Friday, September 30, 2011




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 Hunger Strike Resumes
By Erin Sherbert
September 26 2011


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




The United National Antiwar Committee invites you to join us in marking the 10th year of the murderous U.S. war in Afghanistan and to defend the civil liberties of all victims of government repression.

Dear Antiwar and social justice activists,

Join us this Saturday, October 1 at 11 AM, Redstone Bldg., 16th Street and Capp, Third Floor, San Francisco to help prepare our October 15-22 Northern California antiwar/civil liberties tour.

The tour schedule is filling up fast (See below). We expect to add three afternoon meetings on various Bay Area campuses in the next day or so. We will need all hands on deck to make UNAC's 12 event schedule a success.

There's still time to add additional meetings to the tour schedule, but let us know fast and/or bring your proposals to the meeting.

Proposed agenda:

1) Final review of tour schedule
2) Publicity/Media/Outreach
3) Printing and distribution of flyers
4) UNAC participation in and flyering at October antiwar events
5) Other
6) Next meeting
Oct. 15-22, 2011 antiwar week of solidarity and in defense of civil liberties...

Marking the 10th year of the U.S. war against the people of Afghanistan...

Bring the Troops Home Now! Civil Liberties for all!

Fightback Tour!

No to FBI Repression, Government Islamophobia and War

Civil Liberties for All!


Stephen Downs, Albany, NY civil liberties attorney; Legal Counsel, Project Salam (Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims); Leading national spokesman against government-promoted Islamophobia and repression against the Islamic-American communities

Jess Sundin, Chicago Grand Jury subpoena victim and solidarity/antiwar activist facing, along with 23 others, felony charges of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism. Twin Cities antiwar activist; Leader, Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Other tour speakers participating in some of the meetings listed below include:

• Zahra Billoo, Executive Director, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations)

• Hatem Bazian, Palestinian-American UC Berkeley Professor of Near Eastern Studies

• Carlos Villarreal, Exec. Dir., National Lawyers Guild

• Rep., United National Antiwar Coalition

• Michael Thurman, Bradley Manning Support Network

• Laura Herrera, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

• Jeff Mackler, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee and Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

• Rep., Immigrant rights community

October 15-22 Initial Tour Schedule

Sat., October 15, 2:30 - 4 PM, 1182 Market Street (near 8th Street) Suite 203, San Francisco, Sponsor: SF Gray Panthers, reception/meeting, donations accepted 415-552-8800,

Sat., October 15, 7 PM, 518 Valencia St. (near 16th St.), San Francisco, Main sponsor: Northern California UNAC 510-268-9429. $10 sliding scale. No one turned away.

Sun., October 16, Oakland Reception/lunch/meeting at the home of Jeff Mackler... with KPFA friends, 1-4 PM, $20/no one turned away. RSVP: 510-268-9429

Monday, October 17, 7-9 PM, The Redwoods Auditorium, 40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, CA, Sponsor, Mill Valley Seniors for Peace; Marin Peace and Justice Coalition 415-389-9040 Free

Tuesday, Oct 18, 7pm, 909 12th St, Sacramento. Free/donation requested. Sponsors: Sacramento Valley Chapter, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, 916-369-5510 & Sacramento Area Peace Action,

Wednesday, October 19, Campus meeting to be announced.

Thursday, October 20, 7:30 PM Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar Street at Bonita, Berkeley, Free/donation requested.

Friday, October 21, 7:00 PM, Sonoma State University, Warren Auditorium (Tentative location) in Ives Hall (Directions to Warren Auditorium: At the Main Entrance to the University, turn left off of E. Cotati Avenue onto Sequoia Drive. Take the first right at the Information Booth onto Redwood Drive. Turn left into parking lot E. Ives Hall is the building on the North side of the parking lot.. Parking free after 5:00 pm), 707-874-2695 Sponsor: Project Censored: Media Democracy in Action and Santa Rosa Peace and Justice Center

Saturday, October 22, 2- 4 PM, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, 48 S. Seventh Street (between San Fernando and Santa Clara Streets), San Jose, Sponsors: San Jose Peace and Justice Center and San Jose Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Donations accepted. 408-373-0817

Tour co-sponsors: United National Antiwar Coalition • National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter Committee to Stop FBI Repression • Project Salam • San Jose Peace and Justice Center • Mill Valley Seniors for Peace • Marin Peace and Justice Center • South Bay Committee to Stop Political Repression • Green Party of Alameda County • Oakland Education Association Peace and Justice Caucus • Peninsula Peace and Justice Center • Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists • International Action Center • International Socialist Organization • BAYAN/USA • Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal • Lynne Stewart Defense Committee • Code Pink San Francisco • Socialist Viewpoint • Solidarity • Sacramento Area Peace Action • Socialist Action • Project Censored: Media Democracy in Action • Santa Rosa Peace and Justice Center • Sacramento Valley Chapter Women's International League for Peace and Freedom • Veterans for Peace Chapter 162 East Bay • Afghans for Peace • California Peace and Freedom Party • Michel Shehadeh, Case of the Los Angeles 8 • Cindy Sheehan, Peace activist • Courage to Resist • Muslim Peace Coalition/USA • Samina Sundas, Founding Executive, American Muslim Voice • Bay Area Committee To Stop Political Repression

All meetings wheelchair accessible. All meetings co-sponsored by United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC), 510-268-9429


Sat. Oct. 1, 4pm
Join ANSWER Activists in Preparing for Oct. 7
Banner and Placard-Making, and Phonebanking
2969 Mission St. btwn 25th and 26th, San Francisco
near 24th St. BART; #14, 49 MUNI

The only way to end the bloody and rising carnage in Afghanistan is to immediately withdraw all U.S. and NATO troops and aircraft. Only the people can stop the war-join us!

In the days, ANSWER organizers and volunteers will be working to build the October demonstrations taking place across the country. Please make an urgently needed donation to help support the work of the ANSWER Coalition. We can't do it without your help.

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



People of Los Angeles, we will occupy our city for the 99 percent of the world.
We will not be silent.

October 1, 2011
LA City Hall
200 N. Spring Street

Bring tents, sleeping bags, food, supplies, friends


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. 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.


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!

In this message:

The Wall Street Occupation continues

October 6

October 15

NATO/G8 protests in Chicago

UNAC conference

The Wall Street Occupation continues.

The Wall Street occupation is continuing despite dozens of arrests on Friday. A number of UNAC supporters have joined the occupation. You can join the occupation virtually by joining the viewers of the livestream at: Here is another video of the occupation from Stan Heller:

October 6.

UNAC is supporting the October 6 "Stop the Machine" actions in Washington, DC. Please join us. We will assemble at Freedom Plaza on October 6 and many will continue to occupy the area while conducting various protest activity. For more information:

October 15.

UNAC calls for protest in local areas on October 15 to protest the 10th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan. Click here for a partial list of action:

Click here to add you action to the national list:

NATO/G8 protests in Chicago.

UNAC, along with other organizations and activists, has formed a coalition to help organize protests in Chicago during the week of May 15 - 22 while NATO and G8 are holding their summit meetings. The new coalition was formed at a meeting of 163 people representing 73 different organization in Chicago on August 28 and is called Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANGATE). For a report on the Chicago meeting, click here:

To add your email to the new CANGATE listserve, send an email to

To have your organization endorse the NATO/G8 protest, please click here:

Click here to hear audio of the August 28 meeting:

Click here for the talk by Marilyn Levin, UNAC co-coordinator at the August 28 meeting:

Click here for Pat Hunts welcome to the meeting and Joe Iosbaker's remarks:

UNAC Conference.

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) conference originally scheduled for November, 11- 13, 2011, has been rescheduled for March 23-25, 2012, in order to tie in to organizing efforts for building massive protests at the NATO/G-8 Summits in Chicago, May 15-22, and to have sufficient time to generate an action program for the next stage of building a mass movement for social change.

Organizations are invited to endorse this conference by clicking here:

Donations are needed for bringing international speakers and to subsidize attendance of students and low income participants. Contributions will be accepted at

For the initial conference flyer, click here:

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:


MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2011, 7:30-9PM
Plumbers Union Hall, 1621 Market St., S.F.
(5 blocks from Civic Center BART station)
For more information call Carl, San Francisco Labor Council Education Project


• President Obama has just proposed a $248 billion cut in Medicare as a starter & another $72 billion in Medicaid cuts.
• Obama indicated September 19 he will support cutting more than $320 Billion if Republicans agree with him on taxes.
• Vice-President Joe Biden last June offered Republicans to cut $400-$500 billion in Medicare-Medicaid
• Republicans last April proposed to raise out-of-pocket costs for Medicare for seniors by $7,000 per year
• The 'Supercommittee' of 12 in Congress said last week they want to cut even more than Obama has proposed. They will report 'how much' more on November 19.
• Congress will vote on how much more in Medicare-Medicaid cuts before December 23.

How Much Will Your Medicare Be Cut?

How Much More Will You Have to Pay?

Come Hear the Facts
Open Discussion to Follow


For Immediate Release
Howard Petrick's "Rambo" - anti-VietNam activist tells his story-Marsh Berkeleyu-Oct 20-Dec 10

The Little Guy Takes on the Pentagon in Howard Petrick's "Rambo: The Missing Years" at The Marsh-Berkeley, Oct 20-Dec 10

The Hilarious and True Story of the Private Who Protested the Viet Nam War - While Still in the Army!

"Howard's show is proof you can fight bureaucracy and win. How he does so is told with aplomb and a certain sense of mischievousness." - Vancouver Fringe

"The potency of the show...springs from Petrick's first-hand account of his anti-Vietnam activism from within the army...this comes with an intriguing authenticity."- Winnipeg Free Press

"Petrick delivers...For 60 minutes he has you laughing through the fear." - Winnipeg Uptown

San Francisco. September 26, 2011. The Vancouver Sun calls San Francisco's Howard Petrick, "a guy who really knows how to get up the nose of the war machine." Petrick's Rambo: The Missing Years is an hilarious - and true - account of the misadventures of a Vietnam-era draftee who frustrates the military brass by asserting his right to organize his fellow GIs against the war. Petrick's Rambo - not to be confused in the least with the Sylvester Stallone action figure - plays at The Marsh-Berkeley, 2120 Alston Way in Berkeley, October 20 through December 10.

The story begins as Petrick (aka 'Hanoi Howie") reports for the draft and refuses to fill out the forms, befuddling the military bureaucracy for the first of many times to come. Yet, during his time of service he maintains an unblemished military record, breaks no rules, and continues to carry out his military duties.

Directed by Mark Kenward and developed with David Ford, the show plays on Thursday and Friday at 7:00 pm and Saturday at 8:30 pm from October 20 to December 10, 2011 (press opening November 4, no performance on Thanksgiving Day) at The Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, near Shattuck. The public may visit or call 415-282-3055.


International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
La Colmenita, the National Children's Theater of Cuba, US tour 2011
Whether you are 7 or 70, Abracadabra will move you...Come and enjoy!

ABRACADABRA is not a play. It is an act of Justice and Life, written mainly by children who share the dream of freedom. A teacher invites her students to walk the road to the essences, through five very true stories of heroism and virtue.


Wednesday October 26, 7pm
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
339 11th Street, Richmond, CA 94801-3105
Suggested donation at the door $10, Children Free

Thursday October 27, 1pm
Esperanza Elementary School, Oakland
Private Presentation

Friday October 28, 7:30pm & Saturday October 29, 2pm
Fort Mason Center, Cowell Theater
Entrance at intersection of Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St., San Francisco, CA 94123
Tickets $20, Students & Seniors $15, Children Free
Tickets on line:

For more information about performances in your area, please visit:


Here is the official statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression on the 1-year anniversary of the raids.
Build the Movement Against Political Repression
One year since the September 24 FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas
Statement of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, 9-22-2011

Please come to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression one-day Conference in Chicago on November 5, 2011.

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) is asking you to build the movement against political repression on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 24, 2010 FBI raids on anti-war and international solidarity activists. We need your continued solidarity as we build movements for peace, justice and equality.

The storm of political repression continues to expand and threaten. It is likely to intensify and churn into a destructive force with indictments, trials, and attempts to imprison anti-war activists. The last we knew, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was preparing multiple indictments as he and Attorney General Eric Holder attempt to criminalize the targeted activists and the movements to which we dedicate our lives.

It is one year since the FBI raided two homes in Chicago and five homes plus the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, eventually handing out 23 subpoenas. The anti-war activists' homes were turned upside down and notebooks, cell phones, artwork, computers, passports and personal belongings were all carted off by the FBI. Anyone who has ever been robbed knows the feelings - shock and anger.

The man responsible for this assault on activists and their families, on free speech and the right to organize, is U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago. Fitzgerald has an ugly record of getting powerful Republicans like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove off the hook, while mercilessly pursuing an agenda to scare America into silence and submission with the phony 'war on terror.' Fitzgerald is attempting to criminalize anti-war activists with accusations of 'material support for terrorism,' involving groups in Palestine and Colombia.

First the U.S. government targeted Arabs and Muslims, violating their civil rights and liberties and spying on them. Then they came for the anti-war and international solidarity activists. We refuse to be criminalized. We continue to speak out and organize. We say, "Opposing U.S. war and occupation is not a crime!" We are currently building a united front with groups and movements to defeat Fitzgerald's reactionary, fear mongering assault on anti-war activism and to restore civil liberties taken away by the undemocratic USA PATRIOT Act.

Many people know the developments in the case, but for those who do not, we invite you to read a timeline at We think the repression centers on this: During the lead up to the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, a federal law enforcement officer, using the phony name of "Karen Sullivan" got involved and joined the Anti-War Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis. She lied to everyone she met and helped the FBI to disrupt many activities in the anti-war, international solidarity and labor movements in Minnesota - and also other states and even over in Palestine. It is outrageous.

In fact, many of those being investigated travelled to Colombia or Palestine to learn firsthand about U.S. government funding for war and oppression. There was no money given to any groups that the U.S. government lists as terrorist organizations. However, we met people who are a lot like most Americans - students, community organizers, religious leaders, trade unionists, women's group leaders and activists much like ourselves. Many of the U.S. activists wrote about their trips, did educational events, or helped organized protests against U.S. militarism and war. In a increasingly repressive period, this is enough to make one a suspect in Fitzgerald's office.

This struggle is far from one-sided however. The response to the FBI raids and the pushback from the movement is tremendous. Minneapolis and Chicago immediately organized a number of press conferences and rallies with hundreds of people. Over the first two weeks after the raids, 60 cities protested outside FBI offices, from New York to Kalamazoo, from traveled to the Bay Area. The National Lawyers Guild convention was in New Orleans the day of the FBI raids and they immediately issued a solidarity statement and got to work on the case. Solidarity poured in from anti-war, civil rights, religious and faith groups, students and unions. Groups and committees began working to obtain letters of support from members of Congress. The solidarity was overwhelming. It was great!

It is possible that U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald thought he was picking on an isolated group of activists. Instead, those raided proved to have many friends and allies from decades of work for social justice and peace. Over the months, all the targeted activists refused to appear at the grand jury dates set by U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald's office. In November 2010, a large crew of us travelled to New York City to found the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, after the United National Antiwar Committee meeting.

In December 2010, U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald's office called in three of the Minnesota women and threatened them. We prepared a campaign in case they were jailed for refusing to speak. The FBI also delivered subpoenas to nine more Arab-American and Palestine solidarity activists in December. Their grand jury date was on Jan. 25, 2011, and we organized protests in over 70 American cities, plus a few overseas. The movement was building and expanding, so we organized conferences with over 800 participants in the Midwest, the South, and on the East and West Coasts. While we were organizing a pushback, the FBI was making new plans.

On May 17, 2011, at 5:00 a.m., the Los Angeles, California Sheriff, under the direction of the FBI, busted down the front door of Chicano leader Carlos Montes, storming in with automatic weapons drawn and shouting. The early morning raid was supposedly about weapons and permits, but they seized decades of notes and writings about the Chicano, immigrant rights, education rights and anti-war movements. The FBI attempted to question Carlos Montes while he was handcuffed and in the back of a L.A. sheriff squad car. Montes is going to another preliminary court date on Sept. 29, prepared to face six felony charges, carrying up to three years in prison for each, knowing he is extraordinarily targeted by the FBI. We will walk every step of the way with Carlos Montes, and more. Montes was with us at the Republican National Convention protests; his name was included on the search warrant for the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, and the FBI attempted to question him about this case. We ask you to support Carlos Montes and to organize speaking events with him and local protests on his important court dates, Sept. 29 being the next one.

The same week the FBI raided Carlos Montes in May 2011, the CSFR came back with a big revelation - we released a set of documents, the FBI game plan, which the FBI mistakenly left behind in a file drawer at one of the homes. The FBI documents are on the CSFR website and are fascinating to read. Fitzgerald and company developed 102 questions that come right from a McCarthy witch-hunt trial of the 1950s. It is like turning back the clock five decades.

The whole intention of the raids is clear: They want to paint activists as 'terrorists' and shut down the organizing. They came at a time when the rich and powerful are frightened of not just the masses of people overseas, but of the people in their own country. With a failing U.S. war in Afghanistan, a U.S. occupation of Iraq predicted to last decades, a new war for oil and domination in Libya, a failing immigration policy that breaks up families and produces super-profits for big business, and now a long and deep economic crisis that is pushing large segments of working people into poverty, the highest levels of the U.S. government are turning to political repression.

The only hope for the future is in building stronger, consistent and determined movements. In a principled act of solidarity, the 23 subpoenaed activists refuse to testify before the grand jury. This sets an example for others.

In addition, the outpouring of support and mobilization into the streets from the anti-war, international solidarity, civil rights, labor and immigrant rights movements means that not one of the 24 has spent a single day in jail. That is a victory.

We ask you to stand with us, to stay vigilant and to hold steady as we proceed to organize against wars abroad and injustice at home and as we defend Carlos Montes from the FBI charade in Los Angeles.

Committee to Stop FBI Repression -
follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Add us to your address book


White House Petition for Leonard Peltier

A petition in favor of granting clemency to Leonard Peltier is now on the We the People portion of the White House Web site. We have 30 days (until October 22) to get 5,000 signatures in order for our petition to be reviewed by the White House. This petition may only allow US signatories.

Sign the petition here:

Due to heavy site traffic, you may have trouble accessing the petition. Keep trying until you succeed. Try during off-peak hours.

Email our petition to your friends, family and others who care about this issue.

Facebook: Post our petition to your Facebook wall to let folks know about it. Here's a sample message you can cut and paste into your Facebook status: Petition for Leonard Peltier on the White House site, We the People. Will you sign it?

Twitter: Tweet about your petition. Here's a sample tweet you can use: Leonard Peltier petition on the White House site, We the People. Will you sign it?

Let's do it!

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

The Petition:

we petition the obama administration to:
grant clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier without delay.

10th Circuit Court of Appeals: "...Much of the government's behavior... and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."

While others were acquitted on grounds of self defense, Peltier was convicted in connection with the 1975 shooting deaths of two FBI agents. Evidence shows that prosecutors knowingly presented false statements to a Canadian court to extradite Peltier and manufactured the murder weapon (the gun and shell casings entered into evidence didn't match; this fact was hidden from the jury). The number of constitutional violations in this case is simply staggering.

It's time to right this wrong. Mr. President, you can and must free Leonard Peltier.
Created: Sep 22, 2011
Issues: Civil Rights and Liberties, Human Rights!/petition/grant-clemency-native-american-activist-leonard-peltier-without-delay/LLWBZq1S


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


Children's Art from Palestine--Censored!

You can see the whole exhibit in a new space located just around the corner from MOCHA (Museum of Children's Art) at 917 Washington Street. For more information please call Middle East Children's Alliance at (510) 548-0542 or email at


OCCUPY-WALL-STREET-PROTESTERS-ARRESTS( Sept 20, 2011) Spread This Video Please.





Judge Mathis Weighs in on the execution of Troy Davis
[And he does a great job and he has a huge audience.]


Bill Maher, Michael Moore Defend Tony Bennett for Saying That U.S. Foreign Policy Helped Cause 9/11
By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at September 24, 2011, 7:44 am



Free Them


Troy Davis, Racism, The Death Penalty & Labor


Empire State Rebellion: An Idea Whose Time Has Come - OpESR

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The video below is dedicated to all the people currently Occupying Wall Street.

See you there again on September 24th at noon, and the day after, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that...

Video Transcript:

Mainstream media in the United States is the most efficient
weapon of mass oppression.
The propaganda system is so extensive.
People are very confused.
They don't really grasp what is happening.

On a very basic and profound level
they understand that global banks have robbed the country.
They get that, but there is so much divide and conquer rhetoric -
it goes from the mainstream media
and it filters all the way down
into independent media.

So it's a matter of finding that place
where you can overcome the divide and conquer propaganda.
And where we can find that place
is on Wall Street and breaking up the banks.

How would a million people clogging lower Manhattan's financial district
play out in the global media?

If we came down there and said:

"We're not leaving until we have commitments
to break up the banks
and end the campaign finance racket."

Let's just go over some statistics here:

· 59 Million people without health care
· 52 Million in poverty
· 44 Million on food stamps
· 30 Million in need of work
· 7 Million foreclosed on
· 5 Million homes over 60 days late on mortgage payments
· $1 Trillion in student debt

We have the highest, most severe inequality of wealth we have ever had,
unlimited campaign spending,
budget cuts for the poor,
tax breaks for the rich -
this is the ultimate recipe for revolution.

America has 239 million people living paycheck to paycheck right now.
Food prices are going up, oil is going up, everything is going up -
these people aren't going to be able to make ends meet.

It's the same everywhere, it's global policies,
whether its Ireland, United States, Egypt, Greece.
People are going to fight back because
the economic central planners have become so arrogant.

Economic central planners, who control the global economy
through the IMF, World Bank and Federal Reserve,
are committed to sentencing tens of millions of people
to a slow death through economic policy.

Obviously, those people, as time goes by,
they are going to fight back,
because they are fighting to survive.

This is a global rebellion.

People don't seem to get the fact that we live in a global economy
and there is a Neo-Liberal centrally planned aristocracy
which runs the global economy,
and we are in the midst of a
worldwide economic war right now.

It is a straight up economic war
with genocidal economic policies,
which of course are going to lead to mass rebellion.

Decentralized global rebellion.

Decentralized resistance.

Decentralized revolutionaries.

We had you on the show a few months ago,
and you called for a revolution.

The revolution is happening right now.

Tells us about A99 Operation Empire State Rebellion.

The revolution is happening right now.


Editor's Note: This music video was created on March 16th by Anon and posted to our social network. It was also posted on Max Keiser's website. It features clips from a Max Keiser interview with David DeGraw.

DO SOMETHING: @OccupyWallStNYC | #OccupyWallStreet | #OpESR
Have Fun and Get Something Done on Wall Steet This Weekend (MAP)
YOUR STREET: @OccupyChicago | @OccupyCleveland | @OccupyDallas
@OccupyFDSF | @OccupySTL | @OccupyHouston | VIDEO: Livestream


9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out


9/11: A Conspiracy Theory
[click on above to view the video]

Everything you ever wanted to know about the 9/11 conspiracy theory in under 5 minutes.

TRANSCRIPT: On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men armed with boxcutters directed by a man on dialysis in a cave fortress halfway around the world using a satellite phone and a laptop directed the most sophisticated penetration of the most heavily-defended airspace in the world, overpowering the passengers and the military combat-trained pilots on 4 commercial aircraft before flying those planes wildly off course for over an hour without being molested by a single fighter interceptor.

These 19 hijackers, devout religious fundamentalists who liked to drink alcohol, snort cocaine, and live with pink-haired strippers, managed to knock down 3 buildings with 2 planes in New York, while in Washington a pilot who couldn't handle a single engine Cessna was able to fly a 757 in an 8,000 foot descending 270 degree corskscrew turn to come exactly level with the ground, hitting the Pentagon in the budget analyst office where DoD staffers were working on the mystery of the 2.3 trillion dollars that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had announced "missing" from the Pentagon's coffers in a press conference the day before, on September 10, 2001.

Luckily, the news anchors knew who did it within minutes, the pundits knew within hours, the Administration knew within the day, and the evidence literally fell into the FBI's lap. But for some reason a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists demanded an investigation into the greatest attack on American soil in history.

The investigation was delayed, underfunded, set up to fail, a conflict of interest and a cover up from start to finish. It was based on testimony extracted through torture, the records of which were destroyed. It failed to mention the existence of WTC7, Able Danger, Ptech, Sibel Edmonds, OBL and the CIA, and the drills of hijacked aircraft being flown into buildings that were being simulated at the precise same time that those events were actually happening. It was lied to by the Pentagon, the CIA, the Bush Administration and as for Bush and Cheney...well, no one knows what they told it because they testified in secret, off the record, not under oath and behind closed doors. It didn't bother to look at who funded the attacks because that question is of "little practical significance". Still, the 9/11 Commission did brilliantly, answering all of the questions the public had (except most of the victims' family members' questions) and pinned blame on all the people responsible (although no one so much as lost their job), determining the attacks were "a failure of imagination" because "I don't think anyone could envision flying airplanes into buildings " except the Pentagon and FEMA and NORAD and the NRO.

The DIA destroyed 2.5 TB of data on Able Danger, but that's OK because it probably wasn't important.

The SEC destroyed their records on the investigation into the insider trading before the attacks, but that's OK because destroying the records of the largest investigation in SEC history is just part of routine record keeping.

NIST has classified the data that they used for their model of WTC7?s collapse, but that's OK because knowing how they made their model of that collapse would "jeopardize public safety".

The FBI has argued that all material related to their investigation of 9/11 should be kept secret from the public, but that's OK because the FBI probably has nothing to hide.

This man never existed, nor is anything he had to say worthy of your attention, and if you say otherwise you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist and deserve to be shunned by all of humanity. Likewise him, him, him, and her. (and her and her and him).

Osama Bin Laden lived in a cave fortress in the hills of Afghanistan, but somehow got away. Then he was hiding out in Tora Bora but somehow got away. Then he lived in Abottabad for years, taunting the most comprehensive intelligence dragnet employing the most sophisticated technology in the history of the world for 10 years, releasing video after video with complete impunity (and getting younger and younger as he did so), before finally being found in a daring SEAL team raid which wasn't recorded on video, in which he didn't resist or use his wife as a human shield, and in which these crack special forces operatives panicked and killed this unarmed man, supposedly the best source of intelligence about those dastardly terrorists on the planet. Then they dumped his body in the ocean before telling anyone about it. Then a couple dozen of that team's members died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

This is the story of 9/11, brought to you by the media which told you the hard truths about JFK and incubator babies and mobile production facilities and the rescue of Jessica Lynch.

If you have any questions about this are a batshit, paranoid, tinfoil, dog-abusing baby-hater and will be reviled by everyone. If you love your country and/or freedom, happiness, rainbows, rock and roll, puppy dogs, apple pie and your grandma, you will never ever express doubts about any part of this story to anyone. Ever.

This has been a public service announcement by: the Friends of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA, SEC, MSM, White House, NIST, and the 9/11 Commission. Because Ignorance is Strength.

(c) 2011 The Corbett Report. All rights reserved.

Hosting generously provided by:



Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at


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


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




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


International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
TAKE ACTION: New Punishment Against Rene Gonzalez

On Oct 7, René González, one of the Cuban 5 Patriots will be released from the US prison in Marianna Florida after serving out his 15 year sentence. Rene's crime was defending the security of the Cuban people against terrorist attacks.

The US government is now trying to stop his immediate return to his homeland, and his family, after he serves out the last day of this unjust sentence. And now, in the most cynical and mean spirited fashion, the US court that sentenced him in 2001 is extending his punishment by making him remain in the United States.

Because Rene was born in the US he will now have to spend an additional 3 years of probation here. Seven months ago his lawyer presented a motion asking the court to modify the conditions of his probation so that after he finished his sentence he be allowed to return to Cuba to reunite with his wife and his family for humanitarian reasons.

On March 25, the prosecutor Caroline Heck Miller asked the judge to deny the motion. On September 16 Judge Joan Lenard rejected the defense motion, alleging among other reasons, that the Court needs time to evaluate the behavior of the condemned person after he is freed to verify that he is not a danger to the United States.

We have to remember that this is the same prosecutor that rejected an attempt to try Posada Carriles as a criminal, and this is the same judge that included in the conditions of his release a special point that while Rene is under supervised release that," the accused is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists are known to be or frequent"

By writing this Judge Lenard made the shameful recognition that terrorists groups do exist and enjoy impunity in Miami. Furthermore she is offering them protection from Rene from bothering or denouncing them upon his release.

It was not enough for the US government to make Rene fulfill the complete sentence to the last day; It was not enough to try and blackmail his family by telling them he would not go to trial if he collaborated against his 4 brothers; it was not enough to pressure Rene with what could happen to his family if he did not cooperate with the government, including the detention and deportation of his wife Olga Salanueva; and it was not enough to deny Olga visas to visit her husband repeatedly all these years.

Why does the US government want to continue punishing René and his family?

The prejudice of the Miami community against the Five was denounced by three judges of the Eleventh Circuit of the Atlanta Court of Appeals on August 27, 2005, where it was recognized who the terrorists were, what organizations they belonged to and where they reside. To mandate that Rene Gonzalez stay another 3 years of supervised "freedom" in Florida, where a nest of international terrorists reside and who publicly make their hatred of Cuba and the Cuban 5 known, is to put the life of Rene in serious risk.

Today we are making a call to friends from all over the world to denounce this new punishment and to demand the US government allow René Gonzalez to return to Cuba to reunite with his wife and his family as soon as he get out of prison.

Contact now President Barack Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder demanding the immediate return of René Gonzalez to his homeland and his family


Write a letter to President Obama

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

Make a phone call and leave a message for President Barack Obama: 202-456-1111

Send an e-mail message to President Barack Obama


Write a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder

US Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Make a phone call and leave a message for US Attorney General Eric Holder: 202-514-2000
Or call the public commentary line: 202-353-1555

Send an e-mail message to US Attorney General Eric Holder:

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

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


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.


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

"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

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.


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

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

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

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


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


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.



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):


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!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Florida: Few Drug Users Among Welfare Applicants
"The results have prompted Carl Hiaasen, the Florida columnist and author, to suggest that the people who came up with the law should be the ones submitting specimens."
[Boy Oh Boy would I like to see the results of that drug]
September 27, 2011

2) Police Dept. to Examine Pepper-Spray Episode
September 28, 2011, 1:37 pm

3) A Spray Like a Punch in the Face
September 27, 2011

4) U.A.W. Approves Four-Year Contract With G.M.
"At several large plants, fewer than 40 percent of eligible workers made the effort to vote, based on results posted online, evidence of considerable apathy toward the agreement. Most U.A.W. locals publicly report only the percentage who favored the deal and not actual vote totals, so the overall turnout was not clear."
September 28, 2011

5) Cuba Legalizes General Purchase and Sale of Cars
September 28, 2011

6) Unemployment Rates Fell in Majority of US Cities
"Unemployment rates fell in roughly two-thirds of U.S. cities last month, despite zero job growth nationwide. ...People who are no longer searching for jobs aren't counted as unemployed."
September 28, 2011

7) Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit
"In the United States - with almost 400,000 annual detentions in 2010, up from 280,000 in 2005 - private companies now control nearly half of all detention beds, compared with only 8 percent in state and federal prisons, according to government figures."
September 28, 2011

8) Hispanic Children in Poverty Exceed Whites, Study Finds
"Children of immigrant parents were far more likely to be poor. Of the 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, more than two-thirds had immigrant parents, according to the Pew report. Most of those children were born in the United States. The other two million had parents born in the United States. While the number of Hispanic children in poverty is the highest ever, the poverty rate - 35 percent in 2010 - is well under its 1994 peak of 41 percent. Nor do Hispanics have the largest share in poverty of all racial and ethnic groups. In 2010, 39.1 percent of black children - 4.3 million - lived in poverty, as did 12.4 percent of white children."
September 28, 2011

9) Death Penalty Possible for Guantánamo Detainee
September 28, 2011

10) In the Moments Before Deportation, Holding Onto Hope
September 29, 2011, 11:32 am

11) A Massive Union Just Voted To Side With The Wall Street Protesters
(Including the Ten Demands of Wall Street Protesters)
Linette Lopez
Sep. 29, 2011, 10:30 AM

12) How Math Whizzes Helped Sink the Economy [Book Excerpt]
Scott Patterson's book The Quants profiles the quantitative-minded investors who helped inflate the hedge fund bubble
By Scott Patterson
Thursday, September 22, 2011 | 12

13) American Strike on American Target Revives Contentious Constitutional Issue
September 30, 2011

14) U.S. Approval of Killing of Cleric Causes Unease
"The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy." [Ya think?!?!? Like the murder of Troy Davis this is a message to all who oppose U.S. terrorism and all those who may oppose such U.S. policy in the future. No need for physical evidence; no need even for a trial. Just point and shoot or trump up some charges and "eyewitness testimony" when necessary. We are all in danger from the most murderous government in the world right]
May 13, 2010

15) Banks to Make Customers Pay Fee for Using Debit Cards
September 29, 2011

16) Prisoner Protest Restarts in California
"More than 4,200 inmates at eight prisons have been refusing state-issued meals since Monday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation."
September 29, 2011

17) Outsize Severance Continues for Executives, Even After Failed Tenures
September 29, 2011

18) Judge Fines Longshore Union $250,000 Over Tactics
September 30, 2011


1) Florida: Few Drug Users Among Welfare Applicants
"The results have prompted Carl Hiaasen, the Florida columnist and author, to suggest that the people who came up with the law should be the ones submitting specimens."
[Boy Oh Boy would I like to see the results of that drug]
September 27, 2011

Preliminary figures compiled under a new state law requiring drug tests for welfare applicants show that they are less likely than other people to use drugs, not more. The results have prompted Carl Hiaasen, the Florida columnist and author, to suggest that the people who came up with the law should be the ones submitting specimens. Mr. Hiaasen, saying "there is a certain public interest in going after hypocrisy," has offered to pay for drug testing for all 160 members of the Florida Legislature. The figures show that about 2.5 percent of up to 2,000 applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families have tested positive since the law went into effect in July. An additional 2 percent declined to take the test. The Justice Department estimates that 6 percent of Americans 12 and older use illegal drugs. Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and other supporters of the law say the tests will save money by weeding out people who would use welfare money to buy drugs.


2) Police Dept. to Examine Pepper-Spray Episode
September 28, 2011, 1:37 pm

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Wednesday that the Internal Affairs Bureau "will look" into the decision of a high-ranking officer to use pepper spray on a number of female protesters at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration on Saturday.

The pepper spray episode occurred on East 12th Street, where police officers arrested some protesters and corralled others behind orange mesh netting. It was captured on video recordings made by several protesters from different vantage points.

The video, which has been posted on YouTube and the Web sites of numerous news organizations, shows a deputy inspector walking up to a group of women standing on the sidewalk behind the orange netting and shooting pepper spray at them. Then footage then shows the deputy inspector, who has been identified as Anthony Bologna, walking away.

Commissioner Kelly said he had seen video of the pepper spraying only on a television newscast, and questioned whether the snippet he saw offered enough context to evaluate what occurred.

Asked about the episode at a press briefing on Wednesday, Mr. Kelly did not offer an explanation for why Inspector Bologna selected the four women out of the larger crowd as a target.

"I don't know what precipitated that specific incident," he said, but added that demonstrators as a group were engaged in "tumultuous conduct" and were "intent on blocking traffic" as they marched down University Place on their return from Union Square to the financial district, where the protesters have been encamped for more than a week.

Mr. Kelly said concerns about the pepper spray episode had been referred to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates allegations of police misconduct. Mr. Kelly said the department would also "look at it ourselves as well," and added that the internal inquiry would be handled by the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Rob Harris contributed reporting.


3) A Spray Like a Punch in the Face
September 27, 2011

Last week, a girl in the Bronx pulled out a can of pepper spray and used it in a fight with two other girls in her high school, an event that resulted in her arrest, her mother's arrest and a report on WNBC.

The mother got locked up because she bought the stuff and gave it to her daughter, and the law in New York is strict about who can carry it - no teenagers, no felons - and how it is used. There was a long legislative fight over whether people should be allowed to carry it, and in 1996, New York became the last state to make it legal, over the objections of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who felt the rules were lax.

The law requires the following label to appear on the cans:

"The use of this substance or device for any purpose other than self-defense is a criminal offense under the law."

Pepper spray is regulated with other dangerous weapons. For anyone interested in the effect it has on people hit with it, there are plenty of videos available online. You can hear agonizing screams, especially when it hits the mucous membranes and soft tissue like the eyes.

Or you can check in with Chelsea Elliott, 25, who learned about it Saturday while standing on the sidewalk on East 12th Street with others who had been part of a march protesting elements of the American economic system.

"I felt something weird and wet on my face," she said. "I said, 'What's that?' Then it burned so bad, my eyes - it was unbelievably intense. My eyes were on fire."

There are now multiple videos available that show some or all of the encounter, which took place at the end of a march that began in the financial district, where Occupy Wall Street has based itself for more than a week, and continuing to Union Square, a little more than two miles. The protesters did not have a permit, walked the wrong way up some streets, and when the police tried to steer them, just plowed ahead. It's a crowded city: a few hundred people wanted to march anywhere they felt like it, and a few hundred thousand people were going about their lives. In between were the police.

Inevitably, things came to a head.

"It got kind of weird around Union Square," Ms. Elliott said. "That's when they tried to corral us into those nets. The march had ended. I was exhausted - I just wanted to walk back to Wall Street."

She was standing in one of the nets, occasionally screaming when someone was arrested.

Then a deputy inspector, a senior rank in the Police Department, walked up to the corral, quickly doused several people standing there with pepper spray, and just walked off. It stunned the protesters and police officers standing around them.

"I was in a state of shock," Ms. Elliott said. "The officer I was talking to said, 'Thanks for the warning.' "

IN the video, the deputy inspector, Anthony Bologna, looked as if he were spraying cockroaches. When asked about the matter, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, Paul J. Browne, said it had been used "appropriately."

In his statement, he also said, "Pepper spray was used once after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier - something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video."

Other videos have surfaced, and it is hard to square the events described by Mr. Browne with what they show. Earlier in the week, after a different encounter, Mr. Browne said a man had been arrested "for jumping a police barrier and resisting arrest." A sequence of photographs published on the City Room blog of The New York Times showed precisely the opposite: a deputy inspector tried to pull a protester over a barrier, and then he jumped over to grab the protester. Mr. Browne later said he had gotten his facts scrambled.

It is axiomatic that early reports in confusing situations are usually wrong.

The pepper spray videos have gone around the world, trailed by Mr. Browne's instant justification and defense of them. The combination has done little credit to the Police Department, which, in fact, has had a generally civil and accommodating relationship with the protesters, according to many people on the scene.

If a nightstick were substituted for pepper spray, a conventional weapon instead of an exotic one, the events on 12th Street would bear a strong resemblance to simple assault.

"I have respect for police officers, but that man assaulted me," Ms. Elliott said. "Bizarrely. Stupidly. Needlessly."



4) U.A.W. Approves Four-Year Contract With G.M.
"At several large plants, fewer than 40 percent of eligible workers made the effort to vote, based on results posted online, evidence of considerable apathy toward the agreement. Most U.A.W. locals publicly report only the percentage who favored the deal and not actual vote totals, so the overall turnout was not clear."
September 28, 2011

DETROIT - Members of the United Automobile Workers union have ratified a new four-year contract with General Motors, the union said Wednesday, as it also worked toward reaching a deal with the Ford Motor Company by the end of the week.

The union said 65 percent of production workers and 63 percent of skilled-trades workers who voted approved the deal, the first new labor agreement with one of the Detroit carmakers since the government's $82 billion auto industry bailout in 2009. The contract calls for G.M. to create 6,400 jobs at American plants, move some work to the United States from Mexico and raise its entry-level pay scale.

"The U.A.W. and G.M. entered into this set of bargaining as America struggles with record levels of unemployment and an economy that shows little sign of improvement," the union president, Bob King, said in a statement. "Because of President Obama's and the American taxpayers' backing of our jobs and our companies, we were determined to work together with G.M. management to grow jobs in the U.S. and to get more Americans back to work, and we are doing just that."

As a result, the 48,500 G.M. workers covered by the contract will each receive bonuses of $5,000 later this fall. They also will get $1,000 annual bonuses starting in 2013 and larger profit-sharing checks than the old contract provided.

Among the workers who voted, a majority supported the deal at nearly all G.M. plants across the United States. The contract, which was reached Sept. 16, was rejected by only two U.A.W. chapters: Local 602, which represents 3,400 workers who build crossover vehicles near Lansing, Mich., and Local 23, which represents a small number of workers at a metal-stamping plant in Indianapolis that is shutting down this year.

At several large plants, fewer than 40 percent of eligible workers made the effort to vote, based on results posted online, evidence of considerable apathy toward the agreement. Most U.A.W. locals publicly report only the percentage who favored the deal and not actual vote totals, so the overall turnout was not clear.

"In these uncertain economic times, we were able to win an agreement with G.M. that guarantees good American jobs at a good American company," Joe Ashton, the U.A.W. vice president in charge of negotiations with G.M., said in the union's statement. "When G.M. was down, our members sacrificed and saved G.M. Now that G.M. is posting strong profits, our members, as a result of this agreement, are going to share in the company's success."

Meanwhile, the union is closing in on a tentative agreement with Ford, although negotiations have not advanced to the long, late-night sessions that usually occur in the final days.

On Tuesday, Mr. King and other negotiators met with Ford management for several hours before adjourning in the afternoon, according to a recorded message the union posted on a telephone hot line. In the message, Anderson Robinson, the U.A.W. national negotiating team's recording secretary, said that no major breakthroughs occurred Tuesday but the union is "on track to secure an economic package that our membership deserves."

Mr. Robinson did not update its timetable for concluding talks with Ford. On Monday, the hot line message said the union was optimistic that it would have "good news for our membership by the end of the week."

Union negotiators want the Ford contract to follow the same framework as the G.M. deal, but they are seeking a more lucrative deal from Ford, which did not go through bankruptcy. The negotiators have told organizers at Ford plants to prepare for the possibility of a strike, even though there were no signs that a labor stoppage would occur.

G.M. and Chrysler workers gave up their right to strike through 2015 as part of those companies' 2009 bankruptcies.

Talks with Chrysler were continuing but were not expected to pick up until after the union has a deal with Ford. The U.A.W.'s contract with Chrysler has been extended through Oct. 19.


5) Cuba Legalizes General Purchase and Sale of Cars
September 28, 2011

HAVANA (AP) - Cuba legalized the sale and purchase of automobiles for all citizens on Wednesday, another major step in the communist run island's economic transformation and one that the public has been clamoring for during decades.

The government announced the move in April, but sales have been on hold until the measure was published into law in the Official Gazette.

Under the law, which takes effect Oct. 1, buyers and sellers must each pay a 4 percent tax, and buyers must make a sworn declaration that the money used for the purchase was obtained legally.

Unrestricted sales had previously been limited to cars built before the 1959 revolution, one of the reasons Cuba's streets are about the only place on the planet one routinely finds a multitude of finned American classics from the 1950s such as Chevrolets Bel Airs and Chrysler Imperials, all in various states of disrepair.

Doctors, athletes, artists and others sent abroad on official business were allowed to bring cars back or purchase a boxy, Russian-made Lada or Moscovich from the state. Some senior workers were given company cars, though gas usage is strictly monitored to make sure they are only driven for work reasons.

The new law will allow the sale of cars from all models and years, and it legalizes ownership of more than one car, although tax rates go up slightly.

"It is a very positive step," said Rolando Perez, a Havana resident who was standing in line to get a license to go into business for himself. "They should have done it a long time ago."

The 40-page Gazette also says that Cubans who leave the island for good can transfer ownership of their car to a relative or sell it outright. Previously, the state could seize the automobiles of those who emigrated.

While most car sales have been illegal without government permission since the early 1960s, used automobiles have been widely traded in a booming black market for years. Buyers would hand over large amounts of cash under what amounted to handshake agreements, with title not changing hands.

Many cars are generations removed from the original title holder, meaning ownership will have to be untangled once the new regulations take effect.

While Cubans have long complained about restrictions on car sales, it is not clear how many will be in a position to take advantage of the new law. Most islanders make just $20 a month, although remittances from relatives overseas are playing an increasingly important role in household economies. A small number of successful new business owners may also be able to parlay their profits into a new set of wheels.

Cuban President Raul Castro has instituted a series of free-market reforms designed to rescue the island from economic ruin. Cuba has legalized some private enterprise, and allowed citizens to rent out rooms and hire employees.

The government has also announced it plans to legalize the sale and purchase of real estate by the end of 2011.

Paul Haven can be reached at


6) Unemployment Rates Fell in Majority of US Cities
"Unemployment rates fell in roughly two-thirds of U.S. cities last month, despite zero job growth nationwide. ...People who are no longer searching for jobs aren't counted as unemployed."
September 28, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Unemployment rates fell in roughly two-thirds of U.S. cities last month, despite zero job growth nationwide.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates dropped in 237 of the nation's largest metro areas in August from July. They rose in 103 and stayed the same in 32. That's an improvement from July, when rates fell in 193 areas and rose in 118.

Some areas with large agricultural sectors added jobs to coincide with the start of the harvest. Auto companies boosted hiring in several other cities.

Rates also fell in Jackson, Miss., and other cities because thousands of people gave up looking for work. People who are no longer searching for jobs aren't counted as unemployed.

Unlike national and state data, metro unemployment figures are not adjusted for seasonal changes.

The U.S. economy added no net jobs in August, the least amount of hiring in almost a year. The national unemployment rate remained 9.1 percent for the second straight month.

Businesses pulled back on hiring this summer after the government said the economy barely expanded in the first six months of the year.

Most of the cities that reported sharp improvement still suffer from steep unemployment rates. Unemployment dropped the most last month in Yuba City, Calif., a heavily agricultural area in Northern California. The city's rate fell from 18.6 percent in July to 17 percent last month.

Another big decline was in Modesto, Calif., home of the E. & J. Gallo Winery, the largest winemaker in the world. The rate there dropped from 17.3 percent in July to 16 percent last month.

The unemployment rate in Mansfield, Ohio fell from 11.4 percent to 10.1 percent, mostly because the city added manufacturing jobs.

El Centro, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz. had the highest unemployment rates among cities, at 32.4 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively. They are adjacent counties with heavy farm economies and large contingents of migrant labor. Yuma's rate fell while El Centro's ticked up.

Bismarck, N.D. reported the nation's lowest unemployment rate, at 3 percent. Lincoln, Neb. had the next lowest rate, at 3.6 percent, followed by Fargo, N.D., at 3.9 percent.

Among the 49 cities with populations of 1 million or more, Las Vegas had the highest unemployment rate, at 14.2 percent. Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. had the second highest, 14.1 percent. Both were hit by huge housing bubbles and haven't yet recovered.

Oklahoma City, Okla. had the lowest rate among big cities, at 5 percent.


7) Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit
"In the United States - with almost 400,000 annual detentions in 2010, up from 280,000 in 2005 - private companies now control nearly half of all detention beds, compared with only 8 percent in state and federal prisons, according to government figures."
September 28, 2011

The men showed up in a small town in Australia's outback early last year, offering top dollar for all available lodgings. Within days, their company, Serco, was flying in recruits from as far away as London, and busing them from trailers to work 12-hour shifts as guards in a remote camp where immigrants seeking asylum are indefinitely detained.

It was just a small part of a pattern on three continents where a handful of multinational security companies have been turning crackdowns on immigration into a growing global industry.

Especially in Britain, the United States and Australia, governments of different stripes have increasingly looked to such companies to expand detention and show voters they are enforcing tougher immigration laws.

Some of the companies are huge - one is among the largest private employers in the world - and they say they are meeting demand faster and less expensively than the public sector could.

But the ballooning of privatized detention has been accompanied by scathing inspection reports, lawsuits and the documentation of widespread abuse and neglect, sometimes lethal. Human rights groups say detention has neither worked as a deterrent nor speeded deportation, as governments contend, and some worry about the creation of a "detention-industrial complex" with a momentum of its own.

"They're very good at the glossy brochure," said Kaye Bernard, general secretary of the union of detention workers on the Australian territory of Christmas Island, where riots erupted this year between asylum seekers and guards. "On the ground, it's almost laughable, the chaos and the inability to function."

Private prisons in the United States have long stirred controversy. But while there have been conflicting studies about their costs and benefits, no systematic comparisons exist for immigration detention, say scholars like Matthew J. Gibney, a political scientist at the University of Oxford who tracks immigration systems.

Still, Mr. Gibney and others say the pitfalls of outsourcing immigration enforcement have become evident in the past 15 years. "When something goes wrong - a death, an escape - the government can blame it on a kind of market failure instead of an accountability failure," he said.

In the United States - with almost 400,000 annual detentions in 2010, up from 280,000 in 2005 - private companies now control nearly half of all detention beds, compared with only 8 percent in state and federal prisons, according to government figures. In Britain, 7 of 11 detention centers and most short-term holding places for immigrants are run by for-profit contractors.

No country has more completely outsourced immigration enforcement, with more troubled results, than Australia. Under unusually severe mandatory detention laws, the system has been run by a succession of three publicly traded companies since 1998. All three are now major players in the international business of locking up and transporting unwanted foreigners.

The first, the Florida-based prison company GEO Group, lost its Australia contract in 2003 amid a commission's findings that detained children were subjected to cruel treatment. An Australian government audit reported that the contract had not delivered "value-for-money." In the United States, GEO controls 7,000 of 32,000 detention beds.

The second company, G4S, an Anglo-Danish security conglomerate with more than 600,000 employees in 125 countries, was faulted for lethal neglect and abusive use of solitary confinement in Australia. By the middle of the past decade, after refugee children had sewed their lips together during hunger strikes in camps like Woomera and Curtin, and government commissions discovered that Australian citizens and legal residents were being wrongly detained and deported, protests pushed the Liberal Party government to dismantle some aspects of the system.

But after promising to return the work to the public sector, a Labor government awarded a five-year, $370 million contract to Serco in 2009. The value of the contract has since soared beyond $756 million as detention sites quadrupled, to 24, and the number of detainees ballooned to 6,700 from 1,000.

Dangerous Problems

Over the past year, riots, fires and suicidal protests left millions of dollars in damage at Serco-run centers from Christmas Island to Villawood, outside Sydney, and self-harm by detainees rose twelvefold, government documents show. In August, a government inspection report cited dangerous overcrowding, inadequate and ill-trained staff, no crisis planning and no requirement that Serco add employees when population exceeded capacity.

At the detention center Serco runs in Villawood, immigrants spoke of long, open-ended detentions making them crazy. Alwy Fadhel, 33, an Indonesian Christian who said he needed asylum from Islamic persecution, had long black hair coming out in clumps after being held for more than three years, in and out of solitary confinement.

"We talk to ourselves," Mr. Fadhel said. "We talk to the mirror; we talk to the wall."

Naomi Leong, a shy 9-year-old, was born in the detention camp. For more than three years, at a cost of about $380,000, she and her mother were held behind its barbed wire. Psychiatrists said Naomi was growing up mute, banging her head against the walls while her mother, Virginia Leong, a Malaysian citizen accused of trying to use a false passport, sank into depression.

Naomi and her mother became a cause célèbre in protests against the mandatory detention system, leading to their release in 2005 on rare humanitarian visas. They are now citizens.

"I come here to give little bit of hope to the people," Ms. Leong said during a recent visit to Villawood, where posters display the governing principles of Serco, beginning with "We foster an entrepreneurial culture."

Free-Market Solutions

Companies often say that losing a contract is the ultimate accountability.

"We are acutely aware of our responsibilities and are committed to the humane, fair and decent treatment of all those in our care," a Serco spokesman said in an e-mail. "We will continue to work with our customers around the world and seek to improve the services we provide for them."

But lost detention contracts are rare and easily replaced in this fast-growing business. Serco's $10 billion portfolio includes many other businesses, from air traffic control and visa processing in the United States, to nuclear weapons maintenance, video surveillance and welfare-to-work programs in Britain, where it also operates several prisons and two "immigration removal centers."

"If one area or territory slows down, we can move where the growth is," Christopher Hyman, Serco's chief executive, told investors last year, after reporting a 35 percent increase in profits. This spring, Serco reported a 13 percent profit rise.

Its rival G4S delivers cash to banks on most continents, runs airport security in 80 countries and has 1,500 employees in immigration enforcement in Britain, the Netherlands and the United States, where its services include escorting illegal border-crossers back to Mexico for the Department of Homeland Security.

Nick Buckles, the chief executive of G4S, would not discuss the company. But last year he told analysts how its "justice" business in the Netherlands blossomed in one week after the 2002 assassination of a politician with an anti-immigrant and law-and-order agenda.

"There's nothing like a political crisis to stimulate a bit of change," Mr. Buckles said.

In Britain last fall, the company came under criminal investigation in the asphyxiation of an Angolan man who died as three G4S escorts held him down on a British Airways flight. Soon afterward, British immigration authorities announced that the company had lost its bid to renew a $48 million deportation escort contract because it was underbid by a competitor.

Even so, G4S has more than $1.1 billion in government contracts in Britain, a spokesman said, only about $126 million from the immigration authority. It quickly replaced the lost revenue with contracts to build, lease and run more police jails and prisons.

In 2007, Western Australia's Human Rights Commission found that G4S drivers had ignored the cries of detainees locked in a scorching van, leaving them so dehydrated that one drank his own urine. The company was ordered to pay $500,000 for inhumane treatment, but three of the five victims already had been deported. Immigration officials, relying on company misinformation, had dismissed their complaints without investigation, the commission found.

There was a public outcry when an Aboriginal man died in another G4S van in similar circumstances the next year. A coroner ruled in 2009 that G4S, the drivers and the government shared the blame. The company was later awarded a $70 million, five-year prisoner transport contract in another state, Victoria, without competition.

G4S pleaded guilty to negligence in the van death this year, and was fined $285,000. Mr. Buckles, its chief executive, alluded to the case at a meeting with analysts in March, reassuring them.

"There is only two or three major players, typically sometimes only two people bidding," Mr. Buckles said. "In time, we will become a winner in that market because there's a lot of outsourcing opportunities and not many competitors."

In August, when GEO, the Florida prison company, posted a 40 percent rise in second-quarter profits, its executives in Boca Raton spoke of new immigration business on both sides of the Atlantic.

John M. Hurley, a GEO executive for North American operations, cited "the continued growth in the criminal alien population," larger facilities, and longer federal contracts, some up to 20 years.

At the company's Reeves County Detention Center in Texas, immigrant inmates rioted in 2009 and 2010 after several detainees died in solitary confinement. GEO executives declined to comment. But speaking to shareholders, they credited much of the quarter's $10 million increase in international revenue to the expansion of a detention center in Britain, where immigration was a hot issue in the 2010 election.

A Policy Backfires

"Britain is no longer a soft touch," Damian Green, the immigration minister, said in August 2010 when he visited the center, near Heathrow Airport, reopening wings that had burned in 2006 during detainee riots under a different private operator.

The riots started the day the chief inspector of prisons released a blistering report about abuses there, including excessive waits for deportation. Months after Mr. Green's appearance, an independent monitoring board complained that at the expanded center - now Europe's largest, with 610 detainees - at least 35 men had been waiting more than a year to be deported, including one locked up for three years and seven months at a cost of at least $237,000.

The camp that Serco took over in the Australian outback, the Curtin Immigration Detention Center, had also been shut down amid riots and hunger strikes in 2002. But it was reopened last year to handle a surge of asylum seekers arriving by boat even as the government imposed a moratorium on processing their claims. Refurbished for 300 men, the camp sits on an old air force base and held more than 1,500 detainees in huts and tents behind an electrified fence. Serco guards likened the compound to a free-range chicken farm.

On March 28, a 19-year-old Afghan from a group persecuted by the Taliban hanged himself after 10 months' detention - the system's fifth suicide in seven months. A dozen guards, short of sleep and training, found themselves battling hundreds of grieving, angry detainees for the teenager's body.

"We have lost control," said Richard Harding, who served for a decade as Western Australia's chief prison inspector. He is no enemy of privatization, and his praise for a Serco-run prison is posted on the company's Web site. But he said Curtin today was emblematic of "a flawed arrangement that's going to go wrong no matter who's running it."

"These big global companies, in relation to specific activities, are more powerful than the governments they're dealing with," he added.

Matt Siegel contributed reporting from Sydney, Australia.


8) Hispanic Children in Poverty Exceed Whites, Study Finds
"Children of immigrant parents were far more likely to be poor. Of the 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, more than two-thirds had immigrant parents, according to the Pew report. Most of those children were born in the United States. The other two million had parents born in the United States. While the number of Hispanic children in poverty is the highest ever, the poverty rate - 35 percent in 2010 - is well under its 1994 peak of 41 percent. Nor do Hispanics have the largest share in poverty of all racial and ethnic groups. In 2010, 39.1 percent of black children - 4.3 million - lived in poverty, as did 12.4 percent of white children."
September 28, 2011

WASHINGTON - Hispanic children living in poverty in the United States outnumber poor white children for the first time, a demographic shift that was hastened by the recession, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The number of Hispanic children in poverty jumped by 36 percent from 2007 to 2010, to a total of 6.1 million, compared with 5 million non-Hispanic white children who are poor, said the report, which analyzed recent data from the Census Bureau.

The recession drove the rise, the report found. But demographics also contributed. The Hispanic population has grown by more than 40 percent over the past decade.

Hispanics make up 16 percent of the overall American population, but they are a quarter of the country's children.

"Who they become will be important for the future of the nation," said Mark Hugo Lopez, the associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center and the principal author of the report.

Hispanics suffered in the recession in part because they were heavily employed in industries like housing that experienced sharp declines. It sliced 7 percent off their median income and bumped their unemployment rate up to 11 percent, from 5.7 percent before the recession began. In comparison, the national rate is 9 percent.

Children of immigrant parents were far more likely to be poor. Of the 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, more than two-thirds had immigrant parents, according to the Pew report. Most of those children were born in the United States. The other two million had parents born in the United States.

While the number of Hispanic children in poverty is the highest ever, the poverty rate - 35 percent in 2010 - is well under its 1994 peak of 41 percent.

Nor do Hispanics have the largest share in poverty of all racial and ethnic groups. In 2010, 39.1 percent of black children - 4.3 million - lived in poverty, as did 12.4 percent of white children.

There were some bright spots in the report. Mr. Lopez said that most young Hispanics believe they will be better off than their parents, citing surveys the center has conducted. College enrollment has been rising significantly among young Hispanics.

And Hispanic children in poverty are more likely to live in married couple families than either non-Hispanic whites or African-Americans, according to the report, a pattern that can help cushion an economic fall. Forty-six percent of Hispanic children lived in married couple families in 2010, compared with 41 percent of whites and 16 percent of African-Americans.


9) Death Penalty Possible for Guantánamo Detainee
September 28, 2011

The Pentagon has approved charges that carry the possibility of the death penalty for a Guantánamo detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of planning the deadly 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer Cole when it was docked in Yemen, the Defense Department said Wednesday. Seventeen sailors died in the attack. The United States has 30 days to bring Mr. Nashiri before a military judge at the United States base in Cuba for arraignment. It would be the first death-penalty war crimes trial for a prisoner at Guantánamo under President Obama, who had pledged to close the detention center but ran into Congressional opposition to moving detainees to the United States. A Saudi of Yemeni descent, Mr. Nashiri was captured in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November 2002 and was waterboarded and threatened with a power drill during interrogation, a C.I.A. inspector general's report said. His lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Reyes of the Navy, said the treatment amounted to torture and had asked that the charges be dropped or the potential death penalty be removed.


10) In the Moments Before Deportation, Holding Onto Hope
September 29, 2011, 11:32 am

Shoes piled at the entranceway, the Habib house in Woodside, Queens, appeared to be having a celebration Wednesday night - teenagers drew on bright paper on the living room floor; women in headscarves and flowing salwar kameez dresses passed out cupcakes after a hardy meal of chicken biryani; kids bounced on leather couches and swung miniature American flags.

Nadia Habib, a 19-year-old with a shining nose stud representing both her Bengali culture and youthful style, munched on a Burger King fish sandwich. Her brother Naiem Habib, 17, made a joke about a smudged poster reading "We are all immigrants."

"It's not like people are going to focus on the sign and say, 'oh that looks kind of bad, we're going to deport her!' " Naiem said.

Nadia laughed. But to the 40 friends and family members at the Habibs - and to 6,000 other people around the country who have signed a petition on their behalf - the deportation to Bangladesh of Nadia Habib and her mother, Nazmin Habib, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, seems almost as arbitrary as a smudged sign.

The family immigrated to the United States in 1993. The father, Jawad Habib, a taxi driver, has his green card. Nadia's three younger siblings were born here and are citizens. But Nadia and her mother overstayed a tourist visa and are not legal residents.

Ever since an order was issued in 2000 for mother and daughter's removal, the family says they have been trying to appeal and seek political asylum. Their case has never been reopened, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement never enforced the ruling - until last month.

The Habibs' lawyer, Aygul Charles, noted that new government policies focus on deporting immigrants with criminal records first (the Habibs have none). Ms. Charles filed a request Monday to block the deportation but says she has not gotten a reply.

A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Luis Martinez, would not comment directly on the case, but he said ICE focused its efforts on convicted criminals, who represented over half of last year's deportations.

So the Habibs haven't given up hope.

Though asked to arrive at Federal Plaza ready for departure on Thursday, Nadia Habib and her mother brought no suitcases for their deportation date, when they arrived at 10 a.m. Outside the building, protesters rallied to urge the government to let them stay.

Wednesday night, as Nadia and her friends made signs, she fielded an endless string of calls from friends, family members and reporters. "Are you coming to the rally?" she'd ask. Every night, she said: "I've broken down and cried. But you have to keep yourself together."


11) A Massive Union Just Voted To Side With The Wall Street Protesters
(Including the Ten Demands of Wall Street Protesters)
Linette Lopez
Sep. 29, 2011, 10:30 AM

According to Daily Kos, The New York Transit Workers Union (TWU) voted to support the Wall Street Protestors at their meeting last night.

A member of TWU Local 100 told a reporter that they would join the protest Friday at 4PM.

Here's more about them from their website:

The TWU has four main divisions: Railroad; Gaming; Airline; Transit; and Utility, University and Service. The Union has 114 autonomous locals representing over 200,000 members and retirees in 22 states around the country.

Occupy Wall Street has been picking up some decent support from unions in the past few days. Yesterday we reported that the Teamsters Union declared their support for protestors, and we also found out that the United Pilots Union had members at the protest demonstrating in uniform.

Today we learned the Industrial Workers of the World put a message of support on their website as well.

Click here to see the protestor's list of demands >

That's good for the protestors, sure, but the bottom line is whether or not these unions can produce bodies. Experience says that when they want to, unions can be quite good at doing that very thing.

And it seems that they're interested. In many of their statements of support, they say that their members are part of "The 99%" that Occupy Wall Street protestors keep talking about.

But what does that even mean? Naturally, we had to get to the bottom of it, so we found the We Are The 99% blog. It's made of a collection of pictures people holding up signs about how the sorry state of the economy has effected them. Here are some examples:

* A guy in a lab coat with a stethoscope around his neck (you can't see his face) holds a sign saying: "Ivy League medical student over 100,000 in debt committed to a life of helping the homeless and mentally ill. We are the 99%."
* Another girl holds a sign saying: "They say you can be anything you want if you work hard enough. The truth is you can only be what you want if you can pay enough. Only 20 and already drowning in debt because I want to follow my dreams. I am the 99%."
* Another woman holds up a sign saying: "I'm a single mom of four, college graduate 3.6 GPA, shelf stocker, I go hungry daily, I am the 99%. Occupy Wall Street.

Now for your protest update: When we checked in on the live feed around 9:30 this morning, the protestors were marching, playing drums and chanting: "All day, all week occupy Wall Street!"

A cop briefly interrupted them and told them that they were "invited" to stay on the sidewalk and the drumming continued to the sound of applause cheers of "YAY the sidewalk!"

Also, good old Michael Moore will be giving an interview from the protest tonight on MSNBC at 8 PM.

10 Demands Being Made By The Wall Street Protesters:

Repeal the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that let corporations give more money to politics

Widespread debt forgiveness

Pay-as-you-go military intervention

Pass a Tobin tax

Universal care centers

Reinstate Glass-Steagall

Paid sick leave

Increased political transparency

Negative income tax (or social wage)

Full employment


12) How Math Whizzes Helped Sink the Economy [Book Excerpt]
Scott Patterson's book The Quants profiles the quantitative-minded investors who helped inflate the hedge fund bubble
By Scott Patterson
Thursday, September 22, 2011 | 12

[Editor's note: This excerpt from The Quants, by Scott Patterson (Crown Business_, 2010), describes the 2006 Wall Street Poker Night Tournament, which featured professional poker players T. J. Cloutier and Clonie Gowen. It also featured several powerful money managers representing a new kind of Wall Streeter, the math-savvy investors known as "quants." The quants in attendance that night in 2006 included Peter Muller of Morgan Stanley_, Ken Griffin of Citadel Investment Group, Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management, Boaz Weinstein of Deutsche Bank and Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies.]

No matter how hard they might play elsewhere, no poker game mattered more than when the gamblers around the table were their fellow quants. It was more than a battle of wits over massive pots-it was a battle of enormous egos. Every day they went head-to-head on Wall Street, facing off in a computerized game of high-stakes poker in financial markets around the globe, measuring one another's wins and losses from afar, but here was a chance to measure their mettle face-to-face. Each had his own particular strategy for beating the market. Griffin specialized in finding cheap bonds through mathematical formulas, or, via the same logic, cheap, down-on-their-luck companies ripe for the picking. Muller liked to buy and sell stocks at a superfast pace using Morgan Stanley's high-powered computers. Asness used historical tests of market trends going back decades to detect hidden patterns no one else knew about. Weinstein was a wizard with credit derivatives-securities whose value derives from some underlying asset, such as a stock or a bond. Weinstein was especially adept with a newfangled derivative known as a credit default swap, which is essentially an insurance policy on a bond.

Regardless of which signature trade each man favored, they had something far more powerful in common: an epic quest for an elusive, ethereal quality the quants sometimes referred to in hushed, reverent tones as the Truth.

The Truth was a universal secret about the way the market worked that could only be discovered through mathematics. Revealed through the study of obscure patterns in the market, the Truth was the key to unlocking billions in profits. The quants built giant machines- turbocharged computers linked to financial markets around the globe-to search for the Truth, and to deploy it in their quest to make untold fortunes. The bigger the machine, the more Truth they knew, and the more Truth they knew, the more they could bet. And from that, they reasoned, the richer they'd be. Think of white-coated scientists building ever more powerful devices to replicate conditions at the moment of the Big Bang to understand the forces at the root of creation. It was about money, of course, but it was also about proof. Each added dollar was another tiny step toward proving they had fulfilled their academic promise and uncovered the Truth.

The quants created a name for the Truth, a name that smacked of cabalistic studies of magical formulas: alpha. Alpha is a code word for an elusive skill certain individuals are endowed with that gives them the ability to consistently beat the market. It is used in contrast with another Greek term, beta, which is shorthand for plain-vanilla market returns anyone with half a brain can achieve.

To the quants, beta is bad, alpha is good. Alpha is the Truth. If you have it, you can be rich beyond your wildest dreams.

The notion of alpha, and its ephemeral promise of vast riches, was everywhere in the hedge fund world. The trade magazine of choice for hedge funds was called Alpha. A popular website frequented by the hedge fund community was called Seeking Alpha_. Several of the quants in the room had already laid claim, in some form or another, to the possession of alpha. Asness named his first hedge fund, hatched inside Goldman in the mid-1990s, Global Alpha. Before moving on to Morgan in 1992, Muller had helped construct a computerized investing system called Alphabuilder for a quant farm in Berkeley called BARRA. An old poster from a 1960s film noir by Jean-Luc Godard_ called Alphaville hung on the walls of PDT's office in Morgan's midtown Manhattan headquarters.

But there was always a worry haunting the beauty of the quants' algorithms. Perhaps their successes weren't due to skill at all. Perhaps it was all just dumb luck, fool's gold, a good run that could come to an end on any given day. What if the markets weren't predictable? What if their computer models didn't always work? What if the truth wasn't knowable? Worse, what if there wasn't any Truth?

In their day jobs, as they searched for the Truth, channeling their hidden alpha nerds, the quants were isolated in their trading rooms and hedge funds. At the poker table, they could look one another in the eye, smiling over their cards as they tossed another ten grand worth of chips on the table and called, looking for the telltale wince of the bluffer. Sure, it was a charity event. But it was also a test. Skill at poker meant skill at trading. And it potentially meant something even more: the magical presence of alpha.

As the night rolled on, the quants fared well. Muller chalked up victories against Gowen and Cloutier in the early rounds. Weinstein was knocked out early, but Muller and Asness kept dominating their opponents. Griffin made it into the final ten before running out of luck and chips, as did Einhorn. The action got more intense as the hour grew late. Around 1:30 a.m., only three players were left: Muller, Asness, and Andrei Paraschivescu, a portfolio manager who worked for Griffin at Citadel.

Asness didn't like his first two cards on the next deal and quickly folded, happy to wait for a better draw, leaving the pot to Muller and Paraschivescu. The crowd fell quiet. The incessant honking city whir of Fifth Avenue penetrated the suddenly hushed room.

Breaking the silence, Griffin shouted a warning to his underling: "Andrei, don't bother coming into work next week if you don't knock Pete out." Some in the crowd wondered if he meant it. With Griffin, you never knew.

The room went quiet again. Paraschivescu lifted a corner of the two cards facedown on the table before him. Pair of fours. Not bad. Muller bent the corner of his two cards and eyed a pair of kings. He decided to go all in, sweeping his chips into the pot. Suspecting a bluff, Paraschivescu pushed his mound of chips forward and called, flipping over his pair of fours. Muller showed his kings, his only show of emotion a winsome glint in his blue eyes. A groan went up from the crowd, the loudest from Griffin. The other cards dealt in the hand couldn't help Paraschivescu, and he was out.

It was down to Muller and Asness, quant versus quant. Asness was at a huge disadvantage. Muller outchipped him eight to one after having taken Paraschivescu to the cleaners. Asness would have to win several hands in a row to even have a chance. He was at Muller's mercy.

Griffin, still smarting from his ace trader's loss, promised to donate $10,000 to Asness's favorite charity if he beat Muller. "Aren't you a billionaire?" Asness chortled. "That's a little chintzy, Ken."

After the deal, Muller had a king and a seven. Not bad, but not great. He decided to go all in anyway. He had plenty of chips. It looked like a bad move: Asness had a better hand, an ace and a ten. As each successive card was dealt, it looked as though Asness was sure to take the pot. But on the final card, Muller drew another king. Odds were against it, but he won anyway. The real world works like that sometimes.

The crowd applauded as Griffin rained catcalls on Muller. Afterward Muller and Asness posed for photos with their silver trophies and with Clonie Gowen flashing a million-dollar smile between them. The biggest grin belonged to Muller.

As the well-heeled crowd of millionaires and billionaires fanned into the streets of Manhattan that night, they were on top of the world. The stock market was in the midst of one of the longest bull runs in history. The housing market was booming. Economists were full of talk of a Goldilocks economy-not too hot, not too cold-in which steady growth would continue as far as the eye could see.

A brilliant Princeton economist, Ben Bernanke_, had just taken over the helm of the Federal Reserve from Alan Greenspan. In February 2004, Bernanke had given a speech in Washington, D.C., that captured the buoyant mood of the times. Called "The Great Moderation," the speech told of a bold new economic era in which volatility-the jarring jolts and spasms that wreaked havoc on people's lives and their pocketbooks-was permanently eradicated. One of the primary forces behind this economic Shangri-la, he said, was an "increased depth and sophistication of financial markets."

In other words, quants, such as Griffin, Asness, Muller, Weinstein, Simons, and the rest of the math wizards who had taken over Wall Street, had helped tame the market's volatility. Out of chaos they had created order through their ever-increasing knowledge of the Truth. Every time the market lurched too far out of equilibrium, their supercomputers raced to the rescue, gobbling up the mispriced securities and restoring stability to the troubled kingdom. The financial system had become a finely tuned machine, humming blissfully along in the crystalline mathematical universe of the quants.

For providing this service to society, the quants were paid handsomely. But who could complain? Average workers were seeing their 401(k)s rise with the market, housing prices kept ticking ever upward, banks had plenty of money to lend, prognosticators imagined a Dow Jones Industrial Average that rose without fail, year after year. And much of the thanks went to the quants. It was a great time to be alive and rich and brilliant on Wall Street.

The money poured in, crazy money. Pension funds across America, burned by the dot-com collapse in 2000, rushed into hedge funds, the favored vehicle of the quants, entrusting their members' retirement savings to this group of secretive and opaque investors. Cliff Asness's hedge fund, AQR, had started with $1 billion in 1998. By mid-2007, its assets under management neared $40 billion. Citadel's kitty topped $20 billion. In 2005, Jim Simons announced that Renaissance would launch a fund that could juggle a record $100 billion in assets. Boaz Weinstein, just thirty-three, was wielding roughly $30 billion worth of positions for Deutsche Bank.

The growth had come rapid-fire. In 1990, hedge funds held $39 billion in assets. By 2000, the amount had leapt to $490 billion, and by 2007 it had exploded to $2 trillion. And those figures didn't capture the hundreds of billions of hedge fund dollars marshaled by banks such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs_, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns_, and Deutsche Bank, which were rapidly transforming from staid white-shoe bank companies into hot-rod hedge fund vehicles fixated on the fast buck-or the trillions more in leverage that juiced their returns like anabolic steroids.

The Great Hedge Fund Bubble-for it was a true bubble-was one of the most frenzied gold rushes of all time. Thousands of hedge fund jockeys became wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. One of the quickest tickets to the party was a background in math and computer science. On Wall Street Poker Night in 2006, Simons, Griffin, Asness, Muller, and Weinstein sat at the top of the heap, living outsized lives of private jets, luxury yachts, and sprawling mansions.

A year later, each of the players in the room that night would find himself in the crosshairs of one of the most brutal market meltdowns ever seen, one they had helped to create. Indeed, in their search for Truth, in their quest for alpha, the quants had unwittingly primed the bomb and lit the fuse for the financial catastrophe that began to explode in spectacular fashion in August 2007.

The result was possibly the biggest, fastest, and strangest financial collapse ever seen, and the starting point for the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression_.

Amazingly, not one of the quants, despite their chart-topping IQs, their walls of degrees, their impressive Ph.D.'s, their billions of wealth earned by anticipating every bob and weave the market threw their way, their decades studying every statistical quirk of the market under the sun, saw the train wreck coming.

How could they have missed it? What went wrong?

A hint to the answer was captured centuries ago by a man whose name emblazoned the poker chips the quants wagered with that night: Isaac Newton_. After losing £20,000 on a vast Ponzi scheme known as the South Sea Bubble in 1720, Newton observed: "I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people."

From The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It; (c) 2010 by Scott Patterson. Excerpt reprinted with the permission of the publisher.


13) American Strike on American Target Revives Contentious Constitutional Issue
September 30, 2011

WASHINGTON — The reported killing of Anwar al-Awlaki on Friday, an American citizen hit by a missile fired from a drone operated by his own government, instantly reignited a difficult debate over terrorism, civil liberties and the law.

The Obama administration had long argued that Mr. Awlaki, 40, had joined the enemy in wartime, shifting from propaganda to an operational role in plots against the United States, and last year it quietly decided that he could be targeted for capture or death like any other Al Qaeda leader. It was unclear whether the same formal determination had been made about another radicalized American who may have been killed in the same strike, Samir Khan.

Some civil libertarians questioned how the government could take an American citizen’s life based on murky intelligence and without an investigation or trial, claiming that hunting and killing him would amount to summary execution without the due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Awlaki’s father, Nasser al-Awlaki, a former agriculture minister and university chancellor in Yemen, had challenged the administration’s decision to place his son on the kill list, but the lawsuit was thrown out of federal court in Washington.

The American-educated son of an American-educated Yemeni technocrat, Anwar al-Awlaki embodied the puzzle of radicalization: How did an American citizen come to call for mass murder, in eloquent English, deftly mastering the megaphone of the Internet?

Mr. Awlaki’s eerily calm religious justifications for violence against his fellow Americans, broadcast and recycled across the Web for years, had a profound impact on a small number of young Muslims in the United States, Canada and Britain. In a score of plots since 2006, investigators discerned Mr. Awlaki as an important radicalizing influence, his written, audio and video sermons stored on hard drives, e-mailed among conspirators and treated as an authoritative clerical imprimatur for their deeds.

At least since 2009, American intelligence officials asserted, he had taken on a more significant role in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based branch of the terrorism network. Notably, they said he had helped recruit and train Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young Nigerian who tried to blow up an airliner headed for Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009 with a bomb sewn into his underwear.

Whatever the details of his hands-on participation in terrorism, Mr. Awlaki left no doubts about where he stood, certainly since November 2009, when he praised Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army major accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, as a hero.

The latest issue of Inspire, the slick English-language online magazine that he and Mr. Khan contributed to and may have edited, promised that “coming soon” would be an article by Mr. Awlaki titled “Targeting the Populations of Countries That Are At War with the Muslims.”

Mr. Awlaki was born in 1971 in New Mexico, where his father was a graduate student in agricultural science. He moved to Yemen with his parents at the age of 7 and attended school in the conservative Muslim country, where he later told friends he had been thrilled by tales of Yemeni men fighting the Russians in Afghanistan.

At 19, he was sent back to the United States to attend Colorado State University. He completed an engineering degree, but by then had discovered his knack for preaching in the little mosque in Fort Collins. He became the imam in mosques in Denver, San Diego and the Virginia suburbs of Washington, where he had contact with at least two of the future Sept. 11 hijackers.

Though he denounced the Sept. 11 attacks, he was angered by what he thought was anti-Muslim government investigations in the months that followed, and he moved to London and eventually to Yemen, where he was imprisoned in 2006 and 2007.


14) U.S. Approval of Killing of Cleric Causes Unease
"The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy." [Ya think?!?!? Like the murder of Troy Davis this is a message to all who oppose U.S. terrorism and all those who may oppose such U.S. policy in the future. No need for physical evidence; no need even for a trial. Just point and shoot or trump up some charges and "eyewitness testimony" when necessary. We are all in danger from the most murderous government in the world right]
May 13, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s decision to authorize the killing by the Central Intelligence Agency of a terrorism suspect who is an American citizen has set off a debate over the legal and political limits of drone missile strikes, a mainstay of the campaign against terrorism.

The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy.

To eavesdrop on the terrorism suspect who was added to the target list, the American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is hiding in Yemen, intelligence agencies would have to get a court warrant. But designating him for death, as C.I.A. officials did early this year with the National Security Council’s approval, required no judicial review.

“Congress has protected Awlaki’s cellphone calls,” said Vicki Divoll, a former C.I.A. lawyer who now teaches at the United States Naval Academy. “But it has not provided any protections for his life. That makes no sense.”

Administration officials take the view that no legal or constitutional rights can protect Mr. Awlaki, a charismatic preacher who has said it is a religious duty to attack the United States and who the C.I.A. believes is actively plotting violence. The attempted bombing of Times Square on May 1 is the latest of more than a dozen terrorist plots in the West that investigators believe were inspired in part by Mr. Awlaki’s rhetoric.

“American citizenship doesn’t give you carte blanche to wage war against your own country,” said a counterterrorism official who discussed the classified program on condition of anonymity. “If you cast your lot with its enemies, you may well share their fate.”

President Obama, who campaigned for the presidency against George W. Bush-era interrogation and detention practices, has implicitly invited moral and legal scrutiny of his own policies.

But like the debate over torture during the Bush administration, public discussion of what officials call targeted killing has been limited by the secrecy of the C.I.A. drone program. Representative John F. Tierney, who on April 28 held the first Congressional hearing focused on the lawfulness of targeted killing, said he was determined to air the contentious questions publicly and possibly seek legislation to govern such operations.

The reported targeting of Mr. Awlaki “certainly raises the question of what rights a citizen has and what steps must be taken before he’s put on the list,” said Mr. Tierney, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of a House subcommittee on national security.

Counterterrorism officials, with the support of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, say the drone missile strikes have proved to be an extraordinarily successful weapon against militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the location of all the known C.I.A. strikes except one in Yemen in 2002. By their count, the missiles have killed more than 500 militants since 2008, and a few dozen nearby civilians.

In the fullest administration statement to date, Harold Koh, the State Department’s legal adviser, said in a March 24 speech the drone strikes against Al Qaeda and its allies were lawful as part of the military action authorized by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as well as under the general principle of self-defense. By those rules, he said, such targeted killing was not assassination, which is banned by executive order.

But the disclosure last month by news organizations that Mr. Awlaki, 39, had been added to the C.I.A. kill list shifted the terms of the legal debate in several ways. He is located far from hostilities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the perpetrators of 9/11 are believed to be hiding.

He is alleged to be affiliated with a Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda. Intelligence analysts believe that only recently he began to help plot strikes, including the failed attempt to bomb an airliner on Dec. 25.

Most significantly, he is an American, born in New Mexico, arguably protected by the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee not to be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” In a traditional war, anyone allied with the enemy, regardless of citizenship, is a legitimate target; German-Americans who fought with the Nazis in World War II were given no special treatment.

But Ms. Divoll, the former C.I.A. lawyer, said some judicial process should be required before the government kills an American away from a traditional battlefield. In addition, she offered a practical argument for a review outside the executive branch: avoiding mistakes.

She noted media reports that C.I.A. officers in 2004 seized a German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, and held him in Afghanistan for months before acknowledging that they had grabbed the wrong man. “What if we had put him on the kill list?” she asked.

Another former C.I.A. lawyer, John Radsan, said prior judicial review of additions to the target list might be unconstitutional. “That sort of review goes to the core of presidential power,” he said. But Mr. Radsan, who teaches at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, said every drone strike should be subject to rigorous internal checks to be “sure beyond a reasonable doubt” that the target is an enemy combatant.

As for the question of whether Mr. Awlaki is a legitimate target, Mr. Radsan said the cleric might not resemble an American fighting in a Nazi uniform. “But if you imagine him making radio speeches for the Germans in World War II, there’s certainly a parallel,” he said.

Beyond the legal debate is the question of whether killing Mr. Awlaki would be a good idea. Many Muslim activists and scholars say it would accord him martyr status and amplify his violent message. Mohamed Elibiary, a Muslim community advocate in Texas who advises law enforcement on countering extremism, said helping the Yemeni authorities arrest Mr. Awlaki would make more sense. “I’m not saying this guy shouldn’t be treated as an enemy,” Mr. Elibiary said. “But there are smarter and stupider ways of eliminating your enemy.”

American officials say an arrest may not be possible. “If we need to stop dangerous terrorists who hide in remote parts of the world, inaccessible to U.S. troops, law enforcement, or any central government,” said the counterterrorism official, “what do you do — cover your ears and wait for a truly devastating explosion in Times Square?”


15) Banks to Make Customers Pay Fee for Using Debit Cards
September 29, 2011

Bank of America, the nation’s biggest bank, said on Thursday that it planned to start charging customers a $5 monthly fee when they used their debit cards for purchases. It was just one of several new charges expected to hit consumers as new regulations crimp banks’ profits.

Wells Fargo and Chase are testing $3 monthly debit card fees. Regions Financial, based in Birmingham, Ala., plans to start charging a $4 fee next month, while SunTrust, another regional powerhouse, is charging a $5 fee.

The round of new charges stems from a rule, which takes effect on Saturday, that limits the fees that banks can levy on merchants every time a consumer uses a debit card to make a purchase. The rule, known as the Durbin amendment, after its sponsor Senator Richard J. Durbin, is a crucial part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law.

Until now, the fees have been 44 cents a transaction, on average. The Federal Reserve in June agreed to cut the fees to a maximum of about 24 cents. While the fee amounts to pennies per swipe, it rapidly adds up across millions of transactions. The new limit is expected to cost the banks about $6.6 billion in revenue a year, beginning in 2012, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. That comes on top of another loss, of $5.6 billion, from new rules restricting overdraft fees, which went into effect in July 2010.

And even though retailer groups had argued that lower fees were important to keep prices in check, consumers were not likely to see substantial savings. In fact, they are simply going to end up paying from a different pot of money.

Or as Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, put it after passage last year of the Dodd-Frank Act, “If you’re a restaurant and you can’t charge for the soda, you’re going to charge more for the burger.”

Chase is now charging customers for a paper statement. It also, like many other banks, scrapped its debit card rewards program. And customers that Chase inherited from Washington Mutual no longer enjoy free checking accounts.

The bank is also exploring a number of other fee increases, including for online banking, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Bank of America’s debit fee is steeper than most of its competitors’, reflecting the broader challenges the bank is facing after the financial crisis. The bank has introduced an online-only account that charges customers for doing business at a local branch. It also plans to apply its new debit card fees to anyone who uses the card to make recurring payments like gym fees or cable bills.

Citibank is one of the few that said it would not introduce a charge for debit card use. “We have talked to customers and they have made it abundantly clear that ‘if you charge me to use my debit card, I would find that very irritating,’ ” said Stephen Troutner, head of Citi’s banking products. Still, the bank has made it more difficult to qualify for free checking, among other moves.

Earlier this year, Wells Fargo estimated that the Durbin rules would cost the bank $250 million in revenue every quarter. It hopes to make up half that gap with a variety of new products and customer fees, including the monthly debit card fee of $3. The change is part of a “pilot program” the bank will begin on Oct. 14 in five states across the country, including Washington and Georgia. As of Saturday, the bank will discontinue its debit card rewards program.

Meanwhile, HSBC said that it recently increased an A.T.M. fee — to $2.50 from $2 — for certain customers when they used a competitor’s A.T.M. It also recently introduced a debit transaction fee of 35 cents, though the first eight transactions are free.

And at TDBank, customers will now have to pay $2 for using A.T.M.’s outside their network.

“Durbin essentially moves the cost of debit away from merchants, and now it’s more focused on consumers,” said Beth Robertson, director of payments research at Javelin. “There are all sort of things happening where banks are saying, where can we put fees in place for our service to generate revenue or how can we reduce our costs?”

Over the last few years, consumers have increasingly shifted their spending to debit cards from credit cards, in large part to curb their spending. But some analysts predicted that the new fees could prompt consumers to return to credit cards — a more lucrative alternative for the banks.

Consumers have already begun to react to the changes.

Patrick Shields, 48, said he had decided to leave Citibank, where he has held a small-business account for his residential window cleaning business since 1986. He was contemplating opening a personal checking account, but realized he could do better at a credit union.

“At the credit union, they opened it free of charges, which Citi could not and would not do,” said Mr. Shields, who noted that a personal checking account would have cost more than the one he uses for his New York business. “Now I have both accounts covered, and I am fee-free.”

The so-called Durbin rule quickly emerged as one of the thorniest provisions of Dodd-Frank, touching off a long and furious fight in Washington. Wall Street dispatched an army of lobbyists to tame the rule, ultimately yielding mixed results.

In June, the Senate defeated a measure that would have delayed the new rule. But just three weeks later, the Federal Reserve decided to cap the fees at 21 to 24 cents for each debit card transaction, a much lighter blow than once expected.

In a statement on Thursday, Senator Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said that small businesses would benefit from the new limits. “Swipe fee regulation will still allow banks to cover the actual costs of debit transactions but will rein in the banks’ excessive profit-taking.”

Ann Carrns contributed reporting.


16) Prisoner Protest Restarts in California
"More than 4,200 inmates at eight prisons have been refusing state-issued meals since Monday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation."
September 29, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO — Corrections officials in Sacramento said Thursday that they would discipline inmates who participated in a renewed hunger strike to protest conditions in the state’s highest-security prisons, where some prisoners have been held in virtual isolation for decades.

More than 4,200 inmates at eight prisons have been refusing state-issued meals since Monday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The hunger strike, the second this year, is the latest problem to face state prison officials, who are under a Supreme Court order to reduce the state’s prison population by more than 30,000 people.

A memo was distributed to prisoners at the state’s 33 correctional institutions warning that if they took part in the hunger strike, they would be subject to disciplinary action that could include confiscation of canteen items like food they had bought.

Prisoners identified as leaders of the strike would also be removed from the general population and “placed in an administrative segregation unit,” according to the memo.

A hunger strike in July, which involved 6,600 inmates at its peak, ended after the department agreed to consider adjustments in the way inmates are assigned to the state’s three security housing units, where they are held in tightly controlled conditions that minimize human contact.

Scott Kernan, the under secretary of operations for the department, said that after the strike in July, the department “determined there was some validity to what the inmates’ concerns were.” The department is reviewing its procedures, he said.

But on Monday, inmates resumed the strike, saying that the department had not yet fully addressed their demands.

Those demands included modifying the practice of sending prisoners to security housing units for indefinite periods based on the judgment that they were involved in gang activities, and also abolishing the practice of “debriefing,” in which inmates are encouraged to gain release from the unit by renouncing their gang affiliations and providing information about them.

At Pelican Bay State Prison, in a remote northern region of the state, the average length of confinement for the 1,111 inmates in the security housing unit is 6.8 years, according to the department. Most inmates in the unit are confined in windowless cells, 7.6 feet by 11.6 feet, for 22 hours or more a day.

Donald Specter, director of the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, which provides free legal services to prisoners, said that given the standoff between the inmates and the prison officials, “I don’t really see how this can end happily or without tragedy.”


17) Outsize Severance Continues for Executives, Even After Failed Tenures
September 29, 2011

The golden goodbye has not gone away.

Just last week, Léo Apotheker was shown the door after a tumultuous 11-month run atop Hewlett-Packard. His reward? $13.2 million in cash and stock severance, in addition to a sign-on package worth about $10 million, according to a corporate filing on Thursday.

At the end of August, Robert P. Kelly was handed severance worth $17.2 million in cash and stock when he was ousted as chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon after clashing with board members and senior managers. A few days later, Carol A. Bartz took home nearly $10 million from Yahoo after being fired from the troubled search giant.

A hallmark of the gilded era of just a few short years ago, the eye-popping severance package continues to thrive in spite of the measures put in place in the wake of the financial crisis to crack down on excessive pay.

Critics have long complained about outsize compensation packages that dwarf ordinary workers’ paychecks, but they voice particular ire over pay-for-failure. Much of Wall Street and corporate America has shifted a bigger portion of pay into longer-term stock awards and established policies to claw back bonuses. And while fuller disclosure of exit packages several years ago has helped ratchet down the size of the biggest severance deals, efforts by shareholders and regulators to further restrict payouts have had less success.

“We repeatedly see companies’ assets go out the door to reward failure,” said Scott Zdrazil, the director of corporate governance for Amalgamated Bank’s $11 billion Longview Fund, a labor-affiliated investment fund that sought to tighten the restrictions on severance plans at three oil companies last year. “Investors are frustrated that boards haven’t prevented such windfalls.”

Several years ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission turned a brighter spotlight on severance deals by requiring companies to disclose the values of the contracts in regulatory filings. More recently, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms required that public companies include “say on pay” votes for shareholders to express opinions about compensation — including a separate vote for golden parachutes initiated by a merger or sale.

Yet so far, few investors have gone to battle. Only 38 of the largest 3,000 companies had their executive pay plans voted down, according to Institutional Shareholder Services. Even then, the votes are nonbinding.

Severance policies typically call for a lump-sum cash payment, the ability to cash out stock awards and options immediately instead of having to potentially wait for years, and sometimes even bonuses. And that’s not counting the retirement benefits and additional company stock that executives accumulate, which can increase the total value of their exit package by millions of dollars.

Some critics believe investors have become inured to the hefty payouts. In addition, the continuing financial crises in Europe and the United States have pushed compensation into the backseat on the shareholder agenda.

“People are preoccupied with the bigger issues,” said Frederick Rowe Jr., a hedge fund manager and president of Investors for Director Accountability which has sought to curb excessive pay.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, seemed to lose its bully pulpit for compensation reform after most of the nation’s biggest financial companies repaid their government loans — and Kenneth R. Feinberg, its tough-talking pay overseer, moved on to tackle other issues.

Federal Reserve officials flagged golden parachutes as a concern when they began a compensation review almost two years ago, but their inquiry was limited to large banks — not all large companies. The findings of the review are expected to be made public in the next few weeks.

Over the last year, regulators have been pressing corporate boards to draft policies denying huge severance payouts to senior executives if the firm teeters on collapse. That still leaves wiggle room for managers to score big if they merely perform poorly.

Practices such as large cash payouts and having shareholders pay the tax bill for departing executives are on the decline, especially after the uproar over the $200 million-plus exit packages of Hank McKinnell of Pfizer and Robert Nardelli of Home Depot in the last decade.

Mr. Zdrazil and other shareholder advocates say that investors have made some progress by pressuring companies to reduce the cash portion of severance packages to about two times salary from three. Now boards are under pressure to tighten the rules that speed up the ability of departing executives to cash out big chunks of stock. Only a few corporations, like Exxon Mobil, have policies where executives must forfeit their unvested stock options if they are forced out.

Some C.E.O.’s do not negotiate big payouts. Oswald Grübel, the chief executive of UBS who stepped down last week after a trader concealed more than $2.3 billion of losses, will receive $1.6 million (1.5 million Swiss francs), equivalent to the standard severance package of six months’ salary given to all senior executives at the Swiss bank.

Many chief executives continue to walk away with seven or eight-figure severance packages, according to an analysis by James F. Reda & Associates, an executive compensation consulting firm.

At Burger King, John Chidsey, its chief executive, departed in April with a severance package worth almost $20 million, despite severely underperforming McDonald’s. Michelle Miguelez, a Burger King spokeswoman, declined to comment.

The chief executive at Massey Energy was awarded a large severance contract despite presiding over a company barraged with accusations of reckless conduct and with legal claims stemming from one of the deadliest mining disasters in memory. In June, Baxter F. Phillips Jr. was awarded nearly $14 million in cash and stock severance after the company was sold to a competitor, Alpha Natural Resources. Ted Pile, a spokesman for Alpha Natural Resources, said his company was required to honor an employment contract “put in place before we acquired” Massey.

Another chief executive received severance payments after his company was accused of fraud. At Beazer Homes, Ian McCarthy was ousted as chief executive three months after the company settled with the S.E.C. for filing misleading financial statements. Mr. McCarthy was forced to repay about $6.5 million.

But what the government took away, Beazer’s board gave back. Mr. McCarthy was awarded a severance package worth about $6.3 million — and was reimbursed for up to $10,000 of legal fees associated with his termination. Beazer did not respond to a request for comment.

Perhaps the biggest reason that golden parachutes persist is that corporate boards hire superstar chief executives, rather than groom strong managers inside the company for the top job. That gives outsiders a stronger hand to demand all kinds of upfront stock awards and lucrative severance deals when they are hired. So when things do not work out, that “golden hello” turns into a “golden goodbye.”

That is what happened with Ms. Bartz, a hard-charging technology executive who was brought in to help turn around Yahoo in 2009. She was given a sign-on package worth over $47.2 million in cash and stock, and pay worth an additional $11.9 million in 2010, according to Equilar, an executive compensation research firm.

But after her plans to revive the beleaguered search giant failed to improve its results, Yahoo’s board fired Ms. Bartz this month. She walked away with a large allotment of deeply depressed stock options as well as cash severance worth about $5.2 million. The company said some of the stock was subject to future performance goals.

At Hewlett-Packard, its revolving door for chiefs has led to tens of millions in severance payouts even as thousands of employees have lost their jobs. In 2007, Carly Fiorina walked away with more than $21 million in cash-stock severance, after she struggled to turn around the company. Her successor, Mark V. Hurd, left with severance of more than $12.2 million after he was forced to step down amid accusations of an improper relationship.

Now comes Mr. Apotheker’s $13.2 million severance payout when the stock price was cut in half. That is made up of $7.2 million in cash, the ability to sell $3.6 million of restricted stock and a $2.4 million bonus. H.P., which paid $2.9 million to relocate Mr. Apotheker to California, will now pay to move him to Belgium or France and cover losses of up to $300,000 on the sale of his house.

On Thursday, H.P. released a regulatory filing showing that Meg Whitman, its new chief executive, would receive a sign-on package worth about $13.1 million, according to an analysis of the filing by Equilar. Much of the compensation comes from a stock option grant that is subject to certain performance targets. She also stands to collect severance if she leaves.

Lloyd Doggett, a Democratic representative of Texas and senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said excessive severance packages were “outrageous.”

“The whole concept that the only way to get rid of bad management is to buy them off is fundamentally wrong” he said.


18) Judge Fines Longshore Union $250,000 Over Tactics
September 30, 2011

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge fined a Longshore union $250,000 on Friday for its tactics in a Longview labor dispute, and he warned that individual protesters could face their own penalties for future violations of his orders.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton has already held the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in contempt for blocking a train and storming a grain terminal earlier this month. Authorities have said the protesters in the second incident overpowered security guards, damaged railroad cars and dumped grain.

"What's going on out there is awful," Leighton said. "We have to do something about it, and I'm going to do something."

The National Labor Relations Board had asked the court to fine the union more than $290,000 to cover the damages and expenses such as overtime for law enforcement agencies. Leighton said he rounded down to be cautious and ordered additional penalties for future violations, including $25,000 for the union, $5,000 for union officers and $2,500 for other individuals.

The union plans to appeal the decision, attorney Robert Remar said after the hearing. He had argued that the union has the right to assess whether the proposed damages and expenses were proper, saying that he believes some of them were excessive and inflated.

Repeatedly facing arrest, the protesters in Longview have viewed themselves as being the latest front in the struggle for American jobs and benefits during the economic downturn. The dispute has continued to escalate, with protesters resorting to aggressive tactics that have been a rarity in recent labor disputes around the country.

Union protesters believe they have the right to work at a new grain terminal at the Port of Longview that is currently being staffed by workers from a different union, Oregon-based Operating Engineers Local 701.

Leighton is scheduled to address the larger dispute, focused on different interpretations of port contracts, in a hearing later Friday.

Mike Baker can be reached at .