Thursday, February 09, 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"

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:




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 *



February 20th Actions

There are now February 20th actions planned in the Bay Area, CA (San Quentin); Columbus, OH; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC! See the Actions page for details on each demonstration.

What's new

Support is growing for the National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners and Occupy San Quentin!

We've added flyers for Occupy San Quentin, and more endorsers for Feb 20 - see the links above.

Connect with us:

Facebook: Occupy4Prisoners (!/pages/Occupy4Prisoners/234095196660637)

Twitter: @Occupy4Prisoner

We need YOU! Are you planning an action? Let us know and we will list, promote and support! Email occupy4prisoners [at] gmail [dot] com!
Jan 09 2012
1 Comment
Proposal to Occupy Oakland General Assembly

This proposal that was passed at the Occupy Oakland General Assembly, on Monday, January 9th



We are calling for February 20th, 2012 to be a "National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners."

In the Bay Area we will "Occupy San Quentin," to stand in solidarity with the people confined within its walls and to demand the end of the incarceration as a means of containing those dispossessed by unjust social policies.


Prisons have become a central institution in American society, integral to our politics, economy and our culture.

Between 1976 and 2000, the United States built on average a new prison each week and the number of imprisoned Americans increased tenfold.

Prison has made the threat of torture part of everyday life for millions of individuals in the United States, especially the 7.3 million people-who are disproportionately people of color-currently incarcerated or under correctional supervision.

Imprisonment itself is a form of torture. The typical American prison, juvenile hall and detainment camp is designed to maximize degradation, brutalization, and dehumanization.

Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow. Between 1970 and 1995, the incarceration of African Americans increased 7 times. Currently African Americans make up 12 % of the population in the U.S. but 53% of the nation's prison population. There are more African Americans under correctional control today-in prison or jail, on probation or parole-than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

The prison system is the most visible example of policies of punitive containment of the most marginalized and oppressed in our society. Prior to incarceration, 2/3 of all prisoners lived in conditions of economic hardship. While the perpetrators of white-collar crime largely go free.

In addition, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that in 2008 alone there was a loss in economic input associated with people released from prison equal to $57 billion to $65 billion.

We call on Occupies across the country to support:

1. Abolishing unjust sentences, such as the Death Penalty, Life Without the Possibility of Parole, Three Strikes, Juvenile Life Without Parole, and the practice of trying children as adults.

2. Standing in solidarity with movements initiated by prisoners and taking action to support prisoner demands, including the Georgia Prison Strike and the Pelican Bay/California Prisoners Hunger Strikes.

3. Freeing political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Lynne Stewart, Bradley Manning and Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, a Black Panther Party member incarcerated since 1969.

4. Demanding an end to the repression of activists, specifically the targeting of African Americans and those with histories of incarceration, such as Khali in Occupy Oakland who could now face a life sentence, on trumped-up charges, and many others being falsely charged after only exercising their First Amendment rights.

5. Demanding an end to the brutality of the current system, including the torture of those who have lived for many years in Secured Housing Units (SHUs) or in solitary confinement.

6. Demanding that our tax money spent on isolating, harming and killing prisoners, instead be invested in improving the quality of life for all and be spent on education, housing, health care, mental health care and other human services which contribute to the public good.

Bay Area

On February 20th, 2012 we will organize in front of San Quentin, where male death-row prisoners are housed, where Stanley Tookie Williams was immorally executed by the State of California in 2005, and where Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on death row, is currently imprisoned.

At this demonstration, through prisoners' writings and other artistic and political expressions, we will express the voices of the people who have been inside the walls. The organizers of this action will reach out to the community for support and participation. We will contact social service organizations, faith institutions, labor organizations, schools, prisoners, former prisoners and their family members.

National and International Outreach

We will reach out to Occupies across the country to have similar demonstrations outside of prisons, jails, juvenile halls and detainment facilities or other actions as such groups deem appropriate. We will also reach out to Occupies outside of the United States and will seek to attract international attention and support.

We have chosen Monday, February 20, 2012 at San Quentin, because it is a non-weekend day. Presidents' Day avoids the weekend conflict with prisoners' visitation, which would likely be shut down if we held a demonstration over the weekend.





#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]


The Battle of Oakland
by brandon jourdan plus

On January 28th, 2012, Occupy Oakland moved to take a vacant building to use as a social center and a new place to continue organizing. This is the story of what happened that day as told by those who were a part of it. it features rare footage and interviews with Boots Riley, David Graeber, Maria Lewis, and several other witnesses to key events.

The Battle of Oakland from brandon jourdan on Vimeo.


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

From: ""
Sent: Fri, February 3, 2012 6:39:49 PM
Subject: !*Mumia Photo off Death Row/Mega Bus Update from Sis. Ramona Africa

from sis Marpessa

Thank you all, FREE MUMIA!!!!

From Sis. Ramona at - 2/3/2012 5:27:24 P.M. - Subj: Mega Bus

ONA MOVE! This is to inform folks that if there is not a chartered bus leaving from your area going to the "occupy for Mumia" action in DC. on April 24th, you should check out Mega Bus at .
They have very reasonable fares and the sooner you reserve a seat, the cheaper it is, so don't delay. The fares have gone up a bit just today. Hope to see you in DC on the 24th---Ramona (more info at

From: National Lawyers Guild

SCI Mahanoy, February 2, 2012. Mumia Abu-Jamal celebrates his move off of death row with Heidi Boghosian and Professor Johanna Fernandez. This was Mumia's second contact visit in 30 years. His transfer to general population comes after a federal court ruled that instructions to jurors during his trial influenced them to choose death. A broad people's movement secured this victory, and it can now refocus on the goal of freedom. Join us on April 24, Mumia's birthday, as we Occupy the Justice Department in Washington, DC!

DREAD TIMES - Dedicated to the free flow of information -

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: ""
Sent: Fri, February 3, 2012 6:54:13 PM
Subject: Our Contact Visit w Mumia

from sis Johanna Fernandez

Comrades, Brothers and Sisters:

Heidi Boghosian and I just returned from a very moving visit with Mumia. We visited yesterday, Thursday, February 2. This was Mumia's second contact visit in over 30 years, since his transfer to General Population last Friday, Jan 27. His first contact visit was with his wife, Wadiya, on Monday, January 30.

Unlike our previous visits to Death Row at SCI Greene and to solitary confinement at SCI Mahanoy, our visit yesterday took place in a large visitor's area, amidst numerous circles of families and spouses who were visiting other inmates. Compared to the intense and focused conversations we had had with Mumia in a small, isolated visiting cell on Death Row, behind sterile plexiglass, this exchange was more relaxed and informal and more unpredictably interactive with the people around was more human. There were so many scenes of affection around us, of children jumping on top of and pulling at their fathers, of entire families talking intimately around small tables, of couples sitting and quietly holding each other, and of girlfriends and wives stealing a forbidden kiss from the men they were there to visit (kisses are only allowed at the start and at the end of visits). These scenes were touching and beautiful, and markedly different from the images of prisoners presented to us by those in power. Our collective work could benefit greatly from these humane, intimate images.

When we entered, we immediately saw Mumia standing across the room. We walked toward each other and he hugged both of us simultaneously. We were both stunned that he would embrace us so warmly and share his personal space so generously after so many years in isolation.

He looked young, and we told him as much. He responded, "Black don't crack!" We laughed.

He talked to us about the newness of every step he has taken since his release to general population a week ago. So much of what we take for granted daily is new to him, from the microwave in the visiting room to the tremor he felt when, for the first time in 30 years, he kissed his wife. As he said in his own words, "the only thing more drastically different than what I'm experiencing now would be freedom." He also noted that everyone in the room was watching him.

The experience of breaking bread with our friend and comrade was emotional. It was wonderful to be able to talk and share grilled cheese sandwiches, apple danishes, cookies and hot chocolate from the visiting room vending machines.

One of the highlights of the visit came with the opportunity to take a photo. This was one of the first such opportunities for Mumia in decades, and we had a ball! Primping the hair, making sure that we didn't have food in our teeth, and nervously getting ready for the big photo moment was such a laugh! And Mumia was openly tickled by every second of it.

When the time came to leave, we all hugged and were promptly instructed to line up against the wall and walk out with the other visitors. As we were exiting the prison, one sister pulled us aside and told us that she couldn't stop singing Kelly Clarkson's line "some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this." She shared that she and her parents had followed Mumia's case since 1981 and that she was overjoyed that Mumia was alive and in general population despite Pennsylvania's bloodthirsty pursuit of his execution. We told her that on April 24 we were going to launch the fight that would win Mumia's release: that on that day we were going to Occupy the Justice Department in Washington DC. She told us that because she recently survived cancer she now believed in possibility, and that since Mumia was now in general population she could see how we could win. She sent us off with the line from Laverne and Shirley's theme song - "never heard the word impossible!"- gave us her number, and asked us to sign her up for the fight.

We're still taking it all in. The journey has been humbling and humanizing, and we are re-energized and re-inspired!!

In the words of City Lights editor, Greg Ruggiero:"

"Long Term Goal: End Mass Incarceration.

Short Term Goal: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!"

--Johanna Fernandez

Facebook Link to Photo



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
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

This is a critical time for us to stand together, defend free speech, and defend those who help to organize for peace and justice, both at home and abroad!

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


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) U.S. Plans Shift to Elite Units as It Winds Down in Afghanistan
February 4, 2012

2) Pennsylvania Schools' Financing Fight Pits District Against 'Charter on Steroids'
February 4, 2012

3) U.S. Said to Target Rescuers at Drone Strike Sites
February 5, 2012

4) Greek Workers Strike Against New Round of Austerity
February 7, 2012

5) The Fiery End of a Life Lived Beneath the City
February 6, 2012

6) A Raucous Protest Against a Police Killing
February 6, 2012

7) Drone Strike Said to Kill 10 Militants in Pakistan
February 7, 2012

8) Israeli Union Starts a National General Strike
February 8, 2012

9) Summary Box: French Strike Cancels Many Flights
February 8, 2012

10) The Occupy Movement May Be in Retreat, but Its Ideas Are Advancing
[Will a little rhetoric from Obama get him the support of the Occupy Movement? Let's hope not!]
February 9, 2012, 9:44 am

11) In Grip of Cold, Afghan Family Buries 8th Child
February 8, 2012

12) U.S. and Japan Are in Talks to Expedite Exit of 8,000 Marines on Okinawa
February 8, 2012

13) Regulatory Approval Is Expected for New Reactors in Georgia
February 8, 2012

14) I Was Stopped, But Not Frisked
By Marc Mauer
February 8, 2012

15) Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Pfc. Bradley Manning
Today’s Call-In Target: General Raymond Odierno


1) U.S. Plans Shift to Elite Units as It Winds Down in Afghanistan
February 4, 2012

WASHINGTON - The United States' plan to wind down its combat role in Afghanistan a year earlier than expected relies on shifting responsibility to Special Operations forces that hunt insurgent leaders and train local troops, according to senior Pentagon officials and military officers. These forces could remain in the country well after the NATO mission ends in late 2014.

The plan, if approved by President Obama, would amount to the most significant evolution in the military campaign since Mr. Obama sent in 32,000 more troops to wage an intensive and costly counterinsurgency effort.

Under the emerging plan, American conventional forces, focused on policing large parts of Afghanistan, will be the first to leave, while thousands of American Special Operations forces remain, making up an increasing percentage of the troops on the ground; their number may even grow.

The evolving strategy is far different from the withdrawal plan for Iraq, where almost all American forces, conventional or otherwise, have left. Iraq has devolved into sectarian violence ever since the withdrawal in December, which threatens to undo the political and security gains there.

Pentagon officials and military planners say the new plan for Afghanistan is not a direct response to the deteriorating conditions in Iraq. Even so, the shift could give Mr. Obama a political shield against attacks from his Republican rivals in the presidential race who have already begun criticizing him for moving too swiftly to extract troops from Afghanistan.

Unlike in Iraq, where domestic political pressure gave Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki reason to resist a continued American military presence into 2012, in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai and his senior aides have expressed an initial willingness to continue a partnership with the United States that includes counterterrorism missions and training.

Senior American officials have also expressed a desire to keep some training and counterterrorism troops in Afghanistan past 2014. The transition plan for the next three years in Afghanistan could be a model for such a continued military relationship.

The new focus builds on a desire to use the nation's most elite troops to counter any residual terrorist threat over the coming months as well as to devote the military's best trainers to the difficult task of preparing Afghan security forces to take over responsibilities in their country.

The plan would put a particularly heavy focus on Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets. They would be in charge of training a variety of Afghan security forces. At the same time, the elite commando teams within Special Operations forces would continue their raids to hunt down, capture or kill insurgent commanders and terrorist leaders and keep pressure on cells of fighters to prevent them from mounting attacks.

Created by President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s, the Green Berets have as one of their core missions what is called "foreign internal defense" - using combat, mentoring, language and cross-cultural skills to train local forces in rugged environments, as they are today in missions conducted quietly in dozens of nations around the world.

Just as significant would be what the American military's conventional forces stop doing.

Americans would no longer be carrying out large numbers of patrols to clear vast areas of Afghanistan of insurgents, or holding villages and towns vulnerable to militant attacks while local forces and government agencies rebuilt the local economy and empowered local governments.

Those tasks would fall to Afghan forces, with Special Forces soldiers remaining in the field to guide them. This shift has already begun to take place.

The defense secretary, Leon E. Panetta, surprised NATO allies last week when he announced that American forces would step back from a leading role in combat missions by mid-2013, turning over security responsibilities to Afghan forces a year earlier than expected. The description of the shift to a Special Operations mission in Afghanistan by senior officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the final plans have not been approved, go a long way toward explaining what Mr. Panetta sketched out for the allies.

White House officials confirmed in broad terms the shift to a Special Operations mission, and said a formal announcement on the future of the mission was expected at the May summit meeting of NATO leaders in Chicago.

"The president said in June that when the drawdown of surge forces is complete in September, U.S. troops will continue coming home at a steady pace and our mission will shift from combat to support as the Afghans take the lead," said Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman.

The United States has about 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, with 22,000 of them expected to leave by this fall. No schedule has been set for the pace of withdrawal for the 68,000 American troops who will remain, although some administration officials are advocating for Mr. Obama to order another reduction by the summer of 2013.

The planning for a transition of the Afghanistan mission is a central effort among the Pentagon's civilian planners and the military's Joint Staff, as well as among officers at the United States Central and Special Operations Commands.

Senior Pentagon officials involved in the planning acknowledge that a military effort with a smaller force and a more focused mission could be easier to explain to Americans who have tired of the large counterinsurgency campaigns of Iraq and, previously, Afghanistan.

To be sure, some American conventional units would be called on to handle logistics and other support services - transportation, medical care, security - to enable the Special Operations missions to continue.

But that would require a far smaller American presence to help the Afghans protect recent security gains while minimizing American expenses and casualties.

The plan first calls for creating a two-star command position overseeing the entire Special Operations effort in Afghanistan. Next, the three-star corps headquarters that currently commands the day-to-day operations of the war - and is held by an Army officer from the conventional force - would be handed over to a Special Operations officer.

Officials said that no final decisions had been made on the timing of the transition, although it is likely to begin late this year as the rest of the surge forces are withdrawn. There has also been no decision on the number of troops to be committed to the mission as it evolves in 2013 and into 2014, officials said.

Officials noted the progress in creating new "Afghan Strike Force" units to carry out commando-type raids, and they said that the effort to create an Afghan National Army - which had been focused on building as large a force as possible - would shift to emphasize quality and capability.

Officials conceded that the Afghan National Police program remained a huge disappointment, but said that a great value in American investment had been organizing local Afghan police units, drawn from the villages they are assigned to protect.


2) Pennsylvania Schools' Financing Fight Pits District Against 'Charter on Steroids'
February 4, 2012

CHESTER, Pa. - The Chester Upland School District is more than $20 million in debt, its bank account is almost empty and it cannot afford to pay teachers past the end of this month.

To make matters worse, the local charter school, with which the district must divide its financing, is suing the district over unpaid bills.

The district's fiscal woes are the product of a toxic brew of budget cuts, mismanagement and the area's poverty. Its problems are compounded by the Chester Community Charter School, a nonprofit institution that is managed by a for-profit company and that now educates nearly half of the district's students.

The district sees the charter as a vampire, sucking up more than its fair share of scarce resources. The state, it says, is giving the charter priority over the district.

"It's not competition, it's just draining resources from the district," said Catherine Smith, a principal at Columbus Elementary, a district school. "It's a charter school on steroids."

The charter says that it is also part of the public school system and that the district, its primary source of financing, has not paid it anything since last spring. The state has taken over payments, but even those are late, it says.

Chester may be a harbinger of fiscal decline. At least six other Pennsylvania school districts are bordering on insolvency, according to State Representative Joseph F. Markosek, the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Chester's troubles also show just how deeply budget cuts bite in poor districts. With a median household income of $26,000, just half of the state median, Chester has one of the state's most meager tax bases. State financing makes up about 70 percent of its budget. For comparison, nearby Radnor Township, with a median household income of $85,000, draws just 10 percent of its school budget from state money, according to a town spokesman. The largest share is real estate taxes, at 83 percent.

"Poor schools in this state are underfunded," said Thomas Persing, acting deputy superintendent for the Chester Upland district. "Poor kids aren't going to get the same shot as wealthy kids. That's the society we are in now."

But the district has been troubled for years. The state took over its finances in 1994 but has since handed control back to the community. Five state administrations, including the current one of Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, have been unable to fix the district. Budget cuts may be painful, the state argues, but they are not the root of the district's problems.

In December, Mr. Corbett refused to advance the district emergency money, saying it had mismanaged its budget. The district says that the state was in charge as receiver for years and that it left the district with a large debt when it handed back control in 2010.

Whatever the case, the math was stark: the district could not afford to pay salaries.

The district's teachers tried to ease the pressure by voting to work without pay as long as they were able, a gesture that drew considerable attention. One of the district's teachers, Sara Ferguson, was invited by Michelle Obama to attend the State of the Union address last month, and she appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Thursday.

Ultimately, a federal judge intervened in a separate lawsuit by the district, ordering the state to pay $3.2 million, enough to cover the salaries. In the end, pay was only two days late. Still, the district has money to cover only the next two pay periods. Money to pay vendors, like insurance companies and power suppliers, runs out in the middle of the month.

"There have been money problems, but we've never been threatened like now," said Ms. Ferguson, whose school, Columbus Elementary, was decorated with a poster by students congratulating her on being invited to the State of the Union address.

On a recent Monday, students ran and shouted on the Columbus playground. In the latest round of budget cuts, the school lost its art teacher, its music teacher, its technology teacher, its staff person for the library and even the money for its fledgling band. "The children have gym, gym and gym," Ms. Ferguson said.

When Ms. Ferguson began teaching here in 1991, she was one of 11 fifth-grade teachers, she said. Now there are only two.

The charter school initially had less than 100 students in 1998, but it has grown to more than 2,600 on two campuses. At its West Campus, a gate with lions on the front and the school's initials, CCCS, on the painted black iron bars give the impression of a private school. Its wooden lockers are open shelves, and its offices have security cameras that watch every classroom. Each student in third to eighth grades was given an XO laptop, a computer designed to be used by students in developing countries.

"It's just an entirely different culture that we've created - very structured, very respectful," said Vahan Gureghian, a lawyer and entrepreneur who founded the charter. When the school first opened, "we had zero parent involvement," he said.

He continued: "Now on any given back-to-school night, it's packed. Parents are looking at us and saying, 'I didn't get an education, but there's hope for my kid.' "

The district argues that the charter is receiving millions of dollars in extra special education funds. And money to the charter also goes toward fees to the private management company of $5,000 per student. The charter says the district has not paid its bills since last April, leaving it no other choice than to go to court. The state was also named in the lawsuit because it has also fallen behind by millions of dollars in payments, the charter said.

While budget cuts forced the district to slash its staff by about 30 percent and cut art, music and language classes, the charter has made no such reductions, Judge James Gardner Colins of Commonwealth Court wrote in a decision on Tuesday that ruled against immediately satisfying the charter's claims.

Judge Colins wrote that there was no evidence that the charter had been obliged to make any cuts or had tried to renegotiate its contract with the for-profit management company "to reduce its unusually large management fee."

There is no legal mechanism for a school district to declare bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. It is not clear whether the state would dissolve the district, which has contracts with unions that represent teachers and other support staff. There is a designation of distressed school district, but the state has said Chester Upland has not met the requirements, which include the staff's working for 90 days without pay.

Mr. Corbett pledged last month that students "will be able to finish the school year at Chester Upland."

But how that will be paid for and what happens after the school year ends are both open questions. "This is right on our doorstep now," Ms. Ferguson said. "There's a question about whether we will even exist."


3) U.S. Said to Target Rescuers at Drone Strike Sites
February 5, 2012

WASHINGTON - British and Pakistani journalists said Sunday that the C.I.A.'s drone strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan have repeatedly targeted rescuers who responded to the scene of a strike, as well as mourners at subsequent funerals.

The report, by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, found that at least 50 civilians had been killed in follow-up strikes after they rushed to help those hit by a drone-fired missile. The bureau counted more than 20 other civilians killed in strikes on funerals. The findings were published on the bureau's Web site and in The Sunday Times of London.

The bureau's findings are based on interviews with witnesses to strikes in Pakistan's rugged tribal area, where reporting is often dangerous and difficult. American officials have questioned the accuracy of such claims, asserting that accounts might be concocted by militants or falsely confirmed by residents who fear retaliation.

But most other studies of drone strikes have relied on sketchy and often contradictory news reports from Pakistan. The bureau's investigation, which began last year with a detailed study of civilian casualties, involved interviews with villagers who said they saw strikes, wounded people and family members of those killed.

The bureau counted 260 strikes by Predator and Reaper drones since President Obama took office, and it said that 282 to 535 civilians had been "credibly reported" killed in those attacks, including more than 60 children. American officials said that the number was much too high, though they acknowledged that at least several dozen civilians had been killed inadvertently in strikes aimed at militant suspects.

A senior American counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, questioned the report's findings, saying "targeting decisions are the product of intensive intelligence collection and observation." The official added: "One must wonder why an effort that has so carefully gone after terrorists who plot to kill civilians has been subjected to so much misinformation. Let's be under no illusions - there are a number of elements who would like nothing more than to malign these efforts and help Al Qaeda succeed."

Getting a full picture of the drone campaign is difficult. It is classified as top secret, and Obama administration officials have refused to make public even the much-disputed legal opinions underpinning it.

But Mr. Obama spoke about the program in an online appearance last week.

"I want to make sure that people understand: actually, drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties," he said in the forum on YouTube. "For the most part they have been very precise precision strikes against Al Qaeda and their affiliates." He called the strikes "a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists."

However, American officials familiar with the rules governing the strikes and who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that many missiles had been fired at groups of suspected militants who are not on any list. These so-called signature strikes are based on assessments that men carrying weapons or in a militant compound are legitimate targets.


4) Greek Workers Strike Against New Round of Austerity
February 7, 2012

ATHENS - Greek workers walked off the job on Tuesday to protest a new barrage of austerity measures being demanded by the country's foreign creditors in exchange for a second bailout of $170 billion without which Greece faces a potentially catastrophic default within weeks.

The general strike, the second this year, comes as government officials continued tense talks with representatives of the so-called troika of foreign lenders - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - on the terms of a new loan program. Negotiations on a crucial writedown on Greek debt, expected to wipe $130 billion off the country's debt, were continuing in parallel but depend on the success of the bailout deal.

Although airports operated as normal, other transport services were disrupted. Ferries remained moored in the country's ports and train services were suspended. Public transport workers ran a limited service in Athens to allow protesters to join rallies in the city center. The police said about 10,000 people marched peacefully to Parliament. There was also a separate demonstration by about 10,000 Communist unionists. No arrests or injuries were reported.

The walkout also closes government offices, schools and courts and left hospitals operating on emergency staff. Many shopkeepers, exasperated at the impact of higher taxes and reduced consumer spending, closed down for the day.

The country's two labor unions are appealing to austerity-weary Greeks to come out in force and protest the measures proposed by creditors which include cuts of around 20 percent in private sector wages, reductions in supplemental pensions, thousands of civil service layoffs and additional cuts to state spending. The measures follow two years of tax increases and wage cuts in the state sector that have pushed the country into a deep recession. Unemployment stands at 19 percent and is quickly rising while the economy, in its fourth year of recession, is expected to contract by 6 percent, according to estimates by the I.M.F.

Unions condemn the proposed measures, touted as the only alternative to bankruptcy for Greece, as extortion. "It is a brutal, cynical blackmail against an entire nation," said the head of the private sector workers' union, Yiannis Panagopoulos. "This is not a negotiation," he said, referring to the talks between government officials and creditors which have dragged on for days.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was expected to meet the three leaders of his uneasy coalition later on Tuesday in another bid to get their backing for new measures - once these have been finalized in the talks between officials of the Finance and Labor Ministries and the troika.

If Greece's politicians fail to reach a deal with their lenders, and secure fresh rescue funding, the country faces the risk of a disorderly default on March 20 when a $19 billion bond repayment is due.


5) The Fiery End of a Life Lived Beneath the City
February 6, 2012

After the flames were extinguished Sunday night, firefighters made the discovery: a body, deep in an abandoned crew room, in a subway tunnel on the F line just north of 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue.

The victim was obviously homeless. Less apparent were his circumstances and history, but it did not take long for those to emerge. Of all the homeless people in the subway, the victim, Anthony Horton, 43, had been among the least faceless.

Mr. Horton found solace in the blackness of the tunnels. He made the subway the subject of his canvases, the muse for a graphic novel that he co-wrote, and the place he called home for the better part of his adult life, even when he had other places to stay.

When he emerged aboveground, his friends said, he spoke with a rich gravelly voice, he drummed on the tops of mailboxes and improvised songs inspired by the 1970s tunes of Luther Vandross, and when he saw a friend, he would deliver a bear hug that pulsed with warmth.

The book was based on his life underground. He told of a dozen or so rules of thumb, including: Always carry a light. Anything you need can be found in the garbage. Always have more than one spot.

Then there was this: Always have a way out that is different from the way in.

"He was a gentle soul, and I admired him," said Youme Landowne, who co-wrote the graphic novel, "Pitch Black," published in 2008. "I wanted him to live a long time."

Mr. Horton was known to street book vendors near Hunter College, where he struck up conversations about topics like boxing. He was known in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., where he spent part of his childhood in a children's group home, after his parents abandoned him. He was known by those who befriended him aboveground and tried to help him lead a more normal existence. And he was known by law enforcement authorities; court records show that Mr. Horton had at least 17 arrests and convictions before 2008.

Mr. Horton was born in New York City and grew up in foster homes, according to his friend Jordan Buck, who met Mr. Horton three decades ago when he was living in Dobbs Ferry. In "Pitch Black," Mr. Horton wrote that he found the streets safer than shelters. Soon he migrated to the subway's tunnels and learned from other homeless people how to build a home there.

While Mr. Horton suffered from many of the problems his fellow tunnel dwellers faced, he also had an unusual support network. In his book, he mentions substance-abuse problems, and friends say he struggled with drinking. But he also had friends like Mr. Buck, who invited him to stay with him and his sister at their apartment in TriBeCa in the mid-1990s. Mr. Horton made them omelets and often searched through the trash for gifts to give them. Still he longed for the tunnels, Mr. Buck said, and after about a year, all agreed that it was time for Mr. Horton to leave, and he returned underground.

"He had really mixed feelings about it," Mr. Buck said. "On the one hand, he set up these rooms for himself and he definitely felt pride and a sense of ownership. There was something magical and mystical down there. The other part was lonely."

Mr. Horton met Ms. Landowne when he approached her on a downtown train and asked her whether she was an artist. They began talking about art, and soon he showed her his work: sketches he had done from charcoal and fax machine ink that he had rescued from trash bins. "He drew himself and the subways and things from his imagination, kind of a better world," Ms. Landowne said. He talked of his love for dogs, especially his dog, Meatball, who was eventually taken from him. She said he taught gymnastics and art classes for homeless people at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church on the Upper East Side.

When Mr. Horton and Ms. Landowne decided to collaborate on a book, he showed her his tunnel homes. One dwelling had a futon, bookshelves and artwork. He said he had hidden his art and few possessions throughout the subway, since they were getting lost or stolen.

Last week, he sent a belated holiday card to Mr. Buck thanking him for his friendship over the years and, Mr. Buck said, "something to the effect that I know I couldn't be exactly what you all wanted me to be."

The type of subterranean life that Mr. Horton led "was definitely much more prevalent in the late '80s and early '90s," said Patrick Markee, the senior policy analyst for the Coalition for the Homeless.

"We rarely run into somebody who is sleeping in the tunnels these days," Mr. Markee said.

Mr. Horton's last resting place was about 150 feet north of the Queens-bound platform at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. After breaking a lock, firefighters discovered a two-room apartment of sorts; Mr. Horton had turned one room into a living room, 9 by 10 feet, and another into a bedroom, 6.5 by 4.5 feet.

"He seemed to have all of the amenities," said Jim Long, a Fire Department spokesman. "He had a couch. He had a bed. I believe there was a refrigerator-type appliance." The cause of the fire has not been determined.

On Monday afternoon, the scent of smoke still hung in the station. Joseph Mathew, a booth clerk at the neighboring Roosevelt Island station, said he had seen Mr. Horton a couple of times a week asking people to lend him a swipe of a MetroCard to get home. He remembered Mr. Horton the way many did on Monday, once they learned of his death.

"He was kind," Mr. Mathew said. "He was not bothering nobody."

Hannah Miet contributed reporting.


6) A Raucous Protest Against a Police Killing
February 6, 2012

It was a dramatic conclusion to a day of protest: Leona Virgo, whose younger brother was shot to death by a police officer in the bathroom of their family's home on Thursday, was hoisted above a sea of supporters outside the 47th Precinct station house in the Bronx on Monday night.

As the crowd condemned a dozen officers positioned outside the station - comparing them to members of the Ku Klux Klan, for instance - Ms. Virgo remembered her brother, Ramarley Graham, for the crowd.

"I never wanted him to go out like this," said Ms. Virgo, 22, tearing up. "He was only 18 years old."

But, she added: "This is not just about Ramarley. This is about all young black men."

That theme was echoed throughout the afternoon, as hundreds gathered outside the family's home on East 229th Street for what was, at times, a chaotic condemnation of police violence and the killing of Mr. Graham, who was unarmed.

The authorities are investigating the shooting, which happened after narcotics officers followed Mr. Graham into the apartment thinking that he was armed, the police said. An officer confronted Mr. Graham, who was in the bathroom, possibly trying to flush marijuana down the toilet, the authorities said. Moments later, the officer fired a shot, killing him.

On Monday, a makeshift memorial of candles and flowers outside the family's home, a second-floor apartment in a three-story building, included more than half a dozen posters scrawled with anti-Police Department slogans.

"Blood is on your shoulders NYPD Killer!!" one poster read.

Juanita Young, 57, came to support Mr. Graham's mother. Her son, Malcolm Ferguson, 23, was shot to death by the police in the South Bronx on March 1, 2000, for reasons still unclear to her. She received $4.4 million in 2007 after the city settled a wrongful-death suit, she said. "I know this mother's pain," Ms. Young said. "The pain we walk - can't nothing touch that pain."

Some feared that their children might be next; others wanted vengeance. "I don't want justice," said Arlene Brooks, 49. "I want revenge."

Despite that tension, there did not appear to be any violence, and the crowd occasionally broke into song. About 6 p.m., Mr. Graham's father, Franclot Graham, addressed the group, telling supporters to remember to celebrate his son's life.

The raucous gathering was then led to the station house by Mr. Graham; his son's mother, Constance Malcolm; and his son's grandmother Patricia Hartley. Afterward, children riding bicycles down the street could be heard chanting one of the protest's mantras: "NYPD-KKK."


7) Drone Strike Said to Kill 10 Militants in Pakistan
February 7, 2012

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, (Reuters) - Missiles fired from a United States drone killed 10 suspected militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border on Wednesday, residents and Pakistani security officials said.

It was the fifth such strike this year.

In Wednesday's attack, a drone fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a militant hideout in the village of Thapi, about 10 miles east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

"Almost all the men were burnt beyond recognition," said a villager said after visiting the house, which was destroyed. "Dozens of militants arrived later and took over rescue work. They pulled out nine bodies," he said, speaking only on the condition that he not be identified publicly.

Several militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda, have a presence in Pakistan's northwestern ethnic Pashtun regions, where they take advantage of the porous border with Afghanistan to conduct cross-border attacks or plot violence elsewhere.

North Waziristan is also an important base area for the Haqqani network, an Afghan militant faction allied with the Taliban. American officials have called the Haqqani one of its deadliest adversaries in Afghanistan.

A Pashtun tribal elder said that militants usually avoided gathering, limiting groups to three or four people to minimize losses in the event of a drone attack, but that they recently had dropped their guard.

"It has been freezing cold in the last few days and then there were no drones for some time," said the elder who declined to be identified. "That's why the militants started living together and suffered heavy losses,"

The United States stopped the drone program, a major element of its anti-terrorism efforts, after a NATO air attack last November from across the Afghan border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, enraging Pakistani officials and the public, who view the attacks as violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties. The United States resumed attacks with the missile-firing drones in northwest Pakistan on Jan. 10.


8) Israeli Union Starts a National General Strike
February 8, 2012

JERUSALEM - Israel's main labor union began a general strike on Wednesday, shutting airports, government offices, the stock exchange and parts of some hospitals in a dispute over treatment of nonunion contract workers.

The walkout was the first general strike in about five years, and was expected to cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars a day. It began after all-night negotiations failed to produce a compromise between the Finance Ministry and the Histadrut labor federation, the umbrella union for hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers.

Israel's main airport, Ben-Gurion International near Tel Aviv, was shut in the morning, grounding some 4,000 travelers, but it reopened at midday under a court order limiting the work stoppage there. Elsewhere the strike was open-ended, with negotiators expected to return to the table later in the day. Nonetheless, the national labor court summoned the parties to appear on Wednesday afternoon, and it was widely thought that the court would not permit the strike -to last very long.

The central issue in dispute is the growing use by government agencies of contract workers, especially cleaners and security guards, hired through employment agencies. Those workers earn substantially less than those represented by the Histadrut.

The issue of lower-paid contract workers, especially in schools and universities, played a role in last summer's social justice protests in Israel, in which hundreds of thousands took to the streets. The Histadrut came out in support of that movement, which focused largely on the high cost of housing and other consumer goods but also raised questions about wealth concentration and the belief that too few people were sharing in the country's growing wealth.

Various efforts to block the strike failed. On Tuesday, Israel's Supreme Court rejected a petition by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce an injunction against the strike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also tried to stop the action, saying the economy was in "a delicate situation" and asserting that a strike would "not solve the problem of contract workers." He called instead for dialogue. But Ofer Eini, the chairman of the Histadrut, rejected the call.

Just before meeting with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Tuesday night, Mr. Eini reached agreement with the head of the employers' union, Shraga Broshi, on transferring some contract workers to direct employment and bolstering the salaries of others.

Mr. Steinitz, however, told Mr. Eini that it would be impossible to transfer all contract workers in ministries and government agencies to the state's payroll because of the prohibitive cost. He did offer to increase their salaries and improve their benefits, as well as tighten oversight of employment agencies


9) Summary Box: French Strike Cancels Many Flights
February 8, 2012

GROUNDED: Air France canceled up to 40 percent of its long-distance flights Wednesday because of a strike by pilots and other personnel over their right to hold unannounced walkouts.

STRIKE PRICE: The airline is recommending that passengers postpone flights through Friday, when the strike is expected to end. It's costing the company, one of the world's leading airlines, $10.5 million to $13.1 million per day, an Air France official said.

TOO MANY STRIKES? Striking pilots, cabin and ground crews are protesting a draft law that would require them to give 48 hours' notice before striking. The government argues the bill will protect passengers in a country with frequent strikes.


10) The Occupy Movement May Be in Retreat, but Its Ideas Are Advancing
[Will a little rhetoric from Obama get him the support of the Occupy Movement? Let's hope not!]
February 9, 2012, 9:44 am

Is Occupy Wall Street petering out? Or, more provocatively, has the protest movement already won a big battle and is now watching that victory unfold?

On a practical level, the Occupy movement would seem to be on the run or even in disarray. On Saturday, participants in the Occupy D.C. encampment were pushed out and the physical presence of the protests has diminished throughout the winter.

But even as they were pushed out of McPherson Park in Washington, the protesters can claim that their message - amplified by abundant media coverage - has tilted the rink. Aided by the target-rich visual environment of encampments, which proved to be irresistible to reporters and photographers, the protest rendered what had been a political argument into a physical declaration. A protest that used social media to agitate and organize soon entered the bloodstream of established media, and its rhetorical tools have now become part of standard political discourse.

Some media outlets found the whole exercise offensive from beginning to end. The Weekly Standard focused on the violence of the protesters, as opposed to the police who forcibly removed them from various encampments. "The truth is that the violence is not an aberration and Occupy Wall Street should not be laughed away," Matthew Continetti wrote at the end of the November.

But even among outlets more sympathetic to the motives of the protesters there was impatience with the movement's comically democratic decision-making apparatus and its non-list of demands. As the protest ground on, Hendrik Hertzberg at The New Yorker suggested that the movement needed to quit fooling around with camp-outs and get down to business in more practical ways.

Yes, O.W.S. has "changed the conversation." But talk, however necessary, is cheap. Ultimately, inevitably, the route to real change has to run through politics - the politics of America's broken, god-awful, immutably two-party electoral system, the only one we have. The Tea Partiers know that. Do the Occupiers?

Talk may be cheap, but it has proven to be pretty effective. Even as the police - and winter weather - set in and their tents were folded, the protesters maintained that you can't evict an idea who time has come. Nice rhetoric that, but it turned out to be true. The story, as they say, has come toward Occupy Wall Street: Mitt Romney, the man who appears to be the likely nominee for the Republicans, is a proud 1-percenter and the president is now busy trying to gobble up political real estate among the other 99 percent.

A little bit of thought-exercise here. If there were no Occupy Wall Street, do you think the Democratic incumbent would be channeling his inner Teddy Roosevelt and going after Wall Street? His handlers have steered him away from mentioning the movement by name, but several pages of Occupy's hymnal are now part of his political oratory. Back in December, the president was already heading down a path that many would argue was first cleared by the Occupy protesters in a speech that was billed as his mission statement for the coming general election, and which contained this passage:

I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren't Democratic or Republican values; 1 percent values or 99 percent values. They're American values, and we have to reclaim them.

Although he insisted "this isn't about class warfare," the allusion to the Occupy protests was hard to miss. By the time the State of the Union address rolled around, many of the actual Occupy camps were in retreat, but their ideas seemed to echo in the president's annual address to a joint session of Congress.

Let's never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same. It's time to apply the same rules from top to bottom. No bailouts, no handouts, and no cop-outs. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.

Wall Street, the bête noire of Occupy, ended up in the president's cross hairs and he called for new enforcement efforts against Wall Street fraud.

"Too often, we've seen Wall Street firms violating major antifraud laws because the penalties are too weak and there's no price for being a repeat offender," Mr. Obama said. "No more. I'll be calling for legislation that makes those penalties count so that firms don't see punishment for breaking the law as just the price of doing business."

For his part, Mr. Romney has little patience for what he sees as the divisive math of Occupy Wall Street. When he was tagged during a speech as an advocate of the 1 percent, he invited the heckler to switch countries and then promoted the video of him dressing down the protester with these words:

And if you've got a better model - if you think China's better, or Russia's better, or Cuba's better, or North Korea's better - I'm glad to hear all about it. But you know what? America's right, and you're wrong.

Mr. Obama may be making an effort to stay away from dividing the electorate by class, but his campaign has done its best to put work boots on the president, if for no other reason than to draw a contrast to the metaphorical wingtips of his businessman opponent. "President Obama - who, like Mitt Romney, earned a degree from Harvard and all the opportunities that affords - began his career helping jobless workers in the shadow of a closed-down steel mill," a release from his campaign thundered. "Mitt Romney, on the other hand, made millions closing down steel mills."

On Tuesday of last week, the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park was down to a few hardy souls. But those that remained were convinced that the protest continues to resonate far beyond their little camp.

Brendan Burke, a protester, said the president's State of the Union speech "was all our message. It was great. I mean, he didn't mention Occupy Wall Street, he doesn't have to. The conversation in the culture has changed now, over four months, and it's a blessing."


11) In Grip of Cold, Afghan Family Buries 8th Child
February 8, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan - The war refugee Sayid Mohammad lost his last son on Wednesday, 3-month-old Khan, who became the 24th child to die of exposure in camps here in the past month.

"After we had dinner he was crying all night of the cold," Mr. Mohammad said. The family had no wood and was husbanding a small portion of paper and plastic that his daughter had scavenged that day. He said the boy had seemed healthy and was breast-feeding normally, though the family's dinner consisted only of tea and bread. But he kept crying. "Finally we started a fire, but it wasn't enough," Mr. Mohammad said. By 1 a.m. the boy was stiff and lifeless, he said.

Even by the standards of destitution in these camps, Mr. Mohammad's story is a hard-luck one; Khan was the eighth of his nine children to die. Back home in the Gereshk district of Helmand Province, six died of disease, he said. Three years ago they fled the fighting in that area for the Nasaji Bagrami Camp here, where a 3-year-old son froze to death last winter, he said. Like most of Kabul's 35,000 internal refugees, he fled the country's war zones only to find a life of squalor sometimes as deadly, even in the capital of a country that has received more than $60 billion in nonmilitary aid over 10 years.

Later Wednesday morning, Mr. Mohammad's sole surviving child, his daughter, Feroza, 10, stared saucer-eyed at her brother's tiny body as it lay in the middle of the family's hybrid dwelling, part mud hut, part tent, with United Nations-branded canvas for a roof.

Leaders of this camp say that 16 children aged 5 or younger have died here in the unseasonably cold weather and heavy snow that set in about a month ago, keeping nighttime temperatures in the mid-teens. Eight other children have died similarly in another Kabul camp, Charahi Qambar, according to camp representatives, religious leaders and families.

Government officials have expressed skepticism that the children could all have died of cold, saying the deaths were unregistered and not reviewed by medical personnel, while at the same time blaming the international aid providers for not sending more supplies.

Private Afghan companies and businessmen and some charitable groups have begun to distribute food, fuel, winter clothing, blankets, tents and cash support in the camps, but so far the effort has been sporadic and incomplete.

Other relief groups and Afghan government ministries are still in the process of surveying needs in the camp. As one relief worker said, "Starting an aid program even in a month would be fast work, and by then winter will be mostly over."

The Nasaji Bagrami camp counts 315 families who fled from war-torn southern provinces like Kandahar and Helmand. Some of their rough shelters had wood to burn in stoves, while others, like Mr. Mohammad's, had no substantial heat sources at all.

Mohammad Ibrahim, chosen by camp residents as their representative, held up his hand in a visual parable of the realities of inequitable resources. "See my fingers?" he said. "They are five, but none are equal."

The Mohammad family had two large blankets to share, plus the baby boy's blanket, a velveteen comforter with designs of teddy bears and bunny rabbits on it. "We didn't even have enough wood to make breakfast today," Mr. Mohammad said. A neighbor gave a small packet of potato chips to Feroza, whose name means turquoise, the gemstone.

In the bitter cold, relatives and friends gathered and meticulously followed the prescribed rituals for the dead. Hot water was brought in pitchers from neighbors' huts. The boy's body was laid on a plank in the hut's mud-walled yard, and washed five times with the hot water and soap, a pink bar of Safeguard. A ditch was dug so that the wash water would drain away and no one would step in it accidentally, which they viewed as potential sacrilege. Khan was so small that the hand of the man who washed him covered half of his body.

His mother, Lailuma, peeked from the door of the hut to watch, but otherwise the women stayed inside and apart. But Feroza, in a purple head scarf, slipped unnoticed past the men close to Khan's washing place, pressed into a crevice in the wall and watched wordlessly.

A clean white cotton sheet served as his burial shroud. The available scissors were too dull to cut it, so the men ripped it into pieces with their gloveless hands. After tying the sheet around Khan, they sprayed his shrouded form with perfume, and then they wrapped him again in his teddy and bunny blanket.

For prayers, performed on mats outside, the men removed their shoes; many had no socks. Then they carried Khan, bundled in one man's arms, in a silent procession to a graveyard.

The camp mullah, Walid Khan, pronounced the final prayers. Khan was laid in the grave with his face toward Mecca, and each of the mourners dropped in three handfuls of the hard earth.

Mr. Mohammad had not slept. His eyes were bloodshot. The septum of his nose had cracked from the cold, bleeding a little, and leaving a small red icicle. Feroza stood just to his side and behind him a little, clutching his coat. She coughed deeply and her father started. "Now she is sick, too," he said.


12) U.S. and Japan Are in Talks to Expedite Exit of 8,000 Marines on Okinawa
February 8, 2012

TOKYO - Japan and the United States said Wednesday that they were renegotiating a 2006 agreement in order to expedite the removal of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa. Under the current terms, their departure has been stalled until progress is made on relocating an important Marine air station on the island, a chronic underlying irritant in relations between the two countries.

Both sides have agreed to rework part of the agreement that makes relocation of the air station, the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, a precondition for moving the Marines, who along with their dependents were supposed to be transferred to Guam by 2014.

The large Marine contingent on Okinawa, a vestige of the American occupation of postwar Japan, has long been resented by the island's residents, and many Okinawans want the Futenma air station closed, not merely relocated. The requirement that the Marine presence cannot be reduced without progress on the air station has effectively frozen the entire deal.

"We decided to reduce Okinawa's burden as much as possible rather than remain stuck in a stalemate by adhering to the earlier package," Japan's foreign minister, Koichiro Gemba, told reporters. "America is also committed, but Japan must take the lead in resolving this issue."

In a separate statement from the Pentagon, George Little, a Defense Department spokesman, said that by agreeing to delink the Marine removal from the air station relocation, negotiators from both sides can "make progress on each effort separately, yet we remain fully and equally committed to both efforts."

The United States would keep a substantial military footprint on Okinawa even after the air station was relocated and the 8,000 Marines were removed. The island would still be host to 10,000 other Marines as well as the Air Force's Kadena Air Base, the largest United States airfield in the Asia-Pacific region.

Still, by decoupling the removal of the Marines from the more contentious Futenma air station issue, Mr. Gemba said his government hoped to finally begin reducing the military burden on Okinawa, and assuaging the anger of Okinawan voters.

He said he did not yet have a timeframe for when the Marines would leave, though he said it would be "soon." Analysts said the transfer would probably take longer than the 2014 deadline of the current agreement, which was originally reached in 1996 after the gang rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl by American servicemen.

Mr. Gemba said Japan had taken the initiative in proposing Wednesday's plan out of a sense of responsibility for the delays, suggesting that they were due to Tokyo's inability to persuade Okinawans to accept a new Marine air base. He said he hoped to end a festering problem that had threatened to cause a rift with the United States, Japan's postwar protector with 50,000 military personnel in Japan. Those fears were reinforced in December, when the United States Congress, under pressure to cut the fiscal deficit, voted to cut $150 million from the 2012 budget to pay for the transfer to Guam.

"I don't think it was healthy for the Americans and the Japanese to always be talking about needing to show progress by a certain time because of the situation in the American Congress," Mr. Gemba said.

Mr. Gemba was vague on where the Marines would go under the renegotiated agreement, besides saying that a large number of them would relocate as originally planned to Guam, an American territory in the western Pacific Ocean. The original agreement had called for moving all the 8,000 Marines and their families to Guam, but recent Japanese news media reports have said 4,700 may go to Guam, with the rest rotated through other American bases in the region.

He was also vague on who would pay for the new realignment plan, a crucial question as both Tokyo and Washington try to cut fiscal deficits. Under the previous agreement, Japan was to pay 60 percent of the $10.3 billion cost to relocate the Marines to Guam, according to Japan's Ministry of Defense.

"I think this will be a big step forward," Mr. Gemba said. "We are working hard to regain even a bit of the trust of the people of Okinawa."

That trust was lost two years ago, when Yukio Hatoyama, then prime minister, reneged on a campaign promise to move the Futenma base off the island. The resulting feelings of angry betrayal on the island have been so intense that most analysts and politicians now agree that the Futenma relocation plan is effectively dead.

Under that plan, the base would have been moved from its current location in a crowded urban area to a safer spot on Okinawa's less populated north. The United States says it needs the new base to maintain its ability to respond quickly to a crisis in the region even with the reduction in the number of Marines.

Political analysts said those concerns also resonated with the government of Japan's current prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, who is seeking to maintain close ties to the United States at a time when Japan feels increasing anxiety about China's military expansion.

"The Noda government has come to the conclusion that the U.S.-Japan security alliance is too important to be deadlocked by a single base," said Yuichi Hosoya, a specialist on international affairs at Keio University in Tokyo.

Mr. Hosoya and other analysts also said Wednesday's proposal could ultimately help resolve the deadlock over the Futenma base. After the 8,000 Marines leave, the United States would turn over to Japan a half-dozen military installations that it will vacate on the island's more heavily developed southern half. Analysts said the return of this land, which accounts for about a fifth of all land on Okinawa occupied by the United States military, could soften opposition to a new air base by showing Okinawans tangible progress in reducing the American presence.

"The Noda government realized it must do something to show its willingness to reduce the burden of Okinawa," Mr. Hosoya said. "Today's proposal could be a turning point in ending a problem that has dragged on for 16 years."


13) Regulatory Approval Is Expected for New Reactors in Georgia
February 8, 2012

WASHINGTON - For the first time in over three decades, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to decide to grant a license to build a nuclear reactor - a milestone for an industry whose long-hoped-for renaissance is smaller and later than anticipated.

The vote, set for Thursday, is on two new reactors at the Southern Company's Alvin W. Vogtle plant near Augusta, Ga. It would be the first vote on a construction license since 1978, a year before the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania.

In anticipation of approval, the company has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in digging a foundation, laying pipes for cooling water and other steps at the site, where two reactors have been operating since the late 1980s.

Southern and its partners are swimming against the tide, betting that even with the project's approximately $14 billion price tag, nuclear power will prove cheaper than using coal, natural gas or any other source over the estimated 60-year lifetime of the reactors. Few other companies are willing to take the gamble, given the current economic and political picture.

Natural gas prices are at low levels, and pressures to address global warming by putting a price on carbon emissions have faded, diminishing hopes that nuclear energy will be championed as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.

"In the current environment, we have the combination of low natural gas prices, abundant supplies of natural gas, relatively modest electricity demand growth coming out of the recession and the lack of a price on carbon," said James K. Asselstine, managing director of Barclays Capital, who served on the regulatory commission from 1982 to 1987. "It's probably unlikely we'll see other plants move to construction in the very near term."

Vogtle 3 and 4 were supposed to be the first in a wave of new projects after the Bush administration set aside $17.5 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear projects. But the nuclear rebirth has been so puny that much of that money is still available. The Energy Department has promised an $8.3 billion loan guarantee for the two reactors.

Mr. Asselstine and others say that the only other reactors that conceivably could be built in the next few years are two planned at the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina.

Both Georgia and South Carolina regulate their utilities in the traditional way, allowing them to collect whatever they prudently invest, plus a profit margin, from their customers through electricity rates.

Georgia Power, the Southern Company subsidiary building the plant, said in a 2008 filing with the state Public Service Commission that electricity generated by Vogtle 3 and 4 could cost customers $6.5 billion less than power generated by coal or natural gas in the lifetime of the reactors.

In much of the Northeast and Midwest and in California, power plants are mostly built by third parties that sell the electricity in daily auctions on the open market, a setup that makes a long-term bet against natural gas difficult for a private company to swallow. For example, Constellation Energy, based in Baltimore, gave up on a third unit at its Calvert Cliffs site in 2010 after the federal government sized up the economics and demanded a huge fee in exchange for a loan guarantee.

Some industry experts and antinuclear groups argue that the Vogtle project poses major risks. "The potential is high for cost overruns, regulatory problems, outage issues, competing water needs in the state, drought situations, radioactive waste management issues and a range of ratepayer issues," the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an advocacy group, said in a filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission.

The new reactors would produce electricity at a cost of 7 to 9 cents per kilowatt-hour when Southern instead could be reducing demand by investing in efficiency at a cost of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, the group said.

Nine organizations, including the Southern Alliance, said on Wednesday that they would sue to try to block the license because the commission had not adequately analyzed the new reactors' design for hazards in response to last year's disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. The commission has ordered existing plants to adopt some safeguards in response to the Fukushima calamity and is considering others.

But other analysts say the decision could look quite smart in retrospect, depending on market and regulatory factors. "What happens if we get fracking legislation?" said Eric Beaumont, an analyst at the firm Copia Capital, referring to pressure for tougher limits on a drilling technique that has depressed natural gas prices and greatly expanded reserves.

"Natural gas isn't going to remain cheap forever," he said.

Carbon policy is another wild card, Mr. Beaumont said, suggesting that the political pendulum could shift back toward imposing a tax on emissions of greenhouse gases. With a few changes, "lo and behold, it can make sense" to build the reactors, he said.

Aside from the 34-year hiatus in approval of construction, the commission's action will be a milestone in some other ways.

If the reactors are completed, the Vogtle plant, in Waynesboro, Ga., will become the largest nuclear complex in the United States. And the two reactors are of a kind that has never been built before, the AP1000, a model by Westinghouse that is supposed to withstand earthquakes and plane crashes and be less vulnerable to operator error or to a loss of all electricity, the last of which caused the triple meltdown at Fukushima.

Nuclear advocates point out that the design is virtually complete. By contrast, designers of reactors in the last round of construction, in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, were usually half a step ahead of the builders, resulting in repeated redesigns and cost increases.

Another plus is that China has four AP1000s ahead of Vogtle in the pipeline, enabling Southern to dispatch teams to watch those plants being built.

The company estimates that 3,400 workers will be on site in Waynesboro at the peak of construction, up from 1,500 now.


14) I Was Stopped, But Not Frisked
By Marc Mauer
February 8, 2012

Behind the searing light, a man yelled. "This is the police. Put your hands up."

I was only five minutes from home, walking through an unlighted stretch on my way to the community center to work out in my Silver Spring, Maryland, neighborhood, an MP3 of Stevie Wonder crooning in my ear. The light hit me in the face and I fumbled to turn down the music, but raised my hands.

Since I hadn't been able to get the music turned down, I foolishly reached in my pocket to try again, prompting a louder warning: "Get your hands up!"

The officer appeared out of the dark, shining the light beam in my face. All business, he said: "What are you doing out here?"

"I'm on my way to the community center," I said.

"Okay," he said. "Move on."

A few minutes later, I was inside the center walking on the treadmill when the officer walked in.

"You shouldn't be walking around in the dark, listening to music," he said. "You're an easy mark for an attack."

I explained that I'd lived in my multi-cultural neighborhood for two decades. I felt comfortable.

He looked around the center. "Did you see some kids running up the hill?"

I hadn't and told him so. He said that as he had approached them in the parking lot, but they ran away from him. He chased them up the hill, but they got away again. The officer didn't say that the kids had done anything wrong, only that they ran away from him.

He never said so, but I can't help but believe that the kids in question were African American. That's who plays basketball at the community center and that's who congregates in the parking lot. So the problem seemed to be that black kids ran away from a (white) cop.

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem terribly surprising to me.

I happen to be the executive director of a national criminal justice reform organization, but I'm also a middle-aged white guy. We all know that lots of privileges go along with that status, but I was reminded of it by my encounter with this officer. Just the thought of what might have happened without that white privilege the second time I foolishly put my hand back in my pocket to try to turn off the music gives me chills.

It's hardly a secret that the relationship between African American communities and law enforcement over many years has been fraught with conflict. From the old days of station-house beatings to get a confession to today's "stop and frisk" practices in New York City, an awful lot of mistrust has been engendered.

Much has changed in recent years, of course. It's not unusual anymore to have a person of color as chief of police and many jurisdictions are doing an admirable job of collecting racial data on police activity to head off any inappropriate behavior by law enforcement agents. This is all very encouraging. But at the same time, we shouldn't be surprised that some of the long-term animosity between police and communities of color hasn't dissipated. So, while I have no idea whether the kids in the parking lot were doing anything wrong, I can certainly imagine the thought process that might have led them to run from the police.

My encounter also reminds me of the racial dynamics I see in the justice system overall. For many years I've delivered a guest lecture each semester at a Washington-area college class on criminal justice. Most of the students in the class are white. In discussing drug policy, I survey them informally regarding their experiences by asking how many of their friends use drugs, have been arrested for doing so, or are currently incarcerated on a drug offense. Every hand goes up on drug use, a few for the arrest question, and hardly any for the prison issue. When I then ask why there is so little criminal justice intervention when the campus is seemingly overrun with drug users, they show great sophistication in analyzing these dynamics. They recognize that as a community, we have an investment in their future and we generally can count on them to graduate from college and enter the ranks of the productive middle class. Thus, we're all better off acknowledging that these are "youthful indiscretions."

I can't disagree with such a response, or lack thereof, by the criminal justice system. But I'm quite troubled by the responses I get to these same questions when I speak to a group of mostly African American students, where all hands remain raised for all three questions. As long as we maintain a two-tiered system for public safety -- harsh punishments for some, second chances for others -- the prospects for achieving a full democratic society will be quite troubling.


15) Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Pfc. Bradley Manning
Today’s Call-In Target: General Raymond Odierno

Every week from now until the court martial the Bradley Manning Support Network will be asking supporters to write or call an influential person in the trial.

Just this week professor Mary Keck wrote an open letter to General Odierno, asking him to bring war criminals to justice, and to recognize the valor and honor of Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Pfc. Bradley Manning. We appreciate her letter, and would like to follow it up with as many calls and letters of support as possible! Please write General Odierno. Let him know blowing the whistle on war crimes should not be a crime. It should be a crime to hide them.

Professor Keck writes,

“Pfc. Bradley Manning has shown true courage at great cost to himself. Like all soldiers, he chose to serve knowing that he may die in combat, but he went above and beyond this duty by choosing to do what was right rather than what would make him popular. If the allegations that he leaked information to Wikileaks are true, he fulfilled his oath to protect and serve the citizens of the United States. Therefore, his actions should be celebrated just as we would recognize the deeds of any courageous service member.”

Read her full letter, then write to Army Chief of Staff, General Raymond Odierno at the following address. Also visit his Facebook page, and his blog, and let him know how you feel about Bradley Manning’s shameful incarceration and trial.

Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno

Chief of Staff of the US Army
101 Army Pentagon, Rm. 3E672
Washington DC 20310-0200
Phone: 703-697-0900


If the number above stops answering we suggest calling-

* Secretary of the Army Public Affairs Officer Lt. Anne Edgecomb: 703-697-3491 [email:]
* Army Chief of Staff Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col Alayne Conway: 703-693-4961 [email:]

Here are a few suggested demands for your letters, messages, and phone calls:

* Allow the defense to present its case! Including, all of its evidence and witnesses.
* Prosecute war criminals not whistle-blowers.
* Stop denying the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture access to visit Bradley Manning.
* Drop all the charges against Bradley Manning.
* Recognize that Bradley is an honorable person & give him a medal. Free Bradley Manning!

Thank you for supporting Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Arraignment date set for Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning

WASHINGTON, DC — The United States Army announced today that a formal arraignment date has been set for PFC Bradley Manning. The arraignment has been scheduled for 01:00 PM EST, February 23, 2012 at Fort Meade, Maryland. This arraignment will set the dates for a series of hearings on pre-trial motions, as well as the start of the full court-martial.

“Bradley Manning’s show trial will begin in earnest with this arraignment,” said Jeff Paterson, a lead organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network. “If the Obama administration was the least bit concerned with providing a fair trial, they would have allowed the defense to explore critical issues, such as unlawful command influence, over-classification, and the torturous conditions to which PFC Manning has been subjected while in their custody. If they were concerned about justice, they would drop the charges against Bradley Manning and prosecute those whose crimes have been revealed.”

Military officials have routinely blocked requests by Manning’s defense team, led by Iraq war veteran David Coombs, for access to evidence and witnesses that could explore these and other relevant issues. During the Article 32 proceedings held in December, the defense was largely restricted by military officials to a discussion of mitigating factors related to Manning’s emotional health. The defense is expected to renew their requests through additional motions leading up to the court-martial.

The arraignment comes as PFC Manning was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Icelandic Parliament. A blog post by MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir explained their rationale for the nomination:

“According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S. troops from the occupation in Iraq.”

Organizers with the Bradley Manning Support Network expect the court-martial to begin as early as May. Hundreds of supporters demonstrated outside the Article 32 hearings. Organizers say that the Obama administration can expect even larger numbers at the court-martial.


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