Saturday, September 17, 2011


FROM: Marlene Martin
Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP)

Please feel free to forward....

I just received this letter from Troy in the mail and wanted to share it with everybody in it's entirety. At first I wondered why the penmanship was sort of scrawled. Then I read his note and I understood. He had to write it using the inside of a pen. They have taken everything from him except his eyeglasses.
Yet his call to action is strong and mighty.

Marlene Martin
Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP)
For more info on Troy and on the Global day of action go to our website at

Hello Marlene,

I received your letter. However they took all of my mail, address book and the only property I have is my eyeglasses. I'm writing with the filter of a pen because I'm not allowed the entire pen. With all these security rules they only allowed me to write down your address. I don't remember everything you said in your letter but I wanted to thank you, your family and CEDP for everything.

It is time for action so please encourage everyone to reach out to politicians, ministers, and grassroots organizations to contact the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole and Governor to grant me relief and stop this scheduled execution. Get involved in this movement to put an end to the death penalty. Come to Georgia and take a stand for Justice. Let them know I'm blessed and my faith in God is stronger than ever. Now we have a chance to join together and be heard loud and clear that Georgia needs to stop this execution of an innocent man and end the death penalty all together.

Excuse my writing but its hard using the funnel only.

God bless you and keep up the great work you're doing.


Troy Davis


#TooMuchDoubt: Petition Delivery -- 600,000 petitions stop the execution of Troy Davis


A Message From Martina Correia, Troy Davis' Sister:

My brother, Troy Anthony Davis, on Georgia death row was sentenced to death for the death of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Georgia, August 19, 1989.

Troy was trying to help a homeless man, and a drug dealer turned his gun on Troy and told him to stay out of his business. Troy and some other teens ran away, and they had no idea who shot and killed the police officer who came up to help the homeless man. Two days later, the drug dealer, who was an informant for the police officer, actually went into the Police Department and said that a boy named Troy shot the police officer. Then they went looking for Troy and they never even questioned him about the crime.

They said that Georgia death row inmates would not be seen or heard, that they are not to be given a voice, and so that's why we're all wearing "I am Troy Davis" shirts. The people around the world are giving him a voice.

I think that if Troy could tell his story, and tell what happened, they would know that Troy is innocent. Everybody that gets to meet Troy, knows that Troy is innocent, and they don't want to be able to give Troy a voice and be able to see his face and for him to be able tell his story, because then people would know that what's happening to Troy is an injustice. So they're denying him access to the press. If he has access to the press, then they will deny him access to his family, family phone calls, and they can even deny him access to his lawyers for a limited time.

This is Troy's fourth death warrant and the fourth time being put up for execution. Some courts have given him relief and others have denied him, and so we're back at the same spot where they're trying to execute Troy.

Troy's life can be saved by flooding the Georgia Parole Board with phone calls. People can go on line and find the number to the Georgia Parole Board and they can send as many letters and as many faxes as they possibly can saying: Please spare the life of Troy Anthony Davis because when there is doubt in a case that they should not execute, and that was their standard. Also, go onto Amnesty International's web site,, or National NAACP web site,, and they have a Day of Action and everything that you can do to help Troy.

Note from Prison Radio:
Hello Everyone,

This message from Troy Davis' sister Martina Correia was recorded at Prison Radio this morning, Sept. 08, 2011. Please broadcast if you are able. If you need a higher quality AIFF version, this is also posted at

Thank you.

Prison Radio




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

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:




Next UNAC meeting:
Saturday, September 17 at the Redstone Bldg. 11 AM Third Floor.


The 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla:
What Happened? What's next?

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.


San Francisco Labor Council Resolution - Adopted unanimously, Sept 12, 2011
Save the Public Postal Service

Tuesday, September 27th National Day of Action called by the postal unions

Whereas, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as a right of the people, the public Post Office has provided universal postal service over many generations, and is continuously rated as the most highly regarded government entity by the American people. Since the 1970 postal strike, which shut down mail service nationwide for four days, postal workers have had good liveable-wage jobs supporting their families in every community, and collective bargaining through their unions; and

Whereas, Postmaster General Donahoe wants to eliminate Saturday delivery, shut 3,700 postal facilities, and fire 120,000 workers [220,000 by 2015], despite a no-layoff clause in union contracts. Rep. Issa, chair of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, wants to void the postal union contracts altogether and open the door to privatization. Their proposals would sabotage and destroy our national treasure - the public Postal Service; and

Whereas, the scheduled service cutbacks will hit seniors, and poor and rural communities the hardest. For example, post offices are being tagged for closing based on the amount of "revenue" they generate, which means that low-income and rural areas, which need their neighborhood post office the most, will no longer have one. San Francisco's Bayview Station is targeted. Also, collection boxes with fewer letters are being removed, hurting service in low-income and rural areas; and

Whereas, just as Governor Scott Walker declared war on Wisconsin workers, what's coming is a war against the 574,000 unionized postal workers and their families - the next target of the big business class and their henchmen in Congress and the media. Like Reagan's attack on PATCO, this is an attack on all of Labor, and Labor needs to close ranks with every community now to defend the postal unions and save the public Postal Service.

Therefore be it Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council will join with postal unions, other central labor bodies, state labor federations, national and local unions, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win federation, and community allies, in a campaign including mass demonstrations to defend the postal workers, save Saturday delivery, stop the post office closings and layoffs, and save the public Postal Service; and

Be it finally resolved, specifically, that the council will join the campaign to stop the closing of the Bayview Post Office; that the council will support any demonstrations at local Congressional offices as part of the Tuesday, September 27th National Day of Action called by the postal unions; and that the council will urge Bay Area congress members to co-sponsor HR 137, which calls for maintaining 6-day mail delivery, and HR 1351, which seeks to prevent the Postal Service from defaulting on payments for future retiree health benefits - both measures supported by the postal unions.


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.


Please share this announcement widely East Bay Council, Alameda Labor Council, San Francisco Labor Council,
New Priorities Campaign, U.S. Labor Against the War and Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

1PM Rally at Laney College
2:30 PM March to Federal Building & Frank Ogawa Plaza

Urge you to Rally & March for:

Jobs not Cuts !!!
Education not Incarceration
Work not War
Clean Energy not Climate Change
Social Security not Bank Bailouts
Main St. not Wall St.
Prosperity not Austerity

Hands Off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!
End the Wars! Invest in Our Communities!


We want an economy that supports the rights of all people to jobs at decent pay in safe workplaces, affordable healthcare for all, decent affordable housing, quality education in modern schools, a secure retirement, and a clean sustainable environment. We oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs. The rich, corporations, Wall St. banks and financial speculators should pay to fix the crisis that their irresponsibility and greed created. We have made our sacrifices. Now they should make theirs.

Make your voices heard!

For more information and to register endorsements, write to:


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


What is the true cost of the Afghanistan war?
Narrated by Tony Benn. Music by Brian Eno
Mass Demonstration October 8, Noon, Trafalgar Square, London




Remember Building 7 on France 3

Sound Evidence for WTC 7 Explosions and NIST Cover Up


Architects & Engineers - Solving the Mystery of WTC 7 -


Geneva Towers Controlled Demolition -- San Francisco, May 16, 1968

I lived in Geneva Towers in 1967 for about six months. I was married with a six-month-old son when we moved to the Towers. It reminded us of New York (we had just moved to San Francisco in August of 1966 so an apartment building was familiar to us.) But what a difference from New York. I didn't drive at the time and, with a baby, and elevators that often didn't work (we were on the 15th floor--I don't remember which building) I was basically trapped. Mass transit was slow and the distances were long to get downtown. The apartment had heating under the synthetic flooring tiles and the first time we turned it on, the tiles melted where the heating coils were. The electric oven caught fire the first time we used it; and the first time we took a shower the tiles started to pop off the walls. The kitchen cabinets were made of unpainted particle board. The sliding doors to the cabinets were less than a quarter-inch thick and cracked if you slid them too fast! What a pre-fab slum that was!

I was so glad to break the lease and move into the Castro--into a two bedroom, first-floor Victorian flat--in a warm and bustling community close to everything. And the rent was $125.00 a month!

I did make it a point to watch the demolition of the Towers on TV (it was broadcast live.) And I was so glad to see it go. It's the first thing I thought of when I saw the collapse of the World Trade Center. ...Bonnie Weinstein

Geneva Towers Implosion

The implosion [controlled demolition] of the Geneva Towers near the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA on May 16, 1998


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.]

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) U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years
"An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch at the Census Bureau. That figure represented 15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four."
September 13, 2011

2) Rockefeller on the Attica Raid, From Boastful to Subdued
September 12, 2011

3) Empathy Is a Wave: The Banning of Palestinian Children's Art (From the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland)
by Alice Walker
September 11, 2011

4) C.I.A. Examining Legality of Work With Police Dept.
September 13, 2011

5) Lapses by American Leaders Seen in Syphilis Tests
September 14, 2011

6) This Week, Another Racist Execution Is Set to Take Place in TX Under Rick Perry
By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at September 14, 2011, 10:47 am

7) Eleven Reasons Why the Unemployment Crisis Is Even Worse Than You Think
By Michael Thornton, AlterNet
Posted on September 14, 2011, Printed on September 15, 2011

8) Poor Are Still Getting Poorer, but Downturn's Punch Varies, Census Data Show
"More than 45 million people get food stamps, an increase of 64 percent since January 2008. About one in eight Americans, and one in four children, receives aid."
September 15, 2011

9) Three Terrorist Groups in Africa Pose Threat to U.S., American Commander Says
"Wary of committing a large number of troops, the United States has sought to use more diplomatic and development tools than military force in Africa. For example, small numbers of American Green Berets are training African armies to guard their borders and patrol vast, desolate expanses against infiltration by Al Qaeda's militants, so the United States does not have to."
September 14, 2011

10) Slain Man's Kin Ask No Death Penalty in Miss. Case
"'We also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites. Executing James' killers will not help balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment,' the letter says."
September 14, 2011

11) Fukushima Crisis Is Still Hazy
Chaos and bureaucracy hamper assessment of nuclear crisis
By David Cyranoski , Geoff Brumfiel and Nature magazine
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | 22

12) Texas Execution Halted Amid Supreme Court Review
September 16, 2011

13) Racial Bias Seen in Study of Lead Dust and Children
September 15, 2011

14) Unemployment Rates Rose in Majority of States
September 16, 2011

15) Obama Adviser Discusses Using Military on Terrorists
September 16, 2011

16) Digital Age Drives Rally to Keep a Georgia Inmate [Troy Davis] From Execution
September 16, 2011

17) Household Net Worth Falls 0.3% in Quarter
September 16, 2011

18) For Jobs, It's War
September 16, 2011


1) U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years
"An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch at the Census Bureau. That figure represented 15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four."
September 13, 2011

The portion of Americans living in poverty last year rose to the highest level since 1993, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, fresh evidence that the sluggish economic recovery has done nothing for the country's poorest citizens.

An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch at the Census Bureau.

That figure represented 15.1 percent of the country.

The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four.

"It was a surprising large increase in the overall poverty rate," said Arloc Sherman, senior researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "We see record numbers and percentages of Americans in deep poverty."

And in new evidence of economic distress among the middle class, real median household incomes declined by 2.3 percent in 2010 from the previous year, to $49,400. That was 7 percent less than the peak in 1999 of $53,252.

"A full year into recovery, there were no signs of it affecting the well being of a typical American family," said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard. "We are well below where incomes were in the late 1990s."

According to the census figures, the median annual income for a male full-time, year-round worker in 2010 - $47,715 - was virtually unchanged from its level in 1973, when the level was $49,065, in 2010 dollars, said Sheldon H. Danziger, professor of public policy at the University of Michigan.

"That's not about the poor and unemployed, that's full time, year round," Professor Danziger said. Particularly hard hit, he said, have been those who do not have college degrees. "The median, full-time male worker has made no progress on average."

The youngest members of households - those ages 15 to 24 - lost out the most, with their median income dropping by 9 percent. The recession continued to push Americans to double up in households with friends and relatives, especially those ages 25 to 34, a group that experienced a 25 percent increase in the period between 2007, when the recession began, and 2011. Of that group, 45.3 percent were living below the poverty line, when their parents' incomes were not taken into account.

"We're risking a new underclass," said Timothy Smeeding, director of the Institute for Research and Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Young, less educated adults, mainly men, can't support their children and form stable families because they are jobless."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 13, 2011

An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect figure for the number of people the Census Bureau found to be in poverty in the Unites States. The number is 46.2 million people, not 56.2 million.


2) Rockefeller on the Attica Raid, From Boastful to Subdued
September 12, 2011

Hours after 1,000 New York State troopers, sheriff's deputies and correction officers stormed Attica prison to crush a four-day inmate revolt in 1971, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller telephoned President Richard M. Nixon to claim victory unambiguously.

At the time, it appeared that State Police sharpshooters who had fired on the prison yard had killed mostly inmates, not some of the prison guards who had been held hostage inside. And because the inmates were black and the guards white, the governor and the president seemed to suggest, the American public would undoubtedly endorse the state's assault on Attica.

"They did a fabulous job," Rockefeller told Nixon. "It really was a beautiful operation."

In a follow-up conversation the next day, as grimmer details began to emerge about the assault, in which 29 inmates and 10 hostages were killed, a more subdued Rockefeller acknowledged that his initial boast about the sharpshooters' precision was premature.

"Well you know, this is one of those things," Rockefeller said. "You can't have sharpshooters picking off the prisoners when the hostages are there with them, at a distance with tear gas, without maybe having a few accidents."

"Well, you saved a lot of guards," Nixon replied. "That was worth it."

Recordings of the conversations, which are being published in full for the first time, provide insights into the nation's bloodiest prison uprising, which remained an indelible blot on Rockefeller's 15-year record as governor, and ended 40 years ago Tuesday. In the recordings, the governor speaks with seeming candor about some unexplained elements of the episode, including his decision not to go in person to the prison, in western New York, to broker a peaceful resolution, as the inmates and their negotiators had asked. Rockefeller is also heard striking an ingratiating tone with the president, predicting to Nixon, who was preparing his re-election campaign, "You're going to have a great year."

The revolt began on Sept. 9, 1971, precipitated by unaddressed inmate complaints about grievance procedures, educational opportunities and other issues, investigations concluded. Though an agreement appeared near on many of the inmates' demands, Rockefeller approved the assault when negotiations over amnesty had stalled and it appeared that the hostages' lives were in danger. (Inmates were found to have killed one guard and three fellow inmates during the uprising.)

"Nixon's strategy for dealing with the Attica massacre was to minimize press coverage, to spin the story in favor of the government, and to assail members of the press," said Theresa C. Lynch, an adjunct professor of history at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester who is writing a book about Attica and discovered the tapes at the National Archives in Washington. "I think the tapes reveal that.

"He also began a campaign to convince the American public that Rockefeller had acted correctly in not going to Attica to quell the uprising and in retaking the prison by storm. This campaign was based on racism and lack of concern and callous disregard for the lives of prisoners."

Rockefeller reveals in the tapes that he proceeded with the assault even as state officials had figured that an armed assault might cost the lives of all the 39 hostages and hundreds of inmates. And he discusses his refusal to consider granting amnesty or going to the scene - a gesture recommended by his own correction commissioner - suggesting that he did not want to capitulate to the inmates and set a precedent. "This separated the sheep from the goats," Rockefeller declared.

Sixty-two inmates and one guard were charged with crimes stemming from the revolt, and eight inmates were convicted. Charges against the guard were dismissed. A state commission criticized the governor for not going to Attica, while acknowledging that his presence might not have prevented the violence. The commission found that the riot was driven by black inmates unwilling to bow to the "petty humiliations and racism that characterize prison life" and that guards inflicted brutal reprisals after the prison was retaken.

In 1976, Gov. Hugh L. Carey pardoned seven former Attica inmates, commuted the sentence of an eighth and said no disciplinary action would be taken against 20 state troopers and guards involved in the assault. Inmates who were beaten sued the state, which settled in 2000 for $8 million. Five years later, the state settled for $12 million with surviving guards and the families of slain hostages.

Richard Norton Smith, who is completing a biography of Rockefeller, said of the governor's version of the events: "Some of this is tailored, clumsily, to impress Nixon. But it also, sadly, reflects the fact that Rockefeller by this stage of his governorship bore little resemblance to the eager, straight-talking, ambitious yet principled rookie of 1959-60."

Professor Lynch shared the tapes she had discovered with Scott Christianson, a former New York criminal justice official who has written on Attica and who made the tapes available to The New York Times.

The first conversation came when the president returned a call from the governor, who wanted to brief him. Nixon knew the call was being recorded; Rockefeller apparently did not.

"The courage you showed and the judgment in not granting amnesty, it was right, and I don't care what the hell the papers or anybody else says," Nixon said. "If you would have granted amnesty in this case, it would have meant that you would have had prisons in an uproar all over this country."

Rockefeller also told Nixon that seven guards who had been taken hostage had been killed and that "quite a few of those were killed prior to this." Both conclusions proved to be wrong.

The next day, even after it was becoming clear that hostages had also been killed by sharpshooters, Nixon told Rockefeller: "You just stand firm there and don't give an inch. Because I think in the country, you see, the example you set may stiffen the backs of a few other governors that may have a problem. But also in the country, too, I think that it might discourage this kind of a riot occurring someplace else."

"Tell me," Nixon asked, "are these primarily blacks that you're dealing with?"

"Oh, yes," Rockefeller replied, "the whole thing was led by the blacks."

Later that afternoon, Nixon asked H. R. Haldeman, his chief of staff, whether reports from the prison included "the fact that it's basically a black thing."

"That's going to turn people off awful damn fast," Nixon said, "that the guards were white."

Years later, Rockefeller, who had run against Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1968 and would become vice president in 1974 after Nixon resigned, expressed regret about not retaking the prison sooner and with less-lethal force. But to Nixon, he suggested that the revolt was part of a nationwide conspiracy and was characterized by cruelty on the part of the inmates.

"We're really developing this in a way," he said, "that I think will give a lesson to all of us."


3) Empathy Is a Wave: The Banning of Palestinian Children's Art (From the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland)
by Alice Walker
September 11, 2011

I was injured as a child; my brother shot me in the eye with a pellet gun, causing disfigurement and loss of sight. The incident itself, as well as the trauma surrounding it: my father was unable to flag down a white driver (cars among black people were rare) to take me to a doctor, left me despairing and contributed to severe depressions that lasted for many years. What helped? I was able to get my hands on paper and pencil and began to write - not about what had happened to me - but about whatever arose from my melancholy, death-leaning imagination. These early "poems" I was encouraged to share; so I showed them, albeit with head hanging low, to members of my family and to anyone I trusted who came to visit. I am convinced this process of creating and sharing saved my life.

There was no museum in the tiny, segregated, Georgia town closest to where we lived; though I could be wrong. I was fifty before I understood there was, somewhere hidden in the white part of town, a public library. I do remember that the art of Jimmy Lee Brundidge, a young black folk artist, was shown on the walls of the local shoe shop.

The decision by the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland not to show the work of Palestinian children from Gaza makes me sad. But not discouraged. The art will be shown. The walls of a shoe shop will be found. We will all - those of us who care about these children, whose pain our tax dollars assured - go to see it. Furthermore, we will write to the children to let them know we've seen their work and what we think of it. This is the least we can do.

Such banning as this usually backfires. I don't think I was born yet, but I "remember" that, in 1939, Marian Anderson, the great black contralto, was refused venue at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. by the Daughters of the American Revolution because (gasp) the audience would be integrated! Anderson supporters, including president Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, rallied to the cause and Anderson sang to a crowd in the tens of thousands while standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

We will find a Lincoln Memorial. We will eventually, on this issue of freeing the Palestinians, find a Lincoln.

I personally have never trusted museums. And I welcome this opportunity to explain what my classmates at Sarah Lawrence considered a really peculiar mind-set. It is because museums, broadly speaking, live off of the art and artifacts of others, often art and artifacts that have been obtained by dubious means. But they also manipulate whatever it is they present to the public: hence, until Judy Chicago, in the 1970s, busted open the art scene wider than it had ever stretched, few women artists were hung in any major museum. Indian artists? Artifacts only, please. Black artists? Something musical, maybe? And so forth.

Do we really need them? Or should we make more of an attempt to teach our young that art is everywhere around them: that every leaf and pebble is art? Or, that the spirit that infuses so much folk art, spirit not often encountered in "museum quality pieces" of art, is that expression of the soul that joins human creative endeavor with the Divine.

Ah, well.

I was in Gaza a few weeks after the 22 days of non-stop bombing by the Israeli military. I spent an afternoon with several social workers and psychiatrists talking about the damage done to the children who survived. Hundreds of them died. I realize it's hard for grownups to accept that we've had a hand in making a small child armless, legless, eyeless. We want to keep thinking Americans are generous, fun-loving, baseball crazed folks who draw the line, collectively, at child abuse. At child murder.

That image was never true, and it certainly isn't now, if we dare to acknowledge our complicity in the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and, of course, the on-going destruction of Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank.

What will help us, now that we find ourselves standing, with Marian Anderson and countless others, in this unfair place. Again.

Each child who sees the art should be given some background about war. Any war. For it is war that humanity must outgrow, wherever it arises. Most modern children have seen on television more tanks and helicopters and missiles and guns of all kinds than I could have imagined as a child. And, in fact, as a child I never had any war images in my imagination at all, since we had no television and the Civil War had ended over a century before. (I did, unfortunately, because of movies, have images of cowboys and Indians).

I love the Bay Area for the diversity and creativity of its people. We frequently exhibit an energy of inclusivity and sharing that is a delight. We can educate and increase the capacity for compassion among our children with this Art. We can make something magical, even of the present disappointing dilemma. We can encourage ourselves, and our children, never to be afraid to feel. No one dies from compassion, is a mantra they might like.

Empathy is a wave that need never be stopped. If our children can catch this wave, from the ocean of tears shed by Palestinian children, they might have a future in a more stable and saner world.

Alice Walker

September 11, 2011


4) C.I.A. Examining Legality of Work With Police Dept.
September 13, 2011

WASHINGTON - The Central Intelligence Agency has opened an internal inquiry into whether its close cooperation with the New York Police Department in the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks has broken any laws prohibiting the agency from collecting intelligence in the United States.

During his first Congressional testimony as the C.I.A. director, David H. Petraeus said Tuesday that the agency's inspector general had begun to investigate its work with the Police Department "to make sure we are doing the right thing." Mr. Petraeus said the inquiry began last month, but gave few details about its scope.

The C.I.A. is prohibited from gathering intelligence on American soil, but some have criticized its counterterrorism cooperation with law enforcement services as a de facto domestic spying campaign. The head of the Police Department's intelligence unit, David Cohen, is a former C.I.A. official, and the agency has a senior clandestine officer embedded in the New York police force.

James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said during the same Congressional hearing on Tuesday that while there were no C.I.A. officers out on the streets of New York collecting intelligence, he thought it was "not a good optic to have C.I.A. involved in any city-level police department."

Under Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Mr. Cohen has been involved with expanding the Police Department's global reach and trying to penetrate overseas terror networks that might be planning attacks in the city. But he has also overseen a number of controversial department efforts to infiltrate New York's Muslim community and monitor city mosques to gather information about possible terror plots. Last month, The Associated Press reported that department intelligence officers had infiltrated dozens of mosques and had established a so-called Demographics Unit using plainclothes police officers to monitor ethnic groups in the metropolitan region.

The department's chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said he and his colleagues welcomed the agency's inquiry.

Muslim advocacy groups have called the department's operations illegal, and have asked for a Justice Department investigation into the C.I.A.'s cooperation with local police forces.

On Tuesday, Cyrus McGoldrick of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that his group "cautiously" welcomed the agency's decision to examine its relationship with the Police Department, although he said he would have preferred an independent investigation into the matter. He said he hoped "the agency's investigation will be undertaken honestly and transparently."

Marie E. Harf, a spokeswoman for the agency, said that its cooperation with American police forces in the past decade "should not be a surprise to anyone," and that its work with the department in New York "is exactly what the American people deserve and have come to expect following 9/11."

"The agency's operational focus, however, is overseas and none of the support we have provided to N.Y.P.D. can be rightly characterized as 'domestic spying' by the C.I.A.," Ms. Harf said.

Inquiries by the agency's inspector general have sometime taken years to complete, and the results of such investigations are rarely made public. Generally, if the inspector general's office finds evidence that agency operatives broke the law, he will refer the matter to the Justice Department for prosecution.

The current inspector general, David B. Buckley, is a former Air Force officer and staff member on the House Intelligence Committee.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York.


5) Lapses by American Leaders Seen in Syphilis Tests
September 14, 2011

The highest medical and legal officials of the American government and experts at Harvard and other top medical schools approved venereal disease experiments on people in the 1940s, which led to the deliberate infection of Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients with syphilis to test penicillin, a White House bioethics panel reported Tuesday.

The experiments were "gross violations of ethics" not just by today's standards but by those of the time, said the report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. It called the experiments "especially egregious moral wrongs because many of the individuals involved held positions of public institutional responsibility."

President Obama apologized for the experiments to President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala last year, after they were revealed. The ethical errors were made by a startling array of public health luminaries. The surgeon general, the attorney general, Army and Navy medical officials, the president of the American Medical Association, the president of the National Academy of Sciences and experts from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester gave advance approval in principle for experiments that deliberately infected people with venereal diseases, though not all those in authority knew exactly whom the researchers would infect.

World War II fervor and the excitement over penicillin, then a scarce, new drug, contributed to the rush to test this promising medicine against venereal diseases that commonly afflicted soldiers. Until mid-1944, the military relied on ineffective 35-year-old prophylaxis, including rubbing on calomel lotion to prevent syphilis and squirting silver proteinate up the urethra to prevent gonorrhea. The latter was painful, and soldiers often refused it.

As the war began, a panel of military doctors estimated that such diseases would put out of action enough fighting men to fill two armored divisions or 10 aircraft carriers; treating them with arsenic drugs then in use, which took up to 18 months, would cost $34 million, the equivalent of $440 million today.

Human experimentation was first debated by a committee of military, academic and government doctors convened in 1942.

While a few participants dissented, the initial consensus was to test prophylaxis on prisoners since they could be given medical care in a controlled setting and kept away from women who might infect them. Experts also argued that prisoners would want to make patriotic contributions to the war effort, and that many inmates had had gonorrhea before anyway.

The first experiments began in 1943 at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. The chief of the federal prison system ruled that prisoners could be paid $100 and recommended for release when they went before their parole board, but not offered freedom. Prisoners were given consent forms in clear English, with words like "the clap" to explain the diseases to be treated during the study.

It was decided to keep the work secret and not use university researchers. The United States Public Health Service formed its own research team, which was unusual.

Dr. John C. Cutler, a 28-year-old former Coast Guard doctor, was put in charge.

The discovery of his papers in the University of Pittsburgh archives by Susan M. Reverby, a medical historian at Wellesley College, led to the public exposure last year of the Terre Haute and Guatemala experiments. Later in his career, Dr. Cutler would help run the infamous Tuskegee study, in which black Alabama sharecroppers with syphilis were left untreated for decades to study how the disease progressed.

In July 1944, the Terre Haute effort was abandoned as a failure; prophylaxis could not be tested because it was impossible to consistently infect prisoners by putting lab-grown gonorrhea on their penises. In the meantime, Dr. Cutler's superiors had learned that penicillin could cure syphilis in eight days, and the army enthusiastically adopted it as standard treatment in June 1944.

While on a yearlong fellowship on Staten Island with the Public Health Service, Dr. Juan Funes, who had run the main government health clinic for prostitutes in Guatemala City, proposed doing further venereal disease research in Guatemala, according to Dr. Cutler's papers.

Dr. Cutler embraced this idea and signed agreements with the ministries overseeing Guatemala's public health service, army and prisons. In return, the country was to get a new laboratory, training for its doctors and access to penicillin, especially for the army. During the experiments, some soldiers, prisoners and guards who had not been infected by researchers were treated. The experimenters also cultivated official favor in Guatemala by importing an unspecified medication for the dying wife of the army's chief medical officer.


6) This Week, Another Racist Execution Is Set to Take Place in TX Under Rick Perry
By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at September 14, 2011, 10:47 am

It's possible that there will soon be an addition to the growing list of questionable executions that have taken place in Texas on Rick Perry's watch:

Pardons Board Denies Clemency in Racially Tinged Case

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles today voted against recommending clemency for Duane Edward Buck, rejecting the pleas of his lawyers, a victim he shot and a prosecutor who was on the team that sentenced him to death.

During Buck's 1997 capital murder trial in Houston, Dr. Walter Quijano told jurors that the fact he was black meant Buck was more likely to be violent in the future.

The same psychologist gave similar testimony in six other death row cases. In each, the defendants were given new trials to determine their sentences after then-Attorney General John Cornyn admitted the state erred by allowing the testimony about race.

Buck, though, has not received a retrial and is scheduled to die Thursday for the 1995 shooting deaths of Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler.

Now, Buck's attorney is urging Gov. Perry to take action:

Buck's attorney, Kate Black, said she was disappointed with the board's decision, and she urged Perry and Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos to take action. Perry cannot grant clemency without a recommendation from the parole board. He only has authority to issue a one-time, 30-day reprieve. Lykos could withdraw the execution date for Buck.

"We urge Gov. Perry to grant a temporary reprieve to allow all parties involved to work together to ensure that Mr. Buck receives a new and fair sentencing hearing untainted by race-based testimony," Black said.

Just last week, audience members at a GOP debate burst into applause at the mention of the record 234 executions that have taken place in Texas during Perry's governorship. Perry says he was "taken aback" by the audience's response. However, it's clear that in at least several cases he's allowed prisoners to be put to death when their guilt was in question.

For more information on the Buck case, I suggest this recent article in The Atlantic:


7) Eleven Reasons Why the Unemployment Crisis Is Even Worse Than You Think
By Michael Thornton, AlterNet
Posted on September 14, 2011, Printed on September 15, 2011

President Obama recently addressed the nation during a joint session of Congress and the main theme of that address was the need to create jobs, lots of jobs, millions of jobs. The Great Recession has cost US workers millions of jobs and those jobs have not come back as quickly as they disappeared and in many cases those jobs will never return. According to the Economic Policy Institute, "In total, there are 6.9 million fewer jobs today than there were in December 2007."

That is only a small part of the jobs-hole story, a story that is often ignored, overlooked and oversimplified by mass media.

The media has failed to present the unemployment problem, with all its associated economically devastating consequences, in the manner it deserves. It's possible that unemployment facts and figures don't translate well for advertisers, or they are too cumbersome to present in a two-minute segment. Whatever the reason, the mass media seem to avoid unemployment details as they would avoid describing and filming fresh road kill during a dinnertime newscast. While some excellent blogs clearly explain unemployment data, such as Mish's Economic Trend Analysis, Calculated Risk and Economic Populist, mass media sites are absent.

The unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent for August. Unemployment to the mass media generally centers on that single point within the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly employment report. There is passing mention of discouraged workers and the underemployed, but the true scale of the jobs crisis is given scant attention considering the magnitude of the problem.

What follows are 11 unemployment details that mass media underreports or ignores completely. This list will not be recalled fondly as a top-10 list of best quarterbacks or favorite vacation retreats would, but it's where the REAL unemployment crisis is exposed.

1. The jobs deficit: That is the total number of jobs lost PLUS jobs that should have been created since the recession began in December 2007; as mentioned above, there are 6.9 million fewer jobs today than at the start of the Great Recession, but that tells only half the tale of the jobs deficit. There is also the matter of creating jobs to keep up with the increase in workforce population. Those new workers include high school and college graduates, and immigrants. The number of jobs that need to be created each month to accommodate new entrants into the workforce ranges from 120,000 - 150,000. Adding together the jobs lost since the recession and the new jobs needed for population growth, the total jobs deficit is estimated to be 11.3 million. A few tax breaks, some targeted workforce retraining and some regulatory relief for businesses are not going to be the forces behind the creation of more than 11 million jobs. A massive effort is required to fill that gaping jobs hole.

2. Filling the jobs deficit: According to EPI: "To fill that gap in three years - by mid-2014-while still keeping up with the growth in the working-age population-would require adding around 400,000 jobs every single month. To fill the gap in five years-by mid-2016-would mean adding 280,000 jobs each month. By comparison, over the last three months, the economy added just 35,000 jobs, on average."

It's striking that the economy has created only 105,000 jobs during the past three months. When considering only the new entrants to the workforce, such as recent college graduates, that three-month span produced a shortage of 270,000 or more jobs.

3. The Birth/Death Model: This is not births and deaths of people, but of businesses. The BLS estimates how many jobs were created or lost by business formations or closings. In August, the BLS estimated that 87,000 jobs were created by new businesses.

This is an often discussed employment barometer at many economy centered blogs, but mass media pays it meager attention. Why is that so? It's a complicated model that can make the head spin of even the most astute employment expert. But there appears to be agreement that the model has a tendency to misread the economic cycle, as Calculated Risk points out, "A few years ago several people -- myself included -- pointed out that the birth/death model would miss turning points in employment. I thought the model would overstate the number of jobs added as the economy slid into recession (and understate the number of jobs lost monthly during a recession). Sure enough that is what the annual benchmark revision showed during the employment recession."

To illustrate just how wide this model can be off the jobs mark, Bloomberg shows that 824,000 jobs "disappeared" after a birth/death model adjustment in February 2010. That adjustment is important because if it was known that job creation was weaker by 824,000 jobs during 2009, additional job creation efforts could have been considered. At present job creation is stagnant and we won't know what role the birth/death model has on today's job numbers until 2012. But if history is any guide, job creation may again be overstated.

4. JOLTS (Job Openings Labor Turnover Survey): This monthly BLS report gives an indication of the number of available jobs. On the occasion that it is mentioned by the media, it offers only a sliver of the issue, such as the number of unemployed per job opening, which stands currently at 4.3.

From the BLS, "The number of job openings in July was 3.2 million, little changed from June. Although the number of job openings remained below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007, the level in July was 1.1 million openings higher than in July 2009 (the most recent trough). "

What is missing from that JOLTS report? Plenty. First, the 4.3 unemployed per job opening is limited to the 14 million U3 unemployed (the 9.1 percent). But those aren't the only unemployed wanting a full-time job. There are the 2.6 million marginally attached workers, 8.8 million underemployed (those who want full-time work, but are working part-time). I'm not going to include the 3.9 million non-unemployed unemployed (explained later). When those 11.4 million workers are included with the 14 million U3 unemployed, there are 25.4 million workers and 3.2 million jobs, or 8 unemployed or underemployed workers per job opening.

The second issue with JOLTS is that it doesn't distinguish whether the available jobs are full-time or part-time. According to a BLS representative "Part-time jobs are included in our job openings counts; however, we do not distinguish between full and part-time positions. We only ask if the position exists, not which type of position it is."

It's important to know how many job openings are part-time, since part-time jobs usually pay less and offer fewer, if any, benefits. Extrapolating from the BLS "Employed persons by class of worker and part-time status" data, there are 139,627,000 employed workers, of which 27,034,000 are part-timers. More than 19 percent of all workers work part-time. If nearly 20 percent of all available job openings are part-time, there are only 2.56 million full-time jobs for 25.4 million unemployed and underemployed who want full-time work, or 10 workers for each available full-time position; more than double the 4.3 workers per job opening touted by most media outlets.

5. The participation rate: Is, according to the BLS, "The labor force as a percent of the civilian noninstitutional population." Or, more simply, the percentage of the working-age population that is working or is actively looking for a job. The participation rate rose 0.1 percent in August to 64 percent, which is slightly above the 27-year low recorded in July of 63.9 percent.

If more jobs were available would there be more participation? More than likely that would be the case. The mass media very seldom mentions this point, but the participation rate shows the potential number of people waiting on the sidelines for the job market to improve before they jump back in.

A couple of striking graphs of the historical participation rate can be seen at ZeroHedge and BLS.

6. Marginally attached workers: From the BLS, "These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey." I know, it's not an easily digested description, but it's a population of unemployed that want to work, but for various reasons have not looked for work recently. Currently 2.6 million workers are considered marginally attached. If they are included in the unemployment rate, that rate increases from 9.1 percent to 10.6 percent.

7. The underemployed: Who are the underemployed? "The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers). These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job," states the BLS.

The August employment report indicated that underemployment increased from July by 400,000 to 8.8 million. Part-time jobs range in hours from one to 34, any job of more than 34 hours is considered full-time work. That might not be the case in the real world where a full-time job is considered 40 hours, but that is the case according to the BLS.

While some believe that part-time jobs eventually translate into full-time jobs, that hasn't been the case during this recession, as the linked graph from Calculated Risk illustrates. From 2000 to 2008, the number of underemployed ranged between 3 and 4 million. There are currently 4 million more unemployed than at the start of the recession. Businesses would need to see a dramatic uptick in business to place 4 million more part-timers into full-time slots.

The "real" unemployment rate increases to 16.2 percent when the underemployed and marginally attached workers are considered.

8. The not-unemployed unemployed: Yes, there is a point at which the BLS stops considering an unemployed person unemployed. That point is reached when an unemployed person has not look for a job in the previous 12 months. When asked, the BLS replied, "The 3.9 million individuals not in the labor force that you are referring to responded that they wanted a job, but had not looked for a job in the last 12 months. They are not considered unemployed because they had not actively searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey." I recall no mention of these 3.9 million from any mass media outlet.

This 3.9 million are the most discouraged of discouraged workers, but if the jobs market was improving, these millions would start to become part of the unemployed once more. If these 3.9 million were added to the "real" unemployment rate (U6) the rate would increase from 16.2 percent to 19 percent. Nearly one in five American workers is either unemployed or underemployed. Why isn't that disturbing fact in the media spotlight every day?

9. The long-term unemployed: These 6.0 million are the jobless who have been looking for work for 6 months or more (this does not include the not-unemployed unemployed). Long-term unemployment receives occasional mass media recognition, but it scratches only the surface. There are subsets of the long-term unemployed that show the depth of the problem more clearly. The 6.0 million long-term unemployed represent 43.1 percent of all unemployed. Of that 6 million, 4.458 million have been jobless for 52 or more weeks and within that group 2.040 million, a record high, have been unemployed for 99 weeks or more (not to be confused with the "99ers" explained below). Even more startling than those numbers is the lack of response by lawmakers.

10. 99ers: These long-term unemployed have exhausted all unemployment benefits (not all unemployed collect unemployment benefits). The name "99ers" comes from the fact that some collected benefits for up to 99 weeks. It's a misnomer in the sense that only about 25 states are eligible for the 99 week maximum; many unemployed exhausted benefits in as little as 60 weeks.

Official statistics are not kept for this unemployed population. When Mish Shedlock of Global Economics Trend Analysis was asked about the 99ers population, he contacted Tim Wallace. Wallace has been digging into long-term unemployment data to try and weed out the number of unemployed who have exhausted all unemployment benefits. His most recent efforts show that, "we can safely assume that 3,058,152 people have exhausted all benefits -- they are no longer covered on either sets of (unemployment) rolls." But it doesn't end there, using some additional Department of Labor data Wallace pries out another 2.0 million 99ers, for a combined 5.1 million.

Other 99ers estimates range from 1.5 to 5.0 million, but as the linked graph at Here come the '99ers at Calculated Risk illustrates; the number of unemployed that are exhausting unemployment benefits is rapidly increasing.

While there may be disagreement about the total population of 99ers, Wallace concludes, "There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this to not be a readily accessible piece of data daily. After all, Walmart can tell you how many strawberry Pop Tarts they sold yesterday." There is also no excuse for the mass media ignoring this vast unemployed population and not taking agencies to task for not reporting accurate 99ers data.

Millions of additional unemployed will become 99ers immediately unless extended unemployment benefits are renewed in December. A worker laid off today will be eligible for only 26 weeks of state benefits unless an extension is approved by a much divided Congress.

How can an economy function when so many are out of work and have exhausted unemployment benefits?
(To view Wallace's report, go to, How Many Unemployed Have Exhausted All Benefits?)

11. How many unemployed collect unemployment benefits? It may seem reasonable to assume that all 14 million unemployed collect unemployment insurance benefits, but that is not the case. In September 7.17 million unemployed collected benefits, which is only 51 percent of all unemployed (U3, the 9.1 percent).

Surprisingly, on average just one third of all unemployed are eligible for unemployment benefits at the state level (2011 data). As an example, temporary staff, self-employed and recent high school and college graduates may be out of work, but not eligible for benefits. Eligibility rates range from 57 percent in AK and PA to TX at 21 percent. Each state can set its own guidelines regarding eligibility requirements. When someone tells you they are unemployed, it's more than likely they are not collecting unemployment benefits.

Many pundits and some GOP lawmakers excoriate all unemployed for being lazy and enjoying life on the dole. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)recently said, "People are gaming the system and refusing to take jobs because they get unemployment benefits and food stamps." That naïve and cruel assessment disparages all unemployed, but it's particularly insulting to the majority of unemployed who aren't eligible to collect or have exhausted unemployment benefits. If Sen. DeMint and his ilk want to see where the system is being gamed, he may want to look at Wall Street instead of Main Street.

What message can be taken from this list of realistic and discomforting unemployment figures? The bottom line is that unemployment is much worse than the 9.1 percent unemployment figure pushed by the media and many lawmakers; in fact it's considerably worse.

Mass media's inability to communicate the depth of the jobs crisis is one reason the response to it has been primarily weak and ineffectual. If the media mutes the crisis, lawmakers and corporations will continue to act slowly and impotently, forcing millions of American families to suffer needlessly.

Unemployment and jobs creation are national emergencies demanding focused attention with a wide-ranging and rapid response. This American jobs disaster will not vanish if neglected, but what will vanish are the hopes, dreams and financial well-being of millions of hard-working Americans.

Michael Thornton has been writing for the past two years about unemployment and workplace issues. He is the content author of the Rochester Unemployment Examiner, Layoff List, and, and is a contributing writer for AlterNet and the Huffington Post.


8) Poor Are Still Getting Poorer, but Downturn's Punch Varies, Census Data Show
"More than 45 million people get food stamps, an increase of 64 percent since January 2008. About one in eight Americans, and one in four children, receives aid."
September 15, 2011

WASHINGTON - The discouraging numbers spilling from the Census Bureau's poverty report this week were a disquieting reminder that a weak economy continues to spread broad and deep pain.

And so it does. But not evenly.

The Midwest is battered, but the Northeast escaped with a lighter knock. The incomes of young adults have plunged - but those of older Americans have actually risen. On the whole, immigrants have weathered the storm a bit better than people born here. In rural areas, poverty remained unchanged last year, while in suburbs it reached the highest level since 1967, when the Census Bureau first tracked it.

Yet one old problem has not changed: the poor have rapidly gotten poorer.

The report, an annual gauge of prosperity and pain, is sure to be cited in coming months as lawmakers make difficult decisions about how to balance the competing goals of cutting deficits and preserving safety nets.

Its overall findings - income down, poverty up - are hardly surprising in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Of equal interest, with fiscal knives in the air, are the looks at who has suffered the most and who has largely escaped.

"Certainly in a recession we want to put resources where they're most needed," said Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute, who served as a Treasury official under Democratic and Republican presidents. "And in a recession, needs change dramatically from group to group."

Perhaps no households have weathered the downturn better than those headed by people 65 and older, whose incomes rose 5.5 percent from 2007 to 2010. By contrast, household income for every other age group fell. Among people ages 15 to 24, it plunged 15.3 percent.

Partly that is because older Americans get more of their income from pensions and investments, so a job shortage hurts them less. Also, the generation now retiring has been the most prosperous in history, so as poorer Americans die off, the income of the age group grows.

Such data is likely to feed longstanding debates about generational equity, since the largest portion of safety net spending goes to those 65 and older, through Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

"We are spending too much of our limited resources on the elderly, and not investing enough in programs for younger Americans, such as job training and education," said Isabel V. Sawhill, a budget expert at the Brookings Institution.

Another noteworthy finding comes from the suburbs, which have traditionally had the lowest rates of poverty. Suburban dwellers experienced a sharp increase toward the end of the past decade. Nearly 12 percent of them were living in poverty in 2010, the highest level ever recorded, up from just 8 percent in 2001. (The rate in cities was 19 percent, but rose less sharply.)

"There's been a suburbanization of poverty," said Alan Berube, a Brookings demographer, who cited the growth of service, retail and construction jobs that lured low-income Americans to the suburbs before the recession. "The notion of poverty being only in inner cities and isolated rural areas is increasingly out of step with reality."

Household income fell in every region of the country from 2007 to 2010. But it fell much less in the Northeast (3.1 percent) than in the South (6.3 percent), the West (6.7 percent) or the Midwest (8.4 percent). And the Northeast was the only region where household income did not fall last year.

The declines in the West have been fueled in part by the collapse of the housing industry, especially in Arizona and Nevada. And the Midwest has suffered idled factories. Its status as the hardest-hit region is likely to come into play next year as presidential candidates hunt such big Electoral College prizes as Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.

"The big hurt has been in the manufacturing and construction industries, which were big in the Midwest and West," said Timothy Smeeding, an economist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The census findings present two competing stories of immigrants - a reminder of just how economically diverse that group has become. From 2007 to 2010, they have fared both better and worse than the native born.

Among people born in the United States, household incomes declined 6.1 percent. Among non-citizens, the decline was steeper - 8 percent. But for immigrants who had attained citizenship, the decline was only 3.9 percent.

That latter group may disproportionately include the highly educated professionals who increasingly fill the new Americans' ranks. A recent study by Audrey Singer, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, found that the number of immigrants with college degrees now exceeds those who lack a high school education.

"The high-skilled people are starting to dominate," she said

Two worrisome numbers in the report raise questions about the recent response of the safety net. Poverty has risen especially fast among single mothers. More than 40 percent of households headed by women now live in poverty, which is defined as $17,568 for a family of three.

That is the first time since 1997 that figure has been so high. Analysts attribute the rise in part to changes in the welfare system, enacted in the mid-1990s, which make cash aid much harder to get. Those changes were credited with encouraging recipients to work in good times, but may leave them with less protection when jobs disappear.

"The business cycle is going to hurt them a lot more than it used to," said Robert Moffitt, a Johns Hopkins University economist.

Poor people not only grew more numerous - 46.2 million - but also poorer. Among the poor, the share in deep poverty (defined as having less than half the income to escape poverty) rose to the highest level in 36 years: 44.3 percent.

The census data may overstate hardship by failing to count some benefits the needy receive, like tax credits and food stamps. But it also may also understate their needs by failing to adjust for health care expenses and variations in the cost of living.

About 20.5 million people are in deep poverty, with food stamps increasingly replacing cash aid as the safety net of last resort. More than 45 million people get food stamps, an increase of 64 percent since January 2008. About one in eight Americans, and one in four children, receives aid. Using an alternative definition of income, the Census Bureau found that food stamps lifted 3.9 million people above the poverty line.

"Given that poverty and hardship are likely to continue for some time, it's imperative that we protect the program," said Stacy Dean, an analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which aids in food stamp outreach campaigns.


9) Three Terrorist Groups in Africa Pose Threat to U.S., American Commander Says
"Wary of committing a large number of troops, the United States has sought to use more diplomatic and development tools than military force in Africa. For example, small numbers of American Green Berets are training African armies to guard their borders and patrol vast, desolate expanses against infiltration by Al Qaeda's militants, so the United States does not have to."
September 14, 2011

WASHINGTON - The senior American military commander for Africa warned Wednesday that three violent extremist organizations on the continent were trying to forge an alliance to coordinate attacks on the United States and Western interests.

The commander, Gen. Carter F. Ham, the top officer at Africa Command, said terrorist organizations in East Africa, in the deserts of northern Africa and in Nigeria "have very explicitly and publicly voiced an intent to target Westerners, and the U.S. specifically."

General Ham made clear that the three militant organizations - the Shabab in Somalia, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb across the Sahel region of northern Africa and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria - had not yet shown the capability to mount significant attacks outside their homelands, though the Shabab bombed and killed dozens of people in Uganda during the World Cup last year.

"I have questions about their capability to do so," General Ham told a group of correspondents, adding that he was worried about "the voiced intent of the three organizations to more closely collaborate and synchronize their efforts."

"Each of those three independently presents a significant threat not only in the nations in which they primarily operate, but regionally - and I think they present a threat to the United States," General Ham said.

Defense Department officials confirmed later on Wednesday that a large car bomb detonated in August by Boko Haram militants bore signature elements of the improvised explosives used by the Qaeda offshoot in the Sahel; those forensics are leading analysts to suggest that the group had shared its tactics and techniques with the Nigerian terrorist organization.

Defense Department officials noted that the three African terrorist groups had traditionally hit local government targets, and that they differed in ideology. But one Defense Department official said they were believed to be working toward "an alliance of convenience."

Government experts consider the ascendancy of regional affiliates of Al Qaeda as especially worrisome. Al Qaeda's traditional leadership in Pakistan is deemed less capable of planning and carrying out significant attacks, especially since the death of Osama bin Laden in May. But Pentagon and intelligence officials hold that regional affiliates - in particular the Qaeda branch in Yemen - pose increasing threats to American interests today.

Wary of committing a large number of troops, the United States has sought to use more diplomatic and development tools than military force in Africa. For example, small numbers of American Green Berets are training African armies to guard their borders and patrol vast, desolate expanses against infiltration by Al Qaeda's militants, so the United States does not have to.

In the Sahel part of northern Africa, the Pentagon is playing a supporting role to United States embassies, acting quickly before terrorism becomes as entrenched there as it is in Somalia, an East African nation where there is a heightened militant threat.

Unlike Somalia, countries like Mali and Mauritania are willing and able to have dozens of American and European military trainers conduct exercises there, and the nations' leaders are clearly worried about militants who have taken refuge in their vast Saharan north.

Citing the current mission to train and equip forces in Mali to counter extremists operating there, General Ham said, "We think we are contributing in a meaningful way to increasing Mali's capability."

The fight against the Shabab, a group that United States officials fear could someday carry out strikes against the West, has mostly been outsourced to African soldiers and private companies out of reluctance to send American troops back into Somalia, a country they hastily exited nearly two decades ago. After years of turmoil, there are indicators that the strategy may be gaining some traction.

In early August, the Shabab abruptly pulled out of Mogadishu, the bullet-ridden capital, leaving it in the hands of the government for the first time in years.

In a separate interview later on Wednesday, General Ham said that a 9,000-soldier African Union peacekeeping force had steadily improved its urban fighting operations in recent years. Fazul Abdullah Mohamed, an important Shabab commander and a wanted Qaeda agent, was killed in June in a shootout at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, dealing the group what General Ham said was a serious setback. "It's far too early to say Shabab is on the run, but they're certainly unsettled," he said.

General Ham also told reporters that the pending withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and the reductions in American forces in Afghanistan might make larger numbers of Special Operations forces available to Africa Command. These could be deployed as trainers to nations on the continent.

"What we seek to enable are African solutions to African security challenges," he said.

General Ham also expressed concerns that the current upheaval in Libya might allow extremist groups to make inroads there, and he warned that missiles, explosives and even poisonous chemicals held by the Qaddafi government might fall into terrorists' hands.

"The presence of extremist organizations in Libya, and expanding their influence, is a concern not only of the U.S. but certainly of the regional states, as well," he said.

Three types of Libyan government weapons appeared to be on the loose amid the upheaval: shoulder-launched antiaircraft missiles, military ordnance that could be converted into improvised roadside bombs and the precursor components of chemical weapons.

Libya was subject to a program to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpiles, General Ham said, but that program was not completed before fighting broke out this year.

"Some of those materials remain," he said. "It is not weaponized - it is not easily weaponized."

But the United States, NATO and nations in the region want to assure the complete destruction of those materials, he said.


10) Slain Man's Kin Ask No Death Penalty in Miss. Case
"'We also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites. Executing James' killers will not help balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment,' the letter says."
September 14, 2011

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The sister of a black Mississippi man killed in what authorities have labeled a hate crime is asking prosecutors not to pursue the death penalty against anyone accused.

Authorities say James Craig Anderson, 49, was targeted because of his race and run over by a white teenager in a pickup truck on June 26. His death, captured on a hotel surveillance video, stoked anger across the country when the footage was made public.

Anderson's sister, Barbara Anderson Young, wrote to Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith saying her family doesn't want anyone to face the death penalty. She cited the family's Christian beliefs and opposition to capital punishment.

"Those responsible for James' death not only ended the life of a talented and wonderful man," says her letter, dated Tuesday. "They also have caused our family unspeakable pain and grief. But our loss will not be lessened by the state taking the life of another."

Smith told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the family's wishes are "a very strong consideration that will weigh heavily in our decision."

Young is involved in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from her brother's slaying. A message left Wednesday with her lawyer wasn't immediately returned. The lawyer, Winston Thompson, has said the family doesn't want to talk to reporters.

Young wrote in the letter that it speaks for her, her mother and two brothers.

"We also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites. Executing James' killers will not help balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment," the letter says.

Deryl Dedmon, 19, was arrested on a charge of capital murder, which is punishable by death or life without parole. He has not been indicted and it will be up to a grand jury to decide on the formal charges. Capital murder in Mississippi is defined as a murder that happens during the commission of another felony. The underlying offense in this case is the alleged robbery of Anderson.

Police say that Dedmon and a group of teens had been partying late that night in suburban Rankin County when he asked a group of them to go out looking for a black man to "mess with." Seven people allegedly loaded up in two cars and headed to Jackson.

Investigators say Dedmon and John Aaron Rice attacked Anderson before Dedmon climbed into a green Ford F-250 with two teenage girls and ran Anderson down.

Rice is charged with assault. Police say he left the scene just seconds before Dedmon was run over.

The young men's lawyers say their clients were not involved in a racially motivated attack. Dedmon's attorney has said it was an accident. Rice's lawyer, Samuel Martin, has said Rice was actually trying to help Anderson, who had locked his keys in his car, before Dedmon arrived.

Martin has also suggested during court hearings that the teens were on a beer run that morning, not looking for anyone to harass or assault.

The surveillance video, obtained by The Associated Press and other media, shows a white Jeep Cherokee in which Rice was allegedly a passenger leaving a hotel parking lot at 5:05 a.m. Less than 20 seconds later, a Ford truck backs up and then lunges forward. Anderson's shirt is illuminated in the headlights before he disappears under the vehicle next to the curb.

The FBI also is investigating the case.


11) Fukushima Crisis Is Still Hazy
Chaos and bureaucracy hamper assessment of nuclear crisis
By David Cyranoski , Geoff Brumfiel and Nature magazine
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | 22

Tatsuhiko Kodama began his 27 July testimony to Japan's parliament with what he knew. In a firm, clear voice, he said that the Radioisotope Center of the University of Tokyo, which he heads, had detected elevated radiation levels in the days following the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. But when it came to what wasn't known, he became angry. "There is no definite report from the Tokyo Electric Power Company or the government as to exactly how much radioactive material has been released from Fukushima!" he shouted.

Kodama's impassioned speech was posted on YouTube in late July and has received nearly 600,000 views, transforming him into one of Japan's most visible critics of the government. But he is not alone. Almost six months after an earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns, other researchers say that crucial data for understanding the crisis are still missing, and funding snags and bureaucracy are hampering efforts to collect more. Some researchers warn that, without better coordination, clean-up efforts will be delayed, and the opportunity to measure the effects of the worst nuclear accident in decades could be lost. Kodama and a handful of Japanese scientists have become so frustrated that they are beginning grassroots campaigns to collect information and speed the clean-up.

Since the crisis began, the Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Japanese government have churned out reams of radiation measurements, but only recently has a full picture of Fukushima's fallout begun to emerge. On 30 August, the science ministry released a map showing contamination over a 100-kilometer radius around the plant. The survey of 2,200 locations shows a roughly 35-kilometer-long strip northwest of the plant where levels of caesium-137 contamination seem to exceed 1,000 kilobecquerels per square metre. (After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, areas with more than 1,480 kilobecquerels per square metre were permanently evacuated by the Soviet authorities. In Japan, the high-radiation strip extends beyond the original forced evacuation zone, but falls within a larger 'planned evacuation zone' that has not yet been completely cleared.)

Exposure estimates
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has also published new estimates of the total radiation released in the accident, based on models that combine measurements with what is known about the damage to the reactors. The latest figures, reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency in June, suggest that the total airborne release of caesium-137 amounts to 17% of the release from Chernobyl (see map). The government estimates that the total radiation released is 7.7 _ 1017 becquerels, 5-6% of the total from Chernobyl.

Yet "there are still more questions than definite answers", says Gerald Kirchner, a physicist at Germany's Federal Office for Radiation Protection in Berlin. High radiation levels make it impossible to directly measure damage to the melted reactor cores. Perhaps the greatest uncertainty is exactly how much radiation was released in the first ten days after the accident, when power outages hampered measurements. Those data, combined with meteorological information, would allow scientists to model the plume and make better predictions about human exposure, Kirchner says.

Several measurements suggest that some evacuees received an unusually high dose. Five days after the crisis began, Shinji Tokonami, a radiation health expert at Hirosaki University, and his colleagues drove several hundred kilometres from Hirosaki to Fukushima City, taking radiation measurements along the way. The results indicate that evacuees from Namie, a town some 9 kilometres north of the plant, received at least 68 millisieverts of radiation as they fled, more than three times the government's annual limit (

The dose is still safe, says Tokonami. Gerry Thomas_, a radiation health expert at Imperial College London, adds that radiation exposures from Fukushima were far lower than those from Chernobyl. "Personally, I do not think that we will see any effects on health from the radiation, but do expect to see effects on the psychological well-being of the population," she says.

But Kodama says that residents of Namie and other towns inside the evacuation zone could have been better protected if the government had released its early models of the plume. Officials say they withheld the projections because the data on which they were based were sparse.

Many questions also remain about the radiation now in the environment. The terrain around Fukushima is hilly, and rainwater has washed the fallout into hotspots, says Timothy Mousseau, an ecologist at the University of South Carolina in Columbia who recently travelled to the Fukushima region to conduct environmental surveys. The plant, located on the Pacific coast, continues to spew radionuclides into the water, adds Ken Buesseler, an oceanographer from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. During a cruise in mid-July, his team picked up low-level radiation more than 600 kilometres away. Ocean currents can concentrate the fallout into hotspots something like those on land, making the effect on marine life difficult to gauge.

Gathering more data is a struggle, say researchers. Tokonami says that overstretched local officials are reluctant to let his team into the region for fear that it will increase their workload. Buesseler and Mousseau add that Japan's famed bureaucracy has made it difficult for outside researchers to carry out studies. Funding has also been a problem. To complete his cruise, Buesseler turned to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for a $3.5-million grant. Mousseau got a biotech company to sponsor his trip and has since found funding through the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust.

Some Japanese scientists have grown so frustrated with the slow official response that they have teamed up with citizens to collect data and begin clean-up. Because radiation levels can vary widely over small distances, the latest government maps are too coarse for practical use by local people, says Shin Aida, a computer scientist at Toyohashi University of Technology. Aida is proposing a more detailed map-making effort through 'participatory sensing'. Using the peer-to-peer support website 311Help (, Aida plans to have people gather samples from their homes or farms and send them to a radiation measuring centre, where the results would be plotted on a map.

Kodama, meanwhile, is advising residents in Minamisoma, a coastal city that straddles the mandatory evacuation zone. Minamisoma has set aside ¥960 million ($12.5 million) for dealing with the nuclear fallout, and on 1 September it opened an office to coordinate the effort. "We needed to find out what's the most efficient and effective way to lower the risk," says one of the leading officials, Yoshiaki Yokota, a member of the local school board. The first job is to collect and bury soil at schools. Residents have learned to first roll the soil in a vinyl sheet lined with zeolite that will bind caesium and prevent it from seeping into the groundwater.

Farther northwest, in the city of Date, decontamination efforts are moving from schools to nearby peach farms. On 31 August, some 15 specialists started removing the top centimetre of soil at the farms with a scoop or with suction machines, trying not to damage the peach trees' roots. They hope to lower the radiation enough to produce marketable fruit next year.

After a sluggish start, the central government is launching two pilot clean-up projects for the region. One will focus on areas like Minamisoma, where radiation is less than 20 millisieverts per year on average but includes some hotspots. The other will look at 12 sites of radiation of more than 20 millisieverts per year.

Researchers are hopeful that the chaos immediately after the crisis will soon give way to a sharper picture of the fallout and its toll. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), which conducted many studies after the Chernobyl disaster, is working with Japanese officials to collate the stacks of data collected since the crisis began. UNSCEAR is also studying the environmental effects of the accident and the exposure of workers and evacuees, and aims to have an interim report ready by next summer.

Clean-up is the top priority, but Fukushima also offers a unique research opportunity, says Mousseau, who has worked extensively at Chernobyl. Because of Soviet secrecy, researchers missed a crucial window of opportunity in studying the Ukrainian crisis. "Japan offers us an opportunity to dig in right off the bat and really develop a profound understanding," he says.

This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on September 7, 2011.


12) Texas Execution Halted Amid Supreme Court Review
September 16, 2011

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A black man convicted of a double murder in Texas 16 years ago was at least temporarily spared from lethal injection when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review his lawyers' claims that race played an improper role in his sentencing.

The court on Thursday halted the execution for Duane Buck, 48, two hours into a six-hour window when he could have been taken to the death chamber. Texas officials, however, did not move forward with the punishment while legal issues were pending.

Buck was sentenced to death for the fatal shootings of his ex-girlfriend and a man in her apartment in July 1995. His attorneys had asked both the Supreme Court and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to halt the execution because of a psychologist's testimony that black people were more likely to commit violence. Buck's guilt is not being questioned, but his lawyers contend the testimony unfairly influenced the jury and Buck should receive a new sentencing hearing.

The nation's highest court, without extensive comment, said it would review an appeal related to that testimony. The decision meant Perry did not have to act on a request from Buck's lawyers that the governor use his authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve.

Buck's case is one of six that then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn - a political ally of Perry who is now a Republican U.S. senator - reviewed in 2000 and said needed to be reopened because of racially charged statements made during the sentencing phase. In the other five cases, new punishment hearings were held and each convict again was sentenced to die.

State attorneys contend Buck's case was different from the others and that the racial reference was a small part of larger testimony about prison populations. Jurors in Texas must decide on the future danger of an offender when they are considering a death sentence.

Perry is a capital punishment supporter and as frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination his actions now are coming under closer scrutiny. During his 11 years in office, 235 convicted killers in Texas have been put to death. His office said he has chosen to halt just four executions, including one for a woman who later was executed.

Buck's lawyers called to tell Buck of the reprieve and the inmate was praying in his cell when Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark approached.

"Praise the Lord!" Buck told Clark. "God is worthy to be praised. God's mercy triumphs over judgment.

"I feel good."

In its one-paragraph decision, the court said it stopped the punishment so it could further look at Buck's request, known as a Writ of Certiorari. If the court decided against the writ, the justices said the reprieve would be lifted, meaning Buck could receive a new execution date.

"No one should be put to death based on the color of his or her skin. We are confident that the court will agree that our client is entitled to a fair sentencing hearing that is untainted by considerations of his race," Kate Black, one of Buck's attorneys, said.

Buck was convicted of gunning down ex-girlfriend Debra Gardner, 32, and Kenneth Butler, 33, outside Houston on July, 30, 1995, a week after Buck and Gardner broke up. A third person, Buck's stepsister, Phyllis Taylor, also was wounded, though she has since forgiven Buck and sought for his death sentence to be commuted to life in prison.

Buck's attorneys went to the Supreme Court after losing appeals in lower courts. A clemency request to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, all of whom are Perry appointees, also failed.

Assistant Attorney General Edward Marshall had told the high court that Buck's appeals were attempts to relitigate claims that every court, including the Supreme Court, already rejected.

Perry was not in the state Thursday, meaning any final order to delay would have come from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. However, Perry's office frequently points out that he remains the governor and in contact with Austin while traveling.

Two more Texas prisoners are set to die next week.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 16, 2011

An earlier version of this story misspelled Writ of Certiorari.


13) Racial Bias Seen in Study of Lead Dust and Children
September 15, 2011

A class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday against a prominent Baltimore medical institute, accusing it of knowingly exposing black children as young as a year old to lead poisoning in the 1990s as part of a study exploring the hazards of lead paint.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that more than 100 children were endangered by high levels of lead dust in their homes despite assurances from the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the houses were "lead safe."

The institute, a research and patient care facility for children that is affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, periodically tested the children's blood to determine lead levels.

But, the lawsuit said, Kennedy Krieger provided no medical treatment to the children, who ranged in age from 12 months to 5 years old. Lead exposure was a significant cause of permanent neurological injuries in some of the children, according to the suit. Johns Hopkins, which approved the study, is not a defendant in the lawsuit.

"Children were enticed into living in lead-tainted housing and subjected to a research program which intentionally exposed them to lead poisoning in order for the extent of the contamination of these children's blood to be used by scientific researchers to assess the success of lead paint or lead dust abatement measures," said the suit, filed in state court in Baltimore. "Nothing about the research was designed to treat the subject children for lead poisoning."

Dr. Gary W. Goldstein, president and chief executive of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, said in a statement on Thursday that the "research was conducted in the best interest of all of the children enrolled."

"Baltimore city had the highest lead poisoning rates in the country, and more children were admitted to our hospital for lead poisoning than for any other condition," he said. "With no state or federal laws to regulate housing and protect the children of Baltimore, a practical way to clean up lead needed to be found so that homes, communities, and children could be safeguarded."

"Over all, the blood lead levels of most children residing in the study homes stayed constant or went down," the statement read, "even though in a few cases, they rose."

The lead paint study, which started in 1993 and continued for six years, was designed to determine how well various levels of lead abatement would reduce lead in the blood of young children. The buildings where the study was carried out were generally in poor neighborhoods of Baltimore. Litigation surrounding the research has gone on for more than a decade, and in 2001 the Maryland Court of Appeals compared the study to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, which withheld medical treatment for African-American men with syphilis.

According to the lawsuit, Kennedy Krieger helped landlords get public financing for lead abatements and helped select families with young children to rent apartments where lead dust problems had been only partly eliminated so that the children's blood could be measured for lead over a two-year period, according to the lawsuit.

"What they would do was to improve the lead hazard from what it was but not improve it to code," said Thomas F. Yost Jr., one of the lawyers who filed the suit.

Mr. Yost said that although parents signed consent forms, the contracts failed to provide "a complete and clear explanation" about the research, which aimed to measure "the extent to which the children's blood was being contaminated."

David Armstrong, the father of the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, David Armstrong Jr., said that after his son, age 3, was tested for high levels of lead in 1993, he went to a Kennedy Krieger clinic for help. The father said the family was provided state-subsidized housing by Kennedy Krieger and was told they would be part of a two-year research project. Mr. Armstrong said he was not told that his son was being introduced to elevated levels of lead paint dust.

Mr. Armstrong said blood was collected from his son for two years, but that no one told him the lead levels had increased. After the two-year mark passed, Mr. Armstrong said he continued to live in the two-bedroom apartment but did not hear from Kennedy Krieger.

During those two years, he said his son, now 20 years old, received no medical treatment for lead. Later, when Mr. Armstrong took his son to a pediatrician, the doctor detected blood lead levels two and a half to three times higher than they had been before the family moved into the apartment.

"I thought they had cleaned everything and it would be a safe place," Mr. Armstrong said. "They said it was 'lead safe.' "


14) Unemployment Rates Rose in Majority of States
September 16, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Unemployment rates rose in a majority of states in August for a third straight month, further proof that job growth is weak nationwide.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates increased in 26 states. They fell in 12 and remained unchanged in 12.

Nevada had the nation's highest unemployment rate among states at 13.4 percent. It rose from 12.9 percent in July.

North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent. That's up from 3.3 percent in July.

Nationwide, hiring fell significantly in August. The economy added no new net jobs, and the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent for the second straight month.


15) Obama Adviser Discusses Using Military on Terrorists
September 16, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - John O. Brennan, the top counter-terrorism adviser to President Obama, on Friday defended a broad conception of where the United States can use military force against members of Al Qaeda and its allies.

Mr. Brennan also denounced a proposal in Congress to mandate military detention of terrorism suspects - even those captured on United States soil. His remarks were part of a speech on the Obama administration's counterterrorism policy and the rule of law, delivered before a conference at Harvard Law School.

Mr. Brennan's remarks about the ability to use military force came against the backdrop of a debate, reported on Friday by The New York Times, between lawyers at the State Department and the Pentagon over the limits of military force in places like Yemen and Somalia.

In that region, the State Department has argued, the United States may - as a matter of self-defense - lawfully kill high-level militants who are involved in plots to attack the United States, but not low-level militants who are focused on parochial concerns. The Defense Department has argued that it can attack members of Al Qaeda and its allies, although the dispute has remained latent so far because the policy has been to strike at only "high-value individuals."

In his speech, Mr. Brennan initially suggested that he leaned toward the Pentagon's view of the legal question, although subsequently made more ambiguous comments.

"The United States does not view our authority to use military force against Al Qaeda as being restricted solely to 'hot' battlefields like Afghanistan," he said. "Because we are engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the United States takes the legal position that - in accordance with international law - we have the authority to take action against Al Qaeda and its associated forces without doing a separate self-defense analysis each time."

Still, he added, "That does not mean we can use military force whenever we want, wherever we want. International legal principles, including respect for a state's sovereignty and the laws of war, impose important constraints on our ability to act unilaterally - and on the way in which we can use force - in foreign territories."

During a question period afterward, he drew a distinction between members of two groups in the region - Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen, and the Somalia-based Shabab - who are intent on attacking America, and those who are focused on local concerns. It was the former, he said, that the United States "will take action" against.

He also criticized The New York Times article for portraying the deliberations as a "great debate," saying it was appropriate for lawyers to "actively and rigorously debate the law" so that policy makers could know the boundaries within which they can make decisions.

He also said it had never been the case that the legal interpretation that "came out of that lawyer group prevented us from doing what we wanted to do."

Mr. Brennan also sharply criticized a proposal in the Senate version of the 2012 defense authorization bill, which may be taken up soon, that would require terrorism suspects arrested inside the country to be transferred to military custody. The provision was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee this summer.

Mr. Brennan called the idea a "nonstarter" and said the White House would fight the proposal vigorously.

He said "it is the firm position of the Obama administration" that terrorism suspects arrested inside the United States must be prosecuted solely in civilian court system in line with "longstanding tradition."

"Our military does not patrol our streets or enforce our laws, nor should it," he added. "This is not a radical idea."

Mr. Brennan also rejected as "absurd" accusations by some critics that the Obama administration might be deliberately killing terrorism suspects instead of capturing them, sacrificing the ability to interrogate them in order to avoid the legal complications of detaining them.

"I want to be very clear: whenever it is possible to capture a suspected terrorist, it is the unqualified preference of the administration to take custody of that individual so we can obtain information that is vital to the safety and security of the American people," he said.


16) Digital Age Drives Rally to Keep a Georgia Inmate [Troy Davis] From Execution
September 16, 2011

ATLANTA - As Troy Davis faces his fourth execution date, the effort to save him has come to rival the most celebrated death row campaigns in recent history.

On Monday, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles will give Mr. Davis what is by all accounts his last chance to avoid death by lethal injection, scheduled for Wednesday.

Whether history will ultimately judge Mr. Davis guilty or innocent, cultural and legal observers will be left to examine why Mr. Davis, convicted of killing a Savannah police officer, Mark MacPhail, 22 years ago, has been catapulted to the forefront of the national conversation when most of the 3,251 other people on death row in the United States have not.

The answer, experts say, can be found in an amalgam of changing death penalty politics, concerns about cracks in the judicial system, the swift power of digital political organizing and, simply, a story with a strong narrative that caught the public's attention.

"Compelling cases that make us second-guess our justice system have always struck a chord with the American public," said Benjamin T. Jealous, president of the N.A.A.C.P. "Some are simply more compelling in that they seem to tap deeply into the psyche of this country. A case like this suggests that our justice system is flawed."

Like others involved in the case, he credits Mr. Davis's sister, Martina Correia, a media-friendly former soldier who has long argued that the police simply got the wrong man, with keeping the story alive.

And the story has been compelling. A parade of witnesses have recanted since the original trial, and new testimony suggests the prosecution's main witness might be the killer.

There are racial undertones - Mr. Davis is black and the victim was white - and legal cliffhangers, including a stay in 2008 that came with less than 90 minutes to spare and a Hail Mary pass in 2009 that resulted in a rare Supreme Court decision.

Altogether, it had the makings of a story that has grabbed many armchair lawyers and even the most casual opponent of the death penalty.

The list of people asking that the Georgia parole board offer clemency has grown from the predictable (Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Indigo Girls) to the surprising, including 51 members of Congress, entertainment heavyweights like Cee Lo Green and death penalty supporters including William S. Sessions, a former F.B.I. director, and Bob Barr, a former member of Congress, and some leaders in the Southern Baptist church. (Unlike some other states, in Georgia the governor cannot commute a death sentence; only the parole board can.)

Propelled by a recent flood of digital media including Twitter traffic and online petition requests, the case has become fodder for discussion in fashionable Atlanta bistros, Harlem street corners and anywhere living room sleuths gather in their search for another Casey Anthony trial to dissect.

On Friday, about 1,000 people marched to Ebenezer Baptist Church here for a prayer vigil, one of hundreds of rallies being organized by Amnesty International around the world.

The facts of the case itself captured the attention of Nancie McDermott, a North Carolina cookbook author who usually spends her time in the kitchen but who took up the cause with a passion once she started reading about it on liberal Web sites.

"I think if my brother or son or dear friend from college were about to be put to death, and there was no physical evidence, and seven of nine witnesses had recanted and testified to coercion in that original testimony, would I shrug and say, 'The jury made its decision?' " she wrote in an e-mail. "I just want people, particularly all the churchgoing people like me, to look me in the eye and tell me, just once, that this is justice."

There are some larger political themes weaving through the case.

As executions becomes less common and sentences for executions decline - dropping to about 100 a year from three times that in the 1990s - the focus on execution as a means of punishment and a marker of the nation's cultural and political divide becomes sharper, legal analysts said.

That divide results in a culture that in the same week can generate hundreds of thousands of letters of support for Troy Davis and, conversely, bring a cheering round of applause from the audience at a Republican presidential debate when Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was asked about the 234 executions in his state during his term of office.

"We've gotten to a critical point in the death penalty in this country," said Ferrel Guillory, a professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina. "These cases are being phased out but at the same time they don't make the front page anymore, so when one comes along with a strong narrative and a good advocate, it gets our attention."

Matthew Poncelet, a Louisiana convict, had Sister Helen Prejean, whose story of her work with him in the final phase of his life brought "dead man walking" into popular lexicon after Hollywood released a film version of the case in 1995.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former journalist and Black Panther who was convicted of shooting a white Philadelphia police officer in 1981, rode the power of his own charisma. His case became so popular globally that a road in a Parisian suburb bears his name.

Mr. Davis's case not only offers a good narrative with strong characters people can relate to - his father was a law enforcement officer, his mother was a churchgoer, his sister is fighting both cancer and for her brother's innocence - but has also benefited from an explosion in social media.

"Back in 2007, nobody outside of Savannah knew who Troy Davis was," said Laura Moye, director of Amnesty International U.S.A.'s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign. "Now it's safe to say over a million people do."

For proof, she offers the 633,000 petitions she and others delivered to the parole board in an elaborate media event on Friday. About 200,000 of them were electronic signatures gathered by in less than a week.

"It's a new era of activism," she said.

Online organizing drew Anderia Bishop, 37, of Atlanta, to the case last week. She learned about Mr. Davis through an e-mail from, a black political organization.

The fact that there was very little physical evidence and no DNA and a case built largely on witnesses who changed their story got her attention.

"I thought, literally, it could be me, and that's something a lot of people who are casually watching this case think," she said. "There are just too many questions."

But public pressure and intense media attention can cut both ways, said Stephen Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights and a longtime capital defense lawyer.

"It certainly heightens the attention a case gets, but there also can be some defensiveness," he said. "There has historically been that worry that people from out of state will come in and not understand what really happened."

The difference, he said, is that in today's information-rich age, people around the world actually do know most of the facts in the case.

"It tells the State of Georgia that the whole world is watching," he said.


17) Household Net Worth Falls 0.3% in Quarter
September 16, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans' wealth declined this spring for the first time in a year, as stocks and homes fell in value, a Federal Reserve report said Friday. At the same time, corporations increased the size of their cash stockpiles.

The combination could slow an already weak economy because it implies that families have less to spend and businesses are reluctant to expand.

Household net worth dropped 0.3 percent to $58.5 trillion in the April-June quarter from the previous period, according to the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds report. The decline followed three straight quarterly increases.

The value of Americans' stock portfolios fell 0.5 percent in the second quarter. Home values dropped 0.4 percent.

Corporations held a record $2 trillion in cash at the end of June, an increase of 4.5 percent.

Net worth is expected to fall even further in the current quarter because stocks plunged in late July and early August.

"August put a big dent in whatever confidence consumers had left," said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at That's largely why retail sales were flat last month, he added.

Over all, household wealth, which mostly consists of home equity, stock portfolios, and other savings, has risen 15 percent since the recession officially ended in June 2009.

The increase is almost entirely the result of one of the fastest bull markets in history. Stocks began to recover in the spring of 2009 and had doubled in value by April of this year, as measured by the S.& P. 500 index.

But Americans' wealth has taken a hit since the second quarter, the period covered by the Fed report. The S.& P. index has tumbled 11 percent since its April 29 peak, and 8 percent since the end of the quarter. That likely means an even larger drop in household net worth in the July-September quarter.

Stock portfolios make up about 15 percent of Americans' wealth. That's less than housing but ahead of bank deposits, according to the Fed's report.

The likely drop in wealth comes at the same time that incomes are stagnating, particularly for middle-income households. Average household income, adjust for inflation, fell 6.4 percent last year from 2007, the year before the recession, the Census Bureau said earlier this week.

Americans also have less equity in their homes. The average homeowner has just 38.6 percent equity, down from 61 percent a decade ago.

The report found household debt declined at an annual rate of 0.6 percent from the previous quarter, helped by a big decline in mortgage debt, which has fallen for nine straight quarters.

But the decline is deceiving. Mortgage debt is coming down because so many Americans are defaulting and losing their homes to foreclosure, not just because people are paying off loans.


18) For Jobs, It's War
September 16, 2011

The American political discussion has finally turned to the right target: jobs.

Even so, the president's jobs bill is already being nickeled and dimed from the right - and the left - even though it is only throwing nickels and dimes at the problem to begin with. But at least it's a start, even if a long-overdue one.

To understand just how overdue it is, one need look no further than the absolutely dreadful data issued this week by the Census Bureau about the increasing numbers of people falling into poverty. No matter how you slice it, it's bloody.

There are now 46.2 million poor Americans.

Of those, 2.6 million fell into poverty last year.

At 15.1 percent, the poverty rate is at its highest since 1993.

Bloody, bloody, bloody.

But even those numbers somewhat obscure the true historic nature of the crisis and the effect that the recession, falling wages and chronic joblessness have had on those living in poverty. If you remove children and the elderly and just look at working-age adults - those 18 to 64 - the picture is even more bleak. The percentage of that group that is in poverty is the highest recorded since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a "war on poverty" during his first State of the Union address in January 1964.

And it's not that most of these people don't have jobs. It's that they don't have good jobs that pay enough to push them out of poverty. Three out of four of those below the poverty line work: half have full-time jobs, a quarter work part time. Only a quarter do not work at all.

This raises an important distinction - not only do we need to create more jobs, we need to increase the number of good jobs. And we can't see that quest for good jobs as an internal skirmish between warring political ideologies. It's an international war. At least that is the way Jim Clifton, chairman of Gallup, frames it in his fascinating - and frightening - new book, "The Coming Jobs War."

According to Clifton, "the coming world war is an all-out global war for good jobs."

(He defines a good job, also known as a formal job, as one with a "paycheck from an employer and steady work that averages 30-plus hours per week.")

In the book he makes this striking statement, drawing from all of Gallup's data: "The primary will of the world is no longer about peace or freedom or even democracy; it is not about having a family, and it is neither about God nor about owning a home or land. The will of the world is first and foremost to have a good job. Everything else comes after that." The only problem is that there are not enough good jobs to go around.

Clifton explains that of the world's five billion people over 15 years old, three billion said they worked or wanted to work, but there are only 1.2 billion full-time, formal jobs. Therefore his conclusion "from reviewing Gallup's polling on what the world is thinking on pretty much everything is that the next 30 years won't be led by U.S. political or military force."

"Instead," he says, "the world will be led with economic force - a force that is primarily driven by job creation and quality G.D.P. growth." And guess who is vying for the lead? That's right: China.

And I must say, we don't appear to be poised to fight this war. In education we've gone from leading to lagging, our infrastructure is literally crumbling around us, ever-expanding health care costs threaten to suffocate us and our politics have succumbed to paralysis.

A widely-cited 2009 study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, "The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools," found that the recent American educational achievement gaps - between black and Latino students and white ones; between low-income students and the rest; between low-performing states and the rest; and between the United States as a whole and better-performing countries - not only cost the economy trillions of dollars, they also "impose on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession."

According to a recent report by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young, China has "about 9 percent of G.D.P. devoted to infrastructure, compared with less than 3 percent in the United States." And the Report Card for America's Infrastructure graded by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2009 was so full of C's and D's that it looked like Rick Perry's college transcript. The group estimated that $2.2 trillion of investment over five years was needed to bring conditions up to par. We're not even close to that.

Furthermore, Clifton points out that 30 percent of America's students drop out or do not graduate on time. He concludes, "If this problem isn't fixed fast, the United States will lose the next worldwide, economic, jobs-based war because its players can't read, write or think as well as their competitors in a game for keeps."

And, a Rand Corporation study released last week found that "between 1999 and 2009, total spending on health care in the United States nearly doubled, from $1.3 trillion to $2.5 trillion. During the same period, the percentage of the nation's gross domestic product devoted to health care climbed from 13.8 percent to 17.6 percent. Per person health care spending grew from $4,600 to just over $8,000 annually."

We simply can't sustain that sort of growth.

Clifton enumerates 10 "demands" that America will have to master to "lead the new will of the world" - from drastically increasing exports, to having investments follow "rare entrepreneurs versus the worldwide oversupply of innovation," to something as basic as doing a better job of identifying where likely customers are. But at the top of the list is understanding that the world has a shortage of good jobs and every decision of every leader must be informed by increasing the share of those jobs.

He puts it this way:

"The war for global jobs is like World War II: a war for all the marbles. The global war for jobs determines the leader of the free world. If the United States allows China or any country or region to out-enterprise, out-job-create, out-grow its G.D.P., everything changes. This is America's next war for everything."

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