's children, or 7.8 million children, had at least one parent who was unemployed, when only about half as many were in such circumstances in 2007. And since four years ago, the study found, at least 5.3 million children have been affected by home foreclosures.

Meanwhile, around the nation, lawmakers have weighed new limits to tax credits for low-income people; in Michigan, a proposal to throw out the earned income tax credit entirely was dropped, but lawmakers shrank the benefit - to an average of $138 a year for a Michigan family, advocates say, from $432 last year.

Six states have approved reductions in the length of state unemployment benefits. The notion appalls people like Jeananne Bishop, who has been desperately searching for a job since July 2010 and found herself washing her hair with laundry detergent at one point because she could not afford shampoo.

Ms. Bishop said her continuing benefits - now part of a federally financed extension - are the only thing keeping her afloat. Michigan's shortened unemployment benefit limits will apply starting next year, but Ms. Bishop, 56, of Benton Harbor, seemed skeptical that much will have changed in the job market for them, cautioning, "No one calls back."

And while at least three states, including Michigan, shortened the period during which poor residents can receive cash assistance, other states began enforcing stricter limits already on the books.

"We clearly recognize that states have huge deficits they're dealing with, but all of these things add up in certain states to very little safety net protection for children," said Patrick McCarthy, president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In Michigan - where 23 percent of children were living in poverty by 2009 (compared with 14 percent in 2000) and with an unemployment rate, at 10.9 percent, worse than the nation's - state leaders defended their changes.

Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican in his first term, said his efforts had focused on creating an economic climate in the state for more and better jobs, while also protecting and even enhancing core safety-net services like Medicaid, she said.

Ms. Wurfel added that the state had, for instance, hired hundreds of new child welfare workers. And as part of their decision to cut state unemployment benefits next year, Michigan lawmakers had accepted a federal extension of benefits this year for residents.

"In this state, we are losing hard-working families and taxpayers and gaining people who were moving here for our entitlement programs," said Ken Horn, a Republican state representative who introduced a bill setting strict limits on cash assistance to those who have had it at least four years. That bill was signed into law on Tuesday, even as state officials were newly carrying out five-year lifetime federal limits on such assistance, which in Michigan averages $415 a month for an eligible family.

"The bill is designed with the simple idea that there should be a safety net but it should not be a lifestyle," Mr. Horn added. "As we looked at it, it turned out to be part of the budget solution."

Republicans said that even the cuts to those who have been on cash assistance the longest allow some exceptions (for those with disabilities, for instance), and that the rest will get special attention from social workers.

But Fred Durhal Jr., a Democratic state representative from one of Michigan's poorest regions, said that will not be enough. He has begun calling Oct. 1 - the start of cuts to cash aid - doomsday.

"Sometimes you've got what's fiscally sound, and you've got what is morally and ethically the right thing to do," Mr. Durhal said. "Those don't always jell well together. You can't take grandmas away and put them on the street, and you can't take milk from babies."


9) Councilman Says Racial Bias Led the Police to Detain Him at a Parade
September 6, 2011, 2:24 pm

City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, backed by more than two dozen city, state and federal officeholders, charged on Tuesday that racial bias had prompted the police to detain him and another city official at a parade one day earlier.

Several city officials expressed concern that the handcuffing of Mr. Williams and Kirsten John Foy, the community affairs director for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, at the West Indian Day Parade reflected a pattern in which the police unfairly single out young black men.

"We're quickly moving to an apartheid situation here in the city of New York where we don't recognize the civil liberties and the civil rights of all New Yorkers," Representative Yvette D. Clarke said. She added that she was so concerned about "hearing more and more about the violations of civil liberties in this town," she was considering contacting the Justice Department.

Letitia James, a city councilwoman from Brooklyn, recounted an episode at last year's West Indian Day Parade in which one of her campaign workers, who was feeling ill, asked to use the ladies' room at the Brooklyn Museum. But the police refused, Ms. James said, saying it was a restricted area. Another staff member, a black man, began arguing with the police; he was then arrested and charged, and his lawyer is trying to have the case dismissed.

And Mr. Williams said he was stopped recently by the police in South Brooklyn while driving a new car with temporary tags; the officer, he said, "wanted to make sure it was my car."

He said that none of these incidents would have occurred "if I did not look the way I look - young, black, with locks and earrings."

The news conference, on the steps of City Hall, provided the first extensive public comments by Mr. Williams and Mr. Foy, who are both 35, since they were detained by the police. When the episode occurred, the two had been trying to walk from Grand Army Plaza to a post-parade event at the Brooklyn Museum, using a sidewalk that the police had blocked.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Foy said they had been given permission to walk on the sidewalk by an officer in a white shirt, signifying high rank. But as they walked down the sidewalk, they found themselves surrounded, they said, by police officers.

Mr. Williams then called a senior law enforcement official he knows well, he said, to explain what was happening. Suddenly, he said, he was being handcuffed - while still on the phone with the official, whom he did not identify. The official tried to contact officers to help "defuse the situation," Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Foy displayed oversize photographs of their interactions with the officers, as well as images of Mr. Williams's city-issued badge identifying him as a member of the City Council and other identification that he and Mr. Foy said they displayed to the police - to no avail. Mr. de Blasio has also released a video showing a police officer pushing Mr. Foy to the ground.

A Democrat from Brooklyn, Mr. Williams dismissed as "bald-faced lies" statements by the police that an officer had been punched in the face during the confrontation.

"I defy the police to find one shred of evidence of any police officer punched in the face in that incident," Mr. Williams said.

"Cease and desist with the lies," Mr. Williams added. "Please don't insult our intelligence. Because we're black, we're not dumb."

What their arrests demonstrated, the two concluded, was a classic case of racial profiling and a policing culture exacerbated by the department's "stop, question and frisk" policies, which critics say are aimed unfairly at young blacks and Latinos. They said they were now seeking not just reprimands for the officers and their immediate supervisors, but also changes in police practices.

"We need to highlight issues that the N.Y.P.D. has been using to terrorize our community," Mr. Foy said.

Michael J. Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, suggested, based on brief conversations with some of the officers involved, that the circumstances were more complicated.

"Race had nothing to do with it," he said. "The issue was the councilman's arrogance and ego. If he had simply identified himself and acted like an elected official, he would have been treated like one."

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, said that the department was investigating.

"I think there was a misunderstanding as to determining who the councilman was, and who was allowed or not allowed in the frozen zone," he said. "Obviously, you'd prefer that it not happen."

When asked whether stop-and-frisk policies had contributed to an atmosphere that led to the confrontation, he said, "Absolutely not."

Even while criticizing the conduct of the police, Mr. Williams and Mr. Foy praised Mr. Kelly for ordering an investigation. Mr. Williams also said he took solace in apologies from Mr. Kelly and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Mr. Foy described Mr. Kelly's leadership as "phenomenal" in some areas, but said that "his character has not been mimicked by people subordinate to him."

Several officials who are expected to run for mayor in 2013 appeared at Mr. Williams's side, including Mr. de Blasio; John C. Liu, the city comptroller; Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker; and Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president.

"I am deeply distressed," Ms. Quinn said in a statement. She added, "By all accounts, these actions should not have happened."


10) Hayward's Vallares to Buy Iraqi Oil Company in $2.1 Billion Deal
September 7, 2011, 7:14 am

LONDON - Tony Hayward, who resigned as chief executive of BP amid the fallout from the Gulf of Mexico accident last year, is set to become the head of another oil company.

Vallares, the investment vehicle Mr. Hayward co-founded with the financier Nathaniel P. Rothschild earlier this year, agreed on Wednesday to buy Genel Energy International, an oil producer in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, in a $2.1 billion deal.

Mr. Hayward will be chief executive of the new company, called Genel Energy. Rodney Chase, the former deputy chief executive of BP, would become chairman and Mr. Rothschild nonexecutive director.

Under the terms of the transaction, Vallares will issue $2.1 billion of new stock at £10 a share to acquire Genel in a reverse takeover. The owners of Vallares and Genel will own equal shares in the combined company.

The deal comes months after Vallares raised £1.35 billion ($2.0 billion) from investors through a London stock listing in June, with the expectation of buying oil and natural gas assets in Russia and the former Soviet states, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Genel has stakes in two producing oil fields, a major natural gas condensate discovery and significant exploration acreage in Kurdistan, the semiautonomous northern province of Iraq, Vallares said.

"Our investors are acquiring a strong existing business with excellent producing assets, a fine team of technical and operating staff already in place, and immense potential for future growth," Mr. Hayward said in a statement on Wednesday. "The Kurdistan region of Iraq is undoubtedly one of the last great oil and gas frontiers."

Mehmet Sepil, currently chief executive of Genel, is slated to become president of the new company. Mr. Sepil was embroiled in a market abuse case and was fined £967,000 by the British financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority, in February in relation to his investment in Heritage Oil.

The newly combined entity plans to file a prospectus in October, allowing it to move forward with its listing in London. The deal is subject to the approval of the Kurdistan government, which the company expects to receive later this month.

Following the transaction, the company plans to have sufficient funds "to participate aggressively in the significant consolidation we expect to see in the region over the next few years and to expand elsewhere if good opportunities arise," it said in the statement.


11) Our Creeping Police State: How Going to the Mall of America Can Land You in an FBI Counterterrorism Report
"In 2005, the Mall of America hired Mike Rozin to lead a new special security unit. Rozin served as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces before working in a protective division at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport."
By G.W. Schulz and Andrew Becker and Daniel Zwerdling, America's War Within
Posted on September 7, 2011, Printed on September 8, 2011

On May 1, 2008, at 4:59 p.m., Brad Kleinerman entered the spooky world of homeland security.

As he shopped for a children's watch inside the sprawling Mall of America, two security guards approached and began questioning him. Although he was not accused of wrongdoing, the guards filed a confidential report about Kleinerman that was forwarded to local police.

The reason: Guards thought he might pose a threat because they believed he had been looking at them in a suspicious way.

Najam Qureshi, owner of a kiosk that sold items from his native Pakistan, also had his own experience with authorities after his father left a cell phone on a table in the food court.

The consequence: An FBI agent showed up at the family's home, asking if they knew anyone who might want to hurt the United States.

Mall of America officials say their security unit stops and questions on average up to 1,200 people each year. The interviews at the mall are part of a counterterrorism initiative that acts as the private eyes and ears of law enforcement authorities but has often ensnared innocent people, according to an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR.

In many cases, the written reports were filed without the knowledge of those interviewed by security. Several people named in the reports learned from journalists that their birth dates, race, names of employers and other personal information were compiled along with surveillance images.

One Iranian man, now 62, began passing out during questioning. An Army veteran sobbed in his car after he was questioned for nearly two hours about video he had taken inside the mall.

Much of the questioning at the mall has been done in public while shoppers mill around, records show. Two people, a shopper and a mall employee, also described being taken to a basement area for questioning. Officials at the mall would not address individual cases.

"The government is not going to protect us free of charge, so we have to do that ourselves," said Maureen Bausch, executive vice president of business development at the mall. "We're lucky enough to be in the city of Bloomington where they actually have a police substation here [in the mall]. ... They're great. But we are responsible for this building."

Reporters at the Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR obtained 125 suspicious activity reports totaling over 1,000 pages dating back to Christmas Eve, 2005. The documents, provided by law enforcement officials in Minnesota, give a glimpse inside the national campaign by authorities to collect and share intelligence about possible threats.

The initiative exemplifies one of the cultural legacies of the terrorist attacks 10 years ago: Organizations and individuals are now encouraged by U.S. leaders to watch one another and report any signs of threats to homeland security authorities.

There is no way for the public to know exactly how many suspicious activity reports from the Mall of America have ended up with local, state and federal authorities. CIR and NPR asked 29 law enforcement agencies under open government laws for reports on suspicious activities. Only the Bloomington Police Department and Minnesota's state fusion center have turned over at least a portion of the paperwork.

In 2008, the mall's security director, Douglas Reynolds, told Congress [PDF] that the mall was the "number-one source of actionable intelligence" provided to the state's fusion center, an intelligence hub created after 9/11 to pull together reports from an array of law enforcement sources.

Information from the suspicious activity reports generated at the mall has been shared with Bloomington police, the FBI and, in at least four cases, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Missed signals prompt heightened awareness

The push to encourage Americans to report suspicious activity began in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when government officials and citizens found out there had been hints about the attackers that intelligence analysts had missed.

Some of the terrorists had taken flight training in Florida - but didn't focus on how to land. They bought one-way tickets. Officials at the FBI and other agencies failed to act on - or share - tips they had received.

In the decade since, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security have launched programs urging citizens to report suspicious activity. The private sector, including the utility industry and other businesses concerned with protecting "critical infrastructure," have their own surveillance and reporting systems. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has made such reporting a priority.

Last year the Department of Homeland Security launched its promotional campaign, "If you see something, say something," encouraging Americans to report anything perceived as threatening.

Among those formally enlisted were parking attendants, Jewish groups, stadium operators, landlords, security guards, fans of professional golf and auto racing and retailers such as the Mall of America.

Visitors "may be subject to a security interview," the mall's website says.

The suspicious activity reports from the mall are rich with detail. They contain personal information, sometimes including Social Security numbers and the names of family members and friends. Some of the reports include shoppers' travel plans. (About 40 percent of mall visitors are tourists.)

Commander Jim Ryan of the Bloomington Police Department said shoppers are not under arrest when stopped for questioning by private security. He said even he would walk away if the questioning seemed excessive.

"I don't think that I would subject myself to that, personally," he said. Ryan, however, defends security procedures at the mall.

In some cases, the questioning appears to have the hallmarks of profiling - something that officials at the mall deny. In nearly two-thirds of the cases reviewed, subjects are described as African American, people of Asian and Arabic descent, and other minorities, according to an analysis of the documents.

Mall spokesman Dan Jasper said the private security guards would not conduct interviews based on racial or ethnic characteristics because "we may miss someone who truly does have harmful intent."

"It's important to note that we conduct security interviews based solely on suspicious behavior," Jasper said in a statement. "Research indicates that profiling based on ethnic or racial characteristics is ineffective and a waste of valuable time and resources."

Ryan said such reports are crucial to the nation's safety in the post-9/11 era. He said the suspicious activity reports could be held by his agency for two decades or longer. He acknowledged that the mall's methods, and reports the security guards file, may "infringe on some freedoms, unfortunately."

"We're charged with trying to keep people safe. We're trying to do it the best way we can," he said. "You may be questioned at the Mall of America about suspicious activity. It's something that may happen. It's part of today's society."

Some national security and constitutional law specialists question the propriety and effectiveness of such reports.

Dale Watson, a former top counterterrorism official with the FBI, said the mall's reports suggest that anyone could be targeted for intrusive questioning and surveillance.

"If that had been one of my brothers that was stopped in a mall, I'd be furious about it - if I thought the police department had a file on him, an information file about his activities in the mall without any reasonable suspicion to investigate," said Watson, who played key roles in the investigations of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and a 1998 attack on U.S. embassies in East Africa.

Shoppers, who for the most part had no idea that a visit to the mall led to their personal information being shared with law enforcement, reacted with anger and dismay when shown their reports.

"For all the 30 years that I have lived in the United States, I've never been a suspect," said Emil Khalil. The California man was confronted at the mall in June 2009 for taking pictures, and he said an FBI agent later questioned him at the airport. "And I've never done anything wrong."

Stories abound of people being stopped elsewhere in the United States for activity considered suspicious.

The New York Civil Liberties Union last year sued over one photographer's arrest, leading to a formal acknowledgement by the government that there are no rules or laws explicitly barring photos of federal buildings. An ACLU chapter this spring threatened transit officials in Maryland with litigation after police ordered individuals to stop snapping and filming images.

Frequent clashes between photographers and security guards nonetheless continue. New Jersey commuters can "text against terror" if they see behavior believed to be strange, and a smart phone app allows residents of the Bluegrass State to be the "eyes and ears on Kentucky."

Privately owned mall follows own rules

The Mall of America has become a monument to suburban shopping and entertainment. With 4.2 million square feet under one roof, the two-decade-old mall is one of the largest complexes of its kind in the world.

It features national retail stores such as Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Banana Republic, Brookstone and scores of other shops that populate malls across the country. It includes mom-and-pop kiosks selling T-shirts, cell phone covers, jewelry and more. To visit all the shops, more than 500 at last count, would take days.

But its entertainment complex sets the Mall of America apart. It has roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, a giant SpongeBob SquarePants statue, a water ride, remote-controlled trucks and boat games, all of it indoors. Nearly 100,000 people from around the world pass through the mall on a given day, more than 40 million each year.

The mall is controlled by the Canada-based Triple Five Group, a conglomerate that owns an even larger mall in Edmonton.

In 2005, the Mall of America hired Mike Rozin to lead a new special security unit.

Rozin served as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces before working in a protective division at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. He trained mall security in the art of interpreting behavioral cues for signs of a threat. Although his unit's approach has some of the hallmarks of profiling, Rozin dismissed any such notion, saying members of his unit merely watch what people do.

According to documents, they look for unexplained nervousness, people photographing such things as air-conditioning ducts or signs that a shopper might have something to hide. It's the kind of approach for which Israeli airports are renowned.

"Today, when you fly through Ben Gurion airport, you don't have to take your shoes off, you don't have (liquid) restrictions of any sort, we don't have body scanners," Rozin said. "Yet we're known to be the most secure airport in the world."

Rozin said that earlier this year, his guards detected a suspicious man who tried to run when they approached. Bloomington police joined in pursuit. After he was stopped, according to Rozin's account, they found a loaded handgun. He said the man had a history of violence. The mall's spokesman declined to provide documents to corroborate Rozin's account.

"Potentially that day, my ... officer prevented a disaster, a case of indiscriminate shooting in the Mall of America," Rozin said.

There are larger issues in the Twin Cities. At least 20 young Minnesotans have reportedly gone to Somalia to fight in the civil war. One man, who joined the militant Islamist group al-Shabab, attempted to blow himself up in May at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu.

Rozin acknowledged that the vast majority of people who come into contact with his unit "have done nothing wrong, have no malicious intent."

"They just act in a suspicious manner that obligated me to investigate further," Rozin said. "We talked to them for an average of five minutes, and they're able to continue their shopping."

Veteran's encounter leaves him shaken

Francis Van Asten's experience with mall security lasted much longer.

On Nov. 9, 2008, the Bloomington resident videotaped a short road trip from his home to the Mall of America. Van Asten, now 66, planned to send it to his fiancée's family in Vietnam so they could see life in the United States.

As he headed down an escalator, camera in hand, mall guards caught sight of him.

"Right away, I noticed he had a video camera and was recording the rotunda area," a security guard wrote in a suspicious activity report. "When he got to second floor [sic] he turned to the overlook of the park while still videotaping."

Van Asten, a onetime missile system repairman for the Army, was questioned for approximately two hours, according to his suspicious activity report. He was asked about traveling to Vietnam and how he came to know people there. Van Asten was even asked through which mall door he entered.

The report later filed about him said he was "open and very willing to share information."

Guards asked to see the contents of his camera. "The footage of all the vehicles and structures of the east ramp really worried me," the security guard wrote.

Authorities were concerned about footage of an airplane landing at Minnesota's international airport. They also worried Van Asten was conducting surveillance of mall property.

Van Asten said it was not clear to him at the time why he was stopped. After all, he was told nothing prohibited him from taking photographs or footage of the mall. But the mall's guards still called Bloomington police, and they alerted the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Van Asten was given a pat-down search, and the FBI demanded that his memory card be confiscated "for further analysis."

Exhausted and rattled, Van Asten had trouble finding his car after the ordeal was over.

"I sat down in my car and I cried, and I was shaking like a leaf," Van Asten said in an interview at his home. "That kind of sensation doesn't leave you real quickly when you've had an experience like that."

Man questioned for writing in notebook

Bobbie Allen, now 47, headed to the Mall of America on June 25, 2007, for lunch with a woman. As he waited for her, Allen sat alone writing in a notebook, which caught the attention of security. Counterterrorism experts sometimes instruct police and security personnel to look for suspicious note-taking, as it may indicate attack planning.

A security guard wrote in Allen's suspicious activity report: "Before the male would write in his notebook, it appeared as though he would look at his watch. Periodically, the male would briefly look up from his notebook, look around, and then continue writing."

Guards asked for his name and for whom he was waiting. Allen, a musician who lives in downtown Minneapolis, became frustrated, saying the questioning was intrusive. Allen, who is black, felt singled out for his race, according to the report. The guard responded that he was "randomly selected" for an interview and the questions continued. They asked what kind of coffee he liked best and where he planned to go for lunch.

The guards called Bloomington police after deciding Allen was uncooperative and his note-taking "suspicious." Allen was eventually cleared, but a suspicious activity report was compiled complete with surveillance photo, age, height, address and more. Much of that information ended up in a Bloomington police report.

Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, said such actions trample on traditional civil liberties protections and shift unaccountable power into private hands.

Rosen said the risk of abuses is high, particularly if there turns out to be a lack of proven results.

"If all they're getting for amassing suspicious activity reports on innocent people in government databases is the arrest of a few low-level turnstile jumpers and shoplifters, that doesn't seem very sensible," Rosen said.

In Allen's case, he responded in a way few others have - he complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and filed a lawsuit. Department investigators concluded that there was probable cause to support Allen's claim of racial discrimination.

Allen declined an interview, citing a settlement agreement reached with the mall. He would not provide details of that agreement.

The human rights department reviewed documents showing that in another case, a "suspicious" white patron was stopped while typing on a laptop computer. He, too, was "uncooperative," but mall security "chose not to escalate the situation by calling the police," according to a summary of the department's investigation.

It reads: "The investigation found that the (mall's) special security unit generates reports and field notes on suspicious persons, regardless whether the individual cooperated during the security interview or if police intervention occurred."

Not everyone had a negative reaction to being written up. After a report naming him was forwarded to the FBI, Sameer Khalil of Orange County, Calif., said he believed that police and private security have an important job they must do.

"I think [the mall's program] makes America safer," he said.

Forgotten cell phone leads to FBI visit

The FBI arrived on the doorstep of businessman Najam Qureshi shortly after a run-in with mall security. His family moved from Pakistan to the United States when Qureshi was 8. Police once pulled over their car for a minor traffic violation, and Qureshi remembers his father saying, "You don't have to fear the police here. They are here to help."

Qureshi opened a small kiosk at the mall so his aging father, a former aeronautical engineer named Saleem, could keep busy. One day in early 2007, Saleem Qureshi left his cell phone in a mall food court. When he returned for it, security personnel had established a "perimeter" around the phone, along with other unattended items nearby that did not belong to Saleem - a stroller and two coolers.

The "suspicious" objects eventually were cleared by security, documents show. But mall guards pursued Saleem Qureshi with questions, continuing even after he returned to his kiosk.

"Qureshi moved around a lot when answering questions," security guard Ashly Foster wrote in a suspicious activity report. "At one point, he moved to his kiosk and proceeded to take items off of two shelves just to switch them around. ... He seemed to get agitated at points when I would ask more detailed questions."

Four years after his father ended up in a suspicious activity report, his son was shown the report for the first time.

"The fact that this is in their database and they wasted time looking into these kinds of things is just silly," said Najam Qureshi.

"Everybody that lives in this country," he added, "is a person of interest as far as these reports are concerned."

G.W. Schulz, a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, has been covering homeland security issues since 2008.

Andrew Becker is a reporter with the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, Calif. He has written and reported for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio.

Daniel Zwerdling is a correspondent in NPR's Investigations Unit


12) Order Signed for Sept. Execution of Troy Davis
By GREG BLUESTEIN Associated Press
ATLANTA September 7, 2011 (AP)

Georgia is scheduling the execution later this month of an inmate who has won widespread support for his claims of innocence in the 1989 slaying of a Savannah police officer, his attorney said Tuesday.

A Chatham County judge signed the death warrant for Troy Davis on Tuesday, marking the fourth time since 2007 that the state has a scheduled an execution for Davis. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution in March by rejecting an appeal by Davis.

Davis has exhausted his appeals, but his attorney Jason Ewart has said they plan to ask the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemency. The five-member panel has the power to commute or postpone executions, but rarely does so.

The order, which was provided to the Associated Press by Davis' defense attorney Brian Kammer, sets a window between Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 for the execution. The Georgia Attorney General's office confirmed the order but didn't elaborate.

Davis has long said he could prove he was wrongly convicted of the killing of Mark MacPhail. The officer was working off-duty at a Savannah bus station when he was shot twice while rushing to help a homeless man who had been attacked. Eyewitnesses identified Davis as the shooter at his trial, but no physical evidence tied him to the slaying. Davis was convicted of the murder in 1991 and sentenced to death.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 agreed he should have the rare chance to argue he was innocent before a federal judge. It was the first time in at least 50 years that the court had granted an American death row inmate such an innocence hearing.

During two days of testimony in June 2010, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. heard from two witnesses who said they falsely incriminated Davis and two others who said another man had confessed to being MacPhail's killer in the years since Davis' trial.

But Moore concluded in August that several of the witnesses had already backed off their incriminating statements during the 1991 trial - so it wasn't new evidence - and that others simply couldn't be believed. He ruled that while the evidence casts some additional doubt on the conviction, "it is largely smoke and mirrors" and not nearly strong enough to prove Davis' innocence.

Davis appealed, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear the challenge in November. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected it in March.

Martina Correia, Davis' sister, said she plans to help organize rallies and events to urge Georgia's pardons board to block the execution.

"It's devastating, but we've been in this place before - three times before," she said. "And now there are more and more people coming on board. We haven't forgotten Troy and we're working hard to step up. I'm sorry that we have to go through this, but we're going to fight like we always do."

The victim's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said the judge's order is one more step toward bringing her family closure.

"I'd like to get it over with," she said. "For 22 years we've been going back and forth and forth and back," she said. "I don't believe it until it's done, but I sure would like to have some peace."

Davis' case has become a focal point for the international anti-death penalty movement. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Amnesty International and dignitaries such as former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI have all urged Georgia officials to spare Davis.

Laura Moye of Amnesty International USA, which has helped stage dozens of rallies in support of Davis, said her group will ask supporters to send letters and petitions to the state's pardons board.

"We certainly hope the board will recognize the problems that still haven't been resolved in this case," she said. "We expect they are taking this case very seriously, and we want them to err on the side of caution, the side of life."


13) Japan Official Ordered Fake E-Mails, Investigators Say
September 8, 2011

KYOTO, Japan - Investigators concluded Thursday that a nuclear plant operator that tried to manipulate public opinion with fake e-mails was acting under instructions from a high-ranking local government official, adding a new twist to a scandal that has hampered Japan's efforts to restart idled nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster.

An independent investigative committee found that the governor of Saga prefecture told the operator, Kyushu Electric Power, to send e-mails supporting the restart of two reactors at the company's Genkai Nuclear Power Station. The company has already admitted to ordering employees to pose as regular citizens by sending e-mails during an online town hall-style meeting in June over whether to allow the restart of the reactors.

Despite the company's admission, the committee did not accuse the governor, Yasushi Furukawa, of asking officials to send e-mails masquerading as coming from the public, but only of asking it to send e-mails. Mr. Furukawa has denied requesting any faked e-mails, saying a Kyushu Electric vice president misunderstood his remarks during a private meeting earlier in June.

Mr. Furukawa's deliberations over whether to allow the restart have been the focus of national attention because his decision could sway other local leaders facing similar decisions about restarting reactors in their districts.

If they denied every request to restart reactors, the local leaders could virtually shut down Japan's nuclear power industry, which provides almost a third of the nation's electrical generating capacity. Currently, 43 of Japan's 54 reactors are sitting idle, only some because of damage from the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Most have been shut for legally required maintenance checks that must take place every 13 months. Facing a public backlash against nuclear power, the national government is asking local governors and mayors to sign off before restarting those non-damaged reactors.

If none are restarted, the last operating reactor will have to be shut down by next April.

Seeking to allay fears about the safety of the reactors, the previous prime minister, Naoto Kan, began a series of so-called stress tests to confirm the reactors' ability to withstand large earthquakes. The tests, which have also been embraced by the new prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, are scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.

However, by seeming to confirm widespread suspicions here that government is working secretly with industry to advance nuclear power despite growing public opposition, the scandal over faked e-mails could make it even more difficult for officials to grant permission to restart the reactors.

Many Japanese blame such cozy ties for the national government's failure to require tougher defenses against tsunamis at Fukushima Daiichi, which was crippled by the earthquake and tsunami. Earthquake risk is one reason the vast majority of Japanese now want to phase out nuclear power altogether, according to opinion polls.

In an effort to appease public anger, Kyushu Electric created the investigative committee, which was headed by Nobuo Gohara, a well known former prosecutor. The committee said it made its findings after teams of lawyers interviewed 127 people, including top company executives.

The scandal has already forced the resignation of a local lawmaker in Saga who headed a panel in the prefectural assembly that was also looking into whether to allow the restart of the reactors. The lawmaker, HobunKihara, admitted taking donations from Kyushu Electric.


14) Iraqi Death Called a 'Great Stain' on British Army
September 8, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) - British soldiers beat to death an Iraqi civilian in an act of "unjustified and brutal violence" that left a "very great stain" on Britain's armed forces, an inquiry concluded Thursday.

Former judge William Gage, who led the three-year investigation, said senior officers should have done more to prevent the 2003 death of hotel worker Baha Mousa and sustained attacks by British troops on nine other detainees in Iraq.

Mousa, 26, was repeatedly kicked and punched over a 36-hour period while being held in a squalid detention block on a British military base in the southern city of Basra.

Hooded and handcuffed in the fierce heat, the father-of-two suffered 93 visible injuries, including a broken nose, broken ribs and bruising all over his body, the inquiry found.

One British soldier, Corporal Donald Payne, boasted to colleagues of conducting a "choir" by beating Mousa and other prisoners so that they cried out in sequence, the inquiry heard. Another soldier said that on the morning after their arrest the detainees looked as if they had been in a car crash.

"The events...were indeed a very great stain on the reputation of the army," Gage said in a statement.

"They constituted an appalling episode of serious, gratuitous violence on civilians which resulted in the death of one man and injuries to others."

Britain was the main ally of the United States in the invasion that toppled Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers, particularly at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail, drew protests from around the world.

The inquiry found no evidence of a culture of violence among the British forces in Basra. However, it criticised the then head of the First Battalion of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Mendonca.

"As commanding officer, he ought to have known what was going on in that building long before Baha Mousa died," Gage said, adding that Mendonca bore a "heavy responsibility" for the events.

Mousa was arrested at a hotel in Basra by British soldiers searching for weapons and insurgents Sunday, September 14, 2003.


He and nine others were taken to a British army base where their hands were tied with plastic cuffs and sandbags placed over their heads. They were forced to hold awkward "stress positions" for hours at a time and were kept awake to prepare them for interrogation.

One prisoner described how a liquid was poured over his head, petrol rubbed under his nose and a lighter held near his face, apparently to make him think he was about to be set alight. Another said detainees were forced to "dance like Michael Jackson."

The inquiry found that the attacks on the men started soon after they arrived at the base and intensified in the evening of their arrest, in what Gage described as a "free for all."

Mousa died late Monday night after a final violent struggle with his guards in a small, disused toilet.

Gage rejected the soldiers' defence that Mousa had been trying to escape and said Corporal Payne beat him after losing his temper. Payne is the only soldier to have been convicted over Mousa's death, receiving a one-year sentence for inhumane treatment.

One of the main causes of the guards' aggression was an unfounded rumour that the prisoners were linked to the recent deaths of four British servicemen. The inquiry concluded it was "highly unlikely" that Mousa or any of the others were involved in the insurgency against the U.S.-led occupation.

Mousa died from the effects of a violent assault and an unsafe method of restraint, exacerbated by heat, fear, exhaustion and lack of food and water, the inquiry found.

The inquiry, set up by the former Labour government at a cost of 13 million pounds, made 73 recommendations, including a ban on hooding prisoners and forcing them to stand in awkward positions. The defence ministry should provide better training and clearer guidelines on handling prisoners, it said.

(Editing by Alistair Lyon)


15) After Quake, Virginia Nuclear Plant Takes Stock
September 7, 2011

MINERAL, Va. - After weathering the East Coast's recent quake, the North Anna nuclear plant finds itself in a situation that no American reactor has ever faced before.

The shock was bigger than anything its designers thought it would ever experience -big enough to make 117-ton canisters of spent fuel skitter a few inches on their storage pad.

The situation is so unusual that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, already facing questions about American earthquake safety after a meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant, has no protocol in place for determining whether North Anna's 1970s design still holds up, post-earthquake.

The plant's owner, Dominion, maintains that it will soon answer that question, and on Thursday it plans to brief the commission on what it has learned so far. The agency will require assurances that the plant, which shut down when the earthquake struck and suffered what so far seems to be cosmetic damage, is safe before it can prepare to reopen.

More broadly, the North Anna plant, which sits 10 to 12 miles from the epicenter of the quake, has emerged as a test case of sorts on whether nuclear plant designs in the Northeast are quake-resistant.

"Real-world experience trumps all calculations," said Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the commission. "It provides an opportunity to have real empirical data you can put into the equation, rather than something that's a computer model."

The agency has assigned a special team to study the quake's effects on North Anna, and in the next two years it must determine whether a score of nuclear plants in the eastern United States are earthquake-safe.

Emerging from a drab concrete feed-water structure at the plant on Tuesday afternoon, Jennifer Pollard, a Dominion engineer, expressed some optimism. Tracing her work with a yellow highlighter on a map, she had inspected every inch of every pipe, connection, valve and motor in the building, which would provide cooling water if the reactor shut down.

"I have not found anything significant so far," Ms. Pollard said, "and as far as I know, no one else has either."

Engineers did find a shallow crack in the concrete wall in one of the feed-water buildings, but a careful examination revealed that it was full of dust, indicating that it predated the earthquake, they said. They call the process "interrogating" the cracks: engineers carry little loops of wire in thicknesses from one thirty-second of an inch to one-third of an inch to measure the cracks' width and depth.

Dominion is following an inspection procedure laid out by the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit utility consortium that has inspected dozens of industrial plants hit by earthquakes around the world.

Nuclear plants are designed to specifications based on potential ground motion, not a quake's magnitude, because the concern is how strong the quake would be at the reactor, not at the quake's center. (The Aug. 23 quake, which was felt as far north as Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, had a magnitude of 5.8.)

The North Anna plant uses boxes holding diamond-tipped styluses that are suspended above steel plates; when an earthquake hits, the styluses scratch the plates. A laboratory analysis of the plates indicated that the horizontal ground acceleration was greater than had been anticipated in the plant's design, the company told the commission last week, although the analysis is not complete and Dominion released no numbers to the public.

In sniffing out quake damage, the company relies on a surprisingly simple technique. If components have bent or moved too far, the first sign of damage will be the paint. For example, sand-colored cement shows through gaps in the paint on one of four small blocks supporting the legs of a 20-foot-tall water tank in the plant's turbine hall on the top floor.

"Obviously, this moved," said Stewart Morris, an engineering supervisor. He played his flashlight over some spots. "This tank wobbled a little bit," he said, making a hand motion like a restrained wave from a pope.

Plant engineers said the damage was in a predictable spot because ground motion from the quake would be magnified on the upper floors, and the tank is relatively top-heavy.

It is North Anna's second serious brush with quake issues. The first was in 1973, when the company was digging a hole for the foundation of a third reactor that was later abandoned. A visiting geology professor told an executive of the plant operator, then called the Virginia Electric & Power Company, that there was a geologic fault.

The executive let the comment drop, and Virginia Electric told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that there was no evidence of faults. Eventually it paid a fine of $32,000 for failing to alert regulators promptly; the five-member commission also reprimanded its own staff for moving slowly to bring the information to the attention of the administrative law judges hearing the company's application for an operating license. The commission ultimately decided that the reactor would be safe.

The Aug. 23 quake surprised employees. Jorge Bermudez, a control room supervisor, watched the fluorescent lights briefly go out and saw dust fall from the ceiling.

"Earthquakes aren't supposed to happen here," Mr. Bermudez remembered thinking.

That the walls, pipes and tanks survived with little or no sign of damage should not be surprising, however, experts say.

John H. Bickel, a nuclear engineer and consultant, said that an analysis of plants hit by earthquakes had shown that the most vulnerable components were ceramic insulators on high-voltage lines that supply the plants with power and electrical relays, which resemble industrial-strength circuit-breakers and switches.

Even if the relays are not damaged, they might be shaken so that they change positions, cutting off the flow of electricity or allowing it to flow without any command from an operator.

But the risk of a big pipe or vessel cracking open is far lower, Mr. Bickel said, because structural engineers routinely follow industry codes that specify very strong and broad parts.

Another expert, Neil Wilmshurst of the Electric Power Research Institute, the nonprofit utility consortium, agreed. "There's an awful lot of fat in the design codes," he said. In many cases, they are double, triple or quadruple as strong as they need to be, he said.

But small changes are likely, and Dominion has already made one: it has wired the plant's electronic earthquake sensors to a battery. On Aug. 23, they all failed when North Anna lost power.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 8, 2011

An earlier version of this article misstated the weight of spent-fuel canisters at the North Anna nuclear plant. Each one weighs 117 tons, not 17 tons.


16) Postal Workers: The Last Union
by: Allison Kilkenny, Truthout | News Analysis
Thursday 8 September 2011

The recent attacks against the United States Postal Service (USPS) are more than signs of desperate times - a natural sunset moment for a service rendered archaic by FedEx and UPS. Rather, the Postal Service has been under constant, vicious assault for years from the right, who views this as an epic battle with the goal of finally taking down the strongest union in the country, the second largest employer in the United States (second only to Wal-Mart,) and a means to roll the country ever closer toward the abyss of privatization.

The Postal Service, which is older than the Constitution itself, stands at a precipice. If this great institution, which provides one of the oldest, most reliable services in the country, is permitted to fall and Congress kills its great union, then truly no collective bargaining rights, no worker contract, no union will be safe within the United States.

As the USPS spirals toward default, the historically uncontroversial mail service system has suddenly become a hot-button issue. It's an unlikely organization to inspire such hysteria. The Postal Service isn't paid for by taxpayer dollars, but rather fully funded by the sale of stamps. It's easy to forget what a marvel this is - that today, in 2011, one can still mail a letter clear across the country for less than 50 cents. And if the impressiveness of that feat still hasn't sunk in, attempt this brain exercise: consider what else you can buy for $0.44.

It was only a few years ago that the USPS was considered not only stable, but thriving. The biggest volume in pieces of mail handled by the Postal Service in its 236-year history was in 2006. The second and third busiest years were in 2005 and 2007, respectively. But it was two events: one crafted during the Bush years and another supervised by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, that would cripple this once great institution.

Perhaps it was its booming history that first drew Congress' attention to the Postal Service in 2006 when it passed the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (PAEA), which mandated that the Postal Service would have to fully fund retiree health benefits for future retirees. That's right. Congress was demanding universal health care coverage.

But it even went beyond that. Congress was mandating coverage for future human beings.

"It's almost hard to comprehend what they're talking about, but basically they said that the Postal Service would have to fully fund future retirees' health benefits for the next 75 years and they would have to do it within a ten-year window," says Chuck Zlatkin, political director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union.

It was an impossible order, and strangely, a task unshared by any other government service, agency, corporation or organization within the United States. The act meant that every September 30th, the USPS had to cough up $5.5 billion to the Treasury for the pre-funding of future retirees' health benefits, meaning the Postal Service pays for employees 75 years into the future. The USPS is funding the retirement packages of people who haven't even been born yet.

The hopeless task was made even more daunting when Wall Street blew up the world's economies. It was this, and not the invention of email, that became the Postal Service's death knell. Zlatkin finds the whole "blame it on the Internet" excuse amusing. The Internet had already existed for quite a while in 2006, the USPS's busiest year, not to mention that every item purchased on Amazon and eBay - every piece of information addressed to stockholders and bank customers - still needs to be snail mailed, which is enough volume to keep the Postal Service prosperous.

"I've yet to figure out a way to mail a shirt through a computer," he chuckles.

When Wall Street's derivatives gamble blew up the country, businesses slowed their operations during the recession and, as such, the Postal Service was no longer handling historically high volumes of mail. The boom was over and the death spiral began.

At the same time, the USPS was bleeding money by overpaying into worker pension funds. An audit done by the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General came up with the figure of $75 billion in pension overpayments. Then, the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent agency that actually received more autonomous power under PAEA, commissioned its own independent audit. The commission placed the overpayment at $50 billion.

Taking these figures into consideration, the projected $9 billion deficit the USPS now faces seems like chump change that could easily be corrected with some minor accounting tweaks.

"You could actually transfer over payment from the pension funds to the healthcare retirement funds," says Zlatkin. "And it wouldn't cost taxpayers a single penny."

H.R. 1351, the United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011, is a piece of legislation sponsored by Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch. The act calls for the Office of Personal Management to do the definitive audit, come up with the actual figure of overpayment and then apply that to the ridiculous system of prepayment funding expenses. The Postal Service would then have that $5.5 billion a year to use for running its services and improving mail delivery.

This would eliminate the need to terminate Saturday mail delivery service, close down mail processing centers and there would be no need to lay off 120,000 workers (the Postal Service work force has already been reduced through attrition by over 100,000 employees over the last four years).

But there are political opponents that have no desire to see the USPS survive what is, for all intents and purposes, a stupid accounting maneuver. Namely, the GOP and moderate Democrats were the players behind the PAEA, and are now the same forces peddling the narrative that the Postal Service is broke, the union too demanding and the only solution is cuts, cuts and, oh yes, more cuts.

Zlatkin says the name "Darrell Issa" like he just smelled something seriously foul. He had his first encounter with the Congressman in May soon after the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the Postal Service reached a collective bargaining agreement. The agreement, through givebacks that the union offered, guaranteed the Postal Service over $4 billion in cost savings on employees over the life of a contract. At the time, Postmaster Patrick Donahoe hailed this as a victory for the Postal Service, its employees and the people they serve.

However, as the union was preparing to vote on the agreement, Issa called a hearing on the contract. The move was completely unprecedented. Here was a Republican chair of the Oversight Committee grilling the postmaster general about an agreement (Issa called the contract too generous) upon which a union was currently voting. "Talk about tampering with elections," says Zlatkin.

For Zlatkin, the only other name that inspires as much contempt is Dennis Ross (R-Florida), another member of the Oversight Committee. "Issa's henchman," as Zlatkin calls him, went after the postmaster for settling on the agreement, demanding to know why he didn't negotiate the contract.

"The bigger issue is really the longer-term changes we need to make to the Postal Service in terms of its viability," Ross said to Donahoe. "I hope we can empower you to do more."

Side note: It's interesting to hear the GOP refer to the Postal Service as if it's a business rather than an entity that provides a public service. The Postal Service is not designed to churn profits.

What empower meant was to starve the Postal Service and its union. Since that day, Donahoe has abdicated his responsibility as the postmaster general, according to Zlatkin. The APWU's collective bargaining agreements in the past have included layoff protections, which Donahoe immediately offered up as sacrifice to his Republican masters when he asked to bypass worker protection so he might obliterate 220,000 career positions from the workforce by 2015.

"All he's trying to do is appease that committee. He's violated a contract he's signed. He's violated labor law. From my understanding, by going to Congress and having them change the laws to change our contracts, he's violating the Constitution of the United States."

In fact, Zlatkin says his local union chapter is so disillusioned with the postmaster's behavior that they're putting out a press release to call for his resignation or termination. "He is either a well-meaning incompetent or a duplicitous front man for the people who want to privatize the postal service," says Zlatkin.

Soon after meeting with Donahoe, Issa introduced the Postal Reform Act to Congress, a bill that Zlatkin says would "Wisconsin" the Postal Service. "[The bill would] give them the kinds of powers that the Super Committee is having to just go in there temporarily and do what has to be done: rip into the contracts, close post offices without hearings. It's basically the Postal Service Destruction Act." The bill has one co-sponsor: Dennis Ross. And both men just happen to be in charge of the House Oversight Committee. Between the "Save The Postal Service" H.R. 1351 and the Postal Service Destruction Act, Zlatkin asks rhetorically, "which is gonna come to a vote?"

It makes sense that the Postal Service has become the target of rich, overwhelmingly white politicians. As former Deputy Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to former President George W. Bush, Tony Fratto so eloquently tweeted: "Over the past 10 yrs I might have visited a post office 10 times, total."

When you can hand off parcels to your assistant who then ships it off at FedEx's higher rates, then yeah, the post office might not be for you. But as Marcy Wheeler explains, there are still tons of people who need the USPS's services: poorer people, people using a post office box, rural people who live outside delivery areas, eBay-type entrepreneurs, immigrants sending care packages to people from their country of origin and nonprofits.

"It's part of the class war and it's against the poor and it's a class war against working people," says Zlatkin. Of the 34 post offices the USPS is considering closing in New York City, 17 are in the Bronx. The South Bronx district ranks as the poorest Congressional district in America.

"Any time a post office is rumored to be closing, it's devastating to the neighborhood that it's in," says Zlatkin, "what happens when we get involved with elected officials and community people to try and keep a post office open, it's always the same people who turn out: elderly people, disabled people, poor people and small business owners. They're the people who are the ones who that depend on the postal service that they can't really afford or have access to alternatives."

UPS and FedEx aren't required to do what the Postal Service does and that is deliver the mail to every place, even if the recipient is located in hard-to-reach rural terrain, or an inner-city neighborhood deemed too "dangerous" for other services, like taxi cabs, in which to travel. If the USPS falls, it will be another strike in the class war where poor people are yet again cut off from a service that used to belong to everyone.

So, here we have a service that caters primarily to the economically disadvantaged and employs over 574,000 union members. No wonder it became such a mouth-watering target for the GOP. It would be quite a feather in the cap of Darrell "the liberal hunter" Issa to take out one of the largest unions in the country and simultaneously give the US a nudge in the direction of total privatization by crippling one of the last great public services.

"Obama is gonna have a job talk for the country," says Zlatkin. "Is he gonna talk about the necessity for maintaining the 120,000 postal jobs, or is he going to ignore it? I would guess he would ignore it. We were the second union to endorse Obama, the APWU and since that time, he hasn't been a, what we call, good friend to the postal workers, or the people they work for."

Allison Kilkenny co-hosts Citizen Radio, the alternative political radio show called "important" and "vital" by Noam Chomsky. She is a contributing writer to Huffington Post, Alternet, The Nation and she blogs daily here. Her essay "Youth Surviving Subprime" appears in The Nation's book, "Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover." G. Gordon Liddy once said Allison's writing makes him want to vomit, which, to this day, is the greatest compliment she has been paid, ever.


17) A Bipartisan Move to Tackle Benefits Programs
"...Republicans and Democrats are no longer fighting over whether to tackle the popular entitlement programs - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - but over how to do it."
September 8, 2011

WASHINGTON - In a significant shift driven by bipartisan concern about the looming long-term debt, Republicans and Democrats are no longer fighting over whether to tackle the popular entitlement programs - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - but over how to do it.

In the presidential race, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, the Republican front-runner of the moment, took the debate over entitlements to a level never before seen from a major candidate, calling for the end of all three programs as currently structured. In his debate with Republican rivals Wednesday, he amplified his claims that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and a "monstrous lie" to younger Americans counting on the money for retirement. On Thursday, he circulated similar past criticisms from his chief rival, Mitt Romney, who defended Social Security in the debate.

At the same time, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed a willingness to wring savings from the long-untouchable programs during the first meeting of the special committee that is charged with recommending $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions over the decade. Then President Obama, in his address to a joint session of Congress on spurring job creation, reiterated his call for a plan reducing long-term debt with both changes in entitlement programs and taxes from the wealthy.

It is far from clear whether the comments from Mr. Perry, a self-proclaimed provocateur, will speed or stall early moves between the White House and Congress to deal with the costly benefit programs at the heart of the debt problem. The parties' repositioning on the New Deal and Great Society pillars is leaving both sides on shaky ground, uncertain of where to stand.

To the chagrin of many in his party, this summer Mr. Obama proposed changes in Medicare and Social Security that once would have been unthinkable for a Democratic president during his unsuccessful talks with the House speaker, John A. Boehner, for a "grand bargain" on cutting deficits. In return for the Republicans' agreement to raise taxes after 2012 for the wealthy, Mr. Obama indicated that his party would support slowly increasing the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 from 65 and changing the formula for cost-of-living increases in Social Security to a less generous one that some economists consider more accurate.

Now Mr. Perry's comments could cause Congressional Democrats to dig in against changing the entitlement programs, sensing a political advantage in 2012 - especially if Mr. Perry is the nominee.

For all of Mr. Perry's bravado, many Republicans are anxious about his stand on entitlement programs, Social Security especially, given their popularity and the disproportionate number of seniors who vote. Even his advisers tried to temper the remarks before Mr. Perry made plain he was standing his ground, and some Republican lawmakers on Thursday were distancing themselves from his remarks.

Many Congressional Republicans remain haunted by the experience of former President George W. Bush's futile effort in 2005 to partly privatize Social Security, which contributed to the party's loss of its House and Senate majorities the next year and convinced Congressional Democrats of the power of the issue.

More than half of Americans, 56 percent, would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who favored phasing out Social Security so that workers could invest their payroll taxes in the stock market, according to a nationwide poll in June by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News. That included 64 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents, whose swing votes decide elections, and even a 45 percent plurality of Republicans. Only one-third of Republicans said they would be more likely to vote for someone who espoused ending Social Security.

Until Mr. Perry's recent entry into the Republican contest, the debate over reining in the projected growth of the entitlement programs focused on the health programs, Medicare and Medicaid. Their projected costs, given the aging of the population and fast-rising medical expenses, are greater and growing faster than those for Social Security.

While House Republicans boasted in April of the boldness of their budget - it would turn Medicare into a voucher program for private insurance and Medicaid into a reduced block grant to states - they steered clear of changing Social Security.

Now they have a potential presidential standard-bearer who is taking on Social Security - the so-called third rail of American politics - with both hands.

The collapse of the budget negotiations between Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner, with their tentative trade-off between savings from entitlement programs and new revenues, left many in both parties convinced that no significant debt-reduction bargain is likely before the 2012 elections. Unless Republicans accept higher taxes on the wealthy, and they swear they will not, Democrats will not support reductions in future entitlement benefits.

Yet both parties are feeling the pressure to act sooner. That reflects not only the seriousness of the nation's looming debt crisis as baby boomers age, but also the possibility later this year that just as in this summer's fight over raising the debt limit, the financial markets and the economy in general will be shaken by dysfunction in Washington if no plan can be mapped out by the new deficit-reduction committee and enacted by Congress.

The turn in both parties toward tackling the cost of the entitlement programs has been building. In 2010, Congressional Democrats approved about $500 billion in future savings from Medicare to help pay for the new health care law, though Republicans attacked them for it in last year's midterm elections. But the onset of the new deficit committee's work and Mr. Perry's scathing critique of social spending has added a new dimension.

At the first meeting of the House-Senate committee on deficit reduction, which is to make recommendations by Nov. 23 for a quick up-or-down vote in Congress, several Republicans said that entitlements were the main cause of annual deficits and should be the panel's focus.

"In order to succeed, I know this committee must be primarily about the business of saving and reforming social safety-net programs that are not only failing many beneficiaries, but going broke at the same time," said Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas and co-chairman of the committee, which is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, a House Democratic leader on the panel, said that he was for "smart and compassionate budget cuts" and "ending military adventurism," but that Congress must not shred Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Separately, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Sander M. Levin of Michigan, circulated a memo listing two dozen options that could squeeze more than $500 billion out of Medicare in the next 10 years. Aides to Mr. Levin said that he was not endorsing the ideas but helping other Democrats understand the sorts of actions that could be taken.


18) Union Dispute, Turning Violent, Spreads and Idles Ports
September 8, 2011

The busy ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., were shut down on Thursday as an increasingly violent dispute between unionized port workers and the owner of a grain export terminal in Longview, Wash., spilled over to the other facilities.

About 500 longshoremen stormed the new $200 million terminal in Longview before sunrise Thursday, carrying baseball bats, smashing windows, damaging rail cars and dumping tons of grain from the cars, police and company officials said.

Later in the day, more than 1,000 other longshoremen shut down the ports of Seattle and Tacoma by not coming to work.

Officials with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, while claiming they had not authorized the actions in Seattle and Tacoma, said the ports would reopen on Friday.

Members of the union are livid that the Longview terminal's owner, EGT, is seeking to export grain without reaching an agreement with the union. Instead, EGT hired a contractor that uses workers from another union

"It's certainly getting more and more violent," said Jim Duscha, police chief of Longview, a small community almost 40 miles down the Columbia River from Vancouver, Wash. "The terminal's security guards were outnumbered by people with baseball bats. People were busting windows out of the guard shack. They took a security guard out of his rig and drove it into a ditch."

The violence was condemned by EGT, which is a joint venture of Bunge, based in St. Louis; Itochu International of Japan; and STX Pan Ocean of South Korea.

"Today, the I.L.W.U. took its criminal activity against EGT to an appalling level, including engaging in assault and significant property destruction," Larry Clarke, EGT's chief executive, said Thursday. The longshoremen's actions were a rare show of union militancy, reminiscent of labor actions a century ago. The West Coast longshoremen's union asserted that it neither called for nor organized the actions.

"It's a wildcat and it's unsanctioned," said Craig Merrilees, the union's chief spokesman. "Workers did not show up to work today at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle. Piecing things together, it appears that folks voted with their feet and stood by their conscience to send a message and express concern about what's happened in Longview."

If the union did coordinate the actions by the workers, it could be found in contempt of a temporary restraining order issued last week that prohibits the Longview union local from blocking entrances to the EGT terminal.

On Thursday afternoon, Judge Ronald Leighton of United States District Court in Tacoma held a hearing in which he expanded the restraining order to cover other longshoremen's locals in Washington State. He also turned the temporary order into a preliminary injunction.

Judge Leighton had issued the original restraining order at the request of the National Labor Relations Board, which said that the longshoremen's union was engaged in unfair labor practices and improperly harassing workers at the EGT terminal.

Judge Leighton told the union's lawyers on Thursday that there was a peaceful way to protest. "It requires some restraint," he said. "Your clients have none of that."

"They have to obey local laws," he added. "They must restrain themselves from violence, threats, vandalism and the like."

The judge scheduled another hearing for Thursday to determine whether the longshoremen should be held in civil contempt for violating the court's temporary restraining order.

Officials at the Tacoma and Seattle ports confirmed that they were closed on Thursday, delaying huge shipments, because the longshoremen did not show up.

The train that was damaged in Thursday morning's violence arrived at the terminal on Wednesday night after police arrested 19 protesters who tried to block the tracks.

In the union's view, EGT is violating a longstanding agreement with the Port of Longview that the union says requires companies leasing facilities there to negotiate a labor agreement with the longshoremen's union.

Matthew Beck, an EGT spokesman, said that the company had sought to negotiate an agreement, but that the union's pension demands were too expensive.

Isolde Raftery contributed reporting from Tacoma, Wash.


19) GM Chief Says US Needs to Live Within Its Means
[Note: "Newly named General Motors Chief Executive Daniel Akerson reportedly will receive compensation of about $9 million, which includes a $1.7 million annual salary, the automaker disclosed Friday in a regulatory filing. Akerson, who assumed the post Sept. 1, will also receive a portion of his salary in the form of stock, totaling $5.3 million, which will be paid out over three years beginning September 2011. The former telecommunications executive will also get $2 million in restricted stock through GM's long-term incentive plan. ..."GM's New CEO Daniel Akerson to Get $9 Million Pay Package," By David Schepp Posted 5:40PM 09/10/10. ...For Your Information]
September 9, 2011

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - The top executive at General Motors Co. says the nation needs to live within its means, saying both Social Security and Medicare need to be changed and improvements are needed in the public education system.

GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson made the remarks during a talk Friday to about 300 University of Notre Dame students about leadership.

A student asked him whether he would take a stance in favor of President Barack Obama's jobs plan because it would be a chance for GM to do some good and give back some its profits after receiving a government bailout.

Akerson says it isn't his job to solve the nation's problems. Akerson says he's going to focus on his job of turning a profit and let lawmakers solve the nation's problems.


20) Addressing confusion about PFC Bradley Manning's case
By the Bradley Manning Support Network
September 1, 2011

This article is a reference both for those who have just begun learning about PFC Bradley Manning's case, and those who have been following it for awhile. It addresses several common misconceptions about the case. As an advocate for Bradley Manning, you can use the information in the article to educate others, whether speaking to them in-person or sharing relevant excerpts online.

Bradley Manning fits the definition of a whistle-blower (not a traitor).

In online discussions attributed to PFC Bradley Manning, he says that he hopes his actions will spur "discussion, debates, and reforms" and that he "want[s] people to know the truth, no matter who they are, because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public." This is the classic definition of a whistle-blower (a person who tells the public about alleged dishonest or illegal activities/misconduct occurring in a government department).

Unfortunately, the government is charging PFC Bradley Manning with "knowingly [giving] intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means," under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice - an allegation of treason and a capital offense. By this rational, scores of service-person-posted blogs, photos, and videos, would now be punishable by death-simply because they are accessible on the Internet. The charge against Bradley Manning appears to be about sending a message to other would-be whistle-blowers.

The Founding Fathers restricted the definition of treason in the U.S. Constitution to, "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort...." They did so because they wanted to prevent a repeat of England's abuse of power.

It is inappropriate and abusive to attempt to use the Espionage Act against PFC Manning.

PFC Bradley Manning was given access to classified documents (of various levels of secrecy) as a military intelligence analyst. In the course of doing his job, it appears that he became aware of information that was classified not for legitimate purposes, but for purposes of political convenience. Releasing such information fits under the classic definition of whistle-blowing, not "spying."

Espionage is associated with spying on, or for, potential or actual enemies, primarily for military purposes. No one believes that PFC Bradley Manning engaged in any such activities.

In the chat logs which allegedly record a conversation between PFC Bradley Manning and hacker Adrian Lamo-these chat logs serve as the primary known evidence in this case-Manning expresses a desire for the information to be in the public domain, as opposed to it being used to benefit any nation at the expense of another.

Bradley Manning: i mean what if i were someone more malicious
Bradley Manning: i could've sold to russia or china, and made bank?
Adrian Lamo: why didn't you?
Bradley Manning: because it's public data
Adian Lamo: i mean, the cables
Bradley Manning: it belongs in the public domain
Bradley Manning: information should be free
Bradley Manning: it belongs in the public domain
Bradley Manning: because another state would just take advantage of the information... try and get some edge
Bradley Manning: if its out in the open... it should be a public good
Bradley Manning: i couldn't be a spy...
Bradley Manning: spies dont post things up for the world to see

The legality (or illegality) of releasing classified documents isn't black and white.

In the United States, there is no Congressional law regarding the leaking of classified documents. Documents are classified, or declassified, according to Executive Orders, which apply only to those working for the government.

Furthermore, according to the 1971 Supreme Court Case New York Times Co. vs. United States, as well as President Obama's Executive Orders, documents may not be classified to conceal embarrassing activity or violations of law, but only for national security reasons:

"In no case shall information be classified... in order to: conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency... or prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security."

-Executive Order 13526, Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations

There were many documents released by WikiLeaks that were clearly not classified for reasons of national security. In fact, when asked about the leaks in November 2010, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, "Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is this awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest."

In the United States, the release of classified information is not, in general, illegal. A 'patchwork' of different laws criminalize disclosing certain types of classified information, and then only under certain circumstances.

PFC Bradley Manning faces a military court martial under the rules of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, primarily Articles 92 and 104. Article 92 generally covers any "failure to obey order or regulation", and Article 134-generally known as the "catch all" article-criminalizes everything that would "prejudice good order and discipline... or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces."

However, had Bradley Manning performed his job by continuing to hide information which could constitute evidence of human rights violations, he would have then been engaged in illegal activity according to international law (which the United States helped create after WWII). Nuremberg Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

Should one person be able to make the decision on what is classified and what is publicly released?

Which documents are classified, and which that are not, rests on the judgment of individuals most of the time. Thousands of U.S. government workers possess the power to classify documents at the "classified" and "secret" levels, the highest levels of secrecy of the documents released by WikiLeaks. Seventy-six million classification decisions were made in 2010 alone, eight times as many as in 2001. Additionally, The Information Security Oversight Office conducted a survey in 2009 in which they estimated that approximately 35% of documents which had been classified that year did not meet classification requirements.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows citizens to request declassification of documents that no longer must be kept classified. However, because of the large number of requests relative to the staff and resources available for reviewing the classification statuses of documents, this process can take years.

Upon enlisting in the armed forces, Bradley Manning took the following oath: "I, Bradley Manning, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...."

This oath assumes that individual service people will act on their conscience to defend the U.S. Constitution, which holds government transparency and democracy as core principles.

In instances where there was a reasonable belief that crimes were committed and covered up, service members have an obligation to come forward with that information-regardless of conflicting rules and regulations. The "Collateral Murder" video is only one such example of evidence being hidden from view by classification for no legitimate reason. Yet Bradley Manning faces decades in prison for releasing that video alone!

Did Bradley Manning endanger lives?

To date, the government has made no allegation that any U.S. soldier, citizen, ally, or informant has been physically injured as a result of the revelations.

Many facts that the leaks brought to light about U.S military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen, for example, were already well known by citizens of those countries, experiencing the reality at their doorstep. The leaks served to inform the American people of aspects of the U.S. governments' actions abroad that are not frequently covered by domestic mainstream news outlet (for example, the number of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fact that there is an official military policy to ignore torture in Iraq).

The Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diary were comprised of years-old field reports written by combat troops in the midst of battle. Names of local persons are spelled phonetically in these reports, usually with general descriptions of region or cities. The majority of these names were redacted by WikiLeaks prior to release. The U.S. State Department has declared that of the non-redacted names, there was not enough identifying information released on any individual to justify taking preventive action.

Meanwhile, scores of U.S. and foreign citizens continue to die on a daily basis in these occupation zones due not to Bradley Manning, but due to the controversial policies that he exposed.

Did the documents reveal anything new or important?

While some of the revelations in the documents were previously suspected by academics or human rights advocates carefully studying these topics, the documents uncovered many details that were previously unknown. The documents give American citizens greater insight into the reasoning behind U.S. foreign policies than they have ever been privy to before. It is one thing to suspect something is occurring, but is another thing to have it confirmed by primary sources in the government.

At the end of April 2011, The Atlantic Wire published a study in which they found that for the first four months of 2011, nearly one-half of New York Times editions cited one or more of the leaked cables in their news stories. Many facts brought forth in the documents are of great significance to those working in the fields of foreign policy and human rights advocacy.

The leaked documents include information about the following:
1. There is an official policy to ignore torture in Iraq.
2. There is an official tally of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
3. Guantanamo prison has held mostly innocent people and low-level operatives.
4. The State Department authorized the theft of the UN Secretary General's DNA.
5. The U.S. Government withheld information about the indiscriminate killing of Reuters journalists and
innocent Iraqi civilians.
6. The State Department backed corporate opposition to a Haitian minimum wage law.
7. The U.S. Government had long been faking its public support for Tunisian President Ben Ali.
8. U.S. officials were told to cover up evidence of child abuse by contractors in Afghanistan.
9. The Japanese and U.S. Governments had been warned about the seismic threat at Fukushima.
10. The Obama Administration allowed Yemen's President to cover up a secret U.S. drone bombing
11. Known Egyptian torturers received training from the FBI in Quantico, Virginia.

Please download our factsheet to learn more:

Did Bradley Manning leak documents "indiscriminately"?

PFC Bradley Manning held a Top Secret clearance while working as an army intelligence analyst in Iraq. Yet the vast majority of documents he is accused of leaking consisted of low-level classified documents-about half of the documents were even "unclassified". Of those that were classified, most were simply "Confidential." About 11,000 documents were "Secret." None of the released documents were "Top Secret," the highest classification. Bradley Manning clearly had access to a much larger number of documents than what was leaked.

President Obama encouraged the perception that Bradley Manning leaked documents indiscriminately when he declared in April, 2011 that Bradley Manning "dumped" information. He then went on to mistakenly declare that now widely-respected Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg was "different" than Bradley Manning because Ellsberg didn't release information that was classified in the same way. The fact is that Ellsberg released "Top Secret" information when he gave information to The New York Times, while Manning is only accused of releasing lower-level classified information. Daniel Ellsberg has also stated in interviews that alongside critical revelations the Pentagon Papers contained thousands of pages of information of little to no public significance. Like many other whistle-blowers, Ellsberg had to trust media organizations to do some of the sorting of an immense amount of data.

In the chat logs between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning, Manning allegedly describes the documents he was later accused of leaking, along with some reasons why he felt they needed to be public:

Bradley Manning: hypothetical question: if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time... say, 8-9 months... and you saw incredible things, awful things... things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC... what would you do?
Bradley Manning: or Guantanamo, Bagram, Bucca, Taji, VBC for that matter...
Bradley Manning: things that would have an impact on 6.7 billion people
Bradley Manning: say... a database of half a million events during the iraq war... from 2004 to 2009... with reports, date time groups, lat-lon locations, casualty figures... ? or 260,000 state department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective?

Adrian Lamo: What sort of content?
Bradley Manning: uhm... crazy, almost criminal political backdealings... the non-PR-versions of world events and crises... uhm... all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of "aid packages" is: for instance, PR that the US is sending aid to pakistan includes funding for water/food/clothing... that much is true, it includes that, but the other 85% of it is for F-16 fighters and munitions to aid in the Afghanistan effort, so the US can call in Pakistanis to do aerial bombing instead of americans potentially killing civilians and creating a PR crisis
Bradley Manning: theres so much... it affects everybody on earth... everywhere there's a US post... there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed... Iceland, the Vatican, Spain, Brazil, Madascar, if its a country, and its recognized by the US as a country, its got dirt on it

Adrian Lamo: what kind of scandal?
Bradley Manning: hundreds of them
Adrian Lamo: like what? I'm genuinely curious about details.

Bradley Manning: uhmm... the Holy See and its position on the Vatican sex scandals
Adrian Lamo: play it by ear
Bradley Manning: the broiling one in Germany
Bradley Manning: im sorry, there's so many... its impossible for any one human to read all quarter-million... and not feel overwhelmed... and possibly desensitized

Bradley Manning: Apache Weapons Team video of 12 JUL 07 airstrike on Reuters Journos... some sketchy but fairly normal street-folk... and civilians
Bradley Manning: at first glance... it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter... no big deal... about two dozen more where that came from right... but something struck me as odd with the van thing... and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer's directory... so i looked into it... eventually tracked down the date, and then the exact GPS co-ord... and i was like... ok, so thats what happened... cool... then i went to the regular internet... and it was still on my mind... so i typed into goog... the date, and the location... and then i see this

Adrian Lamo: what do you consider the highlights?
Bradley Manning: The Gharani airstrike videos and full report, Iraq war event log, the "Gitmo Papers", and State Department cable database

Should Bradley have gone through the chain of command in his attempt to report misconduct?

In the chat logs, Bradley Manning references an instance in which he had previously tried to alert his commanding officer about a war crime, and was reportedly told to "shut his mouth."

Bradley Manning: i think the thing that got me the most... that made me rethink the world more than anything
Bradley Manning: was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police... for printing "anti-Iraqi literature"... the iraqi federal police wouldn't cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the "bad guys" were, and how significant this was for the FPs... it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki... i had an interpreter read it for me... and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled "Where did the money go?" and following the corruption trail within the PM's cabinet... i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on... he didn't want to hear any of it... he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees...
everything started slipping after that... i saw things differently
Bradley Manning: i had always questioned the things worked, and investigated to find the truth... but that was a point where i was a *part* of something... i was actively involved in something that i was completely against...

Having tried to utilize the proper chain of command already, PFC Manning would have had compelling reason to believe that similar efforts would have been equally unsuccessful. Because the controversial policies PFC Manning is accused of revealing were made at various levels within the military and State Department, it would have been difficult, if not impossible to determine an appropriate level of authority that could have presided objectively over the information.

Did PFC Bradley Manning leak the documents because he was angry at the military about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy?

PFC Bradley Manning seems to attribute his growing interest in politics to his experience as a gay man living under the Army's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy. Most people, of course, begin looking at larger issues from their own personal perspective. However, no one has presented any evidence that indicates that PFC Manning was motivated by vengeance about DADT.

The chat logs PFC Manning mentions serving alongside many other gay service people. For example, he allegedly told Adrian Lamo:

Bradley Manning: DADT isnt really enforced
Bradley Manning: top interrogator here has a civil union in NJ

In conversations with gay activist Zinnia Jones, Bradley Manning is alleged to have expressed a desire that the military become a more welcoming place for all sorts of minorities to serve their country:

Bradley Manning: i actually believe what the army tries to make itself out to be: a diverse place full of people defending the country... male, female, black, white, gay, straight, christian, jewish, asian, old or young, it doesnt matter to me; we all wear the same green uniform... but its still a male-dominated, christian-right, oppressive organization, with a few hidden jems of diversity

In the Lamo-Manning chat logs, Bradley Manning allegedly discusses reasons for his changing views on U.S. foreign policies that are completely unrelated to his sexuality. For example, one pivotal experience for him was described above, a situation in which he was being asked to help arrest Iraqis making innocent critiques of corruption in their government.

Should Bradley Manning be punished, even if it was morally correct to release the information?

While Bradley Manning appears from the chat logs to have been aware of the risk of being imprisoned for life for his actions, that doesn't mean that he should spend life in prison for doing the right thing. Due to a popular movement against the Vietnam War and misconduct by the presiding administration, Daniel Ellsberg never spent a day in jail for leaking the Pentagon Papers. Bradley Manning, on the other hand, has been imprisoned since May 2010, and for the first ten months he was subjected to extreme and torturous conditions which were declared unconstitutional by 300 top U.S. legal scholars. Although he has yet to be tried, Bradley Manning has already been subjected to substantial punishment for an alleged act of "civil disobedience" This is why we have no qualms about demanding Bradley Manning's freedom.

PFC Bradley Manning's alleged actions make America stronger.

Bradley Manning's alleged actions place him firmly alongside Daniel Ellsberg and other prominent American whistle-blowers, which is to say Bradley is an American hero who stands accused of making our government officials more accountable to the public whom they serve. In these trying times, Americans would do well to remember the intentions of our forefathers. As founding father Patrick Henry stated in 1775, "The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."


21) 9-11 Ten Years Later
By John Reimann
September 8, 2011

September 11, 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of what could arguably be called the greatest and most important domestic crime in US legal history. This refers only to legal crimes, not such crimes against humanity as chattel slavery, genocide against American Indians, machine gunning of striking workers by National Guard troops, nor such crimes against nature such as the poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico due to the BP oil spill disaster. etc.

The US corporate controlled media thoroughly reported on the 2,966 fatalities due to the massive crime that was 9-11. They ignored, however, the 5,915 work related fatalities of the previous year and the estimated 4,000 people who die annually due to being unable to get health insurance. They ignored the estimated 15 million children who die annually world-wide due to simple hunger.

This same media has ignored, and thereby helped cover up, the controversy surrounding the causes of 9-11.

Controlled Demolition?
The "9-11 Truth" movement (as it is known) claims that this crime was actually organized and carried out by elements within the Bush administration. They point to claims that the World Trade Center towers collapsed in a pattern that resembles that of a controlled demolition, claims that traces of thermite - the explosive used for such demolitions - have been found in the dust of the collapsed buildings, that the temperature at which the fires burned could not have been hot enough to burn through the steel structure, among other points. (Some of these arguments can be found at these web sites:,

To these claims, there are counter- arguments, such as the claim that the thermite residue in the dust could have been caused by the thousands of computers that burned in the fire, claims that the collapse of WTC building seven collapsed from the top first (thus disproving that an explosive charge was set at the base), and other arguments. (Some of the counter arguments can be found here:,

Insider Stock Trading
Also suspicious is the mass of what appears to be insider trading on the stock market in the days leading up to 9/11. As reported in numerous newspapers throughout the United States, in those previous days and weeks, there had been abnormally high amounts of trades ("short" trades and "puts") which essentially bet that the stocks of American and United Airlines would drop. These were the two airlines whose planes were hijacked. The stock market had been closed for several days after the attack, preventing anybody from collecting these profits and remaining undetected. A little over two weeks after the attack, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that some $2.5 million in profits from these trades had remained uncollected. (

Official investigators claimed that there was nothing suspicious about these trades, because they were carried out by one company which had "no conceivable connection with Osama bin Laden." What they failed to mention was that much of them had been carried out by a firm managed by A.B. "Buzzy" Kronegard, who was closely connected with the FBI ( Widely reported immediately following the attack, the news of these trades quickly was scrubbed from the mass media.

"First Responders" Abandoned
The US corporate controlled media also ignores the plight of those who have been lauded as the heroes of 9-11 - the police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who first responded to the attack in New York City. Since that time, hundreds if not thousands of those who survived have fallen ill from skin diseases, asthma, etc. and some died from cancer. It is almost universally believed that this was as a result of the toxic dust they breathed in that time. Despite this, they are in general denied prolonged medical care. Cancer victims, for instance, are denied money for care because it is claimed that there is no "proof" that the dust they breathed caused the cancer. In the commemoration for 9-11 planned for this year in New York City, these "first responders" are not even invited.

Long Standing Plans
9-11 made possible the US invasion of Afghanistan and the later invasion of Iraq. There had been long-standing discussions about these invasions.

On February 12, 1988, for instance, John Maresca, Vice President for International Relations for Unocal Oil, testified before the US Congress. Unocal had long had an interest in building a pipeline through Afghanistan for access to the Caspian Sea region oil and natural gas deposits. Maresca explained that the wealth of oil and natural gas in the Caspian Sea region had to have a better transport system out of the region. Without better access, there would be greater instability in the world hydrocarbon markets. He discussed the various pipeline options available and their shortcomings. He stated, "The only other possible route is across Afghanistan... From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company."

Maresca's statement shows the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes, powerful forces were working away, trying to figure out how to justify an invasion of Afghanistan.

The link with the invasion of Iraq is slightly more complicated since Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11, even by the US regime's official position. However, 9-11 transformed the mood in the United States to make this invasion politically possible. Also, repeated statements by Bush and others implied a link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11, leaving millions of Americans thinking that that link existed as did stories carried by that propaganda institution, Fox News. For instance, a 2003 poll found that 48% of Americans believed there was a link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11 (

Plans to invade Iraq had been discussed years before 9-11. In 1998, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a far-right "think" tank, had sent then-President Bill Clinton a letter advocating an invasion of Iraq. Subsequently, some 29 PNAC members became high officials in the Bush administration. These included senior member of the National Security Council Elliot Abrams, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, Vice President Dick Cheney, US Representative to the UN Human Rights Commission Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

PNAC represented the thinking of a wing of the US capitalist class as best stated by Francis Fukayuma (also a PNAC member and a member of the Bush administration), who famously commented that we were facing "the end of history", meaning the world domination of US capitalism was going to continue forever. The US's military power could not be challenged, and therefore US capitalism could do whatever it liked, wherever it liked and there was nothing that any other force could do about it. The policy could be summed up as "shoot first and ask questions later." Finding an excuse for a US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was a mere technical matter.

(Frustrated in both countries and facing a huge economic crisis, the strategists for US capitalism later came to conclude that a more strategic approach was necessary. That is why they installed Barack Obama into office, but that is a different story.)

Underlying Factors Behind 9-11
Clearly, the 9-11 attacks, if they were carried out by bin Laden & Co. were the result of several factors. First was the role of US capitalism world wide, especially in the Middle East. There, in coordination with the State of Israel, it has continually sought to maneuver and repress any mass movement of workers as it seeks to maintain control over this most important center for world oil supplies. It has defended the Israeli state's brutal repression of the Palestinian people.

However, the reason why the legitimate anger against world capitalism turned to at least some support for terrorist acts is more complex than this. The fact is that the world's working class had been quite quiescent, especially in the US, and entire layers of young people could not see a mass workers' movement as the means of opposing US capitalism. And especially at that time, when the capitalist economy was booming, it was almost impossible to see any alternative to US capitalism. As the capitalist strategist Francis Fukuyama famously said, the domination of US capitalism represented "the end of history".

A principle reason for this was the role of the leadership of the world working class, especially in the US. There, the union leadership has spent decades repressing and isolating any union radicals, thus weakening the traditions of the class struggle. They have spent decades pressing the myth that the unions and the unionized employers have common interests. This systematic campaign of theirs has led to a disorganization of the US working class which makes it extremely difficult for forces in regions like the Mid East to see any way to link up with US workers. As a result, some may tend to sympathize with acts of individual terrorism as the only means of hitting back.

Anti-Capitalist Sentiment Prior to 9-11
In the years leading up to this world-changing event, this had started to change. There was a growing movement against global capitalism. This movement possibly first really caught mass attention in 1999 with the WTO protests in Seattle, Washington. Young radicals were joined by a layer of workers - mainly union workers, including members of the United Steel Workers of America - and actually succeeded in shutting down the WTO meetings. This was followed by similar protests in Doha, Qatar and protests against G8 meetings in Washington DC, Prague, Czech Republic, Davos, Switzerland and Gothenburg, Sweden.

At the Seattle protest, the mainstream union leadership had mobilized a layer of their members to participate, assuming that they would be able to inoculate them against the radicalism of the youth. They failed miserably in this as a layer of Steelworkers and other union members participated in the physical shut down of the WTO meeting. The reformist union bureaucracy never made this mistake again.

Despite this, however, the working class was becoming increasingly affected by these protests and starting to respond. Frightened by this, a determination was made to crush the protests, perhaps starting in the Genoa protest against the WTO meeting in July of 2001. The police murdered a young protester, Carlo Giuliani, assuming that this would scare others off. It had the opposite effect, enraging many thousands and ultimately it is estimated that some 300,000 turned out to protest the WTO. These were not all just young radicals. Clearly, a layer of workers were starting to respond, especially as they saw the devastation that the "globalization" of capitalism was wreaking on their lives.

The capitalist tops were so frightened by this that the London "Economist" magazine proposed that future such meetings be cancelled. Under the title "Disarray in Genoa" (July 22, 2001), they wrote that the protest in Genoa "has raised questions about the future of such meetings." They continued that, "next year's G8 summit in Canada seem likely, on current trends, to face similar challenges."

US and World Capitalism Strengthened
9-11 changed all this.

Prior to 9-11, the mood in the US would have made the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan unthinkable. It was the transformation of the mood after 9-11 that made possible the the support for these invasions.This monstrous crime strengthened the US capitalist class as well as world capitalism. The rising anti-capitalist movement was brought to a near standstill, especially in the US.

As if in preparation for the movement that is once again being born, the 9-11 crime gave the US regime an excuse to increase its means of legal repression. This includes the "special rendition" of suspected "terrorists" to countries where they will be tortured. It includes the use of mental torture in US prisons through enforced isolation (such as that being used against Bradley Manning, the suspected Wikileaks leaker.)

These are the reasons why the methods of individual terrorism are so foreign to the workers' movement world wide and, in fact, are so harmful to that movement.

Remembering 9-11 Today
Today, as we remember the 2,966 innocent people who died in the 9-11 attacks as well as all the "first responders" who were sickened and/or died, let us not forget all the Palestinian people whose lives have been destroyed by the combined role of US and Israeli capitalism. Let us not forget those in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere whose lives have been similarly destroyed nor the destruction of the planet's environment as a result of the uncontrollable lust for profit. We should renew our dedication to end the end the brutal system which is the cause of these crimes against humanity and crimes against nature. That is the real lesson of 9-11.


22) Egyptian protesters pull down Israel embassy wall
By Sami Aboudi and Yasmine Saleh
CAIRO | Fri Sep 9, 2011 7:48pm EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian activists destroyed a wall around the Israeli embassy and set police cars on fire in Cairo on Friday after thousands demonstrated at Tahrir Square to push for a timetable for reforms and an end to military trials for civilians.

Activists who spearheaded an uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak on February 11 have been piling pressure on the ruling military council to fix a date for parliamentary and presidential elections and to get rid of senior officials who served under Mubarak.

Thousands converged on Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the pro-democracy protests that toppled Mubarak, after Friday prayers for what was billed as "Correcting the Path" protests.

Some later marched to the opposite bank of the Nile in Giza. Demonstrators used hammers, large iron bars and police barricades to tear down the wall, erected this month by Egyptian authorities after daily protests over the killing of five Egyptian border guards in Sinai.

Protesters scaled the embassy building, removed the Israeli flag for the second time in less than a month and burned it.

Giza's police chief said that two police vehicles were set alight near the Israeli embassy building during the protests. State television said four police vehicles were set on fire.

"This action shows the state of anger and frustration the young Egyptian revolutionaries feel against Israel especially after the recent Israeli attacks on the Egyptian borders that led to the killing of Egyptian soldiers," Egyptian political analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah told Reuters.

Egyptian police stood aside as activists tore down the concrete wall to the cheers of hundreds of demonstrators.

"It is great that Egyptians say they will do something and actually do it," Egyptian film director and activist Khaled Youssef said, standing among the protesters outside the embassy.

"They said they will demolish the wall and they did ... the military council has to abide by the demands of the Egyptian people," he said.

Israel Radio cut into its Sabbath programing with bulletins about the Cairo demonstrations. Citing Foreign Ministry sources, it said the ambassador was safely at his official residence and that Israel was in contact with Egypt, the United States and European powers about the incident.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement late on Friday that he had gone to the ministry's situation room in Jerusalem to monitor events at the embassy.

"Police will ... be left unharmed to continue demolishing the wall," one security source said. State television reported that 88 people were hurt during the pushing and shoving or from falling debris.

Tensions between the two countries sparked a series of angry protests that reached a climax last month when a demonstrator scaled the building and removed the Israeli flag.

The five security men died during an Israeli operation against gunmen who had killed eight Israelis. Egypt threatened to withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv. Israel has stopped short of apologizing, saying it is still investigating how the Egyptian troops were killed.

Protesters also demonstrated outside the Interior Ministry, near Tahrir Square, pelted the building with stones and scrawled graffiti denouncing the head of the ruling military council, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

State television said a fire broke out at a building used to store forensic evidence. Firefighters managed to put it out.


Fridays demonstrations were organized mostly by secular groups which had been pushing for reforms, a new constitution and an end to the trial of civilians before military courts.

Islamists, including the political party set up by the Muslim Brotherhood -- Egypt's best organized political force after the dissolution of Mubarak's National democratic Party -- have distanced themselves from the planned protests.

The country's military rulers have promised to hand back power to a civilian government after elections, which they said would be held before the end of 2011. The council has also facilitated the trial of Mubarak and several of his aides, including former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli, on charges of corruption or conspiring to kill some 850 demonstrators.

But many Egyptians remain sceptical.

"Since January 25 until today, we don't feel there has been any change," said Kamel Ebrahim, a 37-year-old civil servant who was among the thousands in Tahrir Square.

"Thugs and thieves have multiplied and the Field Marshal has done nothing to improve things," he said, referring to Tantawi.

The protests also put pressure on Tantawi, who is due to testify in Mubarak's trial in a closed session on Sunday. The judge has banned all media coverage of the proceedings during the week also. Other senior figures, including former officials under Mubarak, will also testify.

"This is your last chance, either you say the people are in my heart or you leave," a man who identified himself only as a driver said. "Will you be able to say that Mubarak did not give orders to shoot?" he said, standing beneath a large poster on which Tantawi's face was spliced together with Mubarak's.

Activists said they have no plans to camp in the square.

Protests were also organized in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city, and in Suez. Witnesses said military police detained three activists during a demonstration in the city.

In Alexandria, thousands of protesters chanted "The trial, the trial or the gang will stay in power."

One of the protesters, Hazem Ahmed, 26, a member of Egypt's Democratic Front party said, "I joined the protest because of the slow pace of the trials and it being not serious."

(Reporting by Dina Zayed, Shaimaa Fayed and Seham Eloraby, Abdel Rahman Youssef in Alexandria and Yusri Mohamed in Suez; Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Louise Ireland)


23) Pelican Bay SHU prisoners plan to resume hunger strike Sept. 26
by Mutope Duguma (s/n James Crawford)
September 1, 2011

We had our last and final meeting with Undersecretary Scott Kernan on Aug. 18, 2011. Sitawa and the rest of the negotiators were very disappointed with the outcome because the undersecretary's horns came out for real!

All the same, we are going forward with our indefinite hunger strike, which will start on Sept. 26, 2011. We know they probably have manipulated some new attempt to deal with us, but what they fail to realize is that we were never playing. If these people think we are going to remain under this tortuous treatment, then they will get the body count that they seek or a bunch of hospitals filled up throughout the state.

This is the only way to expose to the world how racist prison guards and officials have utilized policy in order to torture us. And we have the material to expose them because many of us suffer from serious medical conditions or a lack of medical treatment, which we inherited right here in SHU.

We are being deprived of every basic human necessity in order to continue our suffering. For example, I suffer from "trigeminal neuralgia" - a nerve disease* that hit me for the first time in January - and if you know anything about this disease, you will know it's the worse pain ever known to mankind.

If these people think we are going to remain under this tortuous treatment, then they will get the body count that they seek or a bunch of hospitals filled up throughout the state.

I question how I even got this disease, because I've always been healthy and taken care of myself - but this quack doctor left me with an ear infection for eight months; then this happened. Do you know what these clowns gave me for treatment? Tylenol!

So, CDCR's dehumanizing labeling, where they say we are gangs or gang leaders, is only to dehumanize us to the world in order to treat us how they see fit.

They did this with the Natives when they called them "savages," they did it with our ancestors when they kidnapped them from the continent saying they were three fifths human being, two fifths monkey/ape etc. - which justified enslaving them/us for over 400 years and counting.

They did this to poor whites who were indentured servants; so we must realize that nothing has changed, only the process. So, I appreciate the time and love you all have given to us and you can believe that we will not yield until justice is achieved. We went into this trying to save lives, if possible, but we see now that there will have to be casualties on our side and we all know that power concedes to no one without demands.

So, I say we respect and love you all and, again, thank you all. And trust me when I tell you, we are dealing with criminals who run and oversee these prisons. They do not give a hoot about law and order.

This letter was received by the Bay View on Sept. 1. Send our brother some love and light: James Crawford, D-05996, D1-117U, PBSP-SHU, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532. He is the writer of "The Call [2]," the formal announcement that alerted the world to this massive hunger strike, in which 6,600 prisoners participated, according to CDCR's own records. As the strike was about to begin, he wrote "SHU prisoners sentenced to civil death begin hunger strike [3]," explaining the reasons for the strike. Most recently, he wrote "This hunger strike is far from over [4]" to say that he and his comrades would most likely have to resume the strike.

* According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine [5], trigeminal neuralgia [6] is a nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric-shock-like pain in parts of the face.

Article printed from San Francisco Bay View:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:

[1] Image:

[2] The Call:

[3] SHU prisoners sentenced to civil death begin hunger strike:

[4] This hunger strike is far from over:

[5] U.S. National Library of Medicine:

[6] trigeminal neuralgia:

[7] Strike updates: Stop prison torture at Pelican Bay:

[8] Don't fall for CDCR's disinformation:

[9] Hunger strike updates: Legislative hearing on Pelican Bay SHU tomorrow in Sacramento:

[10] Supermax prisons: 21st century asylums:

[11] No justice, no food, no 4th of July celebration:


24) The Lingering Injustice of Attica
September 8, 2011


FORTY years ago today, more than 1,000 inmates at Attica Correctional Facility began a major civil and human rights protest - an uprising that is barely mentioned in textbooks but nevertheless was one of the most important rebellions in American history.

A forbidding institution that opened in 1931, Attica, roughly midway between Buffalo and Rochester, was overcrowded and governed by rigid and often capricious penal practices.

The guards were white men from small towns in upstate New York; the prisoners were mostly urban African-Americans and Puerto Ricans. They wanted decent medical care so that an inmate like Angel Martinez, 21, could receive treatment for his debilitating polio. They wanted more humane parole so that a man like L. D. Barkley, also 21, wouldn't be locked up in a maximum security facility like Attica for driving without a license. They also wanted less discriminatory policies so that black inmates like Richard X. Clark wouldn't be given the worst jobs, while white prisoners were given the best. These men first tried writing to state officials, but their pleas for reform were largely ignored. Eventually, they erupted.

Over five days, Americans sat glued to their televisions as this uprising unfolded. They watched in surprise as inmates elected representatives from each cellblock to negotiate on their behalf. They watched in disbelief as these same inmates protected the guards and civilian employees they had taken hostage.

They also saw the inmates request the presence of official "observers" to ensure productive and peaceful interactions with the state. These eventually included the New York Times columnist Tom Wicker; the radical lawyer William M. Kunstler; politicians like Arthur O. Eve, John R. Dunne and Herman Badillo; and ministers as well as activists.

As the rebellion wore on, and the lawn around Attica filled with hundreds of heavily armed state troopers, these observers worried that Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, having already refused to grant amnesty to the inmates if they surrendered, would turn to force. This, they knew, would result in a massacre.

Several observers begged the governor to come to Attica. In lieu of amnesty, they reasoned, his presence might at least assure the inmates that the state would honor any agreement it made with them and prevent any reprisals should they end their protest. Rockefeller wouldn't consider it.

On the morning of Sept. 13, 1971, he gave the green light for helicopters to rise suddenly over Attica and blanket it with tear gas. As inmates and hostages fell to the ground blinded, choking and incapacitated, more than 500 state troopers burst in, riddling catwalks and exercise yards with thousands of bullets. Within 15 minutes the air was filled with screams, and the prison was littered with the bodies of 39 people - 29 inmates and 10 hostages - who lay dead or dying. "I could see all this blood just running out of the mud and water," one inmate recalled. "That's all I could see."

Incredibly, state officials claimed that the inmates, not the troopers, had killed the hostages. Meanwhile, scores of inmates who had survived the assault were tortured. Enraged troopers, and not a few correctional officers, forced these men, many of whom had been shot multiple times, to crawl naked across shattered glass and to run a gantlet as fists, gun butts and nightsticks rained down on their bodies. Investigators from the state police, the very entity that had led the assault, were then asked to determine what had gone wrong - all but guaranteeing that only inmates, not troopers, would face charges. Public opinion toward the inmates, once sympathetic, gradually turned against them.

The hostages were also treated miserably. The state offered families of dead hostages small checks, which they cashed to tide them over in this difficult time, but it did not tell them that taking this money meant forgoing their right to sue the state for sizable damages.

Much of the nation, however, never heard this history. Had it not been for the legal fight waged by inmates to hold the state accountable, and the testimony provided later by surviving hostages and their families, there might have been no official record of these brutal acts.

In 1997, the inmates were awarded damages for the many violations of their civil rights and, though the state fought that judgment, in 2000 it had to pay out a settlement of $8 million. In 2005, the state reached a settlement with the guards and other workers for $12 million. The vast majority of the inmates and guards got far less than they deserved.

Despite having to pay damages, 40 years later, the State of New York still has not taken responsibility for Attica. It has never admitted that it used excessive force. It has never acknowledged that its troopers killed inmates and guards. It has never admitted that those who surrendered were tortured, nor that employees were misled.

We have all paid a very high price for the state's lies and half-truths and its refusal to investigate and prosecute its own. The portrayal of prisoners as incorrigible animals contributed to a distrust of prisoners; the erosion of hard-won prison reforms; and the modern era of mass incarceration. Not coincidentally, it was Rockefeller who, in 1973, signed the law establishing mandatory prison terms for possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs, which became a model for similar legislation elsewhere.

As America begins to rethink the wisdom of mass imprisonment, Attica reminds us that prisoners are in fact human beings who will struggle mightily when they are too long oppressed. It shows as well that we all suffer when the state overreacts to cries for reform.

Heather Ann Thompson, an associate professor of history at Temple University, is writing a book on the Attica uprising.


25) Israelis Flee Cairo Embassy as Protesters Invade Offices
September 10, 2011

CAIRO - Israel sent a pair of military jets into Cairo at dawn on Saturday to evacuate its embassy staff after six members had been trapped in the embassy overnight by thousands of protesters who invaded the building and tossed documents from the windows.

As an angry mob stormed the embassy and tore down its flag for the second time in a month, Israel appealed to the United States for help. Coming a week after Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador over its refusal to apologize for a deadly raid on a Turkish ship, the attack left Israel facing crises in relations with its two most important regional allies, and ambassadors in neither country.

The violence also raised concerns about whether Egypt's military-led transitional government would be able to maintain law and order and meet its international obligations, and to what extent popular rage unleashed by the Arab Spring would send a chill over the region.

Throughout the night, desperate Israeli officials had placed several calls to their American counterparts seeking help to pressure the Egyptians to take more action to protect the embassy. Defense Minister Ehud Barak called Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called President Obama, Israeli and American officials said.

In Washington, the White House said in a statement that Mr. Obama had "expressed his great concern" about the embassy situation in his conversation with Mr. Netanyahu. The statement said Mr. Obama called on the government of Egypt "to honor its international obligations to safeguard the security of the Israeli Embassy."

Israeli officials said the six trapped embassy staff members were rescued by Egyptian commandos early Saturday morning, after hours when Egyptian military and security forces had appeared to stand idle on the sidelines for fear of confronting the mob.

"This went on for 13 hours and there was real concern for the safety and lives of our people," an Israeli official said. "The mob penetrated the embassy and at the end there was only one wall separating it from six of our people."

Israel flew out its ambassador and about 85 other diplomats and family members, leaving behind only one diplomat, the deputy ambassador, who took refuge in the American Embassy, diplomats familiar with the arrangements said.

For Israel, the embassy attack and evacuation represented the most ominous deterioration yet in its relationship with its neighbor in the seven months since the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, a strongman who suppressed the Egyptian public's hostility to Israel to keep his country's alliance with Israel and the United States a guiding principle of its foreign policy.

The Egyptian prime minister, Essam Sharaf, who serves under the council of military officers acting as a transitional government, called an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday as the Egyptian Interior Ministry put the police on alert to guard against more violence.

For Egypt's interim military rulers, allowing the invasion of a foreign embassy is an extraordinary breach of Egypt's international commitments that is raising security concerns at other embassies as well.

"It has led to a complete loss of credibility in the government internationally from all directions," a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the situation. And it poses a new dilemma for the military council, which has sought to avoid confrontations with protesters and, often, to accede to the popular will to guard its own tenuous legitimacy.

It was the second time in four weeks that Egypt and Israel stood on the brink, following a dispute last month over the killing of three Egyptian soldiers along the border by Israeli military forces pursuing terrorist suspects. And it comes at a time when Israel is feeling new pressures from all sides, with the Palestinians gathering support in the United Nations General Assembly for a bid to establish their nominal statehood next month and the expulsion of Israel's ambassador from Turkey.

For some, the image of the fleeing diplomats boarding jets at dawn evoked comparisons with the 1979 evacuation of the Israeli Embassy in Tehran after the Iranian revolution replaced a former ally with an implacable foe.

"Seven months after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak's regime, Egyptian protesters tore to shreds the Israeli flag, a symbol of peace between Egypt and its eastern neighbor, after 31 years," Aluf Benn, the editor in chief of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, wrote Saturday. "It seems that the flag will not return to the flagstaff anytime soon."

The attack on the embassy marked a new turn toward violence in the previously peaceful protest movement that has flourished in Cairo's Tahrir Square since the revolution. At a demonstration called Friday to reiterate a litany of liberal demands, thousands of hard-core soccer fans showed up looking for revenge on police officers who attacked some of them after a match earlier in the week, and they injected a new impulse toward mayhem into the day.

Exercising a new freedom of expression, Egyptians have staged protests outside the Israeli Embassy nearly every day since the Israeli killing of the Egyptian officers near the border, and last weekend the Egyptians erected a new wall in front of the embassy's block to help protect the buildings from damage.

But on Friday demonstrators marched to the building carrying hammers and determined to tear it down, and after its demolition went on to break into the building while thousands of others clashed with riot police outside, hurling homemade incendiary devices and setting several cars on fire.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said Saturday that at least two people had died in the clashes around the embassy, one from a bullet wound and one from a heart attack, while as many as 1,200 had been injured from the overnight clashes with the police. As late as Saturday afternoon, enough tear gas lingered in the streets around the embassy to force passers-by to clutch tissues over their noses.

Since the dispute over the border killings last month, many Egyptians have clamored for Egypt to expel Israel's ambassador. When word reached the crowds outside the Israeli Embassy on Saturday morning that Israel was evacuating its ambassador, some reacted with satisfaction that the attack on the embassy had succeeded.

On Saturday, though, Egyptian politicians at every level, from the young leaders of the revolution to the older liberals and Islamists, spoke out against the violence the night before. But Gamal Abdel Gawad, director of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, warned that given the popular pressure, repairing relations with Israel could be "an uphill battle."

David Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, and Ethan Bronner from Jerusalem. Heba Afify contributed reporting from Cairo.


26) Pipeline Spills Put Safeguards Under Scrutiny
September 9, 2011

DENVER - This summer, an Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying oil across Montana burst suddenly, soiling the swollen Yellowstone River with an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude just weeks after a company inspection and federal review had found nothing seriously wrong.

And in the Midwest, a 35-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich., once teeming with swimmers and boaters, remains closed nearly 14 months after an Enbridge Energy pipeline hemorrhaged 843,000 gallons of oil that will cost more than $500 million to clean up.

While investigators have yet to determine the cause of either accident, the spills have drawn attention to oversight of the 167,000-mile system of hazardous liquid pipelines crisscrossing the nation.

The little-known federal agency charged with monitoring the system and enforcing safety measures - the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration - is chronically short of inspectors and lacks the resources needed to hire more, leaving too much of the regulatory control in the hands of pipeline operators themselves, according to federal reports, an examination of agency data and interviews with safety experts.

They portray an agency that rarely levies fines and is not active enough in policing the aging labyrinth of pipelines, which has suffered thousands of significant hazardous liquid spills over the past two decades.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who oversees the pipeline agency, acknowledges weaknesses in the program and is asking Congress to pass legislation that would increase penalties for negligent operators and authorize the hiring of additional inspectors. That may be a tough sell in a Congress averse to new spending and stricter regulation.

"We need to know with great certainty that inspections and replacements have been done in a timely way that will prevent these kinds of spills from happening," he said.

Federal records show that although the pipeline industry reported 25 percent fewer significant incidents from 2001 through 2010 than in the prior decade, the amount of hazardous liquids being spilled, though down, remains substantial. There are still more than 100 significant spills each year - a trend that dates back more than 20 years. And the percentage of dangerous liquids recovered by pipeline operators after a spill has dropped considerably in recent years.

The industry, however, believes the current system works and points with pride to what it considers a record of improvement.

"Data shows that releases from pipelines have declined over the last decade as the result of stringent regulation and the industry's continued commitment to safety," wrote Peter Lidiak, pipeline director for the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, in an e-mailed response.

Throwing more resources and money at the problem may not be the answer for the tiny agency, because there remain deeper concerns about how it works, especially its reluctance to mandate safety improvements or to level meaningful fines for wrongdoing.

Such concerns come at a critical time for the agency. The State Department last month gave a provisional green light to a controversial 1,661-mile pipeline from Canada to Texas, called Keystone XL, that will carry a trickier form of crude - and fall under the agency's purview. And a just-released National Transportation Safety Board report on a natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., that last year cost eight people their lives, characterized the agency's regulatory practices as lax and inadequate. In the report, the safety board urged the Transportation Department to go back and audit many of the pipeline agency's safety and enforcement policies.

An analysis of federal reports and safety documents by The New York Times suggests that while the agency performs better than it did 10 years ago, it still struggles to safeguard a transport network laced with risks.

For example, the agency requires companies to focus their inspections on only the 44 percent of the nation's land-based liquid pipelines that could affect high consequence areas - those near population centers or considered environmentally delicate - which leaves thousands of miles of lines loosely regulated and operating essentially on the honor system. Meanwhile, budget limits and attrition have left the agency with 118 inspectors - 17 shy of what federal law authorizes.

Pipeline operators, critics argue, have too much autonomy over their lines, and too much wiggle room when it comes to carrying out important safeguards, like whether to install costly but crucial automated shut-off valves.

"The system as it presently exists, I don't think it really protects the public," said Representative Corrine Brown of Florida, the ranking Democrat on the House transportation subcommittee on railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials. "Self-reporting doesn't work. We need additional rules and regulations to make sure we're doing what we're supposed to be doing to protect communities."

She and other lawmakers want Congress and the Obama administration to bolster rules, hire more inspectors and reinvest in the pipeline infrastructure, much of which was laid from the 1950s to the 1970s.

New Project, New Risks

The Keystone XL project is different from most other pipelines in that it will carry a gritty mixture that includes bitumen, a crude drawn from Canadian oil sands that environmentalists argue is more corrosive and difficult to clean when spilled. In its report, the State Department cited 57 special conditions designed to keep the Keystone pipeline safe and wrote that it would have little environmental impact if operated according to regulations.

The National Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups assailed that conclusion, saying the State Department had not sufficiently accounted for the impacts of a major spill. More than 1,200 people were arrested during two weeks of protests against Keystone XL outside the White House this summer.

Richard Kuprewicz, a former pipeline engineer for the oil company Arco who serves on an advisory committee to the pipeline agency, said the current regulatory system was not fully prepared to monitor a project like Keystone XL, given the number of leaks the agency already contends with.

"We're seeing too many ruptures," Mr. Kuprewicz said. "The numbers are too high."

Since 1990, more than 5,600 incidents were reported involving land-based hazardous liquid pipelines, releasing a total of more than 110 million gallons of mostly crude and petroleum products, according to analysis of federal data. The pipeline safety agency considered more than half - at least 100 spills each year - to be "significant," meaning they caused a fire, serious injury or fatality or released at least 2,100 gallons, among other factors.

Pipeline operators reported recovering less than half of all hazardous liquids spilled over the last two decades, according to federal records. And the ratio is not improving: after recovering more than 60 percent of liquids spilled in 2005 and 2006, operators recovered less than a third between 2007 and 2010.

Nearly half of all incidents since 2002 arose from malfunctioning equipment, construction flaws and other technical problems with pipelines. Corrosion, which the agency considers to be different from equipment failure, is the second leading cause, and to blame nearly one-quarter of the time.

In written testimony to Congress after the Yellowstone spill, Cynthia L. Quarterman, the pipeline agency's top official, emphasized oversight upgrades like increased money for state safety agencies and more extensive training for agency employees. She also noted a decline in significant incidents.

Yet a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, while acknowledging progress, also outlined problems, noting that "recent pipeline incidents suggest there continues to be room for improvement."

The report said the pipeline agency was hampered by a chronic inspector shortage. Fifteen states are certified to perform their own liquid pipeline inspections, but budget problems within state agencies are also a matter of "great concern," it said.

The National Transportation Safety Board report on San Bruno said the pipeline agency's monitoring of state oversight programs and its own enforcement program had been "weak."

And when something goes wrong, very little happens in the way of penalties, The Times found. For every five significant incidents reported at a hazardous liquid pipeline between 2002 and 2010, the agency issued one fine.

The fines for that period, about $14 million, ranged from $1,000 for an inspection violation to a high of $2.4 million for the oil fire and Enbridge Energy pipeline spill in November 2007 that killed two people near Clearbrook, Minn. In May, BP was fined $25 million after two spills of more than 213,000 gallons of crude in Alaska in 2006 - in a case handled by the Justice Department. Federal regulators found that in the aftermath of the spills, the company failed to make prescribed corrections to the pipelines in question. But most of the pipeline agency's fines do not exceed $25,000, records show.

Relying on Self-Policing

The Enbridge line that ruptured last year in Michigan, which was transporting oil sands crude, had a history of problems. Inspections in 2007 and 2009 identified 390 anomalies with the line. But the company had repaired only 61 when the spill occurred.

Regulators typically inspect pipeline operators once every three to five years, according to the agency. However, they also rely on "integrity management programs" that require companies to draw up their own plans to assess risks like leaks and corrosion, and how to address them.

But even those self-policing plans are only mandated for lines that could affect high-consequence areas. Moreover, the safety board report found that the agency needed to more effectively measure whether a company was sufficiently monitoring its lines.

Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit group based in Washington State that advocates for safer pipelines, noted that the programs, for example, only require operators to verify they have leak-detection mechanisms, but do not demand proof that they work.

On May 7, a pumping station accident in Sargent County, N.D., along TransCanada's Keystone pipeline, which would one day connect to the company's proposed XL line, spilled nearly 17,000 gallons of oil sands crude. Pipeline agency documents show it was a local resident who alerted TransCanada, prompting a shutdown of the line.

An internal pipeline agency report from 2009 concluded that regulators depend too much on the oil and gas industry for information and its investigations of accidents had exposed "some significant differences between what the company reports and an objective view of these events."

The agency is currently considering whether to require automated shutoff valves for pipelines and minimum standards for leak detection systems.

"Starting a decade ago, we went with a system of regulations that allows the pipeline companies to decide how to best maintain their pipelines," Mr. Weimer said. "Now it's become clear we need to tell them how to do it better."


27) Deal Reached on Dialysis for Immigrants
September 9, 2011

ATLANTA - Twenty-one illegal immigrants will continue to receive regular dialysis at no cost for three years under an agreement disclosed Friday by Atlanta's public hospital, Grady Memorial, and the world's largest dialysis provider, Fresenius Medical Care.

The deal solves an impasse created when a previous one-year contract between Grady and Fresenius expired on Aug. 31 and the dialysis provider refused to serve patients who showed up for their regular thrice-a-week treatments.

The patients spent the past week seeking care in Atlanta-area emergency rooms, including Grady's, which are required by federal law to screen and treat those at risk of impairment or death.

In some instances, ailing patients were turned away by emergency room doctors who determined that their elevated potassium levels and fluid retention were not yet severe enough to justify emergency treatment. Each renal patient's need for dialysis is different, but those unable to artificially clean the toxic substances from their blood can die in as little as two weeks.

One of the patients, an illegal immigrant named Reina Andrade, chose to fly home to Honduras on Wednesday morning after being denied treatment by Grady's emergency room on Saturday, becoming seriously ill on Sunday and receiving dialysis through another hospital's emergency room that night, according to her sister, Marlen Andrade.

Hours after Reina Andrade and her 9-year-old son boarded a flight for Tegucigalpa, Grady and Fresenius announced that they had an agreement in principle to restore the treatments.

"That was too late for her," said Marlen Andrade, who lived with her sister near Atlanta. "She's already gone. I told myself that God must have a plan for her."

Marlen Andrade said she learned from relatives on Friday that her sister received dialysis in Tegucigalpa that morning, and that her family had scraped together enough to pay for perhaps two weeks of treatments. There is no provision for free care in Honduras, she said.

The agreement between Grady and Fresenius would allow Ms. Andrade to receive treatment in Atlanta if she could return here. But that would require a rigorous illegal border crossing that can be physically challenging even for the healthy.

"In her condition, she could never cross the border illegally again, never," Marlen Andrade said. Reina Andrade was fit when she first immigrated to the United States 12 years ago, her sister said, but developed kidney disease several years later.

The patients' odyssey began two years ago when Grady closed its outpatient dialysis clinic, where many had received free treatment for years. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicare, which covers most dialysis costs for American citizens. After the immigrants filed a lawsuit and gained news media attention, the hospital agreed to pay Fresenius to care for them during a transitional period. Other than the past week, it has never ended.

Under the new contract, Grady agrees to pay Fresenius $15,500 per patient per year for treatment at the company's outpatient clinics. That is less than half of the $750,000 flat fee Grady paid Fresenius for the yearlong contract that just ended.

Grady, which receives direct appropriations from two county governments, faces a budget shortfall of more than $20 million this year. It maintained in negotiations that it could not afford to pay Fresenius the previous rates.


28) Rich Tax Breaks Bolster Makers of Video Games
"All told, the federal government gave $123 billion in tax incentives to corporations in 2010, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, with breaks for groups and people as diverse as Nascar track owners, mohair producers, hedge fund managers, chicken farmers, automakers and oil companies. Many tax policy analysts say the breaks for the video game industry - whose domestic sales of $15 billion a year now exceed those of the music business - are a vivid example of a tax system that defies common sense. ...Video game industry officials say that by improving technology, they are indirectly helping society at large. Dean Zerbe, national managing director at Alliantgroup, said that the military had used some video game technology to train soldiers and pilots." [UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE!!!]
September 10, 2011

The United States government offers tax incentives to companies pursuing medical breakthroughs, urban redevelopment and alternatives to fossil fuels.

It also provides tax breaks for a company whose hit video game this year was the gory Dead Space 2, which challenges players to advance through an apocalyptic battlefield by killing space zombies.

Those tax incentives - a collection of deductions, write-offs and credits mostly devised for other industries in other eras - now make video game production one of the most highly subsidized businesses in the United States, says Calvin H. Johnson, who has worked at the Treasury Department and is now a tax professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Because video game makers straddle the lines between software development, the entertainment industry and online retailing, they can combine tax breaks in ways that companies like Netflix and Adobe cannot. Video game developers receive such a rich assortment of incentives that even oil companies have questioned why the government should subsidize such a mature and profitable industry whose main contribution is to create amusing and sometimes antisocial entertainment.

For example, Electronic Arts of Redwood City, Calif., shipped more than two million copies of Dead Space 2 in the game's first week on the market this year. It shows a total of $1.2 billion in global profits the last five years using an accounting method that management says captures its operating profits.

But largely because of deferred revenue, deductions for executive stock options and a variety of accounting requirements, the company officially reports a net loss for the period. And the company reports that it paid out $98 million in cash for taxes worldwide in those years.

Neither corporations nor the government make tax returns public, and the information most companies disclose in their regulatory filings is insufficient to determine how much they pay in federal taxes and how that compares to the official United States corporate rate of 35 percent.

All told, the federal government gave $123 billion in tax incentives to corporations in 2010, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, with breaks for groups and people as diverse as Nascar track owners, mohair producers, hedge fund managers, chicken farmers, automakers and oil companies.

Many tax policy analysts say the breaks for the video game industry - whose domestic sales of $15 billion a year now exceed those of the music business - are a vivid example of a tax system that defies common sense. Most times, subsidies begin as a way to nurture a fledgling industry that will not be profitable for years or to encourage a business activity deemed to have a broad benefit to society, like reducing pollution or improving public health.

But it's a lot easier to create a tax break than to eliminate it. That leaves a generous assortment of tax incentives available to all types of companies, like Electronic Arts, with skilled accounting departments.

Electronic Arts has also lobbied successfully for more tax assistance. The architect of the company's strategies in recent years was Glen A. Kohl, a tax lawyer colorful enough to publicly compare himself to Bruce Springsteen and to joke in the pages of The Wall Street Journal that his dog, Rubin, shared the name of the Treasury secretary under whom he served (Robert E. Rubin).

After working in the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration, Mr. Kohl entered the private sector and became head of E.A.'s tax department in 2004, leading the company as it aggressively lobbied for a federal tax break on domestic production and set up a matrix of offshore subsidiaries, many in low-tax countries.

As a result, the company with the defiant sales slogan, "Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2," in effect gets financial help from moms and other United States taxpayers to reduce its federal tax bill.

Company officials say they have no qualms about taking all the tax breaks legally available to them. To do otherwise would be like a consumer "insisting on paying full price during a store sale," wrote Jeff Brown, a company spokesman. Even E.A.'s competitors acknowledge that the company's tax strategies aren't particularly aggressive compared to others in the industry.

Furthermore, Electronic Arts officials say that in recent years the company has paid a substantial portion of its profits in taxes, but declined to discuss details of its financial reports.

Several tax experts noted that one of the company's biggest tax advantages is a tool available to all companies, a deduction related to the stock gains on options exercised by its executives. (Tax practitioners also said that the company's losses, under generally accepted accounting principles, provided the most meaningful picture and reflected the standard approach used by other companies.)

Industry advocates say that without these incentives the United States would forfeit its technological edge - and the 32,000 direct jobs in the gaming industry - to countries like Canada, which offers video game developers even greater tax subsidies.

"Software and high-tech industries are the brain trust of the U.S.," said Shane T. Frank, chief operating officer of Alliantgroup, a consulting firm that helps video game companies and other businesses take advantage of the tax credit for research and development. "We can't afford to lose that knowledge and those high-paying jobs to India or anywhere else."

Trying to Lure Jobs

One reason Electronic Arts and other video game companies have a bounty of tax incentives that other industries envy is that elected officials from across the political spectrum find it hard to resist offering incentives to encourage technological research - and jobs.

When the tax code was rewritten in 1954 - nearly 20 years before the first commercially successful video game was released - Congress included a new break allowing companies to deduct all laboratory-based research and experimentation costs immediately. Part of the intention was to simplify the tax code. But with the cold war and nuclear arms race making Americans fearful that the country's technological edge was eroding, Daniel Reed, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, also promised the tax break would indirectly bolster national security by stimulating "the search for new products and new inventions upon which the future economic and military strength of our nation depends."

In 1969, the I.R.S. expanded that tax break to allow companies to deduct the cost of software development, which was a small part of a business that was then dominated by bulky mainframe computers. When the video game industry sprouted in the early 1970s, game developers reaped substantial tax savings because most of their costs were for software development.

Electronic Arts, founded in 1982, has since become one of the world's dominant video game companies - producing popular titles like SimCity, FIFA soccer, Harry Potter and Madden NFL - and has benefited mightily from that tax incentive.

The company's software development costs - including salaries for the designers - have totaled nearly $6 billion over the last five years, and the company says it deducted all but a small amount of those expenses immediately. Companies that produce movies or compact discs, by contrast, face tighter restrictions which often require them to spread out the deduction on most production costs over a number of years. While video game makers have often compared themselves to movie companies when seeking tax incentives, the game developers' ability to write off the vast majority of their development costs immediately gives them a substantial financial advantage over other entertainment companies in taxes and cash flow.

Video game companies also get other research-related breaks. In 1981, as Americans worried that Japan's growing dominance in the auto business would be followed by a decline of the high-tech industry in the United States, Congress added another research and development credit, this time specifically for companies that increased their R.& D. spending from the previous year. The hope was that by encouraging companies to invest more in research, the private sector might create the next Bell Laboratories and inspire the kind of technological breakthroughs that benefit society as a whole.

Within a few years, the credit was being claimed by businesses with little technological background - fast-food restaurants, hair stylists and fashion designers. So Congress tried to restrict what research would qualify. The credit was denied for social science research and marketing. The narrowest definition, proposed by the Clinton administration, was to allow the credit only for research that produced an actual innovation, but that measure met determined opposition from business lobbyists. By the time the Treasury Department ruled in 2002, an appointee of President George W. Bush decided to drop it.

"It seemed as though it would be impossible to enforce," said Pamela F. Olson, then the assistant secretary for tax policy, and now a tax lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. "Because you couldn't be certain that someone wouldn't come back later and challenge things, by saying that what seemed like an innovation at the time had actually been discovered before."

The failed attempts to restrict the R.& D. credit to basic research have been a boon for video game companies. Even when companies are merely creating new versions of existing games - conducting research that would have little value to anyone but themselves - their development processes usually involve enough experimental uncertainty to qualify for the tax break.

During the last five years, Electronic Arts has claimed tens of millions in tax savings from research and development credits for its various games, according to the company's regulatory filings. (Company officials declined to specify how much of that total came from the federal government.)

At the same time, the I.R.S. and the United States Tax Court have denied the credit for some projects that would have benefited the community as well as the companies receiving it. In 2009, for instance, the federal tax court denied Union Carbide's attempt to claim a research and development credit for its project to reduce the pollutants released from the smokestacks of a refinery in Louisiana. Union Carbide failed to meet the experimental threshold for the credit, though video game makers often seem to have little trouble meeting the requirement.

Video game industry officials say that by improving technology, they are indirectly helping society at large.

Dean Zerbe, national managing director at Alliantgroup, said that the military had used some video game technology to train soldiers and pilots. Electronic Arts said it donated some games to the military, schools and charities.

Even those who support subsidies for technological research complain that the current research and development credit is woefully designed - favoring big companies over start-ups and often subsidizing businesses for research they would have done anyway.

Michael D. Rashkin, author of "Practical Guide to Research and Development Tax Incentives," said that the video game industry had failed to name a technological breakthrough that had helped anyone beyond its shareholders, employees or customers.

"The research credit benefits the wrong companies and encourages the wrong kind of research," said Mr. Rashkin, a tax expert and executive at Marvell Technology, a company based in Santa Clara, Calif. "By diverting funding and attention from where it could be most useful, the credit is hobbling American innovation."

Yet, given the sharp decline in American manufacturing jobs over the last half century, subsidies for research and development still have wide support. The Obama administration has proposed making the research and development tax credit permanent (it has been renewed every two years since 1981), and expanding it, at a cost of more than $100 billion over the next decade.

Looking for More

Electronic Arts has not been content to merely collect the many benefits from existing tax breaks. Mr. Kohl, who had an extensive background in mergers and acquisitions law, arrived at the company in 2004, the same year Congress passed a domestic production deduction that was intended to cut taxes on companies that export. When President George W. Bush signed the law in October, it listed an assortment of industries eligible for the break, including sound recordings and computer software, but did not specify video games.

Electronic Arts paid $60,000 early the next year to hire a prominent Washington tax lobbying firm. Soon after the law was signed, its lobbyist, Jonathan Talisman of Capitol Tax Partners, was granted a meeting with the Treasury Department's deputy assistant secretary of tax policy - the same office Mr. Kohl once held - to ask that the deduction be extended to video game companies and the revenues they earned from online subscriptions. When the I.R.S. issued its final regulations, video games and their online revenues were specifically cited as qualifying for the deduction. That deduction last year equaled 9 percent of its production costs, offering E.A. significant tax savings.

Company officials point out that the deduction is available to a wide range of industries. "The credit is not specific to video games," said Mr. Brown, the spokesman. "It's designed to encourage any domestic manufacturing in the United States - from soft drinks to steel, to movies, music and newspapers." During Mr. Kohl's seven years at the company, Electronic Arts also became more aggressive about assigning its intellectual property offshore, a move that often reduces a company's tax bill. Mr. Kohl, who declined to be interviewed, is now running the tax department at Amazon, which is leading the legal battle by Internet retailers who want to avoid collecting state sales taxes from customers.

In 2003, before joining Electronic Arts, Mr. Kohl co-authored a widely-cited proposal urging the federal government to crack down on corporate tax avoidance, warning that "the tax shelter problem is simply too detrimental to the tax system not to act." As head of tax at Electronic Arts, he became a noted expert in using foreign subsidiaries to legally, and sharply, cut a corporation's United States tax bill. As a co-chairman of the Silicon Valley Tax Directors Group, he also moderated a seminar in 2010 that showed technology companies how to use offshore subsidiaries to reassign the licensing of their intellectual property and, in some cases, reduce their effective federal tax rate substantially from 35 percent.

Electronic Arts has more than 50 overseas subsidiaries, according to its recent regulatory filings, many in low-tax countries like Bermuda, Singapore and Mauritius. The company has also accumulated more than $1.3 billion in profits offshore, where it will not be taxed by the United States unless it is brought back into the country.

Company officials say its overseas activities are not an attempt to avoid United States taxes and instead reflect how much of its business takes place in other countries. "E.A. is a global company with a majority of our customers and roughly 50 percent of our revenue generated outside of the United States," Mr. Brown said. "Naturally we hire, build facilities, copyright our trademarks, invest and pay taxes in countries outside of the U.S."

Jockeying for Developers

As Congress and the Obama administration wrestle with the next round of budget cuts this fall, and a possible overhaul of the tax code, they will determine whether the types of subsidies offered to E.A. and other corporations are worth the billions in forgone revenue annually to the Treasury. While Britain and some nations in the European Union have been paring back their tax subsidies for game developers, Canada has been trying to lure them and their jobs from below the border. In 2008, Ontario paid one game company a subsidy of more than $321,000 for each job to relocate from the United States. More recently, Montreal persuaded the game company THQ to relocate 800 production jobs there, closing studios in New York and Phoenix, with a rich package of incentives.

E.A. has 750 employees in Montreal, where all video game companies receive a tax credit equal to 37.5 percent of their payroll, and has announced plans to hire more there. Over all, 4,500 of Electronic Arts' 7,600 employees are in the United States.

There are signs that more tax breaks may be in store for game manufacturers. States have been offering an escalating collection of incentives to try to attract the companies - more than 20 states now offer video game developers tax breaks to cover their wages, development and manufacturing costs.

Several recent studies have raised doubts about the effectiveness of subsidies offered by state and local governments, and Michigan this year reduced its breaks for game developers. But Texas officials say its tax breaks for game developers are more beneficial than those given other businesses, in part because the average salaries in the industry exceed $80,000 a year.

Game developers are pushing for more. John S. Riccitiello, the chief executive of Electronic Arts, was among the business leaders who successfully lobbied the City of San Francisco to drop its payroll tax last year to help retain social media companies like Zynga, maker of FarmVille and other games. The video game industry's trade group, the Entertainment Software Association, this year recruited 39 members of Congress to form the E-caucus, which will advocate for legislation to benefit game developers. Representative Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas who sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, said that the caucus has not asked for tax breaks.

But industry officials say they eventually hope to persuade Congress to make video game companies eligible for the federal tax breaks now available to film and television producers. Michael D. Gallagher, chief executive of the software group, said that the industry would not push for the breaks now, given the nation's budget problems, but might do so later.

"It certainly is a worthwhile policy goal," Mr. Gallagher said.