Progressive Calendar 03.09.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 2009 10:49:12 -0700 (PDT)
         P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R      03.09.09

1. Human rights      3.08 9/11am
2. Stillwater vigil  3.08 1pm
3. Women & war       3.08 2pm
4. Tamales/Salvador  3.08 3pm
5. Single payer      3.08 3pm

6. Peace walk        3.09 6pm RiverFalls WI
7. Edgertonite Party 3.09 9:30pm

8. Stephen Lendman - Modern slavery in America

--------1 of 8--------

From: Jeffrey Brenner <jbrenner_2001 [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Human rights 3.08 9/11am

HUMAN RIGHTS LEADER SPEAKS IN MAHTOMEDI SUNDAY

The Reverend Dr. William F. Schulz, a Senior Fellow at the Center for
American Progress specializing in human rights, and the former director of
Amnesty International USA, will speak this Sunday at White Bear Unitarian
Universalist Church at 9 and 11 a.m.

During his twelve years at Amnesty, Dr. Schulz led missions to Liberia,
Tunisia, Northern Ireland, and Sudan. He also traveled tens of thousands
miles in the United States promoting human rights causes and was
frequently quoted in the media. He is the author of two books on human
rights and the contributing editor of several others.  All of this
prompted the New York Review of Books to say in 2002, "William
Schulz‚ has done more than anyone in the American human rights movement
to make human rights issues known in the United States."

An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Dr. Schulz came to Amnesty
after eight years (1985-93) as President of the Unitarian Universalist
Association of Congregations.  He is currently Chair of the Board of the
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which supports human rights
activities all over the world.

The church is located at 328 Maple Street in Mahtomedi.
http://www.whitebearunitarian.org/html/directions.html


--------2 of 8--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 3.08 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------3 of 8--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Women & war 3.08 2pm

"Women and War"
Sunday, March 8, 2:00 to 4 p.m. Minnesota History Center, 345 West History
Center, St. Paul.

For the first time in American history, a substantial number of military
combatants are women. One in every seven American troops currently
stationed in Iraq is female. Though active combat is relatively new for
American women, they have served key positions in times of war throughout
American history. Historian Kim Heikkila will facilitate an exchange
between Minnesota women as they reflect on the role of women in the
discourse for, against and about war.

Presenters include Dr. Gertrude Esteros, who served with the Red Cross
during World War II, and Marianne Hamilton, longtime peace activist and
co-founder of WAMM. Laurie Witzkowski and Chanté Wolf present a monologue
about Wolf's service in the first Gulf War and filmmaker Kirsten Nelson
screens her short film on war and women, "What's Left?" A question and
answer session will follow. This program is offered in support of the
"Minnesota's Greatest Generation Project." Free and open to the public.
Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit www.mngreatestgeneration.org.


--------4 of 8--------

From: "[ISO-8859-1] Marco DŠvila" <maidaca85 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Tamales/Salvador 3.08 3pm

The FMLN Committee will be selling tamales for change in El Salvador...
*When: this sunday 8th after 3PM*
We do deliver to any part in Minneapolis, St. Paul and other places.

These are Salvadoran style tamales (chicken, potatoe, greenbeans, non-spicy,
also vegetarians).

They are tamales for a good cause and cheap...Order yours now, we only
sell with anticipation. We will deliver it to your door...don't miss the
opportunity.. order yours now... last day to order is Saturday at
midnight!

Call us at: (612) 702 5637 (651) 756 0885
send us an email: fmlnminnesota [at] gmail.com


--------5 of 8--------

From: "Of the People" <info [at] jamesmayer.org>
Subject: Single payer 3.08 3pm

How Universal Health Care Can Help Businesses Thrive!

MN Universal Health Care: Making it a Reality and Model for the U.S. Part
IV - Encore Presentation.

Join in THE CONVERSATION.  TUNE YOUR RADIO TO:
Of the People this Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m. on AM950 KTNF (formerly Air America
 Minnesota) with Host James Mayer.  Or stream us: 
http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen

Join us for an encore presentation of the 4th program of our series of
broadcasts about REAL Universal Health care with John Kolstad of the Metro
Independent Business Association (MIBA) and Nancy Breymeier, President of
the Metropolitan Independent Business Alliance.  They and host James Mayer
will discuss the U.S. health care crisis, how it affects small businesses,
and the benefits that single payer universal health care would bring to
business.

Join in the CONVERSATION.  TUNE YOUR RADIO TO:

Of the People this Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m. on AM950 KTNF (formerly Air
American Minnesota) with Host James Mayer or stream us:
http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen

Threats to the health, strength and endurance of healthy democracy,
society and environment don't go away for the weekend.  Neither does the
bad news the corporate media establishment uses to make us feel alienated
from one another, shocked, depressed, or even helpless, and to distract us
from real priorities, realistic solutions and positive actions we can take
together.  But for a few weekend moments you can refresh and regenerate
your energy with James Mayer on Of the People, a place to go for good news
that the "news" corporations monopolizing our airwaves seldom let through:
people taking action together, on real solutions.

We hope you will tune your radio to 950 AM and join us not only in your
car, but at home as well, or stream us:http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen
(You will be asked to put in a MN zip code).

Off-air, you can reach us by calling James Mayer at 651-238-3740, by
e-mail at info [at] jamesmayer.org [mailto:info [at] jamesmayer.org], or by U.S.
mail, address: James Mayer, 970 Raymond Ave, St. Paul, MN 55114.

If you can find a moment, forward this message to "add voice and strength
to our contribution to government of, by and for the PEOPLE ".  This is a
call to action to send this to your contacts and friends, asking them to
do the same and join us on: Of the People this Sunday, March 8 at 3 P.M.
on AM 950, KTNF.


--------6 of 8--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 3.09 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------7 of 8--------

From: John Wilson <johnwilson [at] gmx.com>
Subject: Edgertonite Party 3.09 9:30pm

EDGERTONITE NATIONAL PARTY
OFFICIAL FOUNDING MEETING
and kick-off for John Charles Wilson's campaign
for mayor of the City of Minneapolis

MONDAY, 9 MARCH 2009
9:30 TO 11:00 PM
BLUE MOON coffee shop
3822 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

B there or B square!


--------8 of 8--------

Modern Slavery in America
by Stephen Lendman
March 7th, 2009
Dissident Voice

Called human trafficking or forced labor, modern slavery thrives in
America, largely below the radar. A 2004 UC Berkeley study cites it mainly
in five sectors:

. prostitution and sex services - 46%;

. domestic service - 27%;

. agriculture - 10%;

. sweatshops or factories - 5%;

. restaurant and hotel work - 4%; with the remainder coming from:

. sexual exploitation of children, entertainment, and mail-order brides.

It persists for lack of regulation, work condition monitoring, and a
growing demand for cheap labor enabling unscrupulous employers and
criminal networks to exploit powerless workers for profit.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines forced labor as:

"..all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace
of any penalty and for which said person has not offered himself
voluntarily".

Forced child labor is:

.(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the
sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or
compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children
for use in armed conflict;

.(b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the
production of pornography or for pornographic performances;.

.(c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in
particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the
relevant international treaties;. and

.(d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried
out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children..

The Free the Slaves.net's definition is being "forced to work without pay
under threat of violence and unable to walk away". It reports:

. an estimated 27 million people are enslaved globally, more than at any
other time previously;

. thousands annually trafficked in America in over 90 cities; around
17,000 by some estimates and up to 50,000 according to the CIA, either
from abroad or affecting US citizens or residents as forced labor or
sexual servitude;

. the global market value is over $9.5 billion annually, according to Mark
Taylor, senior coordinator for the State Department's Office to Monitor;

. victims are often women and children;

. the majority are in India and African countries;

. slavery is illegal but happens .everywhere;.

. slaves work in agriculture, homes, mines, restaurants, brothels, or
wherever traffickers can employ them; they're cheap, plentiful,
disposable, and replaceable;

. .$90 is the average cost of a human slave around the world. compared to
the 1850 $40,000 equivalent in today's dollars;

. common terminology includes debt bondage, bonded labor, attached labor,
restavec (or de facto bondage for Haitian children sent to households of
strangers), forced labor, indentured servitude, and human trafficking;

. explosive population growth, mostly to urban centers without safety net
or job security protections, facilitates the practice; and

. government corruption, lack of monitoring, and indifference does as
well.

                 American Anti-Trafficking Efforts

US laws prohibit all forms of human trafficking through statutes created
or strengthened by the 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection
Act (VTVPA) with imprisonment for up to 20 years or longer as well as
other penalties.

In April 2003, the Protect Act was passed (Prosecutorial Remedies and
Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act). The law
protects children and severely punishes offenders when enforced. It's to
prosecute American citizens and legal permanent residents who travel
abroad for purposes of sexually trafficking minors without having to prove
prior intent to commit the crime.

The 2000 law (reauthorized in 2005) provides tools to combat trafficking
offenders worldwide. It also establishes the Office to Monitor and Combat
Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) and the President's Interagency Task
Force to help coordinate anti-trafficking efforts. The State Department's
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) also is for victim
protection. In addition, various other US agencies are involved, including
the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through its Rescue and
Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign and by
identifying victims.

The Department of Justice handles prosecutions, and along with DHS and the
State Department, addresses various trafficking issues through the
interagency Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. Still, enforcement is
often is lax or absent, at both federal and state levels, because
offenders are powerful and those harmed are the "wretched of the earth,"
mostly poor blacks, Latinos and Asians. As a result, the practice is
rampant and growing. Below are examples of its forms.

                          Farmworker Slavery

In a March 2004 report, Oxfam America highlighted the growing problem in a
report titled "Like Machines in the Fields: Workers without Rights in
American Agriculture". It's a shocking account of how "Behind the shiny,
happy images promoted by the fast-food industry with its never-ending
commercials, there is another reality:"

. nearly two million overworked farmworkers living in "sub-poverty misery,
without benefits, without the right to overtime," a living wage, or other
job protections, including for children;

. in Florida, it's not uncommon to find instances of workers chained to
poles, locked in trucks, physically beaten, and cheated out of pay; it's
pervasive enough for a federal prosecutor to have called the state "ground
zero for modern-day slavery" in a New Yorker magazine article;

. John Bowe, author of "Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark
Side of the New Global Economy," calls Florida agriculture "an unsavory
world" where workers like Adan Ortiz fear talking about their bosses
because he has nightmares that they might "come after me with machetes and
stuff;"

. basic US labor laws exclude farmworkers, including the right to
organize; laws like the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRB) and 1938
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); also OSHA protections are lacking; the
1983 Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA or
MSPA) provided modest but inadequate relief and none at all when it isn't
enforced; Oxfam reported that, except in California to a modest degree,
"state laws perpetuate inequality," especially in Florida and North
Carolina;

. overall, enforcement at both federal and state levels is lax and has
weakened in recent years; most notable are the lack of investigations,
prosecutions, and resources allocated for either; in the case of
undocumented workers, nothing in the law protects them;

. many serve as forced labor against their will in a modern-day version of
slavery: terrorized by violent employers, watched by armed guards under
conditions of near-incarceration, living overcrowded in severely
inadequate. barracks or trailers, often plagued with rust, mildew, filth,
broken appliances, sagging or leaky roofs, non-working showers, and
multiple occupants being over-charged up to $200 a week by unscrupulous
employers; yet workers put up with it because in the words of one: "If we
don't work, we don"t eat;"

. the commercial power of giant buyers and retailers like Wal-Mart
(selling 19% of US groceries) and Yum Brands (the world's largest
fast-food company) squeeze growers and suppliers for the lowest prices;

. increased competition from imports have had a similar effect, especially
in winter months;

. yet while wages and prices to producers are squeezed, profits are passed
up the distribution chain to corporate giants at the top.

Farmworkers have been punished as a result and are perhaps the poorest and
most abused laborers in America. Around half of them earn less than $7500
annually. Lucky ones earn up to $10,000, in either case it's far below the
federal poverty threshold, and their wages have been stagnant since the
1970s.

Doing some of the worst and most dangerous jobs in America (from exposure
to toxic chemicals and workplace accidents), poverty has forced them into
sub-standing housing, temporary jobs, increased migrancy, and family
separation.

Besides sub-poverty wages, around 95% get no Social Security, disability,
or medical insurance benefits (let alone vacations or pensions) for
themselves or their families. Women farmworkers face other abuses like
male dominance, sexual harassment, or worse, while at the same time remain
primary family caregivers.

Crop and livestock agricultural jobs exist throughout the country, but
over half are concentrated in California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina,
and Washington. Most farmworkers are young (between 18 - 44 or younger),
male (about 80%), and Latino. They have little education, and many are
recent undocumented immigrants (mostly from Mexico) forced north because
of destructive trade laws like NAFTA.

Organizing efforts have won important victories but not enough to increase
workers' bargaining power under a fundamentally unfair system. So while
achievements of organizations like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in
Florida (with over 2000 members) are impressive, they're no match against
agribusiness giants or Wal-Mart.

Nor can they ameliorate conditions in one of the country's most hazardous
occupations. Farmworker disability rates are three times than for the
greater population. Around 300,000 laborers suffer pesticide poisoning
annually, and many others endure accidents, musculoskeletal, and other
type injuries (some chronic).

A 1990 North Carolina study found only 4% of workers had access to
drinking water, hand-washing, and toilet facilities, a particularly
dangerous situation for children and pregnant women.

Oxfam calls farmworker conditions today the equivalent of a "19th century
plantation-style" model relying on field hands, rudimentary equipment,
long hours, little pay, no benefits, under a basically "inhumane,
anachronistic (system crying) out for reform". But how when all levels of
government turn a blind eye to the worst of abuses, and for the
undocumented blame them for their own plight.

                   Domestic Servitude in America

Each year, many thousands, mostly women, arrive in America with temporary
visas to work as live-in domestic workers - for the wealthy, foreign
diplomats, or other domestic or foreign officials. They come to escape
poverty or to earn money to send home to families. Often they're exploited
or victimized by unscrupulous traffickers who hold them in forced
servitude, work them up to 19 hours a day, keep them practically
incarcerated, pay them $100 or less a month, and often subject them to
sexual abuse.

Undocumented workers have no protection, but even legal entrants have few.
Because visas are employment-based, they're obliged to one employer no
matter how abusive, and if leave they lose their immigration status and
are deported. As a result, few do or file complaints. Some who do are
rarely protected because government agencies are lax in their monitoring
and enforcement.

Live-in domestic workers are also excluded from labor law protections with
regard to overtime pay and right to organize, strike, and bargain
collectively. In addition, they're unprotected by OSHA and against sexual
harassment under Title VII workplace safeguards as it applies only to
employers with 15 or more workers. In cases of foreign employers, they
enjoy diplomatic immunity, even from criminal, civil, or administrative
prosecutions.

As a result, special visa domestics endure human rights violations.
Employers are immunized while workers are powerless to stop abuses like:

. assault and battery, including physical beatings and threats of serious
harm;

. limited freedom of movement, including arbitrary and enforced loss of
liberty by use of locks, bars, confiscation of passports and travel
documents, chains, and threats of retaliation against other family
members;

. health and safety issues, including unhealthy sleeping situations in
basements, utility rooms, or other unsatisfactory places; unsafe working
conditions endangering health; denial of food or proper nutrition; and
refusal to provide medical care and having to work when ill;

. wage and amount of work concerns - US labor laws afford no protections
so long hours, little rest, and low pay are common;

. privacy invasions - the UN General Assembly's December 1966
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that
"(n)o one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with
his privacy, family, home or correspondence;" it applies to everyone, even
live-in domestics on visas; nonetheless violations of ICCPR are common and
migrants get no redress;

. psychological abuse - often highlighting employer superiority and worker
inferiority to enforce control and render employees powerless; other
abuses include insults, food restrictions, denying proper clothing, and
various other demeaning practices; and

. servitude, forced labor, and trafficking - ICCPR and other international
laws and instruments prohibit it, yet don't effectively define "servitude"
as distinguished from slavery; as a result, abusive labor relationships
are inevitable; trafficking is specifically prohibited under the UN's
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children, supplementing the (UN-adopted 2000)
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; nonetheless, the
practice is rampant and growing; in the case of migrant domestic workers,
abuse is widespread and greatly underreported.

                        Sex Slavery in America

It's the largest category of forced labor in America and with good reason:

. it's tied to organized crime and highly profitable;

. the demand for sex services, including from children, is high and
growing; and

. the lack of safe and legal migration facilitates it.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) states that the average entry
prostitution age is between 12 - 14. Shared Hope International documents
modern-day sex trafficking and examines conditions under which it exists.
It confirms that most victims are underage girls. A congressional finding
estimated that between 100,000 - 300,000 children are at risk at any time.
A DOJ assessment was that pimps control at least 75% of exploited minors
by targeting vulnerable children using violence and psychological
intimidation to hold them.

The Internet is a frequent recruitment tool. Other vulnerable victims are
shelter and street youths, including runaways. An estimated 2.8 million
children live on city streets, a third of whom are lured into prostitution
within 48 hours of leaving home. Familial prostitution is also common and
involves the selling of a family member for drugs, shelter, and/or money.

The market includes prostitution, including with children, pornography,
striptease, erotic dancing, and peep shows, often controlled by organized
crime. The combination of legal and illegal sex generally is part of a
larger portfolio of products and services that include drugs and drugs
trafficking.

Sex traffickers usually recruit victims of their own nationality or
ethnicity, and migrant smuggling facilitates it. In addition, state and
federal laws too often conflict enough to withhold victim status from the
abused, impede prosecutions, and result in too lenient sentences when they
occur. Also, rarely are prostitution purchasers (including from children)
arrested or prosecuted, and overall, law enforcement agencies face legal
and systemic challenges that interfere with their ability or inclination
to go after buyers. Society provides few protections for victims,
including custodial shelters for young children, and as a result, sex
services in America thrive.

                    Sweatshops and Factories

According to the Union of Needle Trades and Industrial Textile Employees,
75% of New York garment factories are sweatshops. The US Department of
Labor says over 50% of all US-based ones are, the majority in the apparel
centers of New York, California, Dallas, Miami, and Atlanta but others
located offshore as well in American territories like Saipan, Guam and
American Samoa where merchandise produced is labeled "Made in the USA".

Competing with low-wage offshore producers pressures US producers to cut
labor costs to a minimum, even by breaking the law, sometimes egregiously
through forced labor. Like agriculture and domestic service, the sector is
especially vulnerable as it often operates within the informal economy
where regulatory enforcement is lax or absent. As a result, worker
exploitation persists. Wages are sub-poverty. Overtime compensation is the
exception, and work environments generally are poor to hazardous. Workers
who complain or try to organize usually are fired and replaced by more
amenable ones.

Starvation wages, long hours, unsafe working conditions, and no
protections are standard practice in an industry long known for its labor
abuses.

In 1995, two major scandals made headlines, one at home, the other
offshore. On August 2, police raided an El Monte, California apartment
complex in which 72 undocumented Thai immigrants were kept in forced
bondage behind razor wire and a chain link fence. They'd been there for up
to 17 years sewing clothes for some of the nation's top manufacturers and
retailers.

They were housed in crowded, squalid quarters. Armed guards imposed
discipline, pressuring and intimidating them to work every day, around 84
hours a week for 70 cents an hour. Workers were forced to work, eat,
sleep, and live in captivity. No unmonitored phone calls or uncensored
letters were allowed, and everything bought came only from their captors
at highly inflated prices. Seven operators were arrested and later
convicted of conspiracy, kidnapping, involuntary servitude, smuggling, and
harboring illegal immigrants.

Also in 1995, National Labor Committee investigators found teenage women,
as young as 13, sewing clothing for Kathy Lee Gifford's Global Fashion
plant in Honduras. Pay was from 9 - 16 cents an hour under oppressive
working conditions. Forced overtime was imposed to meet deadlines. Only
two daily bathroom visits were allowed. Supervisors and armed guards
applied pressure and intimidation to work faster on machines that were
rust laden and prone to accidents. Attempts by the women to demand their
legal rights were thwarted. Merchandise produced was for major US
retailers like Wal-Mart.

American restaurant and hotel workers also work under onerous conditions
and are underpaid. In hotels, nearly all housekeepers are women who are
required to clean 15 or more rooms a day. Often they must skip meals and
rest periods, work off the clock to meet quotas, and have a 40% higher
injury rate than service workers overall as a result. According to US
Department of Labor figures, they earn an average $8.67 an hour or about
$17, 340 annually provided they work full-time.

Immigrants, mainly women, are especially vulnerable in hotels and
restaurants. A June 2005 ACLU press release highlighted one example among
many pertaining to a law suit brought by two immigrant waitresses against
a New Jersey Chinese restaurant charging sex discrimination and labor
exploitation.

Filed in June 2003, Mei Ying Liu and Shu Fang Chen charged that from May
2000 - November 2001 they were completely controlled by their employers,
forced to work an average 80 hours a week, paid no wages or overtime, had
to pay a kickback from tips received, faced gender and ethnic
discrimination, were housed in an overcrowded, vermin-filled apartment,
and were threatened with death when stopped working at the restaurant.

           Guest Worker Trafficking on US Military Bases

Besides Halliburton's exploited army of tens of thousands of foreign
nationals in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the National Labor Committee
(NLC) reported last July that "hundreds of thousands of foreign guest
workers - among them 240,000 Bangladeshis - have been trafficked to Kuwait
(under false promises of well-paid jobs, and) forced to work seven days a
week (11 hours a day) at a US military base" under horrific conditions.

Stripped of their passports on arrival, they're housed in overcrowded,
squalid dorms with eight workers sharing small 10 x 10 rooms, paid 14 - 36
cents an hour, beaten and threatened with arrest when they complained,
forced to use most of their wages for high-priced food, and the case of
"Mr. Sabur" is typical. Hired by the Kuwait Waste Collection and Recycling
Company to work at the Pentagon's Camp Arifjan, his job was to clean the
base - everything from offices and living spaces to tanks, rocket
launchers and missiles.

He worked an 11-hour shift seven days a week and got a one-hour midnight
break for supper. For this, he earned $34.72 a week, far less than he was
promised, and he had to pay a Bangladesh employment agency 185,000 taka
($2697) for his three-year contracted job. His family sold everything
possible for the money, still came up short, and had to borrow the rest
from a neighbor.

On the job, the Kuwaiti company illegally withheld his first three months
wages, forcing him to borrow money to survive. When he asked to be paid,
he was beaten, and after an 80,000 worker strike, he was arrested,
incarcerated for five days, beaten in prison, then deported to Bangladesh
still wearing his torn, blood-stained clothing.

He was owed but never paid thousands of promised dollars in back wages,
and he's typical. NLC estimates that all 240,000 Bangladeshis have been
cheated out of $1.2 billion, and the Pentagon is complicit in the crime.
These same abuses are common on US bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and likely
other offshore locations as well. In the words of one Sri Lankan laborer
for a Halliburton subcontractor in Iraq: "They promised us the moon and
stars," but instead gave us dirty work, low pay, long hours, bad food, and
for the first three months held us in windowless warehouses near Baghdad's
airport with no money, and for some of them afterwards in tents even worse
than the warehouses.

                         A Final Comment

This is the plight of America's vulnerable and those we exploit abroad,
whether in restaurants, hotels, agriculture, domestic work, the sex trade,
or on US offshore military bases, and seldom do courts provide justice.
It's America's dark side along with an appalling record of crimes and
abuses, including imperial wars, torture, and looting the national wealth
for criminal bankers and the rich at the expense of growing millions in
need left wanting at the most perilous economic time in our history.
America's long and disturbing legacy, not at all one to be proud of.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. Contact him at:
lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site and listen to The
Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from
11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished
guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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