Saturday, December 10, 2011



You do the work-THEY, the global maritime bosses, profit at your expense. Your safety and your jobs are always at stake. OUR LONGVIEW LONGSHORE BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE UNDER THE GUN FOR ALL OF US! THAT'S WHY OCCUPY OAKLAND IS CALLING FOR A PORT SHUTDOWN DEC. 12.

The bosses have been getting away with it for far too long. We can beat them, but we have to work together-unions, rank and file workers and Occupy. I was on my second pump to Iraq when ILWU-when you-led by your Vietnam vets, shut down the West Coast ports on May Day 2008 to stop the war. The best support I could have asked for in Iraq was from you brothers and sisters who wanted us home, alive and well- sooner, not later. I spent two pumps in Iraq looking for our enemies. Only after coming back home did I discover our greatest enemy-that is the enemy we are fighting now.

Please honor our Occupy picket lines. United we are stronger. As you say in your union, "AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL." The only ones who will tell you otherwise are those that want to continue profiting off your backs. You all work hard at a dangerous job. You deserve to see something out of that.

I plan on standing tall again on December 12, and I look forward to standing with our longshoremen. PLEASE DO THE LABOR MOVEMENT PROUD LIKE YOU'VE DONE BEFORE AND HONOR OUR COMMUNITY PICKET LINE.

Scott Olsen 12/7/11

For more info. Please visit these websites and email addresses:
*labor donated*


Defend the OCCUPY CAL protesters: petition and action!
We urge people to (1) sign the petition to drop the charges against UCB protesters who were arrested defending public education:
Second, rally at their arraignment Monday, Dec. 12!


Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are plotted visually and audibly on a world map.


Hartmann: OWS student loans - are student debt strikes coming?


Suggested slogan for the 2012 elections:


Keep Wall Street Occupied (Part 1)


West Coast 12/11 MUMIA Event: with Angela Davis, Ramona Africa, Barbara Becnel, Boots Riley, Arundhati Roy et al. For more info call 510.268.9429

Philly DA Drops Death Sentence for Mumia
Noelle Hanrahan Prison Radio
215-535-3757; 415-706-5222 nmh1@live.comLife or Death for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Philly DA Press Conference12-7-2011 11am est
For Interview Contact
Dr. Johanna Fernandez, 917.930.0804
Dr. Suzanne Ross, 917.584.2135
Dr. Mark Taylor, 609.638.0806


We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?


Drop All Charges on the 'Occupy Wall Street' Arrestees!
Stop Police Attacks & Arrests! Support 'Occupy Wall Street'!

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AT: to send email messages to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC City Council, NYPD, the NY Congressional Delegation, Congressional Leaders, the NY Legislature, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, members of the media YOU WANT ALL CHARGES DROPPED ON THE 'OCCUPY WALL STREET ARRESTEES!


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Only tonight left: Go see this show!

Howard Petrick's "Rambo" -- an anti-VietNam War GI activist tells his story at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley--UNTIL DECEMBER 10 -- Don't miss it!

The theater is across the street from the Downtown Berkeley BART station -- very easy to get to by BART.

[This is a great show. I saw it for the second time this past Friday. Great lessons for the movement today!]

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.

The Little Guy Takes on the Pentagon
in Howard Petrick's "Rambo: The Missing Years"

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

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 Allston Way in Berkeley.

The story begins as Petrick 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.

A twenty-year-old anti-war activist in 1966 when he was drafted into the Army, Pvt. Petrick was a model soldier except when the subject of Vietnam came up. At that point, he missed no opportunity to make his opinions known to his fellow GIs and anyone else who would listen. His activities helped ignite an antiwar movement in the barracks and led to a confrontation with the brass. Calls from the Pentagon! Threats of treason! By the time it was all over, Petrick, who never backed down, had become something of a celebrity. He even had a song written about him and was the subject of an article in the New York Times. From the ass-scratching first cook to the frustrated Military Intelligence officer, Petrick brings over twenty characters to life in this autobiographical solo piece.

"If Westmoreland can give a political partisan speech to the Press Club in New York City supporting the war, then I should be able to speak in uniform opposing the war." - Howard Petrick quoted in the Texas Observer in 1967.

It's a comedy that keeps hope alive. Here are more kudos for the show:

"Petrick made headlines as a GI for his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War, and he's turned his experiences into a deftly crafted solo show." - Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

His "aw shucks" attitude had me right there with him every step of the way, rooting for my new hero. Please don't miss this true tale. - Jenny Revue (Winnipeg)

"His ear for superb." - Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

"It's an engaging tale, often funny...Petrick's writing is strong...valuable as a piece of history in a time when for much of the population, Vietnam is just a vague, long-ago event." - Fresno Bee

"This is an important piece of history - from the common man's point of view." - Victoria Fringe

"A must see!" - The Plank (Vancouver)

Howard Petrick has studied solo performance with David Ford, Ann Randolph, James Donlon, Mark Kenward and Leonard Pitt. He has performed at FronteraFest, The Marsh, Words First, City Solo, San Francisco Theater Festival, Solo Sundays, Tell it on Tuesday, the Fresno Rogue Festival and Fringe Festivals in Boulder, Chicago, Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver. For more information, visit


December 10 -- International Human Rights Day
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Powell and Market, San Francisco

As 10,581 United Nations troops continue to occupy Haiti as a result of the 2004 coup against President Aristide, almost a million people continue to live in tent and sheet encampments, a consequence of the January, 2010 earthquake. Many are without clean water and sanitation facilities. The people of the world gave hundreds of millions of dollars for assistance, yet much of this money still sits in banks. The rest has been spent to control the Haitian 99%, rather than to benefit them.

In our action, one tent-like structure will be construction from bamboo poles and sheets to represent the kind of non-shelter people in Haiti are still trying to live in two years after the earthquake and notwithstanding the massive amounts of donations collected for their assistance.

Come stand under a sheet tent in whatever weather we get.

Share information prepared by students of USF Human Right Class about U.S. violations of international law in Haiti.

Occupy Wall Street, NOT Latin America

Stand up for human rights for Haitians
Come stand in support of the people of Haiti who call for:

• An end to the U.N. occupation.

• A truly democratic government, with free and fair elections in which all parties can run candidates.

• U.N.: Take responsibility for the cholera epidemic you introduced.

• No return of the military, which has long suppressed popular organizations.

• Distribution of aid money to rebuild Haiti the way the Haitian 99% wants it built.

• A living wage. An end to sweatshops.

Sponsored by Haiti Action Committee

in collaboration with USF Human Rights Education Students

endorsed by: Ecumenical Peace Institute, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, Bay Area Latin American Solidarity Coalition

For more information visit


Occupy Oakland Calls for TOTAL WEST COAST PORT SHUTDOWN ON 12/12
Posted by OccupyWallSt

Support Occupy Call for Dec. 12 Coast Shutdown
Occupy Movement and Ports Workers:

NOVEMBER 28 - On November 2, some 30,000 demonstrators marched on the Port of Oakland, shutting it down on the evening shift in response to a call by Occupy Oakland for a "general strike." One of the declared aims of the powerful march was to show solidarity with longshore workers facing a vicious union-busting attack by the EGT grain conglomerate in Longview, Washington. ILWU officials had scuttled calls by some rank and file longshoremen in the hiring hall that morning to stop work all day.

Now several Occupy groups have issued a call for a West Coast Port Blockade for Dec. 12. Once again they are highlighting the attack on the Longview ILWU, as well as that on the port truckers' union organizing drive in Los Angeles/Long Beach, by the notorious anti-union SSA, majority-owned by Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street banksters and PMA are also pushing a robotics contract provision to cut longshore jobs to the bone in the largest port in the country. Occupy Seattle aims to shut down the port to protest Democrat governor Gregoire's budget cuts.

Waterfront workers from Longview to Long Beach and beyond are facing a frontal attack threatening the future of our jobs and our unions. What's needed to defeat these employer assaults is a solid union action, shutting down the Coast. The call by the populist Occupy movement to blockade ports should be welcomed as supplementary support for labor's struggle. President McEllrath, on Oct. 5 publicized his "solidarity with Occupy Wall Street" statement. But now, the ILWU International officers are contradicting themselves, undermining unity with Occupy and saying the union wants nothing to do with the Dec. 12 blockade.

This is more than a ritual CYA declaration. The voice of the maritime bosses, the Journal of Commerce, (23 November) noted that the union leaders were making clear that they were hostile to the Occupy initiative. The ILWU Coast Committee issued a Nov. 21 memo slamming "outside groups intent on driving their own agendas." The next day it followed up with a press statement "clarifying" its stand on "third-party protests." These shameful statements go against the grain of ILWU's militant record of solidarity actions and don't represent the rank and file's sentiments. ILWU is bottom up not top down.

The Coast Committee said that a community demonstration or picket is not a picket line, as defined by the longshore contract. This flies in the face of "ILWU's 10 Guiding Principles", which say:
"Unions have to accept the fact that the solidarity of labor stands above all else, including even the socalled sanctity of the contract."

Occupy's enemies, EGT and SSA, are ILWU's enemies too.

The ILWU Story, Six Decades of Militant Unionism and The Dispatcher document ILWU's proud history of longshore workers honoring community pickets. For example, here are some community demonstrations or pickets honored by ILWU:

1) 1970's-1980's community pickets in San Francisco opposed apartheid. In 1984, Local 10 longshoremen themselves refused to unload a ship from South Africa without need for a community picket. Mandela applauded that action which sparked the antiapartheid movement.

2) In 1998, in a stunning example of international labor solidarity with Australian wharfies, LA longshoremen respected a labor/community picket and forced the scab ship, Columbia Canada, to return to Australia to be loaded by MUA union workers.

3) 3) In 2003, at the start of the Iraq War anti-war protesters blocked the gates of war profiteers SSA and APL at the port of Oakland. Longshoremen standing by on the safety clause in the contract were hit by police fire. An unprecedented lawsuit against the OPD by Local 10 was won by the union. Our legal brief documented a history of police violence against longshoremen going back to the Big Strike of 1934 when two strikers were shot in the back and killed by police.

4) Now the International turns its back on our history. We have to ask: Why would the Coast Committee place longshore workers in harms way by directing them to standby on safety if there is a large demonstration at the terminal gate when the danger to port workers is not from the protesters but the police? (Just look at the Longview longshore workers who have been beaten and pepper sprayed.) And why would the Coast Committee be concerned about a lawsuit against the union when all of these labor and community pickets were initiated by the ranks, not by the officers? Bottom up not top down!

Their memo and statement underline that any port shutdown will come from the rank and file over the opposition of the International officers. It wouldn't be the first time. Last April 4, Local 10 shut down Bay Area ports in solidarity with Wisconsin workers, and a year ago it held a stop-work rally for justice for Oscar Grant, protesting the police killing of an innocent young black man. We welcomed community support for these mobilizations.

Their memo and statement reek of lawyers' arguments that accept anti-labor laws as gospel. They talk of "the union's internal democratic process." So, has the membership been asked to vote on shutting down the ports over the EGT attack? What about refusing to load or unload STX and Itochu ships, part of the EGT consortium along with the grain conglomerate Bunge? The truth is the union leadership has done everything to prevent democratic rank-and-file decision-making and action. Is there a secret plan?!

1) The Coast Committee tried to gag Longview Local 21's president Dan Coffman, by preventing him from talking to the press, but the local prevailed in their fight to allow him to speak.

2) The Coast Committee has blocked any kind of democratic forum to discuss the most important ILWU struggle in decades, whether it be a dual area meeting of the rank and file in Washington and Oregon or a Coast Caucus, representing longshoremen from all West Coast ports.

3) They've tried to thwart Local 21 members from going to other locals to give information and gain support. Now they try to stop ILWU from linking up with the populist Occupy movement.

4) The Coast Committee has exerted pressure on the small Local 21 to follow their orders or face losing the union's financial support for fines and legal costs approaching $2,000,000, they say.

The ILWU has a long history of standing up to the employing class and organizing solidarity actions, often despite the International officers' positions. This is a source of pride for our membership and the ILWU is admired by other unions for its courageous stands. Longshoremen, as always, need to link up now with other port workers, truckers, machinists, warehousemen and the Occupy movement in a fight against the port bosses for our jobs and our unions, regardless of what the union tops put out.

The Longview workers are more than thankful for the support they have already received in their fight - our fight - against EGT. Speaking at a labor rally before a Nov. 19 march called by Occupy Oakland, Local 21 president Dan Coffman said, referring to the awesome Nov. 2 march that shut down the port in Oakland, "You cannot believe what you did for the inspiration of my union members who've been on the picket line for 6 months!"

The ILWU must support the Occupy move to shut down West Coast ports on Dec. 12. Most importantly, we must show the power of workers when the ship arrives in Longview days later to load scab grain at the EGT terminal. The call must go out: PORT WORKERS: SHUT DOWN ALL U.S. PORTS !!

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee ( For more info: Labor donated

-In Oakland: the West Coast Port Shutdown Coordinating Committee will meet on General Assembly days at 5pm before the GA to organize the local shutdown, and to network with other occupations.


Saturday, December 17, 12:00 P.M., Fort Meade, Md
Army sets pre-trial hearing date for Bradley. Vigils and rallies planned at Fort Meade MD, worldwide.

Protest his Pretrial Hearing Saturday, Dec 17th (Bradley's B-Day) at 12pm at Fort Meade, MD outside Washington D.C.! (Solidarity actions taking place around the world.)


January 1st 2012 March and Speak-Out in memory
of Oscar Grant and all victims of police terror

*********OGC REPORT*********

On Sunday, November 27, 2011 the Occupy Oakland General Assembly approved by 99% the proposal below for a January 1st 2012 March and Speak-Out in memory of Oscar Grant and all victims of police terror. The working group will have its first meeting on Wednesday November 30th at 8:00 p.m. at San Francisco Pizza, 1500 Broadway, Oakland. *Please join us!!!*

PROPOSAL * The Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression, Bring the Ruckus, and the Raider Nation Collective propose that the Occupy Oakland General Assembly support, participate in, and help to organize a march and Speak Out on January 1, 2012 from Oscar Grant Plaza to the Fruitvale BART station to memorialize and protest the BART Police murder of fellow worker Oscar Grant and all victims of police violence and state terrorism.

By approving this proposal, the assembly will be mandated to form a working group set with the task of mobilizing a broad section of working class people from East, West, and North Oakland by the way of hand-to-hand flyering, canvassing neighborhoods, and having conversations that prioritize the struggles against police brutality, police profiling, and imprisonment.

We are also asking this Assembly to stand up, through this proposed Speak Out, against the Oakland Police Department's daily violent, repression of working class, low-income of communities of color through curfews, gang injunctions and loitering laws, in addition to outright murder by police.


UNAC Conference: March 23-25, 2012

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:


NATO/G8 protests in Chicago.
United National Antiwar Committee or UNAC at P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054

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:

NATO and the G8 Represent the 1%.

In May, they will meet in Chicago. Their agenda is war on poor nations, war on the poor and working people - war on the 99%.

We are demanding the right to march on their summit, to say:
Jobs, Healthcare, Education, Pensions, Housing and the Environment, Not War!

No to NATO/G-8 Warmakers!

No to War and Austerity!

NATO's military expenditures come at the expense of funding for education, housing and jobs programs; and the G8 continues to advance an agenda of 'austerity' that includes bailouts, tax write-offs and tax holidays for big corporations and banks at the expense of the rest of us.

During the May 2012 G8 and NATO summits in Chicago, many thousands of people will want to exercise their right to protest against NATO's wars and against the G8 agenda to only serve the richest one percent of society. We need permits to ensure that all who want to raise their voices will be able to march.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stonewalled repeated attempts by community organizers to meet with the city to discuss reasonable accommodations of protesters' rights. They have finally agreed to meet with us, but we need support: from the Occupy movement, the anti-war movement, and all movements for justice.

Our demands are simple:

That the City publicly commit to provide protest organizers with permits that meet the court- sanctioned standard for such protests -- that we be "within sight and sound" of the summits; and

That representatives of the City, including Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, refrain from making threats against protesters.

The protest movement, Occupy Wall Street (OWS), has the support of a majority of the American people. This is because people are suffering from the economic crisis brought about by Wall Street and big banks. As the OWS movement describes it, the "99%" see extreme economic inequality, where millions are unemployed without significant help while bankers in trouble get bailed out.

In Chicago and around the country, the Occupy movement is being met with repression: hundreds have been arrested, beaten, tear gassed, spied on, and refused their right to protest.

The Chicago Police Department and the Mayor have already acknowledged that they are coming down hard on the Occupy movement here to send a message to those who would protest against NATO and the G8.

We need a response that is loud and clear: we have the right to march against the generals and the bankers. We have the right to demand an end to wars, military occupations, and attacks on working people and the poor.

How you can help:

1) Sign the petition to the City of Chicago at You can also make a contribution there.

2) Write a statement supporting the right to march and send it to us

3) To endorse the protests, go to or write to

4) Print out and distribute copies of this statement, attached along with a list of supporters of our demands for permits.

4) And then march inChicago on May 15th and May 19th. Publicizethe protests. Join us!

Formore info: or email us at


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


Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera y Trotsky Video Original


Toronto Emergency Public Warning


Tom Morello Occupy LA
Uploaded by sandrineora on Dec 3, 2011

The Nightwatchman, Tom Morello, comes to lift the spirits of Occupy LA the evening after the raid on November 29, 2011.


Japanese Women For Peace
Inspired by the teaching and example of Noriko Nagata, Japan's women march and stand for peace and justice.


Noriko Nagata, War Resister
40 years ago, in Tokyo, Noriko Nagata lost her life in war resistance, but her teaching and her example will never die.


Mic Check Obama


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 November 11

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


Officers Put on Leave After Pepper Spraying Protesters
November 20, 2011, 2:58 pm

UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Occupy With Aloha -- Makana -- The Story

We Are The Many -- Makana -- The Song

We Are The Many
Lyrics and Music by Makana
Makana Music LLC (c) 2011

Download song for free here:


Rafeef Ziadah - 'Shades of anger', London, 12.11.11


News: Massive anti-nuclear demonstration in Fukuoka Nov. 12, 2011


Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets


Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest


quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown Oakland

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II


#Occupy St. Louis: Bank of America refuses to let customers close accounts




#Occupy Wall Street In Washington Square: Mohammed Ezzeldin, former occupier of Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street
By adele pham

@OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street from adele pham on Vimeo.


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change



Free Them


The Preacher and the Slave - Joe Hill


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


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



I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the specific case raised in this petition...

"This email was sent to
Manage Subscriptions for
Sign Up for Updates from the White House
Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House

"The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111"

That's funny! I guess Obama didn't get this memo. Here's what Obama said about Bradley:


"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:


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


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale





The Petition

To President Obama and Secretary Clinton:

At no time since the Iranian people rose up against the hated U.S-installed Shah has a U.S./Israeli military attack against Iran seemed more possible. Following three decades of unrelenting hostility, the last few months have seen a steady escalation of charges, threats, sanctions and actual preparations for an attack.

We, the undersigned demand No War, No Sanctions, no Internal Interference in Iran.

(For a complete analysis of the prospects of war, click here)


"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" book

A Child's View from GazaA collection of drawings by children in the Gaza Strip, art that was censored by a museum in Oakland, California.

With a special forward by Alice Walker, this beautiful, full-color 80-page book from Pacific View Press features drawings by children like Asil, a ten-year-old girl from Rafah refugee camp, who drew a picture of herself in jail, with Arabic phrases in the spaces between the bars: "I have a right to live in peace," "I have a right to live this life," and "I have a right to play."

For international or bulk orders, please email:, or call: 510-548-0542

A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship [ISBN: 978-1-881896-35-7]


It's time to tell the White House that "We the People" support PFC Bradley Manning's freedom and the UN's investigation into alleged torture in Quantico, VA

On September 22nd, the White House launched a new petition website called "We the People." According to the White House blog, if a petition reaches 5,000 signatures in 30 days, "it will be reviewed by policy experts and you'll receive an official response."

Act now! Sign our petition to the White House: LINK

This is our chance to make sure the people in power know that the public still care about the fate of PFC Bradley Manning, and that we won't let this issue go away until PFC Manning is recognized as the whistleblower he is. It is also an opportunity for us to educate fellow Americans who may not have heard of PFC Manning yet, by boosting our petition to the top of the site.

The same day the White House launched the petition website, it also unveiled an Open Government Action Plan calling to "Strengthen and Expand Whistleblower Protection for Government Personnel." We consider this ironic given the fact that in April of 2011 the UN Chief Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, was forced to issue a rare reprimand to the U.S. for repeatedly denying his request to meet with alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower PFC Manning in an official, unmonitored visit to investigation allegations of his torture in the military brig of Quantico, VA.

We submitted the petition to the "We the People" website earlier this week, and we have already gathered over 1,000 signatures. We are relying on your help so that we can reach the 5,000 mark, and then some.

Signing the petition requires a quick and simple registration process. (Should you encounter technical trouble, please check out the link at the bottom of this e-mail.)

Click here to sign the petition now!

Already signed the petition? You can promote it to your friends on facebook and twitter! Copy and paste the following text: Tell the Obama Administration to let UN investigate torture of alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning!

We petition the obama administration to:
Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower.!/petition/free-pfc-bradley-manning-accused-wikileaks-whistleblower/kX1GJKsD?

Using the information PFC Bradley Manning allegedly revealed, media outlets have published thousands of stories, detailing countless attempts by governments around the world -- including our own -- to illegally conceal evidence of human rights abuses.

According to the President, "employees with the courage to report wrongdoing are a government's best defense against waste, fraud and abuse."

It appears that PFC Manning acted on his conscience, at great personal risk, to answer the President's call.

However, he has been subjected to extreme confinement conditions that US legal scholars have said may amount to torture.

Therefore, we also ask the Obama administration to stop blocking the UN's chief torture investigator, Juan Mendez, from conducting an official visit with PFC Manning.


Cristian Fernandez is only 12 years old. And if Florida prosecutor Angela Corey has her way, he'll never leave jail again.

Cristian hasn't had an easy life. He's the same age now as his mother was when he was born. He's a survivor of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. In 2010, Cristian watched his stepfather commit suicide to avoid being charged with abusing Cristian.

Last January, Cristian was wrestling with his 2-year-old brother, David, and accidentally broke David's leg. Despite this, their mother left Cristian with his brother again in March. While the two boys were alone, Cristian allegedly pushed his brother against a bookcase, and David sustained a head injury. After their mother returned home, she waited six hours before taking David to the hospital. David eventually died.

Now Cristian is being charged with first degree murder -- as an adult. He's the youngest person in the history of his Florida county to receive this charge, and his next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Melissa Higgins works with kids who get caught up in the criminal justice system in her home state of New Hampshire. When she read about Cristian's case, she was appalled -- so she started a petition on asking Florida State's Attorney Angela Corey to try Cristian as a child. Please sign Melissa's petition immediately before Cristian's hearing tomorrow.

As part of his prosecution, Cristian has been examined by two different forensic psychiatrists -- each of whom concluded that he was "emotionally underdeveloped but essentially reformable despite a tough life."

Cristian has already been through more than most of us can imagine -- and now the rest of his life is in the hands of a Florida prosecutor who wants to make sure Cristian never leaves jail.

The purpose of the juvenile justice system is to reform kids who haven't gotten a fair shake. If Cristian is sent to adult prison, it will be more than a tragedy for him -- it will also be a signal to other prosecutors that kids' lives are acceptable collateral in the quest to be seen as "tough on crime."

Cristian's next hearing is in just 24 hours. State's Attorney Angela Corey needs to know that her actions are being watched -- please sign the petition asking her not to try Cristian as an adult:

Thanks for being a change-maker,

- Michael and the team


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.




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) Occupy Our Homes: From the Streets to Foreclosed Homes, OWS Finds a New Frontier
By Sarah Seltzer, AlterNet
Posted on December 5, 2011, Printed on December 6, 2011

2) Tiny Tax on Financial Trades Gains Advocates
December 6, 2011

3) Mine Owner to Pay $200 Million in Death of 29 Men
"In addition to the $46.5 million payout to victims and families, the agreement includes $80 million to bolster safety and infrastructure in all underground mines owned by Alpha and Massey; $48 million to establish a mine health and safety foundation; and about $35 million in fines and fees that Massey owed to the Mine, Safety and Health Administration, the branch of the Department of Labor that oversees the mining industry." [So most of this money is going right back to the company to pay for what they are responsible for anyway! Sounds like a big tax write-off opportunity to me.]
December 6, 2011

4) $210 Million Settlement Set in Upper Big Branch Disaster
"The $210 million settlement includes $46.5 million in criminal restitution to the miners' families, $128 million to fund cutting-edge mine safety upgrades, research and training and $35 million in penalties for federal mine safety violations." [Again, the bulk of this settlement goes back to the mine owners to pay for the mine safety upgrades that would have prevented the murderous catastrophe in the first place! In other words, a law suit that pays the bulk of the settlement back to the guilty party to do what they were supposed to do all along!]
by Mike Hall
Dec 6, 2011

5) Japan Split on Hope for Vast Radiation Cleanup
December 6, 2011

6) Prosecutors Dropping Death Penalty Against Mumia Abu-Jamal
December 7, 2011

7) Afghanistan: Bids Open for Mining in Areas Rich in Gold and Copper
December 6, 2011

8) Police Clear Occupy Encampment in San Francisco
December 7, 2011

9) Virginia: Man Jailed for 27 Years Is Exonerated
December 6, 2011

10) Who Counts as 'Rich'?
December 9, 2011, 2:40 pm

11) Israeli Planes Attack Gaza Targets
December 9, 2011

12) Police Evict Protesters From Occupy Boston Site
December 10, 2011

13) Police defend handling of the media during Occupy arrests
By Boston Globe Staff
12/10/2011 8:43 AM

14) For 29 Dead Miners, No Justice
December 9, 2011

15) Thousands Gather in Russia to Protest Legislative Elections
December 10, 2011

16) Tracing a Mother's Vagabond Path to Murder and Suicide in Texas
December 10, 2011

17) Thousands Sterilized, a State Weighs Restitution
"Until folks know what the state's going to do, people aren't going to take the risk and come forward," she said. One woman who submitted her name fears it will become public. In a recent interview in her small home in Lexington, N.C., she said she would be embarrassed if her co-workers at a local hospital knew her story. Now 62, she was adopted but sent to a state school at 7 because her parents thought she was mentally deficient. She remembers being told as a teenager that she was getting an appendectomy. When she was 27 and started having uterine trouble, a doctor requested her records and discovered that she had been sterilized in an operation that had been botched, her medical records show. 'I tell you what,' she said. 'I about hit the floor.'She went to her mother, who said she was going to tell her before she got married. Welfare would have ended if she had not consented, her mother said." ...Elaine Riddick, 57, who also lives in Atlanta, was sterilized in 1967. She was 14 and had gotten pregnant from a rape. Social workers persuaded her illiterate grandmother to sign the consent form with an X."
December 9, 2011

18) Homeless Families Walking a Hard Road
"Data collected by the Illinois State Board of Education shows 42,608 homeless students enrolled in Illinois at the end of the 2011 school year, an increase of 64 percent since 2008. In Chicago Public Schools, the enrollment for homeless students reached 15,289, an increase of 24 percent."
December 10, 2011

19) Conviction Is Reversed in 1992 Rape and Murder
December 10, 2011

20) 'Law & Order: SVU' Imitation Occupation Draws Real Protesters, and City's Ire
"...Show us the script..."
[Occupy TV -- way to go!]
December 9, 2011


1) Occupy Our Homes: From the Streets to Foreclosed Homes, OWS Finds a New Frontier
By Sarah Seltzer, AlterNet
Posted on December 5, 2011, Printed on December 6, 2011

Today, Occupy Wall Street and Occupy movements around the country will "go out of the streets and into the homes" of the 99 percent to draw attention to the economic, social, and racial injustice of the foreclosure crisis.

Through vacant home reoccupations, eviction resistance actions, and foreclosure auction disruptions from Brooklyn to Atlanta to Minneapolis and beyond, activists will highlight the families and individuals who live with the threat of eviction ever looming or those who have already lost their homes but are barred from ones that sit empty, owned by banks.

"We want people to pick sides - are you going to side with a bank sitting on an empty house when there's record family homelessness in NYC? Or will you side with a homeless family that is really desperate for a better environment for their kids to grow up in?" says VOCAL-NY organizer Sean Barry, one of many activists involved in the New York City action, which will begin at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Livonia in East New York, Brooklyn.

Indeed, the optics are perfect for OWS: not only will the actions highlight the plight of America's families, but they will also point to the indifference and callousness of the 1 percent - the bankers and financiers who speculated on subprime mortgages, turned the other way knowing that many mortgages were being signed - or robosigned - to individuals who could never pay.

Last week, Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times interviewed one such banker who is now wracked with regret about the racist, predatory lending policies of his former employer, Chase:

One memory particularly troubles Theckston. He says that some account executives earned a commission seven times higher from subprime loans, rather than prime mortgages. So they looked for less savvy borrowers - those with less education, without previous mortgage experience, or without fluent English - and nudged them toward subprime loans.

These less-savvy borrowers were disproportionately blacks and Latinos, he said, and they ended up paying a higher rate so that they were more likely to lose their homes. Senior executives seemed aware of this racial mismatch, he recalled, and frantically tried to cover it up.

It should be noted that this kind of eviction resistance action being planned today is not unique to OWS - and that in some ways, it was a logical growth point for the new movement's energy. For years local groups like Take Back the Land, Viva Urbana, and many more have been doing this in local communities. In New York, Picture the Homeless has been training other activists in eviction-resistance tactics, Barry says.

And the fusion between these movements and Occupy is very much in full swing: in cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Rochester, local Occupy movements have already joined forces with these grassroots groups to stave off, delay, or avoid evictions, as AlterNet recently reported. In San Francisco, occupiers joined with local activists to prevent the eviction of a 75-year-old woman. In Atlanta, the woman protected was 103. In Harlem, occupiers refused to leave a building's boiler room until the indifferent landlord had the broken heater fixed.

Just this summer, in New York, the aptly named grassroots group "Organizing for Occupation" delayed the eviction of a woman in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Their meetings have now been flooded by Occupy Wall Street activists who want to help.

Mary Lee Ward Eviction Defense by O4O August 19, 2011

The movement has global roots as well, as Roar magazine notes:

The action is partly inspired by the 15-M movement in Spain, which - through the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, or the platform of those affected by their mortgage - has stopped hundreds of evictions in Spain and has occupied numerous large vacant buildings and offered them to people who had been kicked out of their homes by their banks.

Not only does Occupy Wall Street's mission of exposing the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent dovetail and overlap with the foreclosure crisis, but its methods of reclaiming space are obvious matches for the burgeoning eviction resistant movement as well.

In fact, for many occupiers, the exploitative nature of the foreclosure crisis, the fact that families are losing their homes while the bankers who engineered this fateful bubble get bonuses--these were the reasons they joined in September.

And this means that occupying homes is one of the most pertinent and personal ways the message of their movement can be expressed.

"About two years ago my family in Northern New Jersey almost lost their home due to a foreclosure - and so I joined the [OWS} movement in late September in part because of this issue, foreclosures," Yesenia Barragan, a Columbia student and member of the OWS press team who has been helping to coordinate the day of action, tells me. "I'm really excited about this action, because it literally hits so close to home," she says.

She calls Occupy Our Homes the new frontier for the movement and particularly is thrilled by the way the local community organizers from Organize for Occupy, VOCAL-NY, and more have brought their experience and knowledge, and fused it with the "energy" coming from Occupy Wall Street - and the activists' willingness to use direct action - all in service of "getting folks back in their homes."

Today in New York, protesters will meet at a train station at the economically ravaged, largely minority neighborhood of East New York, where they will take a neighborhood tour of foreclosed and vacant bank-owned homes - perhaps, it's hinted, potential sites for future occupations. Then they will have a "housewarming and block party" for a family in need, culminating in as yet unknown direct action to bring that family home, complete with a fixup team to help them do so.

This is a family, says Barry, "which has experienced long-term homelessness, been a victim of Bloomberg's budget cuts, and are excited about the opportunity for a better life." The plan, he notes, is to ask that the house be signed over to a community land trust, which will keep rents low and pass the house on to other needy families should this one move on.

Beyond the compelling optics and the help activists are offering this single family, the movement sees tomorrow's varied actions as a change for building bridges within this community. "It's also about getting young people and residents to get hooked up with community organizations to prevent foreclosures," says Barragan.

To that end, OWS activists have been spending the week walking around the East New York neighborhood and flyering, talking to residents about the upcoming action. "They're really excited - this community - they're going to come up for the block party and housewarming," Barragan says. "A lot of them were thanking the door-to-door canvassing occupiers, and that's also because a lot of them are one paycheck away from potentially being foreclosed on."

This day of action will only be the spark plug for what organizers hope is a coordinated but spontaneous national campaign, offering a blueprint for communities to do similar eviction resistance around the country or to coordinate between already-active movements.

In New York itself, "OWS and Organizing for Occupation have already identified other bank-owned vacant properties. The intention is to fill those with families," says Barry of VOCAL-NY. But beyond the five boroughs, this is the beginning of a nationwide effort to replicate this action and literally occupy everywhere. "One of our messages is that there's more empty homes that banks are sitting on than there are homeless families," he says.

Again, there are three ways for residents to participate in these kinds of actions: first, using nonviolent direct action to prevent impending evictions; second, using those tactics for moving families back into their own empty houses post-eviction; or third, fixing up and occupying vacant houses for homeless families.

What's going to happen is "satellite mini-occupy sites around the country so heroic battles can be fought and won on the local level, but can also connect to a much bigger theme," says Stephen Lerner, a veteran organizer with SEIU who has been helping to plan Occupy Our Homes. Beyond the individual efforts, Lerner notes that there's a policy proposal floating around that's connected to these actions, too: the idea of "principal reduction" - or in layman's terms, reconfiguring mortgages to be commensurate with the noninflated, actual value of a property (rather than the inflated "bubble" price).

"This is about how to make Wall Street pay, not in terms of retribution but in terms of actually fixing the economy," he says. "It's not enough to say we should stop individuals from losing homes, but we also must fix the housing bubble: these unfair, illegal, cheating mortgages which are terrible for economy and terrible for people."

The specific goals and targets of these occupations, the issues they highlight, and the solutions proposed, as well as the interfacing with the communities hardest hit by the recession and the policies of the 1 percent, are incredible rejoinders to the mainstream critiques of OWS - its alleged purposelessness, its failure to interface with communities of color and on the margins.
"The foreclosure crisis is really the rot at the center of our economy. This is a predominantly black and Latino neighborhood is at the very forefront of the foreclosure crisis, which had highest number of foreclosure filings in New York last year," says Barry of East New York, the site of today's action. "And the foreclosure crisis is arguably the largest theft of black wealth since slavery."

And while the occupiers young and old have learned about eviction-resistance activism from their partners in the communities, the communities have been emboldened, too.

"This action takes the spirit, energy, and excitement of Occupy and connects it with communities that have been most devastated by economic crisis," says Lerner. "Occupy and their willingness to be arrested has almost mainstreamed this idea: we've occupied public space - now we need to occupy private space that's been stolen by banks."

Within activist communities, the boldness of OWS has "forced people to drop the self-censorship and embarrassment about being audacious," says Barry.

This plan has brought out admiration and praise from those who have watched Occupy Wall Street evolve. Last week, Rachel Maddow discussed the historical context of this new phase of the movement - eviction resistance actions were common during the Great Depression - and the solidarity of its principles: "If you're coming for her, you're coming for us." Police crackdowns have "forced this movement into a new evolution," says Maddow. There's "a concerted effort to move it into the neighborhoods where you can really see it ... this is the real deal."

Watch her segment below, and the stirring video for Occupy Our Homes below that.

Sarah Seltzer is an associate editor at AlterNet, a staff writer at RH Reality Check, and a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published in and on the websites of The Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal. Find her at


2) Tiny Tax on Financial Trades Gains Advocates
December 6, 2011

They call it the Robin Hood tax - a tiny levy on trades in the financial markets that would take money from the banks and give it to the world's poor.

And like the mythical hero of Sherwood Forest, it is beginning to capture the public's imagination.

Driven by populist anger at bankers as well as government needs for more revenue, the idea of a tax on trades of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments has attracted an array of influential champions, including the leaders of France and Germany, the billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and George Soros, the consumer activist Ralph Nader, Pope Benedict XVI and the archbishop of Canterbury.

"We all agree that a financial transaction tax would be the right signal to show that we have understood that financial markets have to contribute their share to the recovery of economies," the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, told her parliament recently.

On Sunday, Mario Monti, the new prime minister of Italy, announced plans to impose a tax on certain financial transactions as part of a far-reaching plan to fix his country's budgetary problems, and he endorsed the idea of a Europe-wide transactions tax.

So far, the broader debt crisis engulfing the euro zone nations has pushed discussion of the tax into the background. But if European leaders can agree on a plan that calms the financial markets, they would be in a stronger position to enact a levy, analysts said.

"There is some momentum behind this," said Simon Tilford, chief economist of the Center for European Reform in London. "If they keep the show on the road, they probably will attempt to run with this."

The Robin Hood tax has also become a rallying point for labor unions, nongovernmental organizations and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which view it as a way to claw back money from the top 1 percent to help the other 99 percent. Last month, thousands of demonstrators, including hundreds in Robin Hood outfits with bright-green caps and bows and arrows, flooded into southern France to urge the leaders of the Group of 20 nations to do more to help the poor, including passing a financial transactions tax.

Enacting such a tax still faces many hurdles, however - most notably, skepticism from leaders in the United States and Britain, home to some of the world's most important financial exchanges.

The day after the Robin Hood protest, for example, Mr. Gates, the chairman of Microsoft and one of the world's wealthiest men, presented a report to a closed-door meeting of the G-20 leaders that laid out his ideas on how rich countries could aid poor ones. One of his proposals was a modest tax on trades of financial instruments that could generate $48 billion or more annually from the G-20 countries.

Ms. Merkel and France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, quickly piped up, enthusiastically endorsing the tax. But Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, expressed serious reservations, saying Britain would embrace it only if it were adopted globally. British officials fear that unless the tax is worldwide, trading will flee London's huge markets to countries with no tax.

The Obama administration has also been lukewarm, expressing sympathy but saying it would be hard to execute, could drive trading overseas and would hurt pension funds and individual investors in addition to banks.

Administration officials say they would prefer a tax on the assets of the largest banks as a way to discourage them from risky activities. "The president is sympathetic to the goals that a financial transactions tax is trying to achieve and he is pushing for a financial crisis responsibility fee and closing other Wall Street loopholes as the best and most feasible way to achieve those goals," an administration official said.

Still, support is growing for the idea, which has been largely dormant since the 1970s, when a version was first proposed by the economist James Tobin, later a Nobel Prize winner.

"The tax is a good idea because banks are where the money is. It's the same reason Jesse James robbed banks," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, which recently held demonstrations at the offices of 60 members of Congress in support of the levy. "The thing about the financial transactions tax is it's stunning how quickly people get it and how fast they embrace it."

Labor groups like the nurses' union and the A.F.L.-C.I.O. see the tax as a way to finance job creation programs to fight high unemployment in the United States and Europe.

Other advocates hope it will slow the speculation that many blame for undermining the euro and causing wild swings in financial markets. Mr. Gates and Mr. Sarkozy would like to use the money to finance development in the world's poorest nations. And leaders like Ms. Merkel and some members of Congress are eyeing it as a relatively painless source of money to help plug government deficits.

On Nov. 16, the French Senate passed a bill supporting a financial transactions tax. And the European Commission in Brussels has said it would like to put a tax of $10 per $10,000 of transactions in place throughout the European Union by 2014, predicting it would raise 57 billion euros ($77 billion) a year in European countries alone.

Last month, Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, and Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, proposed an American version of the tax that they said could raise $350 billion over 10 years.

Their legislation would impose $3 in taxes for each $10,000 in transactions. Other proposals, including those from the nurses' union, call for a tax of $50 per $10,000.

Mr. DeFazio said his tax plan would "raise money to invest in the real economy," but he acknowledged that it faced an uphill battle in Washington, especially within the antitax Republican caucus.

Opponents say that even at the rate in the DeFazio-Harkin bill, the tax would add significantly to the cost of trading, exceeding what institutional investors pay in commissions.

"At a time when we face a slow economic recovery, such a tax will impede the efficiency of markets and impair depth and liquidity as well as raise costs to the issuers, pensions and investors who help drive economic growth," Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., executive vice president for public policy at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said in a statement.

George Osborne, the British chancellor of the exchequer, described the proposed tax as "economic suicide" for Europe. In this time of economic crisis, he said, the European Union "should be coming forward with new ideas to promote growth, not undermine it."

And Glenn Hubbard, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, said the Robin Hood tax is a "monstrously bad idea."

"Such a tax isn't really going to get at the banks," added Mr. Hubbard, who is now an adviser to the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. "It's going to hit the people who own the assets that are traded," like investors.

Supporters of a financial transactions tax note that Britain already imposes a levy of $50 per $10,000 of stocks traded, while Hong Kong and Singapore, with fast-growing financial markets, impose fees of $10 to $20 per $10,000 of the value of certain transactions. The United States imposed a tiny tax on stock trades from 1914 to 1966.

The British actor Bill Nighy, who has made online videos promoting the tax, calls it a beautiful idea. "It would raise enough money to solve problems at home and overseas, and it could do it without hurting ordinary people," he said.


3) Mine Owner to Pay $200 Million in Death of 29 Men
"In addition to the $46.5 million payout to victims and families, the agreement includes $80 million to bolster safety and infrastructure in all underground mines owned by Alpha and Massey; $48 million to establish a mine health and safety foundation; and about $35 million in fines and fees that Massey owed to the Mine, Safety and Health Administration, the branch of the Department of Labor that oversees the mining industry."
December 6, 2011

In what officials say is the largest ever settlement in a government investigation of a mine disaster, Alpha Natural Resources agreed to pay $209 million in restitution and civil and criminal penalties for the role of its subsidiary, Massey Energy, in a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 men in West Virginia.

That amount includes $46.5 million allocated to the families of the victims and those who were injured in the blast, and includes terms that protect Alpha - but not individual Massey executives - from prosecution, said Steven Ruby, an assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.

The settlement, first reported by the Charleston Gazette, follows months of investigative work by federal officials from the Departments of Justice and Labor, as well as an independent commission appointed by the former West Virginia governor. The findings that had been made public placed the blame for the blast squarely on Massey and what investigators said was its reckless disregard for safety standards, but had stopped short of assigning criminal blame.

Tuesday's announcement was made after federal investigators met with families of the victims in West Virginia.

"We believe this can change the way mining is done," said R. Booth Goodwin II, the United States attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. Mr. Goodwin said there had been no discussions between federal prosecutors and Massey about a settlement before Alpha bought Massey in June.

In a statement, Kevin Crutchfield, chief executive of Alpha Natural Resources, said: "We believe the agreements we've reached represent the best path forward for everyone."

In the past, Massey had dismissed investigators' charges that its actions led directly to the disaster.

"It's a record-level settlement," said a former federal mine safety chief, J. Davitt McAteer, who conducted the independent state investigation, which issued the first findings about the explosion this year. "This is an amount that will get companies to pay attention. It has to affect their bottom line, otherwise it doesn't mean anything."

The settlement does not protect individual Massey managers, including the former chief executive, Don L. Blankenship, who have not been charged. In all 18 executives refused to be interviewed by federal investigators, invoking their Fifth Amendment rights.

In addition to the $46.5 million payout to victims and families, the agreement includes $80 million to bolster safety and infrastructure in all underground mines owned by Alpha and Massey; $48 million to establish a mine health and safety foundation; and about $35 million in fines and fees that Massey owed to the Mine, Safety and Health Administration, the branch of the Department of Labor that oversees the mining industry.

"We were shooting for something that was constructive and wasn't just writing a check to the federal treasury," said Mr. Ruby, the assistant United States attorney.

The agreement also required Alpha to put in place a plan that guarantees it has enough safety equipment, ventilation and methods of clearing potentially explosive rock dust out of its underground mines within 90 days.

The company will be required to build a state-of-the-art training facility in West Virginia, including a mine lab where it will be able to simulate mining disasters.

The agreement does not preclude victims and their families from filing civil lawsuits in the case.

The initial response from Wall Street analysts was positive for Alpha.

"It's an amount of money Alpha can pay," said Lucas Pipes, vice president and senior coal analyst at Brean Murray, Carret and Company, a research and investment banking firm. "Investors were not sure what the liability could possibly be but now it seems this chapter is coming to an end."

Mr. Pipes said the accident, and the more rigorous federal enforcement that followed, had already driven home the point that mine safety needed to be taken even more seriously. "Today's penalties are a reminder that safety also saves you money," he added.

The report released in March by the independent team appointed by former Gov. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and led by Mr. McAteer determined that the disaster could have been prevented if Massey had observed minimal safety standards.

That finding was in line with previous inquiries by federal officials who have said that in the year prior to the explosion, Upper Big Branch was cited by safety inspectors 515 times and ordered to shut down operations on 52 occasions.

The McAteer report accused Massey of having engaged in a pattern of negligence, which allowed a "perfect storm" of poor ventilation, equipment whose safety mechanisms were not functioning and combustible coal dust.

The investigators dismissed Massey's claims that the blast had occurred because a sudden burst of methane had bubbled from the ground, saying evidence contradicting that theory included the bodies of the miners found near the main explosion. Only two had methane in their lungs.

Federal investigators have also said that Massey kept two sets of books so that accounts of hazardous conditions in Upper Big Branch would be kept hidden from inspectors.

Clifford Krauss contributed reporting from Houston.


4) $210 Million Settlement Set in Upper Big Branch Disaster
"The $210 million settlement includes $46.5 million in criminal restitution to the miners' families, $128 million to fund cutting-edge mine safety upgrades, research and training and $35 million in penalties for federal mine safety violations." [Again, the bulk of this settlement goes back to the mine owners to pay for the mine safety upgrades that would have prevented the murderous catastrophe in the first place! In other words, a law suit that pays the bulk of the settlement back to the guilty party to do what they were supposed to do all along!]
by Mike Hall
Dec 6, 2011

The federal government and the owners of the former Massey Energy Upper Big Branch (W.Va.) coal mine, where 29 miners died in an April 2010 blast that the Mine Workers (UMWA) called "industrial homicide," have reached the largest-ever settlement in a federal investigation of a coal mine disaster.

The $210 million agreement with Alpha Natural Resources, which bought Massey Energy for $8.5 billion in February, does not bar any future criminal prosecutions of individuals connected to the deadly explosion.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin told reporters today, "No individuals are off the hook."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the settlement is a "welcome beginning" step toward justice but:

The only way to make a real down payment on justice is to ensure the guilty serve appropriately stiff jail sentences.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts says responsibility must be placed "where it belongs,"

on upper level management at Massey who created the safety-last culture at that company. We firmly believe the evidence is there for such criminal prosecution. Until someone goes to jail, there will be no justice done here.

The $210 million settlement includes $46.5 million in criminal restitution to the miners' families, $128 million to fund cutting-edge mine safety upgrades, research and training and $35 million in penalties for federal mine safety violations.

A report to be released later today by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will show the specific mines safety violations at the Massey mine that contributed to the blast.

MSHA's final report on the blast will mirror the agency's preliminary report and independent investigations by mine safety expert Davitt McAteer and the UMWA, writes Ken Ward in the Charleston Gazette.

All three investigations agree that the explosion involved an ignition of a small amount of methane gas that transitioned into a massive coal-dust explosion because of Massey's poor safety practices. The ignition likely was sparked by worn-out longwall cutting teeth hitting sandstone. The spark grew out of control because water sprays meant to control it weren't working, and the blast erupted into a huge explosion when it hit large amounts of coal dust Massey had not cleaned from underground tunnels.

Massey, McAteer wrote in his report, "exhibited a corporate mentality that placed the drive to produce Massey, coal above worker safety."


5) Japan Split on Hope for Vast Radiation Cleanup
December 6, 2011

FUTABA, Japan - Futaba is a modern-day ghost town - not a boomtown gone bust, not even entirely a victim of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that leveled other parts of Japan's northeast coast.

Its traditional wooden homes have begun to sag and collapse since they were abandoned in March by residents fleeing the nuclear plant on the edge of town that began spiraling toward disaster. Roofs possibly damaged by the earth's shaking have let rain seep in, starting the rot that is eating at the houses from the inside.

The roadway arch at the entrance to the empty town almost seems a taunt. It reads:

"Nuclear energy: a correct understanding brings a prosperous lifestyle."

Those who fled Futaba are among the nearly 90,000 people evacuated from a 12-mile zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant and another area to the northwest contaminated when a plume from the plant scattered radioactive cesium and iodine.

Now, Japan is drawing up plans for a cleanup that is both monumental and unprecedented, in the hopes that those displaced can go home.

The debate over whether to repopulate the area, if trial cleanups prove effective, has become a proxy for a larger battle over the future of Japan. Supporters see rehabilitating the area as a chance to showcase the country's formidable determination and superior technical skills - proof that Japan is still a great power.

For them, the cleanup is a perfect metaphor for Japan's rebirth.

Critics counter that the effort to clean Fukushima Prefecture could end up as perhaps the biggest of Japan's white-elephant public works projects - and yet another example of post-disaster Japan reverting to the wasteful ways that have crippled economic growth for two decades.

So far, the government is following a pattern set since the nuclear accident, dismissing dangers, often prematurely, and laboring to minimize the scope of the catastrophe. Already, the trial cleanups have stalled: the government failed to anticipate communities' reluctance to store tons of soil to be scraped from contaminated yards and fields.

And a radiation specialist who tested the results of an extensive local cleanup in a nearby city found that exposure levels remained above international safety standards for long-term habitation.

Even a vocal supporter of repatriation suggests that the government has not yet leveled with its people about the seriousness of their predicament.

"I believe it is possible to save Fukushima," said the supporter, Tatsuhiko Kodama, director of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo. "But many evacuated residents must accept that it won't happen in their lifetimes."

To judge the huge scale of what Japan is contemplating, consider that experts say residents can return home safely only after thousands of buildings are scrubbed of radioactive particles and much of the topsoil from an area the size of Connecticut is replaced.

Even forested mountains will probably need to be decontaminated, which might necessitate clear-cutting and literally scraping them clean.

The Soviet Union did not attempt such a cleanup after the Chernobyl accident of 1986, the only nuclear disaster larger than that at Fukushima Daiichi. The government instead relocated about 300,000 people, abandoning vast tracts of farmland.

Many Japanese officials believe that they do not have that luxury; the evacuation zone covers more than 3 percent of the landmass of this densely populated nation.

"We are different from Chernobyl," said Toshitsuna Watanabe, 64, the mayor of Okuma, one of the towns that was evacuated. "We are determined to go back. Japan has the will and the technology to do this."

Such resolve reflects, in part, a deep attachment to home for rural Japanese like Mr. Watanabe, whose family has lived in Okuma for 19 generations. Their heartfelt appeals to go back have won wide sympathy across Japan, making it hard for people to oppose their wishes.

But quiet resistance has begun to grow, both among those who were displaced and those who fear the country will need to sacrifice too much without guarantees that a multibillion-dollar cleanup will provide enough protection.

Soothing pronouncements by local governments and academics about the eventual ability to live safely near the ruined plant can seem to be based on little more than hope.

No one knows how much exposure to low doses of radiation causes a significant risk of premature death. That means Japanese living in contaminated areas are likely to become the subjects of future studies - the second time in seven decades that Japanese have become a test case for the effects of radiation exposure, after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The national government has declared itself responsible for cleaning up only the towns in the evacuation zone; local governments have already begun cleaning cities and towns outside that area.

Inside the 12-mile ring, which includes Futaba, the Environmental Ministry has pledged to reduce radiation levels by half within two years - a relatively easy goal because short-lived isotopes will deteriorate. The bigger question is how long it will take to reach the ultimate goal of bringing levels down to about 1 millisievert per year, the annual limit for the general public from artificial sources of radiation that is recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. That is a much more daunting task given that it will require removing cesium 137, an isotope that will remain radioactive for decades.

Trial cleanups have been delayed for months by the search for a storage site for enough contaminated dirt to fill 33 domed football stadiums. Even evacuated communities have refused to accept it.

And Tomoya Yamauchi, the radiation expert from Kobe University who performed tests in Fukushima City after extensive remediation efforts, found that radiation levels inside homes had dropped by only about 25 percent. That left parts of the city with levels of radiation four times higher than the recommended maximum exposure.

"We can only conclude that these efforts have so far been a failure," he said.

Minamisoma, a small city whose center sits about 15 miles from the nuclear plant, is a good place to get a sense of the likely limitations of decontamination efforts.

The city has cleaned dozens of schools, parks and sports facilities in hopes of enticing back the 30,000 of its 70,000 residents who have yet to return since the accident. On a recent morning, a small army of bulldozers and dump trucks were resurfacing a high school soccer field and baseball diamond with a layer of reddish brown dirt. Workers buried the old topsoil in a deep hole in a corner of the soccer field. The crew's overseer, Masahiro Sakura, said readings at the field had dropped substantially, but he remains anxious because many parts of the city were not expected to be decontaminated for at least two years.

These days, he lets his three young daughters outdoors only to go to school and play in a resurfaced park. "Is it realistic to live like this?" he asked.

The challenges are sure to be more intense inside the 12-mile zone, where radiation levels in some places have reached nearly 510 millisieverts a year, 25 times above the cutoff for evacuation.

Already, the proposed repatriation has opened rifts among those who have been displaced. The 11,500 displaced residents of Okuma - many of whom now live in rows of prefabricated homes 60 miles inland - are enduring just such a divide.

The mayor, Mr. Watanabe, has directed the town to draw up its own plan to return to its original location within three to five years by building a new town on farmland in Okuma's less contaminated western edge.

Although Mr. Watanabe won a recent election, his challenger found significant support among residents with small children for his plan to relocate to a different part of Japan. Mitsue Ikeda, one supporter, said she would never go home, especially after a medical exam showed that her 8-year-old son, Yuma, had ingested cesium.

"It's too dangerous," Ms. Ikeda, 47, said. "How are we supposed to live, by wearing face masks all the time?"

She, like many other evacuees, berated the government, saying it was fixated on cleaning up to avoid paying compensation.

Many older residents, by contrast, said they should be allowed to return.

"Smoking cigarettes is more dangerous than radiation," said Eiichi Tsukamoto, 70, who worked at the Daiichi plant for 40 years as a repairman. "We can make Okuma a model to the world of how to restore a community after a nuclear accident."

But even Mr. Kodama, the radiation expert who supports a government cleanup, said such a victory would be hollow, and short-lived if young people did not return. He suggested that the government start rebuilding communities by rebuilding trust eroded over months of official evasion.

"Saving Fukushima requires not just money and effort, but also faith," he said. "There is no point if only older people go back."


6) Prosecutors Dropping Death Penalty Against Mumia Abu-Jamal
December 7, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Prosecutors have called off their 30-year battle to execute former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal for murdering a white police officer, putting to an end the racially charged case that became a major battleground in the fight over the death penalty.

Flanked by the police Officer Daniel Faulkner's widow, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced his decision Wednesday, just two days short of the 30th anniversary of the killing. He said continuing to seek death penalty would open the case to "an unknowable number of years" of appeals.

"There's never been any doubt in my mind that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner. I believe that the appropriate sentence was handed down by a jury of his peers in 1982," said Williams, the city's first black district attorney. "While Abu-Jamal will no longer be facing the death penalty, he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life, and that is where he belongs."

Abu-Jamal was convicted of fatally shooting Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981. He was sentenced to death after his trial the following year.

Abu-Jamal, who has been incarcerated in a western Pennsylvania prison, has garnered worldwide support from those who believe he was the victim of a racially biased justice system.

The conviction was upheld through years of legal appeals. But a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing after ruling the instructions given to the jury were potentially misleading.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the case in October. That forced prosecutors to decide if they wanted to again pursue the death penalty through a new sentencing hearing or accept a life sentence.

Williams said he reached the decision to drop the death penalty bid with the blessing of Maureen Faulkner, who said another sentencing hearing would undoubtedly be just the beginning of another long, arduous appeals process.

"Another penalty proceeding would open the case to the repetition of the state appeals process and an unknowable number of years of federal review again, even if we were successful," Williams said. He also said that after nearly three decades, some witnesses have died or are otherwise unreliable.

Widener University law professor Judith Ritter, who represented Abu-Jamal in recent appeals, applauded the decision.

"There is no question that justice is served when a death sentence from a misinformed jury is overturned," Ritter said. "Thirty years later, the district attorney's decision not to seek a new death sentence also furthers the interests of justice."

According to trial testimony, Abu-Jamal saw his brother scuffle with the young patrolman during a 4 a.m. traffic stop in 1981 and ran toward the scene. Police found Abu-Jamal wounded by a round from Faulkner's gun. Faulkner, shot several times, was killed. A .38-caliber revolver registered to Abu-Jamal was found at the scene with five spent shell casings.

The officer's widow, Maureen Faulkner, has tried to remain visible over the years to ensure that her husband is not forgotten. They were 25-year-old newlyweds when he died.

"My family and I have endured a three-decade ordeal at the hands of Mumia Abu-Jamal, his attorneys and his supporters, who in many cases never even took the time to educate themselves about the case before lending their names, giving their support and advocating for his freedom," Maureen Faulkner said Wednesday. "All of this has taken an unimaginable physical, emotional and financial toll on each of us."

Abu-Jamal, born Wesley Cook, turned 58 earlier this year.

His writings and radio broadcasts from death row made him a cause celebre and the subject of numerous books and movies. His own 1995 book, "Live From Death Row," describes prison life and calls the justice system racist and ruled by political expediency.

Abu-Jamal, a one-time journalist, garnered worldwide support from the "Free Mumia" movement. Hundreds of vocal supporters and death-penalty opponents regularly turn out for court hearings in his case, even though Abu-Jamal is rarely entitled to attend.

His message resonated particularly on college campuses and in the movie and music industries - actors Mike Farrell and Tim Robbins were among dozens of luminaries who used a New York Times ad to advocate for a new trial, and the Beastie Boys played a concert to raise money for Abu-Jamal's defense fund.

Over the years, Abu-Jamal has challenged the predominantly white makeup of the jury, instructions given to jurors and the statements of eyewitnesses. He has also alleged ineffective counsel, racism by the trial judge and that another man confessed to the crime.

Maureen Faulkner railed against what she called the justice system's "dirty little secret" - the difficulty of putting condemned killers to death. Pennsylvania has put to death three people since the U.S. Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976, and all three had willingly given up on their appeals.

Faulkner lashed out at the judges who overturned Abu-Jamal's death sentence, calling them "dishonest cowards" who, she said, oppose the death penalty.

"The disgusting reality with the death penalty in Pennsylvania is that the fix is in before the hearing even begins," she said.

Faulkner also vowed to fight anyone who tries to extract special treatment for Abu-Jamal, advocating instead that he be moved to the general population after being taken off death row.

"I will not stand by and see him coddled, as he has been in the past," Faulkner said. "And I am heartened that he will be taken from the protective cloister he has been living in all these years and begin living among his own kind - the thugs and common criminals that infest our prisons."

Both sides have events planned to mark the anniversary of Faulkner's death and Abu-Jamal's subsequent arrest.

Supporters of Abu-Jamal, including Princeton professor Cornel West, have a symposium planned Friday at the National Constitution Center for the man they call an "innocent revolutionary and celebrated journalist."

Maureen Faulkner, Williams and others involved in the prosecution will gather in suburban Philadelphia to mark the anniversary this week for a screening of the anti-Mumia documentary by Philadelphia filmmaker Tigre Hill.

Associated Press writer Maryclaire Dale contributed to this story.


7) Afghanistan: Bids Open for Mining in Areas Rich in Gold and Copper
December 6, 2011

Afghanistan opened bids Tuesday on billions of dollars worth of copper and gold deposits in four areas of the country that, together, equal roughly half the Grand Canyon. The Afghan Ministry of Mines invited investors to bid on multiple contracts to unearth copper and gold hidden beneath 846 square miles in Badakhshan, Ghazni and Herat Provinces and a fourth area that spans both Balkh and Sar-i-Pul Provinces. Despite continuing violence, Afghanistan is hopeful that its mining industry will generate billions in revenue to help rebuild after 30 years of war. For a landlocked country with virtually no exports, the minerals are a potential windfall but will require international investment, better transportation and improved security.


8) Police Clear Occupy Encampment in San Francisco
December 7, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Police gave protesters at San Francisco's Occupy encampment five minutes to gather belongings before taking down about 100 tents and arresting 70 people as officers dismantled the camp in an overnight raid.

About two dozen officers in riot gear remained at daybreak Wednesday, down from more than 100 who carried out the raid. They blocked access to the former camp site as trash crews raked up paper and plastic bottles, removed chairs and other belongings that had accumulated there over the past two months, and pressure-washed the sidewalks.

A handful of protesters stood by, occasionally jeering at officers but otherwise heeding their instructions to stay back.

The raid began around 1 a.m., when dozens of police cars, fire engines and ambulances surrounded the campsite at Justin Herman Plaza and blocked off the area.

Police did not immediately release how many people were in the plaza at the time, but campers put the estimate at 150.

"Most of the protesters went peacefully," but one officer received minor injuries when two people threw a chair that cracked his face shield, said officer Albie Esparza. They were arrested on suspicion of felony assault. Dozens of others were arrested for illegal lodging in the plaza and failure to disperse. In all, 70 people were taken into custody.

Jack Martin of San Francisco said he was trying to leave the plaza when he was zip-tied, taken to a police station, cited and released. Officers trashed his tent and personal belongings, he said.

"Everything I owned is gone," said Martin, 51, as tears welled up in his eyes. "My medicine, my paper for my Social Security."

He yelled at a line of officers blocking the plaza: "I was trying to get out of your way!"

Martin said he lost his job as a building manager and had moved into a hostel until about five weeks ago, when he ran out of money. Asked what he planned to do next, he replied, "Occupy, occupy, occupy, occupy."

Richard Kriedler with Occupy SF said some protesters were injured, but he didn't have the details.

"This is a very emotional town. We have anarchists, we have very emotional people that this is not going to go over well with, and this could have been handled a lot better," he said.

"A much more simple way to do it would have been direct contact with the mayor and city officials here with us, and even though they've been invited many times, they didn't come."

But San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said the people at the campsite with whom officials had been holding discussions were no longer there.

"Negotiations had broken down," he told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We weren't getting our emails returned."

In a statement, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the city had taken a "measured and balanced approach," including making an alternate site available to protesters.

"But unfortunately, communication with the liaison team designated by Occupy SF deteriorated to a point where it was clear that no progress could be made," Lee said.

Kris Sullivan, 31, from Akron, Ohio, said many campers were sleeping and were taken by surprise during the raid. Sullivan, who said he had been at the camp for about two months, got his tent out but lost his pillow, mattress, blanket and another tent.

"They didn't even give much time for anyone to get out. They handled it really badly. They could have given us a warning or some sort of eviction notice," he said.

The tent city was set up in mid-October to protest bank bailouts and economic injustice.

Gene Doherty, 47, an Occupy protester who was not present during the raid but watched it on a live streaming website, said the Occupy protesters planned a noon rally at the site and still had several "mobile occupations" throughout the city.

"We will come back and reoccupy," Doherty said. "A large segment of our community has no other options. They don't have a home to go back to; this was their home."

Protesters will continue to "send a message that this is our right to protest, our right to assemble, and to talk about the economic injustices in the world," he said.

Anthony Kramer, 21, of St. Louis, said he had been in camp about five days. He vowed to return.

"We're not going to give up that easily," Kramer said as he stood on the sidewalk with his orange sleeping bag under his arm.

Associated Press radio reporter Ed Donahue in Washington contributed to this report.


9) Virginia: Man Jailed for 27 Years Is Exonerated
December 6, 2011

The Virginia Court of Appeals on Tuesday exonerated a man convicted in a series of sexual assaults in 1984. DNA evidence showed that the man, Thomas Haynesworth, could not have committed the crimes in which such evidence had been preserved, and it pointed to another man. Gov. Bob McDonnell released Mr. Haynesworth on parole in March, but Mr. Haynesworth petitioned for full exoneration. Prosecutors in the counties where the assaults occurred supported his effort, as did the commonwealth's attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli. The Court of Appeals initially heard the appeal and then asked for further briefs. Shawn Armbrust, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, said, "After serving nearly 27 years for crimes that he didn't commit, Mr. Haynesworth has had to register as a sex offender and abide by degrading conditions while the Court of Appeals took nearly nine months to conclude that the attorney general and the prosecutors were right that Mr. Haynesworth didn't commit these crimes."


10) Who Counts as 'Rich'?
December 9, 2011, 2:40 pm

We've written plenty of times about how little Americans know about the distribution of income in the United States, and how many rich people don't realize they're rich, at least relative to the rest of the country.

Now Gallup has surveyed Americans to ask what they believe the cutoff for being "rich" should be. The median response was that a person would need to make at least $150,000 to be considered rich. Here's a breakdown of the responses:

Just thinking about your own situation, how much money per year would you need to make in order to consider yourself rich? [OPEN ENDED]

Less than $60,000 -- 18 percent; $60,000-$99,000 -- 12 percent; $100,000-$150,000 -- 23 percent; $150-$299,000 -- 18 percent; $300,000-$999,999 -- 14 percent; $1 million -- 11 percent; More than $1 million -- 4 percent.
Gallup, Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 2011
Note: Percentages are based on those giving a dollar estimate; Ten percent did not.

(The national poll was based on telephone interviews, using landlines and cellphones, with about 500 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.)

According to the Tax Policy Center's calculations on income distribution, a household earning cash income of $150,000 would fall somewhere between the 89th and 90th percentiles. In other words, the typical American believes anyone in about the top tenth of the income distribution counts as "rich."

President Obama and others, on the other hand, have set the cutoff around $250,000 when discussing "raising taxes on the rich." Households earning cash income of $250,000 are somewhere between the 96th and 97th percentiles.

As you might expect, answers to Gallup's survey question on the threshold for being "rich" varied tremendously by demographics and geography. For example, men cited a higher bar than women did - $150,000 versus $100,000, respectively:

Self-Reported Annual Income Needed to Be Rich, by Subgroup

All Americans -- Median $150,000; Men -- Median $150,000; Women -- Median $100,000; 18-49 years -- $160,000; 50-plus -- $100,000; College graduate -- $200,000; College non-graduate -- $100,000; Less than $50,000 annual household income -- $100,000; $50,000 or more annual household income -- $200,000; With children under 18 -- $200,000; No children under 18 -- $100,000; Big/Small city -- $200,000; Town or rural area -- $100,000.
Gallup, Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 2011


Note that respondents with children under 18 said they would require $200,000 before considering themselves rich, whereas the childless were satisfied with a $100,000 benchmark. (That reminds me of this xkcd cartoon. [])

As you might expect, those who live in urban areas - like New York City, where the cost of living is very high - or in suburbs, had higher standards for being "rich" than did Americans who live in towns or rural settings.

Readers, I'm curious: What's your definition for who counts as "rich"?


11) Israeli Planes Attack Gaza Targets
December 9, 2011

GAZA - Israel carried out more airstrikes in Gaza early Friday, killing one Palestinian, as militants fired more rockets into southern Israel.

Tensions flared after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Thursday killed two Palestinians whom the military described as terrorists involved in a plot to attack Israelis and Palestinians fired salvos of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.

A Palestinian man was killed and seven other Palestinians were wounded, including two women and several children, when Israeli fighter jets attacked at least two targets on Friday that were described as training sites for the armed wing of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza. A strike on a site in northern Gaza badly damaged a house nearby, killing a man and wounding other family members, according to Adham Abu Selmia, a spokesman for the Gaza medical services.

On Thursday, a missile struck a car in which the two men were traveling along a busy street during the afternoon rush hour, near a public park and several banks. Six bystanders were reported wounded.

The rockets fired into Israel on Thursday and Friday landed in open areas and caused no casualties, the Israeli police said. A longer-range rocket that was fired toward the city of Ashdod on Friday evening was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the main target of Thursday's strike was Essam al-Batsh, 43, a senior operative of Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a group in Gaza nominally associated with Fatah, the party led by the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. The military said that Mr. Batsh had been involved in numerous attacks on Israel from across the border with the Egyptian Sinai, including a suicide bombing in the Israeli resort of Eilat in 2007 in which three Israelis were killed.

Israeli security forces have been on high alert in recent days in the area along the Egyptian border because of intelligence warnings of an imminent attack. In August, gunmen who crossed into Israel from Sinai killed eight Israelis and wounded more than 30 in multiple attacks north of Eilat, the most serious assault on Israel from Egyptian territory in decades. Five Egyptian security personnel were subsequently killed by Israeli forces as they pursued the attackers, severely straining Israeli-Egyptian relations.

The second Palestinian killed in Gaza on Thursday was a relative of Mr. Batsh and a member of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza. On Wednesday, an Islamic Jihad militant was killed in an Israeli bombing to the east of Gaza city.

In another development, Hamas officials in Gaza denied reports this week that most Hamas personnel had left Damascus, Syria, where the group has its headquarters, under pressure from moderate Arab states like Egypt, Qatar and Jordan to increase the isolation of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

A Hamas official in Gaza said that the leadership was remaining in Syria, but that some of the organization's members may have left out of fear for their safety because of the unrest there. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of relations with Syria and other Arab governments.

Fares Akram reported from Gaza and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.


12) Police Evict Protesters From Occupy Boston Site
December 10, 2011

BOSTON - The police swept into Occupy Boston's campsite early Saturday morning, bringing one of the country's largest continuous demonstrations inspired by New York City's Occupy Wall Street protest to an end.

Boston police said 46 people had been arrested during what the city's police commissioner, Edward Davis, said was "by and large" a peaceful eviction.

Police officers arrived shortly before 5 a.m., dragging tents out of the camp and warning the roughly 75 protesters who had stayed the night there that they would be arrested if the did not leave.

"The first thing I heard was the sound of a knife ripping through a tent," said Mike Hipson, a demonstrator who stayed through the night. A group linked arms and awaited arrest as police officers backed vans into the camp.

Some protesters noted that they could not read police badges, and some members of the media said they were kept at a distance as arrests were being made.

The sweep was not a surprise. On Thursday, a Boston judge lifted a temporary restraining order that had barred the police from evicting the group. By Friday, protesters had received eviction notices warning them that they risked arrest if they did not vacate Dewey Square by midnight, and many began clearing tents and valuables from the camp. But that night, a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered in and around the square. "The mayor and I decided it was good to hold off 24 hours after the deadline," Commissioner Davis said.

By 8 a.m. Saturday, the city's cleanup of Dewey Square was in full force, with workers using leaf blowers and moving garbage into dump trucks. Others had begun power-washing posters off of the building they had adorned in the square.

Across the street, a couple of dozen protestors chalked messages, like "Occupy Boston Lives," on the pavement outside of South Station, using supplies from the group's "mobile sign unit." The supplies, one housed in a sign-making tent, were now inside a child's wooden wagon.

One of the protesters, Steve O'Brien, a homeless 18-year-old, said he did not know where he would go now.

"I'm hoping it will be reinstated, that we go back in and set it up again," Mr. O'Brien said. He said he had wanted to be arrested, but that the police told him he was too young.

The group scheduled a general assembly for Saturday night on the Boston Common to discuss its next move.

"We have a lot of options," said Robin Jacks, 31, who, along with one other, helped begin the Boston occupation. Ms. Jacks has expressed interest in transitioning, as other groups around the country have done, from a public occupation to action like occupying foreclosed homes.

"This is not over. There's no way that we're going to dispense and not be us anymore."

At a news conference on Saturday, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said safety was the primary motivator behind the eviction, praising the police for acting with "patience and respect." Mr. Menino had words of gratitude for the protestors, too.

"They shined a much needed light, still needed, on growing economic inequality in this country. In the end, they also acted with restraint, I thank them for that," Mr. Menino said.

But he said the city would immediately move to evict protesters from any new campsites.


13) Police defend handling of the media during Occupy arrests
By Boston Globe Staff
12/10/2011 8:43 AM

Boston police defended their handling of the media during the Occupy Boston raid early this morning, when most reporters of the media were not able to get a good view of arrests taking place.

"We were making every accommodation for the press to make sure they did have an optimal vantage point when it came to covering the police action," said Boston police spokesman Elaine Driscoll.

As police entered the site, they forced most members of the media to stand on the sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue, on the outskirts of Dewey Square. A line of about a dozen uniformed officers stood between them and the square, where at least 46 people were arrested.

Boston Police Superintendent William Evans said this was done so members of the media wouldn't interfere with the operation.

Driscoll said reporters were escorted by officers from the department's media relations department "so they could get a closer look than they otherwise would have been able to."

She said two pool cameras were allowed closer to the action. A Globe photographer was one of those in the pool.

Visual documentation has been critical at a number of the police raids that have occurred around the country, as Occupy encampments have been dismantled, sometimes violently. The Boston eviction appears to have unfolded peacefully.

A police officer said the department was taking its own internal video of officers' interactions with protesters.


14) For 29 Dead Miners, No Justice
December 9, 2011

Ann Arbor, Mich.

EARLY on April 5, 2010, in the heart of West Virginia coal country, a huge explosion killed 29 workers at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine. Later that day, President Obama directed Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis to conduct "the most thorough and comprehensive investigation possible" and to work with the Justice Department to investigate any criminal violations.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department issued a 972-page report on the calamity - the nation's worst mining disaster in 40 years. It concluded that Massey's "unlawful policies and practices" were the "root cause of this tragedy." It identified over 300 violations of the Mine Safety and Health Act, including nine flagrant violations that contributed to the explosion.

The scathing findings probably came as no surprise in West Virginia, where Massey had a well-earned reputation for putting miners at risk, breaking unions and polluting the environment.

However, what jumped off the pages for me, as a former federal prosecutor, was the revelation that Massey had kept two sets of books at the mine: one for internal use, which recorded hazards, and a second for Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors, which did not. In addition, Massey routinely gave its facilities advance notice of inspections, which is a crime under federal law, and intimidated its workers so that they would not report safety and health violations.

Based on the Labor Department's investigation, the Justice Department could have criminally prosecuted Massey under the Mine Safety and Health Act for the violations that caused the explosion. Prosecutors also could have charged the company with conspiracy and obstruction of justice for the ways it thwarted regulation.

Instead, on the same day the devastating report was released, the Justice Department announced that it would not criminally prosecute Massey. The news release issued by the United States attorney misleadingly described its nonprosecution agreement with Massey's new owners as "the largest ever criminal resolution in a mining investigation."

Let's be clear: this is not a criminal resolution. Massey will not be charged with any crimes and will not plead guilty before a federal judge. Nor will there be a sentencing hearing where Massey apologizes to the families of the victims and is punished for its crimes.

The deal with Massey continues a disturbing trend whereby corporations can avoid criminal prosecution by entering deferred prosecution or nonprosecution agreements. Often the terms of these agreements are no better than what could have been achieved in a criminal case; worse, they create the appearance that justice can be bought.

Moreover, there is less to this settlement than meets the eye. The $209 million settlement requires payment of $35 million in previously assessed administrative penalties, but that sum includes just $10.8 million for the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy. The remaining $174 million is likely to be tax deductible, including $80 million for investments in safety and infrastructure at Massey mines and an additional $48 million to establish a mine health and safety trust fund.

Even the most laudable aspect of the deal - the agreement to pay $46.5 million in restitution to the families of the victims - is illusory. Massey already had agreed to pay $16.5 million to settle lawsuits brought by the families. The remaining $30 million will be paid into a fund for future settlements, which effectively caps the amount the families can recover. And, to add insult to injury, the Justice Department agreed that Massey would admit no wrongdoing.

So why did the Justice Department respond so timidly?

Perhaps it felt hamstrung by the weakness of the criminal provisions of the Mine Safety and Health Act, which are misdemeanors and cover only willful violations of health and safety standards. It is long past time for Congress to update our mine safety laws so that violations can be prosecuted as felonies, particularly in cases where miners are killed.

Maybe the Justice Department wanted to reward the new owners, who appear to have made a greater commitment to safety. It may also have felt it would be enough to criminally prosecute Massey officials, which it can and should do if there is sufficient evidence.

We should not underestimate, however, the difficulty of prosecuting high-ranking officials in large corporations. This case may be an exception, but senior corporate officers rarely have sufficient personal involvement to be charged with crimes. To reach the boardroom, where policies are formed that can lead to tragedy, we must be willing to hold corporations criminally responsible.

During my 17 years at the Justice Department, we prosecuted corporations criminally in hundreds of cases that, while serious, did not involve the tragic loss of life at the Upper Big Branch Mine. The Justice Department did not live up to its name in agreeing not to prosecute Massey for its crimes. We can only hope that when it comes to the other unfathomable disaster that took place in April 2010, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, justice will be better served.

David M. Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan, was chief of the environmental crimes section at the Justice Department from 2000 to 2007.


15) Thousands Gather in Russia to Protest Legislative Elections
December 10, 2011

MOSCOW - Tens of thousands of Russians gathered peacefully in central Moscow on Saturday to shout "Putin is a thief" and "Russia without Putin," forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir V. Putin first became president 12 years ago.

The crowd overflowed the square where it was held, forcing stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank, and organizers repeatedly cleared a footbridge out of fear it would collapse. It was the largest anti-Kremlin protest since the early 1990s.

The crowd united liberals, nationalists and Communists, a group best described as the urban middle class, so digitally connected that some were broadcasting the rally live using iPads held over their heads. The police estimated the crowd at 25,000 while organizers put the figure much higher, at 40,000 or more.

The rally was a significant moment in Russia's political life, suggesting that the authorities have lost the power to control the national agenda. The event was too large to be edited out of the evening news, which does not report criticism of Mr. Putin, and was accompanied by smaller demonstrations dozens of other cities, including St. Petersburg.

The government calculated that it had no choice but to allow the events unfold. There was a large police presence, including rows of troop carriers, dump trucks and bulldozers, but remarkably when the crowd dispersed four hours later, no detentions had been reported.

On Saturday many in the crowd said the event was a watershed moment.

"People are just tired, they have already crossed all the boundaries," said Yana Larionova, 26, a real estate agent. "You see all these people who are well dressed and earn a good salary, going out onto the streets on Saturday and saying, 'No more.' That's when you know you need a change."

Calls for protest have been mounting since parliamentary elections last Sunday, which domestic and international observers said were tainted by ballot-stuffing and fraud on behalf of Mr. Putin's party, United Russia. But an equally crucial event, many said, was Mr. Putin's announcement in September that he would run for the presidency in March. He is almost certain to win a six-year term, meaning he will have been Russia's paramount leader for 18 years.

Yevgeniya Albats, editor of the New Times magazine, said that the gathering was the most striking display of grassroots democracy that she had seen in Russia, and that the involvement of young people was a game-changer. When Mr. Putin revealed his decision to return to the presidency, a full six months before presidential elections, she said, "this really, really humiliated the country."

"Today we just proved that civil society does exist, that the middle class does exist and that this country is not lost," Ms. Albats said.

The authorities had been trying to discourage attendance, saying that widespread protests could culminate in a disaster on the scale of the Soviet collapse, which occurred 20 years ago this month. Officials have portrayed the demonstrators as revolutionaries dedicated to a violent, Libya-style overthrow. Mr. Putin last week said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had set off the wave of activism by publicly criticizing the conduct of the parliamentary elections.

"She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal," Mr. Putin said. "They heard the signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work."

The demonstration's organizers have put forward several demands: the immediate release of prisoners arrested last week in connection with the protests; the scheduling of new parliamentary elections; the ouster of Vladimir Y. Churov, who runs the Central Election Commission; investigation of election violations; the registration of so-called nonsystem opposition parties, ones that have been unable to win seats in Parliament or put forward presidential candidates.

Speakers said they would give the Kremlin two weeks to satisfy the demands, and hold another large protest on Dec. 24.

Aleksei Navalny, a popular blogger who has helped mobilize young Russians over the last year, sent an address from the prison where he is serving a 15-day sentence for resisting the police. Mr. Navalny was arrested Monday night after the first of three demonstrations.

"Everyone has the single most powerful weapon that we need - dignity, the feeling of self-respect," read the address, which was delivered by a veteran opposition leader, Boris Y. Nemtsov. "It's impossible to beat and arrest hundreds of thousands, millions. We have not even been intimidated. For some time, we were simply convinced that the life of toads and rats, the life of mute cattle, was the only way to win the reward of stability and economic growth."

"We are not cattle or slaves," he said. "We have voices and votes and we have the power to uphold them."

The blogosphere has played a central role in mobilizing young Russians this fall. During the parliamentary campaign, Russians using smartphones filmed authority figures cajoling, bribing or offering money to their subordinates to get out the vote for United Russia. More video went online after Election Day, when many Russians in their 20s camped out in polling stations as amateur observers.

"The Putin system, over many years, repeats the same mistakes and ignores public opinion," said Leonid Gigen, 26. "We have a lot of evidence. A lot was shot on video. And then Medvedev says these videos are fake," a reference to President Dmitri A. Medvedev. "But people saw it themselves, because they voted."

The ruling party, United Russia, lost ground in last Sunday's election, securing 238 seats in the next Duma, compared with the 315, or 70 percent, that it holds now. The Communist Party won 92 seats; Just Russia won 64 seats; and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party won 56 seats.

The vote had come to be seen as a referendum not only on United Russia but also on Mr. Putin and his plans to stay on as Russia's paramount leader. Mr. Putin remains by far the country's most popular political figure - the independent Levada Center reports his approval ratings at above 60 percent - but that approval has been diminishing gradually despite the authorities' efforts to shore it up.

It seems unlikely that the authorities will accede to the protesters' demands. A deputy chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission told the Interfax news service that the final report on the election results was signed Friday, and that he saw no reason to annul them.

"The elections are declared valid, and there is no reason for any other assessment," the official, Stanisav Vavilov, said. "There is no reason to revise the results of the elections."

One of the few official remarks on the gathering on Saturday came from Andrei Isayev, the deputy secretary of the presidium of the general council of United Russia, who told demonstrators that they risked becoming "cannon fodder."

"Do not allow yourself to become a pawn in the hands of those who want to destroy our country," he said.

Michael Schwirtz, David M. Herszenhorn and Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting.


16) Tracing a Mother's Vagabond Path to Murder and Suicide in Texas
December 10, 2011

LAREDO, Tex. - Months after being denied food stamps, Rachelle Grimmer grabbed her two children, a .38-caliber revolver and 50 rounds of ammunition and walked into the state social services office here on Monday to demand answers.

But Ms. Grimmer's troubles were far deeper than a lack of food stamps, and neither the police nor the employee she held hostage could resolve them.

Divorced and living a vagabond existence in Texas in recent months, Ms. Grimmer, 38, told the police she was frustrated that she had been denied benefits in other states. She said that her former husband was affiliated with the Russian mob and the Ku Klux Klan, a situation she said led to government harassment that prevented her from receiving public assistance.

Her hostage, Robert Reyes, a supervisor who had offered himself in trade for two other employees Ms. Grimmer had taken hostage, granted her the food stamp benefits she had requested - $3,050 worth, retroactive to July, the month she had first applied. The police slipped the paperwork under the door to show Ms. Grimmer it was for real. But she refused to leave the small office in the Texas Health and Human Services building, at times sitting in a chair with her daughter on her lap and communicating with the police on an office phone.

About 10 minutes before midnight, about seven hours into the standoff, she hung up on hostage negotiators. Moments later, three shots were heard. Ms. Grimmer had shot both of her children in the head, and then herself. She died at the scene. The children were taken to University Hospital in San Antonio. Her daughter, Ramie Marie Grimmer, 12, died on Wednesday. Her son, Timothy Donald Grimmer, 10, died a day later.

Carlos R. Maldonado, Laredo's police chief, said that the denial of benefits was only one of a series of issues that had been troubling Ms. Grimmer, but that investigators had more questions than answers about her motive. The police were not certain if she was being treated for mental health problems and did not know why she moved several months ago to Laredo, a border city of 236,000, where she had no family.

"Unfortunately in these situations, there's a lot of questions that we have and a lot of those questions may never be answered," Chief Maldonado said. "I think we did everything that we possibly could to resolve the situation. We heard people say, why didn't the tactical team intervene and do something about the mother and save the children? There was never any inclination, any information available to us, that the children were in any danger at all."

But Ramie appeared to have known her life was in danger. At one point during the standoff, using an office computer, she updated her Facebook page, writing "may die 2day" in the section for posting where she worked. Later, she wrote, "tear gas seriasly," though none was used by the police.

Ms. Grimmer grew up in Montana and had been living in Ohio in 2005 when she divorced her husband and the children's father, Dale R. Grimmer. By 2010 she had moved to Texas, and in recent months she and her children seemed to have no permanent address.

In September 2010, the family was staying in a tent on a beach on the South Texas coast. In Laredo, they lived at a mobile home park in a small trailer with a cracked wall. Neighbors and park workers would help them with groceries and cash. Ms. Grimmer sold her truck, forcing the family to walk long distances around town.

Janie Rodriguez, the manager of Towne North Mobile Home and RV Park, said that Ms. Grimmer often told her she was frustrated by the state's refusal to give her benefits and that, one day weeks ago, she showed her a fax receipt for documents she had sent the social services office. "I do blame the state," Ms. Rodriguez said. "She was a very intelligent person and a very wonderful person, a very good mother. She was not mentally ill. The state never came to see how she was living."

The children were not enrolled in local schools, but were being home-schooled. The state's child welfare agency, the Department of Family and Protective Services, had come in contact with the family at least twice before.

After receiving a report of possible neglect, investigators from the agency checked on the family in September 2010, when they were living on the beach. But the children appeared to be taken care of, and Ms. Grimmer had food and money, so the case was closed, a department spokesman said. In June, Ms. Grimmer told the police in Corpus Christi that she had been a victim of domestic violence. The agency checked on her and the children but had no concerns, said the spokesman, Patrick Crimmins.

Ms. Grimmer had first applied for food stamps at the Laredo social services office on July 7. She did not meet the criteria to receive benefits within 24 hours because she was receiving child support. But an employee scheduled a time with Ms. Grimmer for someone to call her the next day to review her case, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said. A caseworker called twice but was unable to reach her, the spokeswoman said.

A letter was sent to Ms. Grimmer asking her to reschedule, and the appointment was set for July 22. On that day, a caseworker interviewed Ms. Grimmer by phone and explained what information was needed, said the spokeswoman, Stephanie Goodman. Though Ms. Grimmer turned in some of the paperwork, she did not supply materials verifying the amount of child support she had been receiving monthly, Ms. Goodman said.

On Aug. 8, the case was closed, and Ms. Grimmer was sent a letter informing her that she had been denied food stamp benefits because of the missing information, Ms. Goodman said.

In Texas, benefits applications are approved more often than they are denied: in the past six months, 85 percent of cases statewide were approved, and the median number of days to process an application was 12, the agency said.

In mid-November, Ms. Grimmer called the agency's ombudsman office, saying that she disagreed with the reason she was denied benefits. A supervisor called her on Dec. 1 but could not reach her. No one in the Laredo office heard from her until she walked in on Monday.

The agency is reviewing its handling of Ms. Grimmer's case. "I think we did everything we could," said Thomas M. Suehs, the commissioner of health and human services. "It's a tragic situation."

Outside the Grimmers' trailer on Thursday, neighbors gathered to pray for the family. Standing next to a memorial of balloons and teddy bears, one mother spoke of the sunflower bookmark Ms. Grimmer had drawn for her. Santiago Morantes Jr., 16, recalled seeing Ms. Grimmer, Ramie and Tim walking to the post office one morning. He remembered it because he noticed all three of them were barefoot.


17) Thousands Sterilized, a State Weighs Restitution
"Until folks know what the state's going to do, people aren't going to take the risk and come forward," she said. One woman who submitted her name fears it will become public. In a recent interview in her small home in Lexington, N.C., she said she would be embarrassed if her co-workers at a local hospital knew her story. Now 62, she was adopted but sent to a state school at 7 because her parents thought she was mentally deficient. She remembers being told as a teenager that she was getting an appendectomy. When she was 27 and started having uterine trouble, a doctor requested her records and discovered that she had been sterilized in an operation that had been botched, her medical records show. 'I tell you what,' she said. 'I about hit the floor.' She went to her mother, who said she was going to tell her before she got married. Welfare would have ended if she had not consented, her mother said." ...Elaine Riddick, 57, who also lives in Atlanta, was sterilized in 1967. She was 14 and had gotten pregnant from a rape. Social workers persuaded her illiterate grandmother to sign the consent form with an X."
December 9, 2011

LINWOOD, N.C. - Charles Holt, 62, spreads a cache of vintage government records across his trailer floor. They are the stark facts of his state-ordered sterilization.

The reports begin when he was barely a teenager, fighting at school and masturbating openly. A social worker wrote that he and his parents were of "rather low mentality." Mr. Holt was sent to a state home for people with mental and emotional problems. In 1968, when he was ready to get out and start life as an adult, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina ruled that he should first have a vasectomy.

A social worker convinced his mother it was for the best.

"We especially emphasized that it was a way of protecting Charles in case he were falsely accused of having fathered a child," the social worker wrote to the board.

Now, along with scores of others selected for state sterilization - among them uneducated young girls who had been raped by older men, poor teenagers from large families, people with epilepsy and those deemed to be too "feeble-minded" to raise children - Mr. Holt is waiting to see what a state that had one of the country's most aggressive eugenics programs will decide his fertility was worth.

Although North Carolina officially apologized in 2002 and legislators have pressed to compensate victims before, a task force appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue is again wrestling with the state's obligation to the estimated 7,600 victims of its eugenics program.

The board operated from 1933 to 1977 as an experiment in genetic engineering once considered a legitimate way to keep welfare rolls small, stop poverty and improve the gene pool.

Thirty-one other states had eugenics programs. Virginia and California each sterilized more people than North Carolina. But no program was more aggressive.

Only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization. They often relied on I.Q. tests like those done on Mr. Holt, whose scores reached 73. But for some victims who often spent more time picking cotton than in school, the I.Q. tests at the time were not necessarily accurate predictors of capability. For example, as an adult Mr. Holt held down three jobs at once, delivering newspapers, working at a grocery store and doing maintenance for a small city.

Wealthy businessmen, among them James Hanes, the hosiery magnate, and Dr. Clarence Gamble, heir to the Procter & Gamble fortune, drove the eugenics movement. They helped form the Human Betterment League of North Carolina in 1947, and found a sympathetic bureaucrat in Wallace Kuralt, the father of the television journalist Charles Kuralt.

A proponent of birth control in all forms, Mr. Kuralt used the program extensively when he was director of the Mecklenburg County welfare department from 1945 to 1972. That county had more sterilizations than any other in the state.

Over all, about 70 percent of the North Carolina operations took place after 1945, and many of them were on poor young women and racial minorities. Nonwhite minorities made up about 40 percent of those sterilized, and girls and women about 85 percent.

The program, while not specifically devised to target racial minorities, affected black Americans disproportionately because they were more often poor and uneducated and from large rural families.

"The state owes something to the victims," said Governor Perdue, who campaigned on the issue.

But what? Her five-member task force has been meeting since May to try to determine what that might be. A final report is due in February.

This week, the task force set some priorities. Money was the most important thing to offer victims, followed by mental health services.

How much to pay is a vexing question, and what North Carolina does will be closely watched by officials in other states. In a period of severe budget cuts and layoffs, money for eugenics victims can be a hard sell to legislators.

States began practicing eugenics in earnest in the United States in the 1920s and '30s, driven by a philosophy of social engineering once so popular that President Woodrow Wilson, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. of the Supreme Court and Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, were ardent supporters.

Before most of the programs were closed down, more than 60,000 people nationwide had been sterilized by state order.

The reasons were chilling, reports from state records and interviews with survivors and researchers show.

There was a 14-year-old girl deemed low-performing and "oversexed" who came from a home with poor housekeeping standards. A man who raped his daughter at 12 signed her sterilization consent when she was 16 and pregnant. A mother of five was deemed to have a low I.Q.

Victims began filing a handful of lawsuits in the 1970s, but outrage has been slow to build. In 2002, The Winston-Salem Journal ran a series of articles on eugenics, prompting official apologies and initial legislative efforts aimed at compensating victims.

But nothing came of it until Governor Perdue, a Democrat, took up the cause. She has vowed to put money in the 2012 budget. The House speaker, Thom Tillis, a Republican, said in October that he, too, would work on a bill to compensate victims.

But how much to include? Is $20,000 per victim, a figure suggested by some, enough?

"How can you quantify how much a baby is worth to people?" asked Charmaine Fuller Cooper, executive director of the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, which is financed by the state. "It's not about quantifying the unborn child, it's about the choices that were taken away."

The issues go deeper than just a dollar amount. The task force has to decide whether money should go only to those living or to the estates of the dead, whether a tubal ligation is worth more than a vasectomy.

One variable is how many people will actually sign up to get the money. The state estimates that about 3,000 victims of state-mandated sterilizations may still be alive. Of those, 68 have been verified in state records. But not all sterilizations were done through the state board. Counties had programs, as did private doctors who were part of the eugenics movement. Those people will not qualify for state compensation, Ms. Fuller Cooper said.

Still, her office in Raleigh receives about 200 calls a month. People who suspect they were part of the state program must send her a notarized letter. Then, their names have to be found among eugenics board records stored in dozens of cardboard boxes in the basement of the state archives. People have died or moved or use different names. It is needle-in-a-haystack work.

Some critics of the effort say the state is not working hard enough. Victims and others argue that names in the archives could be matched to drivers' records.

But the state cannot just send letters to people's houses suggesting they might have been sterilized against their will, Ms. Fuller Cooper said. Medical records are private. Husbands or adopted children could find out a long-buried secret. Old wounds could be laid open again.

Even people who call her office sometimes hang up abruptly when a spouse approaches, wanting to keep their terrible secret unless money is on the table.

"Until folks know what the state's going to do, people aren't going to take the risk and come forward," she said.

One woman who submitted her name fears it will become public. In a recent interview in her small home in Lexington, N.C., she said she would be embarrassed if her co-workers at a local hospital knew her story.

Now 62, she was adopted but sent to a state school at 7 because her parents thought she was mentally deficient. She remembers being told as a teenager that she was getting an appendectomy. When she was 27 and started having uterine trouble, a doctor requested her records and discovered that she had been sterilized in an operation that had been botched, her medical records show.

"I tell you what," she said. "I about hit the floor."

She went to her mother, who said she was going to tell her before she got married. Welfare would have ended if she had not consented, her mother said.

She did marry, and her husband, who has since died, accepted the fact that they could not have children. Still, she was forever changed.

"I see people with babies and I think how much I would have loved to have a young one," she said. "It should have been my choice whether I wanted to have a baby or not. You just feel like you were held back, like you never had any say in your life."

She figures what she went through is worth at least $50,000 or $100,000. "Maybe I could retire," she said.

Mr. Holt still remembers that October day. He thought he was getting an examination so he could leave the state home. He said he did not know he was giving up his chance to be a parent.

"The doctor told me I couldn't go home unless I had an operation done," said Mr. Holt, who was 19 at the time. "When I woke up I tried to walk, and I said: 'This ain't right. I don't even remember them shaving me down there.' "

He went on to marry and divorce. Now recovering from a stroke and surviving on disability payments, he lives with relatives in a tidy trailer park in the middle of the state.

He thinks maybe $30,000 would be enough. Others want more. Elaine Riddick, 57, who also lives in Atlanta, was sterilized in 1967. She was 14 and had gotten pregnant from a rape. Social workers persuaded her illiterate grandmother to sign the consent form with an X.

She has become the most vocal proponent of payment, suing the state for $1 million. Her case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which refused to hear it.

For Nial Ramirez, 65, who was sterilized at 18 after she gave birth to her daughter, no amount could make it right.

A social worker from the Washington County Department of Public Welfare suggested that she get sterilized. Mrs. Ramirez said she did not understand that the procedure was permanent and thought she had no choice.

"They told me that my brothers and sisters were going to be in the streets all because of you," she said. "It's either sign the paper or mama's checks get cut off."

In 1973, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, she became the first person to file a lawsuit against the state eugenics board. It ended with a $7,000 settlement from the doctor, she said.

Now in a small apartment surrounded by the sound of the television and some of the 200 dolls she has collected through her lifetime, Ms. Ramirez remains angry. She does not want an apology, and she will not settle for the amounts being discussed.

"What would an apology do for me?" she said. "You don't know what my kids were going to be. You don't know what kids God was going to give me. Twenty thousand dollars ain't gonna do it, honey."


18) Homeless Families Walking a Hard Road
"Data collected by the Illinois State Board of Education shows 42,608 homeless students enrolled in Illinois at the end of the 2011 school year, an increase of 64 percent since 2008. In Chicago Public Schools, the enrollment for homeless students reached 15,289, an increase of 24 percent."
December 10, 2011

Samantha Caballero cannot remember the last time she slept well. Some nights she nods off in a chair. She has slouched in the front seat of her brother's station wagon or huddled between boxes in her mother's storage unit. Sometimes she squeezes onto a friend's extra bed with five of her six children.

There are seven of them: Six children. One mother. No home.

On most days, when she wakes at 6 a.m. from a half-sleep, Ms. Caballero must get her 12-year-old daughter, Lajuanese, and her three boys, Jovany, 11; Deangelo, 6; and Jaden, 3; ready for school. She makes sure they have school assignments in their book bags, toothbrushes and a change of clothes; the family may change addresses during the day.

As with any large family, everything requires planning. With her two youngest, Devonta, 4 months, and Samantha, 3, Ms. Caballero spends her day navigating a maze of bureaucracies: cash assistance, food stamps, Social Security, schools, shelters and health care.

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley's 10-year plan to end homelessness focused on the chronically homeless, substance abusers and the disabled. But nine years later, many young people and families are still on the streets. Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to update the plan early next year.

The number of homeless families is rising in Illinois, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Between 2008 and 2010 their ranks swelled by more than 7 percent, to 6,827. "Anecdotally, we have seen a significant number of single mothers entering the Chicago system of care," said John Pfeiffer, the deputy commissioner of Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services.

A nearly three-year evaluation of Mr. Daley's program by researchers at the University of Chicago and Loyola University tracked more than 500 homeless people for a year and found a fragmented system that inhibited progress.

In 100 calls to the city's 311 referral system, the researchers found help-line respondents passive and largely unable to link callers to the appropriate resources. Attendants often directed them to the nearest police station or hospital. In only 16 percent of cases did workers give more detailed information. The study also reported that no test caller was "offered a well-being check, callback or pickup for families with young children or unaccompanied youth."

When the researchers disclosed their findings last week at the annual breakfast for the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, Mr. Emanuel, who was at the event, expressed astonishment.

"That seems crazy that we can't get 311 trained correctly," he said.

Ms. Caballero, 32, is often frustrated by the system. She has been in and out of shelter programs since 2004, more than a fifth of her life. A conviction on her record - she stole $6,000 from a gas station where she worked - has made it difficult to find a job. Over the years, she has encountered a labyrinthine, opaque system in a city that offers few rights to publicly financed shelter.

In contrast to Chicago, cities like New York, Washington, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Louisville have regulations to protect the homeless. In 2002, a judge's ruling forced New York City to give financial compensation to families forced to sleep on the floor and benches of the city's Emergency Assistance Unit.

"Her situation exposes flaws in every level of the system," said Emily Benfer, director of the Health Justice Project and clinical professor of law at the Loyola School of Law. "There are no consistent regulations governing shelter, and she has no rights."

Ms. Caballero, who is of Mexican descent, grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago. Pregnant with her first child at 19, Ms. Caballero dropped out of high school. Her oldest child is 12.

Ms. Caballero said that not all her children were planned. She considered terminating one of her pregnancies but did not have $1,000 for the late-term abortion.

When her public aid arrives without snags - a rarity, she said - she receives $674 in Social Security, $623 in cash assistance and $723 in food stamps each month, plus support from the federal Women, Infants and Children program. The public support covers food and clothes, but it is not enough for a security deposit on an apartment.

Dealing with the red tape of public aid eats up her days. Recently, it took Ms. Caballero five hours and eight bus rides, her children in tow, to make a court-mandated meeting with her parole officer and a food run to W.I.C.

After Ms. Caballero unlawfully lost her cash assistance and food stamps early this year, it took four advocates at the Health Justice Project working 380 hours between February and July to replace the lost benefits, according to the Health Justice Project's database.

A run of recent trouble began Sept. 1, after Ms. Caballero's mother was evicted from the one-bedroom Cicero apartment they had shared. Ms. Caballero called 311 after the eviction and explained she was homeless with no relatives to help, according to records kept by Health Justice Project lawyers.

A 311 operator referred her to the Trina Davila Community Service Center, one of the city government's six warming and referral centers. The operator then proceeded to "admonish Ms. Caballero for not saving enough money for a security deposit," said Ms. Benfer, who listened in on the call.

A two-week tangled web of missing paperwork, unreturned voice-mail messages and dead-end referrals to shelters followed, according to records kept by Justice Project lawyers of calls made by Ms. Caballero and lawyers to 311 and shelters. Ms. Caballero wound up in a storage unit rented by her mother. Though the storage company prohibits overnight stays, she hid her children behind the unit's locked door, kept them quiet and arranged a sleeping area among the boxes.

On other nights, the family slept in her brother's station wagon, most of the children in back, she in the driver's seat, and her 4-month-old son, Devonta, in a car seat on the passenger side.

Several times during that two weeks, Ms. Caballero and Justice Project lawyers said, workers cited a shortage of beds in Chicago's shelters. On Sept. 14, space in a shelter became available, but by the time she collected her children from school and rode buses there, their beds had been given away and she could not get in, she said. City officials contend she never arrived at the West Side shelter.

Anne Sheahan, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Family and Support Services, said once the agency had realized that Ms. Caballero had been without shelter for two weeks, workers from several departments devoted two days to finding shelter space, only to have Ms. Caballero reject it, saying the shelter was too far from her children's schools.

Mr. Pfeiffer, of Family and Support Services, said the agency immediately found shelter for families in 90 percent of the cases. "Our policy is not to turn away," he said.

Despite her itinerant life, Ms. Caballero is able to keep four of her children in public school - three in the Cicero district and one in Chicago. Every day the Cicero school district picks up and drops off Jovany, Deangelo and Jaden from Logan Square. Federal law ensures homeless children free school transportation, regardless of where the family stays.

Data collected by the Illinois State Board of Education shows 42,608 homeless students enrolled in Illinois at the end of the 2011 school year, an increase of 64 percent since 2008. In Chicago Public Schools, the enrollment for homeless students reached 15,289, an increase of 24 percent.

The constant movement and stress take a physical toll on Ms. Caballero's children. Deangelo has asthma, and Samantha is showing signs of the disease. Jaden has developmental and speech delays, medical records show. Lajuanese recently
spent a week in the psychiatric ward of Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center and has a learning disability.

On Nov. 18, Deangelo suffered an asthma attack that put him in the hospital for three days. The week before, the family had slept in the rain on a friend's back porch.

"How hard your life is is probably going to affect your health status, especially vulnerable people - older people and children," said Richard Warnecke, director of the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

On Dec. 1, Ms. Caballero strapped Devonta to her chest and gathered the other five children for a trip to W.I.C. She had no money for return bus fare and needed everyone to help carry bags to a friend's house, where they were staying the night.

"This situation doesn't give my kids a chance to be kids," Ms. Caballero said.

She handed 3-year-old Samantha three boxes of cereal and divided three gallons of milk, apple juice, more cereal, fruit, bread and eggs among the others. Their hands full, the family set off on the mile-long walk.


19) Conviction Is Reversed in 1992 Rape and Murder
December 10, 2011

The conviction of a man in the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old baby sitter, a case that his supporters have long believed was the result of a false confession, was reversed Friday night by an Illinois appellate court.

Juan Rivera, who is 39 and serving a life sentence, had been convicted by three separate juries in the death of Holly Staker, who was baby-sitting two toddlers when she was killed in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan. Mr. Rivera confessed to the crime after four days of interrogation, but no physical evidence linked him to the crime.

In 2005, DNA testing proved that Mr. Rivera was not the source of the semen found inside Holly's body. Nonetheless, he was convicted again in 2009 after prosecutors suggested that Holly was sexually active and that the semen may have come from someone else.

Mr. Rivera's case was profiled in a Nov. 27 article in The New York Times Magazine.

Earlier this week, the prosecutor, Michael Mermel, who had convicted Mr. Rivera in his third trial, retired because of inappropriate comments he made about the reliability of DNA evidence and about alleged sexual activity by the victim.


20) 'Law & Order: SVU' Imitation Occupation Draws Real Protesters, and City's Ire
"...Show us the script..."
[Occupy TV -- way to go!]
December 9, 2011

"Law & Order" helped give the phrase "ripped from the headlines" as much of a place in the consciousness of New York as detectives' chatter about "perps" and "vics." Or that clang-clang noise at the beginning of each scene in the television show.

But when the "Law & Order: SVU" production crew began setting up for a scene in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan on Thursday night, some of the people who actually generated the headlines that "SVU" was preparing to rip from - the Occupy Wall Street protesters - were less than pleased.

They, in turn, generated some headlines that "SVU" did not want to rip from - it turned out that the "SVU" crew did not have a permit to be there.

"SVU" is not the only prime-time television drama that has worked in material about the Occupy protests, or has tried to. On "The Good Wife" last Sunday night, Julianna Margulies's character had a brainstorm as an arbitration hearing droned on. She rushed out of the hearing room and used a cellphone to snap a shot of a bulletin-board poster that said, "Support Occupy Wall Street."

Later still, Ms. Margulies had a scene opposite Michael J. Fox playing a lawyer who mentioned his "mean corporate clients."

"The 1 percent," he added.

The "SVU" brouhaha began when the crew put up tarps and tents in the square, in the shadow of the courthouse at 60 Centre Street, a familiar backdrop for the step-climbing prosecutors in the "Law & Order" universe. The crew tacked up placards denouncing war and greed. It installed a library with rows of books and a kitchen, complete with a sign that read, "End the War on Workers."

All in all, the crew transformed Foley Square into a fake encampment that looked like the real one a few blocks away, in Zuccotti Park, which the police cleared on Nov. 15. But the tents and the anticorporate slogans came down before the cameras could roll, done in by real Occupy Wall Street protesters who saw the set as a stage for political theater.

They streamed onto the set at midnight, stepping over yellow tape and brushing off objections from production assistants. Some crawled into the tents and lay down. Others danced while pounding drums and waving flags. Several headed straight to the kitchen, where they helped themselves to muffins and a jar of pickles, among other things.

Some complained about art imitating life, and about unfairness.

"We thought we would bring some extras down and add some reality to this show," Aaron Black, 38, of Brooklyn, said. "Why should they be able to put tents up in a public park when we are unable to do that?"

Drew Hornbein, 24, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, said he found it "bizarre" to walk through an imitation occupation. He wondered whether the "SVU" producers had realized that a fake tent city would be a target for Occupy protesters. "Did they think we were gone?" he said.

Before long, a contingent of police officers gathered. A commander said that everyone near the tents had to move on or face arrest, protesters and production assistants alike. This was after he said the permit for the set had been rescinded - something that turned out to be not quite right. On Friday, the city said "SVU" did not have a permit to build the encampment, only a permit for filming beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.

For a while, the protesters stayed where they were. Eventually, they adjourned to a fountain at the southern end of the square and began holding a meeting. The police remained on the set, and workers from "SVU" began dismantling the tents.

Curt King, a spokesman for NBC Universal, said on Friday that the network had no comment about the occupation of the apparently rule-breaking set; neither did a spokeswoman for "SVU." They did not explain how "SVU" would rework the scene.

But Warren Leight, an executive producer of "Law & Order: SVU," posted a series of messages on Twitter that began, "Saddened by last night's events."

"We understand OWS emotions run high," Mr. Leight said, "and also protesters' fear of having their images and history co-opted by corporate media - the irony here is the scene we couldn't shoot portrayed OWS in a sympathetic light."

In another post he said, "And harassing night-shift production assistants. Those are not the images of OWS we wanted our audience to see."

"Let's move forward," he added. "Peace."

The posts were deleted about 45 minutes after they appeared, which prompted a response from #OccupyWallStreet: "Wish u hadn't deleted ur tweets. Why censor urself? Ready 2 move forward. Show us the script."