Friday, February 23, 2007


Teachers across Zimbabwe have called off a three-week strike for better wages and working conditions after the government agreed to a near four-fold increase in their pay, union officials said on Friday.

"Workers should call off the industrial action and report for work," Tendai Chikowore, the president of the Zimbabwe National Teachers Association (ZIMTA) was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper.

Union leaders admitted many teachers were unhappy with the call.

Progressive Teachers Union General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporters that there are mixed feelings among his members about the deal but that his leadership saw fit to accept the offer.

Despite the agreement, scores of teachers in the Harare suburb of Epworth and other districts said they were beaten up by armed soldiers forcing them to back to work.

It is unclear to me whether this happened shortly before or shortly after the agreement was announced.

One eyewitness said truckloads of armed soldiers wielding baton sticks descended on Makomo primary school in Epworth and started beating teachers and students.

Headmasters at the schools were ordered to call off classes, and several teachers were assaulted, according to the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).
The following is from ZimOnline.

Striking teachers beaten up, forced to eat chalk in crackdown

HARARE – Police yesterday immediately followed a ban on political rallies and protests in the capital’s restive townships by beating up schoolteachers striking over low salaries.

The attack on teachers at several schools in Harare came after weekend clashes between anti-riot police and opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters who had gathered in the high-density suburb of Highfield for a High Court-sanctioned rally.

The crackdown also came as the main Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) announced it had joined the strike started by the smaller but militant Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on February 5.

ZIMTA represents the majority of Zimbabwe ’s 96 000 teachers and their resolution to join the strike might have incensed the government.

Armed police details reportedly stormed Shiriyedenga, Ruvheneko and Chembira schools in the high-density suburb of Glen Norah, allegedly assaulting teachers and forcing some of them to eat chalk.

Eyewitnesses said schoolchildren had to scurry home, with some scaling perimeter fences and walls to safety.

“I went for an in situ inspection at the affected schools in Glen Norah but when I got there they had been closed,” said PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe.

“There was nobody at the schools but we got reports that children had to stampede out of schools as soldiers harassed and beat up teachers. We understand they also went to schools in Epworth (a semi-urban settlement just outside Harare),” added Majongwe.

Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment.

However, the government last week called in the military and spy agents to intimidate teachers into backing off the industrial action, which Education

Minister Aeneas Chigwedere said was meant to serve a “political agenda”.

President Robert Mugabe, who turned 83 yesterday, is battling to preempt possible civil unrest as doctors, nurses, university lecturers and lately schoolteachers strike to press for higher remuneration and better working conditions.

“It’s nonsensical for anyone to say the teachers’ action is a political issue. It’s a matter of life and death because surely one cannot survive on a monthly salary of $84 000,” Majongwe said.

Teachers rank among the worst paid civil servants, earning between $84 000 and $150 000 – meaningless figures with inflation nearly 1 600 percent and the breadline pegged at $460 000 for a standard family of five people.

Chigwedere warned the striking teachers might be fired and replaced or alternatively have their salaries cut and withheld.

However, Majongwe vowed the teachers would not end the strike until their demands were met. “The strike continues as long as our minimal demands are not met,” he said.

ZIMTA president Tendai Chikowore said: “The action is countrywide and we won’t stop until government comes up with something better.”


Divine Strake is the name of a what was a planned 700-ton chemical explosives test designed to simulate the blast of a low-yield nuclear weapon on a hardened underground bunker. It was originally planned for detonation at the Nevada Test Site in June 2006, however a lawsuit filed by the Western Shoshone and several downwinders forced a postponement of the test until 2007. Now, maybe, just maybe it is dead in the water.

Thank goodness!

Before the operation had been cancelled, the group Stop Divine Strake wrote,

"Indigenous and environmental groups fear that the test would eject into the atmosphere radioactive particles that they suspect were deposited from several 1950s above-ground nuclear tests (including Coulomb-B; see graphic above) at the Nevada Test Site. These long-lived radioisotopes, including Plutonium-239 and Americium-241, which would contaminate our air, soil, water and food supplies if they became airborne, are likely contaminants in the soils at the Divine Strake ground-zero. The radioactive isotopes in the cloud could be deposited anywhere in the United States."

In fact. the most likely direction this radioactive cloud would head is due west - to Utah. As the Headwaters News points out, "A half century ago, nuclear tests at that bombing range sent radioactive dust into Utah, Idaho and Nevada communities, which caused many people to get cancer. Victims and their families said the government did little for them then and added that, despite assurances from federal officials that the test would be safe, they didn't now trust the government."

The Pentagon had planned a record-breaking bang, detonating 635 tons of high explosives and sending a mushroom cloud into the sky over the Nevada desert. The Pentagon touted it as a way to test the impact of bunker-busting bombs aimed at underground targets. Ironically (?), the blast would have come at a time of rising tension with Iran over its nuclear program. The significance of this is that the US has refused to rule out military action and is considering the feasibility of destroying underground warhead development sites Iran is alleged to have built.

Following the cancellation, Stop Divine Strake wrote:

"Divine Strake would have been the climactic ('large-scale') event, but certainly not the first nor the last event, of the Tunnel Target Defeat Advanced Concept and Technology Demonstration (ACTD), which DTRA did NOT cancel.

Per DTRA's 2007 budget request: "The Tunnel Target Defeat ACTD will develop a planning tool that will improve the warfighter's confidence in selecting the smallest proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities while minimizing collateral damage." In layman's terms: this is about low-yield nuclear earth penetrator weapons, a.k.a. nuclear bunker busters. The Tunnel Target Defeat ACTD - which is not cancelled and will still be continued by DTRA - goes against Congressional intent about no new nuclear weapons. More.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that DTRA may conduct a smaller scale version of Divine Strake at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico where it has been ramping up its activities and also has tunnel complexes where it can do nuclear bunker buster simulations (like Divine Strake). DTRA has a history of sneaking in small tests - like they did with Discrete Gemini - without anyone in the public knowing.

So stay vigilant. Sign up on our email list for the re-purposing of our efforts to keep Divine Strake cancelled and any of its future incarnations from threatening the public good ever again.

Remember that the government was all ready to conduct Divine Strake last June; and now it is cancelled because it would be too dangerous.

We are the people. And we stopped this test."

The following news comes from the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Feds pull plug on desert blast
Public outcry derails Pentagon's planned test
By Robert Gehrke

Divine Strake was promised to blow a hole in the earth and create a mushroom cloud over the Nevada desert.

Instead, it blew open old wounds for Utahns who had been promised Cold War atomic tests would be safe, and the hurt, betrayal and rage that poured out left the Pentagon with little choice but to announce Thursday it was scrapping the test.

Michelle Thomas spent the day in tears.

"I've cried all day long. I just can't yet grasp it," said Thomas, a St. George Downwinder who opposed Divine Strake. She has had cancer and suffers an immune deficiency she blames on exposure to radiation.

"I just felt such an overwhelming relief," she said. "You just think, 'Oh my gosh. We matter.'

The memories of Utahns helped fuel an unprecedented flood of resistance to the test, the ignition of 700 tons of explosives planned for the Nevada Test Site from which radiation spread from atomic tests into Utah and other states downwind.

"This wasn't run-of-the-mill public opposition. This was a heartfelt and broad-based public expression, so much so that it would have been impossible for anyone to neglect," said Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. "I can't remember the last time we had an issue that had this kind of unified public response. . . . Memories are very much alive and well."

More than 500 people turned out to public meetings by federal agencies in Salt Lake City and St. George. More than 10,000 submitted comments regarding the test, the overwhelming majority in opposition. Hundreds more attended public hearings sponsored by the governor, and the Utah Legislature and members of the state's congressional delegation joined the opposition.

"I was amazed at the emotional reaction," said Robert Hager, a Reno lawyer who sued to stop the test on behalf of Nevada Indian tribes and Downwinders. "It brought back the suffering that they experienced in the '50s and '60s like it was happening today and it was incredible to me that these agencies were totally insensitive."

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which was to conduct the blast, assured in repeated studies that the test was safe. If wind did carry radioactive material off the test site, it would be in such small doses that it would not pose a risk to the public.

For Utahns, it was a familiar refrain, and one not to be trusted.

"How do you convince people who have been through the hell of the radiation exposure cases that they can rely on the government? I'm not sure you could," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who wrote legislation years ago to compensate Downwinders for their illnesses.

To date, the government has paid 10,696 Downwinder claims.

Expert witnesses in Hager's lawsuit said, if the test went as planned, it could create a new generation of Downwinders. The blast, they said, would spread radioactive debris over hundreds, possibly thousands of miles, causing birth defects and cancer cases in the downwind population.

Had it not been for an off-hand comment in a briefing of reporters, the test may very well have gone ahead without fanfare last June.

"I don't want to sound glib here but it is the first time in Nevada that you'll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons," Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director James Tegnelia said last March.

When he made the comment, the environmental studies had been done, approval for the test had been given and plans were going ahead to prepare the site for the test. But the "mushroom cloud" image resonated enough to make it into brief stories about the meeting, and the opposition started to build.

Early planning documents also said the test was intended to help "improve the warfighter's confidence in selecting the smallest proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities while minimizing collateral damage." The Pentagon later said the reference to nuclear yield was in error, and it would help with conventional weaponry as well.

"From the time last spring when I first learned about the so-called 'Divine Strake' experiment, I have opposed it based on both its purpose and its potential ill effects," said Rep. Jim Matheson, whose own father, former Gov. Scott Matheson, died from cancer as a result of the atomic testing. "The prospect of even a non-nuclear 'mushroom cloud' over the Nevada Test Site brings back bitter memories of how the government lied when it said that there was no danger."

Today, a massive hole, about 32-feet in diameter and 36-feet deep sits on Area 16, where it was waiting to be filled with 700 tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. It's the same explosive combination that blew apart the Oklahoma City federal building, only Divine Strake would have been 280 times larger.

''We really do live in a democracy, where people get to say, to our government, 'No,' '' said Thomas. ''In this case, on this day, the system the way we learned it in school, worked.''

Divine Strake timeline

* December 2005: National Nuclear Security Administration finds Divine Strake could be done safely.
* January 2006: NNSA approves test.
* March 2006: Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director James Tegnelia says Divine Strake would create a mushroom cloud over the test site for the first time since the U.S. ceased nuclear tests.
* April 2006: Rep. Jim Matheson and Sen. Orrin Hatch express concerns about the safety of the test and the Winnemucca Indian Colony and a group of Downwinders sue to stop the test.
* June 9, 2006: NNSA withdraws its authorization, pending further environmental studies.
* Dec. 22, 2006: NNSA's revised environmental analysis finds that tiny amounts of radiation could be carried off the site, but didn't pose a health risk.
* Jan. 9-11: Public meetings held to provide information.
* Feb. 7: Public comment period on test ends.
* Thursday: DTRA announces cancellation of Divine Strake.


Action Alert: Indonesia's Biofuel Expansion on Rainforest Peatlands to Accelerate Climate Change
Let the President know the world expects Indonesia to keep the Environment Minister's promise to tackle the root causes of rainforest fires and peatland drainage
By Climate Ark, a project of Ecological Internet

Indonesia’s rainforests contain 60% of all the tropical peat in the world. Peatland rainforests are wet, swampy rainforests that when drained and cleared, their peat filled soils become highly susceptible to long burning, carbon and methane rich fires. Such rainforests on peat soils are one of the world’s most important carbon sinks and play a vital role in helping to regulate the global climate. They are also very rich in biodiversity and a refuge for species like orang-utans, since most of the non-peat lowland forests have already been cleared.

Rainforest peatlands are being destroyed fast; primarily by palm oil, timber, and paper and pulp companies. The Indonesian government has endorsed a massive biofuel program which foresees an increase in oil palm plantations from currently just over 6 million hectares to eventually over 26 million hectares. 5.25 million hectares have just been allocated for biofuel production, including one million hectares to PT SMART, one of the companies which was involved in agreements for a mega-plantation in the part of Kalimantan known as the ‘Heart of Borneo’ which has been halted for the time being, but is likely to reemerge at some point in some guise or other.

Indonesia's biofuel expansion spurred on largely by the European market is likely to be the death-knoll for most of Indonesia’s remaining rainforests and peatlands. Far from reducing climate change emissions, it will rapidly release up to 50 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of over 6 years of global fossil fuel emissions and could well make the generally accepted 2 degree C of warming that is considered "dangerous" unavoidable. This surge of carbon originating in cleared peatland rainforests alone could well take the planet to beyond the climate tipping point, releasing major feedbacks which worsen global heating such as large-scale methane release from permafrost and ocean clathrates, and causing the rapid break-up of the ice shelves and unstoppable mass extinctions.

Already, Indonesia’s carbon emissions from peat drainage and fires put the country in third place for CO2 emissions worldwide. A recent study has found that one ton of biodiesel made from palm oil grown on Southeast Asia’s peatlands is linked to the emission of 10-30 tons of carbon dioxide. Shockingly, this is 2-8 times as much carbon released as in production of a ton of fossil fuel diesel. Far from helping with development, monoculture plantations have been linked to increased rural poverty and hundreds of conflicts over land rights.

After a particularly devastating fire season in 2006, the Indonesian Environment Ministry recently promised to tackle the root causes of the peat fires: to restore water levels in areas which have been drained, to protect natural forest from future plantation development, and to take action to drastically reduce future fires. It is essential that those promises are backed up by real action. These promises are incompatible with the expansion of monoculture plantations in Indonesia, and thus with the government’s biofuel program.

Please write to the Indonesian government now to express your grave concerns over biofuel expansion plans which threaten to further destroy rainforests and peatlands, and to thus dangerously accelerate global warming.

Click here for form letter etc.


Attorneys for Chicago police torture victim Madison Hobley have won the right finally to question Mayor Richard Daley, Jr.

Attorneys for other alleged torture victims expect judges in their cases to follow suit.

"He could well spend the first couple of months after the election standing for depositions after 25 years of avoiding any serious questions of his substantial role as mayor in the torture scandal," said Flint Taylor, attorney for two other alleged victims.

The Chicago Sun Times says Kurt Feuer, attorney for alleged torture victim Madison Hobley, plans to ask Daley,

"Why, when faced with documented injuries that clearly indicated torture above and beyond a beating -- this guy had allegator clips burned into his earlobes -- did Daley apparently kick the issue down the line to a very junior associate and never follow up on it?"

Earlier this week three men, including Hobley, who were pardoned from death row for murder alleged that the city of Chicago had not honored a $14.8 million settlement on claims of police torture.

In a motion filed electronically Monday, attorneys for Madison Hobley, Leroy Orange and Stanley Howard claimed that a settlement was approved with the “highest levels” of city government Nov. 3.The alleged settlement comes from claims that former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge and officers working under him tortured the men into confessing to murder.

The city claimed it had not made any agreements as such.

Madison Hobley was one of 14 African American men sentenced to death based on confessions — alleged or acknowledged — obtained by a group of Chicago police officers later shown to have engaged in systematic torture of suspects in criminal cases.

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty described what happened to Hobley after his arrest thusly:

After six and a half hours of being driven around in a police car and continual denials by the police to his family and lawyer that he was in their custody, Madison was finally found, beaten and handcuffed, in the broom closet of a police station. While in Area II custody, Madison was drugged, kicked and suffocated by a typewriter bag while being handcuffed by officers Robert Dwyer, Daniel McWeeny, and James Lotito under the authority of known torturer Commander John Burge. After a supposed confession which never materialized in court (due to a claim that Dwyer spilled KoolAid on it) Madison spent four years in jail before being brought to trial.

The following is from CBS2 (Chicago).

Mayor Daley Must Give Testimony On Police Torture

A federal judge ruled that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley will have to give testimony under oath about police torture that allegedly took place while he was Cook County state's attorney in the 1980s.

The allegations stem from the case of pardoned death row inmate Madison Hobley. Hobley has claimed he was tortured into confessing murder by police under the leadership of former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge. Hobley was arrested in 1987 while Daley was Cook County state's attorney.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown made the six-page ruling Thursday.

In the opinion, she wrote that the facts in Hobley's case "support a conclusion that Mr. Daley may have information about the activities of Burge and other police officers, about who in the city and police administration knew about those activities, and about whether any action was taken on the basis of such knowledge."

The date of the deposition has not been determined.

Attorneys for Daley contend that the mayor doesn't have any additional knowledge that couldn't be obtained from other sources.

"Our position has been that the mayor has no unique or new information about the case," said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city's law department.

City officials said they may appeal the judge's ruling.

The deposition of Daley is rare. Hoyle said that many plaintiffs who have sued the city ask to depose the mayor, but it has only happened one or two times.

Burge was fired in 1993 after a police department investigation found a suspect was mistreated in his custody. Burge has not been charged and his lawyer has said Burge never tortured anyone.

Special prosecutors released a report in July that said Burge led a group of officers that used beatings, electric shocks and other methods to get suspects to confess. The prosecutors said Burge and the others could not be charged because the statute of limitations had run out.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


A group of traditional owners in Australia say the Northern Land Council (NLC) is going against its wishes by negotiating with the Federal Government over a possible radioactive waste dump in their area.

Dianne Stokes represents the traditional owners and says they have written to the federal Science Minister, Julie Bishop, stating they do not want a waste dump.

But she says the NLC has been negotiating with the Federal Government over the issue anyway.

"What we want them to do is start listening to us so we can act together and ... if we say no to the waste dump we don't want it in our country, well they should be listening to the traditional owners," she said.

On its website the The Northern Land Council says it,

"...was established in 1973 to represent traditional Aboriginal landowners and Aboriginal people in the Top End of the Northern Territory of Australia.

The most important responsibilities of the NLC are to consult with traditional landowners and other Aborigines with an interest in the land.

This is to make sure the landowners as a group give their informed consent before the Land Council or a Land Trust enters into any agreement, or takes any action affecting their land. It also ensures that affected Aboriginal communities and groups have the chance to express their views and that land use agreements entered into are reasonable. These principles are fundamental to the Aboriginal Land Rights(Northern Territory) Act 1976."
So what's up dudes?

The following is from AAP (Australia).

Traditional owners reject nuclear dump
By Tara Ravens
February 22, 2007 05:21pm

A GROUP of Aborigines have written to the Federal Government, urging it not to build a nuclear waste dump on their land in the Northern Territory.

The letter also called on the Government to stop negotiating with one of Australia's most influential Aboriginal land councils because it was leaving them out of the consultation process.

The 16 traditional owners represent five family groups from the Muckaty region, 120km north of Tennant Creek.

Their land is one of three sites being considered by the Federal Government for a repository to store low and medium-level radioactive waste.

Other options include Harts Range and Mt Everard, near Alice Springs, and Fishers Ridge near Katherine.

In a letter sent to Federal Science Minister Julie Bishop this week, the Muckaty people called on the Government to halt waste dump negotiations with the Northern Land Council (NLC).

The body, which represents traditional owners, has held talks with the Federal Fovernment since April last year, when the site was first proposed.

But locals feel they are being left out of the process.

"We do not think there has been proper consultation with all of the Muckaty traditional owners about this idea," the letter said.

"Muckaty traditional owners have said they do not want a nuclear waste dump on Muckaty land."

Not all traditional owners had been invited to meetings between the federal government and the NLC, and people had not been told about the outcomes, the letter said.

"As traditional owners of Muckaty, we do not want the Federal Government to continue talking with the Northern Land Council and traditional owners about having a commonwealth radioactive waste dump at Muckaty.

"We ask you to understand and acknowledge that should the Northern Land Council nominate our land for the storage of nuclear waste, it is without our consent," the letter said.

At a senate estimates hearing in Canberra last week, the federal science department said the Government wanted to work with indigenous owners to find a spot for the waste dump, and was seeking an agreement from Aboriginal people to offer up indigenous land for the facility.

A full report on the possible sites is due by the end of March 2007.


Activists took to the streets of Rangoon for what some say is the first time in nine years calling for better living conditions, free speech, and economic justice. Several have been arrested including a reporter from the Kyodo News Service and a woman from Nippon TV.

The protestors chanted slogans and waved placards for about half an hour, before dispersing.

Anti-government rallies are rare in Burma. The authorities rapidly suppress any show of public protest, fearing a wider outbreak of unrest. A nationwide pro-democracy uprising took place in 1988, forcing the then ruling dictator Gen Ne Win to step down.

The Campaign for Human Rights and Democracy in Burma declares, "Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world; a dictatorship charged by the United Nations with a “crime against humanity” for its systematic abuses of human rights, and condemned internationally for refusing to transfer power to the legally elected Government of the country – the party led by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi."

The following report is from
The Democratic Voice of Burma.

Protesters march in Rangoon

Feb 22, 2007 (DVB)—A group of protestors staged a rare demonstration in downtown Rangoon today, shouting slogans and waving banners calling for better living conditions in Burma.

About 30 people gathered outside the Theingyi market at 3:30pm, holding placards calling for 24 hour electricity and an end to high inflation and military oppression.

The demonstrators, led by a group calling themselves the Myanmar Development Committee, were soon joined by onlookers causing the crowd’s numbers to swell to about 50. The group then marched toward the historic Sule pagoda, chanting a list of demands.

“I asked for a placard from those young people who were doing the demonstration and I joined them,” one bystander told DVB.

The group also handed out a statement detailing the poor economic and social conditions in the country, and calling on head of the State Peace and Development Council senior general Than Shwe to address the problems.

“Young women have been forced into prostitution. Elderly people have been forced to beg. Corruption among civil servants is on the rise,” the statement said.

Another woman who joined the protest said bystanders were encouraged to take part.

“As for me, I am a Burmese housewife who can’t take the heavy strain of inflation any more so I grabbed a poster from one of them and joined in,” she said.

Initially traffic police and local officials did little to stop the rare protest. But after half an hour armed riot police surrounded the group, pointing automatic weapons at them and ordering them to disperse.

But witnesses said the demonstrators continued to stand their ground until two men—later identified as Ko Htin Kyaw and National League for Democracy member Ko Myint Shwe—were handcuffed and led away.

Three journalists covering the event were escorted to Rangoon City Hall by officials. Eyewitnesses said Ma Sint Sint Aung from Japan’s Nippon television network, Myat Thura from Kyodo News and high-profile reporter May Thingyan Hein from local news journal Myanma Dana had been taking photos of the demonstration before they were detained.

According to Rangoon residents, about seven members of Burma’s Foreign Correspondents Club are maintaining a vigil outside the building. One member of the group confirmed the three reporters were still in custody.

“We heard they’ve been transferred to the Special Police Branch at Aung Thabye police station,” the FCC member said.


Thirteen persons were arrested sitting in at Rep. Tom Allen's office in Portland last night. The sit in was part of the on going Occupation Project Campaign. The Occupation Project is, "a campaign of sustained nonviolent civil disobedience aimed at ending the U.S. war in and occupation of Iraq." The campaign challenges Representatives and Senators to publicly declare that they will vote against any further funding for the war in and occupation of Iraq.

The following article is taken from the Portland Press Herald.

Allen office sit-in leads to arrest of 13 activists

Police arrested 13 Iraq war protesters during a sit-in at U.S. Rep. Tom Allen's office in Portland on Wednesday night.

The group entered Allen's Exchange Street office Wednesday afternoon and sat on the floors for hours, reading aloud the names of deceased Iraqis and U.S. soldiers. Members of the group said they planned to stay until the 1st District Democrat addressed their concerns or police arrested them.

The protesters were part of a national campaign, called The Occupation Project, aimed at pressuring Democrats in Congress to cut funding for the Iraq war.

Similar sit-ins have led to arrests at the local offices of U.S. Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., according to published reports.

In Portland, police arrested the 13 protesters on trespassing charges around 8:45 p.m., said Lt. Michael Jones.

One member of the group said the campaign reflects a tactical shift for war protesters frustrated by a Democratic congress unwilling to cut war funding.

"We need to ratchet things up a bit," said Phil Weyenberg of Old Orchard Beach, a Peace Action Maine board member who was not among those arrested.

Allen opposed President Bush's decision to send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq and co-sponsored legislation that seeks to have American troops out of the country by the end of this year.

Weyenberg said Allen met with activists last week and told them he would not vote to eliminate funding for the war.

"I believe he wants to be a good senator more than he wants to be a good congressman," said protester Dexter Kamilewicz, referring to Allen's possible run for the Senate in 2008.

Kamilewicz, whose son did a tour in Iraq with the Vermont National Guard, ran unsuccessfully for Allen's House seat last fall on an anti-war platform.

Allen staffers called police as they prepared to close the Exchange Street office around 5:45 p.m.

Mark Sullivan, a spokesman for the congressman, met with police but did not initially ask them to remove the group.

Allen's staff members tiptoed through the sit-in while they wrapped up their business Wednesday afternoon. They kept the office open later than usual in an effort to accommodate the protest, even suggesting that participants leave and return this morning.

Police did not release names of those charged, but Cumberland County Jail officials confirmed that authorities arrested Kamilewicz and a dozen others. The list of those arrested did not include ages and hometowns, though several are well-known anti-war activists.