Sunday, April 01, 2012

BAUAW NEWSLETTER--SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

"It's a two class country and the wrong class is running it!" -From a Soldier of Solidarity

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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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Subject: 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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Stand with Bradley Manning during the April 24-26 hearing
http://ymlp.com/zKyp5L

Events in the Washington DC area and internationally in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning's next appearance in court will take place April 24-26 at Ft. Meade, MD. At the previous hearing on March 15th, Bradley's lawyer filed a motion to dismiss all charges based on the government's failure to present evidence as requested. Additionally, a broad coalition of media groups filed a complaint because documents from the court proceedings have been mostly shielded from the public's view. (Read more about the failures of the military to provide due process in this case here.)

We are calling for conscientious citizens everywhere to organize in support of Bradley Manning during his next hearing. Our demands include the following: drop all charges against Bradley Manning, and punish the war criminals, not the whistle-blowers. Join us in the Washington DC area if you can. Otherwise, host or attend a solidarity event in your community. Ideas for local events include: town square vigils, community forums, concerts, and house party fund-raisers.

Write to Bradley Manning at:
Bradley Manning #89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
Bradley Manning Support Network:
http://www.bradleymanning.org/
Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610
510-488-3559
couragetoresist.org

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6 Ways to Get Ready for the May 1st GENERAL STRIKE
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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kids being put on buses and transported from school to "alternate locations" in Terror Drills

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFia_w8adWQ



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Watch Lawrence O'Donnell and Guests Make Epic Mincemeat Out of George Zimmerman Defender
http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/873366/watch_lawrence_o%27donnell_and_guests_make_epic_mincemeat_out_of_george_zimmerman_defender/#paragraph4

Last night, Lawrence O'Donnell continued his barnstorming trip through the Trayvon Martin case by having (Martin's shooter) George Zimmerman "friend" Joe Oliver on the show. He questioned him along with journalists Charles M. Blow and Jonathan Capeheart.

Oliver, a friend of Zimmerman's in-laws, has been engaging in an impromptu defense tour "standing up for George," and O'Donnell and company felt that Oliver has been getting the softball treatment from the mainstream media.

So they proceeded questioning him in detail about Zimmerman's history, including arrests for fighting with a police officer and domestic violence, giving Oliver a verbal drubbing. Eventually, Oliver admitted that he wasn't a close friend of Zimmerman's and that "my role in this just doesn't make sense."

It's quite the epic television smackdown. But let us not forget that a young boy is dead, and his killer remains free. Fortunately, with a new set of investigatory and a grand jury planned, justice may be on the way.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



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Private prisons,
a recession resistant investment opportunity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGLDOxx9Vg



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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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Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViSpM4K276w&feature=related



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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



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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


*---------*

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



*---------*

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



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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



*---------*

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



*---------*

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



*----*

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



*----*

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



*----*

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


*---------*

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



*---------*

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



*---------*

#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



*---------*

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

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



*---------*

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) Judge Bars Imported Drugs in Executions
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
March 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/us/judge-bars-imported-drugs-in-executions.html?ref=us

2) How Far We Haven't Come] One in Five Pharmacies Lie to Teens About the Morning After Pill
by Kim LaCapria, examining the sorry state of women's issues in America in the current political climate.
March 28, 2012
http://www.inquisitr.com/211971/how-far-we-havent-come-one-in-five-pharmacies-lie-to-teens-about-the-morning-after-pill/#8AHzkUoSZEsVcUK0.01

3) Community College to Charge More for Top Courses
"This summer it will offer some courses for a higher price, so that students who are eager to get into a particular class can do so if they pay more. The plan may be the first of its kind in the country, college officials and other higher education experts say, and if the college succeeds in implementing it, many other community colleges across the country are likely to follow." [%$#!???&^?!! I'm speechless!...bw]
By JENNIFER MEDINA
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/us/community-college-to-charge-more-for-top-courses.html?hp

4) Japan Admits Nuclear Plant Still Poses Dangers
"The low water levels also raise concerns that radioactive water may be leaking out of the reactor at a higher rate than previously thought, possibly into a part of the reactor known as the suppression chamber, and into a network of pipes and chambers under the plant - or into the ocean. At the No. 2 reactor, workers still pump about 9 tons of water an hour into the core to keep it cool. The investigation also found current radiation levels of 72.0 Sieverts inside the containment vessel, enough to kill a person in a matter of minutes, as well as for electronic equipment to malfunction."
By HIROKO TABUCHI
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/asia/japan-admits-nuclear-plant-still-poses-dangers.html?hp

5) Spanish Trade Unions Start General Strike
By RAPHAEL MINDER
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/europe/spanish-trade-unions-start-general-strike.html?ref=world

6) For Skittles, Death Brings Both Profit and Risk
By KIM SEVERSON
March 28, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/us/skittles-sales-up-after-trayvon-martin-shooting.html?ref=us

7) Occupy Wall Street Affiliates Chain Subway Gates Open For Fare Strike
By Nick Pinto
Thu., Mar. 29 2012 at 5:00 AM
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/occupy_wall_str_50.php

8) The Gated Community Mentality
By RICH BENJAMIN
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/opinion/the-gated-community-mentality.html?hp

9) CEO Pay Rose in 2011. Again
"While CEO pay rose, USA Today noted, average weekly earnings of workers, adjusted for inflation, fell 1.2 percent from the October 2010 peak through February 2012, the latest data available."
By Vineeta Anand
AFL-CIO Now
03/29/2012
http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Corporate-Greed/CEO-Pay-Rose-in-2011.-Again

10) Federal court strikes down parts of union law
By Bruce Vielmetti and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
March 30, 2012
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/federal-court-strikes-down-parts-of-act-10-4k4qdap-145208985.html

11) Gulf's dolphins pay heavy price for Deepwater oil spill
New studies show impact of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster on dolphins and other marine wildlife may be far worse than feared
By Peter Beaumont
guardian.co.uk
Saturday 31 March 2012 07.15 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/31/dolphins-sick-deepwater-oil-spill

12) Echoes of Trayvon Martin as residents seek justice for Bronx teen's death
Ramarley Graham was unarmed when he was shot by police in his home. Now his community is seeking answers, and change
By Ryan Devereaux in New York
guardian.co.uk
Friday 30 March 2012 14.47 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/30/trayvon-martin-ramarley-graham-bronx-teenager

13) Disabled Britons Say Changes to Aid Endanger Them
By SARAH LYALL
March 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/world/europe/disabled-britons-criticize-cuts-in-aid.html?ref=world

14) Cuba: Freed Agent Visits Family
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/world/americas/cuba-freed-agent-visits-family.html?ref=world

15) Fighting a Drawn-Out Battle Against Solitary Confinement
"Ernesto Lira is not a murderer. He has never participated in a prison riot. The crime that landed him behind bars was carrying three foil-wrapped grams of methamphetamine in his car. But on the basis of evidence that a federal court later deemed unreliable, prison officials labeled Mr. Lira a gang member and sent him to the super-maximum-security unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, the state's toughest correctional institution. There, for eight years, he spent 23 or more hours a day in a windowless 7.6-by-11.6-foot cell, allowed out for showers and exercise. His view through the perforated steel door - there were 2,220 holes; he counted them - was a blank wall, his companions a family of spiders that he watched grow, 'season by season, year by year.'"
By ERICA GOODE
March 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/us/battles-to-change-prison-policy-of-solitary-confinement.html?ref=us

16) Uranium Mines Dot Navajo Land, Neglected and Still Perilous
By LESLIE MACMILLAN
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/uranium-mines-dot-navajo-land-neglected-and-still-perilous.html?ref=us

17) The Arrest of a Student Photographer
Snapshot of Systemic Police Abuse
by LINN WASHINGTON, JR.
Weekend Edition Mar 30-Apr 01, 2012
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/30/snapshot-of-systemic-police-abuse/

18) Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/police-tracking-of-cellphones-raises-privacy-fears.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120401

19) Global Failures on a Haitian Epidemic
By DEBORAH SONTAG
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/world/americas/haitis-cholera-outraced-the-experts-and-tainted-the-un.html?hp

20) Protesters March in Florida Town Where Teen Was Shot
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/03/31/us/ap-us-neighborhood-watch-rally.html?ref=us

21) Drones Coming to a Sky Near You as Interest Surges
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/01/business/ap-us-drone-nation.html?src=busln

22) In Florida, a Death Foretold
"In this atmosphere, blacks are the target of the highest number of hate crimes in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation - higher by a wide margin than any another group of Americans by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability. While blacks make up 12.6 percent of the country's population, they were 70 percent of the victims of racial hate crimes in 2010."
By ISABEL WILKERSON
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/a-native-caste-society.html?hp

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1) Judge Bars Imported Drugs in Executions
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
March 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/us/judge-bars-imported-drugs-in-executions.html?ref=us

A federal judge has prohibited the use of imported death penalty drugs and has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to collect the drugs from any states that have imported them. Judge Richard J. Leon of the Federal District Court in Washington ruled Tuesday in a case brought on behalf of death row inmates in Arizona, California and Tennessee. States that use sodium thiopental to render prisoners unconscious as part of their execution protocols reached out to foreign suppliers when the sole domestic manufacturer stopped producing the drug, which had not been approved for importation. The F.D.A. said it had no jurisdiction over execution drugs. Judge Leon wrote that the agency "appears to be simply wrapping itself in the flag of law enforcement discretion to justify its authority and masquerade an otherwise seemingly callous indifference to the health consequences of those imminently facing the executioner's needle. How utterly disappointing!" Bradford Berenson, a lawyer for the inmates, said the decision proved that "even death row inmates are entitled to the protection of the law."

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2) How Far We Haven't Come] One in Five Pharmacies Lie to Teens About the Morning After Pill
by Kim LaCapria, examining the sorry state of women's issues in America in the current political climate.
March 28, 2012
http://www.inquisitr.com/211971/how-far-we-havent-come-one-in-five-pharmacies-lie-to-teens-about-the-morning-after-pill/#8AHzkUoSZEsVcUK0.01

As the debate over contraception (an issue women believed was sorted out sometime in the 1970_s) continues to rage on in America, a new study surrounding the morning after pill in the medical journal Pediatrics offers some sad statistics on teens' access to the widely-available medication, even when they are legally entitled to it.

It should be noted here that this is an issue almost entirely shouldered by female teenagers. While many teens are sexually active, the repercussions of sex fall squarely (as always) on the girls, with no boys being denied emergency contraception after sex. It should also be noted that the morning after pill is not an abortion pill, and it is chemically incapable of causing a miscarriage or threatening a pregnancy. It's sad and pathetic that nearly all the righteous anger and slut-shaming that occurs never turns a similar spotlight on male teens, and male teens are almost never held to account for having sex- but females are almost always branded irresponsible trollops for the same behavior,
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/211971/how-far-we-havent-come-one-in-five-pharmacies-lie-to-teens-about-the-morning-after-pill/#1whbjKXAIWVrssmO.99

The morning after pill (which I will again point out is the some of the worst marketing ever, in the selection of that name) is a higher dose of available birth control pills to prevent pregnancy before conception occurs. Which, if you are against abortion, you should support in order to prevent the likelihood of an abortion. But most of all, no one should be crowing about "responsibility," first and foremost because males have been shirking theirs in the matter of teen sex since the dawn of humanity, but more so because the foresight to obtain the morning after pill and prevent and abortion or unplanned child is a responsible move in and of itself.

But when teens (who are least able generally to prepare for an adequately raise a child in society) are in need of the medication, researchers in the Pediatrics study found, one in five are unable to obtain the morning after pill. And it seems ignorance of federal law mandating the pill be made available to 17-year-old girls isn't the only thing at play here, as the New York Daily News notes:

"Posing as 17-year-old girls, researchers called each drugstore requesting Plan B, the emergency contraceptive to be taken after unprotected sex, saying, "If I'm 17, is that okay?" Health.com reports. Almost 20% of the drugstores denied the "17-year-olds" access to the pill, despite the Food and Drug Administration having passed a law in 2009 requiring the "morning after" pills be made available to the young adults... When the researchers called the same pharmacies posing as doctors, only 3% of the drugstores said the over-the-counter pills weren't available."

Whether the pharmacies offered to tattoo scarlet letter As on the chests of the girls at no additional cost is unclear. When not taken within 12 hours of intercourse, risk of pregnancy rises 50% even when the morning after pill is available- so such ignorance or obfuscation on the part of pharmacies should be taken very seriously indeed.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/211971/how-far-we-havent-come-one-in-five-pharmacies-lie-to-teens-about-the-morning-after-pill/#1whbjKXAIWVrssmO.99

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3) Community College to Charge More for Top Courses
"This summer it will offer some courses for a higher price, so that students who are eager to get into a particular class can do so if they pay more. The plan may be the first of its kind in the country, college officials and other higher education experts say, and if the college succeeds in implementing it, many other community colleges across the country are likely to follow." [%$#!???&^?!! I'm speechless!...bw]
By JENNIFER MEDINA
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/us/community-college-to-charge-more-for-top-courses.html?hp

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - For years now, administrators at the community college here have been inundated with woeful tales from students unable to register for the courses they need. Classes they want for essential job training or to fulfill requirements to transfer to four-year universities fill up within hours. Hundreds of students resort to crying and begging to enroll in a class, lining up at the doors of instructors and academic counselors.

Now, though, Santa Monica College is about to try something novel. This summer it will offer some courses for a higher price, so that students who are eager to get into a particular class can do so if they pay more.

The plan may be the first of its kind in the country, college officials and other higher education experts say, and if the college succeeds in implementing it, many other community colleges across the country are likely to follow. Since 2009, enrollment in California community colleges has fallen by 300,000 students, to 2.6 million, and many believe the difficulty of registering for classes is the most important deterrent.

For generations, community colleges have been seen as a social equalizer, providing a relatively inexpensive education for poor students, immigrants and others without the skills or grades to get into one of the nation's four-year institutions, or the money to afford the tuition.

So the two-tiered tuition structure being proposed here is raising eyebrows, and fundamental questions, about the role and obligations of community colleges. Will the policy essentially block some of the very people it hopes to benefit? Many students believe it will unfairly exclude the poorest students and create a kind of upper and lower class of students.

The background to all of this is the financial squeeze that has affected public education since the recession led to a reduction of first federal and then state financing for colleges and universities. Since 2008, the system has lost $809 million from the state, including $400 million in the most recent budget, even as more students than ever before try to enroll.

Many colleges have reduced class offerings. Santa Monica College has cut more than 1,100 classes from its fall term. David Baime, the senior vice president for government relations and research at the American Association of Community Colleges, called the Santa Monica plan "extremely rare if not completely unprecedented."

But the impetus behind it, he said, is clear. "In many cases, and California most prominently, amid the recession there was a huge spike in enrollment concurrent with budget cuts," Mr. Baime said. "The colleges have just maxed out in terms of how many students they can serve."

Community colleges are hardly the only places suffering budget cuts. Last week, administrators of the California State University system approved a plan to significantly limit the number of students it accepts next year because budget cuts have made it impossible to pay for any enrollment increase.

"Every year we look around and think about how we can serve more students, but what we have now is not working," said Chui L. Tsang, the president of Santa Monica College. "Literally thousands of students are missing out on opportunities we want to give them and have the ability to give them if we just had the money."

Officials in the California Community Colleges chancellor's office said that they could move to block Santa Monica's proposed tuition increase and expressed misgivings about the program. They said that it was not clear such a change was legal and that the program could limit access for students, particularly those who did not have enough money to pay for the more expensive courses.

Currently, each community college class costs $36 per credit hour. Under Santa Monica's plan, the more expensive courses would cost $180 per credit hour - just enough to cover the college's costs, Dr. Tsang said.

While the college is still ironing out the details, it expects to offer about 200 courses at the higher tuition price, in addition to hundreds of regularly priced courses. College officials say that nearly every class is filled to capacity and that they are asking departments to choose which courses have the highest demand so they can offer more of those - typically basic courses in English, writing, math and science.

For now, the college does not plan to offer the higher-priced courses in the fall and spring semesters, but will charge $180 per credit for all classes in the shorter winter term. Nearly every other community college in the state has eliminated the winter term in recent years because of the budget cuts.

"There is a real concern about equity here, because if there are higher fees that will only gain access for certain students, does that really address the problem," said Paul Feist, the vice chancellor for communications of the California Community Colleges. "The reality is that there are hundreds of thousands of students who are not getting access to community college - and access has always been what we are famous for."

Santa Monica College, which has 34,000 students, is widely considered one of the most successful community colleges in the country, with one of the highest transfer rates to four-year colleges. Many students from Los Angeles choose to attend the school for their first two years as a way to save money.

California community colleges have some of the lowest tuition fees in the country. And for decades, the community college system has operated under the presumption that lower fees translated into greater access, said John Aubrey Douglass, a senior researcher at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. But as budget cuts have forced campuses to dramatically scale back what they can offer, that paradigm has begun to shift.

"There's a sense that if the colleges can generate the adequate income themselves, they may no longer be struggling with the lack of resources, because there is certainly a tremendous level of demand," Dr. Douglass said. "It's a much-needed conversation that we need to have - is it possible our tuition is too low? This is a very important move to push the envelope."

One donor has agreed to give $250,000 in scholarships for students who want to take the more expensive classes but cannot afford them. Dr. Tsang hopes that will make the program more attractive.

Also, since Santa Monica is prosperous enough to have built a community college relatively rich in facilities, it tends to draw students from across the Los Angeles region. Some say such students may be more willing to pay higher tuition rates.

Janet Harclerode, an English instructor and president of the college's Academic Senate, said that many professors viewed the new plan as having a "real ick factor," but that few saw any real alternative. Many instructors have already accepted extra students in their classrooms, even allowing a few to sit on the floor when seats were too scarce.

"We hope that this is just a stopgap measure, before taxpayers step up and the state really starts to reinvest in the colleges," she said. "The situation is certainly not going to get better anytime soon. I don't know what other options we have."

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4) Japan Admits Nuclear Plant Still Poses Dangers
"The low water levels also raise concerns that radioactive water may be leaking out of the reactor at a higher rate than previously thought, possibly into a part of the reactor known as the suppression chamber, and into a network of pipes and chambers under the plant - or into the ocean. At the No. 2 reactor, workers still pump about 9 tons of water an hour into the core to keep it cool. The investigation also found current radiation levels of 72.0 Sieverts inside the containment vessel, enough to kill a person in a matter of minutes, as well as for electronic equipment to malfunction."
By HIROKO TABUCHI
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/asia/japan-admits-nuclear-plant-still-poses-dangers.html?hp

TOKYO - The damage to the core of at least one of the meltdown-stricken reactors at Fukushima could be far worse than previously thought, raising fresh concerns over the plant's stability and gravely complicating the post-disaster cleanup, a recent internal investigation has shown.

The results of the inquiry, released this week by the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, also cast doubt over the Japanese government's declaration three months ago that the ravaged site is now under control.

Throughout the crisis that ensued after a powerful earthquake and tsunami last March, both the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco, and the government were accused of playing down the dangers posed by the nuclear meltdown. Subsequent disclosures that the event was indeed far more severe than they let on have badly damaged their credibility, to the point that almost any statement from the authorities is now regarded as suspect by a dubious Japanese public.

Fukushima Daiichi's vital cooling systems were knocked out in the early stages of the crisis last year. The uranium cores at three of the plant's six reactors quickly melted down, breaching their containment vessels and triggering a massive radiation leak.

Three reactors were later rocked by hydrogen explosions, which blew out their outer walls.

What followed was a frantic effort to keep the inner parts of the reactors flooded with cooling water to prevent their cores from again overheating. Officials at Tepco had previously said that operation was succeeding, and the damaged fuel rods were safely submerged in water.

But earlier this week, an examination at one of the reactors showed the water level at its core to be far lower than levels previously estimated, raising fears that the broken-down remnants of the uranium fuel rods there may not be completely submerged and in danger of heating up again.

Cooling water at the plant's No.2 reactor came up to just 2 feet from the bottom of the reactor's containment vessel, a beaker-shaped structure that encases the fuel rods. That was far below the 10 meter-level (33 feet) estimated by officials when the government declared the plant stable in December.

The low water levels also raise concerns that radioactive water may be leaking out of the reactor at a higher rate than previously thought, possibly into a part of the reactor known as the suppression chamber, and into a network of pipes and chambers under the plant - or into the ocean. At the No. 2 reactor, workers still pump about 9 tons of water an hour into the core to keep it cool.

The investigation also found current radiation levels of 72.0 Sieverts inside the containment vessel, enough to kill a person in a matter of minutes, as well as for electronic equipment to malfunction.

Kazuhiko Kudo, a professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University in southwestern Japan, said it was now suspect whether the nuclear fuel was being adequately cooled. And if some parts of the fuel remained above water, there was a risk the fuel could again heat up and melt. That could trigger a dangerous spike in the pressure inside the containment vessel, and lead to more radiation escaping the reactor, he said.

The high levels of radiation would greatly complicate work to locate and remove the damaged fuel and decommission the plant's six reactors - a process that is expected to take decades.

"With levels of radiation extremely high, we would need to develop equipment that can tolerate high radiation," Junichi Matsumoto, an executive at Tokyo Electric Power, said Tuesday.

To gauge water levels inside the containment vessel at No. 2, workers clad in hazmat suits inserted an endoscope equipped with a tiny video camera, thermometer, a dosimeter for measuring radiation and a water gauge.

Two other badly-damaged reactors - Nos. 1 and 3 - could be in even worse condition. Hydrogen explosions blew out the outer walls of those reactors, and officials believe that more nuclear fuel has breached the containment vessel at the No. 1 reactor than the others.

Experts also worry about a fourth reactor that was not operating at the time of the accident, but nevertheless poses a risk because of the large number of spent nuclear fuel rods stored in a water coolant tank there. The No. 4 reactor was also hit by a hydrogen explosion in the early days of the crisis, possibly due to hydrogen that leaked into the reactor from the adjacent No. 3 unit.

The spent fuel rods stored at the No. 4 reactor pose a particular threat, experts say, because they lie unprotected outside the unit's containment vessel. Tokyo Electric has been racing to fortify the crumpled outer shell of the reactor, and to keep the tank fed with water. But should a problem also arise with cooling the spent fuel, the plant could run the risk of another colossal radiation leak, experts say.

The many aftershocks that continue to hit the Fukushima region are also a source of worry.

"The plant is still in a precarious state," said Mr. Kudo of Kyushu University. ""Unfortunately, all we can do is to keep pumping water inside the reactors," he said, "and hope we don't have another big earthquake."

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5) Spanish Trade Unions Start General Strike
By RAPHAEL MINDER
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/europe/spanish-trade-unions-start-general-strike.html?ref=world

MADRID - Heavy industry and large parts of the transportation network were disrupted on Thursday by Spain's first general strike since the Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came to power late last year.

The strike was called by Spain's two main trade unions to protest a recent overhaul of labor rules that makes it cheaper for employers to hire and fire workers. It came on the eve of Mr. Rajoy's presentation of Spain's 2012 budget, which is expected to contain about $26 billion in additional spending cuts and tax increases to help Spain meet deficit targets it agreed to with the European Commission.

Spain is entering its second recession in three years with 5.3 million people, almost 23 percent of the work force, unemployed - more than double the European average.

However, support for trade unions has dwindled in recent years, because of their failure to prevent the surge in unemployment and controversy surrounding the unions' reliance on government subsidies rather than contributions from members.

Police officials said that around 58 people had been arrested and nine slightly injured early on Thursday during scuffles on picket lines, but the Interior Ministry said that the strike had so far not caused any major disturbances.

Red Eléctrica, the operator of the national electricity grid, said that consumption was down 25 percent at 9 a.m. Thursday. Most banks and leading retailers like El Corte Inglés stayed opened for business.

While some flights were canceled, Madrid's airport was also functioning Thursday.

The largest protests in Madrid were scheduled for late afternoon, including a march that is due to end in Puerta del Sol the downtown square that was the scene last year of a lengthy, student-led protest against established political parties and other institutions because of their failure to prevent the economic crisis from deepening.

Francisco Pérez, a former union representative who recently retired after three decades in the administration of Madrid's airport, called the strike a "useless response to the problems that Spain is facing."

"What is the point of a strike before even knowing what kind of budget this new government has put together and when unions have presented no alternative proposal to create jobs?" Mr. Pérez asked. "The union leaders are nowadays clueless because they prefer to sit on the board of a bank than work alongside those they should be representing."

Mr. Pérez was referring to a recent controversy surrounding José Ricardo Martinez, a former railroad technician and secretary general of the UGT union in Madrid, who has been receiving almost $240,000 a year as a board member of Bankia, a savings bank.

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6) For Skittles, Death Brings Both Profit and Risk
By KIM SEVERSON
March 28, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/us/skittles-sales-up-after-trayvon-martin-shooting.html?ref=us

Skittles are the candy of the moment.

Rashaun Collins, who owns the Discreetly Greek T-shirt company in Minnesota, slips a pack into every order he ships.

At Spelman College, the historically black women's liberal arts school in Atlanta, the student government is buying Skittles in bulk and reselling them for 50 cents a bag to raise money for the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot and killed by a crime watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., last month carrying only a packet of the candy and a bottle of iced tea.

The candy has been piled into makeshift memorials, crammed into the pockets of thousands of people who have shown up at rallies in his name and sent to the Sanford Police Department to protest the lack of an arrest in the case.

Like the hoodie sweatshirt he was wearing, the candy has been transformed into a cultural icon, a symbol of racial injustice that underscores Trayvon's youth and the circumstances surrounding his death. But in the offices of the company that makes Skittles, Wrigley, and its parent company, Mars, Skittles' new level of fame has quickly become a kind of marketing crisis that is threatening to hurt the company even as sales improve.

"You get trained if someone dies eating your product, but I don't think anyone has been through training for something like this," said Beth Gallant, a marketing professor at Lehigh University who has worked as a brand manager for Nabisco, Kraft, Pfizer and Crayola.

Like Twinkies - whose poor nutritional value ended up as a legal defense in the 1978 murders of the San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, and Flavor Aid, the powdered drink that the cult leader Jim Jones laced with cyanide to kill more than 900 people in Guyana that same year - Skittles has now entered the elite world of food products that have become symbols through no fault of their own.

For its part, Wrigley has chosen to make only a subdued statement about its product, saying the company is deeply saddened, respects the family's privacy and feels "it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy."

A spokeswoman, Jennifer Jackson Luth, would not comment on the impact of Skittles's sudden popularity on profits.

Skittles was already an immensely successful product. The chewy fruit-flavored pellets began as a British import in 1979 and are now the most popular candy among teenagers and younger children, second only to Starburst in overall sales of chewy candy. But with a new level of popularity come problems.

"There is this moment where as a brand manager you think, 'Oh my God, this is bigger than we are,' " said Heidi Hovland, a senior partner at Fleishman-Hillard in New York whose client list includes Hyatt Hotels, Barnes & Noble and several food companies.

On social media sites like Twitter, people are suggesting that Wrigley is profiting greatly from the tragedy and should donate money made since Trayvon's death to the family or causes that would help with racial reconciliation or underprivileged communities. Some African-Americans are even asking people to stop buying Skittles until the company gets more involved in the case and donates money.

"I think we are at a dangerous position where we can make Wrigley richer," said Rashad Moore, 22, president of the chapel assistants at Morehouse College.

Weldon McWilliams, a professor of African-American studies at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, said Wrigley should invest in communities where "murder based on stereotypes is a reoccurring theme."

If they do not, African-Americans should not be promoting the product, Dr. McWilliams said. "I completely understand the symbolism, but let's re-examine what we're doing," he said. "Will Wrigley's reinvest that rise in profit that they see? I'm highly skeptical of that."

For Deanna Smith, a retired teacher who brought her 12-year-old granddaughter to a march for the Martin family in Atlanta this week, it is merely about standing up against racism. She also brought a big bag of Skittles. She does not mind that the company is making money from her purchase. The cause is more important.

"He was so innocent," she said. "Just getting candy from the store."

And after the march, they ate the Skittles.

"There was no reason to let candy go to waste," she said.

Crisis management and public relations experts who are watching the Skittles situation unfold say the company has taken the right initial stance.

"Wrigley's is playing it exactly as I expect they would - they make a quiet statement and just sit back and let this thing unfold," said Amy Stern, vice president of Bender Hammerling Group, a public relations company that does work with several large food companies.

"The fact is, this is bringing their brand name to the forefront," she said. "It's becoming its own social media campaign, and that's a windfall for the company. But you have to step carefully. This could backfire."

It is too soon for Wrigley to decide if it will use money from its foundation to support causes linked to Trayvon's death, said Stephanie Childs, a former crisis manager for ConAgra Foods who helped the company through the salmonella contamination of its Peter Pan peanut butter brand and has also worked with its charitable foundation.

"Any time you are dealing with a legal case, it adds a level of complexity that is a challenge to work with, especially when you are indirectly involved," she said.

She and others say the company will take a hit no matter how it handles the situation. If it donates money, people will criticize it for being not enough. If it speaks publicly, people will say they are capitalizing on it. And it will all be played out so much faster because of social media.

How well Skittles will fare is uncertain, but Ms. Hovland and others believe the impact on the brand will be short-lived. "When cooler heads prevail," she said, "people will recognize that this was a candy that was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

With its air of innocence and its slogan - "Taste the rainbow" - Skittles seemed a perfect symbol to help define the story, but it now is at risk of turning into something else.

"It's gone so quickly from the symbol of innocence and tragedy to one of 'now that they are making all this money, what are they going to do with it?' " Ms. Hovland said. "It's amazing how short the arc has become."

Robbie Brown contributed reporting.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 29, 2012

An earlier version of this article rendered incorrectly the name of the powdered drink that the cult leader Jim Jones laced with cyanide to kill more than 900 people in Guyana in 1978. It is Flavor Aid, not Flavor-Aid.

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7) Occupy Wall Street Affiliates Chain Subway Gates Open For Fare Strike
By Nick Pinto
Thu., Mar. 29 2012 at 5:00 AM
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/occupy_wall_str_50.php

A group calling itself the "Rank and File Initiative" claimed credit yesterday for opening up more than 20 subway stations throughout the city for free entry.

Chaining open emergency gates at stations on the F, L, R, Q, 3, and 6 lines during rush hour yesterday morning, the anonymous activists posted signs designed to resemble MTA service-change announcements that read "Free Entry, No Fare. Please Enter Through The Service Gate."

A press release claiming credit for the action said it was carried out by activists affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, as well as by rank-and-file members of Transit Workers Union Local 100, which is currently in negotiations with the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The release cites Albany's chronic underfunding of public transit, which has led the MTA to borrow heavily just to maintain its operating budget -- debt which must be serviced in part with transit fares that have gone up 50 percent over the last decade.

"This means Wall Street bondholders receive a huge share of what we put into the system through the Metrocards we buy and the taxes we pay," the press statement reads. "More than $2 billion a year goes to debt service, and this number is expected to rise every year. If trends continue, by 2018 more than one out of every five dollars of MTA revenue will head to a banker's pockets."

Last night we spoke with a representative of the Rank And File Initiative, who wished to remain anonymous. He told us that teams set out in the early hours of yesterday morning, disguising their identities, to lock open gates at roughly 25 stations.

"It was three or four people to each station, so you can do the math of how many people were directly involved," he said. Not every team was successful -- one dispatched to a Bronx subway station had to abort their mission -- "But everyone came safely back without getting caught, which was our first priority."

The source stressed that MTA station agents were not aware of the action, and no MTA employees were involved in actually locking the gates open. But that's not to say that Transit Workers Union members weren't involved.

"We've been planning this for months -- Occupy people, other activists, and union members," the source said. "Union members were central to the planning. They told us the best places to go, they talked to their colleagues about what was going to happen, and not to be freaked out when we came in, and they gave the final green-light for the mission in the morning."

Transport Workers Union Local 100 leadership denied knowledge of the action, and the Rank And File Initiative source confirmed that they were not notified. Relations between TWU 100 members and their leadership have long been strained, dating back to 2005 when union members, historically fairly radical, felt their leaders rolled over in a standoff with the MTA.

"There are a lot of angry and afraid union members who wish they could do more, but they're held back by the leadership," the source said. "We listened in on a conference call with [TWU President John] Samuelson and the shop stewards, and they were all telling Samuelson the union needed to be doing more. He got so mad he was muting out whole parts of the conversation, until it was just him talking on the line."

Yesterday's wildcat action -- carried out by union members without the knowledge or coordination of their leadership -- violated both the Taylor Law and the Taft-Hartley Act.
It suggests that TWU 100 leaders may be losing control of their members, and also may lend some credence to claims by Occupy Wall Street organizers that labor's rank and file will take part in the upcoming May 1st "Day Without the 99 Percent" action, despite skeptical statements from some union leaders.

The tactic isn't without precedent. San Francisco saw a fare strike in 2005, and the Spanish Indignados, to whom Occupy Wall Street protesters have often looked for inspiration, have been running their own fare strike, Yo No Pago, since early this year.

The source said his group's inspiration for yesterdays action came on November 17 of last year. During that day of action for Occupy Wall Street, someone -- quite possibly members of Occupy's Direct Action Working Group -- locked open doors at four stations.

"We wanted to do something like that, but scale it up," the source said.

Going forward, the coalition is unlikely to repeat the fare strike tactic, the source said, though it will conduct other sorts of actions. The group also plans to release how-to guides to help anyone else who might want to stage a fair strike in New York subways.

"It's a great tactic, because it aligns the interests of transit workers with the interests of the working classes throughout New York," he said. "That's important, because whenever transit workers get hit, it's bad news for everyone else who rides the subway too . You see fare hikes and service cuts. It makes sense to make common cause."

Here's the full press release concerning the fare strike:

This morning before rush hour, teams of activists, many from Occupy Wall Street, in conjunction with rank and file workers from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union, opened up more than 20 stations across the city for free entry. As of 10:30 AM, the majority remain open. No property was damaged. Teams have chained open service gates and taped up turnstiles in a coordinated response to escalating service cuts, fare hikes, racist policing, assaults on transit workers' working conditions and livelihoods -- and the profiteering of the super-rich by way of a system they've rigged in their favor.

For the last several years, riders of public transit have been under attack. The cost of our Metrocards has been increasing, while train and bus service has been steadily reduced. Budget cuts have precipitated station closings and staff/safety reductions. Police routinely single out young black and Latino men for searches at the turnstile. Layoffs and attrition means cutting staff levels to the bare minimum, reducing services for seniors and disabled riders. At the same time, MTA workers have been laid off and have had their benefits drastically reduced. Contract negotiations are completely stalled.

Working people of all occupations, colors and backgrounds are expected to sacrifice to cover the budget cut by paying more for less service. But here's the real cause of the problem: the rich are massively profiting from our transit system. Despite the fact that buses and subways are supposed to be a public service, the government and the MTA have turned the system backwards--into a virtual ATM for the super-rich. Instead of using our tax money to properly fund transit, Albany and City Hall have intentionally starved transit of public funds for over twenty years; the MTA must resort to bonds (loans from Wall Street) to pay for projects and costs. The MTA is legally required to funnel tax dollars and fares away from transportation costs and towards interest on these bonds, called "debt service." This means Wall Street bondholders receive a huge share of what we put into the system through the Metrocards we buy and the taxes we pay: more than $2 billion a year goes to debt service, and this number is expected to rise every year. If trends continue, by 2018 more than one out of every five dollars of MTA revenue will head to a banker's pockets.

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8) The Gated Community Mentality
By RICH BENJAMIN
March 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/opinion/the-gated-community-mentality.html?hp

AS a black man who has been mugged at gunpoint by a black teenager late at night, I am not naïve: I know firsthand the awkward conundrums surrounding race, fear and crime. Trayvon Martin's killing at the hands of George Zimmerman baffles this nation. While the youth's supporters declare in solidarity "We are all Trayvon," the question is raised, to what extent is the United States also all George Zimmerman?

Under assault, I didn't dream of harming my teenage assailant, let alone taking his life.

Mr. Zimmerman reacted very differently, taking out his handgun and shooting the youth in cold blood.

What gives?

Welcome to gate-minded America.

From 2007 to 2009, I traveled 27,000 miles, living in predominantly white gated communities across this country to research a book. I threw myself into these communities with gusto - no Howard Johnson or Motel 6 for me. I borrowed or rented residents' homes. From the red-rock canyons of southern Utah to the Waffle-House-pocked exurbs of north Georgia, I lived in gated communities as a black man, with a youthful style and face, to interview and observe residents.

The perverse, pervasive real-estate speak I heard in these communities champions a bunker mentality. Residents often expressed a fear of crime that was exaggerated beyond the actual criminal threat, as documented by their police department's statistics. Since you can say "gated community" only so many times, developers hatched an array of Orwellian euphemisms to appease residents' anxieties: "master-planned community," "landscaped resort community," "secluded intimate neighborhood."

No matter the label, the product is the same: self-contained, conservative and overzealous in its demands for "safety." Gated communities churn a vicious cycle by attracting like-minded residents who seek shelter from outsiders and whose physical seclusion then worsens paranoid groupthink against outsiders. These bunker communities remind me of those Matryoshka wooden dolls. A similar-object-within-a-similar-object serves as shelter; from community to subdivision to house, each unit relies on staggered forms of security and comfort, including town authorities, zoning practices, private security systems and personal firearms.

Residents' palpable satisfaction with their communities' virtue and their evident readiness to trumpet alarm at any given "threat" create a peculiar atmosphere - an unholy alliance of smugness and insecurity. In this us-versus-them mental landscape, them refers to new immigrants, blacks, young people, renters, non-property-owners and people perceived to be poor.

Mr. Zimmerman's gated community, a 260-unit housing complex, sits in a racially mixed suburb of Orlando, Fla. Mr. Martin's "suspicious" profile amounted to more than his black skin. He was profiled as young, loitering, non-property-owning and poor. Based on their actions, police officers clearly assumed Mr. Zimmerman was the private property owner and Mr. Martin the dangerous interloper. After all, why did the police treat Mr. Martin like a criminal, instead of Mr. Zimmerman, his assailant? Why was the black corpse tested for drugs and alcohol, but the living perpetrator wasn't?

Across the United States, more than 10 million housing units are in gated communities, where access is "secured with walls or fences," according to 2009 Census Bureau data. Roughly 10 percent of the occupied homes in this country are in gated communities, though that figure is misleadingly low because it doesn't include temporarily vacant homes or second homes. Between 2001 and 2009, the United States saw a 53 percent growth in occupied housing units nestled in gated communities.

Another related trend contributed to this shooting: our increasingly privatized criminal justice system. The United States is becoming even more enamored with private ownership and decision making around policing, prisons and probation. Private companies champion private "security" services, alongside the private building and managing of prisons.

"Stand Your Ground" or "Shoot First" laws like Florida's expand the so-called castle doctrine, which permits the use of deadly force for self-defense in one's home, as long as the homeowner can prove deadly force was reasonable. Thirty-two states now permit expanded rights to self-defense.

In essence, laws nationwide sanction reckless vigilantism in the form of self-defense claims. A bunker mentality is codified by law.

Those reducing this tragedy to racism miss a more accurate and painful picture. Why is a child dead? The rise of "secure," gated communities, private cops, private roads, private parks, private schools, private playgrounds - private, private, private -exacerbates biased treatment against the young, the colored and the presumably poor.

Rich Benjamin is the author of "Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America" and a senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan research center.

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9) CEO Pay Rose in 2011. Again
"While CEO pay rose, USA Today noted, average weekly earnings of workers, adjusted for inflation, fell 1.2 percent from the October 2010 peak through February 2012, the latest data available."
By Vineeta Anand
AFL-CIO Now
03/29/2012
http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Corporate-Greed/CEO-Pay-Rose-in-2011.-Again

While millions of 99 percent Americans continue to be jobless and the nation's unemployment rate hovers around 8.3 percent, chief executive officers of the nation's largest companies received a two percent pay raise last year. While that may not seem like much of an increase, it came on top of a 27 percent hike in 2010, according to a report in USA Today.

The median, or mid-point, pay of top executives was $9.6 million in 2011, USA Today reported, based on 138 companies in the Standard & Poor's index of 500 largest companies whose pay data has been disclosed. As more CEO pay data becomes public, the AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch website, paywatch.org, will be updated with more complete data in mid-April.

While CEO pay rose, USA Today noted, average weekly earnings of workers, adjusted for inflation, fell 1.2 percent from the October 2010 peak through February 2012, the latest data available.

The article was based on data from GMI Ratings of companies that had the same CEO in 2010 and 2011.

Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, was the highest-paid top executive for the second consecutive year, collecting $431.1 million in 2011. Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, who would otherwise have had the dubious distinction of being the highest-paid chief executive, was not included in the survey because he was promoted only in August 2011. Cook received $378 million in 2011, a 540 percent increase from what he collected in 2010.

While the 99 percent continue to struggle, a new report by economist Emmanuel Saez shows that the richest Americans also rebounded faster from the effects of the financial crisis. In 2010, the first year of the economy's recovery from the Great Recession, almost all of the growth in income went to the top one percent. According to Saez's data, the incomes of the top one percent of Americans grew 11.6 percent in 2010, while the income of the bottom 99 percent grew only by 0.2 percent.

Not only did continuing CEOs receive generous compensation, but departing CEOs also collected large paychecks while heading out. William Weldon, who announced on February 21 that he would be retiring as the head of Johnson & Johnson in April, headed out with $144 million in retirement pay.

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10) Federal court strikes down parts of union law
By Bruce Vielmetti and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
March 30, 2012
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/federal-court-strikes-down-parts-of-act-10-4k4qdap-145208985.html

A federal judge in Madison on Friday ruled that portions of Act 10 - the lightning-rod measure from Gov. Scott Walker that removed most collective bargaining for most public employees - are unconstitutional.

Critics of the law welcomed the decision as a major victory, but backers of the legislation seemed unconcerned since the ruling preserved a main limit on bargaining, and suggested broader restrictions would pass muster if applied to all state workers.

Seven major public employee unions had challenged the fact that Act 10 dramatically narrowed what could be bargained by general public employee unions, and required those unions to recertify every year by an absolute majority of membership while denying the same unions voluntary payroll deductions for dues.

The court sided with state officials in upholding limitations on what can be bargained, but found the two other provisions violated the union members' equal protection and First Amendment rights, considering that the same rules did not apply to unions for public safety workers such as police and firefighters.

"So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights," wrote U.S. District Judge William M. Conley.

Conley, formerly a partner at Foley & Lardner in Madison, was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2009 and confirmed by the Senate in 2010.

Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Walker, said the state would likely appeal the decision.

"Today, Judge Conley affirmed the constitutionality of nearly everything in Act 10," he said in a statement. "We are confident that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will continue to uphold the constitutionality of the law."

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, called the ruling "a good first step." She said it showed the purpose of the law was "punishing political enemies."

Peg Lautenschlager, the attorney for the Wisconsin State Employees Union, called the decision a "great victory" for her client.

"Obviously, we're thrilled," Lautenschlager said. "The collective bargaining part is a disappointment. But the notion that a federal judge has said to Scott Walker that he's gone too far on this law is fabulous."
Basis for lawsuit

The plaintiff unions challenged three specific provisions of Act 10:

* Restricting the subject of "general employee" unions' collective bargaining to base wages only, and prohibiting fair-share agreements by which nonunion members pay the unions for the benefits won through the unions' efforts.
* Requiring annual re-certification of general employee unions by an absolute majority of all employees in the bargaining unit, as opposed to a majority of those voting.
* Prohibiting the automatic deduction of dues and fair-share payments from payroll checks of general employees.

The unions argued all three provisions violated the equal protection clause, and that the ban on automatic dues deduction hampered the workers' First Amendment rights.

But Conley found the unions failed to show the elimination of broader collective bargaining for their members violates equal protection. To do so, they would have to show there was no rational basis for the state to grant broader collective bargaining powers to the public safety unions. Conley said the state's claimed reason - to avoid strikes by those workers - met that test.

The fact that those same employees' unions supported Walker may make the rules look like political favoritism, but Conley said that's not enough to make the court use a stricter standard of review.

However, Conley found that the two other changes - annual recertification and the ban on automatic dues deduction - violated the First Amendment rights of the affected workers.

"The court would be remiss not to at least note the likely burden the annual recertification process imposes on the members' speech and association rights," he wrote.

The state's justification for allowing greater bargaining by public safety workers - avoidance of strikes - does not stand up as a rational basis for requiring other public worker unions to annually recertify by absolute majority, and denying them automatic dues deductions, the court said.

Automatic dues deductions for general employee unions should start again at the end of May - barring appeals or higher court rulings that would block or postpone Conley's order.

But Jocelyn Webster, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration, said she could not say when the state might resume deducting union dues from paychecks until lawyers complete a review of the ruling.

About 15 of the state's collective bargaining units failed to recertify under the new union law, according to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. The same thing happened to an unknown number of local unions.

Bell and Lautenschlager said they believe the judge's ruling reconstituted all those unions and they could resume bargaining over wages. Assistant Attorney General Steve Means said that wasn't entirely clear and the Department of Justice would have to review the issue carefully.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the ruling may give "unions more power over their members," but won't benefit public employees.

"This case started as a broad attack on all union-related aspects of Act 10," he said. "Plaintiffs have failed on all but two issues. If the ruling stands, unions representing non-'public safety employees' will no longer have to demonstrate member support through annual recertification and will have greater ability to take money out of employees' paychecks."

The court's order came just hours after state election officials ordered a recall election for Walker. That recall effort was sparked by the governor's bill on collective bargaining.

"Wisconsin citizens have long known Gov. Walker's attack on workers was not honest and today's court ruling shows his attack was not legal," said a statement from former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, a Democrat running against Walker.

"Gov. Walker tore Wisconsin apart and his way has failed us. As governor, I will restore transparency, accountability and honesty to the governor's office and bring Wisconsin together."
Both sides see victory

A group that supports "right to work" laws called Conley's ruling a blueprint for limiting powers of all public unions.

"The real solution to the 'equal protection' claims raised by the plaintiffs in this lawsuit is to apply Act 10 to all government employee unions and stop - in the judge's words - 'selectively subsidizing public unions,' " said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a group that has received at least $687,500 from the Bradley Foundation in the past eight years. Michael Grebe, president of the Bradley Foundation, also chairs Walker's campaign committee.

Madison attorney Tamara Packard has an Act 10 case pending in Dane County Circuit Court. The case was brought by Madison Teachers Inc. and WEAC.

"I think the rationale, especially among the First Amendment grounds, is extremely sound," she said of Conley's ruling.

"We had been following this case closely, had read the briefs and thought the plaintiffs arguments were good ones especially when it came to the speech and the associational rights argument."

Could the Legislature simply apply the new rules to cops and firefighters to make the case go away?

"I suppose that is a possibility to the extent that it would defuse the equal protection arguments," she said. "But that doesn't solve the First Amendment problems with the law. Perhaps it would get rid of the equal protection basis of Judge Conley's ruling.

"I don't think they have the political power to be able to do that anymore with the Senate split as it is," she added, referring to the 16-16 divide in the state Senate. "They're not going to get anything accomplished, nothing like this anyway."

Paul Bucher, former Waukesha district attorney and one-time candidate for attorney general, called Conley's order one of the most political rulings he's seen.

"I think the 7th Circuit is definitely going to look at this case and say, 'Why are you deciding this case based on extraneous politics and political support of the governor?' "

Conley's order also denied motions by state workers and a law enforcement union to join the case, and denied others attempts to file friend of the court briefs in the case.

Bill Glauber, Jason Stein and Ben Poston of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

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11) Gulf's dolphins pay heavy price for Deepwater oil spill
New studies show impact of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster on dolphins and other marine wildlife may be far worse than feared
By Peter Beaumont
guardian.co.uk
Saturday 31 March 2012 07.15 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/31/dolphins-sick-deepwater-oil-spill

A new study of dolphins living close to the site of North America's worst ever oil spill - the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe two years ago - has established serious health problems afflicting the marine mammals.

The report, commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], found that many of the 32 dolphins studied were underweight, anaemic and suffering from lung and liver disease, while nearly half had low levels of a hormone that helps the mammals deal with stress as well as regulating their metabolism and immune systems.

More than 200m gallons of crude oil flowed from the well after a series of explosions on 20 April 2010, which killed 11 workers. The spill contaminated the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline in what President Barack Obama called America's worst environmental disaster.

The research follows the publication of several scientific studies into insect populations on the nearby Gulf coastline and into the health of deepwater coral populations, which all suggest that the environmental impact of the five-month long spill may have been far worse than previously appreciated.

Another study confirmed that zooplankton - the microscopic organisms at the bottom of the ocean food chain - had also been contaminated with oil. Indeed, photographs issued last month of wetland coastal areas show continued contamination, with some areas still devoid of vegetation.

The study of the dolphins in Barataria Bay, off the coast of Louisiana, followed two years in which the number of dead dolphins found stranded on the coast close to the spill had dramatically increased. Although all but one of the 32 dolphins were still alive when the study ended, lead researcher Lori Schwacke said survival prospects for many were grim, adding that the hormone deficiency - while not definitively linked to the oil spill - was "consistent with oil exposure to other mammals".

Schwacke told a Colorado based-publication last week: "This was truly an unprecedented event - there was little existing data that would indicate what effects might be seen specifically in dolphins - or other cetaceans - exposed to oil for a prolonged period of time."

The NOAA study has been reported at the same time as two other studies suggesting that the long-term environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill may have been far more profound than previously thought.

A study of deep ocean corals seven miles from the spill source jointly funded by the NOAA and BP has found dead and dying corals coated "in brown gunk". Deepwater corals are not usually affected in oil spills, but the depth and temperatures involved in the spill appear to have been responsible for creating plumes of oil particles deep under the ocean surface, which are blamed for the unprecedented damage.

Charles Fisher, one of the scientists who jointly described the impact as unprecedented, said he believed the colony had been contaminated by a plume from the ruptured well which would have affected other organisms. "The corals are long-living and don't move. That is why we were able to identify the damage but you would have expected it to have had an impact on other larger animals that were exposed to it."

Chemical analysis of oil found on the dying coral showed that it came from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The latest surveys of the damage to the marine environment come amid continued legal wrangling between the US and BP over the bill for the clean-up. BP said the US government was withholding evidence that would show the oil spill from the well in the Gulf of Mexico was smaller than claimed. Last week BP, which has set aside $37bn (£23bn) to pay for costs associated with the disaster, went to court in Louisiana to demand access to thousands of documents that it says the Obama administration is suppressing.

The US government is still pursuing a case against BP despite a deal the company reached at the beginning of March with the largest group of private claimants. That $7.8bn deal, however, does not address "significant damages" to the environment after the spill for which BP has not admitted liability. And it has not only been the immediate marine environment that has been affected. A study of insect populations in the coastal marshes affected by the catastrophe has also identified significant impact.

Linda Hooper-Bui of Louisiana State University found that some kinds of insect and spider were far less numerous than before. "Every single time we go out there, the Pollyanna part of me thinks, 'Now we're going to measure recovery'," she said. "Then I get out there and say: 'Whaaat?'"

She had expected that one group of arthropods might be hit hard while others recovered, but her work, still incomplete, shows a large downturn among many kinds. "We never thought it would be this big, this widespread," she said.

For its part BP has claimed in a recent statement that it has worked hard to fulfil its responsibility to clean up after the spill. "From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we've worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years," BP chief executive Bob Dudley declared recently.

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12) Echoes of Trayvon Martin as residents seek justice for Bronx teen's death
Ramarley Graham was unarmed when he was shot by police in his home. Now his community is seeking answers, and change
By Ryan Devereaux in New York
guardian.co.uk
Friday 30 March 2012 14.47 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/30/trayvon-martin-ramarley-graham-bronx-teenager

Chinnor Campbell has all the qualities of your average six-year-old. He's a ball of energy. He's curious. And he's missing his front teeth. But two months ago, he watched a police officer kill his elder brother.

The impact of that experience became evident for a brief moment on Thursday night, when tears formed in his eyes. Joined by scores of his neighbors and family members, the boy chanted the name of his brother over and over: "I am Ramarley Graham."

He was one of about 200 Bronx residents - including numerous parents and their children - who formed a single file line facing the NYPD's 47th precinct to demand the officers responsible for the killing face legal consequences. Like many in the crowd the boy wore a button with Ramarley's picture on it. His expression was serious and he repeated his brother's name with conviction.

The boy's indignation was shared by his mother, Constance Malcolm, who stared directly at a handful of police officers gathered on top of a stairway leading to the precinct's entrance. An officer who works at the precinct, Richard Haste, shot and killed Graham in his bathroom on 2 February.

"Marley didn't die in vain," she said. "Because I'm not going to stop until we get justice. Richard Haste is not going to take my son and think we going to lay down. We're not. Not on my dead body."

The circumstances of Graham's death invoke comparisons with that of another black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Like Martin, Graham was unarmed when he was shot. And as with the Martin case, there are questions over the actions of police. But unlike Trayvon Martin, the death of Marley Graham has not led to international headlines and the sympathy of a president.

Yet at Thursday's vigil, Constance Malcolm told the crowd of her determination to seek justice. "I hope he don't have to feel the pain I'm feeling because it's not nice. It's not nice. And I don't wish it on you, but I guarantee you, we will get justice, because I'm not going to stop. A mother never lays down. I'm going to stand up for my son. He's not here but he's counting on me to stand up, and I will."

Police have said they thought Graham had a gun. The suspicion apparently prompted the officers to follow the teenager to his home and force their way inside. Originally the police said he ran into the building, fleeing from officers who told him to stop. Surveillance footage showed the claim to be untrue. The police also say Haste yelled the word "gun" before he fired a single shot into the 18-year-old's chest in front of his younger brother and his grandmother.

Graham didn't have a gun though, and Haste didn't have the training required to work in the unit to which he was assigned. He and his supervisor, Sergeant Scott Morris, have been stripped of their guns and badges. The Bronx district attorney has convened a grand jury to determine whether officers should face criminal charges.

The incident prompted NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly to order an internal review of the street-level narcotics units to which the officers were attached. Last week Kelly met the Graham family.

Jeffrey Emdin, an attorney for the Grahams, said the discussion left many issues unresolved. "When we met with Commissioner Kelly we were seeking answers," Emdin told the crowd Thursday night. Edmin recited a list of questions the family wanted answered.

"Why did you say that he was running into his house? Why was it until you saw the video that you then retracted? Who told you that? Who told you there was a struggle in the house? Why are you not trying find out who is the source of that information? What are you doing to get to the truth? What is the bottom line here?

"Why are the police in that house in the first place? Why did they push the door in? How could a supervisor allow this to happen? And how could this person, who was not even qualified to be on this unit, be in the unit?"

"We still have no answers," Emdin claimed. "Nothing."

A week before Thursday's rally - the second of 18 weekly gatherings intended to commemorate each year of Graham's life - Trayvon Martin's parents traveled to New York City, where they addressed a crowd that eventually swelled into thousands and filled Manhattan's streets. Martin was one year younger than Graham. Both wore hooded sweatshirts the night they died and both were judged to be suspicious by the men who killed them.

Carlton Berkley, a former NYPD detective, reflected on the two cases Thursday night in front of the precinct. Berkley has worked closely with the Graham family and says he has launched his own independent investigation into the incident.

"Both cases are unique," he told the Guardian, alleging that Martin was killed by "a civilian who became judge, jury and executioner". In the case of Graham, Berkley said: "We have the police committing a crime and in the commission of their crime, they took the life of an innocent young man."

Berkley added, however, that there is a link between the incidents that motivated Bronx community members to highlight both cases: "We're here together in solidarity for both of them because the end result was that a young black man - 18, 17 years old - lost their lives behind people that call themselves law enforcement."

While Martin's death has led to international headlines and the attention of President Barack Obama, scrutiny of the Graham case has been largely confined to New York City. Regardless of the press Graham's killing receives, Patrice Gordon has committed herself to supporting his family. The reason, she says, is fear for her own child.

"I don't know why anyone else is here but I'm here because right now I'm honestly afraid to have a black son in New York City," Gordon, who is now an organizer of the weekly rallies, said. "I did not know Ramarley. I did not know his family before any of this but I felt it was my duty to answer Ramarley's call for justice for Ramarley and his family. And for those who will come, because unfortunately this will not be the last."

Gordon turned her attention to Graham's younger brother. "We have to make sure we take the responsibility for those who are to come. We have a little young man right here. We have Ramarley's little brother who unfortunately witnessed this atrocity. It's our responsibility to him, and to all those who are to come, to make sure we come out here everyday, no matter the weather."

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13) Disabled Britons Say Changes to Aid Endanger Them
By SARAH LYALL
March 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/world/europe/disabled-britons-criticize-cuts-in-aid.html?ref=world

LONDON - Prime Minister David Cameron says he wants to end Britain's "sick-note culture" of fraudulent disability claims. But his new get-tough policy has left his coalition government in conflict with thousands of ill and disabled Britons.

In 2010, Dani Neumann, 28, was working as an administrator at Madame Tussauds wax museum and performing in musical theater when she was hit by a car while crossing the street. Left in crippling pain with severe nerve damage, she went in an instant from complete self-sufficiency to total financial dependence.

At every step of the way, she has had to fight hard for help. While the government pays her rent, it rejected her application for a welfare benefit that helps defray added costs associated with disability. It has postponed - since last May - scheduling an assessment for another benefit for unemployed disabled people.

Her only income now is $108 a week in temporary assistance.

"Because they're trying to save money, they deny everything on application," Ms. Neumann said in an interview. "If it hadn't been for my synagogue's help for the first five months after the accident, I would have been homeless."

Perhaps one-third of the working-age population here receives some form of state benefit from Britain's generous welfare system. Next to housing help, disability benefits are its highest welfare expense. The government spends $19 billion a year on one benefit, the disability living allowance, alone.

Populist newspapers like The Daily Mail have joined the government in highlighting how "benefit cheats" bilk the government by, for example, playing golf while on disability. Indeed, about 900,000 people have been claiming incapacity for a soon-to-be-defunct benefit meant to help sick or disabled people who are out of work, for more than a decade, the government says.

But advocates argue - and the government does not dispute - that many of the most entrenched recipients, like those who went on disability after being laid off from jobs in coal mines during the Thatcher years, have aged out of the system. The fraud rate, they say, stands at less than 1 percent.

"There's been a media war waged against them - they're being branded 'benefit-scrounging scum,' " said Debbie Young-Somers, a rabbi at West London Synagogue, whose emergency hardship fund is helping pay basic expenses for Ms. Neumann and others.

A bill passed recently will make it harder to get and keep disability benefits. The government says the measure will not only save billions but also discourage long-term dependency.

"People don't understand what these benefits are for," said a spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions, which administers them. Many who qualified under the old system might find they do not under the overhauled one, she said, asking that her name not be used in accordance with government policy.

"If you lose a limb, then whilst you're getting used to becoming mobile you would be eligible for disability living allowance to help you with your mobility needs," she said, referring to extra help for costs associated with disability.

"But there are people who get prosthetic limbs who can walk across the desert," she added. "They do not have the same mobility needs as they did when they were first injured."

The law tightens the criteria for the allowance, which goes to three million people. Already, thousands of applicants, including Ms. Neumann, say that they have been rejected, with little explanation.

One of the most contentious elements of the law limits support for unemployed disabled people.

Recipients of what is called the employment support allowance - except for the profoundly disabled or those believed to have less than six months to live - will be given job training and expected to rejoin the work force, even if their conditions preclude them from returning to their old professions. The money will stop after a year, except for those in the lowest-income brackets.

Advocates say that would most likely push 280,000 people out of the system.

"This is an arbitrary time limit placed on the amount of time they can get the benefit, whether they're still too sick to work or not," said Tom Cottam, a policy analyst with Macmillan Cancer Support, a major British charity. "The government has been very explicit that the time limit is a cost-saving measure."

The previous Labour government required most new disability applicants to undergo face-to-face medical assessments. Those who received benefits under the prior system are being reassessed. The program costs $160 million, and assesses about 11,000 people a week. The process is guided by a checklist that includes criteria like whether the applicant can walk a particular distance, make a meal without help or hold a conversation.

An independent consultant hired by the government found that the system was plagued with problems, and advocates for the disabled say that not only is it grossly insensitive, but it is also singularly bad at determining who is and is not able to work. In a number of high-profile cases, people who are profoundly physically or mentally disabled have been found fit to work; some have died while waiting to appeal.

More than a third of those who used to qualify are being rejected, the government says. "To have such a high percentage who are fit for work just emphasizes what a waste of human lives the current system has been," Chris Grayling, the employment minister, said recently.

But advocates for the disabled say the figures illustrate instead how ineffective the assessments are. About 40 percent of those who appeal after being rejected have won. There is a roughly eight-month backlog of cases. The appeal system is costing the government $80 million.

Meanwhile, people like Ms. Neumann are depending on the kindness of others..

"They say people live on benefits because they don't want to work, but the reality is that you don't have enough money for heating, to eat properly, to use public transport," she said, reflecting on her $108 a week. "I understand that we're in a recession and we need to cut corners at every turn. But why do you turn around and pick on the most vulnerable people?"

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14) Cuba: Freed Agent Visits Family
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/world/americas/cuba-freed-agent-visits-family.html?ref=world

A Cuban intelligence agent on probation after imprisonment in the United States arrived Friday for a two-week visit to see his ailing brother in Cuba, where the authorities consider him and four other agents heroes. The agent, René González, one of the so-called Cuban Five spies arrested in 1998, said he would return to the United States to serve out his probation. The Cuban Five were convicted of spying on Cuban exiles in South Florida and trying to infiltrate military installations and political campaigns. Cuba says they were only monitoring violent exile groups. The other four agents are in prison.

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15) Fighting a Drawn-Out Battle Against Solitary Confinement
"Ernesto Lira is not a murderer. He has never participated in a prison riot. The crime that landed him behind bars was carrying three foil-wrapped grams of methamphetamine in his car. But on the basis of evidence that a federal court later deemed unreliable, prison officials labeled Mr. Lira a gang member and sent him to the super-maximum-security unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, the state's toughest correctional institution. There, for eight years, he spent 23 or more hours a day in a windowless 7.6-by-11.6-foot cell, allowed out for showers and exercise. His view through the perforated steel door - there were 2,220 holes; he counted them - was a blank wall, his companions a family of spiders that he watched grow, 'season by season, year by year.'"
By ERICA GOODE
March 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/us/battles-to-change-prison-policy-of-solitary-confinement.html?ref=us

ATWATER, Calif. - Ernesto Lira is not a murderer. He has never participated in a prison riot. The crime that landed him behind bars was carrying three foil-wrapped grams of methamphetamine in his car.

But on the basis of evidence that a federal court later deemed unreliable, prison officials labeled Mr. Lira a gang member and sent him to the super-maximum-security unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, the state's toughest correctional institution.

There, for eight years, he spent 23 or more hours a day in a windowless 7.6-by-11.6-foot cell, allowed out for showers and exercise. His view through the perforated steel door - there were 2,220 holes; he counted them - was a blank wall, his companions a family of spiders that he watched grow, "season by season, year by year."

Mr. Lira insisted that he was not a gang member, to no avail. He was eventually vindicated and is now out of prison, but he still struggles with the legacy of his solitary confinement. He suffers from depression and avoids crowds. At night, he puts blankets over the windows to block out any light. "He's not the same person at all," said his sister Luzie Harville. "Whatever happened, the experience he had in there changed him."

California has for decades used long-term segregation to combat gang violence in its prisons - a model also used by states like Arizona with significant gang problems. Thousands of inmates said to have gang ties have been sent to units like that at Pelican Bay, where they remain for years, or in some cases decades. But California corrections officials - prodded by two hunger strikes by inmates at Pelican Bay last year and the advice of national prison experts - this month proposed changes in the state's gang policy that could decrease the number of inmates in isolation.

Depending on how aggressively California moves forward - critics say that the changes do not go far enough and have enough loopholes that they may have little effect - it could join a small but increasing number of states that are rethinking the use of long-term solitary confinement, a practice that had become common in this country over the past three decades.

The changes in California's system would represent one of the largest shifts in how it handles prison gangs since officials began pulling gang leaders, known as shot-callers, out of the general population in the late 1970s. Prison reform advocates say that if California, with the largest prison population in the nation, changes its practices, states like Arizona that have similar policies might follow suit.

"California really pioneered the mass segregation of gang members," said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project. "So California could start to show the way out."

Few dispute the threat posed by prison gangs, or the murders, assaults, drug smuggling and other mayhem they are responsible for. In 2011, there were 1,759 gang-related homicides, attempted homicides and violent attacks on staff members or other inmates inside state prisons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

Most states identify inmates who are members of prison gangs, and gang members account for a large percentage of the prisoners held in solitary confinement around the country. But California's policy has been among the most severe, sending not only full gang members but also inmates found to associate regularly with gangs to one of the state's three super-maximum-security facilities. More than 3,000 prisoners judged to have gang ties are held in such conditions. Of the inmates sent to the unit at Pelican Bay for gang affiliation, 248 have been there for 5 to 10 years; 218 for 10 to 20 years; and 90 for 20 years or more.

Lt. Dave Barneburg, lead gang investigator at Pelican Bay, said incarcerated gang leaders commanded a vast network in the prisons and in cities like Los Angeles, Salinas and San Francisco, ordering attacks on rivals and running drug rings and other illegal businesses. One gang, Nuestra Familia, at one point identified Pelican Bay as its "White House." The gang problem is so tough, he said, "No one has the answer. You do the best you can with the tools you have."

But civil rights lawyers have long been critical of California's gang policy. The procedures used to identify gang members are flawed and lacking in due process, they say, leading to mistaken identifications like the one that sent Mr. Lira - who was vindicated by a civil rights lawsuit resolved last year, long after he was paroled - to Pelican Bay.

"They base this gang stuff on evidence which would never satisfy any normal legal proceeding," said Don Specter, executive director of the Prison Law Office, which provides legal services for inmates.

He noted that although inmates identified as gang members are granted periodic hearings, under the current policy they are not allowed to confront their accusers - or even to know who their accusers are. Nor can they cross-examine witnesses, present their own evidence or argue their case before a neutral decision maker, all basic rights afforded to defendants in the outside judicial system.

In one case, said Charles Carbone, a prisoner's rights lawyer in San Francisco, evidence used to validate an inmate included a copy of the ancient Chinese military text "The Art of War," found in his cell. In another instance, a magazine containing an article about George Jackson, the Black Panther killed during an escape attempt at San Quentin in 1971, was used as evidence of gang membership.

Equally controversial is a process called debriefing, in which inmates in the supermax units are encouraged to renounce their gang ties and provide information about other members in order to be moved to lower-security settings. Because debriefing is sometimes the only way to get out, critics say, the information it yields is often tainted.

David Marcial, a prison consultant and a former official with the Connecticut Department of Corrections, whose gang management program has been a model for other states, said some inmates are so disruptive that they need to be isolated. But locking down all gang members is counterproductive, he said.

"If they're not a shot-caller and they're not doing anything violent in the prison, why lock them up?" he said. "My concern is not whether or not you're a gang member. My concern is that you do not cause a threat to my facility when you're incarcerated."

Under the state's new plan, gang associates - now the largest number of inmates held in the high-security units - would be isolated only for actions judged to be disruptive. But gang members would still be segregated. They would be allowed to work their way out of segregation after a minimum of four years, through a step-down program. Cases of prisoners currently in the units will be reviewed.

"It's designed to be dynamic," said Terri McDonald, the state corrections department's under secretary for operations. "We're interacting with offenders - they know what's expected of them, and their behavior, based on their own choices, dictates where they are housed."

Mr. Specter and other civil rights lawyers said that the proposal had benefits, but that four years was too long for inmates to wait to work their way out of solitary and that the criteria for what was considered disruptive were still so broad that it was unclear how large any reduction in numbers would be.

"It's conceivable that it won't affect very many, and that's the main question," he said. "If it's just a codification of the status quo, that's not going to be very effective."

In Mr. Lira's case, it took years of legal wrangling to win recognition of the system's error. Pulled over in 1995 for a hairline crack in the windshield of his blue Mustang, he was charged with transporting methamphetamine and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Arriving at the entry facility in Tracy, he was told that after his last release from prison he had been identified as a member of the Northern Structure, a prison gang. Only later did he learn the evidence against him: a drawing found in his cell that corrections officials claimed contained hidden gang symbols, a report of a jail-yard standoff and information from confidential informer. Held in a segregation cell for nine months, in 1996 he was put on a bus for Pelican Bay, in the far north of the state, where he remained until his parole in 2004.

His first sight of the prison was a series of low-lying buildings without windows, "little cement blocks, like little Lego boxes," he recalled. "It was quiet. No noise. You could hear the wind outside. You could hear the rain."

As the months passed, his life dissolved into a series of undifferentiated days. "It would be nice if there was a window to look out," he wrote in his diary. "I am surrounded by cement and steel."

Prison officials encouraged him to renounce his gang membership, but he could not do so. He had never been a gang member, he told them.

When his lawsuit finally came to trial, witnesses testified that the drawing found in Mr. Lira's cell was in fact made by another inmate. In a ruling last year, Judge Susan Illston noted that one witness, a corrections department official "who testified about her extensive training 'on identifying gang symbols,' " was not able to find any symbols in the drawing, even when it was enlarged. The other evidence assembled against Mr. Lira was also called into question. Judge Illston ordered his gang classification expunged and noted that he suffered lasting emotional consequences from his incarceration a Pelican Bay.

Mr. Lira now lives with his mother here in Atwater, an agricultural town in the Central Valley. Since his release, he has been in and out of jail for parole violations and minor offenses. During a recent interview, he circled the living room, picking things up and putting them down, his body in constant motion. He is like this a lot of the time, his sister Irma Lira said, his mind "always on the go, thinking, moving."

At 48, Mr. Lira has trouble talking about his years in solitary confinement. "You take a person and you just peel back the skin and make him just some raw flesh in a tomb and all he has is his mind," he said. "Your feelings, your anxieties, your doubts, your health, your happiness, your spirit, who you are, who you think of - that's the only thing that keeps you going in there."

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16) Uranium Mines Dot Navajo Land, Neglected and Still Perilous
By LESLIE MACMILLAN
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/uranium-mines-dot-navajo-land-neglected-and-still-perilous.html?ref=us

CAMERON, Ariz. - In the summer of 2010, a Navajo cattle rancher named Larry Gordy stumbled upon an abandoned uranium mine in the middle of his grazing land and figured he had better call in the feds. Engineers from the Environmental Protection Agency arrived a few months later, Geiger counters in hand, and found radioactivity levels that buried the needles on their equipment.

The abandoned mine here, about 60 miles east of the Grand Canyon, joins the list of hundreds of such sites identified across the 27,000 square miles of Navajo territory in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico that are the legacy of shoddy mining practices and federal neglect. From the 1940s through the 1980s, the mines supplied critical materials to the nation's nuclear weapons program.

For years, unsuspecting Navajos inhaled radioactive dust and drank contaminated well water. Many of them became sick with cancer and other diseases.

The radioactivity at the former mine is said to measure one million counts per minute, translating to a human dose that scientists say can lead directly to malignant tumors and other serious health damage, according to Lee Greer, a biologist at La Sierra University in Riverside, Calif. Two days of exposure at the Cameron site would expose a person to more external radiation than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers safe for an entire year.

The E.P.A. filed a report on the rancher's find early last year and pledged to continue its environmental review. But there are still no warning signs or fencing around the secluded and decaying site. Crushed beer cans and spent shell casings dot the ground, revealing that the old mine has become a sort of toxic playground.

"If this level of radioactivity were found in a middle-class suburb, the response would be immediate and aggressive," said Doug Brugge, a public health professor at Tufts University medical school and an expert on uranium. "The site is remote, but there are obviously people spending time on it. Don't they deserve some concern?"

Navajo advocates, scientists and politicians are asking the same question.

The discovery came in the midst of the largest federal effort to date to clean up uranium mines on the vast Indian reservation. A hearing in 2007 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform led to a multiagency effort to assess and clean up hundreds of structures on the reservation through a five-year plan that ends this year.

Yet while some mines have been "surgically scraped" of contamination and are impressive showpieces for the E.P.A., others, like the Cameron site, are still contaminated. Officials at the E.P.A. and the Department of Energy attribute the delay to the complexity of prioritizing mine sites. Some say it is also about politics and money.

"The government can't afford it; that's a big reason why it hasn't stepped in and done more," said Bob Darr, a spokesman for the Department of Energy. "The contamination problem is vast."

If the government can track down a responsible party, he said, it could require it to pay for remediation. But most of the mining companies that operated on the reservation have long since gone out of business, Mr. Darr said.

To date, the E.P.A., the Department of Energy and other agencies have evaluated 683 mine sites on the land and have selected 34 structures and 12 residential yards for remediation. The E.P.A. alone has spent $60 million on assessment and cleanup.

Cleaning up all the mines would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, said Clancy Tenley, a senior E.P.A. official who oversees the uranium legacy program for the agency in the Southwest.

Some say the effort has been marred by bureaucratic squabbles and a tendency to duck responsibility. "I'll be the first to admit that the D.O.E. could work better with the E.P.A.," said David Shafer, an environmental manager at the energy agency.

Determining whether uranium is a result of past mining or is naturally occurring is "a real debate" and can delay addressing the problem, Mr. Shafer said. He cited seepage of uranium contaminants into the San Juan River, which runs along the boundary of the reservation, as an example. "We need to look at things like this collectively and not just say it's E.P.A.'s problem or D.O.E.'s problem," he said.

E.P.A. officials said their first priority was to address sites near people's homes. "In places where we see people living in close proximity to a mine and there are elevated readings, those are rising to the top of the list for urgent action," Mr. Tenley said.

Agency officials said they planned a more thorough review of the Cameron site - which still has no warning signs posted - within the next six months.

Meanwhile, Navajos continue to be exposed to high levels of radioactivity in the form of uranium and its decay products, like radon and radium. Those materials are known to cause health problems, including bone, liver, breast and lung cancer.

Lucy Knorr, 68, of Tuba City., Ariz., grew up near the VCA No. 2 mine operated by the Kerr-McGee Corporation, now defunct. Her father, a former miner, died of lung cancer at age 55 in 1980, and her family received a payout of $100,000 under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, a law that was enacted after her mother hired a lawyer and testified before Congress.

The program has awarded $1.5 billion for 23,408 approved claims since it was enacted in 1990.

Ms. Knorr's father was one of hundreds of Navajos who did not wear protective gear while working in the mine. "He'd wash at a basin outside" after leaving the mine, she said, "and the water would just turn yellow."

The government has been successful in tracking down and holding some former mining companies accountable. The E.P.A. is requiring that General Electric spend $44 million to clean up its Northeast Church Rock Mine, near Gallup, N. M. Chevron is paying to clean up the Mariano Lake Mine, also in New Mexico.

When the government cannot locate a responsible party, which is most often the case, the E.P.A. and the Department of Energy work with the tribal authorities to reach cleanup decisions. In general, the E.P.A. handles mines, while the Energy Department is responsible for the mills where the ore was processed and enriched.

One of the Department of Energy's biggest priorities is a billion-dollar uranium mine cleanup that is under way in Moab, Utah, and that received $108 million in federal stimulus money and the backing of nine congressmen.

Some Navajo officials point out that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a 20-year moratorium on new uranium and other hard-rock mining claims on one million acres of federal land around the Grand Canyon in January, saying it was needed to preserve the mile-deep canyon and the river that runs through it. The mining industry is challenging that decision in court.

But the Navajo Nation, considered a sovereign government entity, has not gotten similar treatment from the federal government for its land, some of its officials say. The nation has asked for $500 million for mine cleanup, but the money has not materialized, said Eugene Esplain, one of two officials with the Navajo E.P.A. responsible for patrolling an area the size of West Virginia.

Taylor McKinnon, a director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that worked to halt new mining claims near the Grand Canyon, said the Cameron site was the worst he had seen in the Southwest. He has even seen cow droppings near the mine, he said, an indication that cattle are grazing there. And "people are eating those livestock," he said.

Ronald Tohannie, a project manager with the Navajo advocacy group Forgotten People, said the locally grown beef was tested at the slaughterhouse, but not for the presence of radioactive substances like uranium.

When E.P.A. officials in the California office overseeing the region were asked to accompany a reporter to the Cameron mine site, they countered with an offer to visit the Skyline Mine in Utah, on the northern boundary of the reservation in Monument Valley, where a big federal cleanup was completed last October.

The onetime mine, atop a 1,000-foot mesa, provides a sweeping panorama of the red valley below. Just one tiny dwelling is visible, the packed-earth hogan of Elsie Begay, a 71-year-old Navajo woman. Ms. Begay was featured in a series of articles in The Los Angeles Times in 2006 about serious illnesses that several of her family members developed after living in the area for many years.

The publicity "might have bumped the site up the priority list," said Jason Musante, who oversaw the $7.5 million cleanup of the mine for the E.P.A.

In trailers and cinder-block dwellings on the Navajo reservation, there is deep cynicism and apprehension about the federal effort. "That's what they want you to see: something that's all nice and cleaned up," said the Navajo manager of a hotel near the Skyline mine. He asked not to be identified, saying that he had already come under government scrutiny for collecting water samples from the San Juan River for uranium testing at a private lab.

For some Navajos, the uranium contamination is all of a piece with their fraught relationship with the federal government.

"They're making excuses, and they've always made excuses," Ms. Knorr said. "The government should have had a law in place that told these mining companies: you clean up your mess when you leave."

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17) The Arrest of a Student Photographer
Snapshot of Systemic Police Abuse
by LINN WASHINGTON, JR.
Weekend Edition Mar 30-Apr 01, 2012
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/30/snapshot-of-systemic-police-abuse/

I don't know Temple University photojournalism major Ian Van Kuyk, despite his enrollment in Temple's Journalism Department, where I teach.

I do know that dynamics embedded in the recent arrest of Van Kuyk by Philadelphia police-an arrest now generating news coverage nationwide-provide yet another snapshot of the systemic abuses I've reported and researched during three decades spent examining and documenting the lawlessness of supposed law enforcers.

I also know that police attacking civilians for lawfully photographing public spaces, police routinely employing unlawful excessive force and prosecutors too frequently turning a blind eye to such police misconduct are all nationwide problems.

These systemic abuses by police and prosecutors corrode public confidence in the justice system and cost taxpayers millions of dollars spent on settling lawsuits alleging illegalities by police. Historically, these problems receive short-shrift from most elected officials.

Just a few days before the alleged abuse of Van Kuyk, an artist filed a federal lawsuit against a Philadelphia policeman for roughing her up when arresting her for apparently creating lawful outdoor artwork less than two miles from the Van Kuyk incident.

In January 2012, the City of Philadelphia settled another lawsuit filed against that same artist, with the arresting officer agreeing to pay a woman $30,000. She alleged that the officer had "violently manhandled" her - breaking her nose and spraining her wrist during a sidewalk encounter.

Evidence now indicates a police-prosecutor angle in the Florida fatal shooting of teen Trayvon Martin by 28-year-old George Zimmerman.

The evidence is clear that Sanford, FL Police performed a procedurally deficient forensic investigation of that incident.

And evidence indicates that department officials and prosecutors rejected a Sanford Police detective's request to arrest Zimmerman for manslaughter - a management decision that appears to demonstrate less concern for victim Martin than for shooter Zimmerman, whom the evidence shows ignored police orders to not confront Martin, only to have him then claim he shot Martin in self-defense.

That incident producing the arrest of Van Kuyk and outrage from the general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association about gross violations of this young photojournalist's First Amendment rights occurred on the warm evening of March 14, 2012.

Of course as always there are two sides: in this case the account advanced by arresting officers and accounts from Van Kuyk, his girlfriend (also arrested that night) and a few of their neighbors who witnessed the events.

The only points of agreement between the two versions are that police were questioning one of Van Kuyk's neighbors outside the South Philadelphia apartment where Van Kuyk lived, and that the budding photojournalist began photographing that encounter.

Philadelphia police are now reinvestigating the incident in the wake of criticisms and critical news coverage.

According to Van Kuyk, Philly Police, after demanding that he stop photographing them, and after their dismissing his First Amendment protests, snatched Van Kuyk up, slammed him to the ground, swept him off to a police station for a nearly 24-hour detention, and eventually slapped him with a slew of charges, including disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice.

Police also arrested Van Kuyk's girlfriend, detaining her for 19-hours, also slamming her with flawed trumped-up charges. Her arrest arose from came in response to her trying to retrieve Van Kuyk's school-issued camera.

At the core of this incident we see the Philadelphia Police failing to follow clearly stated department policy. A Philadelphia Police Department directive issued in September 2011 bars officers from arresting people for "photographing, videotaping or audibly recording police personnel [conducting] official business...in any public space."

The "Purpose" listed on Memorandum (11-01) was to "remove any confusion as to duties and responsibilities" when police find themselves subjected to recording devices.

Given that red-line directive, police supervisors and prosecutors should have immediately pulled the plug on the charges against Van Kuyk and his girlfriend, but they didn't.

Prosecutors pressed the flawed-arrest-related charges against Van Kuyk's girlfriend, extracting their pound of flesh by forcing her into a program requiring 12-hours of community service and a $200 fine in exchange for their dismissing those flawed charges.

Van Kuyk is awaiting his preliminary hearing and possible trial.

The prosecution of Van Kuyk's girlfriend and his pending charges both are a stain on the ethical duty of prosecutors to seek justice and professional to show responsible conduct in conduct not pursuing bogus charges.

Police spokesmen proclaim that the arresting officers knew about that directive protecting First Amendment activity, but contend that "other things happened...that caused the officers to make an arrest," according to widely reported media accounts.

The Philadelphia Police Department's record of abusive misconduct, however, casts a dark shadow on the department's contention that "other things happened," as do eyewitness accounts.

This incident involving Van Kuyk is hauntingly similar to an August 1972 incident that occurred just ten blocks from Van Kuyk's apartment, when a minister questioning police for pummeling a man outside his house triggered a home-invasion, with police ransacking the minister's home and arresting him, his wife, his daughter and a houseguest from Germany.

As with the Van Kuyk case, the assaulting police hit the minister, his family and houseguest with a slew of charges, including disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer.

Philly prosecutors pressed those charges, which had been concocted to cover-up their criminal assault on the minister's house, but a judge quickly dismissed them.

Philly's then top prosecutor, Arlen Specter, later a US Senator and top Senate Judicial Committee member, rejected widespread demands to prosecute those offending police officers for their criminal conduct against the minister and his family.

Specter recently released a book criticizing the dysfunction in partisan politics - an ironic argument coming from someone who once shirked his ethical and professional duties by ignoring outrageous misconduct and abusive behavior by police and prosecutors.

Months after that August 1972 incident, a federal judge in Philadelphia issued a ruling in a class-action police brutality lawsuit in which he criticized arrests without probable cause and noted that those most likely to be targeted for abuse are individuals who had the audacity to challenge their initial police contact.

I guess certain abusive practices are just embedded in Philadelphia Police Department culture.

So are a 1972 incident and 1973 court ruling ancient history?

Well, that incident and court ruling illuminate the Van Kuyk incident.

Philadelphia police recently arrested a University of Pennsylvania PhD student for questioning why the homeless could not attend a hearing on about a proposed measure to outlaw providing food to the homeless in downtown Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, a Maryland man is facing a 16-year prison term for posting a video on YouTube showing a plainclothes state trooper brandishing a pistol when he stops the videographer for an alleged speeding violation.

Philadelphia prosecutors need to drop the charges against Van Kuyk and reverse the proceeding against his girlfriend.

Further, authorities nationwide need to crack down on misconduct by police and prosecutors.

Linn Washington, Jr. is a founder of This Can't Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press. He lives in Philadelphia.

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18) Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/police-tracking-of-cellphones-raises-privacy-fears.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120401

WASHINGTON - Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.

The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of "surveillance fees" to police departments to determine a suspect's location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.

With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as "the virtual biographer of our daily activities," providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels.

But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide.

The internal documents, which were provided to The New York Times, open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing publicly. While cell tracking by local police departments has received some limited public attention in the last few years, the A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use - with far looser safeguards - than officials have previously acknowledged.

The issue has taken on new legal urgency in light of a Supreme Court ruling in January finding that a Global Positioning System tracking device placed on a drug suspect's car violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. While the ruling did not directly involve cellphones - many of which also include GPS locators - it raised questions about the standards for cellphone tracking, lawyers say.

The police records show many departments struggling to understand and abide by the legal complexities of cellphone tracking, even as they work to exploit the technology.

In cities in Nevada, North Carolina and other states, police departments have gotten wireless carriers to track cellphone signals back to cell towers as part of nonemergency investigations to identify all the callers using a particular tower, records show.

In California, state prosecutors advised local police departments on ways to get carriers to "clone" a phone and download text messages while it is turned off.

In Ogden, Utah, when the Sheriff's Department wants information on a cellphone, it leaves it up to the carrier to determine what the sheriff must provide. "Some companies ask that when we have time to do so, we obtain court approval for the tracking request," the Sheriff's Department said in a written response to the A.C.L.U.

And in Arizona, even small police departments found cell surveillance so valuable that they acquired their own tracking equipment to avoid the time and expense of having the phone companies carry out the operations for them. The police in the town of Gilbert, for one, spent $244,000 on such equipment.

Cell carriers, staffed with special law enforcement liaison teams, charge police departments from a few hundred dollars for locating a phone to more than $2,200 for a full-scale wiretap of a suspect, records show.

Most of the police departments cited in the records did not return calls seeking comment. But other law enforcement officials said the legal questions were outweighed by real-life benefits.

The police in Grand Rapids, Mich., for instance, used a cell locator in February to find a stabbing victim who was in a basement hiding from his attacker.

"It's pretty valuable, simply because there are so many people who have cellphones," said Roxann Ryan, a criminal analyst with Iowa's state intelligence branch. "We find people," she said, "and it saves lives."

Many departments try to keep cell tracking secret, the documents show, because of possible backlash from the public and legal problems. Although there is no evidence that the police have listened to phone calls without warrants, some defense lawyers have challenged other kinds of evidence gained through warrantless cell tracking.

"Do not mention to the public or the media the use of cellphone technology or equipment used to locate the targeted subject," the Iowa City Police Department warned officers in one training manual. It should also be kept out of police reports, it advised.

In Nevada, a training manual warned officers that using cell tracing to locate someone without a warrant "IS ONLY AUTHORIZED FOR LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCIES!!" The practice, it said, had been "misused" in some standard investigations to collect information the police did not have the authority to collect.

"Some cell carriers have been complying with such requests, but they cannot be expected to continue to do so as it is outside the scope of the law," the advisory said. "Continued misuse by law enforcement agencies will undoubtedly backfire."

Another training manual prepared by California prosecutors in 2010 advises police officials on "how to get the good stuff" using cell technology.

The presentation said that since the Supreme Court first ruled on wiretapping law in 1928 in a Prohibition-era case involving a bootlegger, "subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the government."

Technological breakthroughs, it continued, have made it possible for the government "to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet."

In interviews, lawyers and law enforcement officials agreed that there was uncertainty over what information the police are entitled to get legally from cell companies, what standards of evidence they must meet and when courts must get involved.

A number of judges have come to conflicting decisions in balancing cellphone users' constitutional privacy rights with law enforcement's need for information.

In a 2010 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, said a judge could require the authorities to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before demanding cellphone records or location information from a provider. (A similar case from Texas is pending in the Fifth Circuit.)

"It's terribly confusing, and it's understandable, when even the federal courts can't agree," said Michael Sussman, a Washington lawyer who represents cell carriers. The carriers "push back a lot" when the police urgently seek out cell locations or other information in what are purported to be life-or-death situations, he said. "Not every emergency is really an emergency."

Congress and about a dozen states are considering legislative proposals to tighten restrictions on the use of cell tracking.

While cell tracing allows the police to get records and locations of users, the A.C.L.U. documents give no indication that departments have conducted actual wiretapping operations - listening to phone calls - without court warrants required under federal law.

Much of the debate over phone surveillance in recent years has focused on the federal government and counterterrorism operations, particularly a once-secret program authorized by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks. It allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on phone calls of terrorism suspects and monitor huge amounts of phone and e-mail traffic without court-approved intelligence warrants.

Clashes over the program's legality led Congress to broaden the government's eavesdropping powers in 2008. As part of the law, the Bush administration insisted that phone companies helping in the program be given immunity against lawsuits.

Since then, the wide use of cell surveillance has seeped down to even small, rural police departments in investigations unrelated to national security.

"It's become run of the mill," said Catherine Crump, an A.C.L.U. lawyer who coordinated the group's gathering of police records. "And the advances in technology are rapidly outpacing the state of the law."

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19) Global Failures on a Haitian Epidemic
By DEBORAH SONTAG
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/world/americas/haitis-cholera-outraced-the-experts-and-tainted-the-un.html?hp

MIREBALAIS, Haiti - Jean Salgadeau Pelette, handsome when medicated and groomed, often roamed this central Haitian town in a disheveled state, wild-eyed and naked. He was a familiar figure here, the lanky scion of a prominent family who suffered from a mental illness.

On Oct. 16, 2010, Mr. Pelette, 38, woke at dawn in his solitary room behind a bric-a-brac shop off the town square. As was his habit, he loped down the hill to the Latem River for his bath, passing the beauty shop, the pharmacy and the funeral home where his body would soon be prepared for burial.

The river would have been busy that morning, with bathers, laundresses and schoolchildren brushing their teeth. Nobody thought of its flowing waters, downstream from a United Nations peacekeeping base, as toxic.

When Mr. Pelette was found lying by the bank a few hours later, he was so weak from a sudden, violent stomach illness that he had to be carried back to his room. It did not immediately occur to his relatives to rush him to the hospital.

"At that time, the word 'cholera' didn't yet exist," said one of his brothers, Malherbe Pelette. "We didn't know he was in mortal danger. But by 4 that afternoon, my brother was dead. He was the first victim, or so they say."

In the 17 months since Mr. Pelette was buried in the trash-strewn graveyard here, cholera has killed more than 7,050 Haitians and sickened more than 531,000, or 5 percent of the population. Lightning fast and virulent, it spread from here through every Haitian state, erupting into the world's largest cholera epidemic despite a huge international mobilization still dealing with the effects of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.

The world rallied to confront cholera, too, but the mission was muddled by the United Nations' apparent role in igniting the epidemic and its unwillingness to acknowledge it. Epidemiologic and microbiologic evidence strongly suggests that United Nations peacekeeping troops from Nepal imported cholera to Haiti, contaminated the river tributary next to their base through a faulty sanitation system and caused a second disaster.

"It was like throwing a lighted match into a gasoline-filled room," said Dr. Paul S. Keim, a microbial geneticist whose laboratory determined that the Haitian and Nepalese cholera strains were virtually identical.

And, as the deaths and continuing caseload indicate, the world's response to this preventable, treatable scourge has proved inadequate. Cholera, never before recorded in Haiti, stayed one step ahead of the authorities as they shifted gears from the earthquake recovery. While eventually effective in reducing the fatality rate, the response was slow to get fully under way, conservative and insufficiently sustained.

"In the future, historians will look back and say, 'Wow, that's unfortunate,' " said Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, a nongovernmental organization that provides health care for the poor. "This unfolded right under the noses of all those NGOs. And they will ask, 'Why didn't they try harder? Why didn't they throw the kitchen sink at cholera in Haiti?' "

While the world has dedicated $230 million so far to combating the unexpected epidemic, the United Nations is now pleading for an additional $53.9 million just to get the vulnerable displaced population through the rainy months ahead.

At the same time, Haitian cholera victims are seeking compensation from the United Nations, pressing it to accept responsibility. Early on, protests against the United Nations hindered the construction of treatment centers and the delivery of lifesaving supplies. Now distrust of some cholera programs lingers, and the issue has strained the peacekeepers' relationship with the Haitians they are protecting in an eight-year-old mission to stabilize the politically volatile nation. So, too, have unrelated allegations that they engaged in criminally abusive behavior.

"In telling the truth, the U.N. could have gained the trust of the population and facilitated the fight against cholera," said Dr. Renaud Piarroux, who led an early investigation into the outbreak. "But that was bungled."

The United Nations maintains that an independent panel of experts determined the evidence implicating its troops to be inconclusive.

Questioned for this article, though, those same experts said that Dr. Keim's work, conducted after their own, provides "irrefutable molecular evidence" that Haiti's cholera came from Nepal, in the words of G. Balakrish Nair, an Indian microbiologist.

"When you take the circumstantial evidence in our report and all that has come out since, the story now I think is stronger: the most likely scenario is that the cholera began with someone at the Minustah base," said another expert, Daniele Lantagne, an American engineer, using the French acronym for the United Nations mission.

Even so, Anthony Banbury, a United Nations assistant secretary general, said last week, "We don't think the cholera outbreak is attributable to any single factor."

Many health officials consider the cholera response "pretty remarkable," as John Vertefeuille, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's director in Haiti, said.

A sky-high initial fatality rate of over 9 percent has declined to 1.3 percent (less than 1 percent is considered a well-managed epidemic). And the most recent statistics show new cases dropping to 120 daily.

Others, though, believe the bar for success was set too low and more lives could have been saved. Some critics bemoan weak disease surveillance and case-tracking, others inadequate water distribution and latrine building, and still others what they see as a penny-pinching reluctance to use antibiotics and cholera vaccine.

Also, some think cholera could have been stymied, even eradicated, last winter during the dry season after the first wave. Instead, it flared with the rains even as aid groups shuttered or reduced operations. And now, after another winter without an aggressive prevention and eradication effort, the health authorities fear a reprise.

"I think it's going to be another bad year for cholera," said Dr. John Carroll, an Illinois doctor who works in Haiti.

A Rapid Death

Here in the epicenter of the epidemic, all signage relates to life in the time of cholera. Surrounding the town square are heart-adorned posters that say, "Living with cholera: Always wash your hands with clean water and soap." Banners slung across the streets, in contrast, bear skulls and crossbones: "Justice and reparations for all victims of the Minustah cholera."

Inside City Hall, the deputy mayor, crisply dressed in a chambray shirt and slacks, described how he personally buried 27 bodies for fear that workers would not take precautions, how he nearly lost two of his own children to cholera and how he seethed every time Nepalese troops entered his offices.

"They were in my face every day, and the feeling inside me got stronger and stronger," said Ocxama Moise, the deputy mayor. "A few months ago, I even considered killing a soldier or two to see what would happen. I shared the idea with some friends, and they said, 'Don't. You're an official.' But it's only a matter of time before the population finds a way to get justice."

After the earthquake, when Haitians were living amid cadaver-filled ruins in the sprawling Port-au-Prince area, international health officials were concerned that infectious diseases would rip through the tent camps.

Well before the earthquake, Haiti was fertile ground for a disease that spreads primarily through fecal contamination of water: in 2008, only 12 percent of the population had access to piped, treated water, and only 17 percent to "improved sanitation," which includes the simplest pit latrines. Haitians' latrine access actually declined, from 24 percent in 1990.

"For decades we as partners have failed to ensure safe water and sanitation is provided to every resident of Haiti," said Dr. Jon Kim Andrus, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization.

But Haiti had escaped the cholera that raged through Latin America in the 1990s, and even the cholera that struck the Caribbean in the 19th century. It appeared "extremely unlikely" that cholera would present itself, a C.D.C. post-earthquake brief said.

"The risk of cholera introduction to Haiti is low," it said, noting relief workers were "likely to have access to adequate hygiene and sanitation facilities within Haiti, such that any cholera organisms they import would be safely contained."

Seven months later, that assumption would be challenged.

On Oct. 8, 2010, hundreds of Nepalese troops began arriving in Haiti after a cholera outbreak in their homeland, where cholera is endemic; the country weathers outbreaks well, with that one causing nine deaths.

Cholera also affects individuals differently; many infected develop no symptoms or only mild or moderate diarrhea.

Falling violently ill in October 2010, Mr. Pelette was not one of the lucky ones. Severe cholera causes profuse watery diarrhea, often accompanied by vomiting. Treatment is straightforward: replacing lost fluids and electrolytes, orally or intravenously. But those like Mr. Pelette who get no treatment can become so dehydrated that they go into shock and swiftly die.

Nobody knows for sure, but people here believe that Mr. Pelette was the first Haitian to die of cholera, and, though he was not named, he was presented as the "first case" in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in January.

Some details in that widely cited article, like Mr. Pelette's age and date of death, did not match those on his death certificate, obtained by The New York Times. Also, Mr. Pelette does not offer an example of untreated mental illness, as the article contended; he had received care at a hospital for chronic mental diseases, his brother said.

"When he took his pills, he was calm," Malherbe Pelette said, speaking on the porch of his sundry store. "He would come here every day, stand at the door waiting for a soda or cookies, and give a fist bump to everybody who came in. Sometimes, he showed up completely naked. He had a terrible speech impediment, and when he was agitated, it was really hard to understand him.

"Still, my friend, I cried when he died - a lot, a lot."

Enter the Epidemic

A couple of hours after Mr. Pelette died from what the family priest proclaimed to be a poison of some sort, Rosemond Laurimé, 21, a "small businessman" in his family's description, got sick in nearby Meille.

In Haiti, small businesses are minuscule, selling mangos or charcoal today to survive tomorrow. Mr. Laurimé peddled soap at a stand outside the Nepalese base, which sits on the banks of a fly-specked stream that flows into the Latem and then into Haiti's longest river, the Artibonite.

Around 6 p.m. on Oct. 16, when he returned to his shack near the base, he was clutching his stomach. Soon, doubled over from violent diarrhea and vomiting, he begged for help.

His grandmother, 70-year-old Marie-Jean Ulysse, did her best, finally summoning a moto-taxi at daybreak to take Mr. Laurimé to the hospital in Mirebalais, run by a Cuban medical brigade.

By the time he got there, it was too late: "His body had lost all its water," Ms. Ulysse said.

On Oct. 17, Mr. Laurimé became the first to die of cholera at a hospital in Haiti. The next day the Cuban doctors, who had seen five dozen cases of acute diarrhea in preceding days, notified the Haitian Health Ministry that something was terribly wrong.

Mr. Laurimé's grandmother also fell ill and, hovering near death, witnessed the frightening explosion of the epidemic as she lay absorbing fluids intravenously on a hospital cot. She saw a chain of sick prisoners stripped of clothing and handcuffed one to the next. She watched an endless parade of patients carried in, bodies carried out.

"I said to my children, 'Please do your best to take me home because I don't want to end up in the big hole where they're dumping all those bodies,' " she said.

While she is fine now, Mr. Laurimé's mother is not. Yverose Fleury wears a cloth binding her midsection in an effort to contain her sorrow. She said neighbors had ripped up her son's photograph because she keened over it incessantly.

"Nothing is the same with us after the cholera," she said. "My husband is weak and cannot work, my remaining son has a mass on his neck, my little daughter can't hold down food, and I am sick in the head."

From Meille, the epidemic coursed through the Artibonite River valley, landing with a thump 46 miles northwest, and downstream, in the coastal St. Marc area. On Oct. 19, three children died in rapid succession in a classroom in the rice fields. On Oct. 20, the St. Nicholas Hospital was overrun.

Patients sprawled on every surface, doubled and tripled up on beds, in the halls, in the courtyard and even on the sidewalk outside. By nightfall, there were 404. Forty-four died.

"At that moment, I felt like I didn't want to live any longer myself," said Dr. Yfto Mayette, the hospital director. "It was so sudden and so brutal."

On Oct. 21, as a brass band accompanied Mr. Pelette's white coffin to the cemetery, the national laboratory completed its analysis of the bacteria.

At 11 that night, Dr. Jordan W. Tappero of the C.D.C. got a call in Atlanta from the laboratory's director: "Jordan," he said, "It's positive."

Louise C. Ivers, Haiti mission chief for Partners in Health, had just arrived in Boston for a meeting. "My first thought was, 'You can't be serious.' Everyone was exhausted."

In Port-au-Prince, Jocelyne Pierre-Louis, a senior Haitian health official, had steeled herself. "We were in a way waiting for the other shoe to drop," she said. "We had barely picked ourselves up after the earthquake when the cholera fell on us."

Dr. Pierre-Louis reported to the large tent that replaced her collapsed office after the earthquake. Dr. Ivers took the next plane back, and Dr. Tappero flew in, too, with the first of 119 C.D.C. employees who would deploy to Haiti.

"It was a herculean effort at the time, people working 18, 20 hours a day, trying their best to make a difference," Dr. Tappero said.

There was much to do, from treating patients to treating water, from importing personnel to training Haitians, from distributing supplies to distributing basic disease and hygiene information.

But there were also fundamental decisions to be made, and nobody was firmly in charge. International health officials deferred to the Haitians - "our partners" - but in reality held the purse strings and know-how. This led to an often awkward collaboration, colored by Haitians' resentment that cholera had been imported in the first place.

It did not help that the initial projection used by international officials for planning purposes - 200,000 cases in six months - was an underestimate. There would be that many cases in three months' time, with a daily death toll of more than 100 by mid-December.

As the epidemic took off, the players who operated outside the "health cluster," a consortium of humanitarian groups, were able to react most nimbly.

At first, Doctors Without Borders and the Cuban medical brigades, both self-financed, handled the overwhelming majority of cases. "We felt quite lonely at the beginning," said Yann Libessart, spokesman for Doctors Without Borders. "It made no sense. Everybody was in Haiti. It was the biggest density of humanitarian actors in the world, and we two organizations were dealing with 80 percent of the cholera."

Gaëtan Drossart, mission chief for Doctors Without Borders-Belgium, said the health cluster had good intentions, "but there's a lot of meetings and a lot of blah blah blah." He said other groups were limited by agreements with donors to working in the earthquake zone and could not redeploy quickly.

Also, everybody initially worried most about the epidemic's arrival in Port-au-Prince. But Haiti's meager health care resources have always been concentrated in the capital, and after the earthquake humanitarian personnel and supplies were, too. That would eventually increase the cholera survival odds in Port-au-Prince, which would have a 0.7 percent fatality rate compared with 4.5 percent in the southeast.

But it took several deadly weeks for the disease to forcefully strike the capital, where rehydration solutions were warehoused; water, latrines and medical professionals were more plentiful; and organizations had had time to set up proper treatment centers.

Proper treatment centers maintain rigorous infection control to keep from becoming cholera contamination centers: chlorine sprayers to disinfect shoes, hand-washing stations, cots with holes and buckets underneath, disposal systems for waste and bodies.

None of this was in place at the start. Doctors Without Borders sent a team to the St. Marc hospital. "It was really, really awful," Mr. Drossart said. "There were an enormous number of cases, it was totally disorganized, the cholera patients were not isolated, and they were not being treated correctly."

Even four months later, that hospital did not have cholera cots; patients defecated in bed or risked a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure by getting up, United Nations investigators found.

"Hospital staff reported walking on feces in cholera units," they added.

Understaffed hospitals sometimes discharged patients too soon, sending them home to their deaths. They deputized relatives as caretakers although many patients arrived so dehydrated that they needed intravenous lines and nurses to watch over them. Pregnant women were a particular challenge.

"Our greatest heartbreak is that while the women survived, we only saved one pregnancy," said Ian Rawson, managing director of Albert Schweitzer Hospital in central Haiti.

Truth vs. 'The Blame Game'

Within a week of the outbreak, officials in Mirebalais were pointing fingers at the United Nations base, and United Nations officials were trying to stifle what they portrayed as rumors. The struggle began between those who thought that determining the epidemic's origin was important and those who lamented "the blame game."

At first, the United Nations said the base's handling of its waste met international standards - that it used sealed septic tanks, which were regularly emptied by a Haitian contractor, with the waste buried in a proper landfill.

But on Oct. 27, Al Jazeera filmed peacekeepers with shovels "working furiously to contain what looks like a sewage spill." Latrines appeared to be emptying black liquid directly into the river, a reporter said, and the air smelled foul with excrement.

That same day, The Associated Press observed an overflowing septic tank at the base and discovered the landfill to be open pits in a residential area uphill from the community's bathing stream.

Even four months later, the United Nations' own experts, examining the base's supposedly improved sanitation, discovered haphazard piping with "significant potential for cross-contamination" between toilets and showers.

They also noted the "potential for feces to enter and flow from the drainage canal running through the camp directly" into the tributary. Contaminants would have been distributed throughout the river delta in two or three days - a timeline consistent with epidemiological evidence tracing the cholera trail, the experts said.

Before long, hundreds of Haitians were marching on the base, with demonstrations spreading to Port-au-Prince and riots developing in Cap Haitien.

Edmond Mulet, then head of the United Nations stabilization mission, complained that it was "really unfair to accuse the U.N. for bringing cholera into Haiti." United Nations officials believed that agitators were taking advantage of the issue to sow unrest before November elections. But many Haitians were genuinely incensed - and fearful. Some wanted an explanation, others a scapegoat. Voodoo priests were being lynched for their supposed role in bringing the curse of cholera on Haiti, the government said.

In early November, the C.D.C. said that Haitian cholera samples matched strains commonly found in South Asia.

Dr. Piarroux, an infectious diseases specialist and parasitologist from Marseilles, arrived to lead a three-week French-Haitian investigation. He and his colleagues built a database of cases, identified geographic clusters and mapped the epidemic's movement.

His conclusion: the only explanation for an outbreak of South Asian-style cholera in a rural area of Haiti home to a Nepalese Army base with a faulty sanitation system had to be infected soldiers on the base itself.

In early December, Dr. Piarroux's mission report was posted on the Web site of the newspaper Le Monde. Eventually his findings would be peer-reviewed and published in the C.D.C.'s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

But at that point, he said, he was considered "a renegade and a mythomaniac." A leading medical journal, The Lancet, rejected his study after publishing an editorial that said, "Although interest in how the outbreak originated may be a matter of scientific curiosity for the future, apportioning blame for the outbreak now is neither fair to people working to improve a dire situation, nor helpful in combating the disease."

Nonetheless, Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, announced an independent panel "to get to the bottom of this and find answers the people of Haiti deserve."

Money and Lives

From the start, financial concerns colored the response to the epidemic, which had killed more than 3,600 Haitians by the first anniversary of the earthquake. It was partly a question of getting money flowing. Some donors hesitated, given the plodding pace of the earthquake reconstruction; others had to wait for a new budgetary year. Some institutions had time-consuming grant or contracting processes.

It was also a question of philosophy.

Some health officials wanted to use the least expensive prevention and treatment strategies and to marshal resources for the long battle ahead.

Others wanted to employ every available weapon at once, from free drinking water and antibiotics to aggressive case-tracking, mass vaccination, and water and sewer system building.

If that meant spending more upfront, so be it, they said. A year after the earthquake, many organizations were sitting on donations that remained unspent. The American Red Cross, for one, still had nearly half of the $479 million it had raised; it would ultimately dedicate $18 million directly to cholera prevention and treatment. Doctors Without Borders would spend $45 million.

Dr. Farmer of Partners in Health, who calls himself "a maximalist," said he wanted "health equity" - for the developed world to respond to cholera in Haiti as it would at home.

His organization initially requested potable water be trucked into the Haitian heartland so that a traumatized population would not have to filter and treat its water. Purification tablets were delivered instead because it was considered cheaper and simpler, he said.

"There was a fetishization of the simple," Dr. Farmer said. "But there's nothing simple about the introduction of a new pathogen or stopping its spread in a water-insecure place. There's nothing cheap about it, either."

Dr. Farmer said he kept thinking about the many water stations at the New York City Marathon: "That's for a sport, for heaven's sake. You're telling me the giant humanitarian aid machine can't do that in an epidemic?"

Mark Henderson, a Unicef official, said water trucking was done inside the town of St. Marc. "I don't know if it would have been logistically possible to send a water truck to every village in the Artibonite," he said. "And I'm not sure it would have yielded better results than getting water, which is available locally, and applying chlorine."

There was also a reluctance to use antibiotics, which can reduce diarrhea, spare suffering and potentially limit the disease's spread.

The Cubans alone, who claimed in a report that without their help "another 1,000 Haitians would have died at Haitian Health Ministry institutions," dispensed antibiotics to all cholera patients and preventively to their relatives.

World health authorities, concerned with cost and drug resistance, initially said antibiotics should be reserved for severe cases. Nearly three months later, the C.D.C. recommended antibiotics for moderate cases, too.

The fiercest disagreement was over vaccination. Again, citing cost as well as limited supplies and logistical challenges, world health officials initially did not endorse it. Some worried aloud that Haitians could get a false sense of security and become lax about hygiene.

Also, one of the two oral vaccines available - Shanchol, the cheaper one - was still under review by the World Health Organization.

But proponents argued that vaccines could save lives and buy time until long-range solutions like water and waste systems were put in place. They called for fast-tracking approval for Shanchol and increasing vaccine production by offering manufacturers purchase commitments. In mid-December, after a C.D.C. analysis indicated that using the available vaccine doses could reduce the caseload by 22,000, the Pan American Health Organization agreed a pilot vaccination project would be useful.

Influenced by arguments against vaccination, though, the Haitian government said no. Choosing a small group to be immunized would inflame tensions, it said; at least 500,000 needed to be vaccinated, said Jean Ronald Cadet, Haiti's vaccination chief. "They brought us cholera, they have to take responsibility for taking care of it," he said.

Delay and Disbelief

In February 2011, nearly four months after the outbreak, the United Nations' independent experts arrived in Haiti.

The secretary general's office wanted them to move quickly but not too quickly; it did not want the findings released until the Nepalese contingent had concluded its six-month rotation, Ms. Lantagne said.

When the experts revealed their findings in May, the secretary general's staff members were surprised, Ms. Lantagne said. Early theories had proposed environmental and climatological explanations for the outbreak. "I believe they fully expected our results to be that there was no possibility cholera was imported into Haiti," she said.

Instead, the panel said not only that the cholera had come from South Asia but that it originated in the tributary behind the Nepalese base.

Yet the United Nations experts noted that "the introduction of this cholera strain as a result of environmental contamination with feces could not have been the source of such an outbreak without simultaneous water and sanitation and health care system deficiencies."

And they diplomatically concluded that the epidemic was "not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual."

The panel had examined the Nepalese base's infirmary logs and found no reports of severe diarrhea in September or October of 2010. Many took that to mean that the soldiers were probably unwitting, asymptomatic carriers of cholera. But Dr. Piarroux did not think that asymptomatic carriers would have shed enough bacteria to have caused such a sudden, marked contamination of the river. He believed that many soldiers must have had diarrhea - even if it was only mild or moderate diarrhea that, being military men, they did not report to the infirmary.

Testing the soldiers would have been the only way to learn the truth, Dr. Piarroux said. But Haitian health officials were not permitted onto the base to examine the soldiers.

After the United Nations panel dispersed, Danish and American scientists collaborated to scrutinize the Haiti-Nepal connection using the most comprehensive type of bacterial genetic analysis - whole-genome sequence typing.

Dr. Rene S. Hendriksen of Denmark persuaded the Nepalese to provide samples from their outbreak. Dr. Keim's Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona sequenced the DNA, comparing it with Haitian samples already sequenced by the C.D.C.

The Haitian and Nepalese strains were virtually identical - a conclusion the Nepalese were reluctant to accept. "They were trying to fish around for whether our analysis was properly conducted," Dr. Hendriksen said. "But finally they gave up simply because our data was valid. We agreed we would balance the paper and not get into the blame game."

Citing this study and other evidence, a legal claim was submitted to the United Nations in November on behalf of Haiti's cholera victims.

Anticipating compensation, thousands flooded treatment centers seeking medical certificates attesting to their cholera. Doctors Without Borders set up a special unit to process the requests, and has asked the United Nations to clarify whether a legal proceeding is even moving forward.

The victims' lawyers have asked the United Nations to establish a commission to hear the claim. Mr. Banbury of the United Nations said the claim is "under serious review by the legal affairs department."

"The U.N.'s choice is simple," the lawyers wrote in a legal article. "It can rise to the occasion and demonstrate that the rule of law protects the rights of poor Haitians against one of the world's most powerful institutions, or it can shrink from the challenge and demonstrate that once again in Haiti, 'might makes right.' "

A Breather, and Then Disaster

It is tempting now, when reported cholera cases are at a low, for Haitians to relax their guard and for health officials to take a breather.

"We are no longer 24/7 cholera," Dr. Pierre-Louis said. The same thing happened last year. Then the rains hit, and Port-au-Prince, like other places, experienced more cases - 24,000 - during a 42-day period than at the epidemic's start. It was a scramble to deal with the surge; many grants had expired, emergency workers had gone home, and treatment centers were closed.

"We had supplies and structures prepositioned, but it wasn't simple," said Mr. Drossart of Doctors Without Borders. "We couldn't keep mobilizing staff for Haiti. There are other things going on in the world."

Dr. Vertefeuille of the C.D.C. said a key focus now was making the response sustainable without a large international presence. But the government health system, weak and underfinanced, will be hard-pressed to assume greater responsibility.

Dr. Vertefeuille also said cholera was likely to persist in Haiti absent the development of water and sanitation systems, the cost of which has been estimated at $800 million to $1.1 billion.

A singular achievement was the opening of Haiti's first wastewater treatment site last fall. But humanitarian groups fret that short-term water and sanitation solutions are not being pursued aggressively, and that tent camps have lost the free water and, in some cases, the latrine services that gave them a buffer against cholera.

Many also express keen frustration that the dry season is not being used for aggressive case tracking - chasing the disease into pockets where it flares, investigating and chlorinating the water source, and mobilizing the community.

"You can't wait with your arms crossed until the rain falls again," Dr. Piarroux said. "You have to go after these areas like firemen trying to extinguish every last burning ember of a forest fire."

Those who now find the official response sluggish - "daily" epidemic surveillance is posted after a delay of weeks - point to what happened recently in Pestel in southwest Haiti.

On Dec. 10, a severely dehydrated man showed up at the cholera treatment unit. The man was too far gone to be resuscitated, said Dr. Seneque Philippe, the physician in charge.

Dr. Philippe's cholera unit had been inactive because the government had not paid the staff's salaries. He was not ready for another outbreak.

Within two weeks, however, Dr. Philippe believed that he was in the midst of one. People were dying during the long journey down from the rugged mountains to his coastal hospital.

He said that he alerted Health Ministry officials on Dec. 24, and that they were unresponsive. So he contacted an American missionary who had been working in Pestel for decades. She, in turn, tapped into an Internet network of health professionals involved in Haiti and gathered volunteers, supplies and money to pay Dr. Philippe's nurses.

They arrived Jan. 10 to find the cholera treatment unit overflowing. Most patients were coming from the mountains, so the volunteers, bolstered by other recruits, set up remote treatment tents. They also conducted a door-to-door census in the villages. Including treatment records, too, they calculated 278 suspected cholera cases and 62 deaths in December and January, with most deaths occurring before the ad-hoc group of foreigners arrived.

In Port-au-Prince, Dr. Pierre-Louis of the Health Ministry maintained that the reported outbreak in Pestel had been a "false alarm," with only 65 cases and three deaths. She said that "the local doctor" had rebutted the larger numbers.

But Dr. Philippe, the local doctor, while saying he is "personally aware of only about 15 deaths," said he knew of 300 cases - a significant outbreak.

"I felt abandoned to handle the problem myself," he said.

Farther north, one effort to use the dry season to establish a bulwark against the disease was running into other problems.

Late last fall, the new government of President Michel Martelly had authorized a vaccination campaign. It was to start small, immunizing 50,000 residents of a Port-au-Prince slum and 50,000 rural residents in the St. Marc area.

The organizers, wishing they could have begun a year earlier and more broadly, were nonetheless relieved to have secured the new administration's cooperation; it helped that Shanchol, the cheaper vaccine at $1.85 a dose, had been approved.

The organizers - Partners in Health and the Haitian group Gheskio - were also pleased to be starting well before the rains; the vaccine, considered nearly 70 percent effective, is administered in two doses two weeks apart and takes another week to take effect.

In February, Djencia Augustin, 25, a petite, vivacious law student, was racing from mud hut to mud hut in the rice fields of Bocozel to register residents. She wore a T-shirt with a wordy slogan - "We are fighting cholera with Shanchol vaccine without forgetting the other principals of hygiene" - and, in the shade of breadfruit trees, gathered barefoot villagers in threadbare clothing around her as she recorded their information on a computer tablet.

"Some people think cholera is not in our country anymore," Ms. Augustin told them. "That's not true. Cholera will come to visit when the rains arrive, so you need to be prepared."

Bocozel seemed eager. Chavan Dorcelus, 58, said: "It's a real bonus for us. Plus it's free, and it can't hurt."

Told that pregnant women were ineligible, Fada Joseph, 24, patted her belly. "That's not really fair. I'm very scared of cholera," she said. "And if I got an abortion, would that help?"

But in mid-March, radio reports characterized the project as an experiment on Haitian guinea pigs. With $370,000 of vaccine sitting in coolers, a government bioethics committee took up the issue. The campaign appeared in peril. Dr. Farmer said last Thursday, however, that the Haitian health minister had just promised him that she would resolve the issue in the coming week.

'Would Have Burned It Down'

In Meille, the walled gate at the United Nations base is freshly painted now with the insignia of Uruguayan peacekeepers. The Nepalese are gone.

The mission itself is reducing its forces nationwide. Nepal's troop strength is being cut by two-thirds, more than any other country's. United Nations officials said that this was unrelated to tensions over cholera.

But people here think otherwise: "If they hadn't left, we would have burned it down," Deputy Mayor Moise said of the base.

In February, an Uruguayan advance guard was there, removing latrines and generally "sanitizing the operation so previous problems do not repeat themselves," as one soldier said.

Across the street, the open pits where the base's waste used to be deposited were fenced. "They stopped dumping the foreigners' poo there after the cholera," said Ludner Jean-Louis, a farmer, his two cows tied to trees.

Mr. Jean-Louis, who had survived the disease himself, added, "I don't guess you can be mad at Minustah for the cholera. Only for the poo."

Behind the base, the stream where the epidemic began bustles with life now as it did before the outbreak; many who live and work beside it have no other access to free water.

Recently, just behind the base's barbed-wire periphery, Dieula Sénéchal squatted with her skirt hiked up, scrubbing exuberantly colored clothes while a naked 6-year-old girl, Magalie Louis, defecated by the bank, gnawed on a stalk of sugarcane and then splashed into the water to brush her teeth.

Approaching with a machete on his way to hack some cane, her gap-toothed father, Légénord Louis, said Magalie had contracted cholera late last year but after four days of "special IVs" was restored to health. He knew the river water was probably not safe, he said, but, while they brushed their teeth in it, they did not swallow.

For drinking water, Mr. Louis said, his family relies on a local well. But he lives from hand to mouth and cannot afford water purification tablets; the free supply he got in 2010 ran out long ago. So he gambles.

"If you make it to the hospital," he said, "you survive the cholera."

André Paultre contributed reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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20) Protesters March in Florida Town Where Teen Was Shot
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/03/31/us/ap-us-neighborhood-watch-rally.html?ref=us

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - Thousands joined a march Saturday through the Florida town where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, vowing to continue protesting until an arrest is made.

Protesters carried signs, chanted "Justice for Trayvon," and clutched the hands of their children while they walked to the Sanford Police Department from a local high school that served black students during the segregation era. The march was organized by the NAACP was one of several taking place over the weekend.

"We live in the middle of an American paradox," Rev. Al Sharpton told the crowd. "We can put a black man in the White House but we cannot walk a black child through a gated neighborhood. We are not selling out, bowing out or backing down until there is justice for Trayvon."

Martin was shot to death by 28-year-old George Zimmerman on Feb. 26 as he walked from a convenience store back to his father's fiancée's home in a gated community outside Orlando. The case has stirred a national conversation about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin, a black teenager from Miami, was unarmed when he was shot by Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is Hispanic. Zimmerman told police the teen attacked him before he shot in self-defense.

Sharpton and other civil rights leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, spoke during a two-hour rally following the half-mile march.

"This is not about a hoodie, it's about racial profiling," Jackson said. "We will use our marching feet, civil disobedience and every weapon in in our non-violent arsenal until justice is served."

A dozen buses from across the state brought protesters to the rally. Shirley Roulhac-Lumpkin came with a group from Miami Gardens.

"I come from an era where people wore white hoods and nobody arrested the KKK," Roulhac-Lumpkin said. "Wearing a hoodie does not mean you're a hoodlum."

Gary Marion, a nurse who grew up in Sanford, said the Sanford police department is known "as a good ol' boy network and this incident sends a message that our children are worth nothing. I would like to see the chief of police charged with obstruction of justice."

Most of the protesters wore T-shirts with images of Trayvon Martin and many carried handmade posters with messages that read, "Hoodies Don't Kill People, Guns Kill People" and "Mother's Tears Have No Color."

"We come to make sense of this great tragedy and the entire world grieves with us," said Roslyn Brock, who chairs the national board of directors for the NAACP. "When the Sanford police did not arrest George Zimmerman, they essentially placed the burden of proof on a dead young man who cannot speak for himself."

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21) Drones Coming to a Sky Near You as Interest Surges
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/01/business/ap-us-drone-nation.html?src=busln

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Sharp-eyed dog walkers along the San Francisco Bay waterfront may have spotted a strange-looking plane zipping overhead recently that that looked strikingly like the U.S. stealth drone captured by Iran in December.

A few key differences: The flying wing seen over Berkeley is a fraction of the size of the CIA's waylaid aircraft. And it's made of plastic foam. But in some ways it's just like a real spy plane.

The 4 1/2-foot-wide aircraft, built by software engineers Mark Harrison and Andreas Oesterer in their spare time, can fly itself to specified GPS coordinates and altitudes without any help from a pilot on the ground. A tiny video camera mounted on the front can send a live video feed to a set of goggles for the drone's view of the world below.

"It's just like flying without all the trouble of having to be up in the air," Harrison said.

Thousands of hobbyists are taking part in what has become a global do-it-yourself drone subculture, a pastime that's thriving as the Federal Aviation Administration seeks to make the skies friendlier to unmanned aircraft of all sizes.

The use of drones in the U.S. by law enforcement and other government agencies has privacy advocates on edge. At the same time, some DIY drone flyers believe the ease of sending cheap pilotless planes and choppers airborne gives citizens a powerful tool for keeping public servants on the ground honest.

Drones are the signature weapon of U.S. wars in the 21st century. Just as Humvees became a presence on U.S. highways in the 1990s after the first war with Iraq, interest in non-military uses of drones from policing to farming is rising.

Government agencies currently need FAA permission on a case-by-case basis to fly drones domestically. Commercial use is banned except for a small number of waivers for companies building experimental aircraft. But lawmakers have instructed the agency to allow civilian use of drones in U.S. airspace by September 2015. The FAA is expected to take the first step this year by proposing rules that would permit limited use of small commercial drones.

Whether a border patrol drone the size of a single-engine passenger plane or a four-rotor police "quadcopter" equipped with gear to intercept cell phone signals, the increasing ease of aerial surveillance seems destined to be put to a constitutional test over privacy.

"Our concern is with all of the drones," said Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Small aircraft are hard to see, and large drones can fly high enough to stay out of sight, she said. "I think they all pose different levels of privacy risk."

Lynch has sued the FAA for a list of the 300 waivers it has issued to allow drone use in the U.S. At the same time, she said drones in the hands of average citizens could have important uses.

Among the groups seeking to take advantage of the steep drop in price of drone technology are journalists who want to attach cameras to aircraft the size of small pizzas and that cost as much to buy - about $400 - as a one-hour helicopter rental for a photographer.

In the San Francisco Bay area, Occupy Wall Street activists built the so-called Occucopter designed to monitor police action against protesters from the sky.

In Idaho, wildlife biologists started using a drone for counting fish nets after a helicopter crash killed two colleagues and a pilot.

And researchers are developing techniques to use drones equipped with infrared sensors to detect patches of dry ground in orchards.

Hobbyists say drone prices have been driven down sharply even in the past two or three years mainly by the surge in popularity of smartphones. The chips smartphones use to determine whether they're being held vertically or horizontally or to locate themselves on a map are the same ones drones use to keep themselves flying straight, level and in the right direction.

The supply of such chips has spiked along with the use of smartphones, sending prices lower.

"Today if you have an iPhone or an Android, you basically have an autopilot in your pocket. You're just running the wrong app," said Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and founder of DIY Drones, an online community and company that sells drone kits and parts.

Anderson started DIY Drones in 2007 after spending the weekend building an electronic Lego robot and trying to fly a radio-controlled plane with his kids. The robot didn't impress the kids on its own, and the plane was hard to fly, Anderson said. So the family used the Legos to build a primitive autopilot and attached it to the plane. The kids thought it was cool for a few weeks, but Anderson became obsessed.

Anderson said safety is a top consideration of his group, and he supports strict observance of the FAA regulations developed in the 1970s to cover the amateur use of radio-controlled planes, which also apply to today's DIY drones. Those rules include restricting their altitude to 400 feet, requiring them to always be in view of their controller on the ground and prohibiting them from being flown over built-up areas.

That last rule reportedly led to trouble for some Los Angeles real estate agents, who were warned by police to stop using drones to take photos and video of homes for sale, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In Berkeley, Harrison and Oesterer spent more time tweaking wires and software than their drones spent in the air. Part of the reason was battery power: Their drones rely on the latest in lightweight laptop batteries to stay aloft but suck significantly more power. Still, both say would-be pilots don't need degrees in computer science or electrical engineering to send drones skyward.

Said Oesterer: "It's getting really close to plug-and-fly."
___

Online:

DIY Drones: http://www.diydrones.com

EastBay RC: http://eastbay-rc.com
___

Follow Marcus Wohlsen on Twitter: http://twitter.com/marcuswohlsen

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22) In Florida, a Death Foretold
"In this atmosphere, blacks are the target of the highest number of hate crimes in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation - higher by a wide margin than any another group of Americans by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability. While blacks make up 12.6 percent of the country's population, they were 70 percent of the victims of racial hate crimes in 2010."
By ISABEL WILKERSON
March 31, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/a-native-caste-society.html?hp

Tampa, Fla.

IN the mid-1930s, a Yale anthropologist ventured to an unnamed town in the South to explore the feudal divisions of what we commonly call race but what he preferred to describe with the more layered language of caste. When he arrived - white, earnest and fresh from the North - white Southerners told him that a Northerner would soon enough "feel about Negroes as Southerners do." In making that prediction, the anthropologist John Dollard wrote in his seminal study "Caste and Class in a Southern Town," they are saying "that he joins the white caste. The solicitation is extremely active, though informal, and one must stand by one's caste to survive."

Americans tend to think of the rigid stratification of caste as a distant notion from feudal Europe or Victorian India. But caste is alive and well in this country, where a still unsettled multiracial society is emerging from the starkly drawn social order that Dollard described. Assumptions about one's place in this new social order have become a muddying subtext in the case of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager slain at the hands of an overzealous neighborhood watch captain, who is the son of a white father and a Peruvian mother.

We do not know what George Zimmerman was thinking as he watched Mr. Martin from afar, told a 911 dispatcher that he looked suspicious and ultimately shot him. But we do know that it happened in central Florida, a region whose demographic landscape is rapidly changing, where unprecedented numbers of Latino immigrants have arrived at a place still scarred by the history of a vigilante-enforced caste system and the stereotypes that linger from it. In this context, newcomers - like previous waves of immigrants in the past - may feel pressed to identify with the dominant caste and distance themselves from blacks, in order to survive.

A study released in 2006 by Duke University on attitudes on race in Durham, N.C., a city with one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country, found that an overwhelming majority of Latinos - 78 percent - felt they had the most in common with whites, while 53 percent of them felt they had the least in common with blacks. So it would make sense for those respondents to act with the same assumptions about blacks that they perceive are held by native whites. In fact the Latino respondents, many of them immigrants from Mexico and Central America, actually reported higher negative feelings toward blacks than most native-born whites. Nearly 60 percent reported feeling that few or almost no blacks were hard-working or could be trusted, while only 10 percent of whites held that view.

On the other hand, almost three-quarters of blacks felt that Latinos were hard-working or could be trusted. Black Americans appear to view Latinos as more like themselves. "Blacks are not as negative toward Latinos as Latinos are toward blacks because blacks see them as another nonwhite group that will be treated as they have been," said Paula D. McClain, the lead author on the study. Even as blacks worry about losing jobs to new immigrants, they are less supportive of harsh anti-immigration laws, she said, "because they know what laws have done to them."

But shared hardships don't necessarily make allies. "As linked fate rises, so does competition," said Michael Jones-Correa, a professor of government at Cornell who specializes in immigration and interethnic relations. "It's like a sibling rivalry," he said. "This is not a painless relationship." And, of course, Latino immigrants don't just enter a pre-existing racial hierarchy; they bring with them their own assumptions based on the hierarchies in their home countries. "When we come to the U.S.," Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a professor of sociology at Duke, who is Puerto Rican, said, "we immediately recognize whites on top and blacks on the bottom and say, 'My job is to be anything but black.' "

This uneasy coexistence has had tragic consequences in the past. A series of riots broke out in Miami in the 1980s after several black men were shot dead by Latino police officers who claimed self-defense and were later acquitted. In 1982 in Miami, a 20-year-old black man named Nevell Johnson Jr. was killed at a video arcade by a white, Cuban-born police officer. Seven years later, after a routine traffic stop in that same Miami neighborhood, a black man riding a motorcycle, Clement Anthony Lloyd, was shot dead by a Colombian-born police officer. The motorcycle then crashed; another black man who was riding on the back died the next day.

Just last year in California, a gang of 51 people, mostly Latinos, were indicted in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles, after a 15-year campaign of assaults and firebombings of African-American residents, whom they were trying to force out of the neighborhood.

In this atmosphere, blacks are the target of the highest number of hate crimes in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation - higher by a wide margin than any another group of Americans by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability. While blacks make up 12.6 percent of the country's population, they were 70 percent of the victims of racial hate crimes in 2010.

WHATEVER role caste may have played in the Trayvon Martin case is unknowable, and it is far too early to tell whether Mr. Zimmerman will be arrested, tried or convicted. But that encounter unfolded in Seminole County, where Latinos have overtaken African-Americans as the dominant minority group, rising to 17 percent from 11 percent in the last decade. Blacks now make up 11 percent and whites, 66 percent. The area had a history of vigilante justice long before the new arrivals, dating back to 1920, when blacks in the nearby town of Ocoee were burned out of their homes after two black men tried to vote.

Despite all that has gone before, there is reason for optimism. One of the great tragedies of the last century was the pitting of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe against African-Americans who had migrated from the rural South to the industrial North. Both groups were seeking the same thing and were pretty much the same people - people of the land trying to make a way for their families in forbidding and alien places. Fear, suspicion and uneven access to unions, jobs and housing kept them apart. Firebombings and white flight followed, and we are still living with the aftereffects of those divisions.

The arrival of a new kind of immigrant to a country that has endured so much discord offers a chance for re-examination and redemption. Indeed, one of the most encouraging signs noted by Mr. Jones-Correa is that Latinos are maintaining a distinct identity and are increasingly choosing to be identified as "other" rather than black or white. "We have a history of immigrants coming to America and proving themselves as American by identifying as white," he said. "Latinos see themselves as a third category. I think they will continue as a third position beyond the black and white rhetoric."

John Dollard was told time and again that he would come to see the lowest caste of the South the same way that those who had devised the caste system did. He resisted that impulse and instead chose to lay bare the divisions in a hope that they one day might end. Now, 75 years later, a death in Florida gives all of us the chance to reflect on the meaning of that choice.

Isabel Wilkerson is a former national correspondent and bureau chief for The New York Times and the author of "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration."

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