Progressive Calendar 05.19.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 04:35:57 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.19.09

1. AI/Troy Davis      5.19 4pm
2. NWN4P vigil        5.19 4:45pm
3. Ramona Africa/CTV  5.19 5pm
4. RNC court watch    5.19 6pm
5. Author FrankShima  5.19 6:30pm
6. Work/peace dinner  5.19 6:30pm
7. Single payer       5.19 7pm
8. Farm/small town    5.19 7:30pm
9. Meltdown/TV        5.19 9pm

10. Community gardens 5.20 11am
11. Organize/story    5.20 12noon
12. Single payer      5.20 7pm North Branch MN
13. Headwaters dinner 5.20 time?

14. Michelle Gross   - URGENT! CUAPB activist locked up
15. Michelle Gross   - CUAPB ALERT - thanks and keep it up!
16. James Petras     - Obama's Animal Farm: bigger bloodier wars = peace
17. William Petroski - FBI infiltrated Iowa anti-war group before RNC
18. ed               - bumpersticker

--------1 of 18--------

From: AaronTovo <aaron [at]>
Subject: AI/Troy Davis 5.19 4pm

The Minneapolis and St Paul AI local groups are going to have a rally for
will be similar to October's event if you were at that one.  Tuesday
is AI's Global Day of Action for Troy Davis.

AI Rally for Troy Davis
Lake Street Bridge*
Tuesday, May 19, 4 pm - 6 pm
For local AI activists and friends (that's you!)
Contact: Aaron Tovo / aaron [at]

Please come and invite your groups and friends and families!  Bring an
anti-death penalty sign if you have one.  We'll have some there but
I'm not sure if there will be enough for everyone.
-Aaron Tovo AI St Paul

* This is the bridge over the Mississippi River that is Lake St on the
Mpls side and Marshall Ave on the StP side.  We will be mostly on the St
Paul side.  Here's a map:

--------2 of 18--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P vigil 5.19 4:45pm

NWN4P vigil every Tuesday.
Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM.
All welcome; bring your own or use our signs.

--------3 of 18--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Ramona Africa/CTV 5.19 5pm

Stunning St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 5/19, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 5/20, 10am
MOVE: Ramona Africa (pt 1)
on May 13, 1985, the Philadelphia police department massacred 11 members
home.  Ramona was the sole adult survivor of the incident.  Ramona speaks
of the MOVE organization, the legal system and the prison industrial
complex.  filmed at Hamline University in April.

--------4 of 18--------

From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at]>
Subject: RNC court watch 5.19 6pm

RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing
court information, documentation and etc.  RNC Court Watchers Meetings are
every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our

Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the
streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately
used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to
disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The
RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this
intimidation, harassment and abuse!

Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to
find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent

Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M
participate and help organize RNC court solidarity.
For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at]

--------5 of 18--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Author Frank Shima 5.19 6:30pm

HI, On Tuesday, May 19, we will have the pleasure of hearing local author
Frank Shima read from his novels.  One is called Vencil and another, Dead

Here is a little bio of him.
Award winning author, Frank Shima, was born and raised in New Prague.  He
graduated from the University of Minnesota and is a self-employed computer
consultant.  Frank plays the button accordion at local ethnic festivals
and he writes freelance articles for Press Publications. The author lives
in Pine Springs. May be a very good evening to just relax and hear a bit
about people and places that make our own lives more accepting and
exceptional.  And, if we're lucky maybe we'll hear a few tunes on his
button accordian.

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------6 of 18--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Work/peace dinner 5.19 6:30pm

Tuesday, May 19 @ 6:30 to 8:30PM
Walker Church Basement, 3104 16th Ave S, Mpls

Join us for a family-friendly thank you dinner event with pasta, salad &
dessert. We ask you to donate a day's wages (or an hour's wages, or what
you can afford) to cover dinner and support the AWC. The event will
include a brief program and great conversation. Volunteers needed that
night, or the night before (contact us).

--------7 of 18--------

From: "Of the People" <info [at]>
Subject: Single payer 5.19 7pm

Courageous Conversations About Health Care, Hosted by Senator John Doll
Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
7:00-9:00 PM
Burnsville Civic Center, Burnsville, MN

Hosted by Sen. John Doll, with special guests: Sen. John Marty, Sen. Jim
Carlson, Sen. Mary Olson, Rep. David Bly, Rep. Sandra Masin, the
congressional and senate district chairs, and more!

Senator John Marty - The Minnesota Health Plan (SF118/HF135)
Dr. James Letts of PNHP-MN - Why doctors prefer the MN Health Plan
Nancy Breymeier of MetroIBA -  How the MN Health Plan would help businesses
Senator Sharon Erickson Ropes - Why Canadians prefer their health care

Panel discussion: Kip Sullivan, Dr. James Letts, Sen. John Marty, Nancy

For more information, contact Ellen Lafans at 651-688-7049.

--------8 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Farm/small town 5.19 7:30pm

Dean Hulse auth. Westhope: Life as a Former Farmer Boy
7:30pm Tuesday May 19 at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Henn Av S

"Westhope" is an evocative and inspiring memoir of a vibrant rural
North Dakota

Growing up in Westhope, North Dakota, during the 1960s and 1970s, Dean
Hulse was surrounded by a thriving agricultural community. Family farms
were the backbone of the local economy, and the small businesses lining
the town's main street provided the essentials of daily life. Since that
time the small towns of the Great Northern Plains have witnessed severe
economic decline as family farms have gradually been replaced by
industrial agriculture.

In "Westhope: Life as a Former Farm Boy," Hulse recalls his idyllic
childhood and adolescence in a small town that will look and feel familiar
to many and movingly describes his failed attempt to carry on the family
farm. Like many of his generation, Hulse discovers that the way of life he
grew up with - one led by his parents and his grandparents before them -
is threatened with extinction. Through a loosely chronological series of
highly personal essays, Hulse delivers a strong critique of the
destructive, shortsighted agricultural practices and economic policies
that have led to rural depopulation throughout the Great Plains.

"Westhope" poetically conveys Hulse's lamentations for the people,
cultures, and landscapes of rural North Dakota but is nevertheless
optimistic in its outlook; as an activist, Hulse now strives to retain the
essence of small-town life and to create new economic models that can
revitalize and sustain it. His holistic vision for the future of rural
America will inspire the many people working to make the good life - from
the family farm to Main Street - a reality once again.

Dean Hulse is a freelance writer and an activist for issues of land use,
renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture. He lives in Fargo, North

--------9 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Meltdown/TV 5.19 9pm

FRONTLINE Bulletin wrote:
This Week: "Inside the Meltdown" (60 minutes),
May 19th at 9pm on PBS (Check local listings)

When we first aired "Inside the Meltdown," back in February, television
critics around the country praised it as a riveting, clear-eyed,
indispensable account of how America's financial system unraveled in just
a matter of months. One reviewer called it "one of the finest hours of
nonfiction TV that I have ever seen in 30 years of writing about the
medium," and it's drawn almost two million video views since we posted the
show on our website. (Go to )

So this Tuesday night, FRONTLINE presents an encore broadcast of producer
Michael Kirk's penetrating look behind closed doors in Washington and on
Wall Street - an investigation into how the economy went so bad so fast,
and why emergency actions taken by then-Secretary of the Treasury Henry
Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and others, failed to
prevent it.

"I'm sure that Paulson is sitting there....everybody was sitting there
saying, 'My god, we may be presiding over the second Great Depression,'
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman tells FRONTLINE. "This is the
utter nightmare of an economic policy maker. You're sitting there and you
may have just made the decision that destroyed the world."

"The politics of the situation on September 15th is, 'Let [the big
financial institutions] fail,'" says former federal regulator Michael
Greenberger of the critical policy shift made by the Bush economic team
this past fall. "Within 24 hours, they had to throw their principles out
the door and save the economy."

What really happened one long weekend last September when the global
financial system nearly melted down?

We hope you'll join us on-air Tuesday night (check your local listings)
Afterward, visit our web site for the extended interviews with Wall Street
and Washington insiders.
 -Ken Dornstein Senior Editor

--------10 of 18--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Community gardens 5.20 11am


COMMUNITY GARDENS: Cultivating Health and Confidence Something in the
soil, in the turning of it, the planting and in watching seeds sprout and
bloom with food and flowers for family and friends and neighbors. It
brings together young and old, low-wealth and affluent - racially and
economically diverse urban dwellers seeking better nutrition and
self-confidence. Community gardens throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul are
feeding gardeners and young people the fundamentals of raising, marketing
and consuming the better health and biology that comes from unprocessed
and organic, home-grown foods.

ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with community gardeners, urban
farmers and their charges from across the Twin Cities weeding out the
corporate consumption machine from neighbors' nutrition toward pride and
self-sufficiency as they feed themselves and their neighbors the healthier
results of their toils in the soils. GUESTS:
 DIANE DODGE - Growing Food and Justice
 MELVIN GILES - Minnesota Food and Justice Alliance
 ROBIN WESTACOTT - Governing Committee member, Dowling Community Garden
 Invited: XE SUSANE MOUA - St. Paul urban farmer and advocate
Working in your garden or urban farm? CALL IN: 612-341-0980.

[Community gardens are radically anti: corporate capitalist privatization
isolation;  and promote: community cooperation friendship socialism. Our
rulers know that, so we must defend community gardens against their class
interest in destroying them. (cf greedy English landlords
enclosing(fencing off) the land commons; community gardens attempt to
restore a land commons). -ed]

--------11 of 18--------

From: joan [at]
Subject: Organize/story 5.20 12noon

Effective organizers know the power of story. Well-crafted stories share
experience, vision and mission. Organizers tell stories purposefully,
invitingly and often. Stories are remembered and continue to motivate and
give meaning long after the first telling. Please come to this Organizer
Roundtable to learn techniques to make storytelling a more effective part
of your organizing strategy.

Organizer Roundtable: The Power of a Story
Noon - 1:30 pm
Wednesday, May 20
Rondo Community Outreach Library, St. Paul (directions)
Free parking in lower level of building

Loren Niemi will present. For Loren, storytelling is at the core of forty
years of working as a community organizer, public policy advocate and
trainer. Loren has rich experience working with neighborhoods and
nonprofit groups to articulate their dreams and resolve their conflicts.
In 1998, Loren was a recipient of a Bush Leadership Fellowship to research
the vital role of storytelling in neighborhood and community development.
In 2001, he co-created the Public Policy Project, an independent
consulting, training and advocacy management organization that helps
low-wealth communities and communities of color shape and tell stories
that illuminate issues of race, equity and social change.

Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Please
register at

Light snacks will be provided. Please bring your lunch!

Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525
E Franklin Avenue, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-332-4471
joan [at]

--------12 of 18--------

From: Lisa A. Krahn <lisak [at]>
Subject: Single payer 5.20 7pm North Branch MN

Health care reform is the national topic "du jour" now that Congress has
begun grappling with this complex problem.  This summer, the national
legislative process will be fraught with epic battles between well-moneyed
titans (hospitals, insurers, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, labor
groups, employer groups, etc.) as these various health care industry
stakeholders aim to control the debate and thus protect their interests.
So, little Minnesotan, who's acting in your interest?

Next Wednesday evening is your chance interact with local Minnesota experts
in the health care debate, experts who have framed a clear,
uniquely-Minnesota solution, one that could serve as a national model.

MAY 20th AT 7 PM
6355 379th Street (just south of downtown on old Hwy 61)
North Branch, MN 55056

SEN. JOHN MARTY - Author of Senate File 118, the Minnesota Health Act.
KIP SULLIVAN - Author of "The Healthcare Mess"
DR. ELIZABETH FROST - Co-Chair/Physicians for a National Health Plan/MN

Lisa A. Krahn Outreach Coordinator Seven County Senior Federation [An
affiliate of the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition] 47 N. Park
Street, Suite 7, Mora, MN 55051-1389 (320) 679-4700 (866) 679-4700
lisak [at]

--------13 of 18--------

From: Jodi Williams <Jodi [at]>
Subject: Headwaters dinner 5.20 time?

The Headwaters Foundation for Justice launches its 25th anniversary year
with a celebration and fundraiser Wednesday, May 20 at the Nicollet Island
Pavilion in Minneapolis. Founded in 1984 by a group of young
philanthropists, Headwaters has long distinguished itself for its social
justice grantmaking and its work to level the playing field between
donors, nonprofits and community members, engaging them as partners in
decisions about the ends and means by which social change is created in
the community.

"Twenty-five years is a generation," remarked Executive Director Trista
Harris.  "And it was a generation ago that a handful of visionary people
looked around for a new way to address social justice.  With their
leadership and vision, the Headwaters Foundation for Justice embarked on a
courageous and successful journey.  On May 20, we come together to
celebrate that journey and look forward to the future.  Our challenge for
the next 25 years is to fuse the wisdom of the past with the ingenuity of
the present, setting a dynamic course for change that remains responsive
to the needs of the entire community."

The May 20 celebration includes a silent auction, music by Quilombolas,
and performances by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater and
spoken word artist Ibe Kaba.  Headwaters is partnering with Eureka
Recycling <> to make this a Zero Waste
event.  The event is free but reservations are required and can be made
through Individuals will be given an
opportunity to donate at the event.

The Headwaters Foundation is a catalyst for social, racial, economic and
environmental justice.  The Foundation was founded in 1984 with the belief
that the power for fundamental social change is in the hands of ordinary
people. Through grantmaking and organizational assistance, Headwaters
focuses on grassroots efforts, engaging and partnering with a committed
community of donors and allies in its work.  The Foundation distributes
nearly $700,000 annually to groups working for social change.  In its
history, Headwaters has provided organizational support to over 850
projects and trained over 1,000 community leaders through its capacity
building program.  As a member of The Funding Exchange, Headwaters is part
of a national network of community foundations committed to addressing
social justice at the grassroots level.  For further information go to <> .

2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 132 B Minneapolis, MN 55407 Phone (612)
Contact: Jodi Williams Phone: (612) 879-0602 x 12

--------14 of 18--------

Date: Sun, 17 May 2009 11:39:01 -0500
From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: URGENT! CUAPB Activist Locked Up

Communities United Against Police Brutality
May 17, 2009


Ofiong Sanders is a case study of a person who has changed his life for
the better.  In 1997, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced 10 years
in prison.  During those 10 years, he had an epiphany and recognized that
he was handing his life over to the state.  He vowed to straighten out his
life.  When the time came for him to be released, he found that the prison
system continued to hold him, based on a miscalculation of his sentence.
He sued, representing himself, and won his immediate release.  Since then,
he has been on parole and has worked full time.  He has become an activist
with CUAPB and teaches youth about his experiences behind bars and about
their rights.  He has testified before the legislature multiple times
about abuses he suffered in prison and the need to restore the prison
ombudsman program.  Like so many others, one of the conditions of Ofiong's
parole is that he "stay out of trouble."  The system, however, doesn't
like being beat in court and they don't like having their dirty laundry
exposed in public.  They've gone after Ofiong with a special vengeance,
defining "staying out of trouble" as not being ARRESTED--something Black
men are frequently subjected to and cannot control.

Last year, Ofiong was picked up by St. Paul police on suspicion of
robbery.  Within 30 minutes, the victim told police Ofiong was not the
perpetrator but police continued to hold him.  When asked why, the cops
said "we'll think of something."  He was placed on parole hold and kept
locked up for 70 days before the bogus charges of fleeing police and
obstructing legal process were dismissed.

Two weeks ago, Ofiong finished mowing the lawn as his parent's house and
decided to go out for his daily exercise walk while he was still sweaty.
Cops rolled up on him while he was across the street from his house and
detained him for "lurking."  He was arrested, held most of the night, then
released with a ticket.  He hurried home, got cleaned up and went to work.
A few days later, Ofiong was at his job when five St. Paul cops showed up
to arrest him for the parole violation of being arrested.  Now, mind you,
Ofiong has not been convicted of any crime related to this incident.
Still, his parole officer has decided that she wants to hold him until he
goes to court for the lurking charge.  The court date for that charge is
set for the END OF NOVEMBER.  Even if he was found guilty of that
ridiculous--probably unconstitutional--charge, he will have been in jail
for a longer period waiting for a court date than his sentence would be.
To make matters worse, Ofiong's aunt that he was very close to died last
week and he is very worried that he will miss the funeral.

This kind of thing happens frequently to Black men in the system.  Once
they are in the system, the authorities do not want to let go.  Studies
show that about 40% of Black men in jails and prisons are there for
technical parole violations.  This is an outrage!  In this one case, you
can do something about it:

Call, email or fax the Ramsey County parole supervisor Debra Ranthum
on Monday, May 18:
Phone: 651-266-7630
Fax: 651-266-7629
Email: deb.ranthum [at]

Tell her that you are very concerned about the violation of Ofiong
Sander's rights and that it is an outrage that he is being held on the
basis of simply being arrested, not convicted of any crime.  Ofiong poses
no danger to society.  Urge her to release his parole hold so that he can
go back to his job and his family.

THANK YOU for standing up for the rights of this one man, whose situation
is emblematic of so many others.  It may seem like a little thing but it
will have a big impact on the system.

--------15 of 18--------

Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 01:46:07 -0500
From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB ALERT--Thanks and Keep It Up!

Communities United Against Police Brutality
May 19, 2009


Judging from the large number of emails we received today, you folks
really stepped up to the plate to secure justice for Ofiong Sanders
against an unfair parole system that is accountable to no one.  To add to
the pressure, a contingent of seven representatives from CUAPB showed up
at the parole office and delivered a demand letter (see below) to Debra
Ranthum, supervisor.  Despite initially stating she would meet only with
me, she ended up having to meet with all of us and she agreed to share our
letter and the information we provided with the parole commissioner.  The
pressure is causing the parole office to change it's tune--Ms. Ranthum is
now saying the reason her office is holding Ofiong is not because he was
arrested, but because he did not report the arrest to his parole
officer--the same parole officer who stood up Ofiong for two visits in a
row!  See below for our response to this ridiculous position, which we
faxed to Ms.  Ranthum this evening.

This pressure campaign is having a real effect!  We learned this evening
that Ofiong will finally get a hearing on his parole hold on Friday--far
sooner than was originally anticipated.  As soon as we have details, we
will share them so you can help us pack the courtroom.  In the meantime,
we need to ask you to please keep up the phone calls and emails.  Please
tell Ms. Ranthum that it is unfair and an outrageous waste of tax dollars
to hold someone in jail for days over a telephone call and that Ofiong
needs to be out of jail and back with his family and community.

Thank you so much for your efforts!  You make us proud to be part of
this community!
Text of letter faxed this evening:

Dear Ms. Ranthum:

Thank you for taking the time to speak with representatives of our
organization this afternoon.  The purpose of this letter is to reaffirm
our concern that Mr. Ofiong Sanders be treated fairly, including timely
resolution of this matter.

You stated in a follow up telephone call that the reason for the parole
hold on Mr. Sanders is not that he was arrested but that he failed to
report the arrest to his parole officer timely.  While we have some
concerns over the veracity of that statement, taking it on its face it is
inappropriate and excessive to have sent a group of five police officers
to Mr. Sanders' job to arrest him and, further, to hold him for now five
days over the matter of a simple telephone call.  This is especially so
given that Mr. Sanders appeared on April 23, 2009 for an appointment with
his parole officer only to find that his parole officer was not in the
office and did not call Mr. Sanders to cancel his scheduled appointment.
Mr. Sanders was then scheduled to meet with his parole officer on May 7,
2009 at his job and, again, his parole officer failed to keep the
scheduled appointment.  While we recognize that situations arise and
appointments must occasionally be changed, it is deeply unfair to hold Mr.
Sanders to a standard that your own parole officers are not willing to
meet and, especially, to incarcerate him over this standard.

We continue to maintain that Mr. Sanders poses no danger to society.  His
continued incarceration only serves to raise costs for taxpayers and
prevents Mr. Sanders from contributing to society.  We must insist that
your office take swift action to release its hold on Mr. Sanders so that
he may return to his family and the community.

Text of letter delivered earlier today:

Dear Ms. Ranthum:

Communities United Against Police Brutality is an advocacy and human
rights organization.  We are assisting the family of Mr. Ofiong Sanders.
We have received word that your office has placed a parole hold on Mr.

We are quite familiar with Mr. Sanders' situation, having provided
advocacy for him and his family for a significant period of time.  Since
leaving prison, Mr. Sanders has become a productive and valued member of
the community by maintaining full-time employment as well as volunteering
through our organization, providing counseling and "know your rights"
training to youth.

It is our understanding that the basis of the parole hold on Mr.  Sanders
is his arrest on the charge of lurking, which ostensibly occurred while he
was on the sidewalk across the street from his home taking an exercise
walk.  Although he was released on bail awaiting trial on this charge,
your office had him arrested a few days later at his job by a phalanx of
five police officers in what appears to be an effort to humiliate Mr.
Sanders and cause him to lose his employment.  Further, we understand that
your office intends to hold Mr. Sanders until his trial, which is not
scheduled until the end of November.

We are outraged at what appears to be a blatant abuse of your office's
discretion as well as a violation of Mr. Sanders' human rights.  Mr.
Sanders poses no danger whatsoever to society and, further, he has acted
in good faith to contribute to the community.  Moreover, he has not been
convicted of a crime.  Given the well-documented significant disparities
in arrest rates of Black men in this state, arrest alone should never be
the basis for parole revocation.  This is especially so when the law under
which Mr.  Sanders was arrested is, we believe, unconstitutionally vague
and there is a high probability that the charges will be dismissed or Mr.
Sanders will be cleared of the charges.

We insist that your office immediately release its hold on Mr.  Sanders
and permit him to return to his family and community.

Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) Meetings: Every Saturday
at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South

--------16 of 18--------

Obama's Animal Farm: Bigger, Bloodier Wars Equal Peace and Justice
by James Petras
May 18th, 2009
Dissident Voice

"The Deltas are psychos. You have to be a certified psychopath to join the
Delta Force..", a US Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the
1980's. Now President Obama has elevated the most notorious of the
psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the US and NATO military
command in Afghanistan. McChrystal's rise to leadership is marked by his
central role in directing special operations teams engaged in
extrajudicial assassinations, systematic torture, bombing of civilian
communities and search and destroy missions. He is the very embodiment of
the brutality and gore that accompanies military-driven empire building.
Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal directed the Pentagon's
Joint Special Operations (JSO) Command which operates special teams in
overseas assassinations.

The point of the "Special Operations" teams (SOT) is that they do not
distinguish between civilian and military oppositions, between activists
and their sympathizers and the armed resistance. The SOT specialize in
establishing death squads and recruiting and training paramilitary forces
to terrorize communities, neighborhoods and social movements opposing US
client regimes. The SOT's "counter-terrorism" is terrorism in reverse,
focusing on socio-political groups between US proxies and the armed
resistance. McChrystal's SOT targeted local and national insurgent leaders
in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through commando raids and air strikes.
During the last 5 years of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld period the SOT were
deeply implicated in the torture of political prisoners and suspects.
McChrystal was a special favorite of Rumsfeld and Cheney because he was in
charge of the "direct action" forces of the "Special Missions Units"
"Direct Action" operative are the death-squads and torturers and their
only engagement with the local population is to terrorize, and not to
propagandize. They engage in "propaganda of the dead", assassinating local
leaders to "teach" the locals to obey and submit to the occupation.
Obama's appointment of McChrystal as head reflects a grave new military
escalation of his Afghanistan war in the face of the advance of the
resistance throughout the country.

The deteriorating position of the US is manifest in the tightening circle
around all the roads leading in and out of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul as
well as the expansion of Taliban control and influence throughout the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Obama's inability to recruit new NATO
reinforcements means that the White House's only chance to advance its
military driven empire is to escalate the number of US troops and to
increase the kill ratio among any and all suspected civilians in
territories controlled by the Afghan armed resistance.

The White House and the Pentagon claim that the appointment of McChrystal
was due to the "complexities" of the situation on the ground and the need
for a "change in strategy". "Complexity" is a euphemism for the increased
mass opposition to the US, complicating traditional carpet "bombing and
military sweep" operations. The new strategy practiced by McChrystal
involves large scale, long term "special operations" to devastate and kill
the local social networks and community leaders, which provide the support
system for the armed resistance.

Obama's decision to prevent the release of scores of photographs
documenting the torture of prisoners by US troops and "interrogators"
(especially under command of the "Special Forces"), is directly related to
his appointment of McChrystal whose "SOT" forces were highly implicated in
widespread torture in Iraq. Equally important, under McChrystal's command
the DELTA, SEAL and Special Operations Teams will have a bigger role in
the new "counter-insurgency strategy". Obama's claim that the publication
of these photographs will adversely affect the "troops" has a particular
meaning: The graphic exposure of McChrystal's modus operendi for the past
5 years under President Bush will undermine his effectiveness in carrying
out the same operations under Obama.

Obama's decision to re-start the secret "military tribunals" of foreign
political prisoners, held at the Guantanamo prison camp, is not merely a
replay of the Bush-Cheney policies, which Obama had condemned and vowed to
eliminate during his presidential campaign, but part of his larger policy
of militarization and coincides with his approval of the major secret
police surveillance operations conducted against US citizens.

Putting McChrystal in charge of the expanded Afghanistan-Pakistan military
operations means putting a notorious practitioner of military terrorism -
the torture and assassination of opponents to US policy - at the center of
US foreign policy. Obama's quantitative and qualitative expansion of the
US war in South Asia means massive numbers of refugees fleeing the
destruction of their farms, homes and villages; tens of thousands of
civilian deaths, and eradication of entire communities. All of this will
be committed by the Obama Administraton in the quest to "empty the lake
(displace entire populations) to catch the fish (armed insurgents and

Obama's restoration of all of the most notorious Bush Era policies and the
appointment of Bush's most brutal commander is based on his total embrace
of the ideology of military-driven empire building. Once one believes (as
Obama does) that US power and expansion are based on military conquests
and counter-insurgency, all other ideological, diplomatic, moral and
economic considerations will be subordinated to militarism. By focusing
all resources on successful military conquest, scant attention is paid to
the costs borne by the people targeted for conquest or to the US treasury
and domestic American economy. This has been clear from the start: In the
midst of a major recession/depression with millions of Americans losing
their employment and homes, President Obama increased the military budget
by 4% - taking it beyond $800 billion dollars.

Obama's embrace of militarism is obvious from his decision to expand the
Afghan war despite NATO's refusal to commit any more combat troops. It is
obvious in his appointment of the most hard-line and notorious Special
Forces General from the Bush-Cheney era to head the military command in
subduing Afghanistan and the frontier areas of Pakistan.

It is just as George Orwell described in Animal Farm: The Democratic Pigs
are now pursuing the same brutal, military policies of their predecessors,
the Republican Porkers, only now it is in the name of the people and
peace. Orwell might paraphrase the policy of President Barack Obama, as
"Bigger and bloodier wars equal peace and justice".

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University,
New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser
to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of
Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras. most recent book is Zionism,
Militarism and the Decline of US Power (Clarity Press, 2008). He can be
reached at: jpetras [at] Read other articles by James, or visit
James's website.

--------17 of 18--------

FBI infiltrated Iowa anti-war group before GOP convention
By WILLIAM PETROSKI bpetroski [at]
Des Moines Register and Tribune Company
May 17, 2009

An FBI informant and an undercover Minnesota sheriff's deputy spied on
political activists in Iowa City last year before the Republican National
Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Confidential FBI documents obtained by The Des Moines Register show an FBI
informant was planted among a group described as an "anarchist collective"
that met regularly last year in Iowa City. One of the group's goals was to
organize street blockades to disrupt the Republican convention, held Sept.
1-4, 2008, where U.S. Sen. John McCain was nominated for president.

The undercover Minnesota deputy who traveled to Iowa City was from the
Ramsey County Sheriff's Department, which infiltrated a group known as the
"RNC Welcoming Committee" that was coordinating convention protest
activities in St. Paul.

The undercover officer accompanied two activists from the Twin Cities who
attended the University of Iowa in April 2008 for a Midwest campus
anti-war conference.

The Iowa City Police Department was not aware that an FBI informant was
monitoring local anti-war activists last year, Police Chief Samuel
Hargadine said. But he confirmed to the Register that he was notified by
Ramsey County authorities last year that they were sending an undercover
officer to Iowa City.

Authorities said about 800 convention protesters were arrested last
September in St. Paul, although most charges have since been dismissed.

About 3,700 police officers - many in riot gear and some on horses - used
tear gas, pepper spray and other methods to control protesters and quell
disturbances. Demonstrators shattered glass windows at retail stores, and
some threw feces and urine at police, authorities said. [unsubstantiated]

About 25 members of Iowa City activist groups participated in the St.
Paul demonstrations, but Iowa organizers said they were aware of only one
Iowa City demonstrator who was arrested. Those charges were subsequently

A key focus of the protests was anti-war sentiment, but the activists had
other causes, such as environmental issues and helping poor people. Most
of the Iowa City activists did not attend the Democratic National
Convention held in Denver, Colo.

ACLU: Is spying's focus safety - or politics?

The use of undercover informants to spy on political dissidents is a
contentious issue. Law enforcement officials contend it is sometimes
necessary, but civil libertarians are wary of such tactics as potentially
violating people's constitutional rights.

The FBI documents provide in-depth descriptions of more than a dozen Iowa
political activists. This includes personal information such as names,
height, weight, place of employment, cell phone numbers and e- mail
addresses. The documents also include individuals' plans for the
convention demonstrations.

Some of the surveillance occurred when the activists met last year at the
Iowa City Public Library.

The FBI documents show the investigative reports were written in August
2008 by Special Agent Thomas Reinwart, who is assigned to Cedar Rapids,
based on reports from a "confidential human source" in Iowa City.

FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault in Omaha declined to talk about the
documents or whether the agency used undercover informants to conduct
surveillance on anti-war groups in Iowa City.

Randall Wilson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of
Iowa, obtained copies of FBI documents involving surveillance of the Iowa
City activists independently of the Register.

Wilson said he believes the FBI was "ostensibly investigating the
possibility that some of these people might cross the line and engage in
civil disobedience."

But, he said, "My main concern is that they were really spying on people
who were in the political opposition."

Protest participants denounce monitoring

Russell Porter, director of the Iowa Department of Public Safety's
Intelligence Bureau, declined to comment specifically on whether law
enforcement officers monitored Iowa political activists who planned
protests at the Republican National Convention.

But, he added, "If people are planning criminal activity, we would be
interested in having people report that information to us and share that
with us."

Porter, who coordinates Iowa law enforcement intelligence efforts with
local, state and federal agencies, said routine Iowa political activities
are not the focus of undercover investigations.

"When this work is done well, it keeps the community safe. But central to
it is ensuring that we adhere and follow a solemn obligation to protect
those principles enumerated in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution,"
he said.

David Goodner, 28, a University of Iowa senior who participated in the
demonstrations in St. Paul, condemned the undercover surveillance.

"There is no justification for spying on nonviolent pacifist groups,"
Goodner said. "Our road blockade at the RNC and our peaceful preparations
beforehand are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution. We have the right to speak out against the policies of our
government. The criminalization of dissent and militarization of society
are the actions of a police state, and they take valuable resources away
from providing for unmet social needs.  The FBI's motives and methods are
extremely unethical and go against basic American values."

Robert "Ajax" Ehl, 39, of Iowa City, who also participated in the
Republican convention protests in St. Paul, said he was surprised to learn
afterward that the FBI had used an informant to monitor political
activists in Iowa City.

"It's pretty ridiculous to be watching small peace groups in Iowa,"  Ehl
said. "There are not a lot of bomb throwers in Iowa City."

FBI report describes appearances, interests

The FBI documents described the Iowa City political activists as aligning
themselves with one of three "risk" zones in preparing for the Republican
National Convention. Some members were interested in protest activities
and involvement in "affinity groups," such as a legal collective, a medic
group and a media group. Others were described as peaceful protesters. But
a third unit of activists was willing to risk arrest and potential
involvement in criminal activities, according to the documents.

Individual names of protesters were blacked out of the copy of the FBI
documents obtained by the Register, but the dossiers included personal

For example, one woman was described as white, 5 feet 10 inches, 140
pounds, with blond hair and glasses. The report said she lived in Cedar
Rapids, and it provided her cell phone number. She was characterized as a
member of a specific subgroup who had interests in medic training and as a
legal observer.

"She drives a little, dark green four door hatchback," the report said.

A white man in his 20s who had recently moved to Iowa from Mississippi was
also profiled by the FBI informant. "He is planning on attending the RNC
and participating with the 'Queer Block' and 'Bash Back,' which are groups
affiliated with the lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender movement.
Several hundred people associated with these two groups plan on doing
their own thing and blocking an unknown (intersection)," the document

The report told of a protest strategy at the Republican National
Convention known as "swarm, seize and stay," which would involve thousands
of demonstrators.

This included a mass text-messaging program through cell phones of
participants to coordinate the locations.

Activists say "Jason" likely was informant

In late August, before the Republican convention, authorities conducted a
series of raids in Minneapolis and St. Paul as a pre- emptive strike
against disruptive protests.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told reporters that the raids targeted
the RNC Welcoming Committee, which he described as a "criminal enterprise"
intent on blockading and disabling delegate buses, breaching venue
security and injuring police officers.  Authorities said they seized items
that included buckets of urine, a gas mask, bolt cutters, axes, slingshots
and spikes for puncturing bus tires.

Eight organizers of the RNC Welcoming Committee still face felony charges
of conspiracy to riot and conspiracy to commit criminal damage to
property. None of the eight is from Iowa. Separately, two men from a Texas
group that went to St. Paul to protest the convention have pleaded guilty
to federal charges after being accused of making Molotov cocktails -
gasoline-filled bottles with wicks.  Prosecutors said the two men intended
to used the incendiary devices to hurt police or destroy property.

Political activists Ehl and Goodner said they believe they know the
identity of the FBI informant who spied on the Iowa City protesters.

They say it was a young man from Michigan named "Jason" who claimed he was
a U.S. military conscientious objector. He told people he had been
discharged from the Air Force after he objected to being deployed to Iraq.

The man hung out with Iowa City activists for months, sharing beers and
meals with them while expressing solidarity with their political beliefs.

Goodner and Ehl said "Jason" later admitted that he provided information
to the FBI in exchange for money.

"It is my understanding that he just took money because he was
unemployed," Ehl said.

Looking back, the surveillance in Iowa City may have begun as early as the
fall of 2007, Goodner said. He and three others from Iowa City traveled to
St. Paul for a meeting with the RNC Welcoming Committee.  A few weeks
later, "Jason" started coming to their meetings in Iowa City.

"We didn't think anything of it," said Goodner, who was the Midwest
regional coordinator for the Campus Antiwar Network and is a past member
of the Register's Young Adult Board of Contributors.

Undercover officer came to Iowa City

Hargadine, the Iowa City police chief, said he was not told the gender or
identity of the undercover officer from Ramsey County.

But political activists in Iowa City and Minnesota have said she was a
middle-aged woman known by the pseudonym "Norma Jean Johnson."

She attended the Campus Antiwar Network Midwest Regional Conference, held
April 18-20, 2008, at the University of Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City.
About 150 people from Iowa and other states attended.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis has reported that "Norma Jean Johnson" was
Ramsey County Deputy Sheriff Marilyn Hedstrom, who infiltrated the RNC
Welcoming Committee. Ramsey County sheriff's spokeswoman Holli Drinkwine
confirmed last week that Hedstrom worked as an undercover officer who
investigated the RNC Welcoming Committee.

But Drinkwine said she did not know whether Hedstrom had worked undercover
in Iowa City. Hedstrom recently received a 2009 Excellence in Performance
Award from the Minnesota Association of Women Police.

Political activist Goodner said he recalled seeing "Norma Jean Johnson" at
the anti-war conference in Iowa City.

She accompanied two members of the RNC Welcoming Committee and she helped
with a slide show, but she said little and left the speaking to others, he
said. He said the woman stayed at a hotel rather than sleeping for free on
somebody's couch in Iowa City, which should have been a tip-off she wasn't
a typical political activist.

"Because she came down here with two people who we did know, we just
trusted them," Goodner said.

Additional Facts Anti-war surveillance in U.S. and Iowa

The FBI has a history of conducting surveillance on political groups in
the United States and in Iowa.

Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI operated a counterintelligence program
known as COINTELPRO, which was aimed at infiltrating and disrupting
dissident political organizations. The targets included foes of the
Vietnam War and civil rights groups.

Civil liberties groups have expressed worries that since the Sept.  11,
2001, terrorist attacks, law enforcement agencies have used security
concerns as reason to increase monitoring of law-abiding citizens and

In November 2003, the Polk County Sheriff's Department sent two undercover
officers to monitor an anti-war conference at Drake University in Des
Moines. Sheriff's officials said they had no plans to spy on the local
peace movement. Instead, authorities wanted to learn about potential
problems in a protest planned for the next day at Iowa National Guard
headquarters in Johnston.

In February 2004, federal authorities launched an investigation into the
November anti-war conference at Drake. They issued grand jury subpoenas to
four peace activists and to the university, asking for records of a
student law group that sponsored the event. Prosecutors also obtained a
gag order on Drake employees.

Less than a week after the federal investigation became public, the U.S.
attorney's office in Des Moines withdrew the gag order and the subpoenas
without explanation. In August 2004, a young female FBI undercover
informant from Florida named "Anna" attended an anarchist conference in
Des Moines, where she met a California activist named Eric T. McDavid,
according to federal court documents. She had reportedly been traveling
throughout the country attempting to infiltrate protest groups and
targeting young males, in particular, who had anarchist beliefs.

"Anna" was subsequently a key witness in a highly publicized trial in
Sacramento, Calif., that led to the September 2007 conviction of McDavid,
now 31, for conspiring to blow up a Northern California dam, a genetics
lab, cell phone towers and other targets. FBI agents described the case as
an eco-terrorism plot on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front. McDavid is
now serving nearly a 20-year federal prison term. His defense lawyer has
argued his client was a victim of entrapment by the FBI informant.

--------18 of 18--------

                               Obama is THEM


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