Friday, December 23, 2011


Committee to Stop FBI Repression
National call in day, Friday, December 23
Tell President Obama:
VETO indefinite detention without trial

Call President Obama at 202-456-1111


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.


Lifting the Veil
Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. --HELEN KELLER

Suggested slogan for the 2012 elections:


Keep Wall Street Occupied (Part 1)


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:




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.



Palestinian human rights activist OMAR BARGHOUTI

Speaking on

"Occupy Wall Street not Palestine! BDS and the Global Struggle for Justice & Freedom in Palestine"

First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway

Booksigning of Barghouti's book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights follows the program

Presented by the Middle East Children's Alliance & CODEPINK
Benefit for MECA's Maia Project: Clean Water for Children in Gaza. Wheelchair accessible, ASL interpreted.

Event includes Special Guests!

Buy Your Tickets Now!
Tickets $10, no one turned away for lack of funds -For info: 510-548-0542,

Cosponsored by: KPFA, Al-Awda, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, US Palestinian Community Network, Northern California Friends of Sabeel, Global Exchange, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Bay Area Women in Black, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Leena Al-Arian
Program and Communications Coordinator
Middle East Children's Alliance
1101 8th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710


It's Time to "Occupy the Dream:" African-American Faith Community Joins Forces with Occupy Wall Street - First Day of Action on MLK Day, Jan 16 at Federal Reserve Banks

December 15, 2011 in Chicago, DC, Direct Action, Discrimination, Federal Reserve, Liberty Park, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minnesota, OccupyTogether, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis, Video

Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Faithful to its philosophical origin, the "Occupy the Dream" coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day - Monday, January 16, 2012 - when they will "Occupy the Federal Reserve," in multiple cities nationwide, focusing attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite. This will be the first of many actions leading up to a mass gathering in Washington D.C., to be held April 4 - 7, when millions will unite in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr King.

In support of this effort, has created this inspiring video:!/media/oici4d

The Occupy the Dream coalition was launched by a contemporary of Dr. King - Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. - and Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple Church, in partnership with Occupy Wall Street organizers. The following statement in support of the Occupy the Dream coalition was prepared by over 30 Occupy Wall Street organizers and read at the National Press Club in Washington, DC:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for social and economic justice with a deep moral commitment to non-violent civil disobedience. His legacy inspires many of us on the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Nearly fifty years since hundreds of thousands of people marched with Dr. King and filled the nation's capital, the dream that inspired our nation remains unfulfilled. As shocking as it is to believe, there is a more severe inequality of wealth in the United States today than there was back then. More Americans are living in poverty today than when Dr. King organized the Poor People's Campaign.

While the rich have grown richer, tens of millions of Americans have been exploited and left behind. In a time of great wealth and technological advancement, American families are desperately struggling to get by and to make ends meet.

Our political, economic, and legal systems have become wholly corrupted through a system of political bribery. Through campaign finance, lobbying, and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, our wealth has been consolidated into the hands of the few at the expense and suffering of the many.

Many of our brothers and sisters lead lives dominated by fear. Fear of losing a home. Fear of losing a job. Fear of losing medical coverage. Fear of losing the ability to provide food for our families. And for far too many, these fears have already become a reality.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is about people coming together to say "enough is enough." Our families have endured economic oppression for too long. The Occupy Wall Street movement draws its strength from people of all different walks of life, with opinions across the political spectrum, coming together to find common ground and unite against the global financial interests that have bought control of our government.

Dr. King's vision of economic justice is an edifying example of what we intend to achieve. The Occupy movement has become a powerful force by occupying communities throughout the country. The time has now come for us to embody the spirit of Dr. King and for us to "Occupy the Dream."

We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the African-American Faith community in this campaign for economic fairness and justice. We are all in this fight together. We all want a healthy and secure future for our families. In the absence of a government that will defend and represent us, we are now taking it upon ourselves to stand up and defend our own families.

It is a great honor today to join with the spirit of Dr. King, to join with heroes of the civil rights movement, luminaries of the faith community, pioneers in music and all of you in attendance.

It is a great honor today to announce the birth of the "Occupy the Dream" movement.

Social Media Accounts

Twitter: @OccupyDreamOWS

Facebook: Occupy the Dream

For more information visit


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]


HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov



Charlie Chaplin final speech in "The Great Dictator"

I'm sorry but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others' happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men---machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it's written "the kingdom of God is within man", not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.
Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!


ILWU Local 10 Longshore Workers Speak-Out At Oakland Port Shutdown

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

ILWU Local 10 longshore workers speak out during a blockade of the Port of Oakland called for by Occupy Oakland. Anthony Levieges and Clarence Thomas rank and file members of the union. The action took place on December 12, 2011 and the interview took place at Pier 30 on the Oakland docks.

For more information on the ILWU Local 21 Longview EGT struggle go to
For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:
Production of Labor Video Project


Lifting the Veil
"Our democracy is but a name...We choose between Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee" --Helen Keller, 1911

"It is naive to expect the initiative for reform of the state to issue from the political process that serves theinterests of political capitalism. This structure can only be reduced if citizens withdraw and direct their energies and civic commitment to finding new life forms...The old citizenship must be replaced by a fuller and wider notion of being whose politicalness will be expressed not in one or two modes of actibity--voting or protesting--but in many." --Sheldon Wolin

This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the graveyard of social movements, the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself.

Lifting the Veil is the long overdue film that powerfully, definitively, and finally exposes the deadly 21st century hypocrisy of U.S. internal and external policies, even as it imbues the viewer with a sense of urgency and an actualized hope to bring about real systemic change while there is yet time for humanity and this planet.

Noble is brilliantly pioneering the new film-making - incisive analysis, compelling sound and footage, fearless and independent reporting, and the aggregation of the best information out there into powerful, educational and free online feature films - all on a shoestring budget.

Viewer discretion advised - Video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war.

Lifting the Veil from S DN on Vimeo.


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.


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


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 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




Urgent Appeal to Occupy and All Social Justice Movements: Mobilize to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Endorse the statement here:

In recent days, protesters demanding civilian rule in Egypt have again been murdered, maimed and tortured by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Interior Security Forces (ISF).

The conspiracy, being brutally implemented in Egypt, is part of a global conspiracy to suffocate mass movements for socio-economic justice and is being done with direct assistance of the American government and the private interests which direct that government. We have word from friends in Egypt that SCAF, ISF and their hired thugs - armed by ongoing shipments of $1.3 billion in weapons from the U.S. government - plan to execute one by one all the leaders of the revolution, and as many activists as they can.

Accordingly, we need to ensure that people and organizers in the US and internationally are involved in closely monitoring the events unraveling in Egypt. By keeping track of the atrocities committed by SCAF and ISF, keeping track of those detained, tortured or targeted, and continuously contacting officials in Egypt and the US to demand accountability, cessation of the atrocities and justice, we can add pressure on SCAF, ISF and the forces they represent. In this way we may be able to play a role in helping save the lives of our Egyptian brothers and sisters.

Evidence of the conspiracy to execute the leaders and participants of Egyptian freedom movement, includes in very small part the following:

* Sheikh Emad of Al Azhar was killed by a bullet entering his right side from short range. This was seen at first hand by witnesses known to members of our coalition. Sheikh Emad was one of a small number of Azhar Imams issuing decrees in support of the revolution. His murder was no accident.
* Sally Tooma, Mona Seif, Ahdaf Soueif, and Sanaa Seif, all female friends and relatives of imprisoned blogger and activist Alaa abd El Fattah, and all known internationally for their political and/or literary work, were detained, and beaten in the Cabinet building.
* A woman protesting against General Tantawi, head of SCAF, was detained and then tortured by having the letter "T" in English carved into her scalp with knives.
* Detainees are being tortured while in courtroom holding pens. Two men (Mohammad Muhiy Hussein is one of them) were killed in those pens.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.

In every way, Egypt's fight is our fight. Just like us, Egyptians are the 99%, fighting for social, political and economic justice.

The same 1% that arms the Egyptian dictatorship commits systematic violence in this country against the Occupy movement; antiwar and solidarity activists; and Arabs, Muslims, and other communities of color.

As the US Palestinian Community Network recently observed, "the same US-made tear gas rains down on us in the streets of Oakland, Cairo and Bil`in."

Because of Egypt's key strategic location, the fate of its revolution echoes across the world. Its success will bring us all closer to achieving economic and social justice. But its defeat would be a major blow to social justice movements everywhere, including Occupy.

In short, Egypt is key to the continued success of the Arab Revolution, and movements she has inspired.

For all these reasons, we ask Occupy and all U.S. social justice activists to join us in mobilizing to defend our Egyptian brothers and sisters by immediately organizing mass convergences on Egyptian embassies, missions, consulates, and at U.S. government offices, to demand:

* Cancel all US aid and shipment of military and police materiel to Egypt!
* Stop the murders, tortures and detentions!
* Release all detainees and political prisoners!
* Immediate end to military rule in Egypt!

Please endorse and circulate this appeal widely. Please send statements with these demands to the bodies listed below. By endorsing, your organization commits to making these phone calls and following up continuously for the next week. and



Call/write-in to Egyptian government.

Ministry of Defense
Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman
Phone: 01120222916227
Fax: +(20) 2 2 5748 822 (+20) 22 291 6227

Dr.Kamal El Ganzory, Prime Minister
Phone: +202-2793-5000
Fax: +202-2795-8048


2:00pm until 7:00pm
Protest against SCAF in NYC
Egyptian consulate, 1110 2nd Ave # 201 New York, NY 10022-2093

Endorse the Statement
*(denotes required field)


Tarek Mehanna - another victim of the U.S. War to Terrorize Everyone. He was targeted because he would not spy on his Muslim community for the FBI. Under the new NDAA indefinite military detention provision, Tarek is someone who likely would never come to a trial, although an American citizen. His sentencing is on April 12. There will be an appeal. Another right we may kiss goodbye. We should not accept the verdict and continue to fight for his release, just as we do for hero Bradley Manning, and all the many others unjustly persecuted by our government until it is the war criminals on trial, prosecuted by the people, and not the other way around.

Marilyn Levin

Official defense website:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Free Tarek
Date: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 3:41 PM
Subject: [Tarek Mehanna Support] Today's verdict

All who have followed Tarek's trial with a belief in the possibility of justice through the court system will be shocked to learn that today the jury found him guilty on all seven counts of the indictment. In the six weeks that the prosecution used to present its case, it presented no evidence linking Tarek to an illegal action. Instead, it amassed a large and repetitive collection of videos, e-mails, translated documents, recorded telephone conversations and informant testimony aimed at demonstrating Tarek's political beliefs. The core belief under scrutiny was one that neither Tarek nor his defense team ever denied: Muslims have a right to defend their countries when invaded.

The prosecution relied upon coercion, prejudice, and ignorance to present their case; the defense relied upon truth, reason and responsibility. The government relied upon mounds of "evidence" showing that Tarek held political beliefs supporting the right to armed resistance against invading force; they mentioned Al-Qaeda and its leadership as often as possible while pointing at Tarek. It is clear they coerced Tarek's former friends and pressured them to lie, and many of them admitted to such. There is a long list of ways this trial proceeded unjustly, to which we will devote an entire post. The government's cynical calculation is that American juries, psychologically conditioned by a constant stream of propaganda in the "war on terrorism," will convict on the mere suggestion of terrorism, without regard for the law. Unfortunately, this strategy has proved successful in case after case.

Tarek's case will continue under appeal. We urge supporters to write to Tarek, stay informed, and continue supporting Tarek in his fight for justice. Sentencing will be April 12th, 2012. We will be sending out more information soon.

A beacon of hope and strength throughout this ordeal has been Tarek's strength and the amount of support he has received. Tarek has remained strong from day one, and even today he walked in with his head held high, stood unwavering as the verdict was read to him, and left the courtroom just as unbowed as ever. His body may be in prison now, but certainly this is a man whose spirit can never be caged. His strength must be an inspiration to us all, even in the face of grave circumstances. Before he left the courtroom, he turned to the crowd of supporters that was there for him, paused, and said, "Thank you, so much." We thank you too. Your support means the world to him.

You are here: Home » ACLU | "Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security" by Christopher Ott

ACLU | "Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security" by Christopher Ott

Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security

Submitted by Online Coordinator on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 14:31 First Amendment National Security

Decision today threatens writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Christopher Ott, Communications Director, 617-482-3170 x322,

BOSTON - The following statement on the conviction today of Tarek Mehanna may be attributed to American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose:

"The ACLU of Massachusetts is gravely concerned that today's verdict against Tarek Mehanna undermines the First Amendment and threatens national security.

"Under the government's theory of the case, ordinary people-including writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers-could be prosecuted for researching or translating controversial and unpopular ideas. If the verdict is not overturned on appeal, the First Amendment will be seriously compromised.

"The government's prosecution does not make us safer. Speech about even the most unpopular ideas serves as a safety valve for the expression of dissent while government suppression of speech only drives ideas underground, where they cannot be openly debated or refuted.

"The ACLU believes that we can remain both safe and free, and, indeed, that our safety and our freedom go hand in hand."

The ACLU of Massachusetts has condemned the use of conspiracy and material support charges where the charges are based largely on First Amendment-protected expression.

In Mr. Mehanna's case, the charges against him have been based on allegations of such activity, such as watching videos about "jihad", discussing views about suicide bombings, translating texts available on the Internet, and looking for information about the 9/11 attackers. Historically, government prosecutors have used conspiracy charges as a vehicle for the suppression of unpopular ideas, contrary to the dictates of the First Amendment and fundamental American values.

After the ACLU of Massachusetts submitted a memorandum of law in support of Mehanna's motion to dismiss the parts of the indictment against him that were based on protected expression, U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole denied permission for the memorandum to be filed with the court. A copy of the memorandum is available here.

For more information, go to:

via Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security | ACLU of Massachusetts.


December 14, 2011

Greetings all,

Just verified with Superintendent John Kerestes that Mumia Abu-Jamal is being held in Administrative Custody at SCI Mahanoy, Frackville, PA until he is cleared to enter general population within a few days.

We need phone calls to the institution to let them know that the WORLD is watching Mumia's movements and ask general questions so that they know that nothing they are doing is happening under cover of darkness.

Please also send cards and letters to Mumia at the new address so that he begins receiving mail immediately and it is known to all of the people there that we are with him!

PHONE NUMBER: 570-773-2158


Mumia Abu-Jamal, #AM8335
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932

CURRENT VISITORS on Mumia's list will allegedly be OK'd to visit once their names are entered into the computer at Frackville. NEW VISITORS will have to receive the pertinent forms directly from Mumia.





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

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


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.


Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana state prisons must end
Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:




Write to Bradley

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) Revolt Begins Like Others, but Its End Is Less Certain
December 16, 2011

2) As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks
December 16, 2011

3) California: Judge Rejects Lethal Injection Protocol
December 17, 2011

4) Occupy Group Faults Church, a Onetime Ally
December 16, 2011

5) Libya's Civilian Toll, Denied by NATO
December 17, 2011

6) Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?
December 17, 2011

7) The GOP Nominee Is... Obama
by Richard Greener, Author, 'The Locator' novels
December 19, 2011

8) Mass March by Cairo Women in Protest Over Soldiers' Abuse
"In a statement issued late Sunday from Washington, Mrs. Clinton said she was 'deeply concerned' about the violence. 'I urge Egyptian security forces to respect and protect the universal rights of all Egyptians, including the rights to peaceful free expression and assembly,' she said." [No mention of the police violence against Occupy protesters all over the good 'ol USA!?!?!?!?!?!?!]
December 20, 2011

9) Occupy Atlanta saves a home from foreclosure
"She bought the home while making a higher paygrade, she was a staff
sgt in the army when she bought the home. Then she was forced to
retire after her unit was hit by mortar. She had metal plates put in
her spine and was not allowed to serve any longer. Her disability pay
was less than half of what she was making when she bought the house.
With PTSD it's difficult to hold down a normal job. She struggled to
make payments and started the "modification" process about a year and
a half ago. Chase sent multiple denials. Then we occupied the home,
put the media spotlight and direct action on Chase and within a week
they offered her something at a fixed rate for 30 years that she is
able to cover fairly comfortably with her disability payments (which
she will be receiving for the rest of her life)." --Rob Call, Atlanta Occupier
Posted by Gwynedd Stuart
Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM

10) 'Someplace Like America'
By Bruce Springsteen, The Washington Post
December 20, 2011

11) American Jailed in Peru Returns to New York
December 20, 2011, 10:10 am

12) Occupy Crackdown: CIA plays new version of "I Won't Tell You." > News / Commentary
December 20, 2011

13) Demonstrators Who Took Over Chinese Village Halt Protest
December 21, 2011

14) For Illegal Immigrant, Line Is Drawn at Transplant
"'They should not get any benefit from breaking the law, especially something as expensive as organ transplants or dialysis,' said Representative Dana T. Rohrabacher, Republican of California, who contends that care for illegal immigrants is bankrupting American health care and has sought to require that emergency rooms report stabilized patients for deportation unless they prove citizenship or legal residence. 'If they're dead, I don't have an objection to their organs being used," Mr. Rohrabacher added. 'If they're alive, they shouldn't be here no matter what.'" [Boy! would I like to rip out Mr. Rohrabacher's kidneys! What an effing disgusting pig!]
December 20, 2011

15) Japan Says Decommissioning Damaged Reactors Could Take 40 Years
December 21, 2011

16) Hearing in Soldier's WikiLeaks Case Ends
December 22, 2011

17) Border Fence Blocks Bears in Migration, Study Finds
December 21, 2011

18) Army Charges 8 in Wake of Death of a Fellow G.I.
December 21, 2011

19) Bradley Manning: Troubled Young American Hero
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
22 December 11


1) Revolt Begins Like Others, but Its End Is Less Certain
December 16, 2011

WUKAN, China - Each day begins with a morning rally in the banner-bedecked square, where village leaders address a packed crowd about their seizure of the village and plans for its future. Friday's session was followed by a daylong mock funeral for a fallen comrade, whose body lies somewhere outside the village in government custody.

It has been nearly a week since the 13,000 residents of this seacoast village, a warren of cramped alleys and courtyard homes, became so angry that their deeply resented officials - and even the police - fled rather than face them. Now, there is a striking vacuum of authority, and the villagers are not entirely sure what to make of their fleeting freedom.

"We will defend our farmland to the death!" a handmade banner proclaims, referring to a possible land deal they fear will strip them of almost all their farmland. "Is it a crime," another muses, "to ask for the return of our land and for democracy and transparency?"

How long they will last is another matter. As the days pass, the cordons of police officers surrounding the village grow larger. Armored trucks and troop carriers have been reported nearby. On local television, a 24-hour channel denounces the villagers as "a handful of people" dedicated to sabotaging public order, with the names of protesters flashing on a blue screen, warning that they will be prosecuted. Many here fear this will all end badly. "The SWAT teams and the police here are acting like they're crime organizations, not police forces," said Chen Dequan, a 50-year-old farmer and fisherman. "The entire village is worried."

The dispute that emptied Wukan of its government officials is, on its face, like hundreds - if not thousands - of others that inspire protests here each year: villagers who believe their land was taken illegally take to the streets when their concerns are ignored.

But the suspicious death of a well-liked villager, who was selected to negotiate on the citizens' behalf, appears to have turned this long-simmering grievance into a last-straw standoff with the authorities.

The land deal inspiring the protests involved one of China's largest property developers, a Hong-Kong listed company called Country Garden that prides itself on fast-paced construction in mostly suburban areas. Yang Huiyuan, described by analysts as the company's chairwoman, is often listed as one of the richest women in China.

The company has faced controversy before. Xinhua, China's official news agency, said this year that it had bought Anhui Province land to build a golf course in a deal that smacked of "the typical collusion of real estate business and local government." The agency's signed commentary said more than 10 government officials had been punished after that transaction and other cases of illegal purchases and use of land there.

Here in Wukan, many residents believed that the national government had not yet intervened to resolve matters simply because it had been misled by nefarious local officials to believe that all was well.

So far, however, it seems from inside this locked-down village that government leaders at all levels are flummoxed at their blue-moon, if temporary, loss of control.

Lin Zuluan, 67, a retired businessman who is now the village's de facto leader, said that officials had approached him to negotiate an end to the protest, but that talks had gone nowhere, in part because the officials would not meet villagers' demands to return all their land.

"I do have concerns" over the lack of progress, he said. "But I do believe this country is ruled by law, so I do believe the central government will do whatever it has to do to help us."

In the meantime, life here goes on in an aura of unreality as much as uncertainty, a mixture of grief and optimism and somewhat willful ignorance of the hints of trouble at every police roadblock and on every news broadcast.

Inside the village, citizens hail foreign journalists as visiting saviors, bombarding them with endless cigarettes, bowls of rice-and-seafood porridge and free rides on the backs of scooters. The villagers bristle at the government's suggestion that they are being financed by unnamed foreigners, but are convinced that only reporting outside the state-run press will bring word of their plight to leaders in Beijing.

Corruption accusations against Country Garden, the developer, go back for years. In 2007, the Southern Weekly newspaper alleged irregularities in a hotel construction contract awarded to the company by a district government in Zhangjiajie, in Hunan Province. The paper suggested that the government heavily discounted the project's land cost because most of Country Garden's payment was secretly diverted to a company in which two Country Garden officials had invested.

In a faxed statement Friday, Country Garden said both the other projects in Anhui and Hunan were wholly aboveboard. The firm said the Anhui deal was free of corruption and the Zhangjiajie contract was awarded through open, transparent bidding. Officials have contended that the money supposedly diverted was in fact spent for legitimate public purposes related to the project.

In Wukan, two people familiar with the Country Garden proposal said the company planned to buy at least 134 acres of land for villa homes and shopping centers here. About half of that land is controlled by Fengtian Livestock, a pig-raising firm that holds a 50-year lease issued by the government; the rest is apparently in villagers' hands.

Chen Wenqing, the livestock firm's owner, said Country Garden was negotiating directly with the local authorities last spring when the deal fell through over a difference on price. Country Garden said it had intended to build a project but has signed no agreements.

But Mr. Lin, the retired businessman, said villagers became angry in September when they saw construction work at the pig-farm site. Officials of Lufeng city, a district that controls Wukan, ordered the building stopped, he said, and asked villagers to select a committee of locals to settle the controversy.

Negotiations to return the land to villagers produced little, however. On Dec. 9, unidentified men abducted one of the negotiators, a 42-year-old leather worker named Xue Jinbo, and four other men from a local restaurant.

The other four soon turned up in nearby jails, accused of inciting villagers to subvert the government. Mr. Xue was seen only on the night of Dec. 11, when local government officials summoned relatives to view his body at a mortuary.

They said that he had died of a heart attack in a hospital and that medical records of his care would be provided.

But family members say officials confiscated their mobile telephones before allowing them into the funeral home, apparently to prevent them from taking photographs. Mr. Xue's nose was caked with blood, his body was black with bruises and his left thumb was broken, apparently pulled backward to the breaking point, one of them, a nephew named Xue Ruiqiang, said on Friday in an interview.

Word of Mr. Xue's death brought the villagers into the streets and sent members of the village committee that was involved in the land negotiations fleeing.

Mr. Xue's 21-year-old daughter, Xue Jianwan, said before the service that her father "was a straightforward man who always stood up for people."

"Mom said that if he hadn't been such a straightforward person, he probably wouldn't have ended up like this," she added.

Shi Da contributed research from Wukan, and Mia Li from Beijing. Sharon LaFraniere and Jonathan Ansfield contributed reporting from Beijing.


2) As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks
December 16, 2011

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A bubble rose through a hole in the surface of a frozen lake. It popped, followed by another, and another, as if a pot were somehow boiling in the icy depths.

Every bursting bubble sent up a puff of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas generated beneath the lake from the decay of plant debris. These plants last saw the light of day 30,000 years ago and have been locked in a deep freeze - until now.

"That's a hot spot," declared Katey M. Walter Anthony, a leading scientist in studying the escape of methane. A few minutes later, she leaned perilously over the edge of the ice, plunging a bottle into the water to grab a gas sample.

It was another small clue for scientists struggling to understand one of the biggest looming mysteries about the future of the earth.

Experts have long known that northern lands were a storehouse of frozen carbon, locked up in the form of leaves, roots and other organic matter trapped in icy soil - a mix that, when thawed, can produce methane and carbon dioxide, gases that trap heat and warm the planet. But they have been stunned in recent years to realize just how much organic debris is there.

A recent estimate suggests that the perennially frozen ground known as permafrost, which underlies nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, contains twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere.

Temperatures are warming across much of that region, primarily, scientists believe, because of the rapid human release of greenhouse gases. Permafrost is warming, too. Some has already thawed, and other signs are emerging that the frozen carbon may be becoming unstable.

"It's like broccoli in your freezer," said Kevin Schaefer, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. "As long as the broccoli stays in the freezer, it's going to be O.K. But once you take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge, it will thaw out and eventually decay."

If a substantial amount of the carbon should enter the atmosphere, it would intensify the planetary warming. An especially worrisome possibility is that a significant proportion will emerge not as carbon dioxide, the gas that usually forms when organic material breaks down, but as methane, produced when the breakdown occurs in lakes or wetlands. Methane is especially potent at trapping the sun's heat, and the potential for large new methane emissions in the Arctic is one of the biggest wild cards in climate science.

Scientists have declared that understanding the problem is a major priority. The United States Department of Energy and the European Union recently committed to new projects aimed at doing so, and NASA is considering a similar plan. But researchers say the money and people devoted to the issue are still minimal compared with the risk.

For now, scientists have many more questions than answers. Preliminary computer analyses, made only recently, suggest that the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions could eventually become an annual source of carbon equal to 15 percent or so of today's yearly emissions from human activities.

But those calculations were deliberately cautious. A recent survey drew on the expertise of 41 permafrost scientists to offer more informal projections. They estimated that if human fossil-fuel burning remained high and the planet warmed sharply, the gases from permafrost could eventually equal 35 percent of today's annual human emissions.

The experts also said that if humanity began getting its own emissions under control soon, the greenhouse gases emerging from permafrost could be kept to a much lower level, perhaps equivalent to 10 percent of today's human emissions.

Even at the low end, these numbers mean that the long-running international negotiations over greenhouse gases are likely to become more difficult, with less room for countries to continue burning large amounts of fossil fuels.

In the minds of most experts, the chief worry is not that the carbon in the permafrost will break down quickly - typical estimates say that will take more than a century, perhaps several - but that once the decomposition starts, it will be impossible to stop.

"Even if it's 5 or 10 percent of today's emissions, it's exceptionally worrying, and 30 percent is humongous," said Josep G. Canadell, a scientist in Australia who runs a global program to monitor greenhouse gases. "It will be a chronic source of emissions that will last hundreds of years."

A troubling trend has emerged recently: Wildfires are increasing across much of the north, and early research suggests that extensive burning could lead to a more rapid thaw of permafrost.

Rise and Fall of Permafrost

Standing on a bluff the other day, overlooking an immense river valley, A. David McGuire, a scientist from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, sketched out two million years of the region's history. It was the peculiar geology of western North America and eastern Siberia, he said, that caused so much plant debris to get locked in an ice box there.

These areas were not covered in glaciers during the last ice age, but the climate was frigid, with powerful winds. The winds and rivers carried immense volumes of silt and dust that settled in the lowlands of Alaska and Siberia.

A thin layer of this soil thawed on top during the summers and grasses grew, capturing carbon dioxide. In the bitter winters, grass roots, leaves and even animal parts froze before they could decompose. Layer after layer of permafrost built up.

At the peak of the ice age, 20,000 years ago, the frozen ground was more extensive than today, stretching deep into parts of the lower 48 states that were not covered by ice sheets. Climate-change contrarians like to point to that history, contending that any melting of permafrost and ice sheets today is simply the tail end of the ice age.

Citing permafrost temperatures for northern Alaska - which, though rising rapidly, remain well below freezing - an organization called the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change claimed that permafrost is in "no more danger of being wiped out any time soon than it was in the days of our great-grandparents."

But mainstream scientists, while hoping the breakdown of permafrost will indeed be slow, reject that argument. They say the climate was reasonably stable for the past 10,000 years or so, during the period when human civilization arose. Now, as people burn immense amounts of carbon in the form of fossil fuels, the planet's temperature is rising, and the Arctic is warming twice as fast. That, scientists say, puts the remaining permafrost deposits at risk.

For several decades, researchers have been monitoring permafrost temperatures in hundreds of boreholes across the north. The temperatures have occasionally decreased in some regions for periods as long as a decade, but the overall trend has been a relentless rise, with temperatures now increasing fastest in the most northerly areas.

Thawing has been most notable at the southern margins. Across huge areas, including much of central Alaska, permafrost is hovering just below the freezing point, and is expected to start thawing in earnest as soon as the 2020s. In northern Alaska and northern Siberia, where permafrost is at least 12 degrees Fahrenheit below freezing, experts say it should take longer.

"Even in a greenhouse-warmed world, it will still get cold and dark in the Arctic in the winter," said Mark Serreze, director of the snow and ice data center in Boulder.

Scientists need better inventories of the ancient carbon. The best estimate so far was published in 2009 by a Canadian scientist, Charles Tarnocai, and some colleagues. They calculated that there was about 1.7 trillion tons of carbon in soils of the northern regions, about 88 percent of it locked in permafrost. That is about two and a half times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Philippe Ciais, a leading French scientist, wrote at the time that he was "stunned" by the estimate, a large upward revision from previous calculations.

"If, in a warmer world, bacteria decompose organic soil matter faster, releasing carbon dioxide," Dr. Ciais wrote, "this will set up a positive feedback loop, speeding up global warming."

Plumes of Methane

Katey Walter Anthony had been told to hunt for methane, and she could not find it.

As a young researcher at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, she wanted to figure out how much of that gas was escaping from lakes in areas of permafrost thaw. She was doing field work in Siberia in 2000, scattering bubble traps around various lakes in the summer, but she got almost nothing.

Then, that October, the lakes froze over. Plumes of methane that had been hard to spot on a choppy lake surface in summer suddenly became more visible.

"I went out on the ice, this black ice, and it looked like the starry night sky," Dr. Walter Anthony said. "You could see these bubble clusters everywhere. I realized - 'aha!' - this is where all the methane is."

When organic material comes out of the deep freeze, it is consumed by bacteria. If the material is well-aerated, bacteria that breathe oxygen will perform the breakdown, and the carbon will enter the air as carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas. But in areas where oxygen is limited, like the bottom of a lake or wetland, a group of bacteria called methanogens will break down the organic material, and the carbon will emerge as methane.

Scientists are worried about both gases. They believe that most of the carbon will emerge as carbon dioxide, with only a few percent of it being converted to methane. But because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, the 41 experts in the recent survey predicted that it would trap about as much heat as the carbon dioxide would.

Dr. Walter Anthony's seminal discovery was that methane rose from lake bottoms not as diffuse leaks, as many scientists had long assumed, but in a handful of scattered, vigorous plumes, some of them capable of putting out many quarts of gas per day. In certain lakes they accounted for most of the emerging methane, but previous research had not taken them into consideration. That meant big upward revisions were probably needed in estimates of the amount of methane lakes might emit as permafrost thawed.

Most of the lakes Dr. Walter Anthony studies were formed by a peculiar mechanism. Permafrost that is frozen hard supports the ground surface, almost the way a concrete pillar supports a building. But when thaw begins, the ground sometimes turns to mush and the entire land surface collapses into a low-lying area, known as a thermokarst. A lake or wetland can form there, with the dark surface of the water capturing the sun's heat and causing still more permafrost to thaw nearby.

Near thermokarst locations, trees often lean crazily because their roots are disturbed by the rapid changes in the underlying landscape, creating "drunken forests." And the thawing, as it feeds on itself, frees up more and more ancient plant debris.

One recent day, in 11-degree weather, Dr. Walter Anthony and an assistant, Amy Strohm, dragged equipment onto two frozen thermokarst lakes near Fairbanks. The fall had been unusually warm and the ice was thin, emitting thunderous cracks - but it held. In spots, methane bubbled so vigorously it had prevented the water from freezing. Dr. Walter Anthony, six months pregnant, bent over one plume to retrieve samples.

"This is thinner ice than we like," she said. "Don't tell my mother-in-law! My own mother doesn't know."

Dr. Walter Anthony had already run chemical tests on the methane from one of the lakes, dating the carbon molecules within the gas to 30,000 years ago. She has found carbon that old emerging at numerous spots around Fairbanks, and carbon as old as 43,000 years emerging from lakes in Siberia.

"These grasses were food for mammoths during the end of the last ice age," Dr. Walter Anthony said. "It was in the freezer for 30,000 to 40,000 years, and now the freezer door is open."

Scientists are not sure yet whether thermokarst lakes will become more common throughout the Arctic in a warming climate, a development that could greatly accelerate permafrost thaw and methane production. But they have already started to see increases in some regions, including northernmost Alaska.

"We expect increased thermokarst activity could be a very strong effect, but we don't really know," said Guido Grosse, another scientist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He is working with Dr. Walter Anthony on precision mapping of thermokarst lakes and methane seeps, in the hope that the team can ultimately use satellites and aerial photography to detect trends.

With this kind of work still in the early stages, researchers are worried that the changes in the region may already be outrunning their ability to understand them, or to predict what will happen.

When the Tundra Burns

One day in 2007, on the plain in northern Alaska, a lightning strike set the tundra on fire.

Historically, tundra, a landscape of lichens, mosses and delicate plants, was too damp to burn. But the climate in the area is warming and drying, and fires in both the tundra and forest regions of Alaska are increasing.

The Anaktuvuk River fire burned about 400 square miles of tundra, and work on lake sediments showed that no fire of that scale had occurred in the region in at least 5,000 years.

Scientists have calculated that the fire and its aftermath sent a huge pulse of carbon into the air - as much as would be emitted in two years by a city the size of Miami. Scientists say the fire thawed the upper layer of permafrost and set off what they fear will be permanent shifts in the landscape.

Up to now, the Arctic has been absorbing carbon, on balance, and was once expected to keep doing so throughout this century. But recent analyses suggest that the permafrost thaw could turn the Arctic into a net source of carbon, possibly within a decade or two, and those studies did not account for fire.

"I maintain that the fastest way you're going to lose permafrost and release permafrost carbon to the atmosphere is increasing fire frequency," said Michelle C. Mack, a University of Florida scientist who is studying the Anaktuvuk fire. "It's a rapid and catastrophic way you could completely change everything."

The essential question scientists need to answer is whether the many factors they do not yet understand could speed the release of carbon from permafrost - or, possibly, slow it more than they expect.

For instance, nutrients released from thawing permafrost could spur denser plant growth in the Arctic, and the plants would take up some carbon dioxide. Conversely, should fires like the one at Anaktuvuk River race across warming northern landscapes, immense amounts of organic material in vegetation, soils, peat deposits and thawed permafrost could burn.

Edward A. G. Schuur, a University of Florida researcher who has done extensive field work in Alaska, is worried by the changes he already sees, including the discovery that carbon buried since before the dawn of civilization is now escaping.

"To me, it's a spine-tingling feeling, if it's really old carbon that hasn't been in the air for a long time, and now it's entering the air," Dr. Schuur said. "That's the fingerprint of a major disruption, and we aren't going to be able to turn it off someday."


3) California: Judge Rejects Lethal Injection Protocol
December 17, 2011

A judge tossed out California's newly adopted lethal injection protocol on Friday, throwing the state's execution system into further upheaval. Judge Faye D'Opal of Marin County Superior Court in San Rafael ruled that the state had failed to justify the decision to put in place a three-drug lethal injection method, which some experts had said carries a risk of "excruciating pain," instead of a one-drug method, which one of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's own experts had recommended. No executions have been conducted in California since 2006, when a federal judge effectively halted lethal injections, citing various deficiencies in the state's methods. Since then, the state has revamped its execution system, including the construction of a new death chamber specifically for lethal injections. The corrections department declined to comment on the ruling.


4) Occupy Group Faults Church, a Onetime Ally
December 16, 2011

For months, they were the best of neighbors: the slapdash champions of economic equality, putting down stakes in an outdoor plaza, and the venerable Episcopal parish next door, whose munificence helped sustain the growing protest.

But in the weeks since Occupy Wall Street was evicted from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, relations between the demonstrators and Trinity Wall Street, a church barely one block from the New York Stock Exchange, have reached a crossroads.

The displaced occupiers had asked the church, one of the city's largest landholders, to hand over a gravel lot, near Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas, for use as an alternate campsite and organizing hub. The church declined, calling the proposed encampment "wrong, unsafe, unhealthy and potentially injurious."

And now the Occupy movement, after weeks of targeting big banks and large corporations, has chosen Trinity, one of the nation's most prominent Episcopal parishes, as its latest antagonist.

"We need more; you have more," one protester, Amin Husain, 36, told a Trinity official on Thursday, during an impromptu sidewalk exchange between clergy members and demonstrators. "We are coming to you for sanctuary."

Trinity's rector, the Rev. James H. Cooper, defended the church's record of support for the protesters, including not only expressions of sympathy, but also meeting spaces, resting areas, pastoral services, electricity, bathrooms, even blankets and hot chocolate. But he said the church's lot - called Duarte Square - was not an appropriate site for the protesters, noting that "there are no basic elements to sustain an encampment."

"Trinity has probably done as much or more for the protesters than any other institution in the area," Mr. Cooper wrote on his parish Web site. "Calling this an issue of 'political sanctuary' is manipulative and blind to reality. Equating the desire to seize this property with uprisings against tyranny is misguided, at best. Hyperbolic distortion drives up petition signatures, but doesn't make it right."

The criticism of Trinity was coming not only from protesters, but even from some Episcopal priests and other Protestant clergy members.

"Trinity Church had a fantastic opportunity to be a Christlike presence by openings its doors to the protesters," said the Rev. Milind Sojwal, the rector of All Angels Church, an Episcopal parish on the Upper West Side. "And I believe Trinity blew it."

On Thursday, some church leaders and protesters brought a Nativity scene to Trinity's main entrance on Broadway, with a sign attached. "There was no room for them in the inn," it read in part. "Trinity has plenty of room."

Occupy Wall Street plans to hold a demonstration on Saturday at the lot. Some clergy members have said they planned to attend, and a handful said they may join protesters who have discussed taking down the fences around the lot, risking arrest.

"I'm willing to occupy space in an act of civil disobedience in order to shine a light on social and economic injustice," said the Rev. John Merz, of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Trinity is not the first Anglican church to grapple with how to respond to the Occupy movement. In London, protesters have camped outside St. Paul's Cathedral for weeks, and the city has sought to evict them.

So vexing is Trinity's dilemma that one of the world's most prominent Anglicans, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has issued two statements on the matter: one posted on the Occupy Wall Street Web site, imploring Trinity to "find a way to help" the protesters, and a second, posted on the Trinity Web site, in which Archbishop Tutu said his comments were "not to be used to justify breaking the law."

Bishop Mark S. Sisk, the Episcopal bishop of New York, and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the top official of the denomination nationally, issued statements on Friday supporting Trinity's position.

"It is regrettable that Occupy members feel it necessary to provoke potential legal and police action by attempting to trespass on other parish property," Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said. "Seekers after justice have more often achieved success through nonviolent action, rather than acts of force or arms. I would urge all concerned to stand down and seek justice in ways that do not further alienate potential allies."

Older than the country in which it stands, Trinity has a long and storied history. Alexander Hamilton was once a pew holder. The church shook, amid a storm of debris, as the towers of the World Trade Center fell.

Less known, though, is the church's status as a real estate titan. Since 1705, when Queen Anne of England bequeathed more than 200 acres of what was then farmland to the church, Trinity Real Estate has come to control six million square feet of property, much of it office space around Hudson Square, financing an operation most parishes could never fathom.

"No matter how supportive they may appear to Occupy, no matter how much hospitality they show to Occupy, Trinity Wall Street owns a lot of Lower Manhattan," said Jim Naughton, a longtime observer of Episcopal Church issues who works as a partner at Canticle Communications, a public relations firm. "They're vulnerable in that regard."

On Nov. 15, hours after they were driven from Zuccotti Park, many Occupy Wall Street protesters reconvened at Duarte Square, which some knew to be Trinity's property. Even before the eviction, protesters had asked that Trinity allow them to use the space, said Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for the group.

A portion of Duarte Square, a small sidewalk with leafless trees, is public. But Trinity owns a larger area that is filled with wooden benches and shrubbery. The private area is currently vacant, enclosed by a locked chain-link fence, but the church says it has licensed the property through April 2013 to a nonprofit arts organization, which holds occasional art exhibitions there.

Critics argued that Trinity's resources and influence carried with them an added responsibility. The Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Harlem, noted that many churches hung signs from their chapels, welcoming passers-by.

And the Rev. Michael Ellick, of Judson Memorial Church, a Greenwich Village congregation affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ, said Trinity needed to do more.

"Charity is not enough," Mr. Ellick said. "Charity keeps things the same."

Some clergy, though, said Trinity had already exceeded its Christian obligations.

"Trinity has been more than accommodating to a marginal group of protesters," said the Rev. J. Douglas Ousley, of the Church of the Incarnation in Murray Hill, an Episcopal parish.

And Robert Bruce Mullin, a professor at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, said it was easy for other churches to criticize Trinity's use of its property.

"It's cheap grace," he said. "It's great to defend the rights of protesters in someone else's backyard."


5) Libya's Civilian Toll, Denied by NATO
December 17, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya - NATO's seven-month air campaign in Libya, hailed by the alliance and many Libyans for blunting a lethal crackdown by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and helping to push him from power, came with an unrecognized toll: scores of civilian casualties the alliance has long refused to acknowledge or investigate.

By NATO's telling during the war, and in statements since sorties ended on Oct. 31, the alliance-led operation was nearly flawless - a model air war that used high technology, meticulous planning and restraint to protect civilians from Colonel Qaddafi's troops, which was the alliance's mandate.

"We have carried out this operation very carefully, without confirmed civilian casualties," the secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said in November.

But an on-the-ground examination by The New York Times of airstrike sites across Libya - including interviews with survivors, doctors and witnesses, and the collection of munitions remnants, medical reports, death certificates and photographs - found credible accounts of dozens of civilians killed by NATO in many distinct attacks. The victims, including at least 29 women or children, often had been asleep in homes when the ordnance hit.

In all, at least 40 civilians, and perhaps more than 70, were killed by NATO at these sites, available evidence suggests. While that total is not high compared with other conflicts in which Western powers have relied heavily on air power, and less than the exaggerated accounts circulated by the Qaddafi government, it is also not a complete accounting. Survivors and doctors working for the anti-Qaddafi interim authorities point to dozens more civilians wounded in these and other strikes, and they referred reporters to other sites where civilian casualties were suspected.

Two weeks after being provided a 27-page memorandum from The Times containing extensive details of nine separate attacks in which evidence indicated that allied planes had killed or wounded unintended victims, NATO modified its stance.

"From what you have gathered on the ground, it appears that innocent civilians may have been killed or injured, despite all the care and precision," said Oana Lungescu, a spokeswoman for NATO headquarters in Brussels. "We deeply regret any loss of life."

She added that NATO was in regular contact with the new Libyan government and that "we stand ready to work with the Libyan authorities to do what they feel is right."

NATO, however, deferred the responsibility of initiating any inquiry to Libya's interim authorities, whose survival and climb to power were made possible largely by the airstrike campaign. So far, Libyan leaders have expressed no interest in examining NATO's mistakes.

The failure to thoroughly assess the civilian toll reduces the chances that allied forces, which are relying ever more heavily on air power rather than risking ground troops in overseas conflicts, will examine their Libyan experience to minimize collateral deaths elsewhere. Allied commanders have been ordered to submit a lessons-learned report to NATO headquarters in February. NATO's incuriosity about the many lethal accidents raises questions about how thorough that review will be.

NATO's experience in Libya also reveals an attitude that initially prevailed in Afghanistan. There, NATO forces, led by the United States, tightened the rules of engagement for airstrikes and insisted on better targeting to reduce civilian deaths only after repeatedly ignoring or disputing accounts of airstrikes that left many civilians dead.

In Libya, NATO's inattention to its unintended victims has also left many wounded civilians with little aid in the aftermath of the country's still-chaotic change in leadership.

These victims include a boy blasted by debris in his face and right eye, a woman whose left leg was amputated, another whose foot and leg wounds left her disabled, a North Korean doctor whose left foot was crushed and his wife, who suffered a fractured skull.

The Times's investigation included visits to more than 25 sites, including in Tripoli, Surman, Mizdah, Zlitan, Ga'a, Majer, Ajdabiya, Misurata, Surt, Brega and Sabratha and near Benghazi. More than 150 targets - bunkers, buildings or vehicles - were hit at these places.

NATO warplanes flew thousands of sorties that dropped 7,700 bombs or missiles; because The Times did not examine sites in several cities and towns where the air campaign was active, the casualty estimate could be low.

There are indications that the alliance took many steps to avoid harming civilians, and often did not damage civilian infrastructure useful to Colonel Qaddafi's military. Elements of two American-led air campaigns in Iraq, in 1991 and 2003, appear to have been avoided, including attacks on electrical grids.

Such steps spared civilians certain hardships and risks that accompanied previous Western air-to-ground operations. NATO also said that allied forces did not use cluster munitions or ordnance containing depleted uranium, both of which pose health and environmental risks, in Libya at any time.

The alliance's fixed-wing aircraft dropped only laser- or satellite-guided weapons, said Col. Gregory Julian, a NATO spokesman; no so-called dumb bombs were used.

While the overwhelming preponderance of strikes seemed to have hit their targets without killing noncombatants, many factors contributed to a run of fatal mistakes. These included a technically faulty bomb, poor or dated intelligence and the near absence of experienced military personnel on the ground who could help direct airstrikes.

The alliance's apparent presumption that residences thought to harbor pro-Qaddafi forces were not occupied by civilians repeatedly proved mistaken, the evidence suggests, posing a reminder to advocates of air power that no war is cost- or error-free.

The investigation also found significant damage to civilian infrastructure from certain attacks for which a rationale was not evident or risks to civilians were clear. These included strikes on warehouses that current anti-Qaddafi guards said contained only food, or near businesses or homes that were destroyed, including an attack on a munitions bunker beside a neighborhood that caused a large secondary explosion, scattering warheads and toxic rocket fuel.

NATO has also not yet provided data to Libyans on the locations or types of unexploded ordnance from its strikes. At least two large weapons were present at sites visited by The Times. "This information is urgently needed," said Dr. Ali Yahwya, chief surgeon at the Zlitan hospital.

Moreover, the scouring of one strike site found remnants of NATO munitions in a ruined building that an alliance spokesman explicitly said NATO did not attack.

That mistake - a pair of strikes - killed 12 anti-Qaddafi fighters and nearly killed a civilian ambulance crew aiding wounded men. It underscored NATO's sometimes tenuous grasp of battle lines and raised questions about the forthrightness and accuracy of the alliance's public-relations campaign.

The second strike pointed to a tactic that survivors at several sites recounted: warplanes restriking targets minutes after a first attack, a practice that imperiled, and sometimes killed, civilians rushing to the wounded.

Pressed about the dangers posed to noncombatants by such attacks, NATO said it would reconsider the tactic's rationale in its internal campaign review. "That's a valid point to take into consideration in future operations," Colonel Julian said.

That statement is a shift in the alliance's stance. NATO's response to allegations of mistaken attacks had long been carefully worded denials and insistence that its operations were devised and supervised with exceptional care. Faced with credible allegations that it killed civilians, the alliance said it had neither the capacity for nor intention of investigating and often repeated that disputed strikes were sound.

The alliance maintained this position even after two independent Western organizations - Human Rights Watch and the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, or Civic - met privately with NATO officials and shared field research about mistakes, including, in some cases, victims' names and the dates and locations where they died.

Organizations researching civilian deaths in Libya said that the alliance's resistance to making itself accountable and acknowledging mistakes amounted to poor public policy. "It's crystal clear that civilians died in NATO strikes," said Fred Abrahams, a researcher for Human Rights Watch. "But this whole campaign is shrouded by an atmosphere of impunity" and by NATO's and the Libyan authorities' mutually congratulatory statements.

Mr. Abrahams added that the matter went beyond the need to assist civilians harmed by airstrikes, though he said that was important. At issue, he said, was "who is going to lose their lives in the next campaign because these errors and mistakes went unexamined, and no one learned from them?"

Human Rights Watch and Civic also noted that the alliance's stance on civilian casualties it caused in Libya was at odds with its practices for so-called collateral damage in Afghanistan. There, public anger and political tension over fatal mistakes led NATO to adopt policies for investigating actions that caused civilian harm, including guidelines for expressing condolences and making small payments to victims or their families.

"You would think, and I did think, that all of the lessons learned from Afghanistan would have been transferred to Libya," said Sarah Holewinski, the executive director of Civic, which helped NATO devise its practices for Afghanistan. "But many of them didn't."

Choosing Targets

When foreign militaries began attacking Libya's loyalists on March 19, the United States military, more experienced than NATO at directing large operations, coordinated the campaign. On March 31, the Americans transferred command to NATO.

Seven months later, the alliance had destroyed more than 5,900 military targets by means of roughly 9,700 strike sorties, according to its data, helping to dismantle the pro-Qaddafi military and militias. Warplanes from France, Britain, the United States, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Canada dropped ordnance. Two non-NATO nations, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, participated on a small scale.

France carried out about a third of all strike sorties, Britain 21 percent and the United States 19 percent, according to data from each nation.

The attacks fell under two broad categories. So-called deliberate strikes were directed against fixed targets, like buildings or air-defense systems. These targets were selected and assigned to pilots before aircraft took off.

Deliberate strikes were planned to minimize risks to civilians, NATO said. In Naples, Italy, intelligence analysts and targeting specialists vetted proposed targets and compiled lists, which were sent to an operations center near Bologna, where targets were matched to specific aircraft and weapons.

For some targets, like command bunkers, NATO said, it conducted long periods of surveillance first. Drones or other aircraft chronicled the daily routines at the sites, known as "patterns of life," until commanders felt confident that each target was valid.

Other considerations then came into play. Targeting specialists chose, for example, the angle of attack and time of day thought to pose the least risk to civilians. They would also consider questions of ordnance. These included the size and type of bomb, and its fuze.

Some fuzes briefly delay detonation of a bomb's high-explosive charge. This can allow ordnance to penetrate concrete and explode in an underground tunnel or bunker, or, alternately, to burrow into sand before exploding - reducing the blast wave, shrapnel and risk to people and property nearby.

(NATO could also choose inert bombs, made of concrete, that can collapse buildings or shatter tanks with kinetic energy rather than an explosion. NATO said such weapons were used fewer than 10 times in the war.)

Many early strikes were planned missions. But about two-thirds of all strikes, and most of the attacks late in the war, were another sort: dynamic strikes.

Dynamic strikes were against targets of opportunity. Crews on aerial patrols would spot or be told of a potential target, like suspected military vehicles. Then, if cleared by controllers in Awacs aircraft, they would attack.

NATO said dynamic missions, too, were guided by practices meant to limit risks. On Oct. 24, Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard of Canada, the operation's commander, described a philosophy beyond careful target vetting or using only guided weapons: restraint. "Only when we had a clear shot would we take it," he said.

Colonel Julian, the spokesman, said there were hundreds of instances when pilots could have released ordnance but because of concerns for civilians they held fire. Col. Alain Pelletier, commander of seven Canadian CF-18 fighters that flew 946 strike sorties, said Canada installed a special computer software modification in its planes that allowed pilots to assess the likely blast radius around an intended target and to call off strikes if the technology warned they posed too great a risk to civilians.

Colonel Julian also said that NATO broadcast radio messages and that it dropped millions of leaflets to warn Libyans to stay away from likely military targets, a practice Libyan citizens across much of the country confirmed.

A Blow to the Rebels

Civilians were killed by NATO within days of the alliance's intervention, the available evidence shows, beginning with one of the uglier mistakes of the air war: the pummeling of a secret rebel armored convoy that was advancing through the desert toward the Qaddafi forces' eastern front lines.

Having survived the first wave of air-to-ground attacks, the loyalists were taking steps to avoid attracting NATO bombs. They moved in smaller formations and sometimes set aside armored vehicles in favor of pickup trucks resembling those that rebels drove. Pilots suddenly had fewer targets.

On April 7, as the rebel armor lined up on a hill about 20 miles from Brega, NATO aircraft struck. In a series of attacks, laser-guided bombs stopped the formation, destroyed the rebels' armor and scattered the anti-Qaddafi fighters, killing several of them, survivors said.

The attack continued as civilians, including ambulance crews, tried to converge on the craters and flames to aid the wounded. Three shepherds were among them.

As the shepherds approached over the sand, a bomb slammed in again, said one of them, Abdul Rahman Ali Suleiman Sudani. The blast knocked them over, he said. His two cousins were hit.

One, he said, was cut in half; the other had a gaping chest wound. Both died. Mr. Sudani and other relatives returned to the wreckage later and retrieved the remains for burial in Kufra. The men had died, he said, trying to help.

"We called their families in Sudan and told them, 'Your sons, they have passed away,' " he said.

Colonel Julian declined to discuss this episode but said that each time NATO aircraft returned to strike again was a distinct event and a distinct decision, and that it was not a general practice for NATO to "double tap" its targets.

This practice was reported several times by survivors at separate attacks and cited to explain why some civilians opted not to help at strike sites or bolted in fear soon after they did.

Colonel Julian said the tactic was likely to be included in NATO's internal review of the air campaign.

An Errant Strike

NATO's planning or restraint did not protect the family of Ali Mukhar al-Gharari when his home was shattered in June by a phenomenon as old as air-to-ground war: errant ordnance.

A retiree in Tripoli, Mr. Gharari owned a three-story house he shared with his adult children and their families. Late on June 19 a bomb struck it squarely, collapsing the front side. The rubble buried a courtyard apartment, the family said, where Karima, Mr. Gharari's adult daughter, lived with her husband and two children, Jomana, 2, and Khaled, 7 months.

All four were killed, as was another of Mr. Gharari's adult children, Faruj, who was blasted from his second-floor bed to the rubble below, two of his brothers said. Eight other family members were wounded, one seriously.

The Qaddafi government, given to exaggeration, claimed that nine civilians died in the airstrike, including a rescue worker electrocuted while clearing rubble. These deaths have not been independently corroborated. There has been no dispute about the Gharari deaths.

Initially, NATO almost acknowledged its mistake. "A military missile site was the intended target," an alliance statement said soon after. "There may have been a weapons system failure which may have caused a number of civilian casualties."

Then it backtracked. Kristele Younes, director of field operations for Civic, the victims' group, examined the site and delivered her findings to NATO. She met a cold response. "They said, 'We have no confirmed reports of civilian casualties,' " Ms. Younes said.

The reason, she said, was that the alliance had created its own definition for "confirmed": only a death that NATO itself investigated and corroborated could be called confirmed. But because the alliance declined to investigate allegations, its casualty tally by definition could not budge - from zero.

"The position was absurd," Ms. Younes said. "But they made it very clear: there was no appetite within NATO to look at these incidents."

The position left the Gharari family disoriented, and in social jeopardy. Another of Mr. Gharari's sons, Mohammed, said the family supported the revolution. But since NATO's attack, other Libyans have labeled the family pro-Qaddafi. If NATO attacked the Ghararis' home, the street logic went, the alliance must have had a reason.

Mohammed al-Gharari said he would accept an apology from NATO. He said he could even accept the mistake. "If this was an error from their control room, I will not say anything harsh, because that was our destiny," he said.

But he asked that NATO lift the dishonor from the family and set the record straight. "NATO should tell the truth," he said. "They should tell what happened, so everyone knows our family is innocent."

A 'Horrible Mistake'

In the hours before his wife and two of their sons were killed, on Aug. 4, Mustafa Naji al-Morabit thought he had taken adequate precautions.

When Colonel Qaddafi's officers began meeting at a home next door in Zlitan, he moved his family. That was in July. The adjacent property, Mr. Morabit and his neighbors said, was owned by a loyalist doctor who hosted commanders who organized the local front.

About a month later, as rebels pressed near, the officers fled, Mr. Morabit said. He and his family returned home on Aug. 2, assuming that the danger had passed.

Calamity struck two days later. A bomb roared down in the early morning quiet and slammed into their concrete home, causing its front to buckle.

Mr. Morabit's wife, Eptisam Ali al-Barbar, died of a crushed skull. Two of their three sons - Mohammed, 6, and Moataz, 3 - were killed, too. Three toes on the left foot of Fatima Umar Mansour, Mr. Morabit's mother, were severed. Her lower left leg was snapped.

"We were just in our homes at night," she said, showing the swollen leg.

The destruction of their home showed that even with careful standards for target selection, mistakes occurred. Not only did NATO hit the wrong building, survivors and neighbors said, but it also hit it more than two days late.

Mr. Morabit added a sorrowful detail. He suspected that the bomb was made of concrete; there seemed to be no fire or explosion when it struck, he said. NATO may have tried to minimize damage, he added, but the would-be benefits of its caution were lost. "I want to know why," he said. "NATO said they are so organized, that they are specialists. So why? Why this horrible mistake?"

It is not clear whether the mistake was made by the pilot or those who selected the target. NATO declined to answer questions about the strike.

On Aug. 8, four days after destroying the Morabit home, NATO hit buildings occupied by civilians again, this time in Majer, according to survivors, doctors and independent investigators. The strikes were NATO's bloodiest known accidents in the war.

The attack began with a series of 500-pound laser-guided bombs, called GBU-12s, ordnance remnants suggest. The first house, owned by Ali Hamid Gafez, 61, was crowded with Mr. Gafez's relatives, who had been dislocated by the war, he and his neighbors said.

The bomb destroyed the second floor and much of the first. Five women and seven children were killed; several more people were wounded, including Mr. Gafez's wife, whose her lower left leg had to be amputated, the doctor who performed the procedure said.

Minutes later, NATO aircraft attacked two buildings in a second compound, owned by brothers in the Jarud family. Four men were killed, the family said.

Several minutes after the first strikes, as neighbors rushed to dig for victims, another bomb struck. The blast killed 18 civilians, both families said.

The death toll has been a source of confusion. The Qaddafi government said 85 civilians died. That claim does not seem to be credible. With the Qaddafi propaganda machine now gone, an official list of dead, issued by the new government, includes 35 victims, among them the late-term fetus of a fatally wounded woman the Gafez family said went into labor as she died.

The Zlitan hospital confirmed 34 deaths. Five doctors there also told of treating dozens of wounded people, including many women and children.

All 16 beds in the intensive-care unit were filled with severely wounded civilians, doctors said. Dr. Ahmad Thoboot, the hospital's co-director, said none of the victims, alive or dead, were in uniform. "There is no doubt," he said. "This is not fabricated. Civilians were killed."

Descriptions of the wounds underscored the difference between mistakes with typical ground-to-ground arms and the unforgiving nature of mistakes with 500-pound bombs, which create blast waves of an entirely different order.

Dr. Mustafa Ekhial, a surgeon, said the wounds caused by NATO's bombs were far worse than those the staff had treated for months. "We have to tell the truth," he said. "What we saw that night was completely different."

In previous statements, NATO said it watched the homes carefully before attacking and saw "military staging areas." It also said that it reviewed the strikes and that claims of civilian casualties were not corroborated by "available factual information." When asked what this information was, the alliance did not provide it.

Mr. Gafez issued a challenge. An independent review of all prestrike surveillance video, he said, would prove NATO wrong. Only civilians were there, he said, and he demanded that the alliance release the video.

Ms. Younes said the dispute missed an essential point. Under NATO's targeting guidelines and in keeping with practices the alliance has repeatedly insisted that it followed, she said, if civilians were present, aircraft should not have attacked.

The initial findings on the Majer strikes, part of the United Nations' investigation into actions by all sides in Libya that harmed civilians, have raised questions about the legality of the attack under international humanitarian law, according to an official familiar with the investigation.

Homes as Targets

NATO's strikes in Majer, one of five known attacks on apparently occupied residences, suggested a pattern. When residential targets were presumed to be used by loyalist forces, civilians were sometimes present - suggesting holes in NATO's "pattern of life" reviews and other forms of vetting.

Airstrikes on June 20 in Surman leveled homes owned by Maj. Gen. El-Khweldi el-Hamedi, a longtime confidant of Colonel Qaddafi and a member of his Revolutionary Council. NATO has said the family compound was used as command center.

The family's account, partly confirmed by rebels, claimed that the strikes killed 13 civilians and wounded six more. Local anti-Qaddafi fighters corroborated the deaths of four of those killed - one of the general's daughters-in-law and three of her children.

General Hamedi was wounded and has taken refuge in Morocco, said his son Khaled. Khaled has filed a lawsuit against NATO, claiming that the attack was a crime. He said that he and his family were victims of rebel "fabrications," which attracted NATO bombs.

On Sept. 25, a smaller but similar attack destroyed the residence of Brig. Gen. Musbah Diyab in Surt, neighbors and his family members said.

General Diyab, a distant cousin of Colonel Qaddafi, was killed. So were seven women and children who crowded into his home as rebels besieged the defenses of some of the Qaddafi loyalists' last holdouts, witnesses said.

By this time, tables in Libya had turned. The remaining loyalists held almost no territory. They were a dwindling, disorganized lot. It was the anti-Qaddafi forces who endangered civilians they suspected of having sympathies for the dying government, residents of Surt said.

On a recent afternoon, Mahmoud Zarog Massoud, his hand swollen with an infection from a wound, wandered the broken shell of a seven-story apartment building in Surt, which was struck in mid-September. His apartment furniture had been blown about by the blast.

He approached the kitchen, where, he said, he and his wife had just broken their Ramadan fast when ordnance hit. "We were not thinking NATO would attack our home," he said.

Judging by the damage and munitions' remains, a bomb with a delayed fuze struck another wing of the building, burrowed into another apartment and exploded, blasting walls outward. Debris flew across the courtyard and through his kitchen's balcony door.

His wife, Aisha Abdujodil, was killed, both her arms severed, he said. Bloodstains still marked the floor and walls.

Provided written questions, NATO declined to comment on the three strikes on homes in Surman and Surt.

C. J. Chivers reported from Libya, and Eric Schmitt from Washington, Brussels and Naples, Italy.


6) Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?
December 17, 2011

WHEN I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom.

One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister's house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, "Get on the ground!"

I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground - with a gun pointed at me. I couldn't see what was happening but I could feel a policeman's hand reach into my pocket and remove my wallet. Apparently he looked through and found the ID I kept there. "Happy Birthday," he said sarcastically. The officers questioned my cousin and friend, asked what they were doing in town, and then said goodnight and left us on the sidewalk.

Less than two years later, in the spring of 2008, N.Y.P.D. officers stopped and frisked me, again. And for no apparent reason. This time I was leaving my grandmother's home in Flatbush, Brooklyn; a squad car passed me as I walked down East 49th Street to the bus stop. The car backed up. Three officers jumped out. Not again. The officers ordered me to stand, hands against a garage door, fished my wallet out of my pocket and looked at my ID. Then they let me go.

I was stopped again in September of 2010. This time I was just walking home from the gym. It was the same routine: I was stopped, frisked, searched, ID'd and let go.

These experiences changed the way I felt about the police. After the third incident I worried when police cars drove by; I was afraid I would be stopped and searched or that something worse would happen. I dress better if I go downtown. I don't hang out with friends outside my neighborhood in Harlem as much as I used to. Essentially, I incorporated into my daily life the sense that I might find myself up against a wall or on the ground with an officer's gun at my head. For a black man in his 20s like me, it's just a fact of life in New York.

Here are a few other facts: last year, the N.Y.P.D. recorded more than 600,000 stops; 84 percent of those stopped were blacks or Latinos. Police are far more likely to use force when stopping blacks or Latinos than whites. In half the stops police cite the vague "furtive movements" as the reason for the stop. Maybe black and brown people just look more furtive, whatever that means. These stops are part of a larger, more widespread problem - a racially discriminatory system of stop-and-frisk in the N.Y.P.D. The police use the excuse that they're fighting crime to continue the practice, but no one has ever actually proved that it reduces crime or makes the city safer. Those of us who live in the neighborhoods where stop-and-frisks are a basic fact of daily life don't feel safer as a result.

We need change. When I was young I thought cops were cool. They had a respectable and honorable job to keep people safe and fight crime. Now, I think their tactics are unfair and they abuse their authority. The police should consider the consequences of a generation of young people who want nothing to do with them - distrust, alienation and more crime.

Last May, I was outside my apartment building on my way to the store when two police officers jumped out of an unmarked car and told me to stop and put my hands up against the wall. I complied. Without my permission, they removed my cellphone from my hand, and one of the officers reached into my pockets, and removed my wallet and keys. He looked through my wallet, then handcuffed me. The officers wanted to know if I had just come out of a particular building. No, I told them, I lived next door.

One of the officers asked which of the keys they had removed from my pocket opened my apartment door. Then he entered my building and tried to get into my apartment with my key. My 18-year-old sister was inside with two of our younger siblings; later she told me she had no idea why the police were trying to get into our apartment and was terrified. She tried to call me, but because they had confiscated my phone, I couldn't answer.

Meanwhile, a white officer put me in the back of the police car. I was still handcuffed. The officer asked if I had any marijuana, and I said no. He removed and searched my shoes and patted down my socks. I asked why they were searching me, and he told me someone in my building complained that a person they believed fit my description had been ringing their bell. After the other officer returned from inside my apartment building, they opened the door to the police car, told me to get out, removed the handcuffs and simply drove off. I was deeply shaken.

For young people in my neighborhood, getting stopped and frisked is a rite of passage. We expect the police to jump us at any moment. We know the rules: don't run and don't try to explain, because speaking up for yourself might get you arrested or worse. And we all feel the same way - degraded, harassed, violated and criminalized because we're black or Latino. Have I been stopped more than the average young black person? I don't know, but I look like a zillion other people on the street. And we're all just trying to live our lives.

As a teenager, I was quiet and kept to myself. I'm about to graduate from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and I have a stronger sense of myself after getting involved with the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a neighborhood organization in Harlem. We educate young people about their rights when they're stopped by the police and how to stay safe in those interactions. I have talked to dozens of young people who have had experiences like mine. And I know firsthand how much it messes with you. Because of them, I'm doing what I can to help change things and am acting as a witness in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights to stop the police from racially profiling and harassing black and brown people in New York.

It feels like an important thing to be part of a community of hundreds of thousands of people who are wrongfully stopped on their way to work, school, church or shopping, and are patted down or worse by the police though they carry no weapon; and searched for no reason other than the color of their skin. I hope police practices will change and that when I have children I won't need to pass along my mother's advice.

Nicholas K. Peart is a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College.


7) The GOP Nominee Is... Obama
by Richard Greener, Author, 'The Locator' novels
December 19, 2011

If we don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, what do we need to know who and what Barack Obama is?

How can it be that nasty Ann Coulter -- the Chancellor of the University of Made-Up Shit - how does she know what so many liberals, and progressive supporters of President Barack Obama have missed -- totally missed? Obama's going to win reelection in part because the GOP is helping him.

The Republican Circus, that masquerade calling itself a nominating process... debate after debate... frontrunner upon frontrunner... its all a sideshow. The GOP already has its preferred nominee. His name is Barack Obama. Like lovers in a bad marriage they hate him for what he is. Come on now, we all know what that means without Newt Gingrich telling us about "Kenyan anti-colonialism" or, Rick Perry stumbling to explain the name of his hunting cabin or, Michelle Bachmann wondering if an original copy of Lenin's 1917 State And Revolution is tucked beneath the presidential pillow or, any of "them" hinting at, coming this close to proclaiming that he, the Community Organizer-in-Chief of the United States is a Muslim, ergo a terrorist.

Hate him for all "that"? Sure they do. But, they love him for what he does. No Republican could be a better Republican. No joke. They really believe that. And so would you if you were one of "them." You need "proof" of this Republican, right-wing approval for a second Obama term? Ok...

Take a look at Bain Capital, the notorious financial institution founded and for decades headed by Mitt Romney. Obama has raised twice as much from Bain as Romney has. Go figure.

In 2008 Barack Obama, the young, inexperienced, Black community organizer from Chicago's inner city, raised more money in campaign contributions from Wall Street than the grizzled, old, business-friendly, known commodity -- Senator John McCain. Obama's biggest Wall Street contributor -- Goldman-Sachs. Go figure.

You may not like the rulers of Wall Street. But nobody ever accused them of being stupid, did they? They give new meaning to the timeworn phrase "put your money where mouth is." Maybe -- just maybe -- they know something about Barack Obama that liberals and progressives have missed. Dylan had more than weather on his mind when he wrote, "money doesn't talk, it swears." What's Wall Street's money saying? Cover the children's ears.

And what specifically is it that President Barack Obama does and has done in his 3 years as chief executive to send warm thrills through the cold hearts of Republicans? You know the answer, but how about this for 5 quick things:

1. Kept the prison at Guantanamo Bay open and running exactly as the Bush/Cheney administration did instead of closing it within the first year he was president as he promised while running for the office in 2008.

2. Extended the Bush/Cheney tax cuts for the richest Americans, people with earnings of unheard of and unthinkable amounts for the average American working person, although he promised to let those tax breaks expire while running in 2008.

3. Betrayed his proclamation: "I favor single-payer universal healthcare" in favor of a bill that hand delivers some 30 million helpless Americans into the clutches of a virtually unrestricted private health insurance cabal via a feeding frenzy federal mandate that everyone must buy a commercially marketed healthcare insurance policy.

4. Agreed to, in fact proposed himself, a budget deal that will cut billions in domestic spending aimed at Americans most in need while completely surrendering on any increase in taxes for those Americans making millions -- or billions -- yearly. Under Obama an NYPD Detective still pays as much into Social Security as a hedge fund manager, a superstar pro athlete or a rock star.

5. Ended the war in Iraq and is winding down in Afghanistan. Really? Republicans like that? Well, all US military forces have been removed from Iraq, But, according to DOD reports, some 242,657 mostly heavily armed and unaccountable "private contractors" remain firmly embedded there and in Afghanistan, together with a Baghdad embassy constructed at a cost exceeding a billion dollars, with a staff of 17,000. Yes, 17,000! Peace at last?

The list of "Republican policies" this Democratic Obama administration has either put in place or sustained from the previous Bush/Cheney administration is long and shameful.

Extraordinary rendition? Remember it? Hasn't ended. The new National Defense Authorization Act, ever hear of it? Still working it's way inexorably through Congress, no doubt soon to be "reluctantly" signed by President Obama. This law provides for the seizure and retention, the imprisonment and indefinite confinement of American citizens on American soil with no recourse to due process. Hard to believe? Check it out. Barack Obama, who was once a professor of Constitutional Law, will be the President who signs this "legal" revocation of the Bill of Rights.

Take a moment and consider. The list gets longer as the constitutional offenses grow more offensive.

So, what's to be done? First, forget about the sham playhouse called the Republican Party nomination. By summer the Designated Loser will be chosen. Obama will then sweep to victory next November. Liberals and progressives everywhere, from the Upper West Side to the mansions of Malibu, will dust off and revive their badly bruised 2008 dreams, now little more than brutal and cruel hallucinations, all in anticipation of another stirring yet meaningless Inaugural Address.

All this will surely be followed immediately by... more of the same. No wonder the weather man's become extraneous.


8) Mass March by Cairo Women in Protest Over Soldiers' Abuse
"In a statement issued late Sunday from Washington, Mrs. Clinton said she was 'deeply concerned' about the violence. 'I urge Egyptian security forces to respect and protect the universal rights of all Egyptians, including the rights to peaceful free expression and assembly,' she said." [No mention of the police violence against Occupy protesters all over the good 'ol USA!?!?!?!?!?!?!]
December 20, 2011

CAIRO - Thousands of women massed in Tahrir Square here on Tuesday afternoon and marched to a journalists' syndicate and back in a demonstration that grew by the minute into an extraordinary expression of anger at the treatment of women by the military police as they protested against continued military rule.

Many held posters of the most sensational image of violence over the last weekend: a group of soldiers pulling the abaya off a prone woman to reveal her blue bra as one raises a boot to kick her. The picture, circulated around the world, has become a rallying point for activists opposed to military rule, though cameras also captured soldiers pulling the clothes off other women.

The march, guarded by a cordon of male protesters, was a surprising turn. In Egypt, as in other countries swept by the revolts of the Arab Spring, women played important roles, raising hopes that broader social and political rights would emerge along with more accountable governments. But with the main popular focus on preparing for elections and protesting the military's continued hold on power, women here had grown less politically visible.

The women's protest came on the fifth day of violent clashes between Egyptian soldiers and protesters. The severity of the military's defense of its hold on power, even as the newly elected Parliament begins to take shape, has restored a degree of unity that had been missing among the civilian political factions, liberal and Islamist, since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

On Monday, Gen. Adel Emara of the ruling military council denied that soldiers had been responsible for any violence or abuses over the weekend, portraying them as victims of provocateurs. He stopped a journalist before she could open a newspaper carrying the photograph of the so-called blue-bra woman.

"Before you open the newspaper, fold it; I know what I'm talking about," General Emara said. "Yes, this scene took place, and we're investigating it. But let's look at the whole picture and see the circumstances the picture was taken in, and we will announce the complete truth."

The general dropped the warm, avuncular approach he and others in the council had taken toward the news media, chastising journalists as though they were naughty schoolchildren. "When you want to speak, tell me to stop talking!" he said sarcastically. "I didn't allow for talking," he said at another point. "If you talk, I'll kick you out."

He continued, without explaining, "Don't take only this shot, you or any other, and cite it to prove that violence was used."

Though General Emara boasted briefly of the military's success in delivering a transition to democracy, he made no reference to the military's recently formed, and almost immediately disbanded, civilian advisory council. The council suspended its activities until the military stopped the violence and apologized; about a third of its roughly 30 members have quit.

So far, the military council has resisted calls from the United States, the United Nations and a newly united front of Islamist and liberal political leaders to stop the violence, which has left more than a dozen people dead.

General Emara insisted that the military had never used violence against peaceful protesters.

"The armed forces and the police pledged not to use violence against protesters actively or even verbally," he said. Instead, he said, the protesters had deliberately provoked soldiers into clashes as part of a plot "to destroy the state."

Egypt will never fall, he declared, "as long as it has heroes from the armed forces." And rather than apologize for the military's violence, he threw back the challenge to the Egyptian news media: "Why don't you talk about the excessive use of violence by the other side?"

"The military council has always warned against the abuse of freedom," he said. Excessive freedom, he said, "leads to chaos and the fall of the state, instead of the fall of the regime."

Protest leaders said his remarks were the clearest sign yet of the depth of the military's determination to hold on to power even after the new Parliament is seated early next year.

"We are definitely now living in a military coup," said Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, a young liberal organizer. "And the whole world should know."

Since Sunday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations; the European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton; and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have all urged the military to halt the violence, leaving no doubt about the question of responsibility for keeping the peace.

In a statement issued late Sunday from Washington, Mrs. Clinton said she was "deeply concerned" about the violence. "I urge Egyptian security forces to respect and protect the universal rights of all Egyptians, including the rights to peaceful free expression and assembly," she said. "We call upon the Egyptian authorities to hold accountable those, including security forces, who violate these standards."

Ms. Ashton of the European Union warned that the fighting threatened to undermine confidence in Egypt's parliamentary elections, which are still in progress. "The democratic electoral process should continue in a safe and transparent environment," she said.

Dozens of newly elected members of Parliament, most notably the new liberal icon Amr Hamzawy, sought to capitalize on their new authority as Egypt's first democratically elected representatives in more than six decades. They were joined Monday afternoon by other candidates and political leaders, including Mohamed Beltagy of the Muslim Brotherhood, on the steps of Egypt's high court to demand that the military turn over power to the lower house of Parliament soon after its election.

They set a deadline of Jan. 25, the first anniversary of the protests that began the revolution. And they called for the election of a president by Feb. 11, one year after Mr. Mubarak left power.

A onetime civilian leader of the military-led transitional government, Essam Sharaf, the former prime minister, added his voice to the calls for a swift end of military rule. "Away from the language of intimidation and mistrust, speeding up the transfer of all powers to a civilian-elected presidency is inevitable now," he said in a statement, noting that the military council has often professed to want to leave power as soon as possible.

Indeed, since helping to usher out Mr. Mubarak, the ruling generals have imposed a relatively gentle martial law with many of the trappings of civilian government. They have let their appointed prime ministers do most of the talking. They have usually responded to major street protests with concessions and ingratiation instead of just bullets.

Most of all, they have sent criminal defendants to civilian judges who cited legal texts as though judicial authority and individual rights had not been suspended along with the Constitution when the generals took over. Most Egyptians seem not to notice that they have lived under martial law for months, with the generals above the courts.

Mayy el-Sheik and Dawlat Magdy contributed reporting from Cairo, and Alan Cowell from London.


9) Occupy Atlanta saves a home from foreclosure
"She bought the home while making a higher paygrade, she was a staff
sgt in the army when she bought the home. Then she was forced to
retire after her unit was hit by mortar. She had metal plates put in
her spine and was not allowed to serve any longer. Her disability pay
was less than half of what she was making when she bought the house.
With PTSD it's difficult to hold down a normal job. She struggled to
make payments and started the "modification" process about a year and
a half ago. Chase sent multiple denials. Then we occupied the home,
put the media spotlight and direct action on Chase and within a week
they offered her something at a fixed rate for 30 years that she is
able to cover fairly comfortably with her disability payments (which
she will be receiving for the rest of her life)." --Rob Call, Atlanta Occupier
Posted by Gwynedd Stuart
Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Occupy Atlanta is announcing today that the owner of a home they've been occupying in Riverdale has struck a deal with her mortgage holder.

An injured Iraq vet who was involuntarily retired from the Army in 2007, Brigitte Walker fell behind on her mortgage and was being threatened with foreclosure by JP Morgan Chase after unsuccessful attempts to modify her loan. After a three-week occupation of the home by a handful of members of Occupy Atlanta, the bank agreed to a loan modification Monday morning.

Last week, CL ran a guest editorial by Elizabeth Warren, a real estate investor who defended the foreclosure auctions that Occupy Atlanta has protested in recent months. Warren wrote, "I know how difficult things have been for many Americans. I also know that throwing families out of their homes looks bad. But I'm frustrated that all the news stories about last week's event were from the protestors' point of view. Reporting on peoples' emotions can certainly add context to a story, but emotions can cloud fact."

Whether or not emotions cloud fact, it appears that Walker's story - and the attention that was drawn to her plight by the occupiers - is what finally got through to the bank, convincing them to work with her.

In light of the new development - a big victory for the movement - Occupy organizer and spokesman Tim Franzen wanted to respond to Warren's column. Here's what he had to say (co-written with Shabnam Bashiri) ...

In late November, Brigitte Walker, a decorated Iraq War veteran received another foreclosure notice. Brigitte had unsuccessfully tried to modify her loan with Chase Bank since she medically retired from the army as a result of combat related injuries in 2007. Her home was set to be sold on the Fulton County Courthouse steps on January 3rd, whether she was in it or not. Instead of making holiday plans or putting up a Christmas tree, Brigitte and her girlfriend Ajai were worried about losing their home. On a whim, Brigitte sent an email to Georgia state senator Vincent Fort, who set up a meeting with Occupy Atlanta. On December 6, after leaving the very same auction where Brigitte's home was to be sold the following month, we started occupying her home.

The sad reality is that countless families in Georgia have their homes auctioned off at county court houses every month. Many believe that homes auctioned on the court house steps are unoccupied. This is not true; Occupy Atlanta has seen multiple families begging auctioneers not to sell their homes. For many, this auction is the last nail in the coffin of their American dream, their home. Let's not get it twisted, the auctioning of occupied foreclosed homes in Georgia is nasty business.

In Georgia, the foreclosure process can begin after just one missed payment. The lender then sets a sale date for that home to be auctioned off, and publishes the sale notice in the county paper. They are only required to give the homeowner 30 days' notice, and there is no requirement that the homeowner receives the notice, only that it is sent. If the sale goes through, there is no right of redemption in Georgia, meaning there is no way for a homeowner to reclaim their home. Disrupting the auction of a home literally gives a family one more month of housing, and in some cases one more chance to save their home.

A six to nine month moratorium on evictions and foreclosures would allow time for bank inflated home values to be re-assessed to realistic payable levels. The banks' irresponsible practices played a huge role in our current crisis. In their time of need we bailed them out. Now it's their turn to do the right thing, to stop holding our economy hostage.

After two press conferences on her lawn, a national call in day, and direct action on Chase Bank, Occupy Atlanta did what Brigitte Walker couldn't do in years, get a loan modification. If it weren't for Occupy Atlanta's "simplistic approach" Brigitte Walker would have had her American Dream auctioned off on the Fulton county court house steps. Instead Brigitte Walker and her family can breathe easy knowing they can continue to live the American dream of home ownership.

Winning Brigitte's home is a win for the people. It should be a call for Georgians to fight for their homes, and fight for their neighbors' homes. Let's not forget, we outnumber the bank executives.


10) 'Someplace Like America'
By Bruce Springsteen, The Washington Post
December 20, 2011

View Photo Gallery - A new book gave Bruce Springsteen the chance to write his thoughts about three decades of tough times in our nation. The following are excepts of his foreword to "Someplace Like America," by Washington Post photographer Michael Williamson and writer Dale Maharidge, both Pulitzer Prize winners.

Someplace Like America: Tales From the New Great Depression," the latest collaboration from Columbia journalism professor Dale Maharidge and Post photographer Michael S. Williamson, tells the story of American industry and its workers - a story the two began to document more than 30 years ago and published in the mid-'80s in "Journey to Nowhere." That work inspired Bruce Springsteen to compose the lyrics to "Youngstown" and "The New Timer."
The Boss agreed to write the introduction to "Someplace Like America." His words are adapted for publication here, along with some of Williamson's pictures.

had completed most of the "Tom Joad" record when one night, some 15 years ago, unable to sleep, I pulled a book down off my living room shelf. I read it in one sitting, and I lay awake that night disturbed by its power and frightened by its implications. In the next week, I wrote "Youngstown" and "The New Timer."

That book - "Journey to Nowhere," by Dale Maharidge and Michael S. Williamson - put real lives, names and faces on statistics we'd all been hearing about throughout the '80s. People who all their lives had played by the rules, done the right thing and had come up empty, men and women whose work and sacrifice had built this country, who'd given their sons to its wars and then whose lives were marginalized or discarded. I lay awake that night thinking: What if the craft I'd learned was suddenly deemed obsolete, no longer needed? What would I do to take care of my family? What wouldn't I do?

Without getting on a soapbox, these are the questions Maharidge and Williamson posed with their words and pictures. Men and women struggling to take care of their own in the most impossible conditions and still moving on, surviving.

As we tuck our children into bed at night, this is an America many of us fail to see, but it is a part of the country we live in, an increasing part. I believe a place and a people are judged not just by their accomplishments, but also by their compassion and sense of justice. In the future, that's the frontier where we will all be tested.

How well we do will be the America we leave behind for our children and grandchildren.

Now, their new book, "Someplace Like America," takes the measure of the tidal wave 30 years and more in coming, a wave that "Journey" first saw rolling, dark and angry, on the horizon line. It is the story of the deconstruction of the American dream, piece by piece, literally steel beam by steel beam, broken up and shipped out south, east and points unknown, told in the voices of those who've lived it. Here is the cost, in blood, treasure and spirit, that the post-industrialization of the United States has levied on its most loyal and forgotten citizens, the men and women who built the buildings we live in, laid the highways we drive on, made things and asked for nothing in return but a good day's work and a decent living.

It tells of the political failure of our representatives to stem this tide (when not outright abetting it), of their failure to steer our economy in a direction that might serve the majority of hard-working American citizens and of their allowing of an entire social system to be hijacked into the service of the elite. The stories allow you to feel the pounding destruction of purpose, identity and meaning in American life, sucked out by a plutocracy determined to eke out its last drops of tribute, no matter what the human cost. And yet it is not a story of defeat. It also details the family ties, inner strength, faith and too-tough-to-die resilience that carry our people forward when all is aligned against them.

When you read about workers today, they are discussed mainly in terms of statistics (the unemployed), trade (the need to eliminate and offshore their jobs in the name of increased profit) and unions (usually depicted as a purely negative drag on the economy). In reality, the lives of American workers, as well as those of the unemployed and the homeless, make up a critically important cornerstone of our country's story, past and present, and in that story, there is great honor.

Maharidge and Williamson have made the telling of that story their life's work. They present these men, women and children in their full humanity. They give voice to their humor, frustration, rage, perseverance and love. They invite us into these stories to understand and allow us to experience the hard times and the commonality of experience that can still be found just beneath the surface of the modern news environment. In giving us back that feeling of universal connectedness, they create room for some optimism that we may still find our way back to higher ground as a country and as a people. As the folks whose voices sing off the book's pages will tell you, it's the only way forward.


11) American Jailed in Peru Returns to New York
December 20, 2011, 10:10 am

Lori Berenson, the daughter of Manhattan academics whose story has captivated New Yorkers since she was convicted in Peru of aiding a leftist terrorist group, touched down on American soil Tuesday morning for the first time in 16 years.

Her mother, Rhoda Berenson, craned her neck in anticipation as she waited at Newark Liberty International Airport carrying a brown Bloomingdale's bag stuffed with a puffy warm coat for Lori Berenson's son, Salvador, 2, who was conceived during a conjugal visit with Ms. Berenson's husband in prison.

Asked what her daughter most wanted to see in New York, Rhoda Berenson said, "I think it's us."

Lori Berenson's parents had visited her frequently in Peru, but on this visit, dozens of friends and relatives will be seeing her for the first time since her conviction and will be meeting Salvador for the first time.

Pushing a luggage cart and flanked by police officers with Salvador trotting beside her, Ms. Berenson, 41, strode past a throng of news reporters with such focus that at first she walked right by her mother.

"Thank you," was all Ms. Berenson said as she slid into the back seat of a car driven by a male relative wearing a Yankees cap. She buckled Salvador, clutching a stuffed orange parrot, into his car seat, and they sped off.

"Happy holidays!" Rhoda Berenson, called cheerfully as she closed the car door.

It was an image far removed from the one that Lori Berenson projected soon after her arrest, when she gave a defiant, fist-waving speech in support of the Tupac Amaru rebels, a leftist militant group, which cemented her image as a dangerous radical for many Peruvians.

Ms. Berenson has always maintained her innocence, saying that she was an idealist drawn to the cause of the Peruvian poor but never supported violence or intended to aid a plot by some of her associates to attack the Peruvian parliament, an attack that never took place.

According to testimony during her trial, Ms. Berenson voluntarily helped with logistics and information and used the house she had rented as a base for the operatives.

While in prison, she married Aníbal Apari Sánchez, who had been convicted of being a member of the group and was granted conjugal visits during his parole. She is now separated from Mr. Apari, who is Salvador's father and serves as her lawyer.

Ms. Berenson is out on parole, but is technically still serving a 20-year sentence, which is due to be completed on Nov. 29, 2015. Her sentence was reduced from life in prison when she was granted a second, civilian trial, something that the United States government and her parents had pushed for. Her first trial was in military court where judges wear hoods to hide their identity.

Last week, a Peruvian court gave Ms. Berenson permission to travel to the United States. She is supposed to return by Jan. 11, and there has been widespread concern in the Peruvian news media that she will not go back.

Once this travel permit ends, Ms. Berenson will be required to report to various legal authorities in Peru, including the Criminal Court, the Provincial Criminal Court and the National Penitentiary.

At the airport, Rhoda Berenson, a professor at New York University, said her daughter intended to return. She said the family would celebrate the holidays and her husband Mark's 70th birthday. She declined to comment on the case, saying, "This is not a political time for us. "

Rhoda and Mark Berenson's lives, too, were transformed by their daughter's predicament. For a time they quit working to devote themselves full-time to her case, which captivated many because of the questions it raised about how the bookish daughter raised by intellectuals in a rent-controlled Manhattan apartment ended up accused of such a plot.

Lori Berenson graduated from LaGuardia High School and went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but soon found she cared more about campus activism than academics. She joined the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, a group affiliated with the FMLN guerilla movement that was a common presence on American campuses in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1992 Lori Berenson moved to El Salvador and later to Peru.
After her trial, her parents found themselves traveling every few weeks to Peru to visit her, taking her bagels and sweaters for the freezing-cold prison cell. Eventually they went back to work. As Rhoda Berenson said at the airport, "All this has been expensive."

Rhoda Berenson said that the family had no special plans and that her husband, a professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, was at work, administering final exams.

"We're just going to go home," she said. "I'm very excited. "


12) Occupy Crackdown: CIA plays new version of "I Won't Tell You." > News / Commentary
December 20, 2011

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is refusing to process a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that would reveal what role, if any, the agency has played in law enforcement's coordinated, nationwide campaign to shut down and evict Occupy movement encampments in cities throughout the country.

The FOIA demand for records was filed by the Washington D.C.-based civil rights legal organization, the Partnership for Civil Justice (PCJF).

The language used by the agency to announce its refusal to process the FOIA request concerning its role in the crackdown on the Occupy movement is "a classic case of CIA-double speak," according to the attorneys at the PCJF.

The CIA is not specifically denying that it has records and documents that would reveal its role in the coordinated crackdown that evicted the encampments in major cities within a short period of time. Rather, the agency asserts that it won't look for such records and documents.

"The CIA is apparently asserting that because its involvement in law enforcement's crackdown of the Occupy movement would be barred by law, it is not possible for the CIA to conduct an effective search for information responsive to our inquiry into its role in the operation," stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF. "In other words," she continued, "because the actions would be illegal, they would also be off the books."

Far from claiming it does not possess responsive records, the CIA stated in its letter to Ms. Verheyden-Hilliard that because such activities would be barred by law, "our records systems are not configured in a way that would allow us to perform a search reasonably calculated to lead to responsive records. Therefore, we must decline to process your request."

The PCJF has demanded that the CIA reconsider its request and is prepared to take legal action as necessary to force the agency to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. This denial comes on the heels of a series of Associated Press articles revealing the CIA's involvement with the NYPD.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Park Service (NPS) requesting that the agencies release information that they possess related to the involvement of federal agencies in the planning of a coordinated law enforcement crackdown that has taken places in multiple cities against the Occupy Movement. These requests are also on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee.

The FOIA to the various federal law enforcement agencies states: "This request specifically encompasses disclosure of any documents or information pertaining to federal coordination of, or advice or consultation regarding, the police response to the Occupy movement, protests or encampments."


13) Demonstrators Who Took Over Chinese Village Halt Protest
December 21, 2011

WUKAN, China - Villagers who had carried out a prominent protest against what they called land seizures by officials and business people agreed on Wednesday to halt their demonstrations after more than 10 days of keeping Communist Party authorities out of their village. The protests ended after a leader of the villagers met on Wednesday morning with senior officials from coastal Guangdong Province in southern China.

The provincial officials agreed to the meeting after residents here threatened to march on Wednesday to government offices in the nearby city of Lufeng. In the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour outside Wukan, two senior provincial officials spoke to Lin Zuluan, 65, one of the villagers' main representatives. Mr. Lin said after the meeting that the officials had agreed to three conditions set by the protesters, including freeing several villagers who had been detained, though the issue of the land sales remained unresolved.

"I was satisfied with how the meeting went," Mr. Lin said. "Now they've opened up a new channel of communication, and it will help to build a closer relationship between the two sides."

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Lin and other village leaders met to discuss their options and decided to call off the public protests and to reopen access to the village. It was unclear whether party officials who fled earlier would return and resume their jobs.

After that conclave, the village leaders held a rally with more than 1,000 residents in a public square and told the audience about the new agreement. When the villagers then dispersed, they took down protest banners hanging up near the square.

The meeting was the first with province-level officials, and it contrasted sharply with the denunciations and threats of arrest that have defined the official response to the protests since the standoff began.

The negotiations were led by the deputy chief of the provincial Communist Party committee, Zhu Mingguo, and the party secretary of the administrative region of Shanwei, Zheng Yanxiong. Mr. Zhu is a top lieutenant to the provincial party secretary, Wang Yang, one of China's most prominent political leaders and an unspoken candidate for a spot on China's ruling body, the standing committee of the Politburo, when membership in the body, which now has nine seats, turns over next year.

The abrupt shift of negotiations to provincial leaders, after days of fruitless talks with officials of local governments, suggested that Mr. Wang was taking charge and hoping to broker a peaceful settlement of a crisis whose outcome could weigh heavily on his political future.

In midmorning, as officials began arriving outside the village, hundreds of residents lined the roadside. Dozens held up a red banner that welcomed the officials "to come to Lufeng to resolve the Wukan incident."

Inside Wukan, in a council meeting hall, bags of rice were piled high in a corner to dole out to poorer families. Since party officials abandoned the area days ago, security forces have turned back many food trucks outside the village. Some residents say the authorities intended to starve the villagers until they submitted, yet they profess their devotion to the Communist Party and speak of how the central government will soon come to their aid.

On the main road connecting Lufeng to Wukan, there was no sign of a police presence on Tuesday night. A police checkpoint that had been erected at one bridge outside Lufeng several days ago was no longer there. But on the outskirts of Wukan, villagers still manned barricades that are meant to keep back security forces. When foreign journalists traveling from Lufeng approached them near midnight, several villagers took the journalists into the heart of Wukan on the backs of motorcycles.

Mr. Lin said the greatest concern of the villagers was their land: they charge that the village government and Lufeng authorities illegally sold the village's collectively owned farm and forest land to developers without their consent, and that money from the sales is unaccounted for. Mr. Lin said the issue would need to be discussed in further talks with officials.

The anger of the last week involved a second but equally explosive issue: the death of a 42-year-old villager, Xue Jinbo, who was among 12 people chosen by villagers to negotiate a settlement to the land dispute.

Mr. Xue died after being abducted on Dec. 9 with four other men, apparently at the behest of Lufeng police officials. The Lufeng police said that Mr. Xue and the four others were arrested and charged with protest-related crimes, but that Mr. Xue later died of a heart attack. A report by the state-run Xinhua news service said Mr. Xue had become ill after two days of interrogation in which he admitted to his crimes.

Mr. Xue's relatives, who were allowed to see but not photograph his body, say it bore signs of torture, including caked blood, bruises and a broken left thumb.

Mr. Lin said the officials agreed on Wednesday morning to release the detainees that day or the next day and to turn over Mr. Xue's body soon. The officials also promised an investigation into the death, he said.

The standoff between the village and outside authorities began when protesters furious over word of Mr. Xue's death mobbed the headquarters of Wukan's village committee. The last of the committee's nine members fled after thousands of protesters beat back an effort by the local police to retake the village.

The villagers - once numbering 13,000, but now down to about 6,000, one protester said - have set up their own governing body and issued demands that their land be returned and that a new village committee be democratically elected.

Outside authorities responded by detaining two Wukan officials - the village Communist Party secretary, Xue Chang, and the head of the village administrative committee, Chun Shunyi - for interrogation by the party's disciplinary officials. The action is tantamount to arrest.

Official statements also say that roughly 67 acres of village land, a tiny fraction of the amount sold, has been recovered. The reports do not indicate what was done with the property.

News of the Wukan protest has been all but banned from the Chinese media and Internet sites. But there were indications that word of the dispute was nevertheless spreading. Posts on Chinese microblog services reported protests in three other villages in Shanwei Prefecture, which includes Wukan, apparently over other land disputes. Three people were arrested Sunday in Guangzhou, a Guangdong Province metropolis, after a protest in sympathy with the Wukan villagers.

Another microblog post on Tuesday, with photographs, described a violent clash between police officers and thousands of people in Haimen, a township in Shantou, a major Pacific coast city about 90 miles from Wukan. People in Wukan said Wednesday morning that Haimen's streets appeared quiet, but the riot police were still out in force.

The Internet posts stated that the Shantou demonstrators, some of whom were hospitalized, were protesting plans to build a power plant, fearing that it would add to pollution and damage the local fishing industry. Other microblog reports told of related protests in two nearby villages.

Shi Da contributed research.


14) For Illegal Immigrant, Line Is Drawn at Transplant
"'They should not get any benefit from breaking the law, especially something as expensive as organ transplants or dialysis,' said Representative Dana T. Rohrabacher, Republican of California, who contends that care for illegal immigrants is bankrupting American health care and has sought to require that emergency rooms report stabilized patients for deportation unless they prove citizenship or legal residence. 'If they're dead, I don't have an objection to their organs being used," Mr. Rohrabacher added. 'If they're alive, they shouldn't be here no matter what.'" [Boy! would I like to rip out Mr. Rohrabacher's kidneys! What an effing disgusting pig!]
December 20, 2011

Without treatment to replace his failing kidneys, doctors knew, the man in Bellevue hospital would die. He was a waiter in his early 30s, a husband and father of two, so well liked at the Manhattan restaurant where he had worked for a decade that everyone from the customers to the dishwasher was donating money to help his family.

He was also an illegal immigrant. So when his younger brother volunteered to donate a kidney to restore him to normal life, they encountered a health care paradox: the government would pay for a lifetime of dialysis, costing $75,000 a year, but not for the $100,000 transplant that would make it unnecessary.

For nearly two years, the brothers and their supporters have been hunting for a way to make the transplant happen. Their journey has taken them through a maze of conflicting laws, private insurance conundrums and ethical quandaries, back to the national impasse between health care and immigration policies.

The waiter's boss sought private insurance, she and the brothers said, speaking on the condition that their names be withheld for fear of provoking immigration authorities. The Catch-22: for the first year, the waiter, called Angel, would get no coverage for his "pre-existing condition," nor would he receive the dialysis that keeps him alive and able to work four days a week.

Doctors sought a transplant center that would take him. Hospitals in the city receive millions of taxpayer dollars to help offset care for illegal immigrants and other uninsured patients. But at one hospital, administrators apparently overruled surgeons willing to waive their fees. At another, Angel was told to come back when he had legal status or $200,000.

A last resort is a return to Mexico, where the operation costs about $40,000. But to pay off the necessary loans, Angel and his brother, a deli worker, would have to sneak back in through the desert. If they failed, they would be cut off from their children in Brooklyn, who are United States citizens.

"As a physician, it puts you in a real ethical dilemma," said Dr. Eric Manheimer, Bellevue's medical director, noting that a transplant would sharply reduce Angel's risk of death from complications. "The ultimate irony is it's cheaper to put in a transplant than to dialyze someone for the rest of their life."

Bellevue performs no transplants but, as a trauma center, often supplies organs harvested, with family consent, from illegal immigrants fatally injured at work.

"Here's the paradox: he could donate, but he can't receive," Dr. Manheimer said, calling the imbalance troubling. Organ registries do not record illegal status, but a study estimated that over a 20-year period noncitizens donated 2.5 percent of organs and received fewer than 1 percent.

To those focusing on immigration enforcement, however, the inequity runs the other way. "They should not get any benefit from breaking the law, especially something as expensive as organ transplants or dialysis," said Representative Dana T. Rohrabacher, Republican of California, who contends that care for illegal immigrants is bankrupting American health care and has sought to require that emergency rooms report stabilized patients for deportation unless they prove citizenship or legal residence.

"If they're dead, I don't have an objection to their organs being used," Mr. Rohrabacher added. "If they're alive, they shouldn't be here no matter what."

To Ruth Faden, the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, the brothers' case, like the transplant statistics, illustrates how quickly firm principles on both sides unravel in practice.

"We tie ourselves up in knots," she said, "because we've accepted as a country and in international human rights law that if someone shows up in extremis in your emergency room, the nurses and doctors and technicians are morally obligated, and legally obligated, to provide that life-saving care."

How to begin refusing care, she added, becomes a dilemma for "real people in real time."

The sudden onset of the waiter's illness in January 2010 left no time to spare. At Bellevue, he underwent surgery to implant a temporary venous catheter in his neck, to cleanse his blood of lethal toxins. The cause of his renal disease is most likely genetic: when he was 8 - about the age of his own sons now - his father died of kidney failure.

Through quirks of legislative history, nearly everyone with end-stage renal disease in the United States, regardless of income, is covered under federal Medicare for dialysis and transplantation, except illegal immigrants. But regardless of a patient's immigration status, hospitals can be reimbursed for emergency care by Medicaid, the federal and state insurance program for the needy.

Unlike most states, New York, California and North Carolina define outpatient dialysis as an emergency measure. Studies show such regular dialysis is cheaper, with fewer life-threatening complications, than waiting until toxin levels require hospital treatment.

"What do I have to do to become normal?" Angel remembers asking. The medical answer was clear: a transplant, and anti-rejection drugs costing about $10,000 a year. But news that his brother and sister were compatible donors came with a blunt warning, the waiter recalled: "As long as you don't have your papers, you won't get a transplant."

Like many Mexican New Yorkers, Angel has relatives who migrated years ago without visas and are now citizens. An uncle still works for the restaurateur who helped him legalize. But immigration rules have changed, eliminating such paths.

"My boss, she tried to help me," said the waiter, who supported his mother and half-siblings from the age of 16, and worked his way up from busboy, paying taxes, mastering English and learning enough French to counsel diners on the wine list. "We find no way."

His boss kept hunting. "He deserves every break he can get," she said.

They consulted lawyers at LegalHealth, which counsels low-income patients. Randye Retkin, the director, said the waiter was one of a dozen patients in need of transplants who were referred to the nonprofit program by hospitals last year because of immigration barriers.

For many there is no remedy, Ms. Retkin said. She cited a Mexican mother of two who died without the small-bowel transplant she needed, just as lawyers won a yearlong legal battle for Medicaid to pay for it.

The waiter turned to the Mexican consulate, which appealed to Dr. Manheimer. The doctor said he persuaded surgeons at NYU Langone Medical Center to waive their $20,000 fees, but administrators would not absorb the rest. The hospital declined to comment.

Two other doctors, Hector J. Castro, a critical care specialist, and Kann H. Patel, a hematologist, sent Angel to Mount Sinai Medical Center. But there a financial transplant counselor told him he would have to pay double the typical cost in advance, to cover any complications.

"Personally, I'm troubled by it," said Dr. Sander Florman, who directs the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai. "We're looking at human beings."

But Dr. Florman confirmed that the waiter's experience reflected policies at the hospital. "Our general approach is we're not the immigration police," he said. "On the other hand, there has to be a mechanism to pay for it."

Mount Sinai officials say they provided $67.3 million in uncompensated care last year, and received $25 million from the state to offset such costs. "Mount Sinai struggles each day to balance its limited resources with its strong commitment to provide compassionate medical care," it said in a statement, noting that kidney transplantation, unlike dialysis, is not an emergency procedure under Medicaid.

For nearly everyone else, however, there is a Medicare option. Scholars trace the unusual program, now costing $40 billion a year, to a 1962 Life magazine article titled "They Decide Who Lives, Who Dies," about laymen at a Seattle hospital who judged which patients would get scarce treatment on the first "artificial kidney machine." The outcry that followed is often credited for the birth of bioethics and for the 1972 law guaranteeing coverage.

That law did not mention citizenship, said Dr. Scott Sanoff, who teaches medicine at the University of Virginia, but later restrictions, and murky state-by-state variations in Medicaid, left decisions on illegal immigrants' access to care to each medical center, often without any payment mechanism. The life-and-death nature of the decisions has been obscured, he added: In the case of Angel, "his life expectancy could be more than doubled with the transplant compared to dialysis."

The waiter now shuttles between a basement dialysis center, the restaurant and his family's cramped but well-kept walk-up. There, as their children clustered nearby, his brother, 26, said they would not give up.

"He's more than my brother, he's like my father," he said. "If I can give him life, I have to."


15) Japan Says Decommissioning Damaged Reactors Could Take 40 Years
December 21, 2011

TOKYO - Decommissioning the wrecked reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will take 40 years and require the use of robots to remove melted fuel that appears to be stuck to the bottom of the reactors' containment vessels, the Japanese government said on Wednesday.

The predictions were contained in a detailed roadmap for fully shutting down the three reactors, which suffered meltdowns after an earthquake and tsunami struck the plant on March 11. The government had previously predicted it would take 30 years to clean up after the accident at Fukushima, the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The nuclear crisis minister, Goshi Hosono, acknowledged that no country has ever had to clean up three destroyed reactors at the same time. Mr. Hosono told reporters the decommissioning faced challenges that were not totally predictable, but "we must do it even though we may face difficulties along the way."

The plan's release follows last week's declaration by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda that the plant had been put into the equivalent of a "cold shutdown," a stable state that suggested the runaway reactors had finally been brought under control. Critics, however, immediately challenged that statement, saying it was impossible to call the reactors stable when their fuel had melted through the inner containment vessels, and appeared to be attached to the concrete bottom of outer containment vessels.

Still, the government appears ready to move ahead with the next stage of the cleanup. According to Wednesday's roadmap, the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, will spend the next two years removing spent fuel rods from storage pools located in the same buildings as the damaged reactors. At least one of those pools, which are highly radioactive, was exposed by hydrogen explosions that destroyed the reactor buildings in the first days of the accident.

The most technically challenging step will be removing the melted fuel, a process that the government said will take 25 years and require new types of robots and other new technologies that have not even been developed yet. After the removal, fully decommissioning the reactors will take another 5 to 10 years, according to the roadmap.


16) Hearing in Soldier's WikiLeaks Case Ends
December 22, 2011

FORT MEADE, Md. - The military hearing against Pfc. Bradley Manning closed on Thursday, with lawyers and onlookers alternately portraying him as a premeditated traitor or an accidental hero with emotional troubles.

In their summary arguments, military lawyers accused the slight, bespectacled private of deliberately using his training as an Army intelligence analyst and his security clearances to leak tens of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, intelligence reports and a video of a military helicopter attack that left 11 people dead.

The prosecutors showed what they described as a Qaeda propaganda video in which terrorist operatives talked about the ways they had been able to exploit the leaks, with one of them saying that Private Manning "aided in the publication of those files, knowing that our enemies would use those files."

Private Manning's lawyers did not argue that their client was innocent of the leaks. However, they compared the military's case to the story of Chicken Little, saying that the files leaked to the antisecrecy organization WikiLeaks had not damaged national security and that the government was "over-charging" their client, who faces life in prison.

WikiLeaks shared the files with several news organizations, including The New York Times. News accounts of the findings ignited international outrage.

The defense lawyers portrayed Private Manning, 24, as a man struggling with myriad emotional problems, stemming primarily from years of having to hide that he is gay. His lawyers said he reached out to his commanding officers for help and emotional support, but they ignored his problems. And, the lawyers said, Private Manning saw himself as a whistle-blower, not a traitor.

"My client was young," said one of the defense lawyers, David Coombs. "He thought he could make a difference."

The investigating officer overseeing the proceedings is expected to deliver his recommendations on whether to court-martial Private Manning on Jan. 16. Legal experts said it was almost certain that Private Manning would be tried on at least some of the 22 charges against him, which include aiding the enemy and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer.

If he is court-martialed on the more serious charges, Mr. Manning could face the death penalty. But prosecutors have said they would seek life in prison instead.

The case has ignited debates beyond the drab little courtroom here about whether the government keeps too many secrets, and whether the military systematically fails to provide the necessary support to minority and gay soldiers, and to protect them from abuses.


17) Border Fence Blocks Bears in Migration, Study Finds
December 21, 2011

GILA BEND, Ariz. - The much-ballyhooed border fence has not just made it more difficult for illegal immigrants to slip across from Mexico into the United States. It has also become an obstacle, researchers say, for migrating bears.

A study published in this month's edition of Biological Conservation warns that the black bear population just north of the border in Arizona may be threatened by the increasingly impermeable barriers at the border. Also fragmenting the bear habitat are the growing urban sprawl in southern Arizona and the expanding highway systems that slice through rugged terrain, the study found.

Researchers used hair snags - pieces of barbed wire set up near bait to catch genetic samples of foraging bears - to track various bear populations in Arizona. They found significant genetic disparities between black bears in the east-central part of the state and the subpopulation just north of the border. The border bears, the study said, were more closely related to bears found in northern Mexico.

The population density of the border bears was substantially lower than the bears living farther north, which had a wider habitat that was less vulnerable to development, the study found. The border is a unique region, from a biological point of view, researchers say, with many North American species reaching the southern limit of their distribution there and many South American species extending not much farther north.

"We want people to be cognizant of the impact of human activities and how they are impacting wildlife populations," said Dr. Jon P. Beckmann, a bear researcher with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and co-author of the bear study.

The authors, who include Todd C. Atwood and Julie K. Young of the United States Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Center, intend to share their findings with the Department of Homeland Security and other state and federal agencies along the border. Dr. Beckmann said that the paper could be used to help generate innovative solutions that take bears and other large carnivores into consideration when border security was discussed.

As for the efficacy of border fencing in stymieing illegal immigrants, an issue that has come up in the Republican presidential primary contest, Mr. Beckmann said, "We're not weighing into that debate."


18) Army Charges 8 in Wake of Death of a Fellow G.I.
December 21, 2011

One night in October, an Army private named Danny Chen apparently angered his fellow soldiers by forgetting to turn off the water heater after taking a shower at his outpost in Afghanistan, his family said.

In the relatives' account, the soldiers pulled Private Chen out of bed and dragged him across the floor; they forced him to crawl on the ground while they pelted him with rocks and taunted him with ethnic slurs. Finally, the family said, they ordered him to do pull-ups with a mouthful of water - while forbidding him from spitting it out.

It was the culmination of what the family called a campaign of hazing against Private Chen, 19, who was born in Chinatown in Manhattan, the son of Chinese immigrants. Hours later, he was found dead in a guard tower, from what a military statement on Wednesday called "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound" to the head.

On Wednesday, the American military announced that the Army had charged eight soldiers in Private Chen's battalion in connection with the death.

It was an extraordinary development in a case that has stirred intense reactions in the Asian population in New York and elsewhere and provoked debate over what some experts say is the somewhat ambivalent relationship between the Asian population and the United States military.

The authorities have not publicized much information about the circumstances of the death. Family members said they had gleaned bits of information about the hazing in private briefings with American military officials. But the array of charges announced - the most serious of which were manslaughter and negligent homicide - suggested that military prosecutors believed that the soldiers' actions drove Private Chen to commit suicide.

Private Chen's relatives and friends said they welcomed the announcement of the charges, as did Asian-American advocacy groups, which have been pressing the Army to conduct a transparent investigation into the death and to improve the treatment of Asians in the armed forces.

"It's of some comfort and relief to learn that the Army has taken this seriously," Private Chen's mother, Su Zhen Chen, said through an interpreter at a news conference in Chinatown. Private Chen was her only child.

Private Chen's parents - his father has worked as a chef in Chinese restaurants, and his mother as a seamstress - live in an East Village housing project.

Private Chen was deployed to Afghanistan in August after completing basic training in April.

In a journal he kept while in basic training and in letters, Private Chen mentioned that other soldiers teased him because of his ethnicity. "Everyone here jokingly makes fun of me for being Asian," he said in one letter to his parents. In another letter two days later, he wrote, "People crack jokes about Chinese people all the time; I'm running out of jokes to come back at them."

At a news conference on Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman would not discuss details about the case, but he acknowledged that hazing, while against the rules of the military, occasionally occurred among its members. He insisted that the armed forces had a zero-tolerance policy toward it.

"We treat each other with respect and dignity, or we go home," the spokesman, Capt. John Kirby, said. "There's a justice system in place to deal with it. And that's what we're seeing here in the case of Private Chen."

The accused soldiers, all members of a unit based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, included an officer and seven enlisted soldiers, the military said in a statement. Lawyers for the eight could not be reached for comment on the Army's charges.

The case is among very few from the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts in which American soldiers have been implicated in the deaths of fellow soldiers.

In October, several Marines were ordered court-martialed for their roles in the death of an Asian-American Marine, Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, from California, who killed himself in April in Afghanistan after being subjected to what military prosecutors said was hazing.

Until Wednesday, the military had said little publicly about the investigation into Private Chen's death, and in the vacuum of information, suspicion flourished among relatives, friends and advocates in the Asian-American community over whether American military investigators were planning to whitewash the inquiry.

But military officials insisted all along that they were conducting a thorough investigation and that its integrity depended on the tight control of information.

Sgt. First Class Alan G. Davis, a spokesman for the military's headquarters in southern Afghanistan, said Wednesday that there had been two investigations into Private Chen's death: one conducted by the regional command, which resulted in the charges, and one by the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, which is continuing.

The eight suspects, who have not been formally detained, are still stationed in Afghanistan, though on a different base and under increased supervision, another military spokesman, Lt. Col. Dave Connolly, said.

Private Chen's relatives and advocates for the family said the charges caught them by surprise.

"I didn't think the case would move this fast," said Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation. Reaching for a Chinese aphorism, he added, "You cannot wrap a fire with paper: the truth will come out."

"We are cautiously optimistic about today's news," he said, adding that the authorities "have to create an atmosphere in which Asian-Americans feel safe."

Elizabeth R. OuYang, president of the New York chapter of OCA, a civil rights group that has been working with the family, vowed to continue pressing military officials on the case. She has helped keep the matter in the public eye by organizing a prayer vigil and a march in memory of Private Chen. She has also met at the Pentagon with Army officials to emphasize the importance of the case and to demand measures to improve the treatment of Asians in the military.

The eight charged in the case are members of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. Five of the soldiers - Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, Specialist Thomas P. Curtis and Specialist Ryan J. Offutt - were accused of involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and assault consummated by battery, among other crimes, the military said.

First Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, the only officer among the eight defendants, was charged with dereliction of duty, the statement said.

Sgt. Travis F. Carden was charged with assault and maltreatment, and Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas was charged with dereliction of duty and making a false statement, the statement said.

Matthew Rosenberg contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Noah Rosenberg from New York.


19) Bradley Manning: Troubled Young American Hero
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
22 December 11

Reader Supported News | Perspective

here is no ignoring the fact that Bradley Manning is a troubled young man who needed help in the months leading up to his deployment, and during the time he was in Iraq. The government and the defense highlighted his outbursts during his Article 32 hearing. They also presented evidence that Manning had self-diagnosed himself as having a gender identity disorder.

The government is attempting to discredit Manning, while the defense is portraying the Army as negligent for allowing him continued access to classified material after several emotional outbursts. That is the kind of story the corporate media would like us to focus on. But, whether or not Manning was emotionally stable only serves as a distraction from the real story.

Did the US military commit atrocities in Iraq? Would Manning have been guilty of aiding in those atrocities if he had looked the other way? Is Bradley Manning a hero for exposing the abuses of our government and other countries?

We must not let Manning's personal flaws overshadow the results of his heroic action. The State Department cables he is accused of leaking were the spark for the Arab Spring, which has led to movements around the world for economic equality.

Manning's Article 32 hearings focused on the government's case. Historically, the defense only counters the evidence presented by the prosecution, and waits until trial to present its real defense. We should withhold judgment until we hear the true motivation for his actions.

The leaking of the "Collateral Damage" video had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. The leaking of the State Department cables had nothing to do with his mental stability. The real question is: Why didn't others blow the whistle on the crimes being committed in Iraq and other countries throughout the world?

Remember, when Nazis were tried for war crimes, following orders and honoring a security clearance were not valid defenses. Bradley Manning did the right thing; those who honored their clearances and remained silent are the real criminals.

I attended three days of Manning's Article 32 hearing, and not once did I hear anything about the criminal activities that Manning shed light on. Let us hope that if this case goes to a court martial we hear more about Manning's true motives and less about his emotional problems, problems that need treatment - not ridicule.

Bradley Manning is a hero, a hero with flaws. Like every other hero, he is only human.

Scott Galindez is the Political Director of Reader Supported News, and the co-founder of Truthout.


20) Poor are quicker to show compassion
Science Blog
December 20, 2011

Emotional differences between the rich and poor, as depicted in such Charles Dickens classics as "A Christmas Carol" and "A Tale of Two Cities," may have a scientific basis. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that people in the lower socio-economic classes are more physiologically attuned to suffering, and quicker to express compassion than their more affluent counterparts.

By comparison, the UC Berkeley study found that individuals in the upper middle and upper classes were less able to detect and respond to the distress signals of others. Overall, the results indicate that socio-economic status correlates with the level of empathy and compassion that people show in the face of emotionally charged situations.

"It's not that the upper classes are coldhearted," said UC Berkeley social psychologist Jennifer Stellar, lead author of the study published online on Dec. 12 in the journal, Emotion. "They may just not be as adept at recognizing the cues and signals of suffering because they haven't had to deal with as many obstacles in their lives."

Stellar and her colleagues' findings challenge previous studies that have characterized lower-class people as being more prone to anxiety and hostility in the face of adversity.

"These latest results indicate that there's a culture of compassion and cooperation among lower-class individuals that may be born out of threats to their wellbeing," Stellar said.

It has not escaped the researchers' attention that the findings come at a time of rising class tension, expressed in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Rather than widen the class divide, Stellar said she would like to see the findings promote understanding of different class cultures. For example, the findings suggest that people from lower socio-economic backgrounds may thrive better in cooperative settings than their upper-class counterparts.

"Upper-class individuals appear to be more self-focused, they've grown up with more freedom and autonomy," she said. "They may do better in an individualist, competitive environment."

More than 300 ethnically diverse young adults were recruited for the UC Berkeley study, which was divided into three experiments that used three separate groups of participants. Because all the volunteers were college undergraduates, their class identification - lower class, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class or upper class - was based on parental income and education.

In the first experiment, 148 young adults were rated on how frequently and intensely they experience such emotions as joy, contentment, pride, love, compassion, amusement and awe. In addition, they reported how much they agreed with such statements as "When I see someone hurt or in need, I feel a powerful urge to take care of them," and "I often notice people who need help." Compassion was the only positive emotion reported at greater levels by lower-class participants, the study found.

In the second experiment, a new group of 64 participants viewed two videos: an instructional video on construction and an emotionally charged video about families who are coping with the challenges of having a child with cancer. Participants showed no differences while watching the "neutral" instructional video, and all reported feeling sad in response to the video about families of cancer patients. However, members of the lower class reported higher levels of compassion and empathy as distinct from sorrow.

The researchers also monitored the heart rates of participants as they watched the neutral and emotionally charged videos. Lower-class participants showed greater decreases in heart rate as they watched the cancer family video than upper-class participants.

"One might assume that watching someone suffering would cause stress and raise the heart rate," Stellar said. "But we have found that, during compassion, the heart rate lowers as if the body is calming itself to take care of another person."

Finally, a new set of 106 participants was randomly divided into pairs and pitted against one another in mock interviews for a lab manager position. To further raise the stress level in interviews, those who performed best were to win a cash prize. Post-interview reports from the participants showed that the lower-class interviewees perceived their rivals to be feeling greater amounts of stress, anxiety and embarrassment and as a result reported more compassion and sympathy for their competitors. Conversely, upper-class participants were less able to detect emotional distress signals in their rivals.

"Recognizing suffering is the first step to responding compassionately. The results suggest that it's not that upper classes don't care, it's that they just aren't as good at perceiving stress or anxiety," Stellar said.