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2010 October 5 | Activist News

The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »


U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »


The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: October 5, 2010

ACLU In Federal Appeals Court In Boston Thursday To Defend Journalists’ Rights

ACLU/Common Dreams
October 5, 2010

BOSTON – October 5 – The American Civil Liberties Union will be in federal appeals court in Boston Thursday to argue that FBI agents who attacked a group of journalists without provocation should be held accountable for their actions. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists in Puerto Rico who were kicked, punched and pepper sprayed by FBI agents as they attempted to report on the search of a San Juan apartment.

In August 2009, a lower court found that while there was evidence that the FBI agents violated the journalists’ Fourth Amendment rights, the law was not clearly established enough at the time of the attack to hold the agents responsible for their actions, and that therefore the reporters could not seek compensation for the violation. The ACLU is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to overturn that ruling.

Arguments in Normando Valentin, et. al. v. Mueller, an ACLU lawsuit charging that FBI agents should be held accountable for violating the constitutional rights of journalists who they attacked unprovoked.

Catherine Crump of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project will argue on behalf of the plaintiffs before appellate judges Boudin, Howard and Barbadoro. Other attorneys on the case are Aden Fine of the ACLU, William Ramirez and Josué González of the ACLU of Puerto Rico and Nora Vargas-Acosta.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
9:30 a.m. EDT

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
1 Courthouse Way, 7th Floor
Boston, MA

Press Release Here – http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/10/05-1

Calls for Toronto G20 inquiry grow louder

The Canadian Press
October 5, 2010

The call for a full public inquiry into the G20 summit just got louder on Tuesday.

Lawyers, civil libertarians and some politicians say an inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of the chaos seen during the June gathering of world leaders in Toronto.

More than 1,000 people were arrested – even though only a small group of protesters burned police cruisers and smashed the windows of businesses.

Many of those detained or jailed said they had nothing to with the protests.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she’ll introduce a bill in the legislature to create an inquiry to probe all aspects of government and police decision-making during the summit.

Full Article Here – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/calls-for-toronto-g20-inquiry-grow-louder/article1743546/ 

Israeli army investigates video of dancing soldier

Associated Press
October 5, 2010

JERUSALEM – The Israeli military said Tuesday it was launching an investigation into a YouTube video that appears to show an Israeli soldier dancing around a blindfolded Palestinian Muslim woman.

In the video, the woman, wearing a Muslim headscarf and long black robe, stands along a wall as the soldier wiggles around her in an Oriental style of dancing and makes suggestive gestures. Arabic music blares in the background, and the woman barely moves.

The Web clip is the latest in a series of embarrassing videos and photos uploaded to social networking sites like YouTube and Facebook that show Israeli soldiers mocking Palestinians. If authentic, it would be the first to specifically humiliate a Palestinian woman, a deeply sensitive issue in Arab society.

In August, a young ex-soldier posted pictures of herself in uniform, posing in front of handcuffed, blindfolded Palestinian prisoners on her Facebook page. Earlier this year, a video showed a group of soldiers dancing while on patrol in a West Bank city.

In a statement, the army said it “denounces actions such as these depicted in the videos.” It said the videos are “isolated cases” but said an investigation would “now be standard practice in cases in which similar behavior is alleged.”

Military officials said late Tuesday that they were still investigating the matter, and it remained unclear whether the video was even authentic.

Military prosecutors filed indictments in August against four soldiers for abuse after they posed with bound, blindfolded Palestinians, and the pictures were found on their mobile phones. Military prosecutors can do little if soldiers have already been discharged from the army — which appears to be the case in most incidents, including this one.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101005/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_dancing_soldier

In Haiti, Rising Call for Displaced to Go Away

New York Times
October 5, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — As tent camps go, the one on the 28-acre Church of God property overlooking the Valley of Bourdon is almost bucolic, with hundreds of canvas-draped shelters under leafy shade trees and a cohesiveness among residents. But panic is building there.

The Church of God is planning to evict the encampment in the near future. While the church relented on a Sept. 30 deadline under pressure from humanitarian officials, it still wants its Haitian headquarters rid of a population that church officials have come to see as a freeloading nuisance.

“This used to be a beautiful place, but these people are tearing up the property,” said Jim Hudson, a Church of God missionary living at the site. “They’re urinating on it. They’re bathing out in public. They’re stealing electricity. And they don’t work. They sit around all day, waiting for handouts.”

Increasingly, property owners here are seeking to dislodge tent camps, saying they are tired of waiting for the government to resettle the people or for the people to resettle themselves.

Almost nine months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, eviction threats have increased markedly and have become an urgent humanitarian concern, international groups say. Some 144,175 individuals have been subject to threats of eviction since March, and 28,065 have been actually evicted, according to data collected by shelter experts here.

Humanitarian officials have asked the government to consider a moratorium on evictions and to address the issue publicly, urging compassion. They worry that the evictions could increase conflict, lead to the mushrooming of smaller sites without services and force people into locations that are unsafe.

“It’s a huge problem that could exacerbate lots of other problems,” said Lilianne Fan, the housing, land and property coordinator for the multiagency shelter cluster. “The bottom line is that the vulnerable become more vulnerable, and you get into a situation of continual displacement without a long-term solution.”

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/world/americas/05haiti.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper


Activists say they’ll refuse to testify

Associated Press
October 5, 2010

CHICAGO — Anti-war activists raided recently by the FBI say they’ll refuse to testify before a grand jury in Chicago as ordered.

Activist attorney Jim Fennerty says all 14 Midwest activists who were served subpoenas to testify this month won’t appear.

A Chicago couple whose home was raided last month spoke at a rally Tuesday just outside the Dirksen Federal Building where the grand jury is sitting.

Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner told reporters they’re among those who were set to testify this month but won’t.

Full Article Here – http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-il-fbiraids-chicago,0,33495.story

Canadian soldier sacked for shooting wounded Afghan

October 5, 2010

A Canadian army captain convicted of shooting an unarmed, wounded Afghan fighter has been demoted and sacked from the military but was not jailed.

Capt Robert Semrau, who also served in the British army, was found guilty of “disgraceful” conduct in July.

The Afghan that Semrau was accused of shooting had allegedly taken part in an ambush on Semrau’s unit and was already near death after a helicopter attack.

The prosecution did not prove that Semrau’s rifle shots had killed him.

“Shooting a wounded and unarmed person is disgraceful because it is so fundamentally contrary to our values and training that it is shockingly unacceptable,” military judge Lt Col Jean-Guy Perron is quoted by CBC as saying.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11478886

New scramble for Africa’s land

Global Post
October 5, 2010
By Tristan McConnell and Jason Overdorf

Foreign investors criticized for leasing huge tracts of African land for commercial farming.

NAIROBI, Kenya and NEW DELHI, India — More than a century ago Mark Twain encouraged people to, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”

Today, nations, companies and financiers are taking his advice and investing in huge tracts of land in what critics call a neo-colonial “Scramble for Africa” led by Gulf states and Indian companies.

Seventy percent of the global farmland expansion is happening in one of the hungriest parts of the world, sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new World Bank study. The expansion in countries like Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sudan, is driven by foreign states and corporations.

The big leap came after the food price rises of 2007 and 2008, which sparked riots in capital cities around the world when staples like rice, wheat and sugar became unaffordable almost overnight. Global farmland expanded by nearly 10 million acres in 2008 and by 111 million acres the following year, according to the World Bank.

High food prices continue to worry the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which last month convened a special meeting in Rome to explore ways of stabilizing the jittery market.

Natural disasters have been at least partly to blame for the most recent price hikes. A drought and wildfires in Russia this summer caused Moscow to ban exports of wheat, while flooding in Pakistan and China have also dented global food production.

Last month, riots over food prices erupted in Mozambique — a possible taste of things to come.

Full Article Here – http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/kenya/101004/africa-land-business

Unemployed: Stranded on the Sidelines of a Jobs Crisis

October 5, 2010
By: Andy Kroll / TomDispatch
[Research support for this story was provided by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.]

Sometime in early June — he’s not exactly sure which day — Rick Rembold joined history. That he doesn’t remember comes as little surprise: Who wants their name etched into the record books for not having a job?

For Rembold, that day in June marked six months since he’d last pulled a steady paycheck, at which point his name joined the rapidly growing list of American workers deemed “long-term unemployed” by the Department of Labor. In the worst jobs crisis in generations, the ranks of Rembolds, stranded on the sidelines, have exploded by over 400% — from 1.3 million in December 2007, when the recession began, to 6.8 million this June. The extraordinary growth of this jobless underclass is a harbinger of prolonged pain for the American economy.
This summer, I set out to explore just why long-term unemployment had risen to historic levels — and stumbled across Rembold. A 56-year-old resident of Mishawaka, Indiana, he caught the unnerving mix of frustration, anger, and helplessness voiced by so many other unemployed workers I’d spoken to. “I lie awake at night with acid indigestion worrying about how I’m going to survive,” he said in a brief bio kept by the National Employment Law Project, which is how I found him. I called him up, and we talked about his languishing career, as well as his childhood and family. But a few phone calls, I realized, weren’t enough. In early August I hopped a plane to northern Indiana.

In job terms, my timing couldn’t have been better. I arrived around lunchtime, and was driving through downtown South Bend, an unremarkable cluster of buildings awash in gray and brown and brick, when my cell phone rang. Rembold’s breathless voice was on the other end. “Sorry I didn’t pick up earlier, man, but a friend just called and tipped me off about a place up near the airport. I’m fillin’ up my bike and headin’ up there right now.” I told him I’d meet him there, hung a sharp U-turn, and sped north.

Twenty minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot of a modest-sized aircraft parts manufacturer tucked into a quiet business park. Ford and Chevy trucks filled the lot, most backed in. Rembold roared up soon after on his ’99 Suzuki motorcycle. Barrel-chested with a thick neck, his short black hair was flecked with gray, and he was deeply tanned from long motorcycle rides with his girlfriend Terri. “They didn’t even advertise this job,” he told me after a hearty handshake. Not unless you count the inconspicuous sign out front, a jobless man’s oasis in the blinding heat: “NOW HIRING: Bench Inspector.”

His black leather portfolio in hand, Rembold took a two-sided application from a woman who greeted us inside the tiny lobby. He filled it out in minutes, the phone numbers, names, dates, and addresses committed to memory, handed it to the secretary, and in a polite but firm tone asked to speak with someone from management. While we waited, he pointed out the old Studebaker factories in a black-and-white sketch of nineteenth century South Bend on the wall, launching into a Cliffs Notes history of industry in this once-bustling corner of the Midwest.

A manager finally emerges with Rembold’s application in hand. Rembold rushes to explain away the three jobs he had listed in the “previous employers” section — stints at a woodworking company, motorcycle shop, and local payday lender. They’re not, he assures the man, indicative of his skills; they’re not who he is. You see, he rushes to add, he’s been in manufacturing practically his entire life, a hard and loyal worker who made his way up from the shop floor to sales and then to management. That kind of experience won’t fit in three blank spots on a one-page form. Unswayed, the manager thanks him formulaically for applying.

If the company’s interested, the manager says — and it feels like a kiss-off even to me — they’ll be in touch, and before we know it we’re back out in the smothering heat of an Indiana summer. Rembold tucks his portfolio into one of the Suzuki’s leather saddlebags. “Well, that’s pretty standard,” he says, his tone remarkably matter-of-fact. “At least I got to talk to somebody. You’re lucky to get that anymore.”

A Perfect Storm Hits American Labor

The numbers tell so much of the story. The 6.76 million Americans — or 46% of the entire unemployed labor force — counted as long-term unemployed in June were the most since 1948, when the statistic was first recorded, and more than double the previous record of 3 million in the recession of the early 1980s. (The numbers have since dipped slightly, with a total of 6.2 million long-term unemployed in August.) These are people who, despite dozens of rejections, leave phone messages, send emails, tweak their cover letters, and toy with resume templates in Microsoft Word, all in the search for a job.

Full Article Here – http://www.truth-out.org/unemployed-stranded-sidelines-a-jobs-crisis63906

In School Outreach, BP and NOAA ‘Dispel Myths’ About Dispersants, Subsurface Oil

October 4, 2010
By Marian Wang

Even as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls for more research into the long-term effects of the chemical dispersants [1] BP used in the Gulf, representatives of BP and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have reached out to local schools to “dispel myths” about dispersants and subsurface oil, according to recent reports in the Houma Courier [2] and the Tri-Parish Times [3]. (We first noticed the Tri-Parish Times piece via TreeHugger [4].)

BP and NOAA appear to be doing demonstrations for local schools using a 10-gallon fish tank full of water, some cooking oil, and some dishwashing detergent to simulate the properties of oil and the effects of dispersants.

The Houma Courier quoted NOAA science support coordinator Gary Ott as telling the children, “Oil floats. See, we’ve tested it.” (The oil-floats argument is also what then-BP CEO Tony Hayward said when first confronted [5] with evidence of underwater oil plumes this summer.)

According to the two reports, Ott had the children try to use eyedroppers to suck up the oil, simulating the inefficiency of skimmers. He had them use paper towels to simulate absorbent booms.

And then he applied dishwashing detergent to the floating oil to break it down — simulating dispersants. Though he acknowledged the dispersed oil doesn’t disappear and could hurt some fish species, Ott told the children that the chemicals were broken down within weeks by microbes, the Courier reported. He also assured the children that Gulf seafood was safe to eat.

Scientists, as we’ve reported, have found thick layers of oily sediment [6] on the Gulf sea floor. And more recently, researchers at Oregon State University found abnormally high levels [7] of carcinogenic chemicals in water off the coast of Louisiana, Mother Jones noted.

We’ve asked both NOAA and BP for comment regarding the demonstrations. A BP spokeswoman told me she was working on putting together a response, but has not yet provided one. We’ve asked specifically what “myths” about dispersants the company was trying to dispel.

Full Article Here – http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/in-outreach-to-schools-bp-and-noaa-dispel-myths-about-dispersants-subsurfac

Relatives Tell of Civilians Killed by U.S. Soldiers

New York Times
October 4, 2010

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — It was difficult enough for the people of western Kandahar Province. They are beleaguered both by the Taliban, who control the roads, demand taxes and execute anyone suspected of disloyalty, and by the American military, who often show little regard for people and whose demands that locals stand up to the insurgents seem unreasonable.

Still, there was no reason to anticipate something far worse: American soldiers suspected of being a sadistic rogue band led by Sgt. Calvin Gibbs.

For Allah Dad, a poppy farmer and the mullah of a hamlet of just 15 homes in Kandahar Province, the end came quickly. He was sipping tea when he heard screams, and several of his children ran in. American soldiers in tanks were coming, they told him. Moments later, two young soldiers came in and grabbed him, his wife, Mora, said.

“In a minute I heard shooting,” she said. “I saw my husband face down, and a black American stood next to him. Another soldier pushed me away. They pushed me back into the house and the interpreter made me go inside one of the rooms.

“Minutes after that I heard an explosion,” she said. “I rushed out of that inner room and out the gate and the translator was telling me to stop, but I did not pay any attention, and then I saw my husband, my husband was burning.”

According to court papers filed by the military, Mullah Allah Dad, 45, of the Kalagi hamlet, was the third victim of soldiers who killed Afghan civilians for no apparent reason.

Five of the platoon soldiers have been charged in at least three murders, one of them Mullah Allah Dad’s, and seven other soldiers have been charged with crimes including assault, the use of hashish and attempts to impede the investigation.

The New York Times sent an emissary to Maiwand, the western district of Kandahar where the killings took place, to find the families of the three who were killed. Mullah Allah Dad’s family was afraid to come to the provincial capital to meet with a Times reporter because they feared that coalition troops might again attack them or that the Taliban would stop them. They agreed to come only as far as a nearby village that had cellphone coverage, and they were interviewed by phone.

Mrs. Dad described how the soldiers searched the family’s house, apparently trying to justify the killing. “They tore and broke everything,” she said. “But they did not find a single bullet in my home.”

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/world/asia/05afghan.html?_r=2&ref=world