Wednesday, March 21, 2012

BAY AREA UNITED AGAINST WAR NEWSLETTER--March 21, 2012



MAY DAY 2012

OCCUPY WALL STREET STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH CALLS FOR:

ON MAY DAY -- WHEREVER YOU ARE -- WHOEVER YOU ARE

NO WORK! NO CHORES! NO BANKING! NO SHOPPING! NO SCHOOL!

A DAY WITHOUT THE 99 PERCENT -- A GENERAL STRIKE AND MORE!!

TAKE THE STREETS!

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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Join CodePINK tomorrow, March 21st, 5:00pm downtown Oakland BART, ride together to Embarcadero!

Wednesday, March 21, 5:30pm - A Million Hoodies March for Trayvon Martin

Throw on your hoodies, bring your skittles, and come gather in Bradley Manning Plaza to show your support for justice for Trayvon Martin! Bring items to create an altar for Trayvon at the UN.

**WEDNESDAY, March 21st is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

We're going to be gathering in Bradley Manning Plaza at 5:30 PM to rally and march to the United Nations Association at 6 PM!

Rally and March https://www.facebook.com/events/318735908182032/

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Attend the 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 one percent Against the 99 percent 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 one percent at home and abroad, impose austerity--often by the use of drones, armies, and the police--on the 99 percent 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 Castro 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 350.org 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.

• Lamis Deek is a Palestinian organizer and attorney who is the chair of Al Awda NY

• 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

• Colonel 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 Crime.org

• 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

For more information:
United National Antiwar Coalition
UNACpeace@gmail.com
www.UNACpeace.org
(518) 227-6947
P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054
https://nationalpeaceconference.org/Conference.html

Send donations to: UNACpeace@gmail.com or to use a credit card, go here: https://nationalpeaceconference.org/Donate.html

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G8 Moving to Camp David
Protesters claim victory, to continue plans to march on May 19th

Today, the White House announced that the G8 summit,scheduled for Chicago on May 19-20, will be moved to Camp David, although the NATO summit will still take place in Chicago.

The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda(CANG8) and Occupy Chicago issue the following statement:

The G8 moving to Camp David represents a major victory for the people of Chicago. The leaders of the 1%are moving because of the overwhelming resistance to the NATO/G8 war and poverty agenda in Chicago. Our city is filled with tens of thousands of people who ares sruggling to keep their heads above water, fighting against the effects of the economic crisis caused by the leaders who would have been gathering here. The communities of Chicago are fighting to save their schools, keep healthcare available, and to defend their jobs from cutbacks that are a hallmark of the governments of the G8.

The city has carried out a campaign to intimidate and vilify protesters, claiming that protests lead to violence. In fact, the main source of violence in the world today is the wars being waged by NATO and the US.

"We will march on May 19th to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world."

United National Antiwar Committee
UNACpeace@gmain.com or UNAC at P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054
518-227-6947
www.UNACpeace.org

To add your email to the new CANGATE listserve, send an email to: cangate-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

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

https://www.nationalpeaceconference.org/NATO_G8_protest_support.html

Click here to hear audio of the August 28 meeting:

http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/54145

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1tHQ7ilDJ8&NR=1

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoNGcnBGGfI

NATO and the G8 Represent the 1%.

For more info: www.CANG8.org or email us at cangate2012@gmail.com

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Emergency Scream-out & Press Conference for Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham
Monday, March 26, 2012, 11:00am - 12:00pm at Hall of Injustice -850 Bryant st San Francisco

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Subject: FW from code pink: Occupy Oakland ENDORSES our NO WAR ON IRAN
April 17th Action!!!

We're happy to bring you GREAT news! The awesome Occupy Oakland folks voted UNANIMOUSLY to endorse our proposal for a NO WAR ON IRAN action to coincide with the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending, April 17th, from noon-5 at the Oakland Federal Building.

This is what we've been hoping for and working towards: getting the anti-war message front and center with the Occupy movement!!! So let's BE THERE!

So PLEASE mark your calendars, call in PINK, and join us in front of the Oakland Federal Building Tuesday, April 17th, the final day our U.S. income taxes - to pay for wars - are due!

Come bring your ideas & resources & help us plan this action on Saturday, March 24th, 11am-1pm at Mudrakers Cafe, 2801 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley! Thus far we are working on a press conference, maybe a march to/from the Post Office, visual timeline of US. military aggression, street theater, FOOD, music, banner drops, and???

PROPOSAL: Endorse Global Day of Action Against Military Spending NO WAR ON IRAN with CodePINK, anti-war groups, Tuesday, April 17th noon-5pm, Oakland Federal Building

HELLO, we are here as part of CodePINK:Women4Peace, WAK:Women Against Killing, Grandmothers Against War & other activist anti-war groups.

We in CodePINK & WAK work to enable, value and project specifically women's voices, womenâ€(tm)s ideas, womenâ€(tm)s actions, womenâ€(tm)s leadership, as we work to end all forms of violence, especially the violence of “warâ€ and military occupation.

The imminent threat of a new war against Iran carries with it the real danger of yet another horrendous global, human, environmental (not to mention political,etc) catastrophe, while the present wars continue that same horrendous devastation.

The voice of the U.S. people needs to be heard to STOP this from happening, and we would like to work especially with Occupy, with individuals, communities, and working groups to amplify and direct our tactics, actions, and solutions.

As part of our NO WAR ON IRAN actions, NO NEW WARS, END ALL WARS, we are calling for a protest & occupation in front of the Oakland Federal Building in conjunction with the Global Day of Action AGAINST MILITARY SPENDING. And on the day our income taxes - that pay for wars & occupations ââ€" are due.

Also, Help clarify what wars ‘abroadâ€(tm) have to do with wars at home: foreclosures, racism, budget cuts, misogyny, homelessness, military & prison industrial complex

We hope Occupy will vote to endorse this NO WAR ON IRAN Action as a joint action with CodePINK & other anti-war groups & individuals. We also hope that as a result of this Action together, we can begin an occupy working group or committee that will have regular report-backs to the G.A.

The protest thus far will include banner drops, visuals: timeline of US military aggression, especially against Iran, FOOD, educational exercises, music, group discussions, die-ins, teach-ins, and other ACTIONS.
NO WAR ON IRAN ACTION: Occupy & War(s)
April 17th, Tuesday, 12:00 noon - 5pm
Oakland Federal Building
Reasons

War and the Military & Prison Industrial Complex are and have always been integral to forming and building of our politics, our economy, our culture and our very country.

In 2011, we spent TWO BILLION dollars a DAY on wars, military occupations, attacks against other nations, primarily peoples of color.

In the U.S., we have 4-5% of the worldâ€(tm)s people while we consume 25-60% of the worldâ€(tm)s resources. We are able to secure so many resources because of our military and our willingness to engage our military might in the conquering, capturing, destroying of people, their lands, their resources - people with miinimal weaponry and military technology.

We spend more on our military than every other country in the world combined.

The U.S. military is the largest single consumer of fossil fuels.

Everything we have obtained in this country, from the very land we stand on to all our ‘richesâ€(tm), we have gotten through genocide, enslaving, torturing, and/or killing someone: from the first time Europeans set foot on this soil to commit genocide against Indigenous Peoples, to enslaving African peoples, to declaring wars against Mexicans, to sending troops off this continent to protect U.S. business interest, steal resources, & occupy the lands of others - mostlly peoples of color - beginning in 1801 when the marines occupied Libya for 4 years, until this very day.

We have over 1000 military bases (that we know about) in over 150 countries in our world of about 192 countries.

In 2011, 52% of our federal discretionary budget supplied by income taxes, went to the military; 7% to education; 5% to health care.

War profiteers, as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Atomics, make much more profits then Goldman Sucks and/or banks.

We invite individuals and working groups from Occupy to come and participate with us in this Global Day of Action against Military Spending, END WARS, NO NEW WARS specifically NO WAR ON IRAN, Tuesday, April 17th, noon â€" 5pm.

Again we are asking at this G.A. if you will endorse this Global Day of Action Against Military Spending, Tuesday, April 17th & join us at the Oakland Federal Building, noon - 5pm.

This action will be taking place on: APRIL 17th, Tuesday, from 12 noon until 5PM at the Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland

You are invited to participate in any way, pass out flyers, spread the word. PLEASE come to our next organizing meeting every Saturday, 11-1pm at Mudrakerâ€(tm)s cafÃ(c) - on the flyer. All are invited.

In solidarity and action,
Xan Sam Joi
DISARM DISARM DISARM
work for peace; hold all life sacred; eliminate violence
www.codepinkjournals.blogspot.com

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6 Ways to Get Ready for the May 1st GENERAL STRIKE

Posted 2 days ago on March 11, 2012, 7:57 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Yesterday, 60,000 marched on Madison to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of Governor Scott Walker's drastic dismantling of collective bargaining rights for public employees. Last year, Walker's attacks on labor rights sparked massive protests that saw hundreds of thousands occupy the Wisconsin capital building. Their actions prefigured Occupy Wall Street and inspired countless others to take a stand against economic inequality, political injustice, and the tyranny of the 1% enforced through politicians and banksters alike.

This is just one example that people across the globe are actively resisting attacks on the 99%. This year has already seen the largest-ever strike on record in India, hundreds of thousands marching for democracy in Bahrain, general strikes in Montreal and Spain where students once again occupied public space in protest of the austerity measures and spending cuts being enforced by the European banking elite, massive uprisings in the streets of Moscow, and more. Even in the United States, the movement grows. The corporate media claims that Occupy's strength is waning, but they are merely in denial. During the coldest months of this year, the United States has already seen more revolutionary momentum than it has in decades.

This winter, we refocused our energies on fostering ties with local communities, saving homes from corrupt banks and jobs from greedy corporations, and building and expanding our horizontal infrastructure. This #GlobalSpring, we will take the streets again. On May 1st, Occupy Wall Street has called for a General Strike. We are calling on everyone who supports the cause of economic justice and true democracy to take part: No Work, No School, No Housework, No Shopping, No Banking - and most importantly, TAKE THE STREETS!

We are getting ready. Planning is already underway in dozens of cities. Labor organizers, immigrants' rights groups, artists, Occupiers, faith leaders, and more have all joined in the discussion to get ready. Now, all we need is you. Keep reading to find out how you can get involved!

May 1st, also known as International Workers' Day, is the annual commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when Chicago police fired on workers during a General Strike for the eight-hour workday. In many countries, May 1st is observed as a holiday. But in the United States, despite the eventual success of the eight-hour-workday campaign, the holiday is not officially recognized. In spite of this, May Day is already a powerful date in the U.S. In 2006, immigrant's rights groups took to the streets in unprecedented numbers in a national "Day Without An Immigrant" - a general strike aimed at proving the economic power of immigrants in the U.S. At least one million people marched in Chicago and Los Angeles alone. Hundreds of thousands more marched throughout cities across the U.S.

Now, in response to call-outs from Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Chicago, Occupy Oakland, and other General Assemblies and affinity groups, the Occupy Movement is preparing to mobilize a General Strike this May 1st in solidarity with struggles already underway to defend the rights of workers, immigrants, and other communities who are resisting oppression. Dozens of Occupations in cities and towns throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia have already endorsed May Day. Here is just a taste of events in the works for New York City:

* 8am-4pm: Midtown action staging zone in Bryant Park.
* Disruptive actions in midtown all day! Hit the 1% where they live and prevent them from getting to work. Let's make this a Day Without the 1%, as well!
* Family friendly, free food, a really, REALLY free market, skillshares, workshops, lectures, art, fun and more!
* 4pm: March to Union Square for solidarity march
* 5:30pm: Solidarity march from Union Square to Wall St.
* 7pm: March to staging area for evening actions

And this is just the beginning. To quote the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, a major Spanish union, who recently called for a national General Strike in Spain on March 29th to protest labor reforms:

For the CNT, the strike on March 29 must be only the beginning of a growing and sustained process of mobilization, one which includes the entire working class and the sectors that are most disadvantaged and affected by the capitalist crisis. This mobilization must put the brakes on the dynamic of constant assaults on our rights, while laying the bases for the recovery and conquest of new social rights with the goal of a deep social transformation.

None of this would be possible without the grassroots support of everyday organizers who volunteer their time to grow the movement against Wall Street greed and political corruption. Here are eight simple things you can do to help advance the cause of equity for all:

[1] Work With Your Local Occupy: There are hundreds of Occupy groups still holding regular meetings and events. Chances are, there's one nearby. (And if there isn't yet - it's easy to start one!) General Assemblies are open to everyone, and everyone has a voice in the consensus planning process. So find your nearest Occupation and go to a GA! If they haven't already endorsed the General Strike, propose it to the group and start planning marches, distributing fliers, and forming direct action groups.

[2] Spread the Word On Social Media: Follow #M1GS, @OWSMayDay, @OccupyWallSt, and @OccupyGenStrike on Twitter. Also be sure to RSVP on Facebook and follow facebook.com/OccupyGeneralStrike. You can also look for city-specific events, like these from Chicago and Detroit.

[3] Start an Affinity Group: You can take action on your own. All you need are a few friends. Affinity groups are groups of people who know each other and come together autonomously for a particular action. Find a few people who are interested in helping you out on a project you have in mind - whether it's making fliers and literature to distribute, or shutting down a Wall Street bank in your hometown. Get creative, and get to work! (Here's a hint: OccuPrint collects, prints, and distributes posters from the worldwide Occupy movement, and they have a ton of amazing General Strike posters!)

[4] Join the General Strike Conference Calls: InterOccupy hosts regular calls to organize May 1st activities. Check out their schedule and join in the conversation!

[5] Talk to Labor: Due to federal laws, most unions are forbidden from organizing strikes for political reasons. However, unions and labor groups are still some of our strongest allies. During last year's General Strike in Oakland, many unions encouraged their workers to take the day off or attend demonstrations after work. Not long after Occupy Oakland shut down ports in solidarity with striking Longshoreman, their employers caved to the union's demands in a new contract. Get in touch with local unions and labor organizations, let them know about the plans for a General Strike, find out what they're working on and how you can help, and encourage them to let their members know about May 1st and get involved in organizing directly.

[6] Organize Your Workplace, Campus, or Community: If you're a unionized worker, encourage your union to support the General Strike. Whether your workplace is union or not, you can encourage co-workers to take a sick day on May 1st. If you can't afford to lose out on pay, that's okay - there will be plenty of celebrations, marches, and direct actions throughout all hours of the day. Invite your community to attend. If you're a student at a high school or college, spread the word to walk-out of class on May 1st. If you're not a worker or student, organize your friends!

More information: [MayDayNYC.org] | [OccupyMay1st.org] | [StrikeEverywhere.net] | [NYC General Assembly - May Day]

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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!!!

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.
IF WE CAN'T LIVE, WE WON'T WORK.

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.
REVOLT FOR A LIFE WORTH LIVING

STRIKE / BLOCKADE / OCCUPY

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Occupy the PGA in Benton Harbor, MI May 23-27, 2012
http://wibailoutpeople.org/2011/12/29/occupy-the-pga-in-benton-harbor-mi-may-23-27-2012/

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

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!

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

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B. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.:
[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website:
http://bauaw.blogspot.com/ or bauaw.org ...bw]

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Attack Dogs used on a High School Walkout in MD, Four Students Charged With "Thought Crimes"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wafMaML17w



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Organizing & Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman
http://arthazelwood.com/instigator/occupy/occupy-birth-video.html



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Rep News 12: Yes We Kony
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68GbzIkYdc8



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The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4rLfja8488



In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called "The New Black". The song is taken from The Mavrix' upcoming album,"Pura Vida", due for release in June 2012.

Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book "Mornings in Jenin", authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, "Mornings in Jenin", he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.

The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.

Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of "Mornings in Jenin", the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid

In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called "The New Black". The song is taken from The Mavrix' upcoming album,"Pura Vida", due for release in June 2012.

Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book "Mornings in Jenin", authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, "Mornings in Jenin", he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.

The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.

Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of "Mornings in Jenin", the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid

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Japan One Year Later
http://www.onlineschools.org/japan-one-year-later/

OnlineSchools.org presents Japan One Year Later Japan One Year Later

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The CIA's Heart Attack Gun
http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/assassination-studies/the-cias-heart-attack-gun-.html

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Channel 2 investigation highlights racial discrepancies in marijuana arrests
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/channel-2-investigation-highlights-racial-discrepa/nK8Gd/



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Occupy The PGA
May 23-27 (big day: Sat. May 26) - Benton Harbor, Michigan
Demonstrate in protest of land stolen by Whirlpool Corporation
http://occupythepga.wordpress.com/ Twitter HashTag #OccupyThePGA

This is the keynote address by Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan, at "Let Freedom Ring! Michigan's P.A. 4 Emergency Manager Act Forum" in East Lansing on Saturday, February 18, 2012. The event was organized by the Edgewood United Church of Christ Justice and Peace Task Force and recorded by the Peace Education Center. Jim Anderson of Edgewood United Church introduces Rev. Pinkney.



From: Pinkney Freddie
To: rev pinkney
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 5:21 PM
Subject: Re: Michigan Emergency Manager act - speech by Pinkney

Subject: Michigan Emergency Manager act - speech by Pinkney

please forward widely

A seminar on PA4, the Emergency Manager act, was held last Saturday
in East Lansing. It was an afternoon panel discussion which began with
keynote speaker Rev. Edward Pinkney, resident of the first Michigan
town to feel the unconstitutional brunt of this new law - Benton Harbor.

This is his speech.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANSuw_SPmjw&feature=email

bhbanco.org
Rev. Edward Pinkney 269-925-0001

Occupy The PGA
May 23-27 (big day: Sat. May 26) - Benton Harbor, Michigan
Demonstrate in protest of land stolen by Whirlpool Corporation
http://occupythepga.wordpress.com/ Twitter HashTag #OccupyThePGA Facebook Event Page

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The Invisible American Workforce
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/new_expos_tracks_alec_private_prison



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Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbQxnb4so3U



This video shows the early stages of the growing Chicago movement against the newly minted extraordinary police powers ordinance (dubbed the "sit down and shut up" laws). We go to one of the many actions around the city directed at Chicago aldermen who were about to vote on these new laws (designed by Democratic Party Mayor Emanuel to crush any dissent against the NATO/G8 summits he is hosting here in May). Richard de Vries, Union Representative for IBT 705, tells a story about when he and Danny Solis were students at University of Illinois-Chicago campus back in the early 70s and they both participated in a student protest/occupation of the campus. If the ordinance under consideration (which now Alderman Solis finally approved of) were in effect then, "we wouldn't even be on the street today." We also visit the press conference at City Hall given by an impressive coalition of neighborhood and labor organizations on the eve of City Council committee meetings and final vote. The draconian measures, only marginally tweaked, passed overwhelmingly by the all-Democratic Party Council. The video is also a useful primer on what NATO is and some of its criminal record, from the bombings of civilians in Yugoslavia in the late 90s to NATO's recent killings of civilians in Libya and Afghanistan. In January of this year the Arab Organisation for Human Rights together with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights announced that there is evidence that NATO has committed war crimes. "My estimate: it's Military Murder Inc.," states Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO web site, as he provides extensive background information. Includes interviews and comments from numerous labor and community leaders. Length 25:37. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: mail@laborbeat.org, www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat". On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at mail@laborbeat.org.

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Anti-War Demonstrators Storm Pentagon 1967/10/24
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDiFkckszCw


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Liberal Hypocrisy on Obama Vs Bush - Poll
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl_HGEXq_aM&feature=player_embedded


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Greek trade unionists and black bloc October 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHMLD_Vql0o&feature=player_embedded#!


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The Battle of Oakland
by brandon jourdan plus
http://vimeo.com/36256273

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.




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Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
By ANDY NEWMAN
February 1, 2012, 10:56 am
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/officers-pulled-off-street-after-tape-of-beating-surfaces/?ref=nyregion



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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
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=767&Itemid=74&jumival=7847


More at The Real News


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Defending The People's Mic
by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street
The North Star
January 20, 2012
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=53
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.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Tj7tEVx8A&feature=player_embedded



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"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

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYQfJcRNwqM



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: (http://bit.ly/AntiLibertyOrdinance).

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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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75cbEdNo2U&feature=player_embedded



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.

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NATO, G8 In Chicago: More Details Released, City Grants First Protest Permit
By CARLA K. JOHNSON
January 12, 2012
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/12/nato-g8-in-chicago-more-d_n_1203429.html



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Release Bradley Manning
Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)
Written by Graham Nash and James Raymond (son of David Crosby)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAYG7yJpBbQ&feature=player_embedded



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 - grahamnash.com

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FREEDOM ROAD - A Tribute to Mumia sung by Renn Lee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC27vzqxSCA&feature=youtu.be



FREEDOM ROAD

(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.

(Instrumental)

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.

(Instumental)

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.

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School police increasingly arresting American students?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl-efNBvjUU&feature=player_embedded



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.

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"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

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1293. Big Coal Don't Like This Man At All (Original) - with Marco Acca on guitar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljtxjFKB718&mid=574



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: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/14/charles-scott-howard-whistleblower-m...

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).

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=142068

To see the complete lyrics and chords please click here: http://raymondfolk.wetpaint.com/page/Big+Coal+Don%27t+Like+This+Man+At+all

You can see a playlist of my mining songs here:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CF909DA14CE415DF

You can hear a playlist of my original songs (in alphabetical order) here:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B9F8E3B7A8822951

For lyrics and chords of all my songs, please see my website: http://www.raymondcrooke.com

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FYI:
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.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9lquok4Pdk&feature=share&mid=5408


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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?

OccupyWallSt.org
Occupytogether.org
wearethe99percentuk.tumblr.com
http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

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

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AT:
http://bailoutpeople.org/dropchargesonoccupywallstarrestees.shtml 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!

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We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFAOJsBxAxY



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

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The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Documentary Footage (1963)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL2mU029PkQ&feature=fvsr



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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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8x1_q9wg58

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
http://links.org.au/node/2681
--Inspiring

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Busby: Fukushima 'criminal event' calls for investigation
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Dec 27, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F0uFAWV7uc&feature=player_embedded%23!

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.



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HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws0WSNRpy3g



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ONE OF THE GREATEST POSTS ON YOUTUBE SO FAR!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8C-qIgbP9o&feature=share&mid=552



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ILWU Local 10 Longshore Workers Speak-Out At Oakland Port Shutdown
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JUpBpZYwms

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
http://www.facebook.com/groups/256313837734192/
For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz3fE-Vhrw8&feature=youtu.be
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org



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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
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/lifting-the-veil/

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.



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Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera y Trotsky Video Original
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Z0keLaGhQ



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UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 November 11
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/8485-uc-davis-police-violence-adds-fuel-to-fire

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdDLhPwpp4&feature=player_embedded


Police PEPPER SPRAY UC Davis STUDENT PROTESTERS!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuWEx6Cfn-I&feature=player_embedded


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&feature=player_embedded


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UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CZ0t9ez_EGI#!



Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTIyE_JlJzw&feature=related



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THE BEST VIDEO ON "OCCUPY THE WORLD"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S880UldxB1o



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Rafeef Ziadah - 'Shades of anger', London, 12.11.11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2vFJE93LTI



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News: Massive anti-nuclear demonstration in Fukuoka Nov. 12, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq_xKEWuj1I&feature=player_embedded



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Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0pX9LeE-g8&feature=player_embedded



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Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrvMzqopHH0



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Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tu_D8SFYck&feature=player_embedded



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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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoiisMMCFT0&feature=player_embedded



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Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAfzUOx53Rg&feature=player_embedded



G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrJ7aU-n1L8&feature=player_embedded



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WHAT HAPPENED IN OAKLAND TUESDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 25:

Occupy Oakland Protest
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPs-REyl-0&feature=player_embedded


Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R27kD2_7PwU&feature=player_embedded


Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpO-lJr2BQY&feature=player_embedded


Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqNOPZLw03Q&feature=player_embedded


KTVU TV Video of Police violence
http://www.ktvu.com/video/29587714/index.html


Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMUgPTCgwcQ&feature=player_embedded


Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU4Y0pwJtWE&feature=player_embedded


Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YStWz6jbeZA&feature=player_embedded


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Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY8isD33f-I



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Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA48gmfGB6U&feature=youtu.be



Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjKZpOk7TyM&feature=related



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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziodsFWEb5Y&feature=player_embedded



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#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street
By adele pham
http://vimeo.com/30146870

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



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Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yULSI-31Pto&feature=player_embedded



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FREE THE CUBAN FIVE!
http://www.thecuban5.org/wordpress/index.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmS4kHC_OlY&feature=player_embedded



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The Preacher and the Slave - Joe Hill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca_MEJmuzMM



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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
http://www.labnol.org/internet/visualize-numbers-how-big-is-trillion-dollars/7814/

How Much Is $1 Trillion?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPfY0q-rEdY&feature=player_embedded



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:
http://www.labnol.org/internet/visualize-numbers-how-big-is-trillion-dollars/7814/

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One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and beautiful...bw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE3R1BQrYCw&feature=player_embedded

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." Thomas Jefferson



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Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)
Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVuGwc9dlhQ&feature=player_embedded



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FREE BRADLEY MANNING
http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/national-call-in-for-bradley

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 WhiteHouse.gov.

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 giobon@comcast.net
Manage Subscriptions for giobon@comcast.net
Sign Up for Updates from the White House
Unsubscribe giobon@comcast.net | 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:

BRADLEY MANNING "BROKE THE LAW" SAYS OBAMA!

"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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfmtUpd4id0&feature=youtu.be



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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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSNUSIGZCMQ



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Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVGqE726OAo&feature=player_embedded

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Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E7h-DNvwx4&feature=player_embedded

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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Antiwar/Social Justice Activist Arrested
Support Joe Callahan

On July 31, 2011, after two Salvadoran immigrants went to Canada to apply for asylum, long-time Twin Cities activist Joe Callahan was arrested by Canadian police at the Pigeon River border station. At the time Joe was alone in his car. The Canadian police used a backpack, maps and other items found in Joe's car as the grounds for his arrest.

Joe was charged with "aiding and abetting an immigration without a visa," and "providing false and misleading information." As a result of these charges, Joe was locked up in the Thunder Bay District Jail in cramped, crowded conditions where inmates are frequently forced to sleep on the floor, as Joe did for the first several days he was there. While Joe was in custody, the authorities added the charge of "smuggling" or "human trafficking." This charge is much more serious and carries a maximum sentence of ten years.

After one month Joe was released on bail and was allowed to return to the Minneapolis area, pending trial. He is restricted to the Twin Cities area as a condition of his release. Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney, or "Crown Attorney," as they are called in Canada, informed Joe's defense attorneys that he is seeking a sentence of three or four years. The trial will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The date has not yet been set. Joe is being represented by Mary Bird and Francis Thatcher, a prominent attorney in the Aboriginal rights struggle.

Over the last thirty years Joe has been active in solidarity work for Central America and Cuba. He has been an active defender of immigration rights. He was also active against an attempt to reinstate the death penalty in Minnesota. His record in the fight for justice goes back to his youth. As a student he was active in the anti-Vietnam war movement.

For four and a half years Joe worked for the Metro Transit System as a bus driver, and was a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union. He has spent his working life in blue collar, unionized jobs. Now, because of his legal difficulties, he has been forced to take a lower-paying position as a driver for a small bus company.

Joe Callahan is NOT a human trafficker! Joe is NOT a smuggler! These charges against him are unfounded and they should be dropped. Joe is a political activist concerned about the rights of immigrants. He needs the help of all supporters of democratic rights.

You can aid in Joe's defense:

--Send donations to: Joe Callahan Support Committee, 2919 Polk St. NE, Minneapolis, Mn 55418

--Circulate this letter and urge others to sign. New signers can sign via email to:
joecallahansupport@hotmail.com

--Attend Joe's trial in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For more information contact:
supportjoe.wordpress.com or joecallahansupport@hotmail.com

In solidarity,

Michael Rattner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights; Michael Steven Smith, Esq. Co-host, Law and Disorder; Jeff Mackler, Dir., Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu Jamal; Roger Sheppard, Member, Local 105 IBEW (retired); Barbara Mutnick, activist, Queens, New York; Cliff Conner, author, "A People's History of Science"; Marv Gandall, activist, Ottawa Canada; Walker Jones, activist, Ottawa Canada; Bruce Scheff, Chicago, IL; -Continued on page 2-; Support Joe Callahan, page 2; Dianne Feeley, Editor, Against the Current; Alan Wald, Editor, Against the Current; Malik Miah, Editor, Against the Current; John Riddell, Toronto; Suzanne Weiss, Toronto; Art Young, Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly; Linda Meissenheimer, Toronto; Brad Sigal, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition; Marie Braun, Twin Cities Peace Campaign; Dave Bicking, Green Party; Alan Dale, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition; Tracy Molm, Students for a Democratic Society; Eric Angell, co-producer, "Our World in "Depth"; Colleen McGilp, AFSCME (retired); Jess Sundin, Anti-War Committee; Bruce Nestor, Past President, National Lawyers Guild; Linden Gawboy, Committee to Stop FBI Repression; Tim O'Brien, Hands Off Honduras; Anh Pham, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition; Timothy Jordan, architect, Minneapolis; Kay Pitney, activist, Minneapolis; Jennie Eisert, Anti-War Committee; Beth Shapiro, Women Against Military Madness; Joel Greenberg, Chicago, Il.; Mark Satinoff, shop steward, IAM Local Lodge 1894, Queens, NY; Carol Hayse, LCSW
Note: Organizations for Identification Purposes Only

This letter has been approved by the Joe Callahan Support Committee.
Please circulate this letter as widely as possible to potential supporters.

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LATEST ON LYNNE STEWART:

Free-Speech Argument in Appeal of Disbarred Lawyer's Sentence
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
February 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/nyregion/free-speech-is-cited-in-appeal-of-lynne-stewarts-10-year-sentence.html?ref=nyregion

Throughout her long career, the disbarred lawyer Lynne F. Stewart has rarely minced words or stood mute. But her propensity for speaking her mind is now at the crux of an appeal of her 10-year sentence in federal prison.

Ms. Stewart, known for defending unpopular clients and causes, was convicted in 2005 on five counts of providing material aid to terrorism and of lying to the government. A jury found that she had broken the rules to help her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, communicate with his followers in the Islamic Group, an Egyptian organization with a history of terrorist violence.

Judge John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court in Manhattan originally sentenced Ms. Stewart to 28 months in prison. But federal prosecutors appealed and pushed for a new sentence, claiming that Ms. Stewart had made public statements indicating a lack of remorse; she was then resentenced to 10 years in prison.

"One of the most cherished policies of this nation is that everybody should be allowed to speak freely," a lawyer for Ms. Stewart, Herald Price Fahringer, told a three-judge panel in United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Wednesday morning. "This case puts that principle to a very great test."

Mr. Fahringer said it had been "highly hazardous" for Judge Koeltl to consider Ms. Stewart's statements outside of court in his sentencing decision.

But he was interrupted by Judge Robert D. Sack, who said, "I'm not sure that freedom of speech means absolute immunity from the consequences of what you say."

A few minutes later, another judge, John M. Walker Jr., asked, "How else do you get a window into the character of the defendant?"

The first of Ms. Stewart's comments that are at issue came shortly after she received the 28-month sentence in 2006. Appearing before a throng of supporters in front of a courthouse in Lower Manhattan, she called the sentence "fair and right," but then declared, "I can do that standing on my head."

A few days later, while appearing on the radio show "Democracy Now," Ms. Stewart was asked by a reporter, Amy Goodman, if she regretted her conduct, and she replied, "I might handle it a little differently, but I would do it again."

The appeals panel sent the case back to Judge Koeltl for resentencing, citing the comments as well as assertions by federal prosecutors that Ms. Stewart had committed perjury and abused her position as a lawyer.

In 2010, Judge Koeltl sentenced Ms. Stewart to 10 years in prison, ruling that she had lied and abused her position and writing that her statements indicated she viewed her 28-month sentence as trivial and that the sentence, therefore, did not "provide adequate deterrence."

Ms. Stewart's lawyers argued that her reference to standing on her head was simply an expression of relief. And, they added, when she used the phrase "I would do it again," she meant only that she would again represent Mr. Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 of plotting to blow up buildings and tunnels in New York City.

But prosecutors wrote in a brief that Judge Koeltl had interpreted Ms. Stewart's comments accurately, adding that he had "observed a defiant and energized Stewart lecturing the government about its purported overreaching and mocking the sentence imposed."

WBAI newscast (quotes Cliff Connor, Barbara Mutnick and Carole Seligman) it's the first item on the newscast:
http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/wbai_120229_180043wbainews.mp3

Lynne Stewart Speaks from Carswell Medical Prison
February 29, 2012

Prevented from attending her own court appeal Lynne Stewart prepared this message for her friends, supporters and comrades in attendance:

My dear friends, supporters, comrades!

My purpose here is to rally all of us to the continuation of struggle, of resistance. I am committed to all the unfinished freedom business that still confronts us-much more difficult and contentious than supporting me. I'm easy-the righteousness of my situation, the extreme overreaching of the government and the obvious effects on the way in which lawyers and particularly movement lawyers carry out their obligations to their clients. Our issues-free speech from the courthouse steps, which, we assumed, was and is, included in the First Amendment. Our repugnancy at the changing of the ground rules after the game is afoot when the higher court directs the lower court Judge to increase the sentence and he complies five-times over.

We are demanding that the Court acknowledge the wrongfulness of my ten-year sentence as it is based on a foundation of sand. Of course, we also know that Courts are capable of creating rock out of sand just as they can create "persons" out of corporations! With that understanding, while hoping for the best, we need to commit ourselves to all the ongoing issues-Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks; the obscene vaudevillian charade of democracy that is the current presidential election; the cause of our political prisoners, Leonard. Mumia, Sundiata, Jaan, Brianna, Dr. Dhafir and all the prisoners on death row and those being tortured and killed worldwide and in solitary confinement; The right to choose for women steadily being eroded by elderly men interested in controlling younger women. You know the causes, we fight every day in every way and we are committed. We are not sunshine soldiers or summer patriots. The misery we fight against is caused by a super-terror, the USA one percent, intent on keeping people mentally subjugated by convincing them that they need to surrender in fear to the government.

I believe in fighting back-it's liberating, and you meet the finest people, who have also enlisted. A movement has to be a living, growing organism dedicated to change that "moves!" We will move and we will reclaim our beloved country from those who would blind and subjugate our people. Onward ever-Backward Never!

Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Unit 2N, Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Write to Lynne Stewart Defense Committee at:
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information: 718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

DEFEND LYNNE STEWART!
http://lynnestewart.org/

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.

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Mumia Abu-Jamal Transferred Out of Solitary Confinement, Into General Population
Posted on January 27, 2012
prisonradio
http://prisonradio.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/mumia-abu-jamal-transferred-out-of-solitary-confinement-into-general-population/

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: "Litestar01@aol.com"
To: Litestar01@aol.com; nattyreb@gmail.com; pamafrica@gmail.com
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 ONAMOVELLJA@aol.com - 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 www.megabus.com .
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 www.freemumia.com)

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 - http://www.dreadtimes.com/

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "Litestar01@aol.com"
To: Litestar01@aol.com; nattyreb@gmail.com; pamafrica@gmail.com
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 us...it 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

http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Lawyers-Guild/338038119888

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ACLU: SAY NO TO INDEFINITE DETENTION!

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.

Signed,
[your name]

https://secure.aclu.org/site/SPageServer?emsrc=Nat_Appeal_AutologinEnabled&s_subsrc=120103_NDAA_GOL&pagename=120103_NDAAGOLAsk&emissue=indefinite_detention&emtype=pledge&JServSessionIdr004=d90jai6lu1.app224a

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Urgent Appeal to Occupy and All Social Justice Movements: Mobilize to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Endorse the statement here:
http://www.defendegyptianrevolution.org/2011/12/19/defend-the-egyptian-revolution/

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.

www.defendegyptianrevolution.org and defendegyptianrevolution@gmail.com

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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: http://freetarek.com/

---------- 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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CONTACT:

Christopher Ott, Communications Director, 617-482-3170 x322, cott@aclum.org

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: http://aclum.org/usa_v_mehanna

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

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HANDS OFF IRAN PETITION
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/hands-off-iran/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=system&utm_campaign=Send%2Bto%2BFriend

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)
http://nepajac.org/unaciran.htm

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"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" book
https://www.mecaforpeace.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=25

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: meca@mecaforpeace.org, 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]

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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.
https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/free-pfc-bradley-manning-accused-wikileaks-whistleblower/kX1GJKsD?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

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Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests
http://www.stopfbi.net/get-involved/nato-g8-police-repression

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: http://www.stopfbi.net/get-involved/nato-g8-police-repression/full-text]

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.

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Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana state prisons must end
Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/justice-for-albert-woodfox-and-herman-wallace

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WITNESS GAZA
http://www.witnessgaza.com/

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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 bradleymanning.org, 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
http://bradleymanning.org/donate

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:
I am Bradley Manning
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-P3OXML00s

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

"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."

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/update-42811

This is also a Facebook event

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=207100509321891#!/event.php?eid=207100509321891

Courage to Resist needs your support
Please donate today:
https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

"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.

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

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.
http://ymlp.com/forward.php?id=lS3tR&e=bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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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!

STOP THE FBI CAMPAIGN OF REPRESSION AGAINST CHICANO, IMMIGRANT RIGHTS, ANTI-WAR AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS NOW!
Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression stopfbi.net stopfbi@gmail.com

http://iacenter.org/stopfbi/

Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression
at stopfbi.net
stopfbi@gmail.com

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY -- ANY DAY
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 www.StopFBI.net or email info@StopFBI.net or call
612-379-3585 .
Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights
reserved.

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 stopfbi.net (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

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The Battle Is Still On To
FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610
www.laboractionmumia.org

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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....

ANY DAY NOW . . . IN THE EVENT THAT THE U.S. INDICTS JULIAN ASSANGE

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:

HANDS OFF WIKILEAKS! FREE JULIAN ASSANGE! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

Join the HUMAN CHAIN AROUND THE FEDERAL BUILDING!
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:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/mannings-message-christmas-eve-i-gr/

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
415-864-5153
sf@worldcantwait.org

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT! FREE KEVIN COOPER!

Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper
Chronicle Editorial
Monday, December 13, 2010
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/13/EDG81GP0I7.DTL

Death penalty -- Kevin Cooper is Innocent! Help save his life from San Quentin's death row!

http://www.savekevincooper.org/
http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/essays_content.html?ID=255

URGENT ACTION APPEAL
- From Amnesty International USA
17 December 2010
Click here to take action online:
http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=15084

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to
http://www.amnestyusa.org/iar/success

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):
http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa25910.pdf

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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.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
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
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)

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1) Don't Cut Pensions, Expand Them
By TERESA GHILARDUCCI
March 15, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/opinion/pension-funds-for-the-public.html

2) A Meter So Expensive, It Creates Parking Spots
[Just think--if they make parking meters $100.00 per hour--how many more parking spaces there would be for the 1/10th of the One Percent! Why not make it illegal for any person earning less than a million dollars a year to park anywhere in the city--then fine them their yearly pay if their car is found parked on the street; put them in jail if they can't pay their fine; and then to work without pay as prison labor! My oh my what creative thinkers these people are! Way to go to create parking spaces in this congested city! ...bw]
By MICHAEL COOPER and JO CRAVEN McGINTY
March 15, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/program-aims-to-make-the-streets-of-san-francisco-easier-to-park-on.html?ref=us

3) Parents of Slain Black Teen Want FBI Investigation
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 16, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/03/16/us/ap-us-neighborhood-watch-death.html?ref=us

4) Justice Department Investigation Is Sought in Florida Teenager's Shooting Death
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
March 16, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/us/justice-department-investigation-is-sought-in-florida-teenagers-shooting-death.html?ref=us

5) Untouchable Pensions May Be Tested in California
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
March 16, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/business/untouchable-pensions-in-california-may-be-put-to-the-test.html?ref=us

6) The Banks Win, Again
New York Times Editorial
March 17, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-banks-win-again.html?_r=1&hp

7) Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
March 17, 2012, 8:00 pm
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/arrests-made-as-protesters-mark-occupy-wall-streets-six-month-anniversary/?hp

8) 911 Calls Add Detail to Debate Over Florida Killing
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
March 17, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/us/911-tapes-released-in-killing-of-florida-teenager.html?ref=us

9) At Home, Asking How 'Our Bobby' Became War Crime Suspect
By JAMES DAO
March 18, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/us/sgt-robert-bales-from-small-town-ohio-to-afghanistan.html?hp

10) Justice for Trayvon Martin
http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/Trayvon/?akid=2382.1429074.YhL1yp&rd=1&t=2

11) Chicago Rejects Protesters' Plans For March During NATO Summit
March 19, 2012 2:58 PM
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/19/chicago-rejects-protesters-plans-for-march-during-nato-summit/

12) Grand Jury to Examine Death of Florida Teenager
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
March 20, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/us/justice-department-opens-inquiry-in-killing-of-trayvon-martin.html?hp

13) Florida Shooting Focuses Attention on 'Stand Your Ground' Law
By J. DAVID GOODMAN
March 20, 2012, 11:47 am
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/florida-shooting-focuses-attention-on-stand-your-ground-law/?ref=us

14) Occupy Protesters Are Arrested at Union Square Park
By AL BAKER and COLIN MOYNIHAN
March 21, 2012, 10:16 am
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/police-and-protesters-clash-at-union-square-park/?hp

15) Dutch Church Is Accused of Castrating Young Men
By STEPHEN CASTLE
March 20, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/world/europe/dutch-church-accused-of-castrating-10-young-men.html?ref=world

16) Will Noam Chomsky Vote For President Obama? [You betcha!...bw]
My Conversation with Noam Chomsky
By The State Journal
Information Clearing House, March 20, 2012
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30866.htm

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1) Don't Cut Pensions, Expand Them
By TERESA GHILARDUCCI
March 15, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/opinion/pension-funds-for-the-public.html

ON Thursday morning the New York State Legislature agreed to a deal limiting pensions for future public employees. The state thus joins 43 others that have recently enacted legislation curtailing public retirement benefits.

Though New York needs to reduce its spending, the cuts come at a particularly bad time: over a third of New York workers, both public and private, approaching retirement age have less than $10,000 in liquid assets. As a result, those workers are projected to be poor or near poor in retirement, with an average budget of about $7 a day for food and approximately $600 a month for housing.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution. Rather than curtailing public and private pensions, New York and other states could save millions of workers from impending poverty by creating public pensions for everyone.

While the recession bears some blame for the looming retirement crisis, experts agree that the primary cause is more fundamental: Most workers do not have retirement accounts at work. Over half of the workers in New York State, more than four million people in 2010, do not participate in retirement plans with their current employers, while over half of American workers do not have pension plans at work.

Private-sector pensions have been on the retreat for decades. In fact, in the late 1970s and early '80s, Congress, worried about the dismal rate of pension coverage, tried to remedy the situation by extending 401(k) plans, originally designed for executives, to everyone, while also passing a law to create individual retirement accounts.

The problem is that these steps set up incentives through the tax code, which means that the biggest benefits go to the highest earners - people who, moreover, would probably have saved anyway. Today 79 percent of such tax breaks go to the top 20 percent of workers.

Meanwhile, despite extensive commercial advertising for retirement planning, coverage for ordinary people stalled. And even many of those who do save for retirement fail to consistently put away the 5 to 10 percent of their pay necessary to adequately supplement their Social Security benefits.

In response, in late February California State Senator Kevin De León and Darrell Steinberg, the Senate president pro tempore, introduced legislation that would allow private-sector workers in California to enroll in a modest, state-operated retirement program financed by the workers and their employers - at virtually no cost to taxpayers.

This would increase coverage because employers would put every worker into a plan, either their own or the California plan. In the California version workers could opt out; some will, but most workers once in a plan will stay in.

Also in February, John Liu, the New York City comptroller, called for a similar plan for New York City residents. His program would pool employee and employer contributions into a professionally managed, citywide retirement fund.

Both plans would use the same professional staff and institutional money managers that invest the state and city pension funds to manage contributions made by participating employers and employees in the private sector.

This is a vital step: public pension plans usually outperform 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts, because instead of a single worker managing a single account, large institutional plans pool workers of all ages, diversify the portfolio over longer time periods, use the best professional managers that aren't available for retail accounts and have the bargaining power to lower fees and prioritize long-term investment.

By some estimates, costs for public pensions are over 45 percent lower than for individual 401(k) plans. Of course, since these plans would be financed by workers and their employers, there would be no cost to taxpayers.

Saving for retirement is never easy. But finding a safe place to put your money these days is even harder. Opening up public pension options to everyone is a cheap, simple way to help.

Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School, is the author of "When I'm Sixty-Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them."

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2) A Meter So Expensive, It Creates Parking Spots
[Just think--if they make parking meters $100.00 per hour--how many more parking spaces there would be for the 1/10th of the One Percent! Why not make it illegal for any person earning less than a million dollars a year to park anywhere in the city--then fine them their yearly pay if their car is found parked on the street; put them in jail if they can't pay their fine; and then to work without pay as prison labor! My oh my what creative thinkers these people are! Way to go to create parking spaces in this congested city! ...bw]
By MICHAEL COOPER and JO CRAVEN McGINTY
March 15, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/program-aims-to-make-the-streets-of-san-francisco-easier-to-park-on.html?ref=us

SAN FRANCISCO - The maddening quest for street parking is not just a tribulation for drivers, but a trial for cities. As much as a third of the traffic in some areas has been attributed to drivers circling as they hunt for spaces. The wearying tradition takes a toll in lost time, polluted air and, when drivers despair, double-parked cars that clog traffic even more.

But San Francisco is trying to shorten the hunt with an ambitious experiment that aims to make sure that there is always at least one empty parking spot available on every block that has meters. The program, which uses new technology and the law of supply and demand, raises the price of parking on the city's most crowded blocks and lowers it on its emptiest blocks. While the new prices are still being phased in - the most expensive spots have risen to $4.50 an hour, but could reach $6 - preliminary data suggests that the change may be having a positive effect in some areas.

Change can already be seen on a stretch of Drumm Street downtown near the Embarcadero and the popular restaurants at the Ferry Building. Last summer it was nearly impossible to find spots there. But after the city gradually raised the price of parking to $4.50 an hour from $3.50, high-tech sensors embedded in the street showed that spots were available a little more often - leaving a welcome space the other day for the silver Toyota Corolla driven by Victor Chew, a salesman for a commercial dishwasher company who frequently parks in the area.

"There are more spots available now," said Mr. Chew, 48. "Now I don't have to walk half a mile."

San Francisco's parking experiment is the latest major attempt to improve the uneasy relationship between cities and the internal combustion engine - a century-long saga that has seen cities build highways and tear them down, widen streets and narrow them, and make more parking available at some times and discourage it at others, all to try to make their downtowns accessible but not too congested.

The program here is being closely watched by cities around the country. With the help of a federal grant, San Francisco installed parking sensors and new meters at roughly a quarter of its 26,800 metered spots to track when and where cars are parked. And beginning last summer, the city began tweaking its prices every two months - giving it the option of raising them 25 cents an hour, or lowering them by as much as 50 cents - in the hope of leaving each block with at least one available spot. The city also has cut prices at many of the garages and parking lots it manages, to lure cars off the street.

It is too early to tell whether the program is working over all, but an analysis of city parking data by The New York Times found signs that the new rates are having the desired effect in some areas. While only a third of the blocks in the program have hit their targeted occupancy rates in any given month since the program began, the analysis found, three-quarters of the blocks either hit their targets or moved closer to the goal. The program has been a bit more successful on weekdays.

Of course, price is only one factor that influences behavior. About a fifth of the time prices rose but more spaces filled up, or prices fell but fewer people parked. And the full effects of the phased-in price changes have yet to be felt, because the most expensive spots cannot hit the $6-an-hour maximum until next year at the earliest.

Jay Primus, who manages the program for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said city was trying to reduce traffic and pollution and make parking easier - and not just to raise revenues. "We only need a few people to see there is a price difference and choose to park in a different location to open up just a few spaces here and there," he said.

Meters here can now charge different prices at different times of the day, and the city has lengthened or eliminated time limits. Since the city made it easier to pay for parking with credit cards, and began a program that allows people to find spots and pay for them on their mobile phones - so they no longer have to run out of meals to feed the meters - fewer parking tickets have been issued.

The program is the biggest test yet of the theories of Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. His 2005 book, "The High Cost of Free Parking," made him something of a cult figure to city planners - a Facebook group, The Shoupistas, has more than a thousand members. "I think the basic idea is that we will see a lot of benefits if we get the price of curbside parking right, which is the lowest price a city can charge and still have one or two vacant spaces available on every block," he said.

But raising prices is rarely popular. A chapter in Mr. Shoup's book opens with a quote from George Costanza, the "Seinfeld" character: "My father didn't pay for parking, my mother, my brother, nobody. It's like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay when, if I apply myself, maybe I can get it for free?" Some San Francisco neighborhoods recently objected to a proposal to install meters on streets where parking is now free. And raising prices in the most desirable areas raises concerns that it will make them less accessible to the poor.

That was on the minds of some parkers on Drumm Street, where the midday occupancy rate on one block fell to 86 percent from 98 percent after prices rose. Edward Saldate, 55, a hairstylist who paid nearly $17 for close to four hours of parking there, called it "a big rip-off."

Tom Randlett, 69, an accountant, said that he was pleased to be able to find a spot there for the first time, but acknowledged that the program was "complicated on the social equity level."

Officials note that parking rates are cut as often as they are raised. And Professor Shoup said that the program would benefit many poor people, including the many San Franciscans who do not have cars, because all parking revenues are used for mass transit and any reduction in traffic will speed the buses many people here rely on. And he imagined a day when drivers will no longer attribute good parking spots to luck or karma.

"It will be taken for granted," he said, "the way you take it for granted that when you go to a store you can get fresh bananas or apples."

Michael Cooper reported from San Francisco, and Jo Craven McGinty from New York. Malia Wollan contributed reporting from San Francisco.

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3) Parents of Slain Black Teen Want FBI Investigation
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 16, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/03/16/us/ap-us-neighborhood-watch-death.html?ref=us

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - The parents of a black teenager fatally shot by a white neighborhood watch volunteer called on the FBI Friday to take over the investigation, saying they no longer trusted the local police department.

Meanwhile, the shooter's father is defending his son, saying he is not a racist and did not provoke the altercation that led to the shooting.

The parents of Trayvon Martin told an Orlando press conference they no longer trust the Sanford Police Department. Their 17-year-old son was fatally shot last month as he returned to a Sanford home during a visit from Miami.

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton accused Sanford police of botching the investigation and criticized them for not arresting 28-year-old George Zimmerman, who says he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Martin was not armed. They say the police department hasn't arrested Zimmerman because he is white and their son was black.

"Do we really believe that if Trayvon Martin would have pulled the trigger, he would not be arrested?" said Benjamin Crump, their attorney. "This is obviously a cover-up, and we need a sweeping overhaul of the Sanford Police Department."

Sanford police Sgt. David Morgenstern said the department stands by its investigation but welcomes help from any outside agency. FBI agent David Couvertier said the agency has been in contact with Sanford police and is monitoring the case.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman's father delivered a letter to the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday saying the way his son is being depicted in the media is cruel and misleading. He also says his son has received death threats and moved out of his home. George Zimmerman is Hispanic and grew up in a multiracial family, the statement says.

"He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever ...," the letter says. "The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth."

No one disputes that Zimmerman shot Martin on the night of Feb. 26. Martin, who was visiting from Miami, was walking back to the home of his father's fiancée after going to the store to buy candy for his little brother and an iced tea for himself. It was raining, and Martin was walking with the hood of his jacket pulled over his head.

Zimmerman called 911 from his sports utility vehilcle, saying he had spotted a suspicious person walking in the multi-racial neighborhood. The 911 tape has not been released, but officials say the dispatcher told him to stay in his SUV and an officer would be there momentarily. But Zimmerman for unknown reasons got out. He and Martin fought, according to witnesses. At some point Zimmerman pulled a gun and shot Martin, who died at the scene. Zimmerman told Sanford police he acted in self-defense. He has not been arrested or charged.

Sanford investigators say they have turned over their evidence to prosecutors for them to decide whether Zimmerman should be charged.

The letter Zimmerman's father gave the Sentinel says George Zimmerman didn't get out of the SUV to confront Martin.

"At no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin. When the true details of the event became public, and I hope that will be soon, everyone should be outraged by the treatment of George Zimmerman in the media," the letter said.

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4) Justice Department Investigation Is Sought in Florida Teenager's Shooting Death
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
March 16, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/us/justice-department-investigation-is-sought-in-florida-teenagers-shooting-death.html?ref=us

MIAMI - Nearly three weeks after an unarmed teenager was killed in a small city north of Orlando, stirring an outcry, a few indisputable facts remain: the teenager, who was black, was carrying nothing but a bag of Skittles, some money and a can of iced tea when he was shot. The neighborhood crime watch volunteer who got out of his car and shot him is white and Hispanic. He has not been arrested and is claiming self-defense.

Beyond that, however, little is clear about the Feb. 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17.

As criticism of the police investigation mounts, so too do the calls for swift action in a case with heavy racial overtones. Protests grow larger each week, and lawyers for the family are now asking the Department of Justice to intervene. The case also brings into sharp focus Florida's self-defense laws, which give people who feel threatened greater latitude in defending themselves than most states.

The police in of Sanford, where the shooting took place, are not revealing details of the investigation. Late Friday night, after weeks of pressure, the police played the 911 calls in the case for the family and gave copies to the news media. On the recordings, one shot, an apparent warning or miss, is heard, followed by a voice begging or pleading, and a cry. A second shot is then heard, and the pleading stops.

"It is so clear that this was a 17-year-old boy pleading for his life, and someone shot him in cold blood," said Natalie Jackson, one of the Martin family lawyers.

The police maintain that under state law they cannot arrest George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer who was licensed to carry a concealed weapon, without probable cause. They turned the case over to the Seminole County state attorney this week.

A few neighborhood residents who say they heard a disturbance were interviewed by the police. But now two witnesses are coming forward to say their interviews were cursory, a charge the police department denies.

"The evidence doesn't establish so far that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense," Chief Bill Lee of the Sanford police said this week, responding to why Mr. Zimmerman had not been arrested. He said he would welcome a federal investigation. "We don't have anything to dispute his claim of self-defense at this point."

Florida's self-defense law, known as Stand Your Ground, grants immunity to people who act to protect themselves if they have a reasonable fear they will be killed or seriously injured.

"Stand Your Ground is a law that has really created a Wild West type environment in Florida," said Brian Tannebaum, a criminal defense lawyer in Florida. "It allows people to kill people outside of their homes, if they are in reasonable fear for their lives. It's a very low standard."

For Trayvon's parents, the situation does not add up. They want Mr. Zimmerman arrested and the normal criminal justice process to begin.

"Everybody is outraged," said Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father. "There is no justice in this. The public is outraged because my son only had snacks in his pocket, no weapon whatsoever, not even a fingernail file. For him to be murdered by someone who weighs more than 100 pounds than him, more than 10 years older than him, this is an outrage."

Echoing a view held by many blacks in Sanford and elsewhere, the family's lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said the police appeared to be protecting Mr. Zimmerman.

"Had Trayvon been the person who was the triggerman, they would have arrested him from Day 1 and they wouldn't have given him bail and he would be sitting in jail," Mr. Crump said. "Zimmerman is free and sleeping in his own bed at night."

Frustration also grew after the parents said they had been told by detectives that Mr. Zimmerman had a "squeaky clean" record. They knew this, the detectives said, because Mr. Zimmerman told them. But Mr. Zimmerman had been arrested in 2005 on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a police officer. The charges were later dropped.

The police said it took them some time to run the check.

"A criminal background check was conducted within 12 to 24 hours after we got the call," Sgt. David Morgenstern said.

Mr. Zimmerman lives in the predominantly white gated community where the shooting took place. A criminal justice major in college, he often patrolled the streets in his car. In the last 14 months, Mr. Zimmerman had made 46 calls to the police, officials said, reporting everything from alarms and disturbances to reckless driving and, most commonly, a "suspicious" person.

That night, he saw Trayvon, a tall Miami high school junior, shortly after 7 p.m. with the hood of his sweatshirt over his head, the police said. Trayvon had returned from a convenience store and was headed for his father's girlfriend's house, where he was staying.

Mr. Zimmerman trailed Trayvon in his car and placed a call to the police. The dispatcher told him to stay in his car and said the police would be on the way. But Mr. Zimmerman got out.

The two got into a struggle that was partly overheard by a few neighbors. Mr. Zimmerman wound up with a bloody nose and a cut to the back of his head. Trayvon was shot in the chest.

Mary Cutcher and her roommate said they heard Trayvon pleading. Then they heard a gunshot. They rushed outside and saw Mr. Zimmerman standing over the teenager. Ms. Cutcher said she did not think it was self-defense and added that the police took only a brief statement, despite her efforts to go into detail.

In a statement Thursday, the police said her statement to them matched Mr. Zimmerman's.

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5) Untouchable Pensions May Be Tested in California
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
March 16, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/business/untouchable-pensions-in-california-may-be-put-to-the-test.html?ref=us

When the city manager of troubled Stockton, Calif., had to tell city council members why it was on track to become the biggest American city yet to go bankrupt, it took hours to get through the list.

There was the free health care for retirees, the unpaid parking tickets, the revenue bonds without enough revenue to pay them. On it went, a grim drumbeat of practically every fiscal malady imaginable, except an obvious one: municipal pensions. Stockton is spending some $30 million a year to pay for them, but it has less than 70 cents set aside for every dollar of benefits its workers expect.

Some public pension experts think they know why pensions were not on the city manager's list. They see the hidden hand of California's giant state pension system, known as Calpers, which administers hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement obligations for municipalities across the state.

Calpers does not want cities like Stockton going back on their promises, and it argues that the state Constitution bars any reduction in pensions - and not just for people who have already retired. State law also forbids cuts in the pensions that today's public workers expect to earn in the future, Calpers says, even in cases of severe fiscal distress. Workers at companies have no comparable protection.

Stockton is in the midst of a mediation process with its creditors that will determine by the end of June whether it will file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, which would allow the city to negotiate reductions in its debt in court.

For Calpers, the prospect of a California city in Federal Bankruptcy Court portends a potential test of the constitutional mandate that federal law trumps state laws - in particular, the state laws that protect public workers' pensions in California. Such a challenge could blow a hole in what experts consider the most airtight pension protections anywhere.

"Obviously, what Calpers wants is that it doesn't come up in the process, which I think is ridiculous," said David A. Skeel Jr., a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who writes frequently on bankruptcy. "My view is that even the California Constitution is subsidiary to federal bankruptcy law."

As the United States population ages and more and more public workers qualify for retirement, the cost of their pensions is growing fast, turning into a major drag on many local governments' finances. The pension contributions that cities must make every year are rising, but their revenue, which often depends on property taxes, is not keeping up. Taxed-out residents, many of whom have lost their own pensions in the private sector, are unwilling to pay more. In tax-averse California in particular, where every tax increase must be put to a vote, officials are running out of options and some are considering bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy in America is a collective process, where creditors of a distressed company or municipality come together under court oversight and negotiate a plan to share the losses equitably, for the sake of the greater good. Some creditors may stand more toward the front of the line and others at the back, but there isn't generally one big creditor that gets paid in full without having to get in line at all.

Yet that's what Calpers appears to be doing.

"They will probably say it's a statutory right and it can't be changed by a bankruptcy court," said James E. Spiotto, a Chapter 9 specialist with the firm of Chapman & Cutler. "I think it's still subject to some question."

A spokeswoman for Stockton's city manager, Connie Cochran, said she could not discuss the city's dealings with Calpers, citing the confidential mediation process.

When a company with a pension plan goes bankrupt in Chapter 11, it typically stops making most of its required pension contributions, just as it can stop paying many other bills. Some companies, like Northwest Airlines, even declare bankruptcy the day before a pension contribution is due, to save the cash.

Chapter 11 also permits companies to shed their pension obligations completely, if they can convince the bankruptcy judge that's the only way they can restructure. The federal government, which insures traditional company pensions, then takes over the defunct plan and pays retirees their benefits, up to statutory limits.

There is no such backstop for state or municipal pensions. But cities, until recently, have managed to avoid bankruptcy, so there is almost no precedent for how public pensions will fare in Chapter 9.

Now that is starting to change.

Prichard, Ala., tried to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2009, after its pension fund ran out of money, but its case was thrown out by the judge, who cited a rule that Alabama cities must have bonds outstanding to qualify for Chapter 9. Prichard had no bonds at the time, just a big debt to its retirees. The city went for nearly two years without paying them their pensions, then reached an out-of-court settlement that gave them about one-third, on average, of what they had earned.

Central Falls, R.I., declared bankruptcy in 2011, after its pension fund for police officers and firefighters nearly ran out of money. The state withheld aid, and passed a law forbidding any effort to revive the pension plan by issuing bonds. Central Falls had little choice but to negotiate sharp cuts with the retirees.

In California, the only precedent is in the city of Vallejo, which declared bankruptcy in 2008. Unlike Prichard and Central Falls, which had their own pension plans, Vallejo is part of a state-run system. It kept making all of its contributions to Calpers throughout its three-year bankruptcy.

"We never shortchanged Calpers," said Robert V. Stout, Vallejo's finance director at the time.

Mr. Stout said he had expected to renegotiate the city's retirement plans in bankruptcy, since everything else was on the table. At the time, Vallejo was in a fiscal tailspin with the mortgage debacle, which hit cities in California unusually hard.

But Calpers drew a line in the sand, warning Mr. Stout and his lawyers that in California, public pensions can be increased but never decreased, not just for retirees, but also for workers at midcareer.

What if the city is bankrupt and cannot afford it?

"They made it quite clear that they take that law very seriously," Mr. Stout said. Calpers also warned that if the bankruptcy judge ruled that the state pension laws stopped at the federal courthouse door, Calpers would appeal, and make Vallejo pay its legal bills.

"We interpreted that as, 'If we try, they'll fight us through the courts forever,' " Mr. Stout said. He and Vallejo's lawyers decided the city couldn't afford it.

The city ended up cutting services sharply, gutting its retiree health plan, adding a 1 percent sales tax and cutting payments on its bonds. But its police officers and firefighters still qualify for full retirement at 50, and other city workers at 55.

Since Vallejo made no effort to cut pensions in bankruptcy, the legal issues remain untested, said Mr. Spiotto, the Chapter 9 lawyer.

"It's something that's in the process of being worked out, not only in California, but in every state," he said. "It's a global issue."

A Calpers spokeswoman responded to questions by providing a 20-page position paper on the laws that protect public pensions in California. The report did not mention bankruptcy but acknowledged that some California cities were struggling.

"It will be vitally important for all interested parties to heed the legal rules protecting the vested rights of Calpers's members," the paper said. Challenges "may lead only to additional litigation and administrative costs."

Critics in academic and legal circles say they believe Calpers wants to keep municipalities in its system because it needs to keep their contributions flowing in without interruption to cover the payouts it makes each month to retirees. Gov. Jerry Brown called that situation "a Ponzi scheme" last December, when he proposed a plan to lower public pension costs gradually, by offering smaller pensions to the workers that cities will hire in the future. The governor's plan was strongly opposed by public employees' unions, which have a strong voice in Calpers, and his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature have let it languish.

After Vallejo's bankruptcy, Calpers's board passed another rule that any municipality wanting to withdraw from its system would have to first pay off its shortfall, calculated in a way that makes the payment two to three times as big as in the past.

Stockton's city manager, Robert Deis, is focusing on cutting retiree health benefits instead of pensions, because he said the retiree health plan was completely unfunded - as opposed to its pension being 70 percent funded - and the cost was growing at a faster rate.

Changing the pensions would also be complicated by the fact that some of Stockton's retirees get both pensions and Social Security, and others get only their city pensions.

Still, the city's annual contributions to Calpers for pensions, currently $30 million, are greater than its retiree health costs, $9 million this year. Even before the collapse of 2008, Stockton was struggling with its pension contributions. In 2007, it issued bonds to raise the cash it needed to send to Calpers. But then Calpers's investments took a pounding in 2008, leaving Stockton with a new pension shortfall to cover - plus about $7 million of principal and interest to pay on the bonds every year.

Bankruptcy lawyers said that if such issues were not addressed in Stockton, they were likely to come up elsewhere soon.

"There are a bunch of cities in bad shape, and pensions are part of the problem," said Mr. Skeel. "If you have a string of Chapter 9's, I don't think every one of them is going to say, 'This enormous obligation can't be touched.' I think one of them is going to take the plunge."

Jennifer Medina contributed reporting.

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6) The Banks Win, Again
New York Times Editorial
March 17, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-banks-win-again.html?_r=1&hp

Last week was a big one for the banks. On Monday, the foreclosure settlement between the big banks and federal and state officials was filed in federal court, and it is now awaiting a judge's all-but-certain approval. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve announced the much-anticipated results of the latest round of bank stress tests.

How did the banks do on both? Pretty well, thank you - and better than homeowners and American taxpayers.

That is not only unfair, given banks' huge culpability in the mortgage bubble and financial meltdown. It also means that homeowners and the economy still need more relief, and that the banks, without more meaningful punishment, will not be deterred from the next round of misbehavior.

Under the terms of the settlement, the banks will provide $26 billion worth of relief to borrowers and aid to states for antiforeclosure efforts. In exchange, they will get immunity from government civil lawsuits for a litany of alleged abuses, including wrongful denial of loan modifications and wrongful foreclosures. That $26 billion is paltry compared with the scale of wrongdoing and ensuing damage, including 4 million homeowners who have lost their homes, 3.3 million others who are in or near foreclosure, and more than 11 million borrowers who are underwater by $700 billion.

The settlement could also end up doing more to clean up the banks' books than to help homeowners. Banks will be required to provide at least $17 billion worth of principal-reduction loan modifications and other relief, like forbearance for unemployed homeowners. Compelling the banks to do principal write-downs is an undeniable accomplishment of the settlement. But the amount of relief is still tiny compared with the problem. And the banks also get credit toward their share of the settlement for other actions that should be required, not rewarded.

For instance, they will receive 50 cents in credit for every dollar they write down on second liens that are 90 to 179 days past due, and 10 cents in credit for every dollar they write down on second liens that are 180 days or more overdue. At those stages of delinquency, the write-downs bring no relief to borrowers who have long since defaulted. Rather than subsidizing the banks' costs to write down hopelessly delinquent loans, regulators should be demanding that banks write them off and take the loss - and bring some much needed transparency to the question of whether the banks properly value their assets.

The settlement's complex formulas for delivering relief also give the banks too much discretion to decide who gets help, what kind of help, and how much. The result could be that fewer borrowers get help, because banks will be able to structure the relief in ways that are more advantageous for them than for borrowers. The Obama administration has said the settlement will provide about one million borrowers with loan write-downs, but private analysts have put the number at 500,000 to 700,000 over the next three years.

The settlement's go-easy-on-the-banks approach might be understandable if the banks were still hunkered down. But most of the banks - which still benefit from crisis-era support in the form of federally backed debt and near zero interest rates - passed the recent stress tests, paving the way for Fed approval to increase dividends and share buybacks, if not immediately, then as soon as possible.

When it comes to helping homeowners, banks are treated as if they still need to be protected from drains on their capital. But when it comes to rewarding executives and other bank shareholders, paying out capital is the name of the game. And at a time of economic weakness, using bank capital for investor payouts leaves the banks more exposed to shocks. So homeowners are still bearing the brunt of the mortgage debacle. Taxpayers are still supporting too-big-to-fail banks. And banks are still not being held accountable.

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7) Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
March 17, 2012, 8:00 pm
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/arrests-made-as-protesters-mark-occupy-wall-streets-six-month-anniversary/?hp

1:09 a.m. | Updated Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it.

Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The protesters chanted "we are not afraid" as the police began pulling people from the crowd, one by one, and leading them out of the park in handcuffs.

The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago. Earlier, protesters had embarked upon a winding march, after which police officers made initial arrests of about a dozen people near the park.

By 11:30 p.m., as police officers massed on Broadway, a commander announced that the park was closed. Those inside shouted back that the park was obliged through an agreement with the city to remain open. The commander then announced that anyone who remained inside would be arrested and charged with trespassing.

After clearing the park, police officers and private security guards began placing a ring of metal barricades on the park's perimeter, as those who had been arrested were placed inside a city bus.

At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.

By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.

Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. "One of the police ran and hit me with a baton," he said.

Earlier that afternoon, as protesters gathered under blue skies while carrying banners and signs, the day was in some ways reminiscent of the first time the Occupy protesters gathered in mid-September. Just after 1 p.m., brandishing placards with messages like "Take back government from corporations," the crowd left Zuccotti Park headed south on Broadway, chanting the now familiar slogan "We are the 99 percent."

When the first protesters set foot in the financial district six months ago, few people imagined what would follow, including a two-month encampment in Lower Manhattan, similar camps in cities across the country and critiques of corporate greed becoming part of the national dialogue.

The movement was mainly quiet during the winter, but organizers said they were aiming for a springtime resurgence.

"It's just a reminder that we're here," Brendan Burke said, as the crowd marched past the New York Stock Exchange. "It's an opportunity to remind Wall Street that we aren't going anywhere."

In several respects, Saturday's march was similar to the inaugural one. The crowd was small but spirited and marched past the bronze sculpture of a bull at Bowling Green, which had served as a mustering spot for the first march. Marchers were accompanied by police officers on foot and on scooters who at one point blocked access to Wall Street, just as they did on Sept. 17.

And, as they did that day, the marchers made sudden turns that appeared to surprise the police and walked along Wall Street for at least a brief time.

At one point, several demonstrators stood on the steep steps of Federal Hall and chanted "1-2-3-4, I declare class war."

Later, members of the group ignored orders from the police to remain on sidewalks and flowed onto parts of Exchange Place and Beaver Street. Later, on Broad Street, a deputy inspector turned to a sergeant and said, "We got to start collaring some."

For the next 30 minutes or so, things remained calm as marchers stuck to the sidewalks and entered Zuccotti Park.

But then, just after 2 p.m., police officers began telling a large group of protesters that they could not stand on the sidewalk on a stretch of Liberty Street. Officers pushed the crowd until more than 100 protesters on the sidewalk were pressed against a wall that borders the park.

Then the police began grabbing and arresting people, taking into custody at least half a dozen. Officers surged into the crowd, dragging protesters toward the street, as people yelled objections.

"They were grabbing people randomly," Zachary Kamel said, adding that his girlfriend, Lauren DiGoia, had been arrested while dancing on the sidewalk.

One sergeant grabbed a woman wearing a green shirt by the bottom of her throat and shoved her head against the hood of a car. A moment later, another officer approached and forcefully pressed her head against the car before placing her into the back of a police truck.

Over the next few hours, protesters conducted meetings inside Zuccotti Park and held a dance party fueled by a saxophone and a battery of drums. Sporadic moments of tension also arose.

At one point, the police arrested a handful of protesters on Cedar Street near Trinity Place. A few moments later, near Cedar Street and Broadway, a police captain pushed a man by the shoulders for almost a block, then released him when a crowd loudly demanded to know whether the man was under arrest.

The man, Charlie Gonzalez, 31, said that the captain had told him he was not permitted to stand on the sidewalk.

About an hour later, the same captain pushed another man several hundred feet east down Cedar Street, about a block from Zuccotti Park, and briefly detained him.

That man, Yoni Miller, 19, said he was counting officers standing in rows near Broadway when the captain forced him to walk around a corner onto Cedar Street, then asked him if he was a terrorist or was planning any crimes.

Paul Moore, 25, said that he was videotaping the encounter when the captain asked him for identification and began pushing him away, telling him he was not permitted to document what was happening.

After nightfall, the number of people inside the park swelled to more than 500.

About 10 p.m., some of those in the park began a regimen of running and dancing that they called "spring training," which they said was meant to prepare for coming demonstrations.

At 10:30, protesters sprung up a green tarp, folded over a piece of rope suspended from two trees near the center of Zuccotti Park. Security and police officers looked on from the perimeter.

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8) 911 Calls Add Detail to Debate Over Florida Killing
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
March 17, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/us/911-tapes-released-in-killing-of-florida-teenager.html?ref=us

MIAMI - It was raining the night of Feb. 26 when George Zimmerman, a crime watch volunteer, set out to patrol his neighborhood in his sport utility vehicle, as was his habit in recent weeks. Several break-ins had been reported in the area, and Mr. Zimmerman was especially alert.

He spotted a young black teenager wearing a sweatshirt, with the hood draped over his head. Mr. Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Hispanic man, trailed him a bit. Then he called 911, the first of seven calls from Mr. Zimmerman and panicked neighbors that begin to flesh out the details in the death of Trayvon Martin, 17, whom Mr. Zimmerman shot. The police released the recordings to local reporters late Friday night after nearly three weeks of pressure from Trayvon's parents and their supporters.

The 911 calls from a gated community in Sanford, north of Orlando, culminate with a faint voice in the distance crying and pleading for help. A gunshot is heard, and then silence. Mr. Zimmerman told the police that he had shot Trayvon in self-defense, after the two got into a fight and Mr. Zimmerman wound up on the ground. There have been no arrests in the case. The unarmed teenager, who carried Skittles and a can of iced tea, was walking to the home of his father's girlfriend from a convenience store.

"This guy looks like he's up to no good or on drugs or something," Mr. Zimmerman told dispatch, in his initial call. "It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about." Mr. Zimmerman continued: "He's here now just looking at all the houses. Now he's just staring at me." Then he added a second later: "He's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is. Can you get an officer over here?"

Then he got out of the car with his licensed 9-millimeter pistol, and a worried dispatcher asked: "Are you following him? O.K., you don't need to do that."

At that point, Trayvon ran, and Mr. Zimmerman continued to follow. The dispatcher told him to wait for the police. A suggestion was made that Mr. Zimmerman and the police should meet by a mailbox. But then Mr. Zimmerman changed his mind. "Actually, could you have him call me and I'll tell him where I'm at."

The next spate of calls came from anxious neighbors. A faint cry for help and terrified howls can be heard in the background. Neighbors said they had seen two men nearby in the dark. They reported hearing a gunshot.

"A guy yelled, 'Help! Oh, my God,' " one man told the dispatcher. "There is two guys in the backyard with flashlights. There is a black guy down and it looks like he's been shot and he's dead."

One caller said: "I think they're yelling help, but I don't know. Send someone quickly, please."

It is not clear from the audio whether one or two shots was fired. And, with the voice muffled in the distance, it is difficult to know which of the two men is crying out for help.

The police told The Orlando Sentinel on Friday that they believed the voice crying for help was Mr. Zimmerman's. They say that prosecutors have told them they do not have enough evidence to dispute Mr. Zimmerman's claim that he acted in self-defense. Florida affords people who act in self-defense greater protection than most states, allowing them to take action if they have a reasonable fear that their lives are in peril. The case was turned over to the state attorney's office last week.

"That is the circumstance we are dealing with: If we arrest, we open ourselves to a lawsuit," Sgt. Dave Morgenstern, a spokesman with the Sanford Police Department, said. "I would have to say I don't think we have conducted a racially biased investigation at all."

Sergeant Morgenstern said that Mr. Zimmerman was in contact with the police and was cooperating with the investigation. In a letter to The Orlando Sentinel last week, Mr. Zimmerman's father said that his son had black relatives and friends and was not the aggressor in the case.

Mr. Zimmerman, who is studying criminal justice, was arrested once in 2005 on charges of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence. The charges were dropped.

Trayvon had no criminal record. He was suspended from his Miami high school for 10 days in February, which is the reason he was visiting his father. The family said the suspension was not for violent or criminal behavior but for a violation of school policy.

Representative Corrine Brown, a Florida Democrat, and Sanford's mayor, Jeff Triplett, have joined the parents' request for a Department of Justice investigation.

Trayvon's parents say they have no doubt that it is their son's voice pleading for his life in the background. They say they can imagine Trayvon reacting with fright or concern upon seeing a burly stranger trailing him in his car, then getting out to follow him.

"I listened to the tapes and it just broke my heart again to hear him screaming out for help and pleading for his life, and he was still murdered," said Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother. "There is no question in my mind that is his voice."

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9) At Home, Asking How 'Our Bobby' Became War Crime Suspect
By JAMES DAO
March 18, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/us/sgt-robert-bales-from-small-town-ohio-to-afghanistan.html?hp

He was not the star, just a well-regarded young man who seemed to try to do the right thing. That was Robert Bales, "our Bobby," friends said. He was a busy, popular kid, but he made time for the autistic man down the block. Other neighborhood boys admired him. As a high school linebacker, he was good enough to be captain, but also gracious enough to help a more talented player take over his starting position. It was good for the team, he said.

That solid-guy reputation followed him into the Army infantry. He joined at the relatively seasoned age of 27, just a few weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and became respected for his maturity and calm, including in battle. "He was a damn good leader and a damn good soldier," said Zachary Parsons, who served with Staff Sergeant Bales in Iraq in 2007.

So when many of his old neighbors from Norwood, Ohio, and former battalion mates from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State heard the news that Sergeant Bales had been accused of coldbloodedly shooting to death 16 Afghan civilians on March 11, nine of them children, they were not simply shocked. They grieved.

Michelle Caddell, 48, who knew Sergeant Bales when he was growing up, watched a video clip of the news over and over and over again, mesmerized by disbelief. "I wanted to see, maybe, a different face," she said, fighting back tears. "Because that's not our Bobby. Something horrible, horrible had to happen to him."

Friends, relatives and his lawyer say they have an idea of what that horrible thing was: war.

Three deployments in Iraq, where he saw heavy fighting, and a fourth in Afghanistan, where he went reluctantly, left him struggling financially, in danger of losing his home.

And there were more direct impacts. During his deployments, Sergeant Bales, 38, lost part of a foot and injured his head, saw fellow soldiers badly wounded, picked up the bodies of dead Iraqis, was treated for mild traumatic brain injury and possibly developed post-traumatic stress disorder, his lawyer and military officials said.

But there are also glimpses of a darkness in his personal life. Sergeant Bales's past includes an arrest on a misdemeanor charge of assault on a woman, which was dropped after he completed anger-management counseling; an accident in which he overturned his car, something he attributed to falling asleep at the wheel; and an accumulation of rejections and disappointments.

A year ago, according to a blog written by his wife, he was denied a promotion to sergeant first class, a rank that would have brought not just added responsibility and respect but also money at a time when his finances seemed stretched.

Neighbors remember him, in between earlier deployments, as a gung-ho solider, eager to get back to the fight. But that seemed to have changed. He trained to become a recruiter, a job that would have allowed him to skip Afghanistan, but the Army kept him in the infantry. And though he felt that his injuries were significant enough to keep him out of combat, his lawyer said, Army doctors said he was fit to deploy. Weeks later, he arrived in one of the roughest precincts of Afghanistan.

A long legal process - starting with the formal filing of charges in the coming weeks and ending, most likely, in a court-martial - will sort out whether Sergeant Bales was guilty of atrocities and may shed light on which, if any, of these factors played a role.

From dozens of interviews with lawyers, friends and military officials, competing legal narratives are already starting to emerge.

A military official, speaking anonymously, has said Sergeant Bales had marital problems, felt stressed by the Afghanistan deployment and snapped after drinking alcohol before the shootings.

Sergeant Bales's lawyers contend that he had a solid marriage and no drinking problems. If he cracked, they said, it was because he probably had P.T.S.D. that the Army failed to diagnose, had been dispatched to a war he did not want to fight and had seen a friend gravely wounded just before the killings.

Dr. Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist and retired brigadier general who was an adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that after a decade of combat, where hundreds of thousands of troops have sustained traumatic brain injury and P.T.S.D., those syndromes by themselves seem inadequate to explain how a seemingly normal and widely admired sergeant might have single-handedly committed one of the worst war crimes of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

With his multiple deployments and wounds, Dr. Xenakis said, Sergeant Bales seems emblematic of bigger problems: an overstretched military battered by 11 years of combat; failures by the military to properly identify and treat its weary, suffering troops; and the thin line dividing "normal" behavior in war from what later is deemed "snapping."

"This is equivalent to what My Lai did to reveal all the problems with the conduct of the Vietnam War," Dr. Xenakis said. "The Army will want to say that soldiers who commit crimes are rogues, that they are individual, isolated cases. But they are not."

Inspirational Teenager

Sergeant Bales grew up in Norwood, a modest suburb of Cincinnati, the youngest of five boys who lived in a two-story brick home still known as "the Bales house," though no Baleses live in it anymore. The family was that well known, and that well liked.

"They're down-home country," Ms. Caddell said.

Mr. Bales was a gregarious, chatty, engaged teenager who played football and threw himself into an array of clubs and activities, including theater. In his yearbook, he signed the football team photo with a nickname, "Doom," and is listed on the "senior superlatives" page as one of the best dancers in his class.

"He's one of those kids you remember," said David C. Griffel, the principal of Norwood High School when Mr. Bales attended. "A real extrovert."

Mr. Bales was a leader on the football team, a feisty middle linebacker who was not big but strong, able to bench press 300 pounds. But in his junior year, a freshman star named Marc Edwards arrived, and the coach wanted the newcomer to be the starting middle linebacker. There might have been an unpleasant rivalry, but instead Mr. Bales shared tips on the position.

"He got the idea in that situation that Marc was going to be better for the team," said Aaron M. Smith, the author of a book about Mr. Edwards.

Mr. Edwards was surprised by Mr. Bales's generosity. "He credited Bob Bales with teaching him what leadership meant, and how to handle a situation that doesn't favor you," Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Edwards went on to be named Ohio's "Mr. Football" for 1992 and to play for Notre Dame, the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, the New England Patriots, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears.

Mr. Bales was enrolled in the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1991 and 1992. He attended Ohio State University from 1993 until 1996, declaring an economics major, according to Jim Lynch, a university spokesman. It is not clear why he left, Mr. Lynch said.

Details about Mr. Bales's life during the next several years are sketchy. Friends and his lawyer said he had worked in financial services in Columbus, Ohio, then started an investment business with his brother Mark. No sign remains of their Spartina Investments at the modest office building where they leased space in Doral, Fla., a few blocks west of Miami International Airport and south of the Doral Golf Resort and Spa.

By November 2001, he had joined the Army.

"It wasn't really anger when he joined," said Michael Blevins, 35, a childhood friend. "It was - they had hurt something," he added, referring to the Sept. 11 terrorists.

Ms. Caddell said that she had worried about his decision, but that he had assured her, "Nothing's going to happen to me." The decision made sense to Ms. Caddell's son Mark, who had idolized Mr. Bales since he was a toddler.

He has to join, Ms. Caddell recalled her son saying. "He takes care of everybody."

Introduction to Warfare

After basic training, Sergeant Bales was assigned to what was then known as Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, which would become the Army's Western deployment hub for the wars. For the next 11 years, he would spend his career with the Second Battalion, Third Infantry Regiment in a Stryker brigade.

In 2002, the criminal assault occurred in a Tacoma-area hotel room, but he paid his fine and completed court-mandated anger-management counseling, court records show.

Not long after, he married Karilyn Primeau, a woman he had met online, his lawyer said, and they went on to have two children, a daughter named Quincy and a son named Bobby.

The Third Brigade deployed to northern Iraq from November 2003 to November 2004, a time when the country was quickly devolving into looting, insurgency and chaos. But it was Sergeant Bales's second tour, from June 2006 into September 2007, that was particularly eventful.

By then, Iraq was in the throes of sectarian civil war, and American troops were dying at a rate of about 80 a month. David Hardt, a Third Brigade soldier who wrote a blog about the deployment, said that the enemy had almost always been invisible and that soldiers had grown bitterly frustrated at their inability to fight back.

"You sort of got used to seeing dead bodies, seeing things blow up in front of you," said Mr. Hardt, who did not know Sergeant Bales but was in Iraq at the same time. "We wanted to get insurgents, but it's so rare that we succeeded."

In one extraordinary battle in January 2007, however, Sergeant Bales's battalion encountered as many as 600 Shiite militia fighters while trying to recover a downed Apache helicopter in Najaf. In a pitched two-day battle that included airstrikes and mortar exchanges, the American forces claimed to have killed 250 enemy fighters while losing none of their own.

"The cool part about this was, World War II-style, you dug in," Sergeant Bales, then a team leader, was quoted as saying in a recounting of the battle by the Fort Lewis newspaper. "You're taking a shovel and digging as fast as you can."

"I've never been more proud to be a part of this unit than that day," he added.

Somewhere during that deployment, Sergeant Bales injured his foot, though his lawyer said he did not know how. The Army has declined to provide details about the sergeant's record.

But the injury did not seem significant enough to remove him from Iraq, and he seems to have finished the tour, which was extended to 15 months from 12 in what became known as the surge.

Mr. Hardt said most soldiers he knew were angry about the extension because they were exhausted by the continuous fighting and the threats of roadside bombs. But if Sergeant Bales was upset, he did not seem to complain. When he returned to the Tacoma area, he was limping, neighbors said, but also working hard to rehabilitate his foot because he wanted to return to full duty.

"He was a gung-ho Army guy," said Tim Burgess, 59, a retired trucker and warehouse worker who lived next door to Sergeant Bales at the time. "He still wanted to see action even though he had been wounded."

Neighbors remembered his wife as an avid bicyclist but not particularly sociable. Records show that she worked as a project manager at now-defunct Washington Mutual, then became an associate technical project manager at Amaxra, a business communications company in Redmond.

Sergeant Bales was home for nearly two years after his second deployment. Mrs. Bales, also an avid blogger, cheerfully recounted baking cookies, reading books and visiting her parents in Bellingham with their daughter.

By August 2009, he was gone again. It was a quieter tour, with more nation building than combat. In a Facebook exchange with a childhood friend, Steven Berling, Sergeant Bales called the deployment "boring" and "pretty dumb," then lamented the lack of fighting.

"Giving money to Hagji instead of bullets just don't seem right," he wrote, apparently misspelling Hajji, a term used by soldiers, often pejoratively, in referring to Arab people.

Financial and Career Setbacks

About the time Sergeant Bales was preparing to deploy in 2009, the Baleses were having financial problems, records show.

Early in their relationship, they had lived in a house in Auburn, between Seattle and Tacoma, that Mrs. Bales had owned before they were together. According to records, they received a notice of a trustee sale in mid-2009. The couple, who had moved out by then, had missed $17,000 in payments and owed a total of $195,000 to the bank.

A trustee auction was scheduled for October 2009, while Sergeant Bales was in Iraq, but the auction was postponed three times and then called off in early 2010 for reasons that are unclear.

Robert Baggett, president of the neighborhood's Riverpark Estates Homeowners Association, said the Baleses had stopped paying their annual association dues of about $120 at least two years ago. The house, which for a while was occupied by renters whose noise drew complaints from neighbors, has been vacant for about 18 months and is now filthy and in disrepair. "We are parking cars there to keep it looking like it is occupied so no homeless move in," Mr. Baggett said.

The Baleses bought their two-story house in Lake Tapps, east of Tacoma, in 2005, records show. But just three days before the shootings in Afghanistan, Mrs. Bales told a real estate agent, Phillip Rodocker, that she wanted to sell the house because they were financially stretched. The house is listed for sale at $229,000, about $50,000 less than what the family paid for it.

Asked about the mortgage problems, Sergeant Bales's lawyer, John Henry Browne, said, "There are no financial pressures on the family right now other than the normal ones that are experienced by the 99 percenters."

Last March, Mrs. Bales wrote on her blog that her husband had not gotten the hoped-for promotion to sergeant first class, which would have raised his pay by about $370 a month and made him eligible to be the senior noncommissioned officer for a platoon. (He was also paid an extra $400 a month during his deployments.) The promotion probably would have also given him some peace of mind about his Army career, which was nearly halfway to the 20 years needed for retirement with pay.

Though "sad and disappointed" by the news, Mrs. Bales said she was also relieved. "We can finally move on to the next phase of our lives," she wrote.

The Final Deployment

That next phase, the Baleses hoped, would take them to Germany, Italy or Hawaii. But the Army did not move Sergeant Bales from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Nor did it allow him to become a recruiter, though he was in training for the job. Instead, he was told he would go with the Third Brigade to Afghanistan in December.

"He was not happy about it," Mr. Browne said, but took his orders like a professional soldier.

Before deploying, Sergeant Bales would have undergone physical exams, including on his foot, and a computer-based survey for traumatic brain injury intended to measure attention, memory and thinking ability. The survey is not well regarded among many specialists, but it remains the Army's chief screening tool for traumatic brain injury. Sergeant Bales was declared fit to deploy.

Little is known about his time in Afghanistan, other than that he and others in his battalion were assigned to work alongside Army Special Forces soldiers in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province, a longtime hotbed of Taliban activity that has grown more secure in recent years. Sergeant Bales would probably have provided security for the Green Berets while they carried out night raids, built relations with village leaders and organized local militias.

A Green Beret who has spent time in Panjwai in the past year said the combat outpost would have been relatively small, protected by dirt-filled containers known as Hesco barriers, with guard towers and perhaps a blimp with a high-powered camera capable of capturing images more than a mile away. It would have been difficult, but not impossible, for Sergeant Bales to slip away at night unnoticed, as the Army says he did.

Supervision in the outpost might also have been more lax than at larger bases, which could explain the presence of alcohol. Sergeant Bales might have even been among the more senior noncommissioned officers on his team. Special Forces teams typically have 12 members, sometimes fewer, and Sergeant Bales's unit might have been as small as a platoon of two dozen soldiers.

Many younger soldiers consider such assignments exciting and more fulfilling, though they are also potentially more dangerous. But Mr. Browne said Sergeant Bales had considered the posting "grueling," noting that the soldiers lived in metal cargo containers.

"It was very tough and rustic," the lawyer said.

About a week ago, Mr. Browne said, Sergeant Bales saw a friend lose a leg to a buried mine. Soon after, according to Mr. Browne, he sent his wife a short message: "Hard day for the good guys."

About a day later, Army officials said, Sergeant Bales walked out of the outpost and headed toward the nearby village.

Reporting was contributed by William Yardley and Serge F. Kovaleski from Tacoma, Wash.; Michael Cooper and Theo Emery from Norwood, Ohio; Isolde Raftery from Seattle; Lizette Alvarez from Miami; Eric Schmitt from Washington; and Jennifer Preston from New York. Jack Begg and Toby Lyles contributed research.

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10) Justice for Trayvon Martin
http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/Trayvon/?akid=2382.1429074.YhL1yp&rd=1&t=2

Three weeks ago, George Zimmerman shot dead 17-year old Trayvon Martin. Despite Zimmerman admitting following, confronting, and killing Trayvon, he has yet to be arrested or charged with any crime. This is unacceptable.

Please join us in calling on the Department of Justice to take over the case, arrest Trayvon's killer, and launch an independent investigation into the Sanford police department's unwillingness to protect Trayvon's civil rights.

Here's the letter we'll send to Attorney General Eric Holder and Florida US Attorney Robert O'Neill on your behalf. You can add a personal comment using the box to the right.

Dear Attorney General Eric Holder and US Attorney Robert O'Neill:

Three weeks ago, George Zimmerman shot dead 17-year old Trayvon Martin. Despite Zimmerman admitting following, confronting, and killing Trayvon, he has yet to be arrested or charged with any crime. This is unacceptable.

At the crime scene, the Sanford, Florida police botched their questioning of Zimmerman, refused to take the full statements of witnesses, and pressured neighbors to side with the shooter's claim of self-defense. Sanford's police department has a history of failing to hold perpetrators accountable for violent acts against Black individuals. The police misconduct in Trayvon's case exemplifies the department's systemic mishandling of investigations involving violence against Black victims. And now the State Attorney's office has rubber-stamped the Sanford police's non-investigation, claiming that there is not enough evidence to support even a manslaughter conviction for Trayvon's senseless and entirely avoidable death.

Trayvon's killing indicates a pattern of failing to prosecute when the victim is Black. In 2010, the white son of a Sanford police lieutenant was let go by police after assaulting a homeless Black man outside a downtown bar. And, in 2005, a Black teenager was killed by two white security guards, one the son of a Sanford Police officer. The pair was arrested and charged, but a judge later cited lack of evidence and dismissed both cases.

For justice and rule of law to apply in Trayvon's case, you must intervene. That's why I'm urging the Department of Justice to take over the case, arrest Trayvon's killer, and launch an independent investigation into the Sanford police department's unwillingness to protect Trayvon's civil rights.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

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11) Chicago Rejects Protesters' Plans For March During NATO Summit
March 19, 2012 2:58 PM
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/19/chicago-rejects-protesters-plans-for-march-during-nato-summit/

CHICAGO (STMW) - The city of Chicago has rejected a request by anti-war protesters to march through downtown Chicago on May 20, the first day of the NATO summit.

The protesters already had a permit to march along the same route - from Daley Plaza to McCormick Place - one day earlier. That was the date the now-moved G-8 summit was to have begun.

But when President Barack Obama moved the G-8 conference earlier this month to Camp David, Md., the protesters put in an application for a city permit that asked to move their march back a day, to Sunday, May 20, to coincide with the opening of the NATO summit.

The Chicago Department of Transportation now says the planned protest would "substantially and unnecessarily interfere with traffic" if it were held on that Sunday.

In a letter denying the application for a march that was sent to protest organizer Andy Thayer, assistant transportation commissioner Mike Simon wrote that there wouldn't be "sufficient number of on-duty police officers, or other city employees authorized to regulate traffic," on that Sunday.

Motorcades shuttling 5,000 summit attendees - including 50 heads of state - would create "significant traffic impediments which would be exacerbated by the proposed 2.64-mile parade route," Simon wrote, warning that there wasn't enough manpower to police the summit and the protest while adequately covering the rest of the city.

The city has given protesters until Thursday to accept a suggested alternate march route - from the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park down Columbus and Congress before eventually arriving at the site of the summit.

Thayer said the alternate route - which avoids longer stretches of Michigan Avenue and State Street - would be "far less visible and convenient for public transport." He said Monday that city officials were trying to take advantage of the G-8's move away from Chicago to stifle protest.

He said that the city's claim that it doesn't have the resources to handle a Sunday parade is "ridiculous" given that it already accepted an identical request for Saturday, May 19.

"If anything, there's less traffic on a Sunday," he said. "I literally cut and pasted the application and just changed the date."

At a meeting with city officials Monday morning, Thayer was told that a Los Angeles activist already has a permit to protest at Daley Plaza in the Sunday.

If protesters don't accept the alternate route, or quickly find a way to work with the Los Angeles activist in a way that is acceptable to the city, they will only be permitted to march the day before the summit begins.

"There isn't much point in marching on an empty building," Thayer said. "We have a First Amendment right to be within sight and sound of the world leaders when they meet."

Organizers hope that tens of thousands of protesters will march. They previously hailed the president's decision to move the G-8 summit as evidence that the political establishment is scared of large-scale protests in an election year.

Obama said at the time that he preferred to hold the G8 at Camp David because it would be a more relaxed setting for world leaders to meet.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel - who has had a battle of words over protest restrictions with activists since the original plans to host the G-8 and the NATO summits were announced last year - has repeatedly insisted that protesters' First Amendment rights will be respected. His office did not immediately respond to calls for comment Monday.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire (c) Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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12) Grand Jury to Examine Death of Florida Teenager
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
March 20, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/us/justice-department-opens-inquiry-in-killing-of-trayvon-martin.html?hp

MIAMI - A grand jury will hear evidence next month in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black Florida teenager by a neighborhood watch volunteer, the state attorney's office for Brevard and Seminole Counties announced on Tuesday.

The shooting last month of the teenager, Trayvon Martin, which has set off a national outcry, is also being investigated by the Justice Department.

On Tuesday, the state attorney for Brevard and Seminole, Norman R. Wolfinger, released a statement saying that a Seminole grand jury would examine the episode beginning on April 10. He asked for the public's patience while law enforcement officials continue to investigate.

"I share in the desire of the family and the community to accurately collect and evaluate all the facts surrounding the tragic death of Trayvon Martin," Mr. Wolfinger's statement said. "I respectfully request that the public remain patient as this process continues forward."

Trayvon, 17, was shot as he was walking to the home of his father's girlfriend from a convenience store in Sanford, just north of Orlando, on Feb. 26. George Zimmerman, 28, the neighborhood watch volunteer who killed Trayvon, has told the police that he shot the teenager in self-defense.

On Monday night, the Justice Department said its Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, would investigate Trayvon's death.

"The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation," Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement. "The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident."

The Justice Department said it was also dispatching members of its Community Relations Service to Sanford to try to defuse tensions. The Rev. Al Sharpton was scheduled to attend a town-hall-style meeting in Sanford on Tuesday evening.

The announcement of the grand jury inquiry and the federal investigation came after demonstrations outside the Seminole County courthouse by college students and a growing number of complaints that the Sanford Police Department had mishandled the case. By Tuesday morning, more than 500,000 people had signed an online petition seeking the prosecution of Mr. Zimmerman.

The shooting has also raised new questions about Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which was approved in 2005. The law does not require a person who is threatened to retreat in order to claim self-defense, and Mr. Zimmerman has claimed he fired his weapon while defending himself.

The episode occurred on a rainy February night as Mr. Zimmerman was patrolling his neighborhood in his sport utility vehicle. Several break-ins had been reported in the area in recent weeks, and Mr. Zimmerman was especially alert.

He spotted Trayvon wearing a sweatshirt, with the hood draped over his head. Mr. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, trailed him a bit. Then he called 911, the first of seven calls from Mr. Zimmerman and panicked neighbors.

The police released the 911 recordings to reporters late last week after nearly three weeks of pressure from Trayvon's parents and their supporters.

The 911 calls from the gated community in Sanford culminate with a faint voice in the distance crying and pleading for help. A gunshot is heard, and then silence. Mr. Zimmerman told the police that he had shot Trayvon in self-defense, after the two got into a fight and Mr. Zimmerman wound up on the ground.

"This guy looks like he's up to no good or on drugs or something," Mr. Zimmerman told a dispatcher in his initial call. "It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about." Mr. Zimmerman continued: "He's here now just looking at all the houses. Now he's just staring at me." Then he added a second later: "He's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is. Can you get an officer over here?"

Then he got out of the car with his licensed 9-millimeter pistol, and a worried dispatcher asked: "Are you following him? O.K., you don't need to do that."

At that point, Trayvon ran, and Mr. Zimmerman continued to follow. The dispatcher told him to wait for the police. A suggestion was made that Mr. Zimmerman and the police should meet by a mailbox. But then Mr. Zimmerman changed his mind. "Actually, could you have him call me and I'll tell him where I'm at?" he said.

The next spate of calls came from anxious neighbors. A faint cry for help and terrified howls can be heard in the background. Neighbors said they had seen two men nearby in the dark. They reported hearing a gunshot.

"A guy yelled: 'Help! Oh, my God,' " one man told the dispatcher. "There is two guys in the backyard with flashlights. There is a black guy down and it looks like he's been shot and he's dead."

One caller said: "I think they're yelling 'Help!' but I don't know. Send someone quickly, please."

It is not clear from the audio whether one or two shots were fired. And, with the voice muffled in the distance, it is difficult to know which of them is crying out for help.

The police told The Orlando Sentinel on Friday they believed that the voice crying for help was Mr. Zimmerman's. They say that prosecutors have told them they do not have enough evidence to dispute Mr. Zimmerman's claim that he acted in self-defense. The case has been turned over to the state attorney's office.

"That is the circumstance we are dealing with: If we arrest, we open ourselves to a lawsuit," Sgt. Dave Morgenstern, a spokesman with the Sanford Police Department, said. "I would have to say I don't think we have conducted a racially biased investigation at all."

Sergeant Morgenstern said that Mr. Zimmerman was in contact with the police and was cooperating with the investigation. In a letter to The Orlando Sentinel, Mr. Zimmerman's father said that his son had black relatives and friends and was not the aggressor in the case.

Mr. Zimmerman, who is studying criminal justice, was arrested once in 2005 on felony charges of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence. Prosecutors chose not to pursue the case.

Trayvon had no criminal record. He was suspended from his Miami high school for 10 days in February, which is the reason he was visiting his father. The family said the suspension was not for violent or criminal behavior but for a violation of school policy.

Trayvon's parents say they have no doubt that it is their son pleading for his life in the background of the audio. They say they can imagine Trayvon reacting with fright or concern upon seeing a burly stranger trailing him in his car, then getting out to follow him.

"I listened to the tapes and it just broke my heart again to hear him screaming out for help and pleading for his life, and he was still murdered," said Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother. "There is no question in my mind that is his voice."

Timothy Williams contributed reporting from New York.

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13) Florida Shooting Focuses Attention on 'Stand Your Ground' Law
By J. DAVID GOODMAN
March 20, 2012, 11:47 am
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/florida-shooting-focuses-attention-on-stand-your-ground-law/?ref=us

Trevor Dooley stood his ground, brandished his gun and killed a man after an argument over local skateboarding rules in a Florida town.

He argued in court last month that he had a right to do so under the state's Stand Your Ground law.

Outrage over the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, killed by a crime watch volunteer, has focused new attention on the law, which permits those in Florida "to meet force with force, including deadly force" when attacked. As my colleague Lizette Alvarez reports, the Justice Department is pursuing an investigation into Trayvon's case.

As that investigation goes forward, the law is currently being invoked as a key defense by Mr. Dooley.

The man he killed, David James, had been playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter in September 2010 when he and Mr. Dooley began arguing over whether a boy on a skateboard had a right to ride on the court, according to an account in The St. Petersburg Times. There was a "physical confrontation," the police said, during which Mr. Dooley fired the weapon he was carrying, killing Mr. James in front of his daughter.

"You agree you do not want to go to prison for killing David James?" he was asked at the trial, according to televised footage from the courtroom.

"I don't think I should," responded Mr. Dooley, who has been charged with manslaughter but says he feared for his life during the altercation with Mr. James.

His lawyers are seeking to have the case dismissed by a judge on the grounds that the Stand Your Ground law permitted him to defend himself with deadly force.

The law extends what has been called the Castle Doctrine - that a person has the right to defend his or her home with force - to apply to people outside of the home, removing the so-called "duty to retreat." The Florida law explicitly states that no such duty exists in the state. The provision appears as part of the Florida law on the justifiable use of force by citizens.

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

The National Rifle Association lobbied strongly for the change to state law, which was adopted in 2005 and signed by Gov. Jeb Bush. Mr. Bush said at the time that he supported the measure because, faced with a serious threat one's life, "to have to retreat and put yourself in a very precarious position defies common sense."

In the years since the law was amended in 2005, there has been a surge in the number of cases like Mr. Dooley's and that of Trayvon Martin, killed by the neighborhood volunteer, George Zimmerman, last month. A 2010 review by The St. Petersburg Times found that rates of justifiable homicide tripled since the law was passed and that "twice a week, on average, someone's killing was considered warranted."

The paper reviewed press accounts of 93 cases involving 65 deaths in confrontations in which the new law could be applied and found that 57 of them resulted in no criminal charge or trial. In seven others that went to trial, the defendants were then acquitted.

In these cases, the Florida Supreme Court recognizes something called "true immunity." That means, according to Emily Bazelon in Slate, that the assertion of the Stand Your Ground law can be enough for a judge to dismiss a case before trial even starts.

A columnist writing in The Orlando Sentinel said the law made Florida feel "more and more like the Wild West." But it is far from unique; more than a dozen states have similar Stand Your Ground provisions.

The Orlando Sentinel published a primer on the law last weekend, answering some frequently asked questions including:

Q: How did law enforcement respond to the law?

A: Prosecutors across the state opposed the law before it was enacted Oct. 1, 2005. In the following five months, there were at least 13 shootings in Central Florida where self-defense was claimed. Out of six men killed and four more wounded in the cases, only one was armed. Some Orlando-area police agencies simply stopped investigating shootings involving self-defense claims and referred them directly to state prosecutors to decide.

Q: Can an unarmed person legally pose a deadly threat?

In case after case during the past six years, Floridians who shot and killed unarmed opponents have not been prosecuted. Former National Rifle Association President Marion Hammer, a major force behind the law's passage, cited her own size and age in 2006 interview with the Sentinel about what she would do if confronted by a younger and larger aggressor.

"I'm 4-foot-11. I'm 67 years old," she said. "If you came at me, and I felt that my life was in danger or that I was going to be injured, I wouldn't hesitate to shoot you."

The law may explain why local police did not charge Mr. Zimmerman for killing Trayvon. But further details may cast doubt on the circumstances of their encounter and whether it would fall under the law's provisions.

A female friend of Trayvon talked to him by cellphone moments before he died. "He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man," the girl told ABC News. "I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run." A call to 911 by Mr. Zimmerman also appeared to indicate that he followed Trayvon.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote on his blog for The Atlantic magazine that "the more I see of this, the less I think 'Stand Your Ground' will save Zimmerman."

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14) Occupy Protesters Are Arrested at Union Square Park
By AL BAKER and COLIN MOYNIHAN
March 21, 2012, 10:16 am
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/police-and-protesters-clash-at-union-square-park/?hp

Several protesters were arrested early Wednesday after scores of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators converged on Union Square Park in Lower Manhattan, the authorities said.

In all, six protesters were taken into custody after the hours-long face-off on a range of charges, including resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, according to a spokesman for the New York Police Department.

"They were blocking pedestrian traffic," said the spokesman, who could not provide an estimate of the crowd's size. "They were given a lawful order to disperse and when they subsequently refused, they were arrested." The spokesman asked that his name not be used.

The police sweep prevented about 200 Occupy Wall Street protesters from sleeping in the park. Officers also seized books and other materials.

Commanders said that the books and other items were "unattended property" and could not remain on the sidewalk. Protesters claimed that the books were their property.

After a few moments of shouting back and forth, dozens of officers plunged into the crowd from two directions, shoving protesters and causing some to stumble backward and fall. Officers threw two people to the ground, including a woman who lay on her back for several minutes before an ambulance arrived to attend to her.

As protesters tried to help the injured woman, officers placed an additional line of metal barricades on a sidewalk south of the park.

A moment later, a protester darted forward and kicked a section, sending the linked barricades skidding a short distance toward the police. Dozens of police officers then rushed forward once again, pushing the barricades into the crowd, and forcing the protesters backward 40 feet or more.

Lopi LaRoe, an artist from Brooklyn, said that she was kneeling next to the injured woman when the police surged into the crowd.

"The cops reacted without order," she said. "It was scary."

Officers made the first arrest at about 12:20 a.m., on the southeast corner of Union Square at East 19th Street, the police said.

Hours later, at about 4:30 a.m., five more protesters were arrested opposite 4 Union Square South, the police said.

A spokesman for the New York Fire Department said it had no record of injuries in the clash.

Protesters had gathered in Union Square Park after the police closed Zuccotti Park - the site where the Occupy Wall Street movement first emerged last year - in Lower Manhattan on Saturday night.

In the following days, they established a presence in Union Square Park, distributing literature from tables and holding meetings. Small groups of protesters slept in a plaza at the southern end of the park. Some declared that a long-term encampment was in the making.

But around midnight on Tuesday more than 100 police officers arrived at Union Square, and a commander ordered the protesters from the plaza and onto the sidewalk along 14th Street. Then, as protesters chanted "Bloomberg, beware. Zuccotti Park is everywhere," the police placed metal barricades around the plaza as protesters objected.

"Are they going to block off every single park we go to?" asked Faith Laugier, from Spanish Harlem.

About 200 protesters milled on the sidewalk. Some lay down wrapped in blankets. Others distributed books from plastic crates. At one point, some protesters pushed over the barricades ringing the plaza, which were quickly righted by the police.

At about 2 a.m., lines of police officers pushed through the crowd on the sidewalk, ordering those sitting or lying down to get up.

Later, the police seized crates of books. They also disposed of stacks of pamphlets and fliers that could be seen being dumped into the back of a sanitation truck parked on 14th Street.

By 5 a.m., however, the officers had withdrawn to the edges of the park and the protesters once again were free to stand or sit on the sidewalk along the north side of 14th Street. Soon, more than two dozen of them once again wrapped themselves in blankets and lay down to sleep.

On Wednesday morning, Norman Siegel, a longtime civil rights lawyer, said that he had received several phone calls overnight on Wednesday. He said that some public parks, including Union Square - with a long history of civil disobedience - have a 1 a.m. curfew, but that the police tend to enforce those rules selectively, which adds uncertainty and confusion about what rights apply for peaceful protest.

He said that the rules as applied to Zuccotti Park, a privately owned public space, were being applied inconsistently as well by the police.

"We're getting into the spring and there needs to be a meeting between Mayor Bloomberg, the police and O.W.S. and civil rights lawyers," Mr. Siegel said. "The cornerstone of a democracy is the right to protest. We need leadership of bringing people together. The O.W.S. people are not going to disappear, and the police are here, obviously. Why stay on a road to confrontation?"

He said the tension was building between the Occupy protesters and the police officers.

"We're going to see more demonstrations," he said, but city leaders must work to avoid the potential for violent confrontations. "The mayor seems to have a tin ear on this."

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15) Dutch Church Is Accused of Castrating Young Men
By STEPHEN CASTLE
March 20, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/world/europe/dutch-church-accused-of-castrating-10-young-men.html?ref=world

BRUSSELS - A young man in the care of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands was surgically castrated decades ago after complaining about sexual abuse, according to new evidence that only adds to the scandal engulfing the church there.

The case, which dates from the 1950s, has increased pressure for a government-led inquiry into sexual abuse in the Dutch church, amid suspicions that as many as 10 young men may have suffered the same fate.

"This case is especially painful because it concerns a victim who was victimized for a second time," said Peter Nissen, a professor of the history of religion at Radboud University in the Netherlands. "He had the courage to go to the police and was castrated."

It is unclear, however, whether the reported castration was performed as a punishment for whistle-blowing or what was seen as a treatment for homosexuality.

In 2010, about 2,000 people complained of abuse by priests, church institutions or religious orders in the Netherlands after the Roman Catholic Church commissioned an inquiry. It finally concluded that the number of actual victims over several decades could be 10 times higher.

That committee, led by Wim Deetman, a former education minister, was presented with evidence of the castration case when it was contacted by a friend of the young man, who was castrated in 1956, two years before his death in a road accident.

Since the case emerged, the Deetman Commission has issued a detailed justification of its actions, contending that it was unable to reach any conclusions on the case from the evidence at its disposal.

The victim, Henk Heithuis, lived in Catholic institutions from infancy after being taken into care. When he complained about sexual abuse to the police, Mr. Heithuis, 20 at the time, was transferred to a Catholic psychiatric hospital before being admitted to the St. Joseph Hospital in Veghel, where he was castrated.

Cornelius Rogge, a sculptor whose family became friends with Mr. Heithuis, informed the Deetman Commission about the case, contacting an investigative journalist and author, Joep Dohmen, when there was no clear sign of a follow-up.

On Dutch television, Mr. Rogge described how he knew that the castration had taken place and said he believed that there were other victims.

"We once asked Henk to drop his pants when the women were not present," Mr. Rogge said. "He did that. He was totally maimed. That was a huge shock for us, of course."

Mr. Heithuis had also described his ordeal verbally, Mr. Rogge said.

"He was strapped to a bed," Mr. Rogge said, describing Mr. Heithuis's statement. "In one stroke, his scrotum was cut out. Then he was taken to an infirmary to rest and recover. Then the other boys received the same treatment. He could hear them screaming."

Mr. Dohmen, the investigative journalist who broke the news in the daily NRC Handelsblad, said that correspondence from the 1950s and Mr. Heithuis's testimony to Mr. Rogge suggested that there could have been an additional nine cases. Mr. Dohmen said he uncovered another case. A gay man, who had not been abused, was also castrated, he said. That man has asked that his identity not be made public.

Mr. Dohmen said he could not provide further evidence of the other possible victims.

In an e-mailed comment, Mr. Rogge said he believed that the castration was a punishment.

Mr. Dohmen said that the man accused of abusing Mr. Heithuis was investigated but not prosecuted. He was transferred to Nova Scotia, where he started a home for boys.

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16) Will Noam Chomsky Vote For President Obama? [You betcha!...bw]
My Conversation with Noam Chomsky
By The State Journal
Information Clearing House, March 20, 2012
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30866.htm

March 20, 2012 State Journal—I have been reading Noam Chomsky's work for several years and from the very beginning his work inspired me. Whether you agree with him or not, I think everyone agrees that he has been the most influential critic of U.S. policy in our time. This conversation is one we had over e-mail. I've e-mailed him before, but have never gone back and forth with him so much. Here is my conversation with Noam Chomsky:

kcrob2001: It seems to me that all presidential candidates, those who have a chance to win, are the same. I believe it to be a fact that no matter their party affiliation, each candidate is pretty much the same person but will run this machine in a different way. The Democrats will always run on their "for the people" campaign, and the Republicans will always run on their "lower taxes" campaign. Neither side will improve this country, and I believe that because this is happening our country will fall very soon.

Noam Chomsky: It's true that their are similarities, but it's not quite the case. Obama is quite different from the Republican candidates, and the constituencies of the two political organizations differ, which helps lead to different policies. Over a long stretch, for example, working people have made out better under Democratic than Republican administrations--which is kind of ironic, because the white working class is now mostly Republican, not on economic but on "social" and "cultural" issues.

kcrob2001: Obama isn't what his voters wanted him to be. It seems to me that his voters expected him to save the country and all would be well, but that is obviously not happening. In your career, have you ever come to a solid conclusion that the structure of the U.S. government is unsavable? What I mean is, there isn't a force of any kind that would combat the inner erosion we are seen now.

Noam Chomsky: It's not a matter of Yes or No but of More or Less. There have been plenty of times when popular pressures led to improvements, sometimes major ones.

kcrob2001: I've said that a democracy can't last, and I believe you have written about how shaky a democracy can be. Do you think another system of government would produce better results, and would it be possible to make such a shift using popular pressures?
Noam Chomsky: What we're seeing is that a partial democracy is being shredded by concentrated domestic power. Authentic democracy would have a much better chance to thrive and flourish, I think. I don't know of any preferable alternative.

kcrob2001: With the government structure we have now I see no reason to vote for candidates who run for office under that structure. It seems to me that in voting one has to pick the lesser of two evils rather than vote for a respected candidate. Do you vote, or see the need to?

Noam Chomsky: I agree. One has to pick the lesser of two evils, and there are substantial differences. If I were in a swing state, I'd vote against any Republican (hence necessarily for Obama).

kcrob2001: I think Obama will win because there is no credible Republican candidate. I certainly would rather he get re-elected than to see the likes of Mitt Romney in the white house.

Noam Chomsky: I hope you're right, but there are a lot of uncertainties.

—Information Clearing House, March 20, 2012
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30866.htm

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