Wednesday, May 02, 2012

BAUAW NEWSLETTER - WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012


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

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

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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Human Rights Award for Bradley Manning to be accepted by Daniel Ellsberg at SF gala May 10

International human rights organization Global Exchange will honor Army PFC Bradley Manning--accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower--as its 2012 Human Rights People's Choice Award Winner! The award will be presented at the 10th annual Human Rights Awards gala next Thursday, May 10th in San Francisco.

Bradley Manning’s award will be accepted by special guest Daniel Ellsberg. Also honored will be Human Rights Awards recipient Annie Leonard.

Find out more about this exciting awards event:
humanrightsaward.org

For ten years, the Human Rights Awards Gala has brought together activists, supporters, and friends to recognize the efforts of exceptional individuals and organizations working for human rights.

Join Courage to Resist organizers who are helping lead the international campaign to support Bradley Manning at this special event! Enjoy wine & hors d’ oeuvres, a silent auction and live speech by Annie Leonard and Daniel Ellsberg, plus the company of like-minded people as you celebrate human rights. We hope to see you there.

Human Rights Awards Gala Tickets:
bit.ly/HRA2012tix

Bradley Manning Support Network:
bradleymanning.org


Write to Bradley Manning at:
Bradley Manning #89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
Bradley Manning Support Network:
http://www.bradleymanning.org/
Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
 Oakland, CA 94610
510-488-3559
couragetoresist.org
 
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Judge orders May 15 trial for Carlos Montes

Committee to Stop FBI Repression



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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 3 National Call-in Day to Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley - "Drop the charges against Carlos Montes!" Also, join the CSFR national conference call on May 3 in the evening.
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National Call-in Day to
Los Angeles District Attorney
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes!
Stop the FBI frame up!
Call off the trial now!
On Thursday, May 3, call
Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley at
213-974-3512
Demand that all charges be dropped against Carlos Montes!

“Hello, my name is _________ and I am calling from __________. I want District Attorney Steve Cooley to drop all charges against Carlos Montes now. Carlos Montes is being framed by the FBI because of his political activism for peace, justice, and equality. Drop the charges now!”

Contact us and let us know how your calls went: info@stopFBI.net

Carlos Montes is a long-time Chicano activist and a co-founder of the Brown Berets in Los Angeles. Today Carlos Montes is a leader in the anti-war & immigrant rights movements. He plays an important role in the movement against Arizona’s SB1070 and other anti-immigrant laws in the U.S. Montes is the target of government repression and the FBI’s dirty tricks due to his activism. When the FBI raided several Midwest homes and served subpoenas on September 24, 2010, Carlos Montes’ name was listed on the FBI search warrant for the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis - the organizing center to protest the 2008 Republican National Convention, where Carlos participated.

Eight months later, on May 17, 2011, the LA Sheriffs broke down Carlos’ door, arrested him, and ransacked his home. They took political documents, a computer, cell phones and activist meeting notes having nothing to do with the charges. The FBI attempted to question Montes while he was handcuffed in a squad car, regarding the case of the 23 Midwest anti-war and solidarity activists.

It is clear the FBI initiated the raid against Carlos, attempting to frame him. Carlos Montes’ trial starts on May 15, 2012 where he faces four felony charges with the possibility of 12 years in prison due to his political organizing. Carlos Montes case is part and parcel of the FBI raids and political repression centered in the Midwest.

We need you to take action against this repression! Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley needs to hear from you and others who care about justice and what is right.

Legal background:
Carlos Montes is facing multiple felony charges because the FBI claims he is a felon in violation of firearm codes. The FBI claim stems from a 1969 student strike for Black, Chicano, and Women’s studies at East L.A. College, where police beat and arrested demonstrators. Carlos was arrested on his way home from the protest, accused of assaulting a sheriff’s deputy (with an empty soda can). This charge was sentenced as a misdemeanor according to a recent court document. District Attorney Steve Cooley, under the guidance of the FBI, is basing his case on this 42-year-old misdemeanor, disguising it as a bogus felony. Without a past felony, all of the charges Montes is facing, relating to his legally purchased firearms, would be dismissed. Both sides agree that no prison time whatsoever was served in the 1969 incident. The legal process is being driven by something other than the facts of the case. It is political repression.

What else you can do:
1. Circulate the Call In Day information to your lists, community, union, groups, friends, and family.

2. Organize a local protest at your Federal Building or elsewhere on the opening day of Carlos Montes trial - Tuesday, May 15.

3. All Out for the Trial!
If you are in, or can make it to, the Los Angeles area please attend all or part of the trial. It will go on for several days.
Rally outside the Los Angeles courthouse and pack the courtroom
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 8:00 AM.
Criminal Courts Building, 13th floor, Department 100
210 West Temple Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

4. Donate money to the defense of Carlos Montes - trials are expensive.
and circulate this fund raising letter

5. Sign the petition at http://www.stopfbi.net/petition/national


CSFR Prepares for Carlos Montes Trial!

CSFR Phone Conference #12
Thursday, May 3, 2012
9:00 PM Eastern Time

Dial-in Number: 1-605-475-6333
Participant Access Code: 179488

AGENDA

1. Update on Carlos Montes trial, set for Tuesday, May 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA

2. CSFR summation of Thursday, May 3, National Call-in Day “Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes”, call District Attorney Steve Cooley in Los Angeles

3. Organizing around the trial in Los Angeles and local protests across the country

4. Petitions and similar efforts at upcoming events--May Day, Labor Notes, NATO protests, etc.

5. Fund raising
 follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
Copyright © 2012 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414


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United National Antiwar Coalition
UNACpeace@gmail.com
UNAC
P.O. Box 123
Delmar, NY 12054
518-227-6947
www.unacpeace.org


Please join Angela Davis, Barbara Ransby, Noam Chomsky, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Vijay Prashad, Tom Morello and a host of others in signing this petition!

www.change.org/petitions/say-no-to-nato

We oppose NATO and its transformation into a global military alliance designed to engage in aggressive invasions and pre-emptive wars—since 1999, NATO has waged wars in four countries on three continents.

The Bush administration transformed NATO the day after 9/11, leading to the use of NATO’s military forces against any threat of terrorist attacks.

There is abundant evidence of NATO’s collaboration with US CIA renditions (illegal detainee transfer operations) across Europe. And NATO retains hundreds of nuclear weapons in military facilities across Europe, an end-run around the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forbids the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear countries.

The City of Chicago projects spending $55 million to host the NATO meeting on May 20 while defunding schools, community mental health clinics, public libraries and public transportation. The Secret Service has its own extensive shopping list including barriers and walls to separate the people from the visiting heads of state. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city council have passed new restrictions on civil liberties to chill opposition to NATO and resistance to city cuts of essential services.
We support the marches, rallies, and peoples’ assembly in opposition to NATO and war scheduled in mid-May in Chicago.
signed:
Vijay Prashad, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Michael Ratner, Rashid Khalidi, Tom Morello, Barbara Ransby, Anthony Arnove, Jesse Jackson Sr., Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Medea Benjamin



Take the Peace Train to Chicago
We have worked out a 10% discount with AMTRAK for anyone traveling to the Chicago demonstration on May 20. You can use this discount to travel to and from Chicago on an AMTRAK train from anywhere in the country during the period from May 17 to May 23. To get the special rate, you need to make a reservation and give them the “Convention fare code number of X50K-949.” If they ask you what organization you are from, it is UNAC. AMTRAK fares go up the closer it gets to the day of departure. So, to get the lowest fare, it is best to reserve a seat as soon as possible. There are other discounts for seniors and youth that may be cheaper.
What will happen in Chicago on May  20th

At noon on May 20th, a massive rally and march will be held.  The march will be lead by members Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and end with a ceremony where Afghanistan War Veterans will return their medals to NATO as the thousands of marchers witness and support their action.  This important service to their country in the pursuit of peace on the part of the IVAW members will be viewed around the world.

Prior to the march, there will be a rally that will begin at noon at the Petrillo Bandshell, corner of Jackson Blvd. & Columbus Drive in Chicago.  At the rally there will be speakers including Jesse Jackson, Col. Ann Wright, Kathy Kelly, representative from the movements against NATO and war from Europe, Canada, Mexico and the Philippians, union leaders, immigrants' rights leaders, leaders for the Muslim Peace Coalition and many others.  There will be music, mostly prior to the speakers and then the march will set off lead by IVAW members in uniform and marching in formation.

The march and rally have gained impressive support including Jesse Jackson, the Chicago Teachers Union, all the SEIU locals in the city the United Electrical workers, the National Nurses United union, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Non-violence, UNAC, leaders in the Muslim community, immigrant rights leaders and many more.


The People’s Summit.

The People’s Summit will also take place at the headquarter of Occupy Chicago on May 12 and 13.  There will be workshops and plenary sessions where we will project an alternative message of the future to that of NATO and the G8.


Join us in Chicago.

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

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

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

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Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6BnRc11aug&feature=player_embedded


Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to http://www.youtube.com/user/journeymanpictures

Follow us on Facebook (http://goo.gl/YRw42) or Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/journeymanvod)

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

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

A Film By SBS
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures
April 2012


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Photo of George Zimmerman, in 2005 photo, left, and in a more recent photo.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/02/us/the-events-leading-to-the-sooting-of-trayvon-martin.html?hp

SPD Security Cams.wmv
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WWDNbQUgm4&feature=player_embedded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more detailed information, send us a request at mail@laborbeat.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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Defending The People's Mic
by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street
The North Star
January 20, 2012
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=53
Grand Central Terminal Arrests - MIRROR
Two protesters mic check about the loss of freedom brought about by the passage of the NDAA and both are promptly arrested and whisked out of public sight.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Tj7tEVx8A&feature=player_embedded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more on Nash's blog - grahamnash.com

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

FREEDOM ROAD

(written by Samuel 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.

(Instrumental)

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

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

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

(Instumental)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FYI:
Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are plotted visually and audibly on a world map.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9lquok4Pdk&feature=share&mid=5408

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We Are the 99 Percent

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

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

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

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

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AT:
http://bailoutpeople.org/dropchargesonoccupywallstarrestees.shtml
DROP ALL CHARGES ON THE OCCUPY WALL STREET ARRESTEES!

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We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools

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

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

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

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'
- Flint Sit-Down Strike http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8x1_q9wg58

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

'With babies & banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike
http://links.org.au/node/2681
--Inspiring

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

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

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

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

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

For more information on the ILWU Local 21 Longview EGT struggle go to
http://www.facebook.com/groups/256313837734192/
For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz3fE-Vhrw8&feature=youtu.be
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoiisMMCFT0&feature=player_embedded


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

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

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WHAT HAPPENED IN OAKLAND TUESDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 25:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

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

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

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

BRADLEY MANNING "BROKE THE LAW" SAYS OBAMA!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can aid in Joe's defense:

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

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

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

In solidarity,

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

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

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LATEST ON LYNNE STEWART:

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

Write to Lynne Stewart Defense Committee at:
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information: 718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

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

Write to Lynne Stewart at:

Lynne Stewart #53504 - 054
Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TEXAS 76127

Visiting Lynne:

Visiting is very liberal but first she has to get people on her visiting list; wait til she or the
lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT, SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on weekends 8
to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the machines. Brief Kiss
upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting forms it may
be required that you knew me before I came to prison. Not a problem for most of you.

Commissary Money:

Commissary Money is always welcome It is how Lynne pay for the phone and for email.
Also for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms of food and "sundries" (pens!) (A very big
list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing, ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely not from Antonys--
more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa, etc. To add money, you do this by
using Western Union and a credit card by phone or you can send a USPO money order or
Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to Federal
Bureau of Prisons, 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa 50947-001
(Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or checks for 15 days. Western
Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be on the
envelope. Unnecessarily complicated? Of course, it's the BOP !)

The address of her Defense Committee is:

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information:
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Please make a generous contribution to her defense.

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Free Mumia NOW!
Prisonradio.org
Write to Mumia

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

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

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Tarek Mehanna - another victim of the U.S. War to Terrorize Everyone. He was targeted because he would not spy on his Muslim community for the FBI. Under the new NDAA indefinite military detention provision, Tarek is someone who likely would never come to a trial, although an American citizen. His sentencing is on April 12. There will be an appeal.
Another right we may kiss goodbye. We should not accept the verdict and continue to fight for his release, just as we do for hero Bradley Manning, and all the many others unjustly persecuted by our government until it is the war criminals on trial, prosecuted by the people, and not the other way around.

Marilyn Levin

Official defense website: http://freetarek.com/

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

(For a complete analysis of the prospects of war, click here)
http://nepajac.org/unaciran.htm

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

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

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

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

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Write to Bradley
http://bradleymanning.org/donate

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

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

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

Bradley Manning 89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

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

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

This is also a Facebook event

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might also be interested in supporting GI resisters.
http://ymlp.com/forward.php?id=lS3tR&e=bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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

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

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

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY -- ANY DAY
to Fitzgerald, Holder and Obama

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

FFI: Visit www.StopFBI.net or email info@StopFBI.net or call
612-379-3585 .

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke

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

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Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

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

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

ANY DAY NOW . . . IN THE EVENT THAT THE U.S. INDICTS JULIAN ASSANGE HANDS OFF WIKILEAKS! FREE JULIAN ASSANGE! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

Join the HUMAN CHAIN AROUND THE FEDERAL BUILDING!
New Federal Building, 7th and Mission, San Francisco (nearest BART: Civic Center)
4:00-6:00 PM on The Day FOLLOWING U.S. indictment of Assange

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/mannings-message-christmas-eve-i-gr/

Demonstrations defending Wikileaks and Assange, and Brad Manning, have already been flowering around the world. Make it happen here too. Especially here . . .

To join into this action plan, or with questions, contact World Can't Wait or whichever organization or listserve you received this message from.

World Can't Wait, SF Bay
415-864-5153
sf@worldcantwait.org

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT! FREE KEVIN COOPER!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

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

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html
and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)

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1) ICELAND FORCES DEBT FORGIVENESS: TOTAL US MEDIA BLACKOUT – “When Debt Is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness Is The Last And Only Remedy” Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. / TDP BLACKLISTED [Alert]
April 16, 2012 By admin
http://truedemocracyparty.net/2012/04/iceland-forces-debt-forgiveness-total-us-media-blackout-when-debt-is-fraud-debt-forgiveness-is-the-last-and-only-remedy//

2) Black Man’s Killing in Georgia Eludes Spotlight
By
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/us/spotlight-eludes-black-youths-killing-in-georgia.html?hp

3) U.S. to Step Up Drone Strikes Inside Yemen
By
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/world/middleeast/us-to-step-up-drone-strikes-inside-yemen.html?ref=world
 
4) After Man’s Death, Scrutiny for a Police Chase
By and
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/nyregion/fateful-collision-in-canarsie-raises-questions-for-police.html?ref=nyregion

5) Chasing Fees, Banks Court Low-Income Customers
"The loans can get expensive. When the loan comes due, the bank automatically withdraws from the customer’s checking account the amount of the loan and the origination fee — typically $10 for every $100 borrowed — regardless of whether there is enough money in the account. That can lead to overdraft and other fees that translate into an annual interest rate of more than 300 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending."
By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG and
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/business/chasing-fees-banks-court-low-income-customers.html?ref=business

6) Georgia: One-Year Sentence in Killing
By
April 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/us/georgia-one-year-sentence-in-killing.html?ref=us

7) Bribes Without Jail Time
By
April 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/business/for-wal-mart-lots-of-bribes-but-little-jail-time-common-sense.html?src=busln

8) Attorney: Zimmerman Had $200K From Web Donations
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/27/business/ap-us-neighborhood-watch-website.html?src=busln

9) Milledgeville Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School
By Judy Le and Pansy Hall
April 17, 2012
http://www.13wmaz.com/rss/article/178448/153/Milledgeville-Police-Handcuff-6-Year-Old-Girl?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+wmaz/local+%2813WMAZ.com+Local+News%29

10) Warrior in Chief
By PETER L. BERGEN
April 28, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/president-obama-warrior-in-chief.html?hp

11) How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes
By and
April 28, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/apples-tax-strategy-aims-at-low-tax-states-and-nations.html?ref=business

12) Thousands Protest Health, Education Cuts in Spain
 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/29/business/ap-eu-spain-financial-crisis.html?src=busln

13) In Vast Jungle, U.S. Troops Aid in Search for Kony
By

April 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/world/africa/kony-tracked-by-us-forces-in-central-africa.html?ref=world
14) U.S. Drone Strike Underlines Clash of Interests in Pakistan
By and ISMAIL KHAN
April 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/world/asia/us-drone-strike-kills-3-in-pakistan.html?ref=world

15) With Green Beret Tactics, Combating Gang Warfare
By
April 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/us/springfield-mass-fights-crime-using-green-beret-tactics.html?ref=world

16) Unemployment Reaches Record High in Euro Zone
By
May 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/business/global/unemployment-at-record-high-in-euro-zone.html?hp
 
17) Army Will Reshape Training, With Lessons From Special Forces
[No need for war anymore--the U.S. will just go around the world, to anywhere they want to, and kill whoever they want to. No questions asked. All is fair in love and war, right? ...bw]

By
May 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/us/politics/odierno-seeks-to-reshape-training-and-deployment-for-soldiers.html?ref=world
       
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1) ICELAND FORCES DEBT FORGIVENESS: TOTAL US MEDIA BLACKOUT – “When Debt Is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness Is The Last And Only Remedy” Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. / TDP BLACKLISTED [Alert]
April 16, 2012 By admin
http://truedemocracyparty.net/2012/04/iceland-forces-debt-forgiveness-total-us-media-blackout-when-debt-is-fraud-debt-forgiveness-is-the-last-and-only-remedy//

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

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

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

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

BANKERS. Foreign Bankers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translator

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

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

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

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

BANKERS. Foreign Bankers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Whom The Bell Tolls:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who is with US ?!”

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

The unsustainable nature of debt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voices in the debate

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

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

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

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

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

I posted a pithy response in the comment section:

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

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

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

How it might play out

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

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

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

Average debtor:

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

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

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

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

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

Bankers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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2) Black Man’s Killing in Georgia Eludes Spotlight
By
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/us/spotlight-eludes-black-youths-killing-in-georgia.html?hp


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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3) U.S. to Step Up Drone Strikes Inside Yemen
By
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/world/middleeast/us-to-step-up-drone-strikes-inside-yemen.html?ref=world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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4) After Man’s Death, Scrutiny for a Police Chase
By and
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/nyregion/fateful-collision-in-canarsie-raises-questions-for-police.html?ref=nyregion
Tamon Robinson’s sideline of digging up cobblestones and selling them to scrap dealers had gotten him arrested numerous times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5) Chasing Fees, Banks Court Low-Income Customers
"The loans can get expensive. When the loan comes due, the bank automatically withdraws from the customer’s checking account the amount of the loan and the origination fee — typically $10 for every $100 borrowed — regardless of whether there is enough money in the account. That can lead to overdraft and other fees that translate into an annual interest rate of more than 300 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending."
By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG and
April 25, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/business/chasing-fees-banks-court-low-income-customers.html?ref=business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6) Georgia: One-Year Sentence in Killing
By
April 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/us/georgia-one-year-sentence-in-killing.html?ref=us


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


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7) Bribes Without Jail Time
By
April 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/business/for-wal-mart-lots-of-bribes-but-little-jail-time-common-sense.html?src=busln
As reported in a front-page article in The New York Times this week, the Wal-Mart Mexican bribery scheme has all the makings of a gripping criminal prosecution: millions of dollars in illegal payoffs to Mexican government officials and evidence of a cover-up scheme that went all the way to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
And the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws the bribery of foreign officials by American executives, carries stiff penalties for those convicted: fines of up to $5 million and up to 20 years in prison.

So who’s likely to go to jail?

No one, if past precedent is any guide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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8) Attorney: Zimmerman Had $200K From Web Donations
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 27, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/27/business/ap-us-neighborhood-watch-website.html?src=busln

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9) Milledgeville Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School
By Judy Le and Pansy Hall
April 17, 2012
http://www.13wmaz.com/rss/article/178448/153/Milledgeville-Police-Handcuff-6-Year-Old-Girl?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+wmaz/local+%2813WMAZ.com+Local+News%29


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10) Warrior in Chief
By PETER L. BERGEN

April 28, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/president-obama-warrior-in-chief.html?hp


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three days later Bin Laden was dead.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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11) How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes
By and
April 28, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/apples-tax-strategy-aims-at-low-tax-states-and-nations.html?ref=business


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Escaping State Taxes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Global Tax Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the Luxembourg operations.

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

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

The Double Irish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fallout in California

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

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

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

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

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

Ms. Wang dropped her suggestion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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12) Thousands Protest Health, Education Cuts in Spain
 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/29/business/ap-eu-spain-financial-crisis.html?src=busln



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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13) In Vast Jungle, U.S. Troops Aid in Search for Kony
By

April 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/world/africa/kony-tracked-by-us-forces-in-central-africa.html?ref=world

OBO, Central African Republic — It has got to be one of the oddest matchups in United States military history.

One hundred of America’s elite Special Operations troops, aided by night vision scopes and satellite imagery, are helping African forces find a wig-wearing, gibberish-speaking fugitive rebel commander named Joseph Kony who has been hiding out in the jungle for years with a band of child soldiers and a harem of dozens of child brides.

No one knows exactly where Mr. Kony is, but here in Obo, at a remote forward operating post in the Central African Republic, Green Berets pore over maps and interview villagers, hopeful for a clue.

Their biggest challenge, they say, is Mr. Kony’s turf, a vast expanse the size of California in the middle of Africa that is so rugged it renders much of the American gadgetry useless. Picture towering trees that blot out the sun, endless miles of elephant grass, and swirling brown rivers that coil like intestines and are infested with crocodiles; one of them recently ate a Ugandan member of the force.

“This is not going to be an easy slog,” said Ken Wright, a Navy SEAL captain and the commander of the joint American detachment assisting in the Kony hunt.

Still, in the past several months since they arrived, the Americans say Mr. Kony’s army of around 300 fighters is showing cracks. No longer is Mr. Kony able to direct the massacres he directed just a few years ago when his fighters waylaid entire towns and hacked hundreds of people to death. His armed acolytes are breaking up into small, desperate groups, American officials say, and for the first time they are abandoning many of the women and children they had abducted who cannot keep up as they flee deeper into the bush.

The Americans emphasize that they have no interest in participating in actual combat — “This is strictly an advise and assist role,” Captain Wright said, meant to strengthen the capabilities of African troops. Their deployment is emblematic of the Pentagon’s new military strategy for Africa, unfurled earlier this year, in which Pentagon officials say they will develop “innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives on the African continent.”

Already, American-paid contractors and intelligence agents are working quietly in Somalia. And small groups of American advisers have been training African armies for years, though it is not always clear how well this turns out. Just a few weeks ago, Mali’s democratic government was ousted in a coup led by none other than an American-trained army captain.

Yet no other American military project in sub-Saharan Africa has generated the attention — and the high expectations — as the pursuit of Mr. Kony, partly thanks to a wildly popular video on Mr. Kony’s notorious elusiveness and brutality, “Kony 2012,” that set YouTube records with tens of millions of hits in a matter of days. Gen. Carter F. Ham, the overall commander of American forces in Africa, has a “Kony 2012” poster tacked to his office door. As one American official put it: “Let’s be honest, there was some constituent pressure here. Did ‘Kony 2012’ have something to do with this? Absolutely.”

Mr. Kony started out in a northern Uganda village more than 25 years ago as a Catholic altar boy who spoke in tongues. People said he was a prophet. He went on to form a rebel force, the Lord’s Resistance Army, bent on overthrowing Uganda’s government and ruling the country with the Ten Commandments. Soon enough, though, Mr. Kony was breaking every one.

His fighters mowed down impoverished villagers, sawed off lips, and kidnapped thousands of children, brainwashing them for use as tiny killing machines. Mr. Kony often donned wigs and costumes, saying he was possessed by spirits including one named, “Who Are You?” In 2006, Ugandan troops pushed Mr. Kony out of Uganda into the lawless borderlands where the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and what is now South Sudan meet.

By this point, Uganda had become one of America’s closest African allies, and when the United States was deeply worried about Somalia’s becoming a terrorist sanctuary, Uganda was the first country to step forward with peacekeepers, scoring major Pentagon points.

In December 2008, the new American military command for Africa, known by the acronym Africom, helped plan an attack on Mr. Kony’s camp in Congo, dispatching a team of military advisers to Uganda. But Mr. Kony escaped before the Ugandan helicopter gunships even took off — apparently he had been tipped off. Worse, his army slaughtered hundreds of nearby villagers in revenge, leaving behind scorched huts and crushed skulls.

The American government continued running a semicovert logistics and intelligence operation to extend the Ugandan army’s reach so it could chase Mr. Kony across the region. The United States has also pumped in more than $500 million in development aid to northern Uganda, turning a former battlefield into a vibrant piece of the Ugandan economy with new banks and hotels.

But many Americans, including the advocacy group Invisible Children, which produced the Kony2012 video, wanted more. They pressured Congress to pass the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act in 2010, which paved the way for President Obama to send in the special forces late last year.

One Army Green Beret officer based in Obo — Captain Greg, who under ground rules with visiting reporters did not give his last name — said Sunday that he had spent the bulk of his time reviewing intelligence reports with Ugandan and Central African counterparts in an old brick house called the fusion center.

“Different things pop up all the time,” he said. “Everything from people asking us to fix their broken refrigerator to someone telling us about an attack that ends up not being the L.R.A. or even an attack.”

American officials believe Mr. Kony is hiding in an especially remote corner of the Central African Republic, though some Ugandan officials said he had moved into Sudan, with the blessing of the Sudanese government.

The Central African Republic would be an excellent place to disappear. Its national army is one of the region’s smallest and weakest. Its terrain is primordially thick. And its infrastructure is shambolic.

Because there are so few roads and telephones, it often takes weeks for news of an attack to reach the fusion center. By the time the Green Berets sift the information and help dispatch the Ugandan hunting squads, Mr. Kony is gone. The Americans say they never go on patrols themselves.

United Nations officials say Mr. Kony’s forces have stepped up their attacks since the Americans arrived, with more than 130 this year, though the attacks tend to be small, often with no one killed.

About a week ago, Mr. Kony’s fighters struck a village in Central African Republic and made off with the very material he needs to sustain his movement — several abducted children.

Kony has often said that all he needs to regenerate is 10 men.

This past week, Betty Bigombe, a Ugandan minister, revealed that she had nearly worked out a deal in 2006 for Mr. Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, to be exiled to Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi had agreed to take him. But in the end, Ms. Bigombe said, Mr. Kony backed away, saying he did not trust Arabs.

As one American official put it: “There’s only one way this is going to end, and that’s with Kony shot in the back, running for his life, deep in the forest.”


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14) U.S. Drone Strike Underlines Clash of Interests in Pakistan
By and ISMAIL KHAN
April 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/world/asia/us-drone-strike-kills-3-in-pakistan.html?ref=world


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An American drone strike killed three suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt on Sunday, an official said, in the first such attack since the country’s Parliament demanded an end to those missions just over two weeks ago.

The remotely piloted aircraft struck an abandoned school building in the densely populated central bazaar of Miram Shah, the capital of the North Waziristan tribal agency, killing three people and wounding two, a government official and a local resident said.

The militants were believed to be Punjabi Taliban fighters with the Haqqani network, which carried out a series of attacks in Kabul and two other Afghan cities on April 15. The school building that was struck on Sunday was thought to be a base of operations for militants, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

In Washington, a senior official confirmed the strike, describing the compound as a “staging and planning area for Al Qaeda, the Haqqanis and other terrorists.” He said the militants based there “were preparing explosives for use in attacks inside Afghanistan,” similar to the April 15 attacks.

The C.I.A. strike underlined the tensions between American diplomatic and security priorities in Pakistan. Officials from the two countries are trying to reset relations that stalled badly after American warplanes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghanistan border in November.

Last week, President Obama sent his regional representative, Marc Grossman, to Islamabad for two days of high-level talks that aimed to reach agreement on a variety of contentious issues, including drone strikes, the reopening of NATO supply lines and the clearing of at least $1 billion in American military aid that is overdue.

The agenda for the talks was framed by a strongly worded resolution passed by Pakistan’s Parliament on April 12 that contained a list of demands, including an end to drone attacks and an unconditional apology for the killings in November.

Yet while Obama administration officials say they are ready to negotiate on many issues, they are unwilling to stop the drones and are angered by the continued use of Pakistani territory by Taliban insurgents and their allies.

Administration officials were particularly riled by intelligence reports indicating that the April 15 attacks were coordinated by Haqqani leaders in North Waziristan — a fact that swung the internal argument against fully apologizing to the Pakistanis for the November killings, senior officials say.

Last week in Islamabad, American negotiators told their Pakistani counterparts they had located Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network, in Miram Shah during the assault, a senior Pakistani official said.

Pakistan’s military vigorously denies it is soft-pedaling the fight against the Haqqanis. Generals say their forces, now thought to involve about 150,000 regular and paramilitary troops in the northwest region, are stretched by combat in other parts of the tribal belt.

“We have already shifted huge numbers of troops off the eastern border. We can’t do any more,” a senior Pakistani security official said.

Diplomats from both countries insist that their talks are starting to make progress in some areas, like the reopening of NATO supply lines, the dispute about overdue military aid — variously estimated between $1.18 billion and $3 billion — and the nudging of the Afghan Taliban toward peace talks.

Yet the drone strike on Sunday in Miram Shah indicated that the C.I.A. would press ahead with its operations.

The drone fired two missiles at the abandoned girls’ school, which had been occupied by militants since they bombed it four years ago, said a local resident, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.

North Waziristan is also a hub for the Pakistani Taliban, a force that is related to but separate from the Afghan Taliban. That group’s reputation for ruthlessness was underscored on Sunday when the body of a beheaded British aid worker was found in an orchard in the western city of Quetta.

The worker, Khalil Dale, 60, a manager for the International Committee of the Red Cross who had worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, was kidnapped close to his office in Quetta last January. A note accompanying the body, signed by the Taliban, said he had been killed because the Red Cross refused to pay ransom for his release.


Declan Walsh reported from Islamabad, and Ismail Khan from Peshawar, Pakistan. Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.


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15) With Green Beret Tactics, Combating Gang Warfare
By
April 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/us/springfield-mass-fights-crime-using-green-beret-tactics.html?ref=world


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — At first glance, the Brightwood neighborhood in this central New England city would seem to have little in common with war-torn villages in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But when two Massachusetts state troopers, Michael Cutone and Thomas Sarrouf, returned to their jobs here after deployments with a Green Beret unit in Iraq, they noticed troubling parallels.

Like the residents of Avghani, the small northern Iraqi town where the two had helped establish and train a local police force to combat insurgents, many families in Brightwood, a low-income, largely Puerto Rican neighborhood in the North End, lived in fear. Gang members and drug dealers cruised the streets on motor scooters carrying SKS semiautomatic rifles in broad daylight. Gunfire erupted almost daily.

Perhaps the only sentiments that ran higher than the residents’ fears were their apathy and distrust of the police, who swooped in to make arrests but did little to involve themselves in the community.

Before their deployments, Troopers Cutone and Sarrouf might have been similarly distant. But their experience overseas changed their perspective, convincing them that it was futile to fight a war without gaining the trust and support of those most affected by it. So in 2009, when gang violence spiked and community leaders and the city police were eager to develop new tactics, the troopers proposed trying the counterinsurgency strategies they had been trained to use in Iraq.

“It was kind of an ‘aha’ moment,” Trooper Cutone said. “Gang members and drug dealers operate very similarly to insurgents. I don’t mean they’re looking to overthrow the state. But the way that they blend into the passive support of the community and use that to their advantage is very similar.”

On a sheet of butcher paper, Trooper Cutone drafted a plan, listing goals like “Work by, with and through the local population,” and “Detect, degrade, disrupt and dismantle criminal activity” — maxims similar to those drilled into him during counterinsurgency training in the Special Forces.

Increasingly, law enforcement officials are concluding that conventional policing techniques are ineffective in achieving lasting change in failing urban neighborhoods where gangs find safe haven, and new approaches are being tried out in a number of cities, though most are not adapted from a military model.

Trooper Cutone said that traditional methods — periodic shows of force, like sting operations and raids that temporarily remove gang leaders from the streets — address only symptoms, but the problem remains. He used the example of a Labrador retriever running sea gulls off a beach; the birds fly off but return once the dog moves on.

“I’m not a military guy,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Alben, a division commander with the State Police, but the logic of the troopers’ argument persuaded him, although he said that the term “counterinsurgency” made him and others a little nervous because the public often mistakenly associates it with kicking in doors and conducting night raids.

“You’re not going to arrest your way out of this problem,” Colonel Alben said. “The problem of gangs is something you have to make the community itself responsible for, and that goes back to the mission of Special Forces, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

The core of the approach is a community meeting, held every Thursday, often at 101 Lowell Street, a brick high-rise that anchors the neighborhood and is a frequent stop for police officers hunting down drug dealers or members of the local youth gangs known as posses.

Led by Trooper Cutone and Deputy Chief John Barbieri of the Springfield Police Department, who immediately embraced the project, the meetings, advertised by word of mouth, have grown steadily in attendance, drawing residents, community leaders, landlords, representatives of city agencies and nonprofit organizations, and local politicians.

Gary Linsky, the owner of a paving company, started attending after Trooper Cutone stopped him for a traffic violation and instead of issuing a ticket, persuaded him to participate. Karen Pohlman, a nurse practitioner at the nearby Baystate Brightwood Health Center, heard someone mention the meetings and decided to attend.

The gatherings are part networking session, part pep rally and part social event. At a recent meeting, Trooper Cutone, standing ramrod straight at the front of the room in his blue uniform and black lace-up boots, reminded the group of its mission to “promote a safe and secure environment” and “reduce gang activity and violence.”

“You are the greatest resource,” he said.

The police reported on recent episodes: tire slashings, a group of youths throwing rocks at cars, a shooting. Applause broke out to welcome a city parks department worker attending for the first time. Summer jobs were discussed, as were home foreclosures, graffiti removal and the need for landlords to take responsibility for their buildings.

New ideas offered at the meetings are quickly translated into action: a “walking school bus” program, proposed by Ms. Pohlman, has flourished, with teachers chaperoning students as they walk to school each morning. A photo array in the entrance of 101 Lowell displaying the names and faces of people barred from trespassing on the property was the brainchild of a resident fed up with the drug trade operating there.

Jose Claudio, a community leader at the New North Citizens Council, assembled a handpicked team of “street leaders,” residents who act as an informal intelligence network, reporting suspicious activities to the authorities and keeping alert for weapons and for drug dealing and other criminal acts.

The police, in turn, have reached out to the neighborhood. Troopers, city police officers and community leaders go door to door, enlisting residents’ support and informing them about social services and programs like Text-a-Tip, which allows them to provide information anonymously by texting it from cellphones.

The program has attracted attention in other cities, like Salinas, Calif., that also have small budgets and big gang problems. The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., has provided the Massachusetts state troopers with a computer program, known as Lighthouse, that analyzes geographical and social relationships. Troopers feed data about gang members and other criminal suspects into digital devices and Lighthouse allows them to more effectively target suspects.

The team working on the project now includes a lieutenant, Michael Domnarski, also a veteran, and six troopers. Last year, its target area was expanded to about 30 blocks from 8.

While there has been a growing debate over the effectiveness of counterinsurgency techniques in the military, particularly in Afghanistan, many involved in the Brightwood effort say that their sense is that the neighborhood has benefited from the approach. Its success has not yet been validated with hard numbers, but a Harvard engineering class, taught by yet another veteran, Prof. Kevin Kit Parker, is evaluating its impact on arrest rates, calls to the police, ambulances summoned for gunshot wounds, the amount of graffiti on buildings — an indicator of gang activity — and litter on the streets, among other things.

At a presentation on Monday, the class reported that in 2011, the amount of litter in Brightwood, went down drastically. Graffiti was also greatly reduced. And most residents surveyed by the students said they thought the program had improved things.

Not everyone is enthusiastic, however. Wilfredo DeJesus, 35, who was standing outside 101 Lowell with some friends during a recent meeting, said that he did not think the project would help people and that he objected to the photo display of people barred from the premises. “People think they’re child molesters or something,” Mr. DeJesus said, adding that some of the people pictured “didn’t do bad things.”

Professor’s Parker’s class also found that arrests in the neighborhood and calls for service to the police went up from 2010 to 2011.

“We think more calls is good,” he said. “This suggests that there was a tremendous amount of unreported crime before this program started.”

In fact, before the program started, residents almost never reported criminal activity, calling the police only after someone was shot, Trooper Cutone said. But recently, a tip from someone in the neighborhood led to the discovery of a gun in a trash bin. And a few weeks ago, troopers pursuing a man who fled during a traffic stop were guided by a flurry of calls to the State Police barracks, the callers describing what the suspect was wearing and where he had last been seen.

“You can tangibly feel a difference,” said State Representative Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera, who grew up in the North End. “The neighborhood wants this initiative. We had never actually sat down with law enforcement before and committed to improving the quality of life for an entire neighborhood.”

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16) Unemployment Reaches Record High in Euro Zone
By
May 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/business/global/unemployment-at-record-high-in-euro-zone.html?hp
 
FRANKFURT — Unemployment in the euro zone rose to a new high in March, according to figures released Wednesday, which come a few days before crucial elections in France and Greece, and which are likely to intensify calls for an easing of the region’s austerity drive.

Unemployment in the 17 countries that belong to the euro zone rose to 10.9 percent in March from 10.8 percent in February, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency. In March 2011, the rate was 9.9 percent, a number that illustrates the deterioration of the area’s economy during the past year.

The monthly increase, the 11th in a row, translates into more than 17 million jobless people, and is in line with other recent indicators showing that the euro zone economy remains distressed. Manufacturing in the zone hit a 34-month low in April, according to a survey of purchasing managers released Wednesday by the research firm Markit.

Greece and France will hold national elections Sunday, when citizens are expected to register their discontent at the decline in living standards and public services that has been a consequence of government budget cutting. Leaders could come to power who are unwilling to continue the austerity programs pushed by Northern European countries, especially Germany.

The figures also come a day before the European Central Bank is scheduled to hold its monthly monetary policy meeting. While the E.C.B. governing council, meeting in Barcelona, is not expected to lower its benchmark interest rate from 1 percent, recent economic data may have increased the chances for a surprise cut.

The data on manufacturing “raise the likelihood of a rate cut tomorrow,” Stella Wang, an analyst at Nomura, wrote in a note to clients. “But,” she added, “we stick with our main call of no rate cut assuming that the E.C.B. prefers to wait for more data before fundamentally changing its view of the economic outlook.”

As growth has faltered around the euro zone, some policy makers have begun to talk more about the need to balance government budget cutting with measures to promote growth. But it is not yet clear how they would do so when investors are reluctant to lend governments any more money, and citizens in wealthier countries like Germany are not willing to subsidize their neighbors.

Mario Draghi, the president of the E.C.B., called last week for a growth compact and a re-examination of where the euro was headed.

Mr. Draghi appeared to mean that countries like Greece and Spain should redouble their efforts to make their economies function better, for example by making it easier to start a business or for employers to dismiss workers.

But such changes may encounter political resistance, and during election campaigns in Greece and France the talk has been more of reducing the pressure on governments to cut spending.

François Hollande, the Socialist who is leading in the polls ahead of a runoff election Sunday against the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has promised to increase subsidies to industry. In Greece, the main political parties have campaigned on a promise to renegotiate terms of international aid.

The euro zone unemployment figures also illustrated the growing gap between Northern Europe and countries in the south. The jobless rate in Germany was 5.6 percent as calculated by Eurostat, compared with 24.1 percent in Spain and 21.7 percent in Greece. The Greek figure is based on January data, the most recent available.

But some economists said there were signs of weakness even in Germany, which has the largest economy in Europe. The Federal Employment Agency, which counts some people as unemployed who are excluded by Eurostat’s methodology, said Wednesday that the number of jobless people in Germany fell by 65,000 in April to below three million, a rate of 7 percent.

After adjusting for seasonal distortions, though, unemployment in Germany rose slightly.

“Compared with most other European countries, the German labor market is still a bright spot,” Thomas Harjes, an analyst at Barclays Capital, wrote in a note. But he added, “Today’s figures highlight that the weak economy will not leave the labor market unscathed.”

Greece received an upgrade from the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Wednesday, reflecting completion of a debt-reduction deal with creditors. S.&P. raised Greek debt from selective default to CCC, still deep in junk bond territory.

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17) Army Will Reshape Training, With Lessons From Special Forces
[No need for war anymore--the U.S. will just go around the world, to anywhere they want to, and kill whoever they want to. No questions asked. All is fair in love and war, right? ...bw]

By
May 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/us/politics/odierno-seeks-to-reshape-training-and-deployment-for-soldiers.html?ref=world
 
 WASHINGTON — The Army is reshaping the way many soldiers are trained and deployed, with some conventional units to be placed officially under Special Operations commanders and others assigned to regions of the world viewed as emerging security risks, particularly in Africa.

The pending changes reflect an effort to institutionalize many of the successful tactics adopted ad hoc in Afghanistan and Iraq. And as the Army shrinks by 80,000 troops over the next five years, its top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno, also is seeking ways to assure that the land force is prepared for a broader set of missions — and in hots pots around the globe where few soldiers have deployed in the past.

General Odierno’s initiatives are a recognition that the role — and clout — of Special Operations forces is certain to grow over coming years, and senior Pentagon policy makers briefed on the plans say they are fully in keeping with the new military strategy announced early this year by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

With cuts ordered in the Pentagon budget — and cognizant of public exhaustion with large overseas deployments — the military will focus on working with partner nations to increase their capabilities to deal with security threats within their borders. The goal would be to limit the footprint of most new overseas deployments. Those scenarios would reflect a shift from conventional forces to Special Operations forces, and General Odierno’s plans would increase the support of Army general-purpose units to those types of missions.

Creating new sets of formal relationships between Army general-purpose units and the Special Operations Command would be a significant change in Army culture. For more than a generation, the large, conventional Army and the small, secretive commando community viewed each other from a distance, and with distrust. Armor and infantry units trained and operated separately from counterterrorism and counterinsurgency teams.

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed that. The demands of combining high-end conventional combat and counterinsurgency missions for complementary and overlapping missions in Afghanistan and Iraq pushed conventional and Special Operations forces together. General Odierno, who now serves as Army chief of staff, oversaw many of those tactical initiatives firsthand.

He was a division commander in northern Iraq when Saddam Hussein was captured there in a mission that combined armored units and the elite counterterrorism force. And during his tours as the No. 2 and then the top commander in Iraq, he integrated conventional and Special Operations missions on a daily basis.

Under the emerging plans, conventional Army units would train alongside Special Operations units, and would deploy with them, under their command, on overseas missions.

Other units would remain in the conventional force, but would be told in advance that their deployments would focus on parts of the world, like Africa, that do not currently have Army units assigned to them. This would allow officers and soldiers to develop regional expertise.

General Odierno foreshadowed his planning in an essay published last week in Foreign Affairs, in which he wrote that “the Army will need to preserve and enhance its relationship with joint Special Operations forces.”

“The evolution of this partnership over the past decade has been extraordinary, and the ties can become even stronger as we continue to develop new operational concepts, enhance our training and invest in new capabilities,” he wrote.

On the effort to prepare Army units with a regional focus, General Odierno wrote, “We must align our forces, both active and reserve, with regional commands to the greatest extent possible.”

The military’s global combatant commanders would guide whether the units focused on high-end combat skills, disaster relief or training missions to improve the capability of militaries within partner nations. “Regional alignment will also help inform the language training, cultural training and even the equipment that units receive,” General Odierno wrote.

The first unit to be designated for this new regional orientation will be a full brigade that will train for missions under the command of the military’s Africa Command, Army and Pentagon officials said.

Formalizing what had been impromptu ties between conventional units and Special Operations forces was a focus of official “Warfighter Talks” held last February by General Odierno and Adm. William H. McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command. The Army has held similar, chief-to-chief talks with the other armed services, but it was not the norm with the commando community’s top officer. General Odierno and Admiral McRaven have pledged to make the formal dialogue an annual event, according to Army officials.

The Army contributes more than half of all personnel to Special Operations Command. But even as the Army shrinks, its Special Operations personnel roster is slated to grow to 35,000 from 32,000, Army officials said.

The conventional force can vastly increase the capability of Special Operations units by providing logistical support to those teams in the field. Transportation, security, medical evacuation, food, fuel and other logistics needs are routinely provided to Special Operations units by the conventional force.

More specifically, in Afghanistan today, for example, two conventional Army battalions are assigned in support of Special Operations units carrying out a program called Village Stability Operations, which trains and partners with local security forces.

Formal training linking a conventional unit to a Special Operations unit will begin in June at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., Army officials said. The units will join for a training mission that begins at “Phase Zero,” the time when the military hopes to shape the battlefield in advance of combat, and through completion of the training mission. That style of training will be expanded to the larger desert facility, the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Ca., in the autumn.

The training will focus on what the military calls “hybrid” scenarios, in which a single battle space may require the entire continuum of military activity from support to civil authorities to training local security forces to counterinsurgency to counterterrorism raids to heavy combat.


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