|Progressive Calendar 05.19.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] tovo.net> 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] aistpaul.org 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:http://maps.yahoo.com/ #mvt=m&lat=44.948488&lon=-93.200298&zoom=15&q1=Minneapolis%252C%2520MN %252C%2520United%2520States --------2 of 18-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> 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] riseup.net> 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] gmail.com> 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 meetings. 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 people. 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] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------5 of 18-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> 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 Letter. 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 ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) 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] gmail.com> Subject: Work/peace dinner 5.19 6:30pm WORK A DAY PEACE DINNER 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] jamesmayer.org> 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! Speakers: 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 Breymeier For more information, contact Ellen Lafans at 651-688-7049. --------8 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> 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 Dakota. --------9 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> 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 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meltdown/ ) 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] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Community gardens 5.20 11am TRUTH TO TELL WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 11:00AM 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. *CAN'T GET US OVER THE AIR? STREAM TTT LIVE and LATER at KFAI.ORG [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] metrostability.org 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 https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/322/personalopt1.asp?formid=event&c=2499133 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] metrostability.org --------12 of 18-------- From: Lisa A. Krahn <lisak [at] 7countyseniors.com> 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. HEALTHCARE REFORM SYMPOSIUM MAY 20th AT 7 PM NORTH BRANCH PUBLIC LIBRARY, COMMUNITY ROOM 6355 379th Street (just south of downtown on old Hwy 61) North Branch, MN 55056 PANELISTS: 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 PUBLIC IS INVITED 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] 7countyseniors.com --------13 of 18-------- From: Jodi Williams <Jodi [at] headwatersfoundation.org> Subject: Headwaters dinner 5.20 time? HEADWATERS FOUNDATION CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF IMPATIENCE! 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 <http://www.eurekarecycling.org/> to make this a Zero Waste event. The event is free but reservations are required and can be made through www.headwatersfoundation.org 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 www.headwatersfoundation.org <http://www.headwatersfoundation.org> . 2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 132 B Minneapolis, MN 55407 Phone (612) 879-0602 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] visi.com> Subject: URGENT! CUAPB Activist Locked Up Communities United Against Police Brutality URGENT ACTION ALERT May 17, 2009 CUAPB ACTIVIST LOCKED UP ON BOGUS CHARGES-- YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED! 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] co.ramsey.mn.us 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] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB ALERT--Thanks and Keep It Up! Communities United Against Police Brutality URGENT ACTION ALERT May 19, 2009 THANKS TO YOU, OUR PRESSURE CAMPAIGN IS WORKING! KEEP THE HEAT ON THE RAMSEY COUNTY PROBATION OFFICE! JUSTICE FOR OFIONG SANDERS! 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. Sanders. 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 http://www.CUAPB.org --------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 activists)". 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] binghamton.edu. 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] dmreg.com 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 dropped. 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 facts. 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 said. 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 organizations. 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 --------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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