Sunday, April 29, 2012



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


MAY DAY 2012






San Francisco May Day Solidarity Actions:
It’s Time to Draw the Line: Downtown Greed or the City We Need!
SEIU 1021 non-profit workers, librarians, nurses, social workers, and janitors rally!
April 30: 4:30 PM until they kick us out! City Hall, San Francisco
Good Morning May Day!!! May 1 Labor and Community Sunrise Press Conference
6 AM Press Conference and Meet Buses to Support Striking Workers
San Francisco City Hall
Golden Gate Labor Coalition Rally
7:00 a.m. @Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Immigrant Community Rally and March to 16th Street BART
10:00 a.m. @24th and Mission Streets, San Francisco
Solidarity Picket and Action with Janitors and Retail Workers
11:00 a.m. @Westfield Mall, 5th and Market Streets, San Francisco
Bay Area Unite:
Regional March for Dignity and Resistance
3:00 p.m.  @Fruitvale BART Station, Oakland


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Judge orders May 15 trial for Carlos Montes

April 27, 2012

Committee to Stop FBI Repression

On April 26, Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli ordered a trial to begin on May 15 for Carlos Montes, a longtime Los Angeles Chicano activist in the anti-war, immigrant rights, public education and Chicano liberation movements. The trial will start at 8:00 a.m. at the Criminal Courts Building, 13th floor, Department 100, at 210 West Temple Avenue in Los Angeles.

At the court hearing on April 26, Montes said: “Thank you for showing your solidarity here today in the rain.” He is asking people to plan on attending a part of the trial the week of May 15.

After long oral arguments, Judge Lomeli denied the motion by civil rights attorney Jorge Gonzalez for discovery and to dismiss charges against Montes on the grounds of selective prosecution. This means that the court will not look at the role of the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force in initiating the case against Montes. That will have to be exposed during the trial.

In fact, Montes was singled out for prosecution because of his activism. He is being targeted as part of larger proceedings against anti-war and international solidarity activists. Legal documents show that FBI Special Agent Matt Weber contacted the L.A. County Sheriffs about a 42-year old legal case, the outcome of which is under dispute, and a gun purchase. During his arguments, the district attorney stated that freedom of speech has “limits” for people who are critical of U.S. policy and support oppressed people resisting U.S. wars.

At a previous court hearing, two felony charges were dismissed by Judge Lomeli, but four felony charges remain, dealing with the purchase of a gun in 2009. The trial will deal with these four felony charges. If Montes is convicted, he could face up to 12 years in jail.

Over 40 supporters and activists held a rally April 26 outside the courthouse, chanting, “What do we want! Drop the charges!” The supporters then packed the court room, to express solidarity with Carlos Montes. The activists and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression are launching a national campaign of letter and email writing to pressure L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, demanding that the charges against Montes be dropped.

Montes was arrested May 17, 2011, in a raid by the FBI and the L.A. Sheriffs as part of an investigation of “material support of terrorism” targeting anti-war and solidarity activists. “The current gun charges are a pretext to attack Carlos for opposing U.S. wars,” said David Cid, a Los Angesles area teacher.

Carlos Montes is a nationally respected leader in the Chicano, immigrant rights and anti-war movements. He is a founding member of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, active in East L.A. in support of public education and active in the anti-war movement. Montes helped organize protests against the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota; his name was listed on the FBI search warrant for the Minneapolis Anti-War Committee office raid of September 24, 2010, which was investigating “material support for terrorism.”

On May 17, 2011 at 5 a.m., the FBI, along with the L.A. Sheriff's SWAT team, carrying automatic weapons, busted down Montes’ door and raided his home, seizing his computer, cell phones, and files documenting decades of political work. Montes was arrested and released on bail the next morning.

All out for the start of the trial the week of May 15, 2012!
Plan on attending all or part of this important trial - it will take several days.

Please send donations and letters of solidarity to our web site: or call the L.A. Committee to Stop FBI Repression at 626-532-7164.


Militarization, Human Rights and Threats to Justice
in Guatemala    
Friday, April 27, 6:30 to 9 pm:
Film and Public Forum
The Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA, together with Bay
Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition are proud to present the
documentary film:
How to Nail a Dictator"
A story of destinies joined by Guatemala's past, and how a documentary film intertwined with a nation's turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present.
Followed by a talk with Guatemalan
journalist & human rights defender

Iduvina Hernández Batres

Since the election of Former General
Otto Pérez Molina to the presidency
in Guatemala, the country has seen
disturbing trends toward re-militarization
and repression of social movements,
with recent moves to criminalize indigenous
activists defending their right to their
ancestral lands.

Location:  First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin St, San Francisco (on the Geary #38 bus line, near the Van Ness bus lines)
Date: Friday, April 27th  Time: 6:30 pm to 9 pm  Accessible space. Suggested Donation: $5-10, no one turned away. and on FACEBOOK


Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control

April 28-29, 2012 - Washington, DC

The peace group CODEPINK and the legal advocacy organizations Reprieve and the Center for Constitutional Rights are hosting the first international drone summit.

On Saturday, April 28, we are bringing together human rights advocates, robotics technology experts, lawyers, journalists and activists for a summit to inform the American public about the widespread and rapidly expanding deployment of both lethal and surveillance drones, including drone use in the United States. Participants will also have the opportunity to listen to the personal stories of Pakistani drone-strike victims.

Time: 9:00am-9:00pm
Location: 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001

Register now.

On Sunday, April 29 we will have a strategy session to network, discuss and plan advocacy efforts focused on various aspects of drones, including surveillance and targeted killings.

Time: 10:00am-4:00pm
Location: 100 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20001
Sunday’s session is for representatives of organizations and individuals who want to be actively involved in this work. If you are interested in attending, please email Ramah Kudaimi at

Topics will include:
-the impact of drones on human lives and prospects for peace
-the lack of transparency and accountability for drone operations, including targeted killings
-disputed legality of drone warfare
-the future of domestic drone surveillance
-drone use along U.S. borders.

Speakers will include:
-Jeremy Scahill, award-winning investigative journalist
-Clive Stafford Smith, director of UK legal group Reprieve that represents drone victims
-Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control
-Maria LaHood, attorney with Center for Constitutional Rights
-Shahzad Akbar, attorney with Pakistani Foundation for Fundamental Fights
-Amna Buttar, member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab in Pakistan
-Chris Woods, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
-Sarah Holewinski, director of Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)
-Hina Shamsi, ACLU national security expert
-Jay Stanley, ACLU privacy expert
-Tom Barry, drone border expert with Center for International Policy
-David Glazier, law professor who served 21 years as a US Navy surface warfare officer
-Amie Stepanovich, legal counsel at Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
-Trevor Timm, activist at Electronic Frontier Foundation
-Peter Asaro and Noel Sharkey from the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC).

Endorsed by the Center for International Policy, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Global Exchange, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Muslim Peace Coalition-USA, Nonviolence International, Peace Action, United For Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the Washington Peace Center and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.


Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign


Toni Mendicino, 415-730-2917,
Mary Ann Curtis, 323-610-2479,

Freedom Socialist Candidate for U.S. President Tours California in April

Durham/López campaign takes pride in working class roots and says it
offers voters a means to protest the "rigged political system."

Stephen Durham, who is vying for the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) nomination in the
California presidential primary, will campaign in the state from April 12 to May 2. Calling his whistle stop tour the "un-millionaire campaign," Durham will speak at public forums, walk union picket lines, take part in immigrant rights marches on May Day and talk with voters in Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

Durham is the New York City organizer of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), writes for
the Freedom Socialist newspaper and works out of the FSP's storefront in Harlem. A
member of the party's National Committee, Durham is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese and frequently represents the organization in Latin America and the Caribbean where he collaborates with socialists, unionists, feminists and queers.

His running mate, Christina López, is a longtime feminist and immigrant rights advocate who is co-founder of Sisters Organize for Survival, a Washington state group that is fighting state budget cuts that affect women, the poor and workers, especially those in the public sector.

Durham to speak first in Santa Cruz on April 14

Durham will kick off his tour at a Presidential Candidate Forum hosted by the Peace and Freedom Party on Saturday, April 14, 7:00pm at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz. (see Durham's complete California itinerary below).

California is unusual in that the Peace and Freedom Party, which has a socialist platform, also has ballot status. In other states, Durham and López are running a write-in campaign to "give voters a chance to register a protest against an election machine run by millionaires and billionaires." Restrictive federal ballot access laws differ from state-to-state and are a stumbling block for many small parties.

Durham points to the fact that barely half of all eligible voters cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election. "Today, more people identify as independents than as either Republican or Democrat because neither party represents workers, youth, women, people of color and the millions of people without jobs and housing.'

The "real" socialists

Durham and López call their campaign "the real socialist alternative," as opposed to
President Obama who is often accused of being a socialist by conservatives.

Based on a theme of "vote for the greater good, instead of the lesser evil," their platform includes: a massive jobs program funded by dismantling the Pentagon, closing U.S. military bases around the world and nationalizing major industries under workers control; free, quality multicultural education through college; ending the war on drugs, police spying and racial profiling; an end to discrimination based on race, gender, age, nationality, sexuality orientation immigration status, and physical ability; safeguarding freedom of speech and association; and heavily taxing the super-rich, among other things.

The candidate's California connection

Durham is returning to his California roots with this tour. He grew up in southern California and was radicalized as a student and campus worker at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) where he took part in the student movement to end the Vietnam War and was a pioneer in the fight for gay rights. While at UCB, he stood with students of color in the difficult battle for Third World Studies. A resident of Los Angeles in the 1970s and '80s, he led efforts with other left groups to defend immigrant rights and oppose police brutality. His work as a waiter led him to become a militant with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union.

The fight to get Durham's name on the California primary ballot

In early February, a controversy arose when California Secretary of State Debra Bowen
released the names of presidential candidates to be listed for the June 5 primary and
omitted two of four candidates submitted by the Peace and Freedom Party, including
Durham. On February 28, with public pressure mounting and lawsuits in the works, Bowen
added Durham to the primary ballot.

Civil liberties attorney Robert Barnes was preparing to file suit against Bowen in federal district court on behalf of Durham, if Bowen had not changed her mind. In a statement to the media, Barnes noted the importance of protecting minority views: "If the Secretary of State in the past could have decided which candidate they considered viable," he wrote, "abolitionist parties may have never found their voice, feminist voices never found their platform, civil rights advocates and war opponents never found their audience."

California endorsers of the "un-millionaire campaign

Durham and López are gathering endorsements for their campaign. Among the California
supporters are: James Lafferty, Executive Director, Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild;

Richard Brown, ex-Black Panther, co-defendant of the San Francisco 8, co-founder of
the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights; Puerto Rican Alliance of Los Angeles;
Tanya Smith, past president of UPTE-CWA 9119, Local 1, Berkeley; Moisés Montoya,
member of Occupy Oakland Labor Solidarity Work Group; Merle Woo, earlier Peace and
Freedom Party candidate for California governor; and National Radical Women.

Durham's tour is sponsored by the Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign

To schedule a California interview or speaking appearance, contact Toni Mendicino, Bay
Area campaign coordinator, at 415-730-2917 or Mary Ann Curtis, Los Angeles campaign
coordinator, at 323-610-2479. For all other requests, contact Doug Barnes, national
campaign coordinator, at 323-610-2479 or

Durham's California Itinerary

Northern California

Sunday, April 15, 2:00-5:00pm
Meet the candidate in Oakland at a "Un-millionaire House Party"
3033 Sylvan Ave (at Maple, near Fruitvale BART), Oakland
Sponsor: Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee
For info or to arrange rides from BART: 415-730-2917

Monday, April 16, 6:30pm
Durham will take part in a Sacramento Peace and Freedom Party "Meet and Greet"
with other Presidential and U.S. Senate candidates
Place to be announced.
Sponsor: Peace and Freedom Party Sacramento County Central Committee
For location call: C.T. Weber at 916-320-9186 or 916-422-5395

Thursday, April 19, 6:00-9:00pm
Talk with Durham over tasty morsels and delicious libations at an
"Un-millionaire Campaign Open House and Reception"
New Valencia Hall, 747 Polk Street (at Ellis Street), San Francisco
Sponsor: Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee
For info: 415-730-2917

Southern California

Saturday, April 21, 2:00-4:30pm
"American Third Parties Presidential Debate"
Echo Park United Methodist Church
1226 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles
Sponsor: The Maggie Phair Institute
For tickets: 323-732-6416

Sunday April 22, 1:00-4:00pm
"The Party of the 99%, Our Candidates and Issues Forum"
Peace Center West, 3916 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City
Sponsor: Peace and Freedom Party, Los Angeles County Central Committee
For info: 323-610-2479

Saturday, April 28, 3:00-7:00pm
Enjoy finger licking good BBQ and talk with the candidate at a "Un-millionaire BBQ Party"
5121 South Van Ness Avenue, Los Angeles
Sponsor: Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee
For info: 323-610-2479

Northern California campaign headquarters
New Valencia Hall, 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
415-864-1278 - -

Southern California campaign headquarters
Solidarity Hall, 2170 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018
323-732-6416 - -


Five Days for the Cuban Five
April 17 through April 21
Washington, D.C.

Dear Bonnie,

The decades long war against Cuba—including the economic blockade and CIA sponsored terrorist actions, assassinations and subversion—is opposed by most people in the United States. But it won't end unless the people act. A first step would be the release of the Cuban Five, who have suffered so long simply for trying to thwart terrorist actions against their people and their country. We need to take action now and in the coming months to demand that these five men be released and allowed to rejoin their families in Cuba.

From April 17 to April 21, there will be very important actions in Washington, D.C., in support of the efforts to win the release of the Cuban Five.

The actions are initiated by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five.

To reserve a $5 bus ticket
from NYC to DC for the Saturday action at the White House:

(917) 945-9877 or (718) 601-4751

On Saturday, April 21, there will be a picket/rally at the White House urging President Obama to take action to remedy the unjust incarceration of the Five. Chartered buses will be coming from New York City to Washington, D.C. The cost of a round trip bus ticket is just $5.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
Boston: 857-334-5084 | New York City: 212-694-8720 | Chicago: 773-463-0311
San Francisco: 415-821-6545| Los Angeles: 213-251-1025 | Albuquerque: 505-268-2488


HRC Action Alert - Abusive guards in the solitary unit at Frackville

We need you on Monday Apirl 16th to make these calls.

Action = Change

CI Frackville: 570-874-4516; ask for Superintendent Collins, or Deputy Supts. Kovalchik or Lorady.
Secretary Wetzel: 717-975-4918

"Your phone call tells the prisoners that they are not alone. It also tells the Pennsylvania DOC that will will not let them deny our friends and family basic human rights and dignity. Long term solitary and Restrictive Housing Units are instruments of torture and must be ended" Noelle Hanrahan Prison Radio

Please take a moment on Monday to make phone calls, write letters, and speak out for the human rights of those struggling against abuse and terror in PA solitary units.

For the last year, the Human Rights Coalition has received more than a dozen reports from prisoners in State Correctional Institution (SCI) Frackville's Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) that Sergeant Wickersham and prison guard Schaeffer are being allowed to perpetrate routine human rights violations against prisoners with the knowledge of top officials at the prison. Multiple reports from prisoners, some of themsummarized in our abuse logs, indicate that these two guards regularly deprive prisoners of food, showers, yard, and state-issue items; issue falsified misconducts against those who speak out or file grievances in order to sentence them to more time in solitary confinement; target prisoners of color; and threaten further retaliation and even physical abuse.

A few weeks ago, five prisoners in the RHU staged a hunger strike for several days, demanding that Wickersham and Schaeffer be removed from the unit. Despite multiple grievances being filed against them, calls from outside support people, and the non-violent hunger strike, Superintendent Collins remains unwilling to acknowledge--let alone remedy--the problems created by these guards.

This pattern of abuse, harassment, and deprivation is not uncommon in PA solitary units or others around the country. The dehumanizing psychological impact on prison staff has been noted by leading researchers on the subject, with one concluding that staff "become accustomed to and numb to the behavior of isolated inmates," causing the development of a "callous and cynical" attitude amongst staff that creates an atmosphere where abuse is rampant. HRC has documented several hundred reports of torture, abuse, terror, starvation, deprivation, racism and dehumanization in the solitary units of PA, all enabled by this culture of callousness. The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating unconstitutional practices in the solitary units at SCI Cresson in the PA DOC.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, has recently called for "an absolute prohibition on solitary confinement exceeding 15 consecutive days" due to the severe harm inflicted by such drastic social isolation and sensory deprivation.

Join the Human Rights Coalition and supporters on Monday, April 16--all day--and call SCI Frackville and demand that Wickersham and Schaeffer be removed from the RHU immediately.

SCI Frackville: 570-874-4516; ask for Superintendent Collins, or Deputy Supts. Kovalchik or Lorady.
Secretary Wetzel: 717-975-4918

Talking Points:

Ask them 1) how many complaints they have received about Wickersham and Schaeffer? 2) Why do they continue to keep these guards in the RHU with all of the complaints? 3) Do they support deprivation of food and showers as a disciplinary tactic?

Demand that 1) These two guards be removed immediately; 2) all misconduct reports authored by them be reviewed and dismissed if no evidence exists to support them, and that prisoners have their RHU time reduced; 3) Central Office must conduct an external investigation and publicize the results.

Remember to help Prison Radio keep bringing it. We need your solidarity and your donations.

Donate to Prison Radio to keep us on the air!


Stand with Bradley Manning during the April 24-26 hearing

Write to Bradley Manning at:
Bradley Manning #89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
Bradley Manning Support Network:
Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610


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 ConfederaciÃ_n 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 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: [] | [] | [] | [NYC General Assembly - May Day]


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.



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

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


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


Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan

Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to

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The recent massacre of 17 civilians by a rogue US soldier has been shrouded in mystery. But through unprecedented access to those involved, this report confronts the accusations that Bales didn't act alone.

"They came into my room and they killed my family". Stories like this are common amongst the survivors in Aklozai and Najiban. As are the shocking accusations that Sergeant Bales was not acting alone. Even President Karzai has announced "one man can not do that". Chief investigator, General Karimi, is suspicious that despite being fully armed, Bales freely left his base without raising alarm. "How come he leaves at night and nobody is aware? Every time we have weapon accountability and personal accountability." These are just a few of the questions the American army and government are yet to answer. One thing however is very clear, the massacre has unleashed a wave of grief and outrage which means relations in Kandahar will be tense for years to come: "If I could lay my hands on those infidels, I would rip them apart with my bare hands."

A Film By SBS
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures
April 2012


Photo of George Zimmerman, in 2005 photo, left, and in a more recent photo.

SPD Security Cams.wmv


Kids being put on buses and transported from school to "alternate locations" in Terror Drills


Private prisons,
a recession resistant investment opportunity


Attack Dogs used on a High School Walkout in MD, Four Students Charged With
"Thought Crimes"


Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors


Organizing & Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman


Rep News 12: Yes We Kony


The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video


Japan One Year Later


The CIA's Heart Attack Gun


Occupy The PGA
May 23-27 (big day: Sat. May 26) - Benton Harbor, Michigan
Demonstrate in protest of land stolen by Whirlpool Corporation
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


The Invisible American Workforce


Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

For more detailed information, send us a request at


Anti-War Demonstrators Storm Pentagon 1967/10/24


Liberal Hypocrisy on Obama Vs Bush - Poll


Greek trade unionists and black bloc October 2011!


The Battle of Oakland
by brandon jourdan plus


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more on Nash's blog -


FREEDOM ROAD - A Tribute to Mumia sung by Renn Lee


(written by Samuel Lagitimus- adapted in English, sung and arranged by Paris-Sydney)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


School police increasingly arresting American students?


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.


We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?


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



We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools



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

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

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

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

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


HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




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

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

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

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


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 November 11

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets


Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest


Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown Oakland

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II


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


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street
By adele pham


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change




One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and

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


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)
Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am



I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of
Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the specific case raised in this petition...

That's funny! I guess Obama didn't get this memo. Here's what Obama said about Bradley:


"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011- Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political action:


Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.
"If trouble is not at your door. It's on it's way, or it just left."
"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse Sharkey, Vice
President, Chicago Teachers Union


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale




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:

--Attend Joe's trial in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For more information contact: or

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.



Free-Speech Argument in Appeal of Disbarred Lawyer's Sentence
February 29, 2012

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


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.


Free Mumia NOW!
Write to Mumia

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


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


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:



(For a complete analysis of the prospects of war, click here)


"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" book


Say No to Police Repression of NATO Protests


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




Write to Bradley

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:
I am Bradley Manning

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610

"A Fort Leavenworth mailing address has been released for Bradley Manning:

Bradley Manning 89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

This is also a Facebook event!/event.php?eid=207100509321891

Courage to Resist needs your support
Please donate today:

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning has been defending and supporting our Constitution." --Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower

Jeff Paterson
Project Director, Courage to Resist
First US military service member to refuse to ï¬ght in Iraq
Please donate today.

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might also be interested in supporting GI resisters.


Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes, Stop the FBI Attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movement, and Stop FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW! Call Off the Expanding Grand Jury Witchhunt and FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!

Cancel the Subpoenas! Cancel the Grand Juries! Condemn the FBI Raids and Harassment of Chicano, Immigrant Rights, Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists!

Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
to Fitzgerald, Holder and Obama

The Grand Jury is still on its witch hunt and the FBI is still harassing activists. This must stop.
Please make these calls:
1. Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300 . Then dial 0(zero) for operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk.
2. Call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder 202-353-1555
3. Call President Obama at 202-456-1111

FFI: Visit or email or call
612-379-3585 .

Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Please make a donation today at (PayPal) on the right side of your screen. Also you can write to:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


The Battle Is Still On To
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

We write in haste, trying to reach as many of you as possible although the holiday break has begun.......This plan for an urgent "The Day After" demonstration is one we hope you and many, many more organizations will take up as your own, and mobilize for. World Can't Wait asks you to do all you can to spread it through list serves, Facebook, twitter, holiday gatherings.

Our proposal is very very simple, and you can use the following announcement to mobilize - or write your own....


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

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



Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper
Chronicle Editorial
Monday, December 13, 2010

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

- From Amnesty International USA
17 December 2010
Click here to take action online:

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):


Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to
and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) ICELAND FORCES DEBT FORGIVENESS: TOTAL US MEDIA BLACKOUT – “When Debt Is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness Is The Last And Only Remedy” Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. / TDP BLACKLISTED [Alert]
April 16, 2012 By admin

2) Black Man’s Killing in Georgia Eludes Spotlight
April 25, 2012

3) U.S. to Step Up Drone Strikes Inside Yemen
April 25, 2012
4) After Man’s Death, Scrutiny for a Police Chase
By and
April 25, 2012
5) Chasing Fees, Banks Court Low-Income Customers
"The loans can get expensive. When the loan comes due, the bank automatically withdraws from the customer’s checking account the amount of the loan and the origination fee — typically $10 for every $100 borrowed — regardless of whether there is enough money in the account. That can lead to overdraft and other fees that translate into an annual interest rate of more than 300 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending."
April 25, 2012

6) Georgia: One-Year Sentence in Killing
April 27, 2012

7) Bribes Without Jail Time
April 27, 2012

8) Attorney: Zimmerman Had $200K From Web Donations
April 27, 2012

9) Milledgeville Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School
By Judy Le and Pansy Hall
April 17, 2012

10) Warrior in Chief
April 28, 2012
11) How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes
By and
April 28, 2012
12) Thousands Protest Health, Education Cuts in Spain
April 29, 2012

1) ICELAND FORCES DEBT FORGIVENESS: TOTAL US MEDIA BLACKOUT – “When Debt Is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness Is The Last And Only Remedy” Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. / TDP BLACKLISTED [Alert]
April 16, 2012 By admin

Finally serious economists are considering a position I have been maintaining and writing about since the 2008 financial meltdown. Whatever its name— erasure, repudiation, abolishment, cancellation, jubilee—debt forgiveness, will have to eventually emerge forefront in global efforts to solve an ongoing systemic financial crisis.

The US Rothschild Controlled Media (RCM) has completely BLACKED OUT/CENSORED any news about Iceland’s DEBT FORGIVENESS.

If you Google “ICELAND FORGIVES ENTIRE POPULATION OF MORTGAGE DEBT” you will get ‘About 359,000 Results’. Not one of them is a Media Outlet in the US. Not one single Major or Minor news outlet in America has mentioned a single word about this story.

This is TOTAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP and a TOTAL MEDIA BLACKOUT, and it should tell you who owns and runs the Media in America.

BANKERS. Foreign Bankers.

We are allowed to see a tortured, bleeding, dying Gaddafi anywhere, but we are not allowed to know about Debt Forgiveness.

If you Google “DEBT FORGIVENESS” About 1 million 850 results. Not one of them talks about forgiving debt. Okay, 1 does.

But still, out of over a million and a half results.

The MAINSTREAM MEDIA totally censors anything to do with Debt Forgiveness.

The government of Iceland has forgiven the mortgage debt for much of its population. This nation chose a very different way of stopping the crisis from the rest of European countries. It decided to hear the requests of the population and to put politicians and bankers on the bench of the accused three years after their financial excesses would sank one of the most prosperous economies in 2008.
Iceland Forgives Mortgage Debt for the Population. Putting Bankers and Politicians on “Bench of Accused”

This is awesome. It shows when the people DO STAND UP they have more power and win against the corrupt bankers and politicians of a country. Iceland is forgiving and erasing the mortgage debt of the population.

They are putting the bankers and politicians on the “Bench of the Accused.” Which means I assume they are putting them on trial for corruption.

Now the rest of people of the world need to start doing the same thing. We all need to stand up and against all the corruption and fraud of the banks and politicians that are puppets of the banks and corporations.

You are here: Home / Featured / ICELAND FORCES DEBT FORGIVENESS: TOTAL US MEDIA BLACKOUT – “When Debt Is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness Is The Last And Only Remedy” Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. / TDP BLACKLISTED [Alert]

ICELAND FORCES DEBT FORGIVENESS: TOTAL US MEDIA BLACKOUT – “When Debt Is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness Is The Last And Only Remedy” Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. / TDP BLACKLISTED [Alert]
April 16, 2012 By admin


Finally serious economists are considering a position I have been maintaining and writing about since the 2008 financial meltdown. Whatever its name— erasure, repudiation, abolishment, cancellation, jubilee—debt forgiveness, will have to eventually emerge forefront in global efforts to solve an ongoing systemic financial crisis.

The US Rothschild Controlled Media (RCM) has completely BLACKED OUT/CENSORED any news about Iceland’s DEBT FORGIVENESS.

If you Google “ICELAND FORGIVES ENTIRE POPULATION OF MORTGAGE DEBT” you will get ‘About 359,000 Results’. Not one of them is a Media Outlet in the US. Not one single Major or Minor news outlet in America has mentioned a single word about this story.

This is TOTAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP and a TOTAL MEDIA BLACKOUT, and it should tell you who owns and runs the Media in America.

BANKERS. Foreign Bankers.

We are allowed to see a tortured, bleeding, dying Gaddafi anywhere, but we are not allowed to know about Debt Forgiveness.

If you Google “DEBT FORGIVENESS” About 1 million 850 results. Not one of them talks about forgiving debt. Okay, 1 does.

But still, out of over a million and a half results.

The MAINSTREAM MEDIA totally censors anything to do with Debt Forgiveness.

The government of Iceland has forgiven the mortgage debt for much of its population. This nation chose a very different way of stopping the crisis from the rest of European countries. It decided to hear the requests of the population and to put politicians and bankers on the bench of the accused three years after their financial excesses would sank one of the most prosperous economies in 2008.
Iceland Forgives Mortgage Debt for the Population. Putting Bankers and Politicians on “Bench of Accused”

This is awesome. It shows when the people DO STAND UP they have more power and win against the corrupt bankers and politicians of a country. Iceland is forgiving and erasing the mortgage debt of the population.

They are putting the bankers and politicians on the “Bench of the Accused.” Which means I assume they are putting them on trial for corruption.

Now the rest of people of the world need to start doing the same thing. We all need to stand up and against all the corruption and fraud of the banks and politicians that are puppets of the banks and corporations.

The beauty of it is that they will have a load of cash to circulate into the economy and into service industries etc…instead of feeding it to the parasite bankers and out of the economy, great idea. If it was warmer I’d move to Iceland.

For Whom The Bell Tolls:

This could very well be the first chime of many to signal the Death of the World Banking System headed by our ‘good’ friends the Rothschild’s.

Iceland Strikes the First Major Blow Against the World Banking (Fraud) Cartel. This is what can immediately put money into the hands of many American’s.

The Us Government through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA own 96% of all bad housing loans. Many have stated, that in effect, “The US Government is Foreclosing on itself.” This is the very definition of Insanity. It is a form of Suicide.

Major Banks only hold 3% of bad housing loans, 3%!
This is not a banking problem, it is a Government problem, they hold the loans!

We were just about to do a story on America Foreclosing on itself when this article came across our computer.

Times have just gotten brighter.
This is Awesome, News!
The Title says it all:
The True Democracy Party now calls for Nation-Wide Mortgage Debt Forgiveness!

“Who is with US ?!”

Endgame: When Debt Is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness Is The Last And Only Remedy
Charles Hugh-Smith from Of Two Minds.

Today I present an important guest essay by long-time contributor Zeus Yiamouyiannis, who suggests that when debt is essentially fraudulent, then debt forgiveness is both the logical and the only remedy.
Endgame: When Debt is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness is the Last and Only Remedy, by Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D., copyright 2011.


Finally serious economists are considering a position I have been maintaining and writing about since the 2008 financial meltdown. Whatever its name— erasure, repudiation, abolishment, cancellation, jubilee—debt forgiveness, will have to eventually emerge forefront in global efforts to solve an ongoing systemic financial crisis.

“On a grand scale the only way to erase counterfeit money and (counterfeit) assets of hundreds of trillions of dollars is to erase the debts associated with those fake assets. (Let me underscore again, these are not “toxic” assets, they are fake assets.)… Forgiveness in general, and forgiveness of debt in particular, stand as virtues if they free us up to acknowledge, address, and learn from our culpability, start anew, and create forward.” (The Big Squeeze, Part 3: The Quiet Rebellion: Civil Disobedience, Local Markets, and Debt Erasure (January 29, 2011)

Debt forgiveness, therefore, accomplishes two important things. It eliminates the increasing and outsized portion of productive enterprise to pay off unproductive obligations, and it clears the ground for new opportunities, new thinking, invention, and entrepreneurialism. This is why the ability to declare bankruptcy is so essential in the pursuit of both happiness and innovation.

Currently we are mired in a “new normal” and calls for “austerity” which are nothing more than the delusional efforts of a status quo to avoid the consequences of its own error and fraud and to profit evermore. So bedazzled by the false wealth created by debt multiplication and its concomitant fantasy of ever-higher returns, this status quo continues to be stupidly amazed that people are not spending and that the economy is not picking up. But how could it be otherwise?

Productive wealth has been trapped in a web of parasitic theft, counterfeiting, liability evasion, non-regulation, and prosecutorial non-accountability. All the fundamental attributes of a functioning exchange economy have been warped to reward creative criminals. I spoke extensively about this in my posts from 2008. (Imaginary Worth, Empire of Debt: How Modern Finance Created Its Own Downfall (October 15, 2008)

The unsustainable nature of debt

Two observations: 1) Fabricated/parasitic so-called “wealth” destroys value by diluting the value of productive wealth. 2) Debt/credit that cannot be paid back is never an asset and is always a hot-potato liability (needing to be foisted to a greater fool to garner “profit” and transaction fees):

“The models [modern debt are] based upon had no contact with reality. They assumed unlimited growth and ability to pay. When matched against the reality of people paying ten times their salary for mortgages that actually added more money owed to their principal (i.e. with negative amortization), required no money down, and set up “balloon payments,” large step-ups in payments after a few years) there is no possible way they could NOT default in a predictable span of time.”

(Part II: How the Credit Default Swap Scam Works (October 13, 2008)

Systemically, all debt that charges a percentage (“usury”) originates in delusion. Debt grows exponentially indefinitely, growth (income and otherwise) cannot. This leads to a widening condition where the fruits of productive “growth” devoted to interest payments increase until those fruits are entirely consumed. (The Elephant In The Room: Debt Grows Exponentially, While Economies Only Grow In An S-Curve (Washington’s Blog)

Once this happens, stores of wealth (hard assets) begin to be cannibalized to make up for the difference. You see this in Greece with its sale of public assets to private companies, and in middle-class America where people are liquidating retirement accounts to pay for their cost of living.
This problem is compounded by a private Federal Reserve that lends money into circulation at interest, and then allows the multiplication of this consumer debt-money liability through fractional reserve banking. The money in circulation today could pay only a small fraction of the total private and public debt. That fact alone is evidence of a kind of systemic fraud. “If you just work hard enough, save, and make sensible decisions, you can get out of debt” could only physically work for a bare fraction of the population, given the money-to-debt ratio. The rest would have to simply default to clear the boards.

This is why debt forgiveness makes not only moral but rational, mathematical sense. Finances require balancing to be coherent. There must be some way to redress systemic imbalance. One has to be able to “zero the scales” to get an accurate weight of value and to re-establish healthy value creation.

Voices in the debate

Some analysts are beginning to see the forest through the trees in terms of debt forgiveness. Steve Keen, Australian economist and current deflationist, and Michael Hudson, American economic contrarian and prescient essayist, are both using clear-sighted reality-based financial analysis to debunk accounting games that obscure the untenable debt situation and to call for debt forgiveness.
How can selling sovereign assets and imposing austerity on Greek citizens (taking money out of their hands through higher taxes and lower benefits) do anything other than hollow out value and contract the Greek economy in the face of a deep global recession? Michael Hudson: It can’t. Greece’s debt needs to be written off.

“It seems unreasonable and unrealistic to expect that large sectors of the New European population can be made subject to salary garnishment throughout their lives, reducing them to a lifetime of debt peonage… (T)he only way to resolve it is to negotiate a debt write-off…” (The Coming European Debt Wars: EU Countries sinking into Depression (Michael Hudson, Global Research, April 9, 2010)
(“[We’ll Have] a Never-Ending Depression Unless We Repudiate the Debt, Which Never Should Have Been Extended In The First Place” (Washington’s Blog)

Why isn’t “quantitative easing” and flooding the U.S. economy with debt-money working to prime borrowing and lending? Steve Keen: Because the money is going into deleveraging in a time of overextension:

“Bernanke is throwing (a) trillion dollars into the system. Rather than that leading to ten trillion dollars of additional credit money, creating the inflation people are expecting, that trillion dollars is all that goes in, and people deleveraging actually reduce their level of spending by more than a trillion dollars by trying to pay their debt down, and it cancels out what the government is trying to do… We need a 21st century jubilee.” (On the Edge with . . . Steve Keen (Max Keiser, video)
Other well-known commentators are not seeing the debt forest at all. In their contentious debates over deflation and inflation, neither Rick Ackerman nor Gonzalo Lira seem to be aware of the overwhelmingly fraudulent nature of present global debt– including the 600 to 1,000 trillion dollars of fabricated notional wealth represented by the derivatives markets, fraudclosure, and a host of other sources.

Rick Ackerman: “’Ultimately, every penny of every debt must be paid — if not by the borrower, then by the lender.’ Inflationists and deflationists implicitly agree on this point… and we differ only on the question of who, borrower or lender, will take the hit.” (Let’s Think This Through Together….)

I posted a pithy response in the comment section:

“Both Rick and Gonzalo left out the obvious third way–debt forgiveness. No… debt does not have to be paid by someone; it can be absolved, especially debt created upon fraudulent and/or counterfeit-ridden practice… (D)erivatives are not real wealth, and neither was the ostensible climb in the values of housing resting in large part on those phony-wealth derivatives.

The only “real wealth” here revolves around ability to produce real and needed goods (to allow us to survive), and the ability to create something that increases one’s quality of life (to promote our thriving). Precious little of the present global economy involves either one of these. Yeah, if we use FASB standards and Goldman Sachs accounting, we can pretend our worthless junk is all really simply very rare, “unique condition” collectibles worth trillions of dollars.

I’ve got a better idea. Take our financial junk out of the global attic in boxes, put them out on the front lawn, and see if anyone wants to pay a few bucks for the various items, give away the leftovers to anyone interested passing on the sidewalk, and recycle, donate, or dispose of the rest. It’s a moving sale, and if our economy is going to get moving, maybe we ought to have one.” (Zeus Yiamouyiannis April 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm)

How it might play out

This subtle debt extortion creates a system of never-ending debt-slavery for a vast majority of the population. When this “manageable” slavery is aggravated by a desire to use hardship to extort ever greater assets from the overburdened at ever cheaper prices (what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism”), by open and unapologetic widespread fraud, and by the unjust offloading of risk and liability to taxpayers who had nothing to do with poor decisions of private banks, then the systemic abuse is revealed in the daily lives of citizens.

Debt creates scarcity, which stimulates fear, which drives manic competition, which favors opportunism, collusion, and concentrations of power, which translates to abuse, which results in a collapse of legitimacy for the economic system. Overreach causes a breaking point, and we are getting close to it. Will the response be warfare, taxpayer revolt, political upheaval, mass default, debt forgiveness, something other, some combination? I have predicted pockets of violence would be mixed with some softer combination of taxpayer revolt, mass default, political upheaval, and debt forgiveness, along with a return to community exchange to meet basic needs. (The Big Squeeze, Part 3: The Quiet Rebellion: Civil Disobedience, Local Markets, and Debt Erasure (January 29, 2011)
This possibility of epic reprisal may very well compel banks to come to the table around debt forgiveness to avoid violent backlash and criminal prosecution, even over preserving their gravy train companies. The bitter irony of these companies and their galloping greed is that they ended up victimizing each other by selling junk to each other and extracting all the real value in salary and bonuses. Their assets rest on notional values, that when unmasked would drive each into immediate insolvency. They have simply been scam artists, producing little value and extracting mountains of money.

What might this look like? Looking at present trends and using the very useful framework of Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief, it might go something like this…

Average debtor:

1) Denial: Liquidate savings to pay for over-priced house and cost of living.

2) Anger and fear: Exhaust resources, experience want, compounded by austerity measures.

3) Bargaining: Attempt to negotiate with bank through HAMP and other mechanisms to lower payments. Banks don ‘t bite and even have incentives to foreclose.

4) Depression: Lose/default on the house and move in with family or cheap rental.

5) Find out life is better without being a debt slave and spend more time with community and the ones you love.


1) Denial: Collect 144 billion in bonuses after financial collapse and laugh as not a single trading day loss arises for zombie TBTF banks completely subsidized by governments.

2) Anger: Express false righteousness, indignation, and hubris over even modest/toothless demands/regulations attempted to be placed on them by governments. Exhibit sadistic zeal at being able to simply claim you own and liquidate properties they have no clear title to.

3) Bargaining: Experience dawning awareness that may have just cooked your own gooses as strategic defaults skyrocket, populist demands to prosecute fraudclosure gain traction, and quantitative easing ad infinitum dwindles and fails to keep stock prices artificially aloft. Improvise panicked attempts to “be reasonable” and actually negotiate, once the asset and money flow well runs dry.

4) Depression: Contemplate and realize possible bankruptcy by big banks. Retreat to the Hamptons to hire criminal defense lawyers, contemplate empty life, and shoulder the abuse of media and contempt of a global citizenry.

5) Acceptance: Trying to regain “good guy” status and avoid criminal prosecution by agreeing to be part of debt forgiveness.

Once defaults happen in increasing numbers and certain asset prices plunge (i.e. real estate), what will initially look like a bonanza for capitalist parasites could easily get out of hand, with people either unable or unwilling to buy inventory even at greatly reduced prices. Profits would tank at banks, liabilities would skyrocket even with most of it transferred to government guarantee. Because no one plays the game anymore, banks could go under as well, as people rise to vote out bank-friendly politicians and simply refuse to pay. This unraveling could easily force exposure of the notional value of derivatives in banks as worthless, meaning they are as bankrupt as the people they exploited. At this point, there will be a common desire and need to simply “forgive” the debts and try to find some way to distribute these empty homes.


Debt forgiveness simply calls out either the inherent systemic inability to make good on debts or the recognition that debt was produced through fraudulent means. In the present situation, both conditions obtain. There has likely been no point in world history where debt forgiveness has been so comprehensively merited. The only speculation from my point (barring world-wide global feudalism and eternal debt slavery) is whether we will initiate such forgiveness or be forced into it.

Thank you, Zeus, for this prescient and insightful analysis of debt and debt renunciation.The Kondratieff Cycle can only turn to Spring after debt renunciation completes the Winter cycle. Let’s stop pretending we’re still in Summer, and that the Fed’s puny “quantitative easing” and monetary cargo-cult machinations can reverse the seasons.


2) Black Man’s Killing in Georgia Eludes Spotlight
April 25, 2012

LYONS, Ga. — Norman Neesmith was sleeping in his home on a rural farm road here in onion country when a noise woke him up.

He grabbed the .22-caliber pistol he kept next to his bed and went to investigate. He found two young brothers who had been secretly invited to party with an 18-year-old relative he had raised like a daughter and her younger friend. The young people were paired up in separate bedrooms. There was marijuana and sex.

Over the course of the next confusing minutes on a January morning in 2011, there would be a struggle. The young men would make a terrified run for the door. Mr. Neesmith, who is 62 and white, fired four shots. One of them hit Justin Patterson, who was 22 and black.

The bullet pierced his side, and he died in Mr. Neesmith’s yard. His younger brother, Sha’von, then 18, ran through the onion fields in the dark, frantically trying to call his mother.

On that day, Jan. 29, 2011, Mr. Neesmith was arrested. The district attorney brought seven charges against him, among them murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault. On Thursday, Mr. Neesmith is expected to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, which might bring a year in a special detention program that requires no time behind bars.

Over the past several weeks, the men’s parents, Deede and Julius Patterson, watched news of Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida and focused on the similarities. In both cases, an unarmed young black man died at the hands of someone of a different race.

And they began to wonder why no one was marching for their son, why people like the Rev. Al Sharpton had not booked a ticket to Toombs County. The local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. has not even gotten involved, although Mr. Patterson’s father approached them.

“We are looking into the case,” said Michael Dennard, the president of the chapter, after a reporter called more than a year after the crime. He would not say more.

Why some cases with perceived racial implications catch the national consciousness and others do not is as much about the combined power of social and traditional media as it is about happenstance, said Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic who writes about racial issues.

Several events coalesced to push the Martin case forward: an apparently incomplete police investigation, no immediate arrest and Florida’s expansive self-defense law.

“These stories happen all the time,” Mr. Coates said. “It’s heartbreaking and tragic, but there’s not much news coverage unless the circumstances are truly, truly unusual.”

“Stories like the south Georgia killing don’t have the same particulars,” he said. “One of the great tragedies is that people get shot under questionable circumstances in this country all the time.”

Although the facts surrounding the case in Florida and the case in Georgia are quite different, both involve a claim of legally sanctioned self-defense, a dead young black man and, for the Pattersons and the Martins, deep concern that race played a role in the deaths of their sons.

“I definitely believe racism is why he was shot,” said Mrs. Patterson, who recently left her job as director of operations at a uniform company and moved to another small Georgia town. “And for him to get nothing but a slap on the wrist? There is something wrong here.”

That race played a significant part is not hard to imagine here in a county that was named after Robert Toombs, a general and one of the organizers of the Confederate government. A black woman has never been named Miss Vidalia Onion in the annual festival that begins Thursday. And until last year in neighboring Montgomery County, there were two proms — one for whites and one for blacks.

Still, like so many other crimes where race might be a factor, this one is not so clear-cut. Mr. Neesmith says he felt threatened. He says he aches for the parents but believes none of this would have happened if the young men had not been in his house when they should not have been.

“I think about it every day. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Mr. Neesmith said as he stood in the doorway of his home. “In two minutes it just went bad. If you ain’t never shot nobody, you don’t want to do it, I’m telling you.”

In the backyard, a pool was ready for neighborhood kids — both black and white — who he said loved to come over after school for a swim. Mr. Neesmith, a former school bus driver, and his late wife had been foster parents to dozens of children.

They took in a great-niece, who has a black parent, when she was a baby. She is now 19 and admitted to investigators that she invited Justin Patterson to their trailer home that night, timing it so Mr. Neesmith would be asleep. The two had been flirting on Facebook and in texts.

When Mr. Neesmith pulled the young men out of the bedrooms, he threatened to call the younger girl’s grandfather, according to court documents and interviews. He asked the two, who both have young daughters, why they were not home with their children. He ranted and waved the gun around.

So the brothers made a run for it. By all accounts, while the younger one struggled to unlock a side door, the older one shoved Mr. Neesmith.

Police testimony in early court documents shows that Justin Patterson pushed him against a table and chairs. In a recent interview and in other documents, Mr. Neesmith said he took a “whipping” that caused bleeding and cuts. He showed a reporter repairs to two holes in the wall that he said came from the struggle.

Mr. Neesmith’s first shots were fired while he was on the floor, according to investigators. One bullet hit the ceiling and the other hit Justin Patterson. Then, as the two ran, Mr. Neesmith went to the porch and fired two more shots. He called a friend, a bail bondsman, who told him to call the police.

Mr. Neesmith said he fired the extra shots as a warning. “Those boys could have come back and killed me in my own bed,” he said.

District Attorney Hayward Altman said he presented the more serious charges to the grand jury because he did not know exactly what he was dealing with. It is easier to reduce charges than add more, he said. And it seemed that a more serious crime had been committed.

“There was no weapon in their hand,” Mr. Altman said in early court documents. That they ran was understandable. It was, he said, “a normal reaction for young men under those circumstances.”

As the case unfolded, however, circumstances became clearer. The other girl in the trailer was 14, though she had told the men she was 18. Mr. Neesmith’s lawyers pointed out that a statutory rape charge could be brought. So could drug charges.

The shots off the porch were something someone in the country might do to make sure the intruders did not come back, Mr. Altman said. Mr. Neesmith, who has a chronic nerve condition in his right arm and hand as well as other health problems, had been woken up in the middle of the night. He was not thinking clearly, Mr. Altman said; he had no record, and by all accounts was a good man.

Moreover, Mr. Altman said in a recent interview in his office, “I couldn’t see that I could find a jury that would convict.” Most people in a rural area with a high percentage of gun ownership would most likely accept that the fatal shot was in self-defense, he said.

“It might not feel fair for the family, and I am sorry for their loss,” he said. “But this is not at all like the case in Florida, other than they are both tragedies.”

At Justin Patterson’s grave, his mother shakes her head. She visited with her son’s preschool-age daughter, whom the Pattersons, though divorced, are helping to raise.

She says things simply do not add up. What made the district attorney change course? And how could her son, who was not even 5-foot-7 and perhaps 120 pounds, be such a threat to Mr. Neesmith, who is 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds?

“If he had just asked them to get out of his house, they would have,” she said. “They are mannerable boys. He took a life he didn’t have to take.”

Julius Patterson, who works maintaining soda vending machines, sees Mr. Neesmith around town. “At the end of the day, really we wouldn’t have gotten a fair trial because everyone knows him,” he said.

Sha’von Patterson is so troubled he can barely speak about the shooting. His older brother was watching out for him to the end, just as his mother had told him to all his life. His death changed everything.

“It made me grow up and realize you can leave this earth anytime,” he said.

Justin Patterson, whom friends recalled as quiet, charming and a great basketball player, had a tattoo on his right arm that read, “I am who I am.” In his brother’s memory, Sha’von Patterson and several of Justin’s friends got tattoos.

Jay Sneed, 22, who went to kindergarten with Justin and was one of his closest friends, is one of them. “Everything down here is just real bad when it comes to situations like this,” he said. “This is not where you come to find justice.”

Robbie Brown contributed reporting from Atlanta, and Gillian Laub from Lyons.


3) U.S. to Step Up Drone Strikes Inside Yemen
April 25, 2012

 WASHINGTON — The White House has given the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon broader authority to carry out drone strikes in Yemen against terrorists who imperil the United States, reflecting rising concerns about the country as a safe haven for Al Qaeda, a senior administration official said Wednesday night.

The policy shift, approved this month, allows the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command to strike militants in Yemen who may be plotting attacks against the United States, but whose identities might not be completely known, an authority that already exists in Pakistan, the official said.

Previously, the United States focused on a list of known leaders of the Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, which many American officials now says poses a bigger immediate threat to the United States than do militants in Pakistan.

“This broadens the aperture slightly” for the C.I.A. and the military command, the official said, noting that any targets must be approved by the White House and top administration officials before the strikes can take place.

The gradual expansion of the drone program in Yemen illustrates a spirited debate within the administration between the C.I.A. and some military counterterrorism officers who want to attack Qaeda fighters and commanders aggressively in Yemen, and some diplomats and other government officials who are wary that increasing the drone strikes could drag the United States into another regional conflict in the Middle East.

The new policy does not permit strikes against groups of low-level fighters or weapons depots — so-called “signature strikes” — because of the administration’s concern about civilian casualties, the official said.

The shift in authority was reported by The Wall Street Journal on its Web site on Wednesday night.

The C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command are known to have carried out at least 29 air and missile strikes inside Yemen since December 2009, according to the Long War Journal, a Web site that tracks drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. Nearly half of those strikes in Yemen have taken place in the past two months, the Web site said.

Extremists in Yemen have capitalized on the turmoil caused by unrest in the country, which helped drive out the country’s long-time president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and allowed Al Qaeda and other groups to seize new territorial gains, especially in the south. Despite the death last September of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and Qaeda leader killed in a drone strike in Yemen, the extremists have gained increasing power, battling Yemeni security forces throughout the south, and increasing United States concerns that another plot from Yemen could be hatched.


4) After Man’s Death, Scrutiny for a Police Chase
By and
April 25, 2012
Tamon Robinson’s sideline of digging up cobblestones and selling them to scrap dealers had gotten him arrested numerous times.

And when the police two weeks ago spotted him in the dark early morning hours unearthing decorative paving stones at a Brooklyn housing project, Mr. Robinson sprinted for the building where his mother lived.

The distance was just 100 yards. Two officers on foot were far behind. A police car, carrying a second set of officers, raced to catch up, and they ordered him through a loudspeaker to stop running.

As Mr. Robinson turned up a fenced-in walkway to the front door, the car sped alongside and then veered into his path, said a person familiar with the officers’ account who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The officers in the car were trying to block his escape into the building, the local precinct commander said. But the result was a collision violent enough to leave a noticeable dent on the car just above one of the front tires.

Mr. Robinson, an unarmed 27-year-old, fell to the ground. Last Wednesday, never regaining consciousness, he died of his head injuries.

The episode at the Bay View Houses, a project in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn, has raised questions about the decision of the police to use a car to outrun a man fleeing on foot on a pedestrian walkway — approximately 12 feet wide by 40 feet long — that left virtually no room for error.

The New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, which investigates complaints of excessive force, has opened an inquiry, although Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said that “preliminarily it looks to be an accident.”

As new details about the chase emerged, Mr. Robinson’s relatives, who said at a news conference this week that they were considering a wrongful-death lawsuit, questioned why such an aggressive maneuver had been taken in pursuit of someone suspected of such a minor crime.

“Even if he was stealing paving stones, the penalty for stealing paving stones is not death,” said Sanford A. Rubenstein, a prominent lawyer who handles police brutality cases and is representing the family along with Jay H. Schwitzman.

There are differing accounts as to how the collision between Mr. Robinson and the police car occurred.

Two women who said they saw the accident recounted that the car was moving when it turned directly into Mr. Robinson and hit him.

Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the commander of the 69th Precinct, which covers Canarsie, said the officers had brought the car to a stop to block Mr. Robinson’s path to the door.

“Whether he tried to hurdle it, or just slammed into the car, and fell back, that’s what he did,” Inspector Fitzgibbon said at a community meeting on Tuesday night.

One of the women who challenged that account, Zina Callahan, 38, said she watched the chase from her second-floor apartment above the walkway to the building after hearing the screech of a car and a police loudspeaker blaring: “Stop running! Stop running!”

“He made a turn to come into the walkway, and the cop sped up and he hit him,” Ms. Callahan said. “He went up a little in the air. He came down. He rolled over twice.”

Franchette Mowbray, 26, said she watched the episode from her eighth-floor apartment. “They hit him,” she said. “He flew up and he came down. They backed the car up, and they told him to get up. People were yelling out their windows screaming at the cops, ‘We saw what you did.’ ”

The department’s Patrol Guide instructs officers to drive in a “manner to avoid injury to person.” Mr. Browne said he did not know whether there was departmental policy instructing officers on the use of police cars to chase suspects who were on foot.

Geoffrey Alpert, a professor at the University of South Carolina who is an expert on police pursuits, said there was nothing improper about using a police car to chase down someone on foot as long as the vehicle was not used recklessly or as a weapon. “If the officer drove up to cut him off, and the guy ran into him, well, sorry,” he said. “But if the officer ran into the suspect, that’s force way disproportionate to the offense.”

Mr. Robinson, a trim man standing 6 feet tall who liked Jay-Z’s music and Martin Lawrence movies, worked full time as a cashier on the 6 a.m. shift at a Connecticut Muffin store in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

But during his time off he often scrounged around construction sites, stealing items like scrap metal and cobblestones, selling them to scrap dealers in New Jersey and in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

In 2009, he was arrested four times for stealing various types of cobblestones, including one arrest at the World Trade Center site at 4 a.m., which netted him a 15-day jail sentence, according to the authorities.

On April 12, the police were called to the Bay View houses by someone on 911 who reported a man removing paving stones. The police said they later found Mr. Robinson’s black Chevrolet Suburban loaded with about 120 of the heavy blocks, worth more than $2,000.

A number of residents at the housing complex who say they saw the episode described being upset at how the officers treated Mr. Robinson, saying he was handled roughly even though he was injured and unconscious. The officers initially shouted at him to wake up before lifting him to the hood of the police car and placing him in handcuffs, which is standard police procedure, according to several accounts.

An ambulance then arrived to the scene and took Mr. Robinson to Brookdale University Hospital, where later that day doctors declared him brain-dead, his mother, Laverne Dobbinson, said.

The police charged him with several crimes, including grand larceny and obstructing governmental administration. He was cuffed to his hospital bed and had a police guard posted at his door.

In the following days, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, informed that Mr. Robinson would probably die, declined to go forward with the case, said Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for the office.

Mr. Robinson was taken off a respirator last Wednesday. An autopsy determined that the death was a result of blunt impact injuries to the head.

A small memorial shrine of candles, balloons and signed condolences from friends now rests at the end of the walkway where he was struck.


5) Chasing Fees, Banks Court Low-Income Customers
"The loans can get expensive. When the loan comes due, the bank automatically withdraws from the customer’s checking account the amount of the loan and the origination fee — typically $10 for every $100 borrowed — regardless of whether there is enough money in the account. That can lead to overdraft and other fees that translate into an annual interest rate of more than 300 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending."
April 25, 2012

When David Wegner went looking for a checking account in January, he was peppered with offers for low-end financial products, including a prepaid debit card with numerous fees, a short-term emergency loan with steep charges, money wire services and check-cashing options.

“I may as well have gone to a payday lender,” said Mr. Wegner, a 36-year-old nursing assistant in Minneapolis, who ended up choosing a local branch of U.S. Bank and avoided the payday lenders, pawnshops and check cashers lining his neighborhood.

Along with a checking account, he selected a $1,000 short-term loan to help pay for his cystic fibrosis medications. The loan cost him $100 in fees, and that will escalate if it goes unpaid.

An increasing number of the nation’s large banks — U.S. Bank, Regions Financial and Wells Fargo among them — are aggressively courting low-income customers like Mr. Wegner with alternative products that can carry high fees. They are rapidly expanding these offerings partly because the products were largely untouched by recent financial regulations, and also to recoup the billions in lost income from recent limits on debit and credit card fees.

Banks say that they are offering a valuable service for customers who might not otherwise have access to traditional banking and that they can offer these products at competitive prices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new federal agency, said it was examining whether banks ran afoul of consumer protection laws in the marketing of these products.

In the push for these customers, banks often have an advantage over payday loan companies and other storefront lenders because, even though banks are regulated, they typically are not subject to interest rate limits on payday loans and other alternative products.

Some federal regulators and consumer advocates are concerned that banks may also be steering people at the lowest end of the economic ladder into relatively expensive products when lower-cost options exist at the banks or elsewhere.

“It is a disquieting development for poor customers,” said Mark T. Williams, a former Federal Reserve Bank examiner. “They are getting pushed into high-fee options.”

“We look at alternative financial products offered by both banks and nonbanks through the same lens — what is the risk posed to consumers?” said Richard Cordray, director of the bureau. “Practices that make it hard for consumers to anticipate and avoid costly fees would be cause for concern.”

Analysts in the banking industry say that lending to low-income customers, especially those with tarnished credit, is tricky and that banks sometimes have to charge higher rates to offset their risk. Still, in an April survey of prepaid cards, Consumers Union found that some banks’ prepaid cards come with lower fees than nonbank competitors.

While banks have offered short-term loans and some check-cashing services in the past, they are introducing new products and expanding some existing ones. Last month, Wells Fargo introduced a reloadable prepaid card, while Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala., unveiled its “Now Banking” suite of products that includes bill pay, check cashing, money transfers and a prepaid card.

The Regions package is meant to attract the “growing pay-as-you-go consumer,” said John Owen, the bank’s senior executive vice president for consumer services.

The packages are the latest twist on “cross-selling,” in which lenders compete to win a larger share of customer business with deals on checking, savings accounts and mortgages.

Reaching the so-called unbanked or underbanked population — people who use few, if any, bank services — could be lucrative, industry consultants said. Kimberly Gartner, vice president for advisory services at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, said that such borrowers were a $45 billion untapped market.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimates that about nine million households in the country do not have a traditional bank account, while 21 million, or 18 percent, of Americans are underbanked.

Mr. Wegner, the U.S. Bank customer, said that once he mentioned that he needed a bank account, an employee started selling him prepaid cards, check cashing and short-term loan options. Mr. Wegner, who makes about $1,200 a month, said that he felt like a second-tier customer.

“It was clear that I was not getting the same pitches that wealthy clients would,” he said. Since that initial visit, Mr. Wegner said he avoided the branch so he was not approached with offers. “I go through the drive-through now,” he said.

Bank payday loans, which are offered as advances on direct-deposit paychecks, are a particularly vexing part of the new pitch from lenders, consumer advocates said. The short-term, high-fee loans, like the one Mr. Wegner received, are offered by a handful of banks, including Wells Fargo. In May, Regions introduced its “Ready Advance” loan after determining that some of its customers were heading to storefront payday lenders.

The loans can get expensive. When the loan comes due, the bank automatically withdraws from the customer’s checking account the amount of the loan and the origination fee — typically $10 for every $100 borrowed — regardless of whether there is enough money in the account. That can lead to overdraft and other fees that translate into an annual interest rate of more than 300 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees the nation’s largest banks, said in June that the loans raised “operational and credit risks and supervisory concerns.” Last summer, federal bank regulators ordered MetaBank, which is based in Iowa, to return $4.8 million to customers who took out high-interest loans.

Lenders are also joining the prepaid card market. In 2009, consumers held about $29 billion in prepaid cards, according to the Mercator Advisory Group, a payments industry research group. By the end of 2013, the market is expected to reach $90 billion. A big lure for banks is that prepaid cards are not restricted by Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. That exemption means that banks are able to charge high fees when a consumer swipes a prepaid card.

The companies distributing the cards have drawn criticism for not clearly disclosing fees that can include a charge to activate the card, load money on it and even to call customer service. Customers with a “convenient cash” prepaid card from U.S. Bank, for example, pay a $3 fee to enroll, a $3 monthly maintenance fee, $3 to visit a bank teller and $15 dollars to replace a lost card.

Capital One charges prepaid card users $1.95 for using an A.T.M. more than once a month, while Wells Fargo charges $1 to speak to a customer service agent more than twice a month.

Some smaller banks even offer prepaid cards with credit lines, which carry steep interest charges.

“This is a two-tiered, separate and unequal system and it is worsening,” said Sarah Ludwig, a lawyer who started the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project.

Some lenders are even styling their offices to look like check-cashing stores. In June, Redstone Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Alabama, will open two stores that are designed to look exactly like check cashers.

One of the stores, in Decatur, Ala., is part of a run-down strip mall and includes a sign that says “Right Choice, Money Services.” An adjacent store, not affiliated with Redstone, advertises loans for people who “need money fast.”

“It looks like a check casher, but once you get inside you get the best of both worlds,” Peter Alvarez, Redstone’s emerging markets manager. The stores will offer traditional checking and savings accounts alongside prepaid cards, money transfer and bill paying. “We wanted to attract people who wouldn’t naturally come to a bank.”


6) Georgia: One-Year Sentence in Killing
April 27, 2012

A white man who shot to death a 22-year-old black man who had sneaked into his home to party with the homeowner’s teenaged relative and her younger friend was sentenced to a year in a state detention center and nine years of probation on Thursday, said Hayward Altman, the district attorney for Georgia’s middle judicial circuit. Mr. Altman originally charged the man, Norman Neesmith, 62, with seven offenses, among them murder and false imprisonment. The charges were reduced in a plea bargain. The parents of the dead man, Justin Patterson, believed the shooting in January 2011 and the sentence were racially motivated. Mr. Altman said the case had elements of self-defense and was complicated by the fact that one of the girls was 14, although she told Mr. Patterson and his younger brother, who was also at the house that night, that she was 18.


7) Bribes Without Jail Time
April 27, 2012
As reported in a front-page article in The New York Times this week, the Wal-Mart Mexican bribery scheme has all the makings of a gripping criminal prosecution: millions of dollars in illegal payoffs to Mexican government officials and evidence of a cover-up scheme that went all the way to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
And the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws the bribery of foreign officials by American executives, carries stiff penalties for those convicted: fines of up to $5 million and up to 20 years in prison.

So who’s likely to go to jail?

No one, if past precedent is any guide.

Exhibit A for any lawyer representing potential Wal-Mart defendants would probably be last year’s bribery case against the huge poultry, pork and beef producer Tyson Foods. Like Wal-Mart, Tyson employees bribed Mexican officials. When Tyson officials learned about the scheme, they covered it up. Even worse, they tried to keep the bribes going by changing the nature of the illegal payments. The scheme ultimately reached into Tyson’s executive suite in Springdale, Ark., with the company’s president of international operations and its chief administrative officer among those involved.

Last year, the Justice Department charged Tyson with conspiracy and with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Tyson didn’t contest the facts, agreed to resolve the charges with a deferred prosecution and paid a $4 million criminal penalty. The company paid an additional $1.2 million and settled related regulatory complaints that it had maintained false books and records and lacked the controls to prevent payments to phantom employees and government officials.

It’s axiomatic that people, not corporations, commit crimes. So what happened to the Tyson executives involved? Not only did the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission take no action against them, but the executives involved weren’t even named.

As I reported in a column last year, the highest-ranking Tyson executive involved was Greg Lee, then its chief administrative officer. Tyson announced in April 2007, the same month it disclosed its conduct to the government, that Mr. Lee would retire early. There was no mention of any bribery investigation. John Tyson, the company’s chairman, praised his “dedicated service to the company over the last three decades,” and the company paid Mr. Lee nearly $1 million and awarded him a 10-year consulting contract worth an additional $3.6 million. Mr. Lee was entitled to be reimbursed for his country club dues, to the use of a car, and to “personal use of the company-owned aircraft for up to 100 hours per year,” according to his employment agreement. (Mr. Lee didn’t respond to my messages seeking comment.)

Wal-Mart’s Mexican bribery scandal, and the question of what to do about it, reached company headquarters in September 2005, according to the account by David Barstow of The Times. This was little more than a year after Tyson executives covered up their scandal. Given the subsequent outcome of the Tyson case, is it any wonder that Wal-Mart executives’ first reaction would have been to sweep the matter under the rug? Only after Mr. Barstow started asking questions did the company turn itself in to the Justice Department, no doubt hoping for something like the resolution its Arkansas neighbor received.

Neither the Justice Department nor the S.E.C. would comment on the Tyson case, now closed, or the continuing Wal-Mart investigation.

Both agencies have stepped up their investigations and prosecutions of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in recent years, and they now have units dedicated to foreign bribery cases. Last year, the S.E.C. brought cases against 14 companies and 12 people. Major companies caught up in recent bribery probes include Johnson & Johnson, Halliburton and Siemens. Just this week, the former Morgan Stanley executive Garth Peterson pleaded guilty to violating the act while based in Shanghai. Morgan Stanley wasn’t charged and it appears to have been a model corporate citizen. It fired Mr. Peterson and didn’t mince words. It turned over evidence to the government and disclosed the inquiry in an S.E.C. filing.

Despite this laudable effort, an outcome like that in the Tyson case — in which a company admits the facts and pays a fine but no individuals are charged — hardly seems isolated. According to research by Qi Chen, working with Prof. Andrew Spalding at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 37 of the 57 companies involved in bribery enforcement actions from 2005 to 2010 settled bribery accusations and had no related individuals charged.

One of the most vocal critics of the failure to charge individuals has been the former Republican-turned-Democratic Senator Arlen Specter, who held hearings on the issue in 2010 while chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Criminal fines are added to the costs of doing business,” Mr. Specter said then. “Going to jail is what works to deter crime.”

This week he told me: “I’ve been speaking out on this issue everywhere I can. The Justice Department takes the view that deferred prosecutions are sufficient to deter bribery. But it obviously hasn’t worked. Maybe the Wal-Mart case will finally impel them to take a different view.”

That is not to say that no one has gone to jail for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Albert J. Stanley, former chairman and chief executive of KBR, the global contracting concern that was once a subsidiary of Halliburton, was sentenced in February to 30 months in prison for a scheme to bribe Nigerian authorities in return for contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities. Frederic Bourke, co-founder of the handbag maker Dooney & Bourke, was sentenced to one year and a day for his involvement in a scheme to bribe officials in Azerbaijan in a failed effort to take over the state-owned oil company. Last year, eight former executives of the German technology giant Siemens were charged with bribing Argentine officials in what the Justice Department characterized as “a stunning level of deception and corruption.” But the defendants live abroad and may never be successfully prosecuted in the United States.

I couldn’t find a case of an executive at a major American-based, publicly traded company who was successfully prosecuted and sent to jail. The vast majority of individual prosecutions appear to involve people of relatively limited means who are in smaller or privately held companies or who are officials in foreign companies based outside the United States, where there is little likelihood of a conviction. A typical case seems more like that of Gerald and Patricia Green, two Hollywood producers who were convicted of bribing the head of the Bangkok film festival. The couple was sentenced to six months in prison followed by six months of home confinement in 2010. At the time, Mr. Green was 83 years old and suffered from emphysema.

“It does appear that executives from U.S. public companies are not being pursued with the same vigor as individuals at private companies or who work on their own,” said Richard L. Cassin, founder of the firm CassinLaw and author of “Bribery Abroad” and “Bribery Everywhere.” “There are still a lot of enforcement actions against corporations where there are no indictments against individuals. The percentage of criminal cases against individuals is still very tiny.”

He suggests this may be partly because corporate executives, especially those with prominent lawyers whose fees are paid by their employers, are less likely to settle. And the Justice Department has suffered some embarrassing setbacks in a few recent litigated cases against individual defendants.

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not comment.

An S.E.C. spokeswoman said: “We’re committed to holding individuals accountable. Where we have the evidence to bring cases against individuals, we do so, and we view that as a high priority.”

According to both the Justice Department and the commission, an important aspect of assessing a company’s cooperation is how it disciplines any executives found to be involved in a bribery scheme. Wal-Mart issued a statement this week saying: “We will not tolerate noncompliance with F.C.P.A. anywhere or at any level of the company. We are confident we are conducting a comprehensive investigation, and if violations of our policies occurred, we will take appropriate action.”

I asked Wal-Mart who, if anyone, involved in the bribery allegations had been disciplined, but I didn’t get a response. Eduardo Castro-Wright, who was described in The Times’s article as the driving force in the bribery conspiracy, is the former head of the company’s Mexican operations and remains at Wal-Mart, where he became vice chairman in 2008. Wal-Mart announced last September that Mr. Castro-Wright would retire on July 1, and he has since emphasized that his decision to retire had nothing to do with any bribery allegations.

In a send-off that echoes Tyson’s praise for Mr. Lee, Wal-Mart’s chief executive, Mike Duke, said, “Eduardo has made many contributions at Wal-Mart, beginning in Mexico and continuing until today. He has been a strong advocate for our customers and in every assignment has brought passion and commitment to the job.”

Mr. Castro-Wright isn’t a member of Wal-Mart’s board, but this week he resigned from the board of the insurer MetLife. “I now must focus my energy in spending personal time with my family and in protecting my good name,” he said, and confidently predicted that “these outside distractions will be resolved favorably within the next several months.”

But Wal-Mart may not turn out to be another Tyson. Professor Spalding told me “a lot has happened” since 2010, which is when he compiled the statistics on individual prosecutions. “The Department of Justice is making a strong push to hold individuals liable,” he said. “Despite some recent embarrassing losses, the department must be looking for some high-profile prosecutions. Wal-Mart is about as high profile as you can get. This case could turn out to be a poster child for individual liability.”


8) Attorney: Zimmerman Had $200K From Web Donations
April 27, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman's attorney says a website created to raise money for his legal defense has raised more than $200,000.

Mark O'Mara said on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday night that he learned about the money on Wednesday and will inform a judge at a Friday hearing.

Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, was released from jail this week after paying 10 percent of $150,000 bail.

O'Mara says the bail amount may have been higher if the judge knew Zimmerman had raised $200,000.

The website used to raise the money has since been shut down, but O'Mara said he'll likely start a new defense fund for Zimmerman.

O'Mara did not immediately return a Thursday evening phone message by The Associated Press.


9) Milledgeville Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School
By Judy Le and Pansy Hall
April 17, 2012

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Milledgeville's acting police chief, Dray Swicord, said Tuesday that he stands by an officer's decision to handcuff an elementary school student for safety Friday after she allegedly threw a tantrum.

Swicord said the arresting officer is not under investigation for his actions.

RELATED | Raw Video: Salecia Johnson's Parents Speak on Handcuffing

Meantime, the girl's parents are trying to rally community support.

The parents said they're meeting today with local activists and ministers.  Oscar Davis Jr., who identified himself as a community activist, said they plan to get attorneys involved and they plan to contact activist Al Sharpton.

According to the police report, kindergartner Salecia Johnson is accused of tearing items off the walls and throwing furniture.

She was crying in the principal's office at Creekside Elementary before police arrived Friday. The report says the girl knocked over a shelf that injured the principal. It also says she was seen biting the door knob of the office and jumping on the paper shredder. And, it says, she attempted to break a glass frame above the shredder.

The report says when the officer tried to calm the child, she resisted and was cuffed.

"Our policy is that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule," said Milledgeville Chief of Police Dray Swicord.
They took the child to the police station where she was charged with simple assault and damage to property. Because of her age, she will not be prosecuted.

Her mother, Constance Ruff. says her daughter was suspended and cannot return to school until August.

"She has mood swings some days, which all of us had mood swings some days. I guess that was just one of her bad days that day," said Constance Ruff.

"She might have misbehaved, but I don't think she misbehaved to the point where she should have been handcuffed and taken downtown to the police department," said her aunt, Candace Ruff.

Johnson's parents told 13WMAZ's Judy Le Tuesday morning they have no further comment today. They did say that their daughter has been having nightmares since being taken from school last Friday and they plan to talk to a doctor about that.
13WMAZ spoke with several other Central Georgia police and sheriff's departments. None of them could remember handcuffing a child that young. They say the use of handcuffs would be at the officer's discretion and based on whether the child is a threat to herself or others.

"A 6-year-old in kindergarten. They don't have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child," said Earnest Johnson, Salecia's father.

"Call the police? Is that the first step? Or is there any other kind of intervention that can be taken to help that child?" asked Candace Ruff.

Police say they tried to contact Johnson's mother but weren't able to reach her.


10) Warrior in Chief
April 28, 2012

THE president who won the Nobel Peace Prize less than nine months after his inauguration has turned out to be one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.

Liberals helped to elect Barack Obama in part because of his opposition to the Iraq war, and probably don’t celebrate all of the president’s many military accomplishments. But they are sizable.

Mr. Obama decimated Al Qaeda’s leadership. He overthrew the Libyan dictator. He ramped up drone attacks in Pakistan, waged effective covert wars in Yemen and Somalia and authorized a threefold increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan. He became the first president to authorize the assassination of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and played an operational role in Al Qaeda, and was killed in an American drone strike in Yemen. And, of course, Mr. Obama ordered and oversaw the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Ironically, the president used the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech as an occasion to articulate his philosophy of war. He made it very clear that his opposition to the Iraq war didn’t mean that he embraced pacifism — not at all.

“I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people,” the president told the Nobel committee — and the world. “For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man, and the limits of reason.”

If those on the left were listening, they didn’t seem to care. The left, which had loudly condemned George W. Bush for waterboarding and due process violations at Guantánamo, was relatively quiet when the Obama administration, acting as judge and executioner, ordered more than 250 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2009, during which at least 1,400 lives were lost.

Mr. Obama’s readiness to use force — and his military record — have won him little support from the right. Despite countervailing evidence, most conservatives view the president as some kind of peacenik. From both the right and left, there has been a continuing, dramatic cognitive disconnect between Mr. Obama’s record and the public perception of his leadership: despite his demonstrated willingness to use force, neither side regards him as the warrior president he is.

Mr. Obama had firsthand experience of military efficacy and precision early in his presidency. Three months after his inauguration, Somali pirates held Richard Phillips, the American captain of the Maersk Alabama, hostage in the Indian Ocean. Authorized to use deadly force if Captain Phillips’s life was in danger, Navy SEALs parachuted to a nearby warship, and three sharpshooters, firing at night from a distance of 100 feet, killed the pirates without harming Captain Phillips.

“GREAT job,” Mr. Obama told William H. McRaven, the then vice admiral who oversaw the daring rescue mission and later the Bin Laden operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The SEAL rescue was the president’s first high-stakes decision involving the secretive counterterrorism units. But he would rely increasingly upon their capacities in the coming years.

Soon after Mr. Obama took office he reframed the fight against terrorism. Liberals wanted to cast anti-terrorism efforts in terms of global law enforcement — rather than war. The president didn’t choose this path and instead declared “war against Al Qaeda and its allies.” In switching rhetorical gears, Mr. Obama abandoned Mr. Bush’s vague and open-ended fight against terrorism in favor of a war with particular, violent jihadists.

The rhetorical shift had dramatic — non-rhetorical — consequences. Compare Mr. Obama’s use of drone strikes with that of his predecessor. During the Bush administration, there was an American drone attack in Pakistan every 43 days; during the first two years of the Obama administration, there was a drone strike there every four days. And two years into his presidency, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president was engaged in conflicts in six Muslim countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. The man who went to Washington as an “antiwar” president was more Teddy Roosevelt than Jimmy Carter.

Consider the comparative speed with which Mr. Obama and his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, opted for military intervention in various conflicts. Hesitant, perhaps, because of the Black Hawk Down disaster in Somalia in 1993, Mr. Clinton did nothing to stop what, at least by 1994, was evidently a genocidal campaign in Rwanda. And Bosnia was on the verge of genocidal collapse before Mr. Clinton decided — after two years of dithering — to intervene in that troubled area in the mid-1990s. In contrast, it took Mr. Obama only a few weeks to act in Libya in the spring of 2011 when Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi threatened to massacre large portions of the Libyan population. Mr. Obama went to the United Nations and NATO and set in motion the military campaign — roundly criticized by the left and the right — that toppled the Libyan dictator.

None of this should have surprised anyone who had paid close attention to what Mr. Obama said about the use of force during his presidential campaign. In an August 2007 speech on national security, he put the nation — and the world — on alert: “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will,” he said, referring to Pervez Musharraf, then president of Pakistan. He added, “I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to America.”

That’s about as clear a statement as can be. But Republicans and Democrats blasted Mr. Obama with equal intensity for suggesting that he would authorize unilateral military action in Pakistan to kill Bin Laden or other Al Qaeda leaders.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, then a Democratic rival for the presidential nomination, said, “I think it is a very big mistake to telegraph that.” Mitt Romney, vying for the Republican nomination, accused Mr. Obama of being a “Dr. Strangelove” who is “going to bomb our allies.” John McCain piled on: “Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan?”

Once in office, Mr. Obama signed off on a large increase in the number of C.I.A. officers on the ground in Pakistan and an intensified campaign of drone warfare there; he also embraced the use of drones or covert military units in places like Somalia and Yemen, where the United States was not engaged in traditional land warfare. (Mr. Bush, who first deployed C.I.A.-directed drones, did not do so on the scale that Mr. Obama did; and Mr. Obama, of course, had the benefit of significantly improved, more precise, drone technology.)

Nothing dramatizes Mr. Obama’s willingness to use hard power so well as his decision to send Navy SEAL Team 6 to Abbottabad, to take out Bin Laden. Had this risky operation failed, it would most likely have severely damaged Mr. Obama’s presidency — and legacy.

Mr. Obama’s advisers worried that a botched raid would disturb — or destroy — the United States-Pakistan relationship, which would make the war in Afghanistan more difficult to wage since so much American matériel had to travel through Pakistani airspace or ground routes.

The risks were enormous. A helicopter-borne assault could easily turn into a replay of the debacle in the Iranian desert in 1980, when Mr. Carter authorized a mission to release the American hostages in Tehran that ended with eight American servicemen dead and zero hostages freed.

SOME of Mr. Obama’s top advisers worried that the intelligence suggesting that Bin Laden was in the Abbottabad compound was circumstantial and much too flimsy to justify the risks involved. The deputy C.I.A. director, Michael J. Morell, had told the president that in terms of available data points, “the circumstantial evidence of Iraq having W.M.D. was actually stronger than evidence that Bin Laden was living in the Abbottabad compound.”

At the final National Security Council meeting to consider options connected to Bin Laden’s possible presence in the Abbottabad compound, Mr. Obama gave each of his advisers an opportunity to speak. When the president asked, “Where are you on this? What do you think?” so many officials prefaced their views by saying, “Mr. President, this is a very hard call,” that laughter erupted, providing a few moments of levity in the otherwise tense, two-hour meeting.

Asked his view, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said, “Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go.”

For the president, however, the potential rewards clearly outweighed all risk involved. “Even though I thought it was only 50-50 that Bin Laden was there, I thought it was worth us taking a shot,” he said. “And I said to myself that if we have a good chance of not completely defeating but badly disabling Al Qaeda, then it was worth both the political risks as well as the risks to our men.”

The following morning, on Friday, April 29, at 8:20 a.m. in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, Mr. Obama gathered his key national security advisers in a semicircle around him and told them simply, “It’s a go.”

Three days later Bin Laden was dead.

The Bin Laden mission will surely resurface in the coming election; the campaign has already produced a 17-minute documentary that showcases the raid. This, combined with Mr. Obama’s record of military accomplishment, will make it hard for Mitt Romney to convince voters that Mr. Obama is a typical, weak-on-national-security Democrat. And, if Mr. Romney tries to portray Mr. Obama this way, he will very likely trap himself into calling for a war with Iran, which many Americans oppose.

Mr. Obama plans to be in Chicago for the NATO summit meeting in late May, just as the election campaign heats up. He’ll arrive knowing that the United States and Afghanistan have already agreed to a long-term strategic partnership that is likely to involve thousands of American soldiers in Afghanistan, in advisory roles, after combat operations end in 2014. (The details of the agreement are still being negotiated.) This should inoculate the president from would-be Romney charges that he is “abandoning” Afghanistan.

None of this suggests that Mr. Obama is trigger-happy or that, when considering the use of force, he is more likely to trust his gut than counsel provided during structured, often lengthy, deliberations with his National Security Council and other advisers. In instances in which the risks seem too great (military action against Iran) or the payoff too murky (some form of military intervention in Syria), Mr. Obama has repeatedly held America’s fire.

This said, it is clear that he has completely shaken the “Vietnam syndrome” that provided a lens through which a generation of Democratic leaders viewed military action. Still, the American public and chattering classes continue to regard the president as a thinker, not an actor; a negotiator, not a fighter.

What accounts for the strange, persistent cognitive dissonance about this president and his relation to military force? Does it stem from the campaign in which Mrs. Clinton repeatedly critiqued Mr. Obama for his stated willingness to negotiate with Iran and Cuba? Or is it because he can never quite shake the deliberative tone and mien of the constitutional law professor that he once was? Or because of his early opposition to the Iraq war? Whatever the causes, the president has embraced SEAL Team 6 rather than Code Pink, yet many continue to see him as the negotiator in chief rather than the warrior in chief that he actually is.

Peter L. Bergen is a director of the New America Foundation and the author of the forthcoming book “Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden — From 9/11 to Abbottabad.”


11) How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes
By and
April 28, 2012

RENO, Nev. — Apple, the world’s most profitable technology company, doesn’t design iPhones here. It doesn’t run AppleCare customer service from this city. And it doesn’t manufacture MacBooks or iPads anywhere nearby.

Yet, with a handful of employees in a small office here in Reno, Apple has done something central to its corporate strategy: it has avoided millions of dollars in taxes in California and 20 other states.

Apple’s headquarters are in Cupertino, Calif. By putting an office in Reno, just 200 miles away, to collect and invest the company’s profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains.

California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84 percent. Nevada’s? Zero.

Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year. As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.

Almost every major corporation tries to minimize its taxes, of course. For Apple, the savings are especially alluring because the company’s profits are so high. Wall Street analysts predict Apple could earn up to $45.6 billion in its current fiscal year — which would be a record for any American business.

Apple serves as a window on how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill suited to today’s digital economy. Some profits at companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft derive not from physical goods but from royalties on intellectual property, like the patents on software that makes devices work. Other times, the products themselves are digital, like downloaded songs. It is much easier for businesses with royalties and digital products to move profits to low-tax countries than it is, say, for grocery stores or automakers. A downloaded application, unlike a car, can be sold from anywhere.

The growing digital economy presents a conundrum for lawmakers overseeing corporate taxation: although technology is now one of the nation’s largest and most valued industries, many tech companies are among the least taxed, according to government and corporate data. Over the last two years, the 71 technology companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index — including Apple, Google, Yahoo and Dell — reported paying worldwide cash taxes at a rate that, on average, was a third less than other S.& P. companies’. (Cash taxes may include payments for multiple years.)

Even among tech companies, Apple’s rates are low. And while the company has remade industries, ignited economic growth and delighted customers, it has also devised corporate strategies that take advantage of gaps in the tax code, according to former executives who helped create those strategies.

Apple, for instance, was among the first tech companies to designate overseas salespeople in high-tax countries in a manner that allowed them to sell on behalf of low-tax subsidiaries on other continents, sidestepping income taxes, according to former executives. Apple was a pioneer of an accounting technique known as the “Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich,” which reduces taxes by routing profits through Irish subsidiaries and the Netherlands and then to the Caribbean. Today, that tactic is used by hundreds of other corporations — some of which directly imitated Apple’s methods, say accountants at those companies.

Without such tactics, Apple’s federal tax bill in the United States most likely would have been $2.4 billion higher last year, according to a recent study by a former Treasury Department economist, Martin A. Sullivan. As it stands, the company paid cash taxes of $3.3 billion around the world on its reported profits of $34.2 billion last year, a tax rate of 9.8 percent. (Apple does not disclose what portion of those payments was in the United States, or what portion is assigned to previous or future years.)

By comparison, Wal-Mart last year paid worldwide cash taxes of $5.9 billion on its booked profits of $24.4 billion, a tax rate of 24 percent, which is about average for non-tech companies.

Apple’s domestic tax bill has piqued particular curiosity among corporate tax experts because although the company is based in the United States, its profits — on paper, at least — are largely foreign. While Apple contracts out much of the manufacturing and assembly of its products to other companies overseas, the majority of Apple’s executives, product designers, marketers, employees, research and development, and retail stores are in the United States. Tax experts say it is therefore reasonable to expect that most of Apple’s profits would be American as well. The nation’s tax code is based on the concept that a company “earns” income where value is created, rather than where products are sold.

However, Apple’s accountants have found legal ways to allocate about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower, according to corporate filings.

Neither the government nor corporations make tax returns public, and a company’s taxable income often differs from the profits disclosed in annual reports. Companies report their cash outlays for income taxes in their annual Form 10-K, but it is impossible from those numbers to determine precisely how much, in total, corporations pay to governments. In Apple’s last annual disclosure, the company listed its worldwide taxes — which includes cash taxes paid as well as deferred taxes and other charges — at $8.3 billion, an effective tax rate of almost a quarter of profits.

However, tax analysts and scholars said that figure most likely overstated how much the company would hand to governments because it included sums that might never be paid. “The information on 10-Ks is fiction for most companies,” said Kimberly Clausing, an economist at Reed College who specializes in multinational taxation. “But for tech companies it goes from fiction to farcical.”

Apple, in a statement, said it “has conducted all of its business with the highest of ethical standards, complying with applicable laws and accounting rules.” It added, “We are incredibly proud of all of Apple’s contributions.”

Apple “pays an enormous amount of taxes, which help our local, state and federal governments,” the statement also said. “In the first half of fiscal year 2012, our U.S. operations have generated almost $5 billion in federal and state income taxes, including income taxes withheld on employee stock gains, making us among the top payers of U.S. income tax.”

The statement did not specify how it arrived at $5 billion, nor did it address the issue of deferred taxes, which the company may pay in future years or decide to defer indefinitely. The $5 billion figure appears to include taxes ultimately owed by Apple employees.

The sums paid by Apple and other tech corporations is a point of contention in the company’s backyard.

A mile and a half from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters is De Anza College, a community college that Steve Wozniak, one of Apple’s founders, attended from 1969 to 1974. Because of California’s state budget crisis, De Anza has cut more than a thousand courses and 8 percent of its faculty since 2008.

Now, De Anza faces a budget gap so large that it is confronting a “death spiral,” the school’s president, Brian Murphy, wrote to the faculty in January. Apple, of course, is not responsible for the state’s financial shortfall, which has numerous causes. But the company’s tax policies are seen by officials like Mr. Murphy as symptomatic of why the crisis exists.

“I just don’t understand it,” he said in an interview. “I’ll bet every person at Apple has a connection to De Anza. Their kids swim in our pool. Their cousins take classes here. They drive past it every day, for Pete’s sake.

“But then they do everything they can to pay as few taxes as possible.”

Escaping State Taxes

In 2006, as Apple’s bank accounts and stock price were rising, company executives came here to Reno and established a subsidiary named Braeburn Capital to manage and invest the company’s cash. Braeburn is a variety of apple that is simultaneously sweet and tart.

Today, Braeburn’s offices are down a narrow hallway inside a bland building that sits across from an abandoned restaurant. Inside, there are posters of candy-colored iPods and a large Apple insignia, as well as a handful of desks and computer terminals.

When someone in the United States buys an iPhone, iPad or other Apple product, a portion of the profits from that sale is often deposited into accounts controlled by Braeburn, and then invested in stocks, bonds or other financial instruments, say company executives. Then, when those investments turn a profit, some of it is shielded from tax authorities in California by virtue of Braeburn’s Nevada address.

Since founding Braeburn, Apple has earned more than $2.5 billion in interest and dividend income on its cash reserves and investments around the globe. If Braeburn were located in Cupertino, where Apple’s top executives work, a portion of the domestic income would be taxed at California’s 8.84 percent corporate income tax rate.

But in Nevada there is no state corporate income tax and no capital gains tax.

What’s more, Braeburn allows Apple to lower its taxes in other states — including Florida, New Jersey and New Mexico — because many of those jurisdictions use formulas that reduce what is owed when a company’s financial management occurs elsewhere. Apple does not disclose what portion of cash taxes is paid to states, but the company reported that it owed $762 million in state income taxes nationwide last year. That effective state tax rate is higher than the rate of many other tech companies, but as Ms. Clausing and other tax analysts have noted, such figures are often not reliable guides to what is actually paid.

Dozens of other companies, including Cisco, Harley-Davidson and Microsoft, have also set up Nevada subsidiaries that bypass taxes in other states. Hundreds of other corporations reap similar savings by locating offices in Delaware.

But some in California are unhappy that Apple and other California-based companies have moved financial operations to tax-free states — particularly since lawmakers have offered them tax breaks to keep them in the state.

In 1996, 1999 and 2000, for instance, the California Legislature increased the state’s research and development tax credit, permitting hundreds of companies, including Apple, to avoid billions in state taxes, according to legislative analysts. Apple has reported tax savings of $412 million from research and development credits of all sorts since 1996.

Then, in 2009, after an intense lobbying campaign led by Apple, Cisco, Oracle, Intel and other companies, the California Legislature reduced taxes for corporations based in California but operating in other states or nations. Legislative analysts say the change will eventually cost the state government about $1.5 billion a year.

Such lost revenue is one reason California now faces a budget crisis, with a shortfall of more than $9.2 billion in the coming fiscal year alone. The state has cut some health care programs, significantly raised tuition at state universities, cut services to the disabled and proposed a $4.8 billion reduction in spending on kindergarten and other grades.

Apple declined to comment on its Nevada operations. Privately, some executives said it was unfair to criticize the company for reducing its tax bill when thousands of other companies acted similarly. If Apple volunteered to pay more in taxes, it would put itself at a competitive disadvantage, they argued, and do a disservice to its shareholders.

Indeed, Apple’s decisions have yielded benefits. After announcing one of the best quarters in its history last week, the company said it had net profits of $24.7 billion on revenues of $85.5 billion in the first half of the fiscal year, and more than $110 billion in the bank, according to company filings.

A Global Tax Strategy

Every second of every hour, millions of times each day, in living rooms and at cash registers, consumers click the “Buy” button on iTunes or hand over payment for an Apple product.

And with that, an international financial engine kicks into gear, moving money across continents in the blink of an eye. While Apple’s Reno office helps the company avoid state taxes, its international subsidiaries — particularly the company’s assignment of sales and patent royalties to other nations — help reduce taxes owed to the American and other governments.

For instance, one of Apple’s subsidiaries in Luxembourg, named iTunes S.à r.l., has just a few dozen employees, according to corporate documents filed in that nation and a current executive. The only indication of the subsidiary’s presence outside is a letterbox with a lopsided slip of paper reading “ITUNES SARL.”

Luxembourg has just half a million residents. But when customers across Europe, Africa or the Middle East — and potentially elsewhere — download a song, television show or app, the sale is recorded in this small country, according to current and former executives. In 2011, iTunes S.à r.l.’s revenue exceeded $1 billion, according to an Apple executive, representing roughly 20 percent of iTunes’s worldwide sales.

The advantages of Luxembourg are simple, say Apple executives. The country has promised to tax the payments collected by Apple and numerous other tech corporations at low rates if they route transactions through Luxembourg. Taxes that would have otherwise gone to the governments of Britain, France, the United States and dozens of other nations go to Luxembourg instead, at discounted rates.

“We set up in Luxembourg because of the favorable taxes,” said Robert Hatta, who helped oversee Apple’s iTunes retail marketing and sales for European markets until 2007. “Downloads are different from tractors or steel because there’s nothing you can touch, so it doesn’t matter if your computer is in France or England. If you’re buying from Luxembourg, it’s a relationship with Luxembourg.”

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the Luxembourg operations.

Downloadable goods illustrate how modern tax systems have become increasingly ill equipped for an economy dominated by electronic commerce. Apple, say former executives, has been particularly talented at identifying legal tax loopholes and hiring accountants who, as much as iPhone designers, are known for their innovation. In the 1980s, for instance, Apple was among the first major corporations to designate overseas distributors as “commissionaires,” rather than retailers, said Michael Rashkin, Apple’s first director of tax policy, who helped set up the system before leaving in 1999.

To customers the designation was virtually unnoticeable. But because commissionaires never technically take possession of inventory — which would require them to recognize taxes — the structure allowed a salesman in high-tax Germany, for example, to sell computers on behalf of a subsidiary in low-tax Singapore. Hence, most of those profits would be taxed at Singaporean, rather than German, rates.

The Double Irish

In the late 1980s, Apple was among the pioneers in creating a tax structure — known as the Double Irish — that allowed the company to move profits into tax havens around the world, said Tim Jenkins, who helped set up the system as an Apple European finance manager until 1994.

Apple created two Irish subsidiaries — today named Apple Operations International and Apple Sales International — and built a glass-encased factory amid the green fields of Cork. The Irish government offered Apple tax breaks in exchange for jobs, according to former executives with knowledge of the relationship.

But the bigger advantage was that the arrangement allowed Apple to send royalties on patents developed in California to Ireland. The transfer was internal, and simply moved funds from one part of the company to a subsidiary overseas. But as a result, some profits were taxed at the Irish rate of approximately 12.5 percent, rather than at the American statutory rate of 35 percent. In 2004, Ireland, a nation of less than 5 million, was home to more than one-third of Apple’s worldwide revenues, according to company filings. (Apple has not released more recent estimates.)

Moreover, the second Irish subsidiary — the “Double” — allowed other profits to flow to tax-free companies in the Caribbean. Apple has assigned partial ownership of its Irish subsidiaries to Baldwin Holdings Unlimited in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven, according to documents filed there and in Ireland. Baldwin Holdings has no listed offices or telephone number, and its only listed director is Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, who lives and works in Cupertino. Baldwin apples are known for their hardiness while traveling.

Finally, because of Ireland’s treaties with European nations, some of Apple’s profits could travel virtually tax-free through the Netherlands — the Dutch Sandwich — which made them essentially invisible to outside observers and tax authorities.

Robert Promm, Apple’s controller in the mid-1990s, called the strategy “the worst-kept secret in Europe.”

It is unclear precisely how Apple’s overseas finances now function. In 2006, the company reorganized its Irish divisions as unlimited corporations, which have few requirements to disclose financial information.

However, tax experts say that strategies like the Double Irish help explain how Apple has managed to keep its international taxes to 3.2 percent of foreign profits last year, to 2.2 percent in 2010, and in the single digits for the last half-decade, according to the company’s corporate filings.

Apple declined to comment on its operations in Ireland, the Netherlands and the British Virgin Islands.

Apple reported in its last annual disclosures that $24 billion — or 70 percent — of its total $34.2 billion in pretax profits were earned abroad, and 30 percent were earned in the United States. But Mr. Sullivan, the former Treasury Department economist who today writes for the trade publication Tax Analysts, said that “given that all of the marketing and products are designed here, and the patents were created in California, that number should probably be at least 50 percent.”

If profits were evenly divided between the United States and foreign countries, Apple’s federal tax bill would have increased by about $2.4 billion last year, he said, because a larger amount of its profits would have been subject to the United States’ higher corporate income tax rate.

“Apple, like many other multinationals, is using perfectly legal methods to keep a significant portion of their profits out of the hands of the I.R.S.,” Mr. Sullivan said. “And when America’s most profitable companies pay less, the general public has to pay more.”

Other tax experts, like Edward D. Kleinbard, former chief of staff of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, have reached similar conclusions.

“This tax avoidance strategy used by Apple and other multinationals doesn’t just minimize the companies’ U.S. taxes,” said Mr. Kleinbard, now a professor of tax law at the University of Southern California. “It’s German tax and French tax and tax in the U.K. and elsewhere.”

One downside for companies using such strategies is that when money is sent overseas, it cannot be returned to the United States without incurring a new tax bill.

However, that might change. Apple, which holds $74 billion offshore, last year aligned itself with more than four dozen companies and organizations urging Congress for a “repatriation holiday” that would permit American businesses to bring money home without owing large taxes. The coalition, which includes Google, Microsoft and Pfizer, has hired dozens of lobbyists to push for the measure, which has not yet come up for vote. The tax break would cost the federal government $79 billion over the next decade, according to a Congressional report.

Fallout in California

In one of his last public appearances before his death, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, addressed Cupertino’s City Council last June, seeking approval to build a new headquarters.

Most of the Council was effusive in its praise of the proposal. But one councilwoman, Kris Wang, had questions.

How will residents benefit? she asked. Perhaps Apple could provide free wireless Internet to Cupertino, she suggested, something Google had done in neighboring Mountain View.

“See, I’m a simpleton; I’ve always had this view that we pay taxes, and the city should do those things,” Mr. Jobs replied, according to a video of the meeting. “That’s why we pay taxes. Now, if we can get out of paying taxes, I’ll be glad to put up Wi-Fi.”

He suggested that, if the City Council were unhappy, perhaps Apple could move. The company is Cupertino’s largest taxpayer, with more than $8 million in property taxes assessed by local officials last year.

Ms. Wang dropped her suggestion.

Cupertino, Ms. Wang said in an interview, has real financial problems. “We’re proud to have Apple here,” said Ms. Wang, who has since left the Council. “But how do you get them to feel more connected?”

Other residents argue that Apple does enough as Cupertino’s largest employer and that tech companies, in general, have buoyed California’s economy. Apple’s workers eat in local restaurants, serve on local boards and donate to local causes. Silicon Valley’s many millionaires pay personal state income taxes. In its statement, Apple said its “international growth is creating jobs domestically, since we oversee most of our operations from California.”

“The vast majority of our global work force remains in the U.S.,” the statement continued, “with more than 47,000 full-time employees in all 50 states.”

Moreover, Apple has given nearby Stanford University more than $50 million in the last two years. The company has also donated $50 million to an African aid organization. In its statement, Apple said: “We have contributed to many charitable causes but have never sought publicity for doing so. Our focus has been on doing the right thing, not getting credit for it. In 2011, we dramatically expanded the number of deserving organizations we support by initiating a matching gift program for our employees.”

Still, some, including De Anza College’s president, Mr. Murphy, say the philanthropy and job creation do not offset Apple’s and other companies’ decisions to circumvent taxes. Within 20 minutes of the financially ailing school are the global headquarters of Google, Facebook, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco.

“When it comes time for all these companies — Google and Apple and Facebook and the rest — to pay their fair share, there’s a knee-jerk resistance,” Mr. Murphy said. “They’re philosophically antitax, and it’s decimating the state.”

“But I’m not complaining,” he added. “We can’t afford to upset these guys. We need every dollar we can get.”

Additional reporting was contributed by Keith Bradsher in Hong Kong, Siem Eikelenboom in Amsterdam, Dean Greenaway in the British Virgin Islands, Scott Sayare in Luxembourg and Jason Woodard in Singapore.


12) Thousands Protest Health, Education Cuts in Spain
April 29, 2012

MADRID (AP) — Tens of thousands of people across Spain protested Sunday against education and health care spending cuts as the country slid into its second recession in three years. 

Unemployment is at a eurozone high of 24.4 percent, more than half of Spaniards under 25 years old are jobless, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has introduced stinging austerity measures in its first five months in office. 

Speaking at a party rally, Rajoy, who on Friday announced a new set of tax hikes to come into effect next year, said he had "no alternative." He added, "Spain needs deep structural change, not makeup."
Protesters in northeastern Barcelona, northern Bilbao, eastern Valencia and many other regional capitals carried banners urging Rajoy to not "mess around with health and education." 

Cayo Lara, lawmaker of the United Left party, said at a large gathering in Madrid that many protesters believed the government was intent on using the financial crisis as an excuse to sell off essential public services to the private sector. 

Ruth Colomo, a 39-year-old teacher, said the country's public education system and national health service had been built up over decades with Spaniards' tax contributions.
"They are ours and I think we have the right to fight for them," she said. 

Mechanic Evaristo Villar, 62, said he hoped Rajoy would listen to the protesters' concerns. "The government will hear us. I don't know, though, if it will pay any attention." 

Rajoy said that, given the bad state the national economy was in when the previous Socialist government handed it over to him at the November general election, "the least they could do now is to shut up."


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