Friday, June 11, 2010


Yesterday more than 12,000 RNs in Minnesota walked off their jobs in what is the largest nurses’ strike in U.S. history. At the same time RNs throughout California at University of California medical centers and other hospitals rallied and picketed for the same issues to ensure safe-staffing at all times. WITHOUT NURSES THERE IS NO HEALTHCARE!

The following is from FightBack News.

ON STRIKE! 12,000 Minnesota nurses walk out
By Deb Konechne | June 11, 2010

Saint Paul, MN - “Everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell them. We are the union, the mighty mighty union…” Over 50 nurses clad in red sang verse after verse as they marched on the picket line in front of Bethesda Hospital the morning of June 10 in the largest nursing strike in U.S. history. Starting at 7:00 a.m., 12,000 Twin Cities nurses went on strike for patient safety and to retain their pensions. Bethesda Hospital, a small hospital near the State Capitol in Saint Paul, has a nursing staff of about 150 who were taking turns on the picket line during the 24-hour strike.

“The CEOs are fat cats, driving in their Cadillacs, while we’re breaking our backs, ” chanted the enthusiastic and spirited nurses as they proudly marched with picket signs and cheered at honks from supporters.

Nurses on the picket line had many things to say about the historic strike. “All the nurses are fired up and are behind the strike. We are standing up for patients' safety and the safety of all the nurses,” said Sheila, a veteran nurse who has worked at Bethesda for five years, “Nurses just don't give out medications, we do much more. We like to spend time with each patient to really listen to them and their needs. Just simply being at their bedside is priceless for them.”

A newer nurse working at Bethesda brought her family to the picket line. She said, “I love my job and being a nurse. We are striking to raise awareness regarding patient safety. Though I worry that this one-day strike may not be enough and may end up being a longer strike, however we are prepared for it”. Many nurses echoed that sentiment, say that they are ready to go all the way if this one-day strike doesn’t get the results that nurses are demanding.

Another nurse working at Bethesda for eight years stated the strike is needed to send a strong message to the bosses that patient care has to come before profits. He explained, “Staffing has been an ongoing problem in the hospitals for many years. The nurses want the issue of staffing to be a part of their contract but management doesn't want to include it.”

At Fairview Riverside Hospital, a large hospital in Minneapolis, nurses reported that 400-500 were picketing at mid-day. A group of surgical nurses related how they reported for the start of their shift at 5:30 a.m. and walked out of the hospital at 7:00 a.m. to a large chanting crowd of fired-up nurses on the picket line.

Margaret Adedji, a staff nurse from Fairview Riverside, spoke about why she was striking. “The pensions are a big thing. If the hospitals and CEOs are making so much money, they can give it back to the workers. It’s not about the money…they are taking advantage of us. Once the pension money is taken it won’t be put back. They are taking advantage of this economic crisis to set a precedent for the future of nurses.”

One striker at Fairview held a sign that read: “Fairview profit 2009= $155,030,000.” It further detailed that the CEO of Fairview, Mark Eustis, makes $1.01 million per year, which equals $486.54 per hour.

Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, another Minneapolis hospital, had a sea of red as close to a thousand covered the sidewalks and streets encircling the complex. Allina, the corporate health ‘system’ for Abbott Northwestern paid its CEO, Ken Paulus, a shocking $1.74 million in 2009. At rush hour, honks filled the air as supporters passed on the busy street bordering the hospital.

At Fairview Southdale, a large suburban hospital, over 400 were already on the picket lines by 7:00 a.m. and at 10:00 p.m. over 200 nurses were prepared to picket throughout the night. “We are not going to give up until we get our demands met for safe patient care and to keep our benefits we’ve earned over all these years,” stated Margaret Sarfehjooy, who has been a nurse at Fairview Southdale for 23 years. “The hospitals should be more concerned about patient care than CEO salaries.”

The Minnesota Nurses Association is carrying out the strike at 14 area hospitals. It is the single largest nursing strike in the history of the United States. The excitement of history in the making was palpable in the voices, chants, songs and faces of the determined nurses on picket lines throughout the day. “We are the union. The mighty, mighty union. We are fighting for patient safety. For nurse’s safety. For better healthcare. Against the greedy bosses. The greedy, greedy bosses. Against the greedy management. Shame on them.”


This whole thing about you can't make light of my god, prophet, whatever (hell, you can't portray, discuss or draw the CHIEF without their permission) would itself make a good sitcom. The Popes, Mullahs, Rabbis, and Reverends are incapable of comprehending how their actions merely display their lack of confidence in THEIR product.

The following is from Alternet.

Christian Right Group Tries to Kill Comedy Central Show About Jesus
Do you know who was the first person in Christian history to be executed for blasphemy? Jesus.

A new organization has been formed by the US religious right to attack a program that hasn't yet reached pilot stage. JC, a Comedy Central cartoon about Jesus trying to live a normal life in New York, does not have a completed script, but Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (Carb) are calling on advertisers to force the channel to abort it.

Carb, starchier than your average lobbyists, are particularly exercised by the contrast with the way Comedy Central backed down on airing scenes involving Muhammad in South Park, fearing violence. "Does that indicate that Christians then are punished because they aren't crazy?" asked the talk show host and Carb Michael Medved.

So censorship goes pre-emptive, a TV show doesn't even have to be made in order to offend, and the duty to protect the unborn has no relevance to works of creativity. I suppose it's not so big a leap as all that to banning things that don't exist yet for those who devote their careers to banning things they haven't seen.

Religion is all about mystery, and nothing is so mysterious as the minds of the professionally offended. One mystery is what kind of God they serve.

He is said to be Almighty, and yet desperately needs sticking up for. His emotional maturity is not the subject of any creeds but surely something you would assume of the perfect source of all being, if it weren't for his total inability to take any joke featuring himself (or sex for that matter). He tells his followers to turn the other cheek if they are assaulted themselves, but if people make fun of him expects his followers to hit them where it hurts.

The Bible gives us rather conflicting impressions of God's attitudes to this kind of thing, but none of them fit very well with the God of Carb. There's the God of Moses and his successors, pockets full of locusts, boils and thunderbolts, just itching to strike down blasphemers, including those who touch the ark of the covenant to stop it from falling. Sure, this sounds very religious right, but if he really has such an arsenal at hand and the petulance to use it at the drop of an ark, does he really need or want charcoal-suited lobbyists fighting his battles for him by attacking the forces of darkness's advertising revenue?

The Bible also gives us the rather different example of Jesus, the well-known homeless, penniless preacher, who submitted to humiliation and mockery rather more savage than anything Comedy Central might deliver, and who told his followers that their attitude should be the same as his. He told them not to fight back when their faith was attacked and ridiculed, but to count it a blessing.

The letters of St Paul repeatedly point out that the way for believers to stop others blaspheming is not to deserve it. But the humility, gentleness and self-awareness of the New Testament can seem more Christ-like than Christian.

If God has little need of protection from hurt feelings or dented pride, there remains the mystery of whose pride campaigners are defending, and the obvious answer would seem to be their own. Blasphemy dents their sense of honor, by insulting their religion, and what Christians call serving God could often be called self-serving.

Do you know who was the first person in Christian history to be executed for blasphemy? Jesus. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" says the high priest at Jesus's trial according in Mark's gospel. "They all condemned him as deserving to die."

It is a point that ought to give pause to Christians who use their collective muscle to stop people offending against the faith. The defense of God is a tradition we can trace back from the post-Christian west through inquisitions and councils to the gospels, and when we get there Jesus is not on the side that some of us might have assumed.

Carb, as Medved would doubtless want to point out, do not want to kill anyone. But they want to silence creativity before it has had a chance to create, which is a pretty lousy way to behave.



My computer has shot craps. I could and will periodically update the OD from this iPad.

I can't figure out how to add graphics tins way though.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


It doess't have to be an either/or world. Sharia law imposed by a state on it's people is never okay. If you hold a religious belief that includes Sharia or it's equivalent in Judaim, Christianity, Hinduism, or any of the others, I suppose that is your business, but you have no right to impose it on anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The following if the Indpendent World Report. I don't know anything abbot them, but I am familiar with the article of thos piece.

Vs. Sharia

Posted by IWRFrontlineFebruary 1, 2010

Maryam Namazie — rights activist, commentator, broadcaster, and spokesperson for One Law for All — on resisting the misogynist, medieval and barbaric Islamic code.

There is a world of difference between sexists and bigots who believe religion gives them the go ahead to think that gays are perverts and unveiled women whores and a state that puts those beliefs into laws, under which gays are executed and badly veiled women are fined, imprisoned or have acid thrown in their faces by Hezbollah and Basiji thugs.

Sharia. Just the word to me is like a kick in the stomach, particularly when I hear it being mentioned favourably. I know in this day and age of multiculturalism, it is not surprising to find tolerance for even the most intolerable of things, but, I still have to catch my breath when I hear the very word.

I suppose it is because I can not hear it without remembering sixteen-year-old Atefeh Rajabi hung for crimes against chastity; mother of three Maryam Ayoubi stoned to death for sex outside of marriage; Shirin Alam-Hoei who was sentenced to life in prison for enmity against God; and Neda Agha-Soltan who was shot dead at a June 2009 protest in Tehran, and whose twentieth birthday would have been on January 23, 2010.

Now, I know there are those who will say that these examples I give, or the many others we have come to know so well, are merely harsh interpretations of Sharia law — that Sharia law is misunderstood, and that it is not entirely medieval and draconian. But, one need only take a glance around the world to see the extent of its brutality.

To say it is misunderstood is merely an exercise in PR, which aims to make Sharia more palatable to a western audience and pave the way for its, at least partial, implementation in places like the United Kingdom. The Islamists have no time for such niceties when you are living under their rule.

Of course Sharia law rulings on divorce and child custody are not the same as its rulings on stoning and amputation. Yet, even in civil matters, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s; she does not have the right to child custody after a prescribed age regardless of the child’s welfare. A woman has limited rights to divorce whereas men have unilateral rights to divorce. Men can marry up to four wives, and, in the Shia tradition, have as many temporary wives as they want as well. Women can not even sign their own marriage contract; a male guardian must sign it on their behalf and so on and so forth.

The misogyny behind a law that stones a woman to death, and one that denies her the right to divorce from a violent husband, is a matter of degree — the fundamentals are the same. In fact, the civil aspects of Sharia law are some of the pillars of women’s oppression and the reason why so many have fled their homes and sought refuge elsewhere.

Clearly, Sharia law is seen to be draconian because it is.

It is perceived to be misogynist, medieval and barbaric because it is.

And it is not just a question of interpretation. I have never seen an interpretation by Islamic feminists — an oxymoron in my opinion — that is suitable for the rights and freedoms worthy of twenty-first century humanity. It is only when it comes to religion in general and Islam in particular, that any nonsense can be passed as being pro people’s rights.

One example we often hear of is regarding the verse in the Quran sanctioning violence against women. The feminists say that Islam only permits violence after admonishment and confinement and as a last resort and that since men would beat their wives mercilessly at that time, this is a restriction on men to beat women more mercifully.

How thoughtful. As if that is any consolation to the woman being beaten. And as if condoning violence against women can be interpreted to be anything but. The reality is that religion and women’s rights are antithetical to and incompatible with each other. You can not defend both at the same time; you have to choose which one should and must take precedence.

Of course it is not just Islam that is such. This is true of all religions, which is why secularism and the separation of religion from the state, law and educational system as a minimum is so crucial. You can find just as much misogyny in the Bible for example. But, Christianity in political power has been pushed back by an enlightenment so the pope or this or that archbishop does not decide if one lives or dies because of what they wear, believe, say, do…

I think it is a co-out to say that Sharia law is sacred guidance or rules for religious observation of Muslims, and, we should oppose the Islamists who seek to make it state law and not Sharia itself. But, it is already the state law in many countries — Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Swat Valley, Aceh, a large part of Nigeria… and it is one of the tactics for the advancement of the Islamists everywhere.

In Afghanistan, it is not enough that British troops are setting up informal Sharia councils and Sharia is the law of the land, but they have even established rape laws for Shia women, which states that a woman must have sex with her husband on demand whether she wants to or not. In liberated Iraq too, a rapist can get off scot-free if he agrees to marry the woman he has just raped.

Wherever Sharia law is implemented — whether fully in Somalia or in some sections in the UK — it is the reflection of the strength and presence of the Islamists.

I am sorry but it is just not good enough to talk about Sharia as a personal matter in this day and age. Just because one wishes it to be so, does not make it such. And this is clearly not the case.

There is a world of difference between sexists and bigots who believe religion gives them the go ahead to think that gays are perverts and unveiled women whores and a state that puts those beliefs into laws, under which gays are executed and badly veiled women are fined, imprisoned or have acid thrown in their faces by Hezbollah and Basiji thugs. When this is the case, speaking of personal beliefs is at best misleading.

This of course has nothing to do with attacking Muslims. There are many Muslims — or those labelled as such — who are opposed to Sharia law. After all, they are most often than not the first victims and on the frontline of resistance. Iran is an excellent case in point where a revolutionary movement is bringing a pillar of political Islam to its knees.

Whilst people have a right to their religious beliefs or atheism, you can not limit Sharia law to a personal matter when you are living through an inquisition. Then, all of us are duty-bound to challenge it and push it back so that it does become the personal affair of adults.

As Mansoor Hekmat, the late Marxist thinker, said: “It has been proved time and time again that pushing back religiosity and religious reaction is not possible except through unequivocal defence of human values against religion. It has been proved time and time again that preventing religious barbarism does not come about through bribing it and trying to give it a human face, but, through the fight against reactionary religious beliefs and practices. What price should be paid… to realise that Islam and religion do not have a progressive, supportable faction?”♦

Maryam Namazie — rights activist, commentator, broadcaster — is spokesperson for the One Law for All campaign.


Just because you haven't read about Loyalist paramilitaries much lately in your local newspaper or in your favorite blog does't mean they have gone quietly into the night. Au contraire.

The following is from NewsHound.

Bloody Sunday, election, Irish, Ireland, British, Ulster, Unionist, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Ahern, Blair, Irish America

The paramilitaries finding new energy

(by Liam Clarke, Sunday Times)

Dawn Purvis's resignation as leader of the Progressive Unionist party (PUP) in Northern Ireland is a sign that the Ulster Volunteer Force, the loyalist paramilitary group to which it is linked, has no intention of going away. Purvis met the UVF leadership shortly before announcing her resignation and, sources close to the organisation say, failed to elicit the assurances she needed to continue her association with it.

David Ervine, a former UVF bomb-maker and Purvis's predecessor as leader of the PUP, once said the UVF must "leave the stage" when a political way forward was available. Purvis's departure is a sign the group has refused to release its grip for the foreseeable future on working-class loyalist communities.

Purvis had been considering her situation for some time. The UVF agreed a ceasefire in 1994, the time Purvis joined its political wing, but since then it has committed an estimated 29 murders, many of them unacknowledged, including that of Bobby Moffett, who was gunned down in Belfast nine days ago by, police believe, three UVF members.

The killings have continued despite a declaration from the UVF in May 2007 that it would become a "non-military, civilianised" organisation.

A year ago it said all weapons had been decommissioned.

A tough character and handy with his fists, Moffett was a former member of the Red HandCommandos(RHC), which shares weapons with the UVF but has a separate command structure. He had met his killers by appointment, hoping to settle a dispute with a senior UVF figure. He came unarmed, perhaps believing he would not be attacked in a public place.

Instead, his killers staged a theatrical act of terrorism among Friday afternoon shoppers as senior UVF members reportedly watched from a safe distance. The murderers used shotguns, which cannot be traced ballistically. Moffett was blasted three times at close range, blowing away so much of his face there could not be an open coffin. Passers-by were spattered with blood. It sent a message to the community that the UVF was not to be crossed.

To reinforce that, text messages were sent out, purportedly by the UVF, warning people not to attend Moffett's funeral. In some cases, graphic photographs of his injuries were attached. Around 2,000 people defied the threat and attended the funeral last Friday, but nobody is confident that will be the end of the matter.

This Wednesday, the PUP will meet to consider its future. Dugald McCullough, a senior member, describes the party's relationship to the UVF as dysfunctional. "It is a continual drain on our energies and resources. We lose electoral support, it doesn't bring us in any financial support, it is wholly negative in its effects," he said.

Yet, like Purvis, he has hung on, hoping the PUP would provide a voice for loyalist areas and steer young men away from violence.

The murders, most of them over money and personal disputes, make that an increasingly forlorn hope. "We have to ask whether the game is worth the candle," McCullough said.

The PUP was set up by former UVF prisoners to mimic republican organisations such as the Workers' party and Sinn Féin, but it developed differently.

During the Troubles, the PUP would talk of working-class solidarity before handing out UVF statements. The two organisations shared offices and many PUP members were former UVF or RHC prisoners.

The PUP, especially figures within it such as Ervine and Gusty Spence, a UVF veteran, were attempting to push loyalism along the path of peace and to build political support. By the mid-1990s, as these policies seemed to bear fruit, most new recruits were not associated with violence and did not support it.

The likes of McCullough and Dr John Kyle, who has succeeded Purvis as interim leader, were middle-class Protestants trying to provide a left-wing alternative in working-class areas. Purvis, a voluntary community worker with a degree in women's studies and social anthropology, joined the PUP at the suggestion of a friend. "I came in on the back of peace and listened to David Ervine articulate his vision of a better future for Northern Ireland," she said.

"The vast majority of the current membership came in from the late 1990s on the back of a peace process. A lot of them don't come from former prisoner backgrounds."

Where republicans could speak of "the movement" to signify Sinn Féin and the IRA collectively, there was no similar collective to encompass the PUP and UVF. Ervine and other former prisoners personified any link that existed. Ervine died in 2007, and other old UVF hands have drifted away or died.

Over the past 10 years, the PUP has developed its own policies and democratic, decision-making structures. Many UVF members no longer vote for the PUP or pay much attention to it, preferring to opt for the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) or stay at home at elections.

Members in both groups believe the other has served its purpose now that peace has been established.

The worry is what will become of the rump of the UVF, which remains a well-armed, centralised organisation operating mainly in greater Belfast. It has threatened trouble if any of its members are convicted of pre-1998 offences as a result of the work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Historical Enquiries Team, which has charged some UVF suspects.

Terry Spence, the chairman of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, which represents officers up to and including the rank of chief inspector, predicts further violence. "We have known for some time that loyalist paramilitaries haven't decommissioned all of their weapons. They have been holding local communities to ransom and engaged in all sorts of mafia-type activities, including drug dealing, money laundering, fuel smuggling, the whole heap," he said.

"So do the UDA [Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist paramilitary group] in areas like East Antrim. They are still active; threatening and intimidating people. I suspect there is going to be more blood-letting and internal feuding within these organisations. By and large it is all down to money and drugs; they are trying to extend their tentacles in areas where they are dominant." He concedes that Purvis "didn't really know or understand what was going on within the UVF the way some of her predecessors had. She always condemned violence but was being cast as a political mouthpiece for an armed wing that is out killing people".

So far, the main danger posed by the UVF is to the working-class communities on which it has a stranglehold. Its main targets are fellow loyalists with whom it has fallen out over money or status.

The greater worry is what will happen if dissident republican violence and street disturbances flare over the summer marching season, as police believe is likely. The remnants of the UVF, with little to lose in terms of public image or political influence, may be tempted to justify its existence by launching attacks in response – a nightmare scenario that would test the peace process to its core.

June 8, 2010
This article first appeared in the Sunday Times on June 6, 2010.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


I missed this and I bet you did, too. Iran seems to find the racist anti-immigrant Arizona law to be a little liberal. Just execute them says the Islamic Republic which isn't interested in "illegals" coming in from Afghanistan.

Aren't borders just shit.
Pictured Here: May 20, 2010: Demonstrators write protest messages against Iran at the entrance gate of the Iranian Consulate in Herat.

The following is from RAWA.
Iran executes seven Afghan immigrants

Two weeks earlier, hundreds of local Herat residents turned out on the streets condemning the execution of Afghan immigrants in Iran.

Ahmad Qureshi

HERAT CITY: Iranian authorities executed seven Afghan refugees two days ago, their relatives in western Herat province claimed on Wednesday.The families asked the provincial government to help return the bodies of their relatives to their country of origin.

Shir Gul, 40, said Iranian officials in a jail known as Taibad called him and said his nephew was hanged on charges of drug-trafficking.

Gul's nephew, Mohammad Shafai, 21, phoned his family two days ago to say his last words and that his execution order had been passed by an Iranian court.

Another resident of the western Afghan province, bordering Iran, Haji Ghulam Jelani, claimed that his brother, charged for similar drug-trade offences, was executed in the same prison and was buried somewhere in Iran.

The Iranian authorities executed seven Afghan immigrants early Monday morning, Jelani quoted other Afghan prisoners in the jail as saying.The angry Herat locals gathered in front of the provincial governor's office on Wednesday to shared their concern with the acting-governor, Aseeluddin Jami, who pledged to help take the bodies to their families.

The Iranian government has not provided the Afghan government with details about the execution of its citizens, the provincial governor's spokesman told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The issue would be seriously followed up through the foreign ministry in Herat and the border police, he added.

Two weeks earlier, hundreds of local Herat residents turned out on the streets condemning the execution of Afghan immigrants in Iran. 


The Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council asked state Attorney Steve Bullock's office to launch an investigation into Allen "A.J." Long Soldier Jr.'s death.Long Soldier died at Northern Montana Hospital Nov. 23 of what a coroner and jury found to be acute alcohol withdrawl. He was transported to the hospital from the Hill County Detention Center, where he was being held on a misdemeanor warrant.

 In the letter, James Steele Jr., the chair of the council , asked the Department of Justice to address 10 concerns with the handling of the circumstances leading up to Long Soldier's death and the March inquest into his death.

 Long Soldier, a star athlete who led the Hays-Lodge Pole basketball team To a Class C championship in 2007, died at the age of 18.  "Enrolled at Haskell University in Lawrence, Kansas, he had a bright future ahead of him."

Steele wrote in the letter."Will anyone be held accountable for the obviously incorrect assessment of A.J.'s serious medical condition that directly led to his death?" The letter asks. "How can it be justified to treat a serious medical condition with untrained jail staff in a jail cell at a detention center ill-equiped to deal with a serious medical condition?"

Apparently when an Indian dies in custody, it just ain't worth checking out.
The following is from the Great Falls Tribune.

Attorney general declines to investigate death of Indian basketball star
HELENA — Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock has declined a request by the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council that he open an investigation into the Nov. 23, 2009, death of Allen "A.J." Long Soldier.
Long Soldier, the high school basketball phenom who led Hays-Lodgepole to the State Class C basketball championship in 2007, died at Northern Montana Hospital in Havre after falling seriously ill while in custody at the Hill County Detention Center.

Authorities said he died of acute alcohol withdrawal.

Last month James Steele Jr., chairman of the Tribal Leaders Council, wrote a letter to the attorney general asking him to look into whether Hill County detention officers provided adequate care to the 18-year-old, who died after spending four days in jail.
Long Soldier died in the hospital after twice being sent there from the detention center, where he was jailed on May 19 on a misdemeanor warrant from Blaine County.

In a May 6 letter to Bullock, Steele stated that the way Long Soldier died "is of ongoing concern" to the tribal community.

Tribal leaders were critical of how the results of a coroner's inquest into the death were presented to a seven-member jury last March and called on Bullock to investigate.

Hill County Attorney Gina Dahl, who presented evidence to the jurors in the May coroner's inquest, is married to the Hill County jail administrator, according to Tribune files.

"Clearly this appears to present a conflict of interest and, if true, undermines the findings of the Coroner's jury," Steele wrote in his letter to Bullock.

Steele also suggested Long Soldier received inadequate medical care because of his race.

"Because A.J. was obviously Indian, incarcerated in county-run facilities, overseen by non-Indian jailers and supervisors, strong concern exists that his lack of adequate care was because of his race," Steele wrote.

In March a jury cleared Hill County detention officers of any wrongdoing after 30 minutes of deliberation.

In his May 28 response to Steele, Bullock called Long Soldier's death a "tragedy," but he stated the findings of the coroner's inquest were fairly presented and that nothing in the findings provided sufficient evidence to "support the conclusion that Mr. Long Soldier died as a result of criminal means."

"If additional evidence comes to light showing criminal conduct resulting in Mr. Long Soldier's death, the possibility of criminal prosecution remains," Bullock wrote.

As for whether Long Soldier was given adequate care while in jail, Bullock wrote that the state does not establish standards for the treatment of ill inmates in county detention facilities."By statute the operation of county detention facilities is the responsibility of the county commissioners and the sheriff," Bullock wrote.Steele, who was traveling out of state on Monday, said the Tribal Leadership Council would wait to hear from Fort Belknap Tribal President Tracy King before deciding how to move forward.Related

"We as tribal leaders were concerned that if a star athlete of a different race, maybe white or otherwise, was in this same situation, maybe it might have been handled differently," Steele said. "We appreciate the attorney general's efforts. We'll wait to see what (King's) feelings are regarding the attorney general's letter and go from there."According to Bullock's letter, Long Soldier's mother, Dayna Jean Bear, has hired an attorney and filed a complaint with the state Department of Labor's Human Rights Commission regarding the circumstances of her son's death."The civil justice system provides the means to determine the specific facts of Mr. Long Soldier's death, as related by witnesses testifying underThe Attorney General has declined.


I know it is hard to believe that Fox News has somehow confused the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda with the presidential elections in Rwanda, but somehow they have.

Meanwhile, Lawyers defending suspects at the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda told the Guardian they fear for their safety, after a high profile defense lawyer remained in police custody. Experts say the incident undermines negotiations surrounding the international criminal court, under way in Kampala. "How can international criminal courts operate effectively if defense lawyers are at risk of being arrested for what they say on behalf of their clients?" said Amanda Pinto QC, Bar Council representative at the International Criminal Bar. "This affects all defense lawyers at the ICTR, but the issues are potentially the same for defense counsel
anywhere in the international forum." following is from The SF Bay View.

Fox News Confuses Rwanda's Presidential Election with the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda

by Ann Garrison

Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is the client that Law Professor Peter Erlinder came to Rwanda to defend before his own arrest. Fox News reached new extremes of irresponsibility today by reporting that Professor Peter Erlinder is in Kigali, Rwanda, to defend “the alleged perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.” Professor Erlinder is in Rwanda to defend opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza against charges of genocide ideology, a speech crime unique to Rwanda which means challenging the received history of the Rwanda Genocide, a crime he himself was arrested for within days after arriving in Rwanda to defend Ingabire.
Fox News, in its own words:

“Erlinder, who has not spoken to friends or family since being detained, was in Rwanda defending alleged leaders of the country’s 1994 genocide, but Friday the judge charged him with denying genocide and with publishing articles threatening the country’s security” (emphasis added).
Fox seems to be confusing Rwanda’s 2010 presidential election, which his client, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, keeps trying to enter as an opposition candidate, with the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, where Erlinder has served as lead defense counsel for several of the accused.

Professor Erlinder’s evidence, the Rwanda Documents Project, gathered during his years of work as a defender at the ICTR, is the basis of his argument that the received history of the Rwanda Genocide is history written by the victors, as he said here, at the Second International Defense Lawyer’s Conference in Brussels, just before flying to Kigali to defend Ingabire.

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal,, OpEdNews, Global Research, Colored Opinions and her blog, Plutocracy Now. She can be reached at This story originally appeared on Plutocracy Now.

Monday, June 07, 2010


Here is an interview with Uri Avnery after he was attacked by Jewish fascists in Tel Aviv. The interview is in the mainstream Israeli newspaper Haaretz. 

When asked why he refused to dismiss the attack and call the Relief flotilla a provocation, he answered, "The story begins with the fact that Israel attacked ...a Turkish ship because it was bringing aid. The ship was attacked and [the forces] did what they did. After all, we experienced this ourselves with the
Exodus, when British soldiers attacked and the illegal immigrants defended themselves any way they could. Three immigrants were killed and dozens were injured. That was the beginning of the end of the
British Mandate just eight months later."


Veteran peace activist: Israel trying to get Gaza people to overthrow Hamas

Benjamin Netanyahu is lying when he says the Gaza blockade exists in order to prevent the transfer of weapons to Gaza, Uri Avnery tells Haaretz.

By Mazal Mualem
Journalist and former Knesset member Uri Avnery is one of the most prominent political activists identified with the Israeli peace camp. As has been the 86-year-old's habit for decades, he did not miss the leftist demonstration in Tel Aviv, on Saturday night - this one protesting the government's handling of the Gaza-bound flotilla incident last week.

All told, only 6,000 people took part in the demonstration. Is the Israeli peace camp in fact just a negligible minority?

That number is wrong. There were at least twice as many demonstrators, and that is a huge amount when you take into account the unprecedented brainwashing the country experienced during the week, when a a near-totalitarian propaganda machine repeated a single picture and a single story, and prevented citizens from seeing or hearing anything else. We hardly saw anything except for a few minutes shot and edited by the Israel Defense Forces spokesman's office, which confiscated the films shot by journalists. The question may be asked: Why? What are they afraid of?

The photos published by the IDF and the Turkish media clearly show Israeli naval commandos being attacked, thrown from the deck and bleeding. Are you saying those photos were fabricated?

The gap is created when you see only two minutes [of footage]; you don't see what came before or after, and so it is possible to get the impression that the Turks attacked a Jewish ship. Imagine if Jews were in distress, attacked on the high seas, with dead and wounded - just imagine the uproar. Not only the Turks see this as an Israeli attack, but the whole world does.

Are you convinced this was an aid flotilla?

There is no doubt. The intention of the Israeli government is to create a crisis that is so terrible that the people of Gaza will overthrow Hamas. Meanwhile, four years have passed and Hamas is stronger than it was. What is the siege for? Who is it good for? If the Israeli government hadn't sent the poor soldiers to attack the ship, just as the cabinet secretary [Zvi Hauser] suggested, all of this could have been prevented. They could have stopped [the ships], examined them and let them go on. It seems we have to protect IDF soldiers from [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak and [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu.

When Netanyahu calls it a flotilla of hate, is he lying?

Not only Netanyahu, the ministers, too, in addition to a few people in uniform: the army chief of staff and the commander of the navy. In any well-run country, the head of the navy would have resigned that same night. The operation itself reflected an astounding and disastrous lack of military capability. What is the nature of an army whose admiral personally commands such a stupid undertaking? I was a soldier and I don't remember any of my commanders ever putting me in such an idiotic situation. A person who can give such an order cannot command our soldiers.

And the mounting evidence that the flotilla was a provocation by terrorists fails to convince you?

The story begins with the fact that Israel attacked a Turkish ship because it was bringing aid. The ship was attacked and [the forces] did what they did. After all, we experienced this ourselves with the Exodus, when British soldiers attacked and the illegal immigrants defended themselves any way they could. Three immigrants were killed and dozens were injured. That was the beginning of the end of the British Mandate just eight months later.

Continuing this parallel that you are making, what does this say about us?

Parallel? Then there was a British government minister named Ernest Bevin who was stupid and coarse, and now we have a defense minister who is stupid and coarse. We are led by a gang of idiots. After last week a big change has taken place en route to ending the occupation and the siege on Gaza, which is a siege based on lies and wrapped in stupidity.

Benjamin Netanyahu said the siege exists in order to prevent the transfer of weapons to Gaza. This is a lie. He prevents the entrance of noodles, fruit, children's toys and paper for books. The damage caused to Israel's standing this week is greater than that caused by Operation Cast Lead [in Gaza, in December 2008-January 2009]. I am receiving messages from liberal Jews [abroad] and they see this as a disaster. We are moving forward with the blindness of the people of Sodom - struck blind and going on, increasing the wave of hatred against Israel.

Is it possible that something good can come from this low point, as it did with the Exodus incident?

In Goethe's "Faust," Satan appears and says: I am the power that always wants evil, but causes good. It might happen that, paradoxically, something good comes out of the bad.

Who will lead? After all, the peace camp has no political leadership.

All of the disasters in Israel began with Ehud Barak declaring himself the head of the peace camp. He went to Camp David unprepared and failed. When he returned he did not say that the negotiations would continue. Instead he said: I have turned over every stone on the way to peace; we haven't got a partner. These words caused a disaster we haven't yet recovered from.
But perhaps now, because of this incident, people who have been standing on the sidelines will understand that we have an existential problem. I see the demonstration [Saturday night] as a new awakening. We have a long way to go. We are in a situation in which the political system is split wide open. Last week in the Knesset we saw that Kadima is not a different version of the Likud; it is even worse. I was a Knesset member for 10 years and I don't remember any disgrace that came even close to this: physical attacks [on Arab MKs] by nearly all the Jewish members accompanied by the shouting of racist and sexist remarks.

And the Arab MKs did not take part in the uproar?

There is polarization on both sides. Actions create reactions. There's a vicious cycle here when the parliament descends to such a nadir. I am looking for the right word: parliamentary rabble. It terrifies me anew. It is a death blow to parliamentary democracy.

Did [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan incite the region?

That is part of the stupidity. We have had one very important friend in the Middle East for decades: the Turkish army. Turkish politics has been changing over the last two years; Turkey wants to position itself as a Middle East superpower, and wanted to mediate between Israel and the Moslem world. And let's assume we didn't like the fact that Turkey moved closer to Iran. What did we do? We united all of Turkey in hatred for Israel. Was it worth it?



Right wing Jewish thugs, fascists if you ask me, attacked Gush Shalom’s 86 year old Uri Avnery following a rally in Tel Aviv which drew ten thousand to protest the Israeli attack on the relief flotilla and the blockade of Gaza. For one of the first times, Israeli national flags were flown alongside the red flags of Hadash, the green flags of Meretz and the two-flag emblems of Gush Shalom.

 The following is from Gush Shalom.

A disaster was averted yesterday (June 5) at Tel-Aviv’s Museum Square, when rightists threw a smoke grenade into the middle of the protest rally, obviously hoping for a panic to break out and cause the protesters to trample on each other. But the demonstrators remained calm, nobody started to run and just a small space in the middle of the crowd remained empty. The speaker did not stop talking even when the cloud of smoke reached the stage. The audience included many children.

Half an hour later, a dozen rightist thugs attacked Gush Shalom’s 86 year old Uri Avnery, when he was on his way from the rally in the company of his wife, Rachel, Adam Keller and his wife Beate Zilversmidt. Avnery had just entered a taxi, when a dozen rightist thugs attacked him and tried to drag him out of the car. At the critical moment, the police arrived and made it possible for the car to leave. Gush spokesman Adam Keller said: “These cowards did not dare to attack us when we were many, but they were heroes when they caught Avnery alone.”

The incident took place when the more than 10 thousand demonstrators were dispersing, after marching through the streets of Tel Aviv in protest against the attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
Not only was this one of the largest peace demonstrations for a long time, but also the first time that all parts of the Israeli peace camp - from Gush Shalom and Hadash to Peace Now and Meretz – did unite for common action

The main slogan was “The Government Is Drowning All of Us” and “We must Row towards Peace!” - alluding to the attack on the flotilla. The protesters called in unison “Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies!”
The demonstrators assembled at Rabin Square and marched to Museum Square, where the protest rally was held. Originally, this was planned as a demonstration against the occupation on its 43th anniversary, and for peace based on “Two States for Two Peoples” and “Jerusalem – Capital of the Two States”, but recent events turned it mainly into a protest against the attack on the flotilla.

One of the new sights was the great number of national flags, which were flown alongside the red flags of Hadash, the green flags of Meretz and the two-flag emblems of Gush Shalom. Many peace activists have decided that the national flag should no longer be left to the rightists.

“The violence of the rightists is a direct result of the brainwashing, which has been going on throughout the last week,” Avnery commented. “A huge propaganda machine has incited the public in order to cover up the terrible mistakes made by our political and military leadership, mistakes which are becoming worse from day to day.”


Victims and activists are furious that eight officials of Union Carbide who today have been convicted for the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster only for criminal negligence, which is punishable with a maximum of two years jail, despite the enormity of the tragedy.

‘Today’s verdict is a disaster… they’ve made it look like a traffic accident,’ said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, an NGO representing the survivors and an activist who has been involved with the victims since the 1984 disaster.
‘The charges have been diluted. The victims are disappointed,’ he said.
The following is from Students for Bhopal.
Bhopal Survivors Call Verdict and Trial Utter Disappointment

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, Press Statement for immediate release on June 7, 2010

Contact: US, Shana Ortman, 415-746-0306; India, Nityanand Jayaraman: +91 9444082401

Terming today's verdict and sentence against 7 officials of Union Carbide India Ltd., and the company an utter disappointment, Bhopal survivors today said they are resolved to challenge it in higher legal fora. “We feel outraged and betrayed. This is not justice. This is a travesty of justice,” said Hazra Bee of International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. “The paltry sentencing is a slap in the face of suffering Bhopal victims.” Survivors have condemned the Indian government’s “criminal negligence” in the prosecution of those accused of responsibility for the world’s worst corporate massacre.

They said that as the Minister in charge of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Prime Minister must accept blame for the prosecuting agency's incompetence and mishandling of the case.

UCIL's 7 Indian officials were awarded a 2-year prison sentence and a paltry fine of Rs. 101,750 (about $2100) today, while Union Carbide India Ltd (now Eveready Industries India Ltd) was fined Rs. 5,00,000 ($11000). All accused are out on bail of Rs. 25,000. Today's verdict was in the case against only the 9 Indian accused (8 individuals and UCIL), one of whom died in the course of the trial. The foreign accused – Union Carbide Corporation, Warren Anderson and Union Carbide Eastern – are absconding and the CBI has failed to take action to bring them to India to face trial.

The verdict was greeted with protests, slogan-shouting and die-ins by irate Bhopalis who defied prohibitory orders to vent their anger outside the court. “By handling those those guilty of the world's worst industrial disaster so leniently, our courts and Government are telling dangerous industries and corporate CEOs that they stand to lose nothing even if they put entire populations and the environment at risk,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

The organizations said that in 18 years the CBI had not even been able to bring the principal accused; Union Carbide, USA and its former Chairman Warren Anderson, to face trial. Further, because of CBI’s inept handling, a third foreign accused – Union Carbide Eastern Inc, Hong Kong has managed to escape the criminal proceedings altogether. “There is documentary evidence that Union Carbide, USA and Anderson knew that the Bhopal plant design was based on “untested technology”, they were in full control over operations and safety of the factory and it is they who directed reckless cost – cutting. Justice cannot be done in Bhopal till these principal accused are brought to trial,” said Rashida Bee who has lost six people in her family due to the disaster.

According to the organizations, the CBI did nothing when Supreme Court’s Justice A M Ahmadi diluted the charges against the Indian accused in 1996. “Ahmadi converted the Bhopal disaster to the equivalent of a traffic accident. Without assessing the full evidence, he reduced the prison term for the crimes of Bhopal from 10 years to 2 years and the CBI made not a single effort to get this legally unsound order revised” said Syed M Irfan, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.

Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, one of the three organizations assisting the prosecution, said that glaring omissions in the CBI's presentation of evidence against the Indian accused amounted to derogation of the prosecution's duty. “The CBI failed to produce evidence regarding the role of Keshub Mahindra and other accused in deliberate acts undermining operational safety such as design modification, rewriting of operation manuals and decommissioning the crucial refrigeration unit.” he said.

He said that CBI’s “go soft” approach against corporate crime is also evident in its inaction against Dow Chemical, current owner of Union Carbide, USA. “In January 2005 the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Bhopal issued notice to Dow Chemical, USA for producing its subsidiary Union Carbide in his court. For the last four years the CBI has chosen not to act on this.” he said.

The organizations said that the Prime Minister must accept responsibility for the failure of the CBI in its role as the prosecuting agency. They called for the creation of a Special Prosecution Cell for effective and timely action on extradition of foreign accused and prosecution of Dow Chemical.

“The responsibility for this legal disaster rests squarely with the Prime Minister, who is the Minister in charge of CBI. CBI's handling of this case was shoddy to say the least, and criminally negligent at worst,” said Sarangi.

The International Campaign for Justice for Bhopal (ICJB) is a coalition led by four survivor organizations along with environmental, social justice, progressive Indian, and human rights groups supporters around the world. ICJB works to hold the Indian Government and Dow Chemical Corporation accountable for the ongoing chemical disaster in Bhopal, India. It was set up to address the grave injustices suffered by the half million Bhopal Gas Disaster survivors.

For more information, contact:

In North America, Shana Ortman: 1-415-746-0306,

In India, Nityanand Jayaraman: +91 9444082401

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal leaders:

Rashida Bee, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M Irfan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, +91 93290 26319

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, +91 98261 67369

Safreen Khan, Children Against Dow Carbide, +91 9303831487


I'm sill having viral issues, but it's getting better. I'm going to try posting some today.

Bear with me folks.