Tuesday, April 24, 2012



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


MAY DAY 2012







Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




April 24 - Occupy the Justice Department to Free Mumia NOW!

--Next Stop: Mumia's Freedom

On December 9, 2011 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, over 1,100 people gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of Mumia Abu-Jamal's incarceration. Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked our nation to "rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights, and justice" and called for Mumia's "immediate release." And when Frances Goldin--Mumia's literary agent--called on the audience to OCCUPY the Justice Department, the call was met with a roar of excitement.

Join Danny Glover, M1 of Dead Prez, Frances Fox Piven, Normal Finkelstein and others in a non-violent civil disobedience action or join our large-scale, spirited rally at the U.S. Department of Justice, which will mark Mumia's 58th birthday. Your pledge to engage in an act of civil disobedience (CD) is critical to ensuring news coverage of the case of this imprisoned, radical journalist and our broader demands. If you cannot commit to CD, pledge to be at the demonstration.

Pledge to Occupy the Justice Department, download the flyer, and get more information:

On April 24, we will breathe life into the old labor slogan: "An injury to one is an injury to all." On that day we will say that we are all Mumia, we are all Trayvon Martin, we are all immigrants, we are all prisoners, we are all Bradley Manning, we are all poor, we are all Palestinian, we are all Troy Davis, we are all political prisoners, we are all occupiers!!!


1. Release Mumia Abu-Jamal
2. End mass incarceration
3. Jobs, Education, & Health Care. NOT JAILS!
4. End solitary confinement & stop torture
5. End the racist death penalty
6. Hands off immigrants
7. Free all political prisoners



 Hello Bay Area friends,

As you may already know, accused Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning begins his court hearing tomorrow in Fort Meade, outside DC. Meanwhile, folks across the globe have organized local events in solidarity.

Join the Free Bradley Manning contingent at Oakland's OCCUPY THE INJUSTICE DEPARTMENT protest organized by OCCUPY4PRISONERS in solidarity with accused wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning during the pre-trial hearings at Ft. Meade MD and in solidarity with Occupy the Justice Department actions in DC and Nationwide.

On April 24th we will occupy the Department of Justice. Demands include: Ending solitary confinement, stopping torture, ending mass incarceration, police brutality and murder, inhumane treatment of people in prison, Free Bradley Manning! and more.


4PM – Rally and Truth Mob at Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway

5PM – March to Federal Building, then to:

6PM – Putting the Injustice System on Trial at 19th and Telegraph

To learn more about the attendant issues, individuals, events and groups tomorrow's Oakland event expresses solidarity with, visit the following:

DC Action website: www.occupythejusticedepartment.com

O4P: www.occupy4prisoners.org /occupy4prisoners@gmail.com

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


Media Advisory
United Educators of San Francisco
Contact: Matthew Hardy - 415-513-3179

SF Teachers Rally Tuesday at School Board Against Unnecessary Layoffs & Proposed Cuts to School Year

Teachers Call on SFUSD to Use $80 Million in Reserves and Additional Revenue to Rescind Layoffs and Restore 10 School Days

Hundreds of San Francisco teachers, parents, and school supporters will rally at the Board of Education at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24th to demand the school board rescind over 600 layoff notices sent to teachers and paraprofessionals in the San Francisco Unified School District. Teachers will also call on district officials to drop their proposal to eliminate five school days from each of the coming two school years.

According to the teachers, the district should use the more than $80 million in reserves and additional revenues made available to them in the past two months, including:

- $56 million in unrestricted reserves
- $6 million from the San Francisco Rainy Day Fund
- $11 million from a recent property sale to San Francisco State University
- $7 million in unexpected transportation funds from the state

"Shortening the school year by five days each of the next two school years and laying off hundreds of educators will inevitably lead to larger class sizes, reduction in vital services, and worse student outcomes," says UESF President Dennis Kelly. "With the district sitting on $80 million of unspent funds, parents need to understand that their children are unnecessarily being put at risk."

Rally Details:

Who: Hundreds of SF teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and school supporters.

What: Rally to protest layoffs and proposed cuts to coming school years.

When: Tuesday, April 24th - 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Where: SFUSD Board of Education meeting - 555 Franklin St., SF


Thursday evening, IVAW's Right to Heal Tour will stop in San Francisco for a teach-in about our Operation Recovery Campaign to stop the deployment of traumatized troops.

Will you join us?

WHERE: War Memorial Bldg, 401 Van Ness Avenue in Room 207, San Francisco, CA 94102
WHEN: 7 PM, Thurs 4/26


Stop the FBI Frame-up of Carlos Montes
Court Hearing and Call-in Day Thursday, April 26

On April 26 Call:
-- President Obama at 202-456-1111
-- Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-514-2001
Demand: “Drop the charges now! Stop the FBI Frame-up of Carlos Montes!”
Contact us and let us know how your calls went: info@stopFBI.net

The FBI and LA sheriffs want to frame Carlos Montes. At his next court hearing on Thursday, April 26 in Los Angeles, Carlos’ attorney will argue a legal motion to drop the charges on the grounds of "discriminatory enforcement of the law.” This means they are only prosecuting Carlos because of his solidarity and anti-war work. Also on Thursday, a trial date may be set!

At the last court hearing, one old document from the California Department of Justice showed that the old charges from 1969 against Carlos Montes were sentenced as a misdemeanor.

We will also continue to pursue via discovery how the FBI is driving the persecution of Carlos Montes, because of his decades of organizing against war and his solidarity work with the struggle of the Palestinian and Colombian people and his ongoing work in the Chicano/a community, promoting public education and fighting for immigrant rights.

The prosecution of Carlos Montes by the LA County District Attorney continues, despite evidence that should cause it to be thrown out of court.



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.

www.haitisolidarity.net 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 rkudaimi@gmail.com.

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, t_mendicino@yahoo.com
Mary Ann Curtis, 323-610-2479, curtism59@aol.com

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
Committee, www.VoteSocialism.com.

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 dbarnes333@gmail.com.

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 - bafsp@earthlink.net - VoteSocialism@gmail.com

Southern California campaign headquarters
Solidarity Hall, 2170 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018
323-732-6416 - fspla@earthlink.net - VoteSocialism@gmail.com


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 facebook.com/OccupyGeneralStrike. You can also look for city-specific events, like these from Chicago and Detroit.

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

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

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

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

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


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:
http://bauaw.blogspot.com/ or bauaw.org ...bw]


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 mail@laborbeat.org.


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 - grahamnash.com


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

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

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


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 www.laborvideo.org


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 beautiful...bw

"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 WhiteHouse.gov.

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

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: joecallahansupport@hotmail.com

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

In solidarity,

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

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



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: http://freetarek.com/



(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


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 stopfbi.net
Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression
at stopfbi.net

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 www.StopFBI.net or email info@StopFBI.net 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 stopfbi.net (PayPal) on the right side of your screen. Also you can write to:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


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.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Bias Law Used to Move a Man Off Death Row
April 20, 2012

2) Police Examine Death of Man Who Was Hit by Patrol Car
April 20, 2012

3) Our Chemical Cocktail Evaluated in New Report
By Paula Crossfield
April 17th, 2012

4) Breast Cancer Survivor Jailed Over $280 Medical Bill
'Debtor's Prisons' Return to the U.S
By Alain Sherter
April 21, 2012 - (MoneyWatch)

5)  NATO Plans in Russian City Are Protested
April 21, 2012

6)  Czechs Protest Austerity as Government Wobbles
April 21, 2012

7)  With Pact, U.S. Agrees to Help Afghans for Years to Come
April 22, 2012

8)  George Zimmerman Released After Posting Bail
April 23, 2012

9) California Death Penalty Ban Qualifies for November Ballot
April 23, 2012


1) Bias Law Used to Move a Man Off Death Row
April 20, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Concluding that racial bias played a significant factor in a death sentence here 18 years ago, a judge on Friday ordered that it be changed to life in prison without parole, the first such decision under North Carolina’s controversial Racial Justice Act.

The landmark ruling could be the first of many under the law, which allows future defendants and current death row inmates to present evidence, including statistical patterns, suggesting that race played a major role in their being sentenced to death.

It is also likely to influence the nation’s enduring discussion over capital punishment, particularly with an increasing number of states deciding to repeal the death penalty outright.

“This opinion will profoundly shape any ongoing debate about this,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who runs the blog Sentencing and Law Policy. “In a weird way, this ruling vindicates critics of racial justice acts, because they tend to say when we start opening up old cases it will be too easy for the defense bar to prove some kind of racial injustice and therefore stop the death penalty altogether.”

Nearly all of North Carolina’s 157 death row inmates have filed claims under the act.

As both the defendant, Marcus Reymond Robinson, and relatives of the man he killed sat motionless and silent, Judge Gregory A. Weeks of Cumberland County Superior Court declared his finding that “race was a materially, practically and statistically significant factor” in the jury selection process not only in Mr. Robinson’s trial but in trials across the county and state.

Mr. Robinson’s guilt was not at issue. The judge called his crime — kidnapping 17-year-old Erik Tornblom, shooting him and stealing his car and $27 in his wallet — “unspeakably horrendous.”

But a statistical study of racial disparities during jury selection revealed strong enough findings “to support a conclusion of intentional discrimination” at every level, Judge Weeks said in his 167-page ruling.

Prosecutors said they would appeal the decision.

The ruling comes as states around the country are re-evaluating execution as a means of punishment. A week ago, Connecticut’s legislature voted to repeal the death penalty, the fifth state in five years to do so. Californians may soon vote on the issue in a referendum. A group of current and former federal and state prosecutors recently called for a suspension of the death penalty in Kentucky, the only state that has a similar — though narrower — Racial Justice Act.

Prosecutors in North Carolina have strongly opposed the act since its passage in 2009, arguing that the law is far too broad, that it would be extremely costly and that it is little more than an indirect moratorium on the death penalty.

“This is not about racial justice,” said Tom Keith, a former district attorney in Forsyth County. “The real purpose is to end the death penalty, to make it so complicated and so expensive that they win by attrition.”

Supporters of the law disagreed with that reading.

“I don’t think that’s true at all,” said Tye Hunter, executive director of North Carolina’s Center for Death Penalty Litigation and one of Mr. Robinson’s lawyers. What the law does hold, he said, is that “we can’t continue to have a death penalty that depends on discrimination against African-Americans.”

The newly Republican state legislature passed a bill that would have significantly limited the scope of the law, but Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed it. Republicans are planning to pass a similar law, possibly this year.

By coincidence, Friday’s decision came down two days before the 25th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision McCleskey vs. Kemp, in which the court ruled 5 to 4 that statistical evidence of a significant racial disparity in death sentences in Georgia was not sufficient reason to overturn a Georgia man’s death verdict. Toward the end of his decision, Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. said that state legislatures were more qualified to decide how statistics should be used in such cases.

North Carolina’s law allows a defendant to argue that race was a significant factor in his death sentence by presenting evidence along any of three lines: that a death sentence was more likely to be sought or imposed on defendants of one race, that it was more likely when the victim was a certain race or that racial bias influenced jury selection.

Mr. Robinson is black and his victim was white — a fact that was pointed out in closing arguments by prosecutors, who described Mr. Robinson as racially biased for a violently anti-white statement he made before the murder.

But this hearing concerned bias in picking jurors, as opposed to the race of the defendant or the victim. There are three other Racial Justice Act claims now being heard, and in one of the cases the inmate is white.

In the section of the law that has been most hotly disputed, a defendant is allowed to use statistics to prove that bias was a factor in death sentencing in the county where he was tried, or in the district, or even statewide.

The study in Mr. Robinson’s hearing, by researchers from Michigan State University, examined jury selection in at least one proceeding involving every inmate on death row in 2010, for a total of 173 capital trials. The study found that prosecutors used peremptory challenges to remove blacks from juries at a rate more than twice that of whites, a disparity even more pronounced in the trials the researchers examined in Cumberland County and in Mr. Robinson’s trial in particular.

The disparity remained significant, the researchers said, even when the study controlled for other variables, like a potential juror’s feelings about the death penalty. “Factors such as having previously been accused of a crime or expressing reservations about the death penalty were strong predictors of being struck by the state,” the study read, “but none could account for the effect of race.”

Prosecutors challenged the methodology of the study — much of the testimony at the hearing was a debate over statistics — but most pointedly they argued that jury selection is a “complex discretionary system,” with thousands of possible reasons to remove a potential juror.

Kent Scheidegger, the legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, criticized the study and Judge Weeks’s ruling in an e-mail, saying that the nuances of picking jurors that cannot be captured so simply. “A difference in raw numbers between racial groups is not proof of discrimination,” he wrote. “It is not even probable cause for a suspicion of discrimination.”

Prosecutors in North Carolina made similar arguments, but with a further undercurrent of indignation, as such suspicions are essentially implications of their own work.

“They do not have some secret society of prosecutors maniacally plotting to remove people from juries,” Rob Thompson, an assistant district attorney in Cumberland County, said in his closing arguments. “They do not have any of that because there is no such evidence. It doesn’t exist. They have numbers.”

But Robert P. Mosteller, a professor at University of North Carolina Law School, said it would be wrong to simply dismiss the idea of racial bias in jury selection after a decision finding evidence of intentional discrimination on so many levels. If anything, he said, Judge Weeks’s decision should prompt similar large-scale studies in other states. “It’s illegal and people do it,” Professor Mosteller said. “It’s wrong. And he found it.”


2) Police Examine Death of Man Who Was Hit by Patrol Car
April 20, 2012

The Police Department is investigating the death of a man who was struck by a police car after a chase in the Brooklyn housing project where he lived.

The man, Tamon Robinson, 27, was on the grounds of the Bayview Houses in Canarsie early in the morning on April 12 when police officers answered a call reporting that a man was stealing paving stones used as borders for trees there.

When officers arrived, Mr. Robinson ran toward his building, but a police car hit him before he reached it, according to a police report about the events, which took place around 5:30 a.m.

The report said Mr. Robinson had shoulder and head injuries. He was taken to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was in a coma until Wednesday, when he was pronounced dead, according to his family.

An autopsy on Friday determined the cause of death was an accident, the result of complications from blunt impact injuries to the head, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said.

A Police Department spokesman said the Internal Affairs Bureau, the department’s disciplinary arm, had opened an investigation into the death.

This week, friends of Mr. Robinson said he had permission from the complex’s management to take the stones. His mother, Laverne Dobbinson, said he ran a side business collecting stones, bricks and other building materials from construction sites and selling them to scrap dealers for small sums.

He did this during off hours from a full-time job he held for the past six months as a cashier at Connecticut Muffin in Fort Greene. His shift was to begin at 6 a.m., which his friends said explained the early hour of the encounter with the police.

The family has hired Sanford A. Rubenstein, a lawyer who often handles police-brutality cases. “The question becomes how did that accident occur?” Mr. Rubenstein said. “That’s what we’re looking for witnesses to come forward to shed light on.”

“I don’t know how we go from someone being chased by the police to someone being run over and killed,” he said.

Ms. Dobbinson, 44, a driver for Access-a-Ride, the transportation service for disabled people, said she was sleeping in her ground-floor apartment when she was awakened by a knock on the door. She said that police officers told her there had been an incident and asked if she had seen anything. Outside, she said, she saw many officers.

None of them, she said, told her that her son had been hit by a car. She found out about 4 p.m. that he was in the hospital.

Ms. Dobbinson said Mr. Robinson, the oldest of her five children, was born in Harlem and had lived in Canarsie for the past 12 years. She said he had no criminal record.

“He was a sweet boy and never gave anyone any trouble, not fighting or nothing,” she said. “People ought to know cops can’t do this.”

Michael Wilson contributed reporting.


3) Our Chemical Cocktail Evaluated in New Report
By Paula Crossfield
April 17th, 2012

When it comes to the chemicals used in food packaging, there is much we still don’t know. After a recent U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) decision last month to not put further restrictions on bisphenol-A (BPA), a new report today in the Washington Post takes a closer look at studies that reveal that such endocrine-distrupting chemicals are not only ubiquitous, they might also be harmful at much lower doses than previously thought.

The FDA allows around 3,000 chemicals, including BPA and phthalates–a family of chemicals used in lubricants and solvents and to make polyvinyl chloride pliable–at low doses, long considering them additives though they migrate from the packaging instead of being purposefully added by the food manufacturer. But these chemicals are notoriously hard to trace, and have not been studied for their cumulative effects.

“Finding out which chemicals might have seeped into your groceries is nearly impossible, given the limited information collected and disclosed by regulators, the scientific challenges of this research and the secrecy of the food and packaging industries, which view their components as proprietary information,” writes Freinkel, author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, who wrote this story in collaboration with the Food & Evironment Reporting Network. “Although scientists are learning more about the pathways of these substances–and their potential effect on health–there is an enormous debate among scientists, policymakers and industry experts about what levels are safe.”

What has scientists worried is the fact that endocrine disrupters like these interfere with the body’s natural hormone system. Animals studies on BPA, for example, have found that doses of the chemical below the FDA-approved threshold administered during critical stages of development can effect behavior, breast and prostate cells, and brain structure and chemistry. According to recent studies, around 90 percent of Americans have BPA inside their bodies.

Freinkel explains how plastic food packaging is a major source of these potentially harmful chemicals. Other studies have shown phthalates passing into food from processing equipment and food-prep gloves, gaskets and seals on non-plastic containers, inks used on labels–which can permeate packaging–and even the plastic film used in agriculture.

The report highlights an upcoming study that found a particular phthalate, called DEHP, in many of the 72 different grocery items evaluated. Studies have associated low-dose exposure to this chemical with male reproductive disorders, thyroid dysfunction, and subtle behavioral changes.

Last month, the FDA denied a petition to ban BPA, saying in a statement that while “some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans and the public health impact.”

You can read the full report here on the Food & Environment Reporting Network’s Web site, which also features additional reporting on the topic.

Paula Crossfield is the managing editor of Civil Eats. She is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and is a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio where she focuses on food issues. An avid cook and gardener, she currently seeks out urban places to cultivate in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter for the latest food policy news.


4) Breast Cancer Survivor Jailed Over $280 Medical Bill
'Debtor's Prisons' Return to the U.S
By Alain Sherter
April 21, 2012 - (MoneyWatch)

How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill -- one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs."

Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP.

Under the law, debtors aren't arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing "contempt of court" in connection with a creditor lawsuit. That loophole has lawmakers in the Illinois House of Representatives concerned enough to pass a bill in March that would make it illegal to send residents of the state to jail if they can't pay a debt. The measure awaits action in the senate.
"Creditors have been manipulating the court system to extract money from the unemployed, veterans, even seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last month in a statement voicing support for the legislation. "Too many people have been thrown in jail simply because they're too poor to pay their debts. We cannot allow these illegal abuses to continue."

Debt collectors typically avoid filing suit against debtors, a representative with the Illinois Collectors Association tells the AP. "A consumer that has been arrested or jailed can't pay a debt. We want to work with consumers to resolve issues," he said.

Yet Illinois isn't the only state where residents get locked up for owing money. A 2010 report by the American Civil Liberties Union that focused on only five states -- Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington -- found that people were being jailed at "increasingly alarming rates" over legal debts. Cases ranged from a woman who was arrested four separate times for failing to pay $251 in fines and court costs related to a fourth-degree misdemeanor conviction, to a mentally ill juvenile jailed by a judge over a previous conviction for stealing school supplies.

According to the ACLU: "The sad truth is that debtors' prisons are flourishing today, more than two decades after the Supreme Court prohibited imprisoning those who are too poor to pay their legal debts. In this era of shrinking budgets, state and local governments have turned aggressively to using the threat and reality of imprisonment to squeeze revenue out of the poorest defendants who appear in their courts."

Some states also apply "poverty penalties," including late fees, payment plan fees, and interest when people are unable to pay all their debts at once, according to a report by the New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender.

"Many states are imposing new and often onerous 'user fees' on individuals with criminal convictions," the authors of the Brennan Center report wrote. "Yet far from being easy money, these fees impose severe -- and often hidden -- costs on communities, taxpayers, and indigent people convicted of crimes. They create new paths to prison for those unable to pay their debts and make it harder to find employment and housing as well to meet child-support obligations."
Such practices, heightened in recent years by the effects of the recession, amount to criminalizing poverty, say critics in urging federal authorities to intervene. "More people are unemployed, more people are struggling financially, and more creditors are trying to get their debt paid," Madigan told the AP.

5)  NATO Plans in Russian City Are Protested
April 21, 2012

MOSCOW — Nationalist and leftist groups marched on Saturday in a central Russian city to protest a proposal by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to set up a transit hub for goods shipped to and from Afghanistan.

NATO is in talks with Russia to establish the site for shipping items like armored cars or medical equipment through Ulyanovsk, a city about 500 miles southeast of Moscow that is best known as Lenin’s birthplace.

The Russian government, concerned about instability in Afghanistan, supports the idea. But protests in Ulyanovsk began last month and have drawn some of the opposition leaders who rose to prominence during protests in Moscow last winter. While they are unlikely to thwart the plans, the protests pose a new quandary for Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who is not usually on the defensive when it comes to standing up to NATO.

Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of the Left Front movement and a prominent figure in the Moscow protests, led the Ulyanovsk march on Saturday and was detained by the police. Gennady A. Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party, told protesters that the site would be “a betrayal of Russia’s national interests.”

The protest organizers said about 5,000 people showed up, though the police put the number at about 1,000. “The irony of the situation is that Putin is faced with the logical consequences of his own virulent campaign rhetoric” criticizing the opposition for ties with the West, Stephen Weil, a researcher with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in an article this month.

Mr. Putin was compelled to respond to criticism of the planned transit center, saying, “I assure you that nothing unusual, nothing that doesn’t correspond to our national interests, is happening here.” Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov emphasized that “we are not talking about a military base.”

The decision to grant NATO access to the city’s airport still awaits formal approval by the Russian government.


6)  Czechs Protest Austerity as Government Wobbles
April 21, 2012

PRAGUE (Reuters) — Tens of thousands of Czechs on Saturday staged one of the biggest protests since the fall of communism, marching in Prague against spending cuts, tax rises and corruption and calling for the end of a center-right government already close to collapse.

Police estimated that 80,000-90,000 workers, students and pensioners snaked through the capital to rally in Wenceslas Square. Chanting and whistling, the crowd held banners proclaiming “Away with the government” and “Stop thieves.”

Rallies of such a scale are rare in the country of 10.5 million people.

The demonstration against Prime Minister Petr Necas’s government is the third such trade union-led protest in 12 months against austerity measures, and the turnout underscored rising public frustration after a series of graft scandals.

“This government is devastating state structures and is demeaning the unprotected with its asocial reforms,” Jaroslav Zavadil, the head of the Confederation of Trade Unions, told the crowd.

The protest comes as the government is working to reaffirm its majority in parliament ahead of a Monday deadline.

The turmoil was triggered by the defection of Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake and her allies from the scandal-ridden junior ruling party Public Affairs.

Peake has pledged her faction will continue to support the cabinet, but on Saturday it remained uncertain whether she could muster the 10 votes the government needs for the “safe majority” that Necas wants from her to avoid early elections.

An early election, two years after the last vote, would be likely to hand power to the opposition Social Democrats, who have a nearly 20 point poll lead over Necas’s Civic Democrats.

The Social Democrats have pledged to undo some of the government’s reforms of the pensions, healthcare and welfare sectors, and to tax companies and the rich to keep the budget under control.

“The reforms are not thought-out. The reforms are chaotic,” the party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said before marching on Saturday.

“It is essential that at this moment, Necas’s government, which lost legitimacy with the breakup of Public Affairs, hand in its resignation and open the way to new elections.”

Public Affairs has been riven by infighting and influential leader, Vit Barta, was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence this month for bribing party colleagues to stay loyal.

A March survey by the Public Opinion Research Centre (C.V.V.M.) found that people think official corruption is worst among political parties and in government ministries. The issue, along with the nature of reforms, is why many people took to the streets.

“Corruption is quite bad and they are fighting it very little,” said a protester, 30-year-old toolmaker Jaromir Tobias.

“I agree with some of the reforms, but not with how they are explaining it and feeding it to the public. Reforms are necessary but not in this style.”

The government survived another crisis earlier this month by agreeing to new hikes in sales and income tax as well as spending cuts worth 57 billion crowns ($3.02 billion) next year.

It says the measures are necessary to bring the deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product in order to meet EU budget rules.

Unions said on Thursday the measures would cost the average wage earner 11,230 crowns a year — the gross average salary in the Czech Republic is 26,067 crowns ($1,400) a month.

With debate growing in Europe about how effective austerity measures are at reviving debt-choked economies, the Czechs are well-placed with a state debt load about half the European Union average, at 41.2 percent of annual economic output.

However, austerity and reform have hit domestic consumption, and unemployment hovers at around 8.9 percent. The $202 billion economy fell into a mild recession last year despite a record year for exports.


7)  With Pact, U.S. Agrees to Help Afghans for Years to Come
April 22, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — After months of negotiations, the United States and Afghanistan completed drafts of a strategic partnership agreement on Sunday that pledges American support for Afghanistan for 10 years after the withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014.

The agreement, whose text was not released, represents an important moment when the United States begins the transition from being the predominant foreign force in Afghanistan to serving a more traditional role of supportive ally.

By broadly redefining the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States, the deal builds on hard-won new understandings the two countries reached in recent weeks on the thorny issues of detainees and Special Operations raids. It covers social and economic development, institution building, regional cooperation and security.

The talks to reach the agreement were intense. At times they broke down altogether, primarily because of geopolitical frictions in the region from two powerful neighbors, Iran and Pakistan. Each country opposes long-term American ties with Afghanistan.

The American and Afghan negotiators have been working hard in recent days to complete the draft so that it could be signed before a NATO conference in Chicago on May 20. There, decisions are to be made on how much money and support will be provided to the Afghan security forces after 2014 and by whom.

Lacking certainty about a long-term American commitment to Afghanistan, some countries were holding back, waiting to see what the United States, the leader in shaping Afghan policy, would do. Western diplomats said Sunday that the allies would now be more willing to make commitments.

The agreement — sweeping by design, with few details to bog down negotiators — puts down in writing for the first time the nature of the relationship the United States will have with Afghanistan once the bulk of American troops go home. It is meant to reassure the Afghan people that the United States will not abandon them, to warn the Taliban not to assume that they can wait out the West, and to send a message to Pakistan, which American officials believe has been hedging its bets in the belief that an American departure would leave the Taliban in charge.

“This is the proof in the pudding that we intend to be there,” one United States official said Sunday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The agreement came despite a series of setbacks in Afghan-American relations, including the burning of Korans, the massacre of 16 civilians attributed to a lone Army sergeant, and the appearance of grisly photos of American soldiers posing with the body parts of Afghan insurgents.

“In the midst of all these meteor strikes, we were able to still sit down across the table and get these documents agreed to,” one NATO official noted. Many Afghans, including some who are ambivalent about the American presence, believe that the country’s survival is tied to having such an agreement with Washington. They say it will make clear to the Taliban and to regional powers that the Americans will not walk away the way they did in the 1990s after the Soviets were pushed out of the country.

A loya jirga, or traditional council, convened by President Hamid Karzai last fall strongly urged the government to sign a long-term agreement with the United States.

The draft agreement was initialed by Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, and Rangin Spanta, the Afghan national security adviser, at a meeting of the Afghan national security council on Sunday. It will now be sent to Mr. Karzai and to the Afghan Parliament for review and approval, and also to President Obama and the White House. It will become final when signed by the two presidents, according to American and Afghan officials.

Western diplomats in Kabul said the agreement was an important marker and a positive one, both because it would help persuade other Western countries to continue to support Afghanistan and because it will signal all sides, including the Taliban, that they will not have a free hand to manipulate the country after 2014.

“The Iranians don’t like it because it shows the U.S. is going to be here for a long time,” said a European diplomat here who noted that the Taliban would not like it for the same reason. “This is important because they cannot tell their soldiers now just to sit it out and wait for 2014.”

The Taliban responded to the draft agreement within minutes, issuing a detailed statement condemning it as a giveaway to the Americans.

The goals of the agreement for the Americans, the Taliban statement said, are: “First goal: securing routes to the Central Asian and Caspian oil fields. Second goal: prevention of a movement in favor of a true Islamic government. Third goal: Bringing secularism and liberalism to Afghanistan. Fourth goal: establishing an army hostile to Islam that protects Western interests. Fifth goal: Continuous threats to Islamic countries in the region and the prevention of political and military ties between them and Afghanistan.”

In many respects the strategic partnership agreement is more symbolic than substantive. It does not lay out specific dollar amounts of aid or name programs that the Americans will support; the financing must be authorized and appropriated by Congress from year to year.

Nor does it lay out specifically what the American military and security presence will be after 2014 or what role it will play. A more detailed security agreement is to come later, perhaps in the next year, Western diplomats said, once it becomes clear how much support European nations will give to the Afghan security forces.

Even so, the United States expects to make substantial contributions toward the cost of Afghanistan’s security forces beyond 2014. A total figure for the United States of $2.7 billion a year has been discussed, and it could easily be more; there would most likely be aid for civilian programs as well.

That would be a steep reduction from the amount the United States now spends here, which has been $110 billion to $120 billion a year since the “surge” in American troop levels began in 2010, according to the Congressional Research Service.

For the partnership to work, the Afghan government must follow through with political reforms, particularly in fighting corruption, said Brian Katulis, a national security expert at the Center for American Progress. “U.S. taxpayers have seen tens of millions of their dollars wasted by a corrupt and ineffective Afghan government over the past decade,” Mr. Katulis said. “Any transition plan needs to demand more responsibility from our Afghan partners.”

Officials declined Sunday to release the text of the draft strategic partnership deal or comment on it in detail. “Until the agreement is finalized, we’re not in a position to discuss the elements it contains,” said Gavin Sundwall, the American Embassy spokesman in Kabul.

“Our goal is an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity and that contributes to the shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist allies,” he said. “We believe the agreement supports that goal.”

The talks on the agreement were delayed repeatedly over the delicate issues of night raids by American troops and the American operation of detention facilities. Ultimately, negotiators agreed to prepare detailed side agreements on those two issues. In March the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding shifting responsibility for all detention facilities in the country to the Afghans, and earlier this month they handed final authority over night raids to Afghan security forces, who are now carrying out all raids unless American assistance is requested.

With those two issues resolved, the strategic partnership was completed quickly.

Graham Bowley contributed reporting from Kabul, and Helene Cooper and Steven Lee Myers from Washington.


8)  George Zimmerman Released After Posting Bail
April 23, 2012

George Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bail from a county jail in Florida around midnight Sunday as he awaits trial on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

As he left, Mr. Zimmerman was wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans and carrying a paper bag. He followed a man, who was also carrying bags, into a white vehicle and drove away, according to The Associated Press.

The release was a rare low-key moment in a case that has captured feverish national interest in recent weeks. No questions were shouted at Mr. Zimmerman as he left and he gave no statement, The A.P. said.

His destination was being kept secret for his protection; Mr. Zimmerman has received death threats.

Last week, his lawyer, Mark O’Mara, said Mr. Zimmerman would remain in jail for several days until arrangements were made for paying his bond and finding a secure location.

During a hearing last week, a Seminole County Circuit Court judge set the bail and imposed a series of restrictions on Mr. Zimmerman’s release. He was not to contact the Martin family or witnesses to the shooting. The judge, Kenneth R. Lester Jr., also set a curfew requiring Mr. Zimmerman to remain at home from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. and banned access to alcohol or firearms. The judge also stipulated that Mr. Zimmerman’s movements be monitored with an electronic bracelet.

The bail figure was considerably less than prosecutors’ request for no bail or $1 million.

Mr. Martin, 17, was shot and killed on Feb. 26 while walking through the gated community where he was staying and where Mr. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer. The case prompted demonstrations across the country, as weeks passed before Mr. Zimmerman’s arrest on April 11.

During the bail hearing, members of Mr. Zimmerman’s family, including his wife, Shellie, testified by telephone out of concern for their safety. They told the judge that they would monitor Mr. Zimmerman’s whereabouts and notify authorities if they lost contact with him for any reason before his trial.

Taking the stand briefly at the bail hearing, Mr. Zimmerman apologized to the Martin family. He wore a dark suit, with cuffs around his hands and shackles at his feet and waist.

“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son,” he said in a soft voice. “I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And I did not know if he was armed or not.”

A lawyer for the Martin family, Benjamin Crump, called the apology “self-serving” and said he considered it a ploy designed to curry favor with the court and the public and to help secure a release from jail.


9) California Death Penalty Ban Qualifies for November Ballot
April 23, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A measure to abolish California's death penalty qualified for the November ballot on Monday.

If it passes, the 725 California inmates now on Death Row will have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It would also make life without parole the harshest penalty prosecutors can seek.

Backers of the measure say abolishing the death penalty will save the state millions of dollars through layoffs of prosecutors and defense attorneys who handle death penalty cases, as well as savings from not having to maintain the nation's largest death row at San Quentin prison.

Those savings, supporters argue, can be used to help unsolved crimes. If the measure passes, $100 million in purported savings from abolishing the death penalty would be used over three years to investigate unsolved murders and rapes.

The measure is dubbed the "Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act," also known as the SAFE California Act. It's the fifth measure to qualify for the November ballot, the California secretary of state announced Monday. Supporters collected more than the 504,760 valid signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot.

"Our system is broken, expensive and it always will carry the grave risk of a mistake," said Jeanne Woodford, the former warden of San Quentin who is now an anti-death penalty advocate and an official supporter of the measure.

The measure will also require most inmates sentenced to life without parole to find jobs within prisons. Most death row inmates do not hold prison jobs for security reasons.

Though California is one of 35 states that authorize the death penalty, the state hasn't put anyone to death since 2006. A federal judge that year halted executions until prison officials built a new death chamber at San Quentin Prison, developed new lethal injection protocols and made other improvements to delivering the lethal three-drug combination.

A separate state lawsuit is challenging the way the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation developed the new protocols. A judge in Marin County earlier this year ordered the CDCR to redraft its lethal injection protocols, further delaying executions.

Since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978, the state has executed 13 inmates. A 2009 study conducted by a senior federal judge and law school professor concluded that the state was spending about $184 million a year to maintain Death Row and the death penalty system.

Supporters of the proposition, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are portraying it as a cost-savings measure in a time of political austerity. They count several prominent conservatives and prosecutors — including the author of the 1978 measure adopting the death penalty — as supporters and argue that too few executions have been carried out at too great a cost.

"My conclusion is that he law is totally ineffective," said Gil Garcetti, a former Los Angeles county district attorney. "Most inmates are going to die of natural causes, not executions."

Garcetti, who served as district attorney from 1992 to 2000, said he changed his mind after publication of the 2009 study, which was published by Judge Arthur Alarcon of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and law professor Paula Mitchell.

Opponents of the measure, such as former Sacramento U.S Attorney McGregor Scott, argue that lawyers filing "frivolous appeals" are the problem, not the death penalty law.

"On behalf of crime victims and their loved ones who have suffered at the hands of California's most violent criminals, we are disappointed that the ACLU and their allies would seek to score political points in their continued efforts to override the will of the people and repeal the death penalty," said Scott, who is chairman of the Californians for Justice and Public Safety, a coalition of law enforcement officials, crime victims and others formed to oppose the measure.

The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, meanwhile, remains one the biggest backers of the death penalty in the state and opposes the latest attempt to abolish it in California. The foundation and its supports argue that federal judges are gumming up the process with endless delays and reversals of state Supreme Court rulings upholding individual death sentences.

The foundation on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking the immediate resumption of executions in California. The foundation's lawsuit, filed directly with the state Court of Appeal, argues that since the three-drug method has been the subject of so much litigation — and the source of the execution delays — a one-drug method of lethal injection like Ohio uses can be substituted immediately. 


No comments: