Thursday, February 02, 2012


Kevin Cooper, the Death Penalty, and the Failure of U.S. Criminal Justice System
"The state of California may be about to execute an innocent man." -Justice William A. Fletcher, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Bay Area book tour with J. Patrick O'Connor, author of "SCAPEGOAT: The Chino Hills Murders and the Framing of Kevin Cooper" and "The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal"

Sunday, Feb. 5. - Oakland
6:00 p.m. - dinner/reception with O'Connor and friends at the home of Jeff Mackler, $15.00, call for reservations: 510-268-9429

Monday, Feb 6 - Oakland
10:30 a.m. - Laney College
900 Fallon, Bldg./Rm. G209, Oakland

Tuesday, Feb. 7 - South Bay
12 noon - 1:00 p.m. - Santa Clara Law School
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
(Enter on Palm Drive and tell them you are going to Law School for free parking pass and directions)

7:00 p.m. - Peninsula Peace and Justice
(Cable TV show/Public forum)
Community Media Center, 900 San Antonio Rd., Palo Alto. 650-326-8837

Wednesday, Feb. 8 - Oakland
5:30 pm -- KPFA Radio Flashpoints
Tune in at 94.1 FM for interview with Dennis Bernstein

7:00 pm -- Laney College public meeting
Student Center, Fourth Floor, 900 Fallon, Oakland

Thursday, Feb 9 - - Sacramento
10:00 AM -- Capital Public Radio's "Insight" tune in at 90.9 PM
McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento call 51 0-268-9429 for information

UC Davis Law School. Davis
Call 510-268-9429 for information

7:00 pm -- Public forum with Patrick O'Connor and Norman Hile, attorney for Kevin Cooper
Sponsored by WILPF & Sacramento Area Peace Council 909 12th Street, Sacramento

Friday, Feb 10 -- Berkeley
7:00 pm -- UC Berkeley public forum cal! 510- 268-9429 for information

Saturday, Feb. 11, Berkeley
7:30 PM -- Peace and Justice Committee of the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1924 Cedar St. at Bonita

Sunday, Feb 12, San Jose
2:00 pm -- San Jose Peace and Justice Center 48 S. Seventh St., Suite 101, San Jose, 95112 408-297-2299

For further information contact: 510-268-9429

About the author and speaker:
J. Patrick O'Connor has been the editor and publisher of Crime Magazine ( since 1998. He was a reporter and bureau manager for United Press International, editor of Cincinnati Magazine, and an associate editor for TV Guide. He was editor and publisher of the Kansas City New Times, an alternative newspaper.


We working people--employed, unemployed, partially employed or retired--can't get any economic justice by voting for the One Percent! We need to occupy the elections with our own candidates of, by and for working people! --Bonnie Weinstein


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Tell Wells Fargo: Hands off our neighbors! Call-in/Email Today!

Despite recording record profits last year, Wells Fargo continues to drive tens of thousands of people out of their homes through foreclosure proceedings while devastating our communities. The good news is, we're fighting back.

Occupy Bernal Heights formed to resist the foreclosure and eviction of our neighbors. Through public protest, we stopped the bank from immediately auctioning off the homes of Washington and Maria Davila and Alberto Del Rio, but the bank has merely rescheduled the auction dates. And despite meeting with six foreclosure fighters from the neighborhood and another from Bayview-Hunters Point, Wells Fargo executives have refused to allow any of them to refinance their homes or modify their loans, and have not stopped foreclosure proceedings against them.

Call and email Wells Fargo executives TODAY and demand that they grant a loan modification and fair deal to Alberto Del Rio; Maria and Washington Davila; Thomas German; Ernesto Viscara; Victor Granados; DeDe Martinez; and Archbishop King. Tell them to stop evicting and foreclosing on our neighbors!

Note: We are trying to keep track of the number of emails sent. Please cc your email to

Wells Fargo Phone numbers/emails:

Diana Stauffer (Senior VP Regional Servicing Director): 925-552-4347

Alfredo Pedroza (Director CA Local Gov't Relations): 415-396-0829

John Stumpf (CEO): 866-878-5865

Sample Email:



Message: I demand that you cancel the auction of Alberto Del Rio and Maria and Washington Davila's family homes immediately. I also demand that you allow them, along with Ernesto Viscara; Victor Granados; DeDe Martinez; and Archbishop Franzo King, to modify their loans with you or refinance their homes. I call on you to stop evictions and foreclosures in San Francisco.

Stop evicting and foreclosing on our neighbors!


Occupy Bernal has identified 84 homes in foreclosure proceedings in Bernal Heights alone. Of these, Wells Fargo owns the mortgage in at least 13 of these cases. Of the homes we have visited, a disproportionate number of the owners are African-American or Latino, reflecting the racist practices of the banks who are preying on communities.

While foreclosures in Bernal Heights represent just the tip of the iceberg in a city that has seen as many as 12,000 foreclosures in the past three years, Occupy Bernal Heights is hopeful that a victory in our neighborhood could spark victories elsewhere in San Francisco.

Here are the bios of Occupy Bernal foreclosure fighters:

Thomas German is a seventy-two year-old veteran and retired worker from the US Mint in SF. Has lived in Bernal since 1967 and at his home at 248 Andover since 1974. Thomas is known and loved by all on his street. He was the first Bernal resident to step forward and join OB to battle to keep his home.

Melodie " DeDe" Martinez is a third generation resident of 150 Elsie St. Her family was at the heart of the launching of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center(BHNC) in 1976, when she was a child. Her Grandmother Jean Hamer and mother Charlene Martinez were on the founding Board of Directors of the BHNC.

Alberto Del Rio - A father of three, who grew up in his home at 565 Banks St. A strong but gentle and religious man, Alberto is an eloquent speaker on behalf of his family and other foreclosees.

Victor Granados is a tenant at 4207 Folsom St. with his wife and family. He is a quiet but determined fighter against his and other foreclosures. When Occupy Bernal needs guidance and inspiration, he often has words of wisdom.

Ernesto Viscara is an owner and occupant of 249 Anderson, where he also rents to another family living on his 2nd floor. Ernesto has lived in Bernal for 30 years. He is also an accomplished public speaker, a veteran fighter for social justice and a participant in struggles against U.S. military intervention in Central America.

Maria and Washington Davila - A quiet couple with two beloved Yorkshire Terriers, the Davilas have rented their home at 4255 Folsom St. for 7 years. They have been the ideal tenants, and the inside of their home looks like a photo shoot from Home Beautiful. Their landlord, who faces foreclosure, is ill and lives in Las Vegas.

Archbishop Franzo King pastors the John Coltrane Church, located in the Western Addition community of San Francisco. He is a life-long resident of the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. He has owned his house for over 20 years. He is a member of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).


Pacific Northwest tour:
The campaign to free Bradley Manning

Jan/Feb events presented by Jeff Paterson

* Portland, Oregon - Thursday, February 2 at 7:00pm - First Unitarian Church, SW 12th and Salmon, Buchan Reception Room, Sponsored by the Alliance for Democracy. With musician David Rovics.
* Bellingham, Washington - Friday, February 3 at 7pm - Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, 1155 N. State Street, Ste. 300, Sponsored by Veterans for Peace-Bellingham
* Seattle, Washington - Saturday, February 4 at 3pm - Revolution Books, 89 S. Washington Street
* Seattle, Washington - Sunday, February 5 at 3pm - University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 NE 43rd Street, Sponsored by Veterans for Peace-Seattle
* Olympia, Washington - Monday, February 6 at 3:30pm - South Puget Sound Community College
* Lakewood, Washington - Monday, February 6 at 7pm - Coffee Strong Café, 15109 Union Avenue SW
* Olympia, Washington - Tuesday, February 7 at Noon - The Evergreen State College, Lecture Hall 3, Sponsored by SDS and the "Re-Interpreting Liberation" program

Courage to Resist project director and Bradley Manning Support Network campaign organizer Jeff Paterson will provide a multi-media presentation to include:

* An overview of US v. Bradley Manning
* His report from the Fort Meade courtroom where Bradley had his first court hearing after 18 months of pre-trial confinement
* Updates on the international grassroots campaign
* An opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation to Bradley's defense fund, which in addition to supporting public education efforts is responsible for 100% of Bradley's legal expenses
* Introduction to the new Courage to Resist book, About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War-from Army Lt. Ehren Watada to PFC Bradley Manning, and two dozen other stories. Published by PM Press, September 2011.

Contact Courage to Resist for more information regarding specific events.

For daily updates on the campaign to save Bradley Manning, visit

Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA 94610, 510-488-3559,



San Francisco Bay Area:
NO war on Iran! NO sanctions! NO intervention! NO assassinations!

Rally and March
Meet at NOON: Powell and Market Sts. (Powell St. BART Plaza), SF

This is a united action being called and organized cooperatively by many local anti-war organizations and communities including World Can't Wait (see below). Everyone is welcome and everyone's presence is needed.

Friends, we're pleased to tell you that yesterday at a meeting initiated by World Can't Wait and the ANSWER Coalition, 40 people met and agreed to organize together for February 4. We all hope that the rally and march will bring out a very broad and diverse crowd to speak up NOW - the U.S. and Israeli sabre-rattling threatening Iran is so ominous, yet to today there has not been public protest raised inside this country demanding NO WAR ON IRAN. February 4 will change that situation.

Last week, a large national conference call of anti-war groups and activists produced the call for this nationwide day, and agreed on its single, simple slogan:

NO war on Iran! NO sanctions! NO intervention! NO assassinations!

In the Bay Area, a united action is being planned with a NOON RALLY at Powell and Market, and a march to follow. All organizations, communities, and people who agree with the above call for this day, and this slogan, are invited to join. Our local list of endorsers is in formation, beginning with World Can't Wait, ANSWER Coalition, Unitarian Universalists for Peace, the Al-Awda Palestine Right of Return Coalition, and Code Pink.

Your participation, endorsement and support are urgently needed.

Sign up at

Spread the word at


A symposium sponsored by the Oakland Citizens' Police Review Board
Oakland City Hall, City Council Chambers, 1 Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza

The forum will focus on issues of planning and strategy, OPD's
response to issues of misconduct, OPD's policies on mutual aid, and
changes in department practice going forward.

*The Oscar Grant Committee meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at the
Niebyl Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph (near Alcatraz) in Oakland at 7:00
p.m. Call us at 510-239-3570 and visit us at *





#F29 - Occupy Portland National Call To Action To
Shut Down the Corporations FEBRUARY 29, 2012
by OccupyWallSt

via Occupy Portland & Portland Action Lab:

"Occupy Portland calls for a day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society's obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations. We are rejecting a society that does not allow us control of our future. We will reclaim our ability to shape our world in a democratic, cooperative, just and sustainable direction.

We call on the Occupy Movement and everyone seeking freedom and justice to join us in this day of action.

There has been a theft by the 1% of our democratic ability to shape and form the society in which we live and our society is steered toward the destructive pursuit of consumption, profit and greed at the expense of all else.

We call on people to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people. They used it to create the anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona among so many others. They use ALEC to spread these corporate laws around the country.

In doing this we begin to recreate our democracy. In doing this we begin to create a society that is organized to meet human needs and sustain life.

On February 29th, we will reclaim our future from the 1%. We will shut down the corporations and recreate our democracy.

Join us! Leap into action! Reclaim our future! Shut down the corporations!

*This action received unanimous consensus from the Portland General Assembly on Sunday January 1st, 2012."


Occupy St.Patrick's Day!

Once again the San Francisco Bay Area comrades of the International Republican Socialist Network are reaching out to socialists, syndicalists, anarchists, and Irish, Scottish, and Welsh republicans to join them in marching in this year's San Francisco St. Patrick's Parade.

For the first time in the nearly three decades that local comrades have marched in the parade under the auspices of the H-Block/Armagh Committees, Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America, and the International Republican Socialist Network the parade will actually take place on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday, March 17th.

As usual, the parade will begin at Market and Second Streets and our assembly point will no doubt be somewhere on Second Street and the time will be approximately 10:30, though details are not yet known.

As has been the case for many years, the IRSN will have a decorated truck--this year dedicated to the proud history of Irish Republican Socialism--but that entry will be joined by the Anti-Imperialist Contingent, composed of revolutionaries from many different organizations, united by their opposition to both British and American imperialism and their support for an independent, 32-country Irish socialist republic.

Participants in the Anti-Imperialist Contingent are welcome to bring their own identifying banners, as well as to join in carrying IRSC-supplied banners, raising slogans in opposition to imperialism and in support of the struggle for socialism in Ireland. The IRSN appreciates it when comrades who will be joining in march with the Anti-Imperialist Contingent let us know of their intent to do so in advance, as it helps us to better plan the organization of the contingent; the earlier you are able to do so, the more we appreciate it. For additional information, or to notify us of you or your organization's participation, please e-mail:

As has long been our tradition, the IRSN will be welcoming all those who join us in marching in this year's parade to join in a post-parade party, featuring the very traditional combination of nachos and Margaritas (well, traditional for us anyway).

So mark your calendars and get your marching shoes ready, and come and join the International Republican Socialist Network in once again ensuring that St. Patrick's Day in the San Francisco Bay Area has a proudly visible representation of the Irish Republican Socialist tradition.

Only you can prevent the St. Patrick's Day Parade from becoming a green beer, ROTC, and Hooters-dominated event!

Come out to show your solidarity with the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland and to help reclaim the revolutionary tradition of St. Patrick's Day in the US.


(please forward widely)

Register Now! Extremely Reasonable Air Fare & Hotel Rooms Now Available!

United National Antiwar Coalition National Conference

March 23-25, 2012 at the Stamford CT Hilton (one stop from Harlem/125th St. on Metro North commuter line)

Say No to the NATO/G8 Wars & Poverty Agenda

A Conference to Challenge the Wars of the 1% Against the 99% at Home and Abroad

The U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the G-8 world economic powers will meet in Chicago, May 19-22, to plan their financial and military strategies for the coming period. These elites, who serve the 1% at home and abroad, impose austerity--often by the use of drones, armies, and the police--on the 99% to expand their profits.

Join activists from the antiwar, occupy, environmental, immigrant rights, labor, and other movements at a conference from March 23-25, 2012 to learn more, to plan a May 19 "No to NATO/G8" demonstration in Chicago, and to democratically develop a program of action for the months to follow.

Special guest speakers include:

-Xiomara de Zelaya is currently a presidential candidate in Honduras and the partner of Manuel de Zelaya, the former president displaced by a U.S.-backed coup in 2009.

-Bill McKibben is the founder of the grassroots global warming group and the architect of the successful campaign to defeat the XL pipeline.

-Glen Ford is the executive editor of Black Agenda Report, a ground breaking site that covers U.S. wars abroad and wars at home from the perspective of the African American community.

-Richard Wolff is the author Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It

-Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is the founder of the Muslim Peace Coalition

-Vijay Prashad is the author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World

-Andrew Murray is a member of the UK Trades Union Congress General Council and head of UK Stop the War coalition from 2001-2011

-Col. Ann Wright was a central Gaza Boat organizer and the editor of Dissent: Voices of Conscience

-Medea Benjamin is the founder of Code Pink

--Jared Ball is the author of I Mix What I Like.

-Clarence Thomas is an Oakland ILWU activist with Longview WA Longshore fight

-Scott Olsen is an Iraq war veteran and Occupy victim of Oakland police violence

-David Swanson is author and editor of War is a

-Pat Hunt is a founding member of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 Wars & Poverty Agenda

--Fignole St. Cyr is a leader of the Haitian Autonomous Workers Confederation

How to Register?-Where to Stay?-Transportation?-Submitting Resolutions?

Visit and click on UNAC conference.

Email: Phone: 518- 227-6947.
Send donations to: or to use a credit card, go here:


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


Occupy Oakland Call for Participation in a May 1, 2012
Global General Strike

Occupy Oakland decides to participate in the Global General Strike on May Day!!!

Posted January 30, by ragtag

Categories: Front Page, GA Resolutions, Notice

The Occupy Oakland General Assembly passed the proposal today!

Occupy Oakland Call for Participation in a May 1, 2012
Global General Strike

The general strike is back, retooled for an era of deep budget cuts, extreme anti-immigrant racism, and massive predatory financial speculation. In 2011, the number of unionized workers in the US stood at 11.8%, or approximately 14.8 million people.

What these figures leave out are the growing millions of people in this country who are unemployed and underemployed. The numbers leave out the undocumented, and domestic and manual workers drawn largely from immigrant communities. The numbers leave out workers whose workplace is the home and a whole invisible economy of unwaged reproductive labor. The numbers leave out students who have taken on nearly $1 trillion dollars in debt, and typically work multiple jobs, in order to afford skyrocketing college tuition. The numbers leave out the huge percentage of black Americans that are locked up in prisons or locked out of stable or secure employment because of our racist society.

In December of 2011,Oakland's official unemployment rate was a devastating 14.1%. As cities like Oakland are ground into the dust by austerity, every last public dollar will be fed to corrupt, militarized police departments in order to contain social unrest. On November 2 of last year, Occupy Oakland carried out the first general strike in the US since the 1946 Oakland general strike,shutting down the center of the city and blockading the Port of Oakland. We must re-imagine a general strike for an age where most workers do not belong to labor unions, and where most of us are fighting for the privilege to work rather than for marginal improvements in working conditions. We must take the struggle into the streets, schools, and offices of corrupt local city governments. A re-imagined general strike means finding immediate solutions for communities impacted by budget cuts and constant police harassment beyond changing government representatives. Occupy Oakland calls for and will participate in a new direction for the Occupy movement based on the recognition that we must not only find new ways to provide for our needs beyond thestate we must also attack the institutions that lock us into an increasingly miserable life of exploitation, debt, and deepening poverty everywhere.

May Day is an international holiday that commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, when Chicago police defending, as always, the interests of the 1% attacked and murdered workers participating in a general strike and demanding an 8-hour workday. In the 21st century, despite what politicians tell us, class war is alive and well against workers (rank-and-file and non-unionized), students, people of color, un- and underemployed, immigrants, homeless, women, queer/trans folks, prisoners. Instead of finding common ground with monsters, it's time we fight them. And it's time we make fighting back an everyday reality in the Bay Area and beyond.

On May Day 2012, Occupy Oakland will join with people from all walks of life in all parts of the world around the world in a global general strike to shut down the global circulation of capital that every day serves to enrich the ruling classes and impoverish the rest of us. There will be no victory but that which we make for ourselves, reclaiming the means of existence from which we have been and continue to be dispossessed every day.



Occupy the PGA in Benton Harbor, MI May 23-27, 2012

A personal invitation from the President of the NAACP , Benton Harbor

It is our distinct honor and privilege to invite you on behalf of the
NAACP-BH , the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO)
and Stop The Take Over in Benton Harbor, Michigan to an event
scheduled for May 23-27, 2012 .

Occupy the PGA
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Senior PGA Golf Tournament

We are committed to escalating the Occupy Movement to support human
rights in housing in addition to the push back against bailouts for
fraudulent banks. They are stealing our homes and lives. Democracy is
non-existent here in Benton Harbor. Joseph Harris, the Emergency
Manager must go! With pride, he called himself a "dictator."

The PGA will be played on a $750 million dollar, 530-acre resort near
the lakeshore with $500,000 condominiums. We can not forget the three
golf holes inside Jean Klock Park that were taken from the Benton
Harbor residents.

If your schedule does not permit your attendance on May 26, 2012,
alternative action dates are May 23-25, 2012. Please let me know if
you can accept the invitation to participate in Occupy the PGA. We
eagerly await your response. If you have any questions or concerns,
feel free to contact me directly at (269-925-0001). Allow me to thank
you in advance.We the residents of Benton Harbor love you!

& Stop The Take Over
Benton Harbor
Rev. Edward Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI


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


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
February 1, 2012, 10:56 am


Save the Rich by Garfunkel and Oates

Riki "Garfunkel" Lindhome and Kate "Oates" Micucci sing about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Shot by Raul Fernandez.


Everyone knows these times are really tough
And we need to band together say we've had enough
All the jobless people need to learn to be content
Cause what we need to do is protect our one percent

Save the rich
Let them know you care
Don't leave to languish
In their penthouse of despair

Save the rich
Let their bonuses be swollen
And let them keep it all tax free
Even if it's stolen

Save the rich

Let's give our job creators
More than their fare share
So they can go to Asia
And create jobs over there

There's loopholes and exemptions
And children to exploit
So give them special tax breaks
Go fuck yourself Detroit

And those who don't create jobs
Really need help too
Cause without their 7th home
How will they make it through

It's not time for complaining
Not the time for class war
It's time sacrifice yourself
To give them more and more and more
And more and more and more

Save the rich
America's built on corporate greed
It's not Wall Street's fault
If you can't get what you need

Save the rich
Don't go crying to mommy
Cause if you don't agree
Than you're socialist commie

Save the rich

Blame yourself for your problems
Not the bad economy
So what if those who have the most
Are the ones who put it in jeopardy

Fuck your student loans
Fuck your kids and their health care
It'll only take 10,000 of your jobs
To put another private jet in the air

Save the rich
It's so easy to do
Just let yourself be ignorant
To what's been done to you

Save the rich
By doing nothing at all
Deny all sense and logic
And just think really small
You should think really small
Or just don't think at all
And save the rich


On Obama's SOTU:GM is a Terrible Model for US Manufacturing
Frank Hammer: GM was rebuilt by lowering wages and banning the right to strike

More at The Real News


Defending The People's Mic
by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street
The North Star
January 20, 2012
Grand Central Terminal Arrests - MIRROR
Two protesters mic check about the loss of freedom brought about by the passage of the NDAA and both are promptly arrested and whisked out of public sight.


"Welcome to Chicago! You're under arrest!"

"Under the new ordinance: Every sign has to be described in particularity on the parade permit. ...If there are signs not on the parade permit, police can issue an ordinance violation. What does that ordinance violation allow? It allows for every sign, the organizer ... can face $1000.00 fine--that's for every un-permitted sign--plus up to ten days in jail...."

Chicago City Hall Press Conference Against NATO/G8 Ordinance


An impressive coalition of organizations -- unions, anti-war, human rights, churches and neighborhood groups -- held a press conference today (Jan. 17, 2012) at Chicago's City Hall. They were protesting the proposed new ordinances against demonstrations targeting the upcoming spring NATO/G8 meetings here, but now possibly to become permanent laws. The press conference took place right before two key City Council committees were to meet to consider whether to endorse the proposed new ordinances, prior to their going to a vote before the full City Council tomorrow. In this excerpt from the press conference, speakers include Eric Ruder, Coalition Against NATO/G8's War & Poverty Agenda; Erek Slater, ATU 241 member speaking for ATU International Vice Presidents; Talisa Hardin, National Nurses United; Wayne Lindwal, SEIU 73 Chicago Division Director; Jesse Sharkey, Vice President, Chicago Teachers Union.

For more info on fight against ordinance: (


This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!
Michelle Alexander, Author of The New Jim Crow, speaks about the political strategy behind the War on Drugs and its connection to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people in the United States.

If you think Bill Clinton was "the first black President" you need to watch this video and see how much damage his administration caused for the black community as a result of his get tough attitude on crime that appealed to white swing voters.

This speech took place at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on January 12, 2012.


NATO, G8 In Chicago: More Details Released, City Grants First Protest Permit
January 12, 2012


Release Bradley Manning
Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)
Written by Graham Nash and James Raymond (son of David Crosby)

Locked up in a white room, underneath a glaring light
Every 5 minutes, they're asking me if I'm alright
Locked up in a white room naked as the day I was born
24 bright light, 24 all alone

What I did was show some truth to the working man
What I did was blow the whistle and the games began

Tell the truth and it will set you free
That's what they taught me as a child
But I can't be silent after all I've seen and done
24 bright light I'm almost gone, almost gone

Locked up in a white room, dying to communicate
Trying to hang in there underneath a crushing wait
Locked up in a white room I'm always facing time
24 bright light, 24 down the line

What I did was show some truth to the working man
What I did was blow the whistle and the games began

But I did my duty to my country first
That's what they taught me as a man
But I can't be silent after all I've seen and done
24 bright light I'm almost gone, almost gone
(Treat me like a human, Treat me like a man )

Read more on Nash's blog -


FREEDOM ROAD - A Tribute to Mumia sung by Renn Lee


(written by Samuel Légitimus- adapted in english, sung and arranged by Paris-Sydney)

They've taken all you had away
And what's left, still they can't bend
To find you guilty was their way
Yet here I am and you're my friend.

Your writing's proof enough for me, Mumia,
You place honor and law
Above all, till the end.

Thirty years gone by
On death row, we never knew
Anything of the weight
You had to carry while you grew.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.


Like Jimmy (1) and Bob (2) you've lived to see the light:
Believing that all men
Can stand up for their rights.

Accusing you of crime
From behind their scales they hide
It makes them scared deep down inside
To know that truth is on your side.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no,
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.


Those thirty years gone by
On death row, we never knew
Anything of the weight
You had to carry while you grew.

We've named a street for you, Mumia
A lovely rue in Saint-Denis
By joining hands we're showing you
Proof of our strength and peace.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no,
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.X2

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no
We won't let them ever win
Won't let them block you from getting in,
Into your home on Freedom Road.

But they won't get you no Mumia,
We will win, we'll never bend
For thirty years you've shown us all
Just how to fight until the end.


School police increasingly arresting American students?

Uploaded by RTAmerica on Dec 29, 2011

A new study shows that by age 23, 41 percent of young Americans were arrested from the years 1997-2008. The survey questioned 7,000 people but didn't disclose the crimes committed. Many believe the arrests are related to the increase of police presence in schools across America. Amanda Petteruti from the Justice Policy Institute joins us to examine these numbers.


"The mine owners did not find the gold, they did not mine the gold, they did not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belonged to them!" -- Big Bill Haywood


1293. Big Coal Don't Like This Man At All (Original) - with Marco Acca on guitar

This song is a tribute to Charles Scott Howard, from Southeastern Kentucky, a tireless fighter for miners' rights, especially with regard to safety, and to his lawyer, Tony Oppegard, who sent me this newspaper article on which I based the song:

The melody is partly based on a tune used by Woody Guthrie, who wrote many songs in support of working men, including miners.

My thanks to Marco Acca for his great guitar accompaniment at very short notice (less than an hour).

To see the complete lyrics and chords please click here:

You can see a playlist of my mining songs here:

You can hear a playlist of my original songs (in alphabetical order) here:

For lyrics and chords of all my songs, please see my website:


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:

We working people--employed, unemployed, partially employed or retired--can't get any economic justice by voting for the One Percent! We need to occupy the elections with our own candidates of, by and for working people! --Bonnie Weinstein

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!


We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools


This video begins with Professor of Education Pauline Lipman (University of Illinois-Chicago) briefly recapping the plans hatched a decade ago in Chicago to replace public schools with private charter schools. Then Chicago Public Schools head Arne Duncan implemented those plans (Renaissance 2010) so obediently that President Obama picked him to do the same thing to every school system in the country. So Chicago's growing uprising against these deepening attacks against public education has national importance. Here is a battalion of voices from the communities and the teachers union, all exposing the constantly changing, Kafkaesque rules for evaluating school turn-arounds and closings. The counter-attack from the working people in the city is energized and spreading, and is on a collision course with the 1% who want to take away their children's futures. Includes comments from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, teachers and parents from targeted school communities. Length - 24:40


The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Documentary Footage (1963)


In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 44-Day Flint Michigan sit-down strike at GM that began December 30, 1936:

According to Michael Moore, (Although he has done some good things, this clip isn't one of them) in this clip from his film, "Capitalism a Love Story," it was Roosevelt who saved the day!):

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story' - Flint Sit-Down Strike

But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the strike was really won!

'With babies & banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike


Busby: Fukushima 'criminal event' calls for investigation
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Dec 27, 2011!

A newly released report on the Fukushima nuclear crisis says it was down to the plant's operators being ill-prepared and not responding properly to the earthquake and tsunami disaster. A major government inquiry said some engineers abandoned the plant as the trouble started and other staff delayed reporting significant radiation leaks. Professor Christopher Busby, scientific secretary to the European Committee on Radiation Risks, says health damage after contamination will be more serious than Japan announced.


HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




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




Mumia Abu-Jamal Transferred Out of Solitary Confinement, Into General Population
Posted on January 27, 2012

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections tells Democracy Now! it has transferred Mumia Abu-Jamal out of solitary confinement and into general population. The move comes seven weeks after Philadelphia prosecutor Seth Williams announced he would not pursue the death penalty against the imprisoned journalist. Abu-Jamal's legal team confirmed the move in an email from attorney, Judy Ritter. "This is a very important moment for him, his family and all of his supporters," Ritter wrote.

Supporters of Abu-Jamal note prison officials just received more than 5,000 petitions calling for his transfer and release. Superintendent John Kerestes has previously said Abu-Jamal would have to cut short his dreadlocks, and meet several other conditions, before a transfer would be allowed.

While on death row at SCI Green, Abu-Jamal made regular phone calls to Prison Radio in order to record his columns and essays, but prison officials revoked his phone privileges after he was moved to SCI Mahanoy, the Frackville, PA prison in which he's currently being held. Prison Radio has since announced it will continue to record and distribute Abu-Jamal's essays as read by his well-known supporters.

Write to Mumia

Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932



He signed it. We'll fight it.

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. It contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision.

The dangerous new law can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. He signed it. Now, we have to fight it wherever we can and for as long as it takes.

Sign the ACLU's pledge to fight worldwide indefinite detention for as long as it takes.

The Petition:

I'm outraged that the statute President Obama signed into law authorizes worldwide military detention without charge or trial. I pledge to stand with the ACLU in seeking the reversal of indefinite military detention authority for as long as it takes.

And I will support the ACLU as it actively opposes this new law in court, in Congress, and internationally.

[your name]


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


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:




Hundreds march, rally at Fort Meade for Bradley

Courage to Resist, January 5, 2012

December 16-22, the world turned its eyes to a small courtroom on Fort Meade, MD, where accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army PFC Bradley Manning made his first public appearance after 18 months in pre-trial confinement. The "Article 32" pre-trial hearing is normally a quick process shortly after one is arrested to determine whether and what kind of court martial is appropriate. Bradley's hearing was unusual, happening 18 months after his arrest and lasting seven days.

Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network organized two public rallies at Fort Meade to coincide with the beginning of the hearing, and there were about 50 solidarity rallies across the globe. We also sent representatives into the courtroom during all seven days of the hearing to provide minute-by-minute coverage via, Facebook, and Twitter.

"No harm in transparency: Wrap-up from the Bradley Manning pretrial hearing" includes our collection of courtroom notes
"Statement on closed hearing decisions" covers how even this hearing was far from "open"

Article and photos by John Grant
A message from Bradley and his family

"I want you to know how much Bradley and his family appreciate the continuing support of so many, especially during the recent Article 32 hearing. I visited Bradley the day after Christmas-he is doing well and his spirits are high."
-Bradley's Aunt Debra

Write to Bradley

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
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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


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) Food Crisis as Drought and Cold Hit Mexico
January 30, 2012

2) Civilian Deaths Due to Drones Are Not Many, Obama Says
January 30, 2012

3) A Touch During Recess, and Reaction Is Swift
January 16 2012

4) Boy, 6, accused of sexual assault on classmate during playground game of tag
By Katie Silver
Last updated at 3:13 AM on 29th January 2012

5) Occupy D.C. Protesters Stay Put as Evacuation Deadline Passes
January 30, 2012

6) Illinois: Reactor Is Shut After Power Loss
January 30, 2012

7) WikiLeaks Founder Appeals Extradition at Britain's Supreme Court
February 1, 2012

8) More Woes for Officials at Mortuary for Military
January 31, 2012

9) After Workers Are Fired, an Immigration Debate Roils California Campus
February 1, 2012

10) Cancer Group Halts Financing to Planned Parenthood
January 31, 2012

11) Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
February 1, 2012, 10:56 am

12) Occupiers' 'Think Tank' Soldiers On, Nonconfrontationally
February 1, 2012, 6:56 am

13) Chicago U.S. Attorney office confirms 'investigation is continuing' against anti-war, international solidarity activists
Holy Land Foundation prosecutor now working on case
By Mick Kelly |
January 31, 2012

14) Do-It-Yourself Deportation
February 1, 2012

15) Indiana Governor Signs a Law Creating a 'Right to Work' State
February 1, 2012

16) 'Gasland' Filmmaker Arrested at Capitol Hearing
February 1, 2012, 2:08 pm

17) Behind Charges of Police Bias, Dozens of Latinos Who Spoke Up
February 2, 2012


1) Food Crisis as Drought and Cold Hit Mexico
January 30, 2012

MEXICO CITY - A drought that a government official called the most severe Mexico had ever faced has left two million people without access to water and, coupled with a cold snap, has devastated cropland in nearly half of the country.

The government in the past week has authorized $2.63 billion in aid, including potable water, food and temporary jobs for the most affected areas, rural communities in 19 of Mexico's 31 states. But officials warned that no serious relief was expected for at least another five months, when the rainy season typically begins in earnest.

While the authorities say they expect the situation to worsen, one of the five worst-affected states, Zacatecas, got a reprieve on Sunday. Heriberto Félix Guerra, head of the Ministry of Social Development, saw the rain, the first in 17 months, as a guardedly reassuring sign.

Among the more seriously affected communities are tribal areas of the Tarahumara indigenous community in the Sierra Madre, in the north. Known for endurance running and self-reliance, the Tarahumara are among Mexico's poorest citizens. When false reports of a mass suicide brought on by hunger surfaced recently, journalists and aid organizations poured in to shed light on the situation.

"I think it has really become extreme poverty," says Isaac Oxenhaut, national aid coordinator for the Mexican Red Cross. Mr. Oxenhaut recently visited the Indian communities where, he said, the land was too dry to grow any crops the Tarahumara usually depend on for their livelihood. "They don't have anywhere to harvest absolutely anything," he added.

Nearly 7 percent of the country's agricultural land, mostly in the north and center, has suffered total loss, according to Victor Celaya del Toro, director of development studies at the Agriculture Ministry.

The drought, which has been compounded by freezing temperatures, has already pushed up the cost of some produce, including corn and beans. The governor of the Central Bank, Agustín Carstens, speaking last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, cautioned that it might cause inflation to rise later this year.

But government officials have said they do not expect the price of exports to be affected.

Some of the most devastated areas are hard to reach, slowing the flow of aid to a trickle. The Red Cross is sending 70-pound sacks of rice, beans and sugar, as well as winter clothing.

"A cargo bus will not fit," Mr. Oxenhaut said. "You have to do it with four-wheel drives or donkeys, or the people who take it on their backs."

Even illicit crops have suffered in the drought. Pedro Gurrola, army commander in the state of Sinaloa, told reporters on Monday that many marijuana crops had dried up but that the harvest of what remains has continued.


2) Civilian Deaths Due to Drones Are Not Many, Obama Says
January 30, 2012

WASHINGTON - President Obama on Monday defended the use of drones to strike suspected terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere, saying the clandestine program was "kept on a very tight leash" and enabled the United States to use "pinpoint" targeting to avoid more intrusive military action.

Mr. Obama, in an unusually candid public discussion of the Central Intelligence Agency's covert program, said the drone strikes had not inflicted huge civilian casualties. "We are very careful in terms of how it's been applied," he said. "It is important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash."

The president made the remarks in answer to questions posed by people during a live Web interview sponsored by Google Plus, the social media site of Google. He also spoke about the economy, laughed at a comedian's impersonation of him, and declined a woman's request to sing or do a dance.

The subject of drones came up when a viewer asked Mr. Obama about a report in The New York Times on Monday about the State Department's use of drones for surveillance purposes to protect its diplomatic installations in Iraq. Mr. Obama confirmed their use for surveillance, but said he thought the article was "a little overwritten." He added that drones were a key part of the country's offensive against Al Qaeda.

The C.I.A.'s drone program, unlike the use of armed unmanned aircraft by the military in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq, is a covert program, traditionally one of the government's most carefully-guarded secrets. But because of intense public interest - the explosions cannot be hidden entirely - American officials have been willing to discuss the program on condition of anonymity.

Until Monday, Mr. Obama, who has overseen a dramatic expansion of the use of drones in Pakistan and on a smaller scale in Yemen and Somalia, had spoken only indirectly about the program. For example, after a C.I.A. drone strike in September killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Qaeda propagandist hiding in Yemen, Mr. Obama never mentioned the agency, its unmanned aircraft or the missiles they fired.

Instead, speaking at a Virginia military base, he said Mr. Awlaki "was killed" in what he said was "a tribute to our intelligence community." The secrecy has prevented an open debate on legal and ethical questions surrounding the strikes, since neither intelligence officials nor members of Congress can speak openly about them.

Scott Shane contributed reporting.


3) A Touch During Recess, and Reaction Is Swift
January 16 2012

It started as schoolyard roughhousing during recess, with one boy's hand allegedly touching the upper thigh, or perhaps the groin, of another. There were no reported witnesses, and it remains unclear if anyone complained, but the principal immediately suspended the student, placing the incident on the boy's record as a case of "sexual assault." The children involved were first graders - the purported assailant just 6.

"It's really overzealous," Levina Subrata, the accused boy's mother (they do not share the same last name), said of the incident last month at Lupine Hills Elementary, a public school in Hercules. "They were playing tag. There's no intent to do any sort of sexual assault."

The school's principal, Cynthia Taylor, did not respond to an interview request. Marin Trujillo, a spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, which includes Hercules, said officials were barred from speaking about student and personnel matters. However, he added, "We must take any allegation of assault involving a child very seriously."

Ms. Subrata provided a copy of the suspension notice, which shows what appears to be the principal's signature and the conclusion: "Committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault or sexual battery."

That such adult criminal intent was applied to a matter involving young children has caused a stir in this tidy East Bay suburb, a place so orderly that traffic signals halt every car at every light.

Ms. Subrata, fearful that being branded with a sex offense could ruin her son's future, sought advice via the Berkeley Parents Network, a popular online forum for area families. An avalanche of vitriol followed.

"That principal and school is so insanely out of line," said one comment. "This kind of thing makes me livid," said another. Other parents said their children had faced similar trouble, including one suspended for "hugging."

Experts said such incidents are not isolated, but rather part of an emerging national trend. A similar case caused a sensation in Boston in November when a 7-year-old faced sexual harassment charges for kicking another boy his age in the groin during a fight.

Due to heightened concerns over bullying in recent years - spurred by a public awareness campaign following several child suicides - school administrators now feel pressure to act boldly in cases where students might face harassment.

Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy institute, said the antibullying efforts are well intentioned, but, "the policies being adopted set forth pretty strong rules regarding categories of behavior," he said. "This means there's less room, and more risk, for principals who would make sensible accommodations based on student age and the circumstances in question."

Indeed, calling a matter "sexual" when a first-grader is involved seems at odds with California statutes that indicate that such intent can only be applied to children who are in fourth grade or older.

Stuart Lustig, a board-certified child psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, said that in general it is quite common, normal even, for young children to touch each other's genital areas. "It's curiosity," he said. "It's not sexual in the adult sense."

Dr. Lustig added that it would only become a concern if a young child does not stop when told the behavior is inappropriate. However, he said he had heard of cases where schools have acted immediately to discipline youngsters, even over a single schoolyard kiss. "Schools can sometimes respond very strongly because of the legal environment," he said.

Mr. Hess predicted that questionable actions by schools in such cases would soon become a significant education concern. "We're putting educators in an untenable position," he said. "They're being asked to squelch out every iota of bad behavior, but without overreacting or stomping on childhood."

Ms. Subrata, the Hercules mother, hired a lawyer and threatened legal action against the school district, demanding that her son be moved to a different school, that his record be expunged and that the principal be disciplined.

The district would not say if any action had been taken, but Ms. Subrata said she has been assured that her son's records have now been cleared of any wrongdoing. And he was recently transferred to a new elementary school where he's adjusting to the change, although he is a bit confused by all the fuss.

"He doesn't know what he did wrong," Ms. Subrata said. "I mean, he had just received an award from the school for being a good citizen."

Scott James is an Emmy-winning television journalist and novelist who lives in San Francisco.


4) Boy, 6, accused of sexual assault on classmate during playground game of tag
By Katie Silver
Last updated at 3:13 AM on 29th January 2012

In a move that has attracted outrage from many local parents, an overzealous principal has accused a six-year-old of sexual assault.

Levina Subrata's son was playing tag in his Californian school playground when he was accused of touching his best friend's upper thigh and groin.

The youngster was taken to Principal Cynthia Taylor's office where, after being held for two hours, he confessed to the touch and was charged with sexual battery.

The child's father Oswin (who will not disclose his surname) remembers the phone call from Lupine Hills Elementary School.

He was told: 'We have a serious situation. Your child is being detained for sexual assault.'

Despite there being no witnesses to the alleged sexual assault Ms. Subrata received a suspension notice that stated her son had 'committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault.'

Ms. Subrata then sought advice from a lawyer who said that you couldn't even charge a child as young as six in California with sexual assault.

In fact, according to Californian law, intent only exists if the child is in the fourth grade or older.

'It's really overzealous,' she said.

The principal then tried to reduce the charge from sexual battery.

This was 'unacceptable,' said Oswin.

While Ms Taylor refused to comment, Marin Trujillo spokesman for the West Contra Costa School District said in a statement:

'There was an investigation about that incident... under education code we cannot charge a child with sexual battery.

'The record of that child was corrected.

'We must take any allegation of assault involving a child very seriously.'

Levin Subrata defends her child: 'They were playing tag. There's no intent to do any sort of sexual assault.'

The boy now attends another school and is quite confused and distressed by the whole incident:

'He doesn't know what he did wrong,' Ms Subrata told the New York Times.

'I mean, he had just received an award from the school for being a good citizen.'


5) Occupy D.C. Protesters Stay Put as Evacuation Deadline Passes
January 30, 2012

WASHINGTON - Demonstrators affiliated with the Occupy movement maintained a wary vigil here on Monday as a deadline from the National Park Service for campers to remove their gear or depart from two downtown parks came and went.

As the noon deadline neared, chanting protesters in McPherson Square dragged an enormous blue tarp emblazoned with "Tent of Dreams" over a statue of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson at the park's center. His head and shoulders poked through the apex, along with the ears of the horse he was astride. The tarp covered existing tents encircling the statue.

"Some individuals will stay, and some will go, but those who decide to stay - which are a lot of people - we have the right to be here, " said Michael Patterson, 21, of Anchorage.

Despite the deadline, there was no immediate effort by the police to clamp down on the campers during daylight hours. Only a few patrol officers watched from the outskirts of the park, where the enforcement deadline had been posted in recent days. At a nearby encampment, Freedom Plaza, police kept a low profile as well. There were no confrontations during the day; instead, many demonstrators removed their camping equipment and unzipped their tents for police to inspect.

The scene stood in marked contrast to a violent confrontation 3,000 miles away over the weekend when 400 Occupy protesters in Oakland, Calif., were arrested after tearing down construction barricades. As of Monday afternoon, about 100 protesters remained in custody, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, and 42 were set to be released by the end of the day. The other 58 protesters are being held on more serious misdemeanor or felony charges.

Oakland protesters and city officials blamed each other for the weekend's violence, which left three officers and at least two protesters injured. Mayor Jean Quan referred to the vandalism at City Hall, where a case containing a model of Frank H. Ogawa Plaza was destroyed and a flag was burned outside, as "like a tantrum." Members of the Occupy movement, in turn, denounced the actions of the police and said the focus on the damage to City Hall was misplaced.

"I don't think that Mayor Quan is weighing the big picture - the small amount of destruction caused by these autonomous people that may or may not be part of Occupy Oakland, versus the kind of destruction against the environment, working people and poor people," said Wendy Kenin, 40, a spokeswoman for Occupy Oakland.

Until recently, the park service has largely taken a hands-off approach to the Washington camps. There is a long-established right for protesters to hold vigils in federal parks, including long-term ones if there is no camping, which it defines as using park land for sleeping and storing personal possessions.

But the agency has increasingly come under criticism for allowing legal vigils to turn into permanent camp sites that are not permitted under the law. Pressure on the park service has increased as conditions have deteriorated, including a rat infestation in McPherson Square and the discovery of an apparently abandoned infant in a tent.

On Jan. 12, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, a Democrat, wrote to the park service director, Jonathan B. Jarvis, conveying "serious concerns" about health and safety problems.

Last week, a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing at which Republicans questioned the park service over allowing camping to continue.

"We were under the apparent misapprehension that camping was illegal in McPherson Square, and we look forward to hearing the National Park Service explain the different between camping and a 24-hour vigil, especially when that 24-hour vigil lasts several months," said Representative Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who is chairman of the subcommittee.

Erica Goode contributed reporting from Oakland, Calif.


6) Illinois: Reactor Is Shut After Power Loss
January 30, 2012

A nuclear reactor at a northern Illinois plant shut down Monday after losing power, and steam was being vented to reduce pressure, according to officials from Exelon Nuclear and federal regulators. Unit 2 at Byron Generating Station shut down about 10:20 a.m., after losing power from an off-site source, Exelon officials said. Diesel generators began supplying power to the plant equipment and operators began releasing steam from the nonnuclear side of the plant to help cool the reactor, officials said. The steam contains low levels of radioactive tritium, but the levels are safe for workers and the public, federal and plant officials said. An Exelon spokesman said the company did not yet know the reason for the power loss.


7) "The House I Live In": New Documentary Exposes Economic, Moral Failure of U.S. War on Drugs
Eugene Jarecki, director of The House I Live In, a new film about the so-called "war on drugs" that won the 2012 Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.
Nannie Jeter, helped raise Eugene Jarecki, and one of the people featured in his new documentary, The House I Live In.
January 30, 2012

This weekend the top documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival went to "The House I Live In," which questions why the United States has spent more than $1 trillion on drug arrests in the past 40 years, and yet drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever. The film examines the economic, as well as the moral and practical, failures of the so-called "war on drugs" and calls on the United States to approach drug abuse not as a "war," but as a matter of public health. We need "a very changed dialogue in this country that understands drugs as a public health concern and not a criminal justice concern," says the film's director, Eugene Jarecki. "That means the system has to say, 'We were wrong.'" We also speak with Nannie Jeter, who helped raise Jarecki as her own son succumbed to drug addiction and is highlighted in the film. We air clips from the film, featuring Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow"; Canadian physician and bestselling author, Gabor Maté; and David Simon, creator of "The Wire."

AMY GOODMAN: As the Republican presidential candidates challenge President Obama with competing visions for how to improve the struggling U.S. economy, a new documentary questions the amount of money this country spends on the so-called "war on drugs." Over the last 40 years, more than 45 million drug-related arrests have cost an estimated $1 trillion. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever. The documentary is called The House I Live In. It examines the economic, as well as the moral and practical, failures of the war on drugs and calls on the U.S. to approach drug abuse not as a war, but as a matter of public health.

The House I Live In won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary this past weekend at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the largest independent film showcase in the country. Democracy Now! was there earlier in the week, and I spoke with the film's director, Eugene Jarecki, along with one of his main characters in the film, Nannie Jeter, about what inspired him to look at the war on drugs.

EUGENE JARECKI: The film is a movie which was very much inspired by Nannie Jeter, who's sitting with me. I grew up-I've known Nannie my whole life. Nannie worked with my family from the time I was a toddler and taught me a great deal about life and about the struggles of people in this country. And as I grew up, you know, I was very close with Nannie, and I was very close with members of her family, some of whom have come here to Sundance. And I grew up, and I've had a pretty privileged life. I've been able to become a filmmaker. I've met opportunity along the way. I've had a lot of positive experiences. And I noticed that young people in her family, who were growing up alongside me, were not having that kind of experience, and I wanted to know why.

I wanted to know why people I love and care about-I mean, I knew that we were all living in a post-civil-rights America. Nannie Jeter is African American. Her family is African American. But I thought that was all supposed to get better, and so I thought we were on a path all together, as I think a lot of people did. And yet, despite certain gains that African Americans have made, for the masses of black people in this country, it remains a pretty tough road to hoe. And I wanted to know what went wrong. And I began to learn that from Nannie, and that really sent me on a journey, because I started to ask her my first questions about what she thought had happened, even within her own family and community.

AMY GOODMAN: Nannie Jeter, this is a story about the so-called drug war in America?


AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your family in the context of that.

NANNIE JETER: Well, my son, which is deceased, his name is James Jeter, my youngest son. And he got on drugs when he was about 14. As he became more addicted to drugs, I couldn't control him, and I could not discipline him. And so many things would disappear from the house: clothes and rent money, food money, everything that you left in your house and you trust your kids with. And it was like a, like I said, genie. You would see it today, and at nighttime it wasn't there. And it was your last. And drug played that part in my life, that I became-I just hate anything to do with drugs, because it destroyed a family. And back in those days, you would be walking or taking the bus, and you would see someone else's son taking furniture out of their neighbor house or their own parents' house, selling it for this drug. And even back in those years, it still haven't changed. There are-of the same thing for drugs.

I have a great-niece that had four children, and she is addicted to drugs. And for a while, she'll go into rehab. And it still comes back to haunt her. It's like something that she can't get rid of. And that was the same thing with my son. And at the end, he just got so tired of drugs, and he had injected himself so much with drugs, it was in his-in his feet. Just, you can't even imagine the abuse, the suffering that people go through addicted to drugs. And it is a sad thing.

And our-this country, where we can go into other countries and try to straighten that out, and we can't even straighten out. And it's a black thing, and it's more prison to put young blacks in, all the blacks in, and there's nothing been done about it. If you can send someone to the moon and all of the things that we are doing in this country, you sure can eliminate the drugs that's coming. That's my faith and my belief. And even in our own-in New Haven, I remember back last year when a lot of white teenagers were being killed at 16 with their driving license. We had a government that changed the rules so that we wouldn't lose so many white teenagers. But it never was a rule-you don't even hear any politician mention drugs or anything, you know, and that's what really, really bother me an awful lot, that it destroyed people. It's no trust there.

And different relatives, you can't leave in your home. You have to lock up stuff. And stuff that you just bought and on credit and trying to pay for and live American-halfway-dream, it's being stolen. It's being stolen. And my son were-he would wait for the mailman. I had-my aunt was living. And he would wait 'til she would come to get mail, so he could get in the house and to take whatever that he could sell. And you beg, cry. You love. You love. You hate. It's nothing that you could do about it. And still, I have a niece that have a family that love her, and her kids now have reject her. She wants to get off drug. I do not believe that people do not want to get off drug. And you hear testimony of womens that is on drugs. It's something that our country can change. We can change everything else.

AMY GOODMAN: And I think that's really what this film is about. You have these facts and figures peppered throughout this film, Eugene. African Americans make up roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population, 14 percent of the drug users, yet they represent 56 percent of those incarcerated-


AMY GOODMAN: -for drug crimes.

EUGENE JARECKI: Have 90 percent in the federal system. So you have a 13 percent population. I mean, most people, for example, when they think of crack, they think, because that's what the media has told us, that crack is a black drug. The fact is, blacks don't use crack more than anybody else. And as a result, because blacks are only 13 percent of the country, they're 13 percent of the crack users. So the remaining crack users, i.e. the majority, are white and brown. That's something you would never even imagine, because that's not how the laws are applied, it's not how we hear about it.

AMY GOODMAN: Set up this clip for us around crack.

EUGENE JARECKI: Sure. Well, crack-you know, the crack phenomenon, which exploded in the 1980s, was built on a lie. Len Bias, the basketball player, had died of a heart issue related perhaps to cocaine. It was never even fully determined. And it was pretended at the time that it was crack. And Tip O'Neill and other Democrats, particularly, at that time wanted to appear tough on crime, like their Republican counterparts, and so they used Len Bias and other sort of "shock and awe" stories about crack to say there's this terrible new drug that is so destructive.

And I totally empathize that-with Nannie, about losses she has seen, that people have experienced, due to drugs. That's no question. But what you'll see in the clip is the way in which lies and propaganda by the U.S. government about drugs not only make-they make the problem worse, because they don't solve the problem that the drug may represent, which is a public health problem. Her son was a victim of a public health problem. What do you do about addictive drugs in the world? That's a question that's worth debating and worth figuring out the public health policies for. But instead what we'll see is, the way that Ronald Reagan and others of both parties have used these issues is to make it a criminal justice opportunity, a law opportunity.

CHILD: Don't take my mother, please!

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: When Reagan announced that he was planning to rev up the drug war, more than ever, it was political opportunity, because at the time drug crime was actually on the decline, not on the rise. Less than 2 percent of the American population even identifies drugs as the nation's top priority. But then, of course, they got lucky.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Crack cocaine.

DAN RATHER: Crack, the super-addictive and deadly cocaine concentrate.

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: Crack hit the streets, and suddenly there was a hysteria about this brand new demon-like form of cocaine.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: Today, there's a new epidemic: smokable cocaine, otherwise known as crack. It is an uncontrolled fire.

The American people want their government to get tough and to go on the offensive. That's exactly what we intend, with more ferocity than ever before.

POLICE OFFICER 1: Police, freeze!

POLICE OFFICER 2: Here is your crack.

MARK MAUER: It's inescapable that the image of the crack user at the time was a young black man, whether or not that was correct.

CARL HART: What we saw were images of black urbanites on TV smoking crack cocaine over and over and over. And then these incredible stories were being associated with crack cocaine, and they were taken as fact.

HAROLD DOW: The drug so powerful it will empty the money from your pockets, make you sell the watch off your wrist, the clothes off your back.

ROBERT STUTMAN: Or kill your mother. Yep, that's what we're seeing.

CARL HART: But if you go back to the 1920s and the '30s, this is what people were saying about marijuana.

FILM CLIP: Alvin takes that frying pan from the stove and kills his mother with it. Not a very nice thing to look at, but this is marijuana.

CARL HART: If you say that now in our society, people will look at you like you're crazy.

AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of the film, The House I Live In. It won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. We'll be back with the director, Eugene Jarecki, and Nannie Jeter, one of the subjects of his film, in a moment.


AMY GOODMAN: We return to my conversation about the so-called "war on drugs" with director Eugene Jarecki. His film, The House I Live In, won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary this past weekend at Sundance Film Festival. I spoke with Eugene, along with the woman who helped to raise him, one of the film's main characters, Nannie Jeter. I asked him about the costs of the drug war.

EUGENE JARECKI: You know, we've spent, in the years of the drug war-the drug war, as we know it today, started in 1971, when Richard Nixon called it a "drug war." We had had drug laws in this country going back to the 1800s, which we go into in the film a little bit. But it was Nixon who made it a war. And when you make something a war, what comes with that are all the problems that wars bring: profiteering, corruption, fear mongering, victims, aggressors, an industrial sector that emerges.

Just like the weapons business, what we discovered is there is a giant and sort of secret network of people in this country. It's not even that secret. It's just secret if you don't realize it's there. But there's this vast spectrum of people. You know, when you put a prison in a town, that prison needs food facilities, so somebody's got to make the food. And this isn't just about jobs. It's about companies that then service these institutions. You need laundry service. You need phone service. We went to a trade show, for example, where we saw, as if we were looking at people who were selling like plumbing hardware, people selling all the stuff you need to make a bigger, better, stronger, tougher prison.

AMY GOODMAN: Let's go to that trade show for just one minute.

RESTRAIN CHAIR SPOKESPERSON: This chair, in comparison to other types of restrain chairs, is the most humane, and it's not restrictive.

BERNARD KERIK: The war on drugs has to be a war at every level. It has to be a war on the streets of the cities. It has to be a war at the state level, and it has to be a war at the federal level. It's just like fighting the war on terrorism.

QURAN SALESPERSON: Before, in the prisons, I guess the only choice was, you could get a Torah or a Bible. Things have changed now.

Anybody want their free copy of the Quran?

RICHARD LAWRENCE MILLER: All sorts of people start to get a vested interest, a financial interest, in keeping the system going.

RESTRAIN CHAIR SPOKESPERSON: We're in the business of supplying Corrections with products. It's a growing market, prisons. There is a lot of prisoners in the United States.

CCA SPOKESPERSON: This company, CCA, we are the leader and the largest in the world, as far as private prisons and jails. We're highly rated in the stock market. It hones your ability to do it less expensively, because we have to earn a profit.

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: There's a whole range of corporations now deeply invested in the drug war and mass incarceration.

RICHARD LAWRENCE MILLER: And all these people are not trying to do anything wrong. They're trying to make society better. But their actions, combined together, become part of the thrust that makes the bad parts of the drug war more feasible and more practical.

DR GABOR MATÉ: The thing with the war on drugs is, and the question we have to ask is, not why is it a failure, but why, given that it seems to be a failure, why is it persisting? And I'm beginning to think maybe it's a success. What if it's a success by keeping police forces busy? What if it's a success by keeping private jails thriving? What if it's a success keeping a legal establishment justified in its self-generated activity? Maybe it's a success on different terms than the publicly stated ones.

AMY GOODMAN: You're watching a clip, listening to a clip, of The House I Live In. The filmmaker is Eugene Jarecki. A remarkable-even remarkable to see Bernard Kerik in this clip, who is the former police commissioner, as you have identified him, prisoner because of his own corruption.

EUGENE JARECKI: The strange thing about the war on drugs, and I think the thing I hope to get across most to people, is that the war on drugs is something that was made by this country. We made it. It's upon us. We have-you know, in our country, we've spent a trillion dollars on the war on drugs. It's had 45 million arrests in 30 years. It has not reduced the supply, demand, use, sale or purity or availability of drugs. So it's failed-there's no one anymore who stands by it, maybe other than Bernard Kerik. But there's almost no one I could get to tell me, "Yeah, this is a great idea." They all say it's a terrible idea, but how do you stop it at this point? How do you slow down something that is so immoral, so deeply misguided, but so powerful? And that's the big $64,000 question we're all trying to figure out. And by making the film, I'm hoping the public can get into that question in a more engaged way.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about some of the other figures in this documentary, The House I Live In.

EUGENE JARECKI: Of the numbers? Well, you know-

AMY GOODMAN: One of the people, I just want to say, who is quite compelling on how he describes this, because he has researched it for so long, is David Simon, who did The Wire.

EUGENE JARECKI: Sure, sure. Well, you know, after I spoke with Nannie initially about her own family experience with the drug war-her firsthand experience is of drugs. I mean, she's a kind person, so, fundamentally, she is-she feels pain about loved ones suffering from the most immediate thing she can see, which is drugs. But I even know, from her own reporting to me about her own life over time, that it's not just the drugs. It's that drugs then get made worse by our criminal justice practices, which have been proven to be racist, misguided, driven by the kind of propaganda that surrounds drugs.

And so, members of her family, over time, who had issues with drugs didn't meet the kind of-you know, she says, "You can put a man on the moon. Why can't you deal with this?" Well, the question is, where is the political will to deal with it? If you have a public health issue, and you instead treat it as a big opportunity to build the prisons and to have industrial interests benefit from that and politicians who can get elected saying, "I'm tough on crime," you end up creating a statistical mess on your hands, we're sure. We have more black men incarcerated today, in one form or another, than were enslaved at the end of slavery 10 years before the Civil War ended. That's a shocking statistic.

AMY GOODMAN: And the effects from housing.

EUGENE JARECKI: Think about that. Think about the effects on-


EUGENE JARECKI: If you go to jail, you come home, you-for the rest of your life, as Michelle Alexander says in the film, you have to sign that dreaded-you have to check that box, that dreaded question on a job application: "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" And that stays with you forever, and it affects everything. It affects whether you can live in public housing, whether you can get food stamps, whether you're eligible for any of the things that then help you find your life back, if you ever had a life to begin with. And so, then we see that we have the highest recidivism rates of any Western nation, apart from the fact that we're the large-world's largest jailer and the rest. And so, my mission, which started with her feelings about the people she loved, who I loved, through her, became a study of why it hasn't been more morally and decently and honorably approached as a public concern.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see this, Ms. Jeter, as a racist war?

NANNIE JETER: Yes, I do, because when you-when he was speaking about voting, we have an ex-governor that spent time incarcerated, and he went right back into politics. So, and yet, still-and that's what I look at. Those that in high places can pull time and come right back and vote and run and get almost back in the same position they were in for, that's a double standards. That is. You can do it for one, and the same people are against the lone man whilst you are doing what you have changed against someone else. And it's not fair. It's about fairness.

AMY GOODMAN: Eugene Jarecki, you actually go with cops to do a drug raid.

EUGENE JARECKI: We do. And, you know, one of the wonderful things is-you could get really hopeless making a movie like this. We have, you know, 2.3 million people incarcerated in America. That's 1 percent of our population. We are the world's biggest jailer, beyond countries that are totalitarian in nature. You look at the country, and you see how unfairly the laws are written. You see that crack has historically been punished a hundred times as severely as powder, and that that seems no accident, whether it was an accident when it started or not. Over the years, jurists and judges and doctors and experts said this is wrong, it's unfair, and it's not based on science. Crack and powder are chemically the same, so why is one being punished that way. When you see all of that and you work with people in prisons and you talk to people who are at close range of this, you could really get very despairing, because the stories of people are-touch your heart in a very deep way.

But the reverse also happens, which is, I get to talk to Nannie, and she tells me things of so much honesty and so much depth about the issues she's living through. And she's not lost any fight. She's not given up on grandchildren she even has incarcerated right now. To be perfectly fair, the grandchild she has incarcerated right now is the son of her son who died from drugs, to begin with. This cycle goes on and on, is infecting generations. So, could I lose hope? Yes. But until she says-I look over at her. She hasn't lost hope. And then I talk to cops in the film, who openly tell me about what they're doing, openly tell me that they don't entirely agree with what they're doing. They're taking great jeopardy to appear in my movie and speak out critically about the way that police forces, for example, run on the money they collect from people. They bust a drug operation, as you're going to see in this clip, and he'll tell you in the clip, "We really run on the profits we get from these kind of operations."

DAVID SIMON: We like to believe that the drug war has given law enforcement all these tools, all of this authority in which to pursue criminality and gangsterism. But actually what it did was it basically destroyed the police deterrent in a very subtle and unintended way.

AMY GOODMAN: That's David Simon of The Wire.

SGT. BILL CUNEEN: Going up to 15th Street and Dixie. He's going to have some crack for him and some oxycodone pills.

Joe and I are both sergeants in major narcotics, and we don't do street-level drug deals.

Start thinking about why you're in handcuffs, and maybe you can help yourself out, OK?

What happened is, the second guy, he's now running on foot. Yeah, that's where-we believe he might have gone in there.

I guess we're going to have to write this up as a separate case. Totally unrelated to the original drug deal we did, but we stumble upon a house where a couple of big stacks of money, a good amount of marijuana. That's sometimes how things happen. They're not even planned.

DAVID SIMON: There are lot of detectives who I admire for their professionalism, for their craft.

SGT. BILL CUNEEN: Hey, what's up? Can I help you?

PASSERBY: No. No, sir.

DAVID SIMON: But the drug war created an environment in which none of that was rewarded.

SGT. BILL CUNEEN: Get his ID. He was just cutting through the yard. All right?

DAVID SIMON: A drug arrest does not require anything other than getting out of your radio car and jacking people up against the side of a liquor store. Probable cause? Are you kidding?

The problem is, is that that cop that made that cheap drug arrest, he's going to get paid. He's going to get the hours of overtime for taking the drugs down to DCU. He's going to get paid for processing the prisoner down at central booking. He's going to get paid for sitting back at his desk and writing the paperwork for a couple hours. And he's going to do that 40, 50, 60 times a month, so that his base pay might end up being only half of what he's actually paid as a police officer.

POLICE OFFICER: The most important thing, right here.

DAVID SIMON: We're paying a guy for stats.

AMY GOODMAN: That's a clip from The House I Live In. Eugene Jarecki, take it from there, this raid, and going-you also speak with judges.

EUGENE JARECKI: Well, throughout the history of the war on drugs, it has gained a greater and greater number of critics on the inside. The people we spoke to who gave us the deepest criticisms of this system operate within it. Security Chief Carpenter, who's a-he is the head of security at a major prison in Oklahoma. I thought he was-he looked like the toughest guy I'd ever met in my life. I thought I would-he's a terrifying person to look at. I wouldn't want to be under his lock and key, if you paid me. I get to sit down to talk to him, and I discover he has very deep and textured views about the wrongness of the way in which we incarcerate and we put so many resources into handcuffs, more cops, tougher laws. And where do those resources come from? They come out of the very programs in a prison that would help somebody not become a repeat offender, help them gain a skill, build some life elements that they will need when they get out, so that they don't go the way of Nannie's son, who was in and out of prison and not getting that kind of care.

AMY GOODMAN: In The House I Live In, in Oklahoma, you talk about the draconian laws there and a guy caught on possession of meth-


AMY GOODMAN: -three times. His sentence?

EUGENE JARECKI: Well, there's a guy in the film named Kevin Ott. And Kevin Ott is in for life without parole for a nonviolent drug crime. And he has no violent drug crimes in his history. He has three-in-a-row possession. So he got a three strikes-

AMY GOODMAN: That's three strikes, you're out.

EUGENE JARECKI: -and you're in for life without parole.

AMY GOODMAN: Life without parole for possession.


AMY GOODMAN: You have people like Bill Clinton, the president, saying, "Three strikes, and you're out, and we're proud of that."

EUGENE JARECKI: Yeah, and they're doing it. And it's-I think when Americans see that, and without working only along racist lines, I would say, when Americans see a relatively middle-class white American like Kevin Ott in there, they go, "Wow! This isn't just happening to other people? It's happening to guy who kind of looks like my uncle?" Now, I don't think that's how people should think. I think they should care already when it's happening to another person. But for some reason, in this society, a lot of times you have to wake people up by their neighbor or their brother or their uncle.

AMY GOODMAN: Very quickly, the solution?

EUGENE JARECKI: What's my view of the solution? The first thing is that you need to have a very changed dialogue in this country that understands drugs as a public health concern and not a criminal justice concern. And that means the system has to say, "We were wrong."

AMY GOODMAN: And do you think we're going to have that in this election year, when sound bites are nine seconds, and the drug war, and the victims of it, the perpetrators, etc.-

EUGENE JARECKI: Yeah. I mean, I'm not a dreamer on that score, but I do believe there is so much wrong with this, it is showing its weaknesses so terribly, and other countries are shaming us, like Portugal, where they've made drugs legal and it's working, and things like this.

I believe that making drug activity that is nonviolent in nature illegal was a grave mistake in this country. If you want to say that violent activity is the province of the law, and we should protect ourselves, one from the other, from rape, robbery, murder, the classic things that we use police for and that we use laws for, I perfectly agree with that. I think Nannie would. Anyone would. And if you take a drug and it makes it worse, it's no different than if you got in a car and you hurt someone with your car, it might be manslaughter. If you were drinking, they're going to call it murder. It's going to enhance. It should. Drugs should be seen in that way. But alcohol, which is more dangerous than all of them, has laws applied to it that basically say it's legal to do unless it's an enhancer on you driving. Well, let's make drugs that.

So, in other words, I would say, let's stop talking about legalization versus the most draconian system in the history of the world. Let's talk about no more having it be illegal to engage in nonviolent drug activity. I think millions of Americans, who use drugs anyway, and we all know that everybody uses drugs in this country-we are the biggest drug-using country in the world-everyone will cheer for that, because they are still protected, one from the other, but we're not doing something that is so deeply on the wrong side of history. It's obvious.

AMY GOODMAN: Ms. Jeter, since Eugene calls you his second mother, you helped raise Eugene, how do you feel he turned out?


EUGENE JARECKI: You can be honest.

NANNIE JETER: Well, my children call him my son. When the phone ring, they say that's her other son. And he is like my son. This family, I love, is three them. And the oldest one called me, and I almost wept. I never met a family like this. And I knew Eugene-

EUGENE JARECKI: I have two brothers.

NANNIE JETER: I knew Eugene before he was born. Matter of fact, I was his, supposedly, nurse, because his mom was tired of nurses. Something happened. So, I was in their home when Eugene came home, when his parents brought him home from the hospital. And I have loved him ever since. And I talked about him, and I didn't know my sons were jealous of him, because when I would come home, all I would talk about was Eugene, Eugene, and Tommy and Andrew.

EUGENE JARECKI: And that's complicated. That's a complicated part of the history, you know, and it's something we deal with in the film, because for somebody like me and Nannie, we're just in a system where she's looking for work, she's got a job with a family. My family left Connecticut. She traveled with us. That left her son, who got into drugs and other things, unguarded, to some extent, by her. She feels a weight in her about that. I feel that neither of us is to blame for that. It's a system. It's an economy in this country that has lots of people driving long distances to work, today on even more expensive gas than ever before. Like, it's a tough time, and it has been for a long time. And she and I, within that, just have a real love for one another.

But I think we're both kind of aware of the complicated political dynamics of who we are. I learned a lot of that from her, because she would say to me things like that, and I don't know, am I supposed to feel guilty about that? Or how am I supposed to feel? And I didn't do anything wrong. I just love her, and she really loves me. But, for example, when I meet her kids, I'm aware that time spent toward me is time not spent toward them when I was a kid. That matters. You can't take that for granted. It doesn't have-it's not about blame, but it's just a fact that needs to be understood, if we're going to make the world better and have it not be that way.

AMY GOODMAN: Director Eugene Jarecki, along with Nannie Jeter, the woman who helped raise him. She's one of the film's main characters. Jarecki's film, The House I Live In, won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary this past weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. We spoke in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance headquarters.


7) WikiLeaks Founder Appeals Extradition at Britain's Supreme Court
February 1, 2012

LONDON - Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, went before Britain's Supreme Court on Wednesday in the latest chapter of a long-running battle to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer accusations of sexual misconduct.

Seven Supreme Court judges have allocated two days to hearing an appeal against rulings by lower courts approving Mr. Assange's extradition. The judges are expected to announce their conclusions in several weeks - a decision likely to be critical in determining Mr. Assange's own future and that of his beleaguered antisecrecy group. It could also weigh on the broader question of extradition procedures in Europe.

If the Supreme Court rejects his argument, Mr. Assange will still be able to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, according to a statement in December by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service, acting for the Swedish prosecutors' office.

If that court declined to take the case, he would be returned to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about accusations of sexual molestation, unlawful coercion and rape by two WikiLeaks volunteers in Stockholm who said that consensual encounters with Mr. Assange in August 2010 became nonconsensual.

The appeal will revolve around whether the Swedish public prosecutor had the legal power to seek Mr. Assange's extradition. His lawyers maintain that public prosecutors are not judicial authorities and are not entitled to sign arrest warrants.

Dinah Rose, a lawyer representing Mr. Assange, said the appeal raised a "significant issue of law" relating to provisions in legislation dating to 2003 concerning the nature of the judicial authority issuing a European arrest warrant. It was "a matter of fundamental legal principle" that the authority should be independent and impartial, she said, according to The Press Association news agency.

"Since the Swedish prosecutor cannot fulfill those conditions, she is not a judicial authority and not capable of issuing a warrant for the purposes" of the 2003 law, Ms. Rose said.

"She lacks the impartiality and the independence from both the executive and the parties which constitute essential features of the exercise of judicial authority, under domestic and European law," Ms. Rose continued. "In short, the prosecutor, as the party with conduct of the criminal investigation into the allegations cannot act as a judge in relation to the same action." When they agreed in December to hear the case, the Supreme Court judges said they were doing so "given the great public importance of the issue raised."

The current case has been dragging on for more than a year. For most of that time, Mr. Assange lived under house arrest at a friend's country mansion in eastern England, but more recently he has been reported to be living at a private house in the southeastern county of Kent.

The Supreme Court agreement to hear the case in December was made public on the same day that an American Army private, Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking the classified American documents that became the most famous of the WikiLeaks disclosures, made his first appearance for preliminary hearings in a military courtroom at Fort Meade, Md.

Prosecutors have charged him with aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act by providing Mr. Assange's organization with hundreds of thousands of confidential diplomatic cables, military field reports and war videos.

Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, commander of the Military District of Washington, is to decide whether to order a trial for Private Manning, 24, on up to 22 counts after two lower-ranking officers said he should face court-martial.

In 2010, WikiLeaks' release of the documents dominated the front pages of newspapers across the world, including The New York Times. Mr. Assange depicted those releases as a means of seeking publicity for documents he hoped would reshape the very nature of government.

Mr. Assange was surfing a wave of celebrity when the sexual abuse charges were made in August 2010. He appeared for an initial interview with the police there that month, but fled to London before further questioning could be completed, a court here was told.

Swedish prosecutors later decided to issue an Interpol red notice and a European arrest warrant to compel him to return but Mr. Assange, who denies the charges, has fought the warrants.

He was briefly jailed in London in late 2010, before being released on bail and placed under house arrest.

Protesters and celebrity supporters - including the socialites Jemima Khan and Bianca Jagger and the journalist John Pilger - have often represented the case as a battle for free speech. Mr. Assange himself has suggested that government forces might be behind the accusations of sexual wrongdoing as a means of silencing him.


8) More Woes for Officials at Mortuary for Military
January 31, 2012

Officials at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the entry point for the nation's war dead, retaliated against four employees after they raised concerns about the mishandling of service members' remains, according to an independent agency that investigates whistle-blower complaints in the federal government.

The agency, the Office of Special Counsel, delivered a 39-page report to the Air Force on Monday detailing what it called reprisals against the four employees over a 17-month period in 2009 and 2010.

The office declined to make the report public on Tuesday, saying it would give the Air Force 30 days to take "substantial" disciplinary action against the officials responsible for retaliating against the workers.

Though the special counsel declined to name the officials, it released a scathing report on the mortuary in November that singled out three officials for criticism: Col. Robert H. Edmondson, the former commander of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center; Trevor Dean, Colonel Edmondson's former deputy; and Quinton R. Keel, the former mortuary director.

As a result of the earlier investigation, the Air Force demoted Mr. Dean and Mr. Keel, both civilians, and moved them into lesser jobs at Dover, neither of them in the mortuary. Colonel Edmondson received a letter of reprimand, effectively ending any further promotions.

But those punishments were considered inadequate by the special counsel, which asserted they should have been fired. In a letter to the White House in November, Carolyn N. Lerner, the head of the office, said that Mr. Keel and Mr. Dean had exhibited a pattern of "negligence, misconduct and dishonesty" and that there had been a "failure of leadership" by Colonel Edmondson.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Ms. Lerner said: "We applaud the whistle-blowers for their courage in coming forward. We expect the Air Force will now take appropriate steps to discipline the wrongdoers and deter future acts of retaliation."

Ms. Lerner said that if the Air Force did not take strenuous action, it would consider asking the Merit Systems Protection Board, which reviews federal whistle-blower cases, to impose appropriate penalties against the civilian mortuary officials. The board has no jurisdiction over active-duty military personnel.

Ann O'Hanlon, a spokeswoman, said the special counsel was not recommending specific actions, only that they be "substantial."

The Air Force secretary, Michael Donley, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Air Force was conducting its own assessment of the disciplinary actions and would submit a report to the secretary of defense.

"Reprisals against employees are unethical and illegal and counter to Air Force core values," Mr. Donley said. "We take violations of the law seriously."

The problems at the mortuary first came to light in 2010 when an employee named James Parsons told investigators that mortuary employees had sawed off the arm of a Marine without consulting Air Force leadership or the Marine's family. Three other employees later came forward with reports of lost remains and other problems.

After the Air Force began investigating the matter, Mr. Keel fired Mr. Parson and a second employee who had assisted investigators, but the Air Force reinstated them.

In its report in November, the Air Force said that senior officials at the mortuary had displayed "gross mismanagement" by failing to correct sloppy practices even after they knew workers had lost body parts from two service members killed in Afghanistan. But in a separate report, the Office of Special Counsel questioned the thoroughness of the Air Force inquiry and criticized its refusal to fire the three senior mortuary officials.


9) After Workers Are Fired, an Immigration Debate Roils California Campus
February 1, 2012

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The dining hall workers had been at Pomona College for years, some even decades. For a few, it was the only job they held since moving to United States.

Then late last year, administrators at the college delivered letters to dozens of the longtime employees asking them to show proof of legal residency, saying that an internal review had turned up problems in their files.

Seventeen workers could not produce documents showing that they were legally able to work in the United States. So on Dec. 2, they lost their jobs.

Now, the campus is deep into a consuming debate over what it means to be a liberal college, with some students, faculty and alumni accusing the administration and the board of directors of betraying the college's ideals. The renewed discussion over immigration and low-wage workers has animated class discussions, late-night dorm conversations and furious back and forth on alumni Listservs. Some alumni are now boycotting donating to the college, while some students are considering discouraging prospective freshmen from enrolling.

For the last two years, many of the dining hall workers had been organizing to form a union, but the efforts stalled amid negotiations with the administration. Many on campus believe that the administration began looking into the employees' work authorization as a way to thwart the union effort, an accusation the college president, David Oxtoby, has repeatedly denied. But that has done little to quell questions and anger among the fired workers and many who support their efforts to unionize.

"We were here for a very long time and there was never a complaint," said Christian Torres, a 25-year-old cook who had worked at the college for six years. "But now all of the sudden we were suspect, and they didn't want us to work here anymore."

Mr. Torres, who still greets dozens of people on campus by first name, had been one of the primary leaders of the effort to create a union until he lost his job in December.

Mr. Oxtoby said that his office received a "specific, credible complaint" from an employee in early 2011, about the college's hiring policies. Because the complaint included accusations against his own administration's policies, he asked the board of trustees to investigate.

For months, officials said, lawyers from the law firm Sidley Austin combed through the university's records and met with administrators. By the time the investigation was complete, the law firm had identified deficiencies in the files of 84 employees, including dining hall and maintenance workers as well as professors and students working for the college. Each employee received the same letter asking for documents to re-verify their work status. Of the 17 employees who ultimately lost their job, 16 were dining hall workers.

Mr. Oxtoby said that when he heard the results he "knew immediately this would be an explosive issue."

"This is a very sensitive issue especially in Southern California and many of our students and faculty are immigrants themselves or are descendants of immigrants," he said. Still, he said, he had no doubt that the workers would need to leave the college. "The law is very unforgiving, and unfortunately we have to obey the law even though it really hurt the community."

The idea that the college had mounted the effort to stop the union drive was the opposite of the truth, he said. "We've been trying to improve the relationship with workers for some time, and this has been a big setback," Mr. Oxtoby said. "Rationally, it would have not made strategic sense."

Mr. Oxtoby and the college's trustees repeatedly said that there was no choice but to fire the workers. In a letter from the law firm, lawyers for the college said that the college would have left itself open to investigation and punishment from federal immigration authorities had it not fully examined the employment files.

Pomona is part of a consortium of seven colleges whose campuses intertwine here. In December, just a day before the Pomona workers would be fired, a human resources officer at Scripps College, one of the other members of the consortium, called seven employees there asking them to complete a new work authorization form.

The next day, the Scripps president, Lori Bettison-Varga, sent an e-mail to students and staff explaining that "as soon as the calls came to the attention of the President's Office, they were halted." Further, she said that employment forms were stored off campus, and added, "There is no reason for any further questions or actions to be pursued." A spokeswoman for the college said that the human resources official was not acting on any complaint.

That e-mail only prompted more anger and suspicion among those involved at Pomona, who argued that Scripps showed that the college could have taken less-aggressive measures.

While the investigation of the workers' immigration records has generated the most controversy, it was hardly the first time that students vocally criticized the administration's treatment of the people who served their food each day. Months before, students had complained that renewed enforcement of a rule barring dining hall employees from talking to students in the cafeteria during their breaks was a way to stop any union effort.

"We're told that we are a community, that everyone on campus matters, but that's really not what we see now," said Isabel Juarez, a junior who participated in a hunger fast to demand that Mr. Oxtoby meet with workers last in November.

Ms. Juarez emigrated to Chicago with her parents from Guatemala when she was a teenager and draws parallels between her parents' struggles in the United States and the workers' troubles. "You contrast this with the way students are treated here, where we really get everything. These are the people who serve us every day and they are just asserting their rights - we would be outraged if we were treated that way."

Mr. Oxtoby said that the college made tremendous efforts to support the workers who lost their jobs. Each was given a severance of two weeks' pay for every year of employment, as well as health insurance through June.

Still, it does little to reassure Carmen, 30, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of alerting immigration officials. Carmen had worked at the college for 11 years, using the money she earned to put herself through a public college. But she never looked for another job, fearing that she would not be able to produce the proper documents. For years she made about $8 an hour, but in recent years raises had increased her wages to nearly $17 an hour. She and her husband bought a modest home in nearby Pomona this fall and moved in just two weeks before she was fired.

"I really don't know what I am going to do," she said, adding that her options were to look for work that paid in cash or move back to Mexico with her 2-year-old son while her husband, an American citizen, stayed here. "I'm still in shock. This is the only thing I've really ever known."


10) Cancer Group Halts Financing to Planned Parenthood
January 31, 2012

In a decision that is inflaming passions on both sides of the abortion debate, the world's largest breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is cutting off its financing of breast cancer screening and education programs run by Planned Parenthood affiliates.

The move will halt financing to 19 of Planned Parenthood's 83 affiliates, which received nearly $700,000 from the Komen foundation last year and have been receiving similar grants since at least 2005.

Planned Parenthood contends that the Komen foundation is yielding to longstanding pressure from anti-abortion groups, which Komen denies.

A spokeswoman for the Komen foundation, Leslie Aun, told The Associated Press that the main factor in the decision was a new rule adopted by Komen that prohibits grants to organizations being investigated by local, state or federal authorities. Ms. Aun told The A.P. that Planned Parenthood was therefore disqualified from financing because of an inquiry being conducted by Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, who is looking at how Planned Parenthood spends and reports its money.

After the A.P. article was posted on Tuesday afternoon, the Komen foundation declined to make Ms. Aun or another staff member available to discuss the Planned Parenthood decision. The foundation issued a statement saying it was seeking to "strengthen our grants program" and had "implemented more stringent eligibility and performance criteria."

The statement added, "While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission."

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said that the decision "came so abruptly in the face of a long, good, working relationship with Komen" and that the change in financing criteria "was written specifically to address the political pressure that they've been under."

Ms. Richards said all of Planned Parenthood's affiliates provided around 770,000 women with breast examinations and paid for mammograms and ultrasounds for those who needed and could not afford further diagnostic services. She said she received the news from the Komen foundation in late December and had requested a meeting with officials there to discuss the matter but was rebuffed.

"Until really recently, the Komen foundation had been praising our breast health programs as essential," Ms. Richards said. "This really abrupt about-face was very surprising. I think that the Komen foundation has been bullied by right-wing groups."

Anti-abortion advocates and Web sites have criticized the Komen foundation's financing of Planned Parenthood for years. And in December, LifeWay Christian Resources, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, said it was recalling a pink Bible it was selling at Walmart and other stores because a dollar per copy was going to the Komen foundation and the foundation supported Planned Parenthood.

Leslie Durgin, senior vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood's Rocky Mountain affiliate, said the Komen decision would cost three of the organization's health centers in Denver and one in Glenwood Springs about $165,000. Ms. Durgin said the money paid for hundreds of breast exams each year, as well as mammograms and other services.

Ms. Durgin, who has herself had breast cancer, said many low-income women visited Planned Parenthood for their primary health care needs and in the process received breast cancer education and screening that they would not otherwise have made the effort to seek out.

"Any kind of impediment for women, including a referral to go someplace else, will mean that women delay getting further screenings and women who may have cancer will discover it later than they might otherwise," Ms. Durgin said. "A lot of our clients are just one hassle away from not getting services at all."


11) Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
February 1, 2012, 10:56 am

Four police officers in the Bronx have been stripped of their guns and badges and placed on modified duty after a video shot by a civilian surfaced of them pummeling a drug suspect, the authorities said.

The Bronx district attorney's office said that it and the Police Department were investigating the episode. All the officers are stationed in the 42nd Precinct.

The beating of the suspect, Jateik Reed, 19, occurred last Thursday afternoon on East 168th Street in University Heights after the police say they saw him throw a bag of crack on the ground.

In the video, after officers wrestle Mr. Reed to the sidewalk, four of them repeatedly strike him with their batons and kick him for about 20 seconds. One officer points a canister of pepper spray at the videographer and orders him to "move back."

Mr. Reed was charged with assaulting a police officer, drug possession, menacing and harassment.

According to court papers, one officer, Jason Vasquez, saw Mr. Reed throw a bag of crack on the ground and saw two bags of marijuana in his hand.

When another officer, Robert Jaquez, approached Mr. Reed, he flailed his arms, refusing to be handcuffed, punched Officer Jaquez in the nose, opening a wound that required stitches, and head-butted him in the cheek, court papers say.

About two hours later, three family members and friends of Mr. Reed's went to the 42nd Precinct station house and got into a scuffle with the police, court papers say. They were charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, court papers show.

Mr. Reed's mother, Schuan Reed, told New York 1 that he "has staples in his head, he has staples in his arm, his eyes were black, his whole entire back is black, blue, purple."

The police have not released the names of the officers who have been disciplined in the case.


12) Occupiers' 'Think Tank' Soldiers On, Nonconfrontationally
February 1, 2012, 6:56 am

Correction Appended

Winter has not been easy for Occupy Wall Street.

Violent confrontations between protesters and police officers in Oakland, Calif., New York and elsewhere have threatened to dominate news coverage of the movement. On Jan. 12, the New York City group posted on its Web site that its offices would temporarily be shuttered due to an anonymous complaint to the Buildings Department that people were camping out there. A couple of days later, with donations drying up, the governing body decided to limits spending in order to regroup and think how best to rebound in the spring.

"We were arguing about money every day instead of thinking about action," said Haywood Carey, one of the group's accountants. "We don't want that."

But there is at least one facet of the New York contingent that is still going strong: the People's Think Tank, a sort of intellectual nucleus around which people have gathered since the beginning of the movement to discuss topics like health care, food, energy, banking and the influence of corporate money in politics. In the early days of Occupy Wall Street, in the northeast corner of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, people joined the Think Tank each day from noon to 6 p.m. to talk about the direction of the movement. Every conversation was diligently recorded.

Those daily forums continue today. After the police cleared Zuccotti Park by force on Nov. 15, a small group of facilitators continued to hold discussions in the barricaded park and elsewhere in New York. On Jan. 17, during an event called Occupy Congress that drew hundreds of participants from around the country to Washington (many of whom are still there), about 70 people gathered for a Think Tank discussion on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

In November, New York University began archiving the Think Tank's recordings in its Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive. Michael Nash, director of the library, said he expected the archived recordings to begin appearing online by next January.

"I think OWS is the most exciting thing that's happened in radical politics since maybe the 1960s," Mr. Nash said. "It's changed political discourse in ways you couldn't have imagined six months ago."

Back in November, The New York Times profiled Tim Weldon, 35, a founder and frequent facilitator of the People's Think Tank. On Jan. 17, The Times caught up with Mr. Weldon in Washington during Occupy Congress.

In this follow-up video, Weldon explains how he's tried to go mobile with the Think Tank and expand it in New York City beyond Manhattan.

"I support Oakland and people taking to the streets, but I'd take an intellectual gathering any day," he said. "I'm not here to shout at police."

Correction: February 1, 2012

An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of the library at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive.


13) Chicago U.S. Attorney office confirms 'investigation is continuing' against anti-war, international solidarity activists
Holy Land Foundation prosecutor now working on case
By Mick Kelly |
January 31, 2012

The Northern Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas stated that the "investigation is continuing" into the case of the anti-war and international solidarity activists hit with FBI raids and grand jury repression. Barry Jonas is known for his leading role in prosecuting the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation while he was trial attorney for the Department of Justice Counter-terrorism Section.

This confirms what the U.S. Attorney's office related some months ago - they are preparing multiple indictments of multiple activists. The FBI raided seven homes and the government subpoenaed 23 international solidarity activists to a Chicago grand jury over a year ago. The anti-war activists refused to appear at the secretive grand jury and launched a campaign against political repression. The U.S. government is threatening to imprison anti-war activists on the grounds of "material support for terrorism."

The confirmation of the ongoing investigation came during a January 24, 2012 phone call between Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas and attorney Bruch Nestor, who represents some of the political activists.

Nestor initially contacted Minneapolis Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter to view some of the sealed documents in the case. The grand jury proceedings against the anti-war activists are secret. The vast majority of documents relating to their case are under seal, meaning the targeted activists or their attorneys cannot view them. Assistant U.S. Attorney Winter helped to oversee the Sept. 24, 2010 raids and in recent months represented the government on the issue of returning property seized in the raids. Winter told Nestor to contact Chicago Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas.

Jonas told Nestor the documents would remain secret "pending completion of the investigation."

Barry Jonas is responsible for railroading the Holy Land leaders. Jonas views solidarity with Palestine as a crime deserving long-term imprisonment. He is willing to pull every dirty trick available to him to obtain convictions. The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was once the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. Its efforts were geared towards providing humanitarian aid to help the people of Palestine and other countries. In 2001 its offices were raided. Three years later, five people associated with the charity were indicted. The first trial ended with a hung jury. The second trial ended with convictions. The five defendants received sentences that range from 15 to 65 years in prison.

The Holy Land trial included secret witnesses - the defense never got to find out who the witnesses were - the use of hearsay evidence, and the introduction of evidence that had nothing to do with the defendants in the case, such as showing a video from Palestine of protesters burning an American flag, as a means to prejudice the jury.

As lead prosecutor, Barry Jonas played a key role in all this. He is now working under Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who runs the federal grand jury attacking anti-war and international solidarity activists.

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression urges all supporters of peace with justice to sign the pledge to take action ( in the event that international solidarity activists are indicted.

In a closely related case, the FBI directed the LA Sheriff to raid the home of veteran Chicano leader Carlos Montes. Carlos Montes is now facing trial and imprisonment on six felony charges relating back to a student protest that happened 42 years ago. See
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14) Do-It-Yourself Deportation
February 1, 2012

ONE of my happiest childhood memories is of my parents at my First Communion. But that's because most of my memories from that time are of their being absent. They weren't there for my elementary school graduation, or for parent-teacher conferences.

From the time I was just a baby in Mexico, I lived with my grandparents while my parents traveled to other Mexican states to find work. I was 6 in 2000 when they left for the United States. And it took five years before they had steady jobs and were able to send for me. We've been together in this country ever since, working to build a life. Now I am 17 and a senior in high school in New York City. But my parents have left again, this time to return to Mexico.

Last week, when asked in a debate what America should do about the 11 million undocumented immigrants living here, Mitt Romney said he favored "self-deportation." He presented the strategy as a kinder alternative to just arresting people. Instead, he said, immigrants will "decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here."

But really this goes along with a larger movement in states like Arizona and Alabama to pass very tough laws against immigrants in an attempt to make their lives so unbearable that they have no choice but to leave. People have called for denying work, education and even medical treatment to immigrants without documentation; many immigrants have grown afraid of even going to the store or to church.

The United States is supposed to be a great country that welcomes all kinds of people. Does Mr. Romney really think that this should be America's solution for immigration reform?

You could say that my parents have self-deported, and that it was partly a result of their working conditions. It's not that they couldn't find work, but that they couldn't find decent work. My dad collected scrap metal from all over the city, gathering copper and steel from construction sites, garbage dumps and old houses. He earned $90 a day, but there was only enough work for him to do it once or twice a week. My mom worked at a laundromat six days a week, from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., for $70 a day.

But the main reason they had to leave was personal. I have a brother, 16, a year younger than me, still living in Mexico. He was too little to cross the border with me when I came to the United States, and as the government has cracked down on immigration in the years since, the crossing has become more expensive and much more dangerous. And there was no hope of his getting a green card, as none of us have one either. So he stayed with my grandparents, but last year my grandmother died and two weeks ago my grandfather also died. My parents were confronted with a dilemma: Leave one child alone in New York City, or leave the other alone in Mexico. They decided they had to go back to Mexico.

Now once again I am missing my parents. I know it was very difficult for them to leave me here, worrying about how I will survive because I'm studying instead of earning money working. I'm living with my uncles, but it is hard for my mother to know that I'm coming home to a table with no dinner on it, where there had been dinner before. And it's hard for me not having my parents to talk to, not being able to ask for advice that as a teenager you need. Now that they are in Mexico, I wonder who will be at my graduation, my volleyball games or my birthday? With whom will I share my joy or my sad moments?

I know a girl named Guadalupe, whose parents have also decided to return to Mexico, because they can't find work here and rent in New York City is very expensive. She is very smart and wants to be the first in her family to attend college, and she wants to study psychology. But even though she has lived here for years and finished high school with a 90 percent average, she, like me, does not have immigration papers, and so does not qualify for financial aid and can't get a scholarship.

People like Guadalupe and me are staying in this country because we have faith that America will live up to its promise as a fair and just country. We hope that there will be comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship for people who have spent years living and working here. When reform happens, our families may be able to come back, and if not, at least we will be able to visit them without the risk of never being able to return to our lives here. We hope that the Dream Act - which would let undocumented immigrants who came here as children go to college and become citizens and which has stalled in Congress - will pass so that we can get an education and show that even though we are immigrants we can succeed in this country.

If, instead, the political climate gets more and more anti-immigrant, eventually some immigrants will give up hope for America and return to their home countries, like my parents did. But I don't think this is something that our presidential candidates should encourage or be proud of.

Immigrants have made this country great. We are not looking for a free ride, but instead we are willing to work as hard as we can to show that we deserve to be here and to be treated like first-class citizens. Deportation, and "self-deportation," will result only in dividing families and driving them into the shadows. In America, teenagers shouldn't have to go through what I'm going through.

Antonio Alarcón is a high school student and a member of Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy group. This essay was translated by Natalia Aristizabal-Betancur from the Spanish.


15) Indiana Governor Signs a Law Creating a 'Right to Work' State
February 1, 2012

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, who had once said that he did not wish to add a "right to work" provision to the state's labor laws, signed a bill on Wednesday doing just that.

The legislation, which bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay fees for representation, makes Indiana the first state in more than a decade to enact right to work legislation and the only one in the Midwestern manufacturing belt to have such a law.

Mr. Daniels, a Republican who is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election this year, signed the measure only hours after it cleared the Republican-held State Senate - an unusually speedy journey through the Statehouse aimed, many said, at ending what had become a rancorous, partisan fight before the national spotlight of the Super Bowl arrives in Indianapolis on Sunday. The bill, which takes effect immediately, makes Indiana the 23rd state in the nation with such a law.

It remained uncertain whether final approval of the bill would prevent union protests at events related to the Super Bowl, and on Wednesday thousands of union members and supporters marched, chanting in protest, from the Statehouse to Lucas Oil Stadium, the site of the football game.

"Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right to work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered," Mr. Daniels said in a statement that his office released after he signed the bill. For a month, the issue had loomed over Indianapolis, and hundreds of union members crowded, day after day, into the Statehouse halls. Democrats, who hold minorities in both legislative chambers, had refused at times to go to the House floor, hoping to block a vote on the matter, which they argued would weaken unions and lower pay and wages for workers at private-sector companies. Even on Wednesday, when it was clear that passage was certain, tensions were high. As senators spoke on both sides, protesters in the halls chanted loudly and a few people inside the chamber called out objections during the proceedings. In the end, senators voted 28 to 22 in favor of the measure, which was approved last week by the House.

Republican leaders defended the unusually swift passage of the measure, noting what they described as "overt threats" by union members and others about intentions to raise the right to work issue during the Super Bowl.

"We sized up early on that passage prior to the Super Bowl would be appropriate," Brian Bosma, the speaker of the House, said Wednesday, adding that the law enforcement authorities were prepared for any efforts to disrupt the city's first Super Bowl. "That would be extremely unfortunate," he said, "and, I think, tremendously unpopular."

For their part, union leaders said the Republicans had overblown the union's intentions on the football game.

"They're trying to make working men and women look like thugs, like we're going to ruin an event," said Jeff Harris, a spokesman for the Indiana A.F.L.-C.I.O., who added that their expectation for the Super Bowl was to have "a presence but an informational presence," handing out leaflets on the issue.


16) 'Gasland' Filmmaker Arrested at Capitol Hearing
February 1, 2012, 2:08 pm

Josh Fox, whose HBO documentary "Gasland" raised questions about the safety of the natural gas drilling technique known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was handcuffed and led away on Wednesday as he tried to film a House Science Committee hearing on the topic.

The Capitol Police said that Mr. Fox, whose film was nominated for an Academy Award last year, was charged with unlawful entry.

Mr. Fox brought a crew to film a hearing of the energy and environment subcommittee that was looking into an Environmental Protection Agency finding that fracking was probably responsible for groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyo.

Mr. Fox is preparing a sequel to "Gasland," which has contributed to widespread concern about fracking, a method of mining that uses large volumes of water and chemicals under high pressure to free gas deposits from underground shale.

The chairman of the subcommittee conducting the hearing, Representative Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, objected to the presence of Mr. Fox and another crew. A committee chairman has the discretion to bar cameras from hearings, according to a committee aide.

The hearing was broadcast at the committee's Web site. Mr. Harris said the two crews did not have proper media credentials.

Representative Brad Miller, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, asked that the crews be allowed to stay and called for a vote. After a recess to round up more members, the Republicans prevailed and the cameras were barred.

"This is a public hearing!" Mr. Fox shouted as he was led away, according to several news reports. "I'm being denied my First Amendment rights."

2:51 p.m. | Updated

Mr. Fox was released by the Capitol police shortly after 1 p.m. with a misdemeanor citation for, in his words, "practicing journalism." He said in a telephone interview that he did not have to pay a fine or post bail. A court date is set for Feb. 15.

Mr. Fox said that Wednesday's hearing was scheduled on short notice and he tried to contact committee staff to get clearance to videotape it. He never got an answer, he said, so he and a videographer showed up at the hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building, where they were told they could watch the hearing but could not tape it.

"We have followed this case for three years, and it seemed as if this hearing was an attack on the E.P.A. and we wanted to be there," Mr. Fox said. "We wanted this to be transparent to the American people. This is emblematic of what is happening across the world."

He said that he did not buy the argument that the committee chairman had the right under House rules to bar cameras or uncredentialed reporters from hearings.

"No one on the Hill is exempt from the Constitution," Mr. Fox said. "Period."

An earlier version of this post misstated the month in which Mr. Fox has a court date related to the misdemeanor charge. It is February, not October. It also misstated the affiliation of a camera crew that was also present at the hearing: while a committee staff member said it was under contract to ABC, the network says that it did not send the crew to the hearing.


17) Behind Charges of Police Bias, Dozens of Latinos Who Spoke Up
February 2, 2012

EAST HAVEN, Conn. - It was the first Sunday Mass after the Rev. James Manship was arrested for trying to document harsh treatment of Hispanics by the police, and Angel Fernandez-Chavero had a request and a question.

The request to the congregation, as he looked out toward the 800 worshipers at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, was for anyone who had been the victim of harassment or violence by the East Haven police to provide a statement. The question to himself was whether anyone would.

But when about 100 Latino congregants, overcoming fears about their safety and in some cases their immigration status, came forward, it marked the turning point in what became a major case of racial profiling, in which four East Haven police officers were arrested last week on federal charges of conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force and obstruction of justice.

The arrests resulted from a two-year investigation by federal officials and dogged legal work on behalf of the Hispanic residents by the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School. But it happened mostly because dozens of the area's most vulnerable residents decided to stand up.

"Those are the real heroes, people who risked physical injury, loss of liberty and harm to their families to tell their stories, who stood up and said, 'This has to stop,' " said Mr. Fernandez-Chavero, a leader on the pastoral council of St. Rose of Lima, an overwhelmingly Hispanic church just over the town line in New Haven. "It was a case of everyday people who decided if they stood together they might be able to accomplish something."

Strife between minorities and the police is hardly a new subject in East Haven, which as late as the 1990 census was 98 percent white and had a reputation as a place where minorities should tread carefully, if at all.

In 1997, the town police chased Malik Jones, a black motorist who was suspected of speeding, into New Haven and shot him four times at close range, killing him. He was unarmed. The image of the Police Department was not helped when officers on the department's softball team wore T-shirts a few weeks later reading "East Haven Police Boys on the Hood," showing officers pressing the heads of two grimacing gang members onto a car hood.

When it was time to name a new chief in 1998, Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. opted for Leonard Gallo, a longtime officer with a reputation as a hard-liner who had fallen out of favor in New Haven when the city's first black mayor, John Daniels, tried to repair relations with the black community. In his new East Haven job, Chief Gallo soon elevated the officer who shot Mr. Jones to be the department's spokesman. No criminal charges were filed after the officer said that he believed Mr. Jones's car was rolling backward, and that he feared for his life. Mr. Jones's mother filed a lawsuit alleging that her son's death was part of a pattern of discriminatory practices, and won a $900,000 jury award, which East Haven is still fighting.

But as the Hispanic community began to grow in East Haven, particularly on Main Street, Hispanic business owners and residents began reporting a significant increase in police harassment and surveillance. Father Manship's arrest in February 2009, after he tried to use a video camera to document police behavior at a bodega, My Country Store, finally made the issue public. The charges were soon dropped.

The arrest and the accumulated stories of Latinos led to a civil rights complaint filed by the Yale clinic in March 2009, with vivid tales of arbitrary police stops, beatings, stun-gun shots, racial slurs, illegal searches and seemingly capricious law enforcement. An analysis by the Yale students found that from June 1, 2008, to Feb. 28, 2009, of 376 tickets issued on two main streets in East Haven, 210 were issued to drivers with Hispanic names. It also found that the police frequently mischaracterized the race and ethnicity of the drivers ticketed, identifying many people of Hispanic background as simply white or black, understating the rate at which tickets were given to Hispanics.

The church and the Yale clinic guaranteed anonymity to Latinos who came forward. But church officials said they agonized over whether they could really protect people who offered statements. The fears were not just based on the experiences of Hispanics. April Capone Almon, East Haven's mayor between 2007 and 2011, tried to limit Chief Gallo's power and finally succeeded in putting him on administrative leave, pending the federal investigation. Before that, however, Ms. Almon and her secretary were arrested for allegedly interfering with the towing of cars at a town beach. The state eventually dropped the charges.

The New Haven Independent, an online newspaper, which first reported on Father Manship's arrest, said the mayor's arrest has become part of the federal investigation. Citing people familiar with the grand jury proceedings, it said her arrest report was repeatedly altered. Allegations of altered police reports also figure into the case against the police.

Chief Gallo announced his retirement this week, saying he did not want to become a distraction. But federal officials say there could be more indictments, and the chief's lawyer, Jonathan J. Einhorn, acknowledged that the chief was the officer cited in the indictment as "Co-conspirator 1." He has said local politics played a large part in the allegations lodged against the department.

But even after the arrests last week, business people said they still feared that there would ultimately be retaliation by the police.

Marcia Chacon, who owns My Country Store with her husband, Wilfredo Matute, said the police had camped out in front of her business, stopping customers, making arrests and eventually scaring away much of her clientele.

Monica Oleas, a clerk in the store, said customers would come in to buy a phone card "for $2 and get a ticket for $500, $600."

When Ms. Chacon spoke at a news conference after the filing of the original complaint, she said officers followed her and her husband as they left their business, stopping them to check their documents for no reason before eventually letting them go.

She said she felt that she was taking a risk by coming forward, but that she had no choice.

"If I didn't take that risk, I would have lost everything," Ms. Chacon said.

Father Manship faced his own risks. According to the indictment and other reports, Chief Gallo repeatedly contacted Father Manship's supervisors in an effort to have him moved from the parish, to the extent that leaders of the diocese feared for his safety.

Father Manship said this week that people were still anxious, still digesting what happened. But he said he was heartened that so many found the strength to address the issues.

"It's not just about accepting the world as it is," he said, "but in this case it's allowing us as a faith community to move closer to the world as it should be."

At last Sunday's service at the church, founded in 1907 for the Irish, then taken over by the Italians, and now home to Mexicans, Ecuadoreans, Peruvians and other Hispanics, Father Manship offered a prayer and added a topical reference asking for an end to racism and "a path toward justice and peace."

"For the arrested police officers," he told parishioners, in Spanish, "particularly their families who ache for them - may Jesus give them comfort."

And for those who continue to live with fear, he said, "may Jesus give them the strength, his friendship and his church."

Noah Rosenberg contributed reporting.


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