Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Man caught in immigration sting files lawsuit



Man caught in immigration sting files lawsuit

Alleges federal authorities unfairly targeted him

By Peter Hermann and Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun

6:32 PM EST, November 26, 2010

A Latino man who was detained in a controversial 2007 law enforcement raid that swept up illegal immigrants at a 7-Eleven parking lot in Upper Fells Point is suing federal authorities, alleging he was mistreated and arrested without cause.

The suit was filed on behalf of just one person — 32-year-old Denis Alvarez of Southeast Baltimore — but an attorney with an immigrant advocacy group that crafted the suit said it is meant as an indictment against the raid in which two dozen men were arrested. The suit seeks a half-million dollars in damages.

The January raid at the store on Broadway angered and frightened Baltimore's Latino community, and members of Casa de Maryland accused federal immigration agents of racial profiling. A subsequent newspaper article reported that the raid's location and timing were designed to boost arrest stats for the Baltimore field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an interview in Spanish at his Baltimore home Friday, Alvarez hesitated discussing specifics of the incident or his case. "The truth is that they grabbed me unjustly," he said, adding, "Whatever happens, happens. The rest, God only can tell."

Alvarez argues in the suit that he was standing apart from a larger group of men seeking work from a private contractor and was unfairly swept up in a raid that targeted the others. "The ICE officers falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned [Alvarez] … without reasonable suspicion or probable cause of illegal activity," the suit says.

Cori Bassett, an ICE spokeswoman in Washington, declined to address the lawsuit when reached by phone Friday. "We don't comment on pending litigation," she said.

At the time of the raid, authorities said immigrants were not targeted and the arrests were not planned. Instead, officers were searching for one illegal immigrant who had been ordered out of the country by a judge but failed to comply, an ICE spokesman said in 2007. Of the 24 men arrested, the spokesman said, six had criminal records, eight had been previously removed, and one had been caught six times crossing the border.

The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore by lawyers with the Immigrant Justice Center, which uses student attorneys to help immigrants on a wide range of issues. The center is based at American University's Washington College of Law.

Elizabeth Keyes, the center's practitioner-in-residence, said the lawsuit "is meant to reflect on the entire operation. There was a sense of injustice for all men who were picked up in the raid" that she said was "based on the faulty assumption that people looking for work are undocumented."

Keyes said the lawsuit took time to draw up because various administrative remedies had to be exhausted before going to court. By the time the suit was filed, most of the other men who had been arrested had been deported or could no longer be located, she said.

The raid was in line with government policies at the time that encouraged sweeps of workplaces and locations where illegal immigrants congregated looking for day labor jobs. An ICE spokesman told The Baltimore Sun in 2007 that agents had been searching for wanted fugitives who were in the country illegally, but that "in the course of doing business, they don't ignore other illegal aliens."

The Obama administration has since discouraged such raids, preferring to target large workplaces and employers.

In a brief interview Friday, Alvarez declined to provide his country of origin and his immigration status. Keyes also would not divulge the information, nor would she describe the status of his immigration case stemming from the 2007 arrest.

On a form filed in court as part of his civil suit, Alvarez wrote "0" and "N/A" to a long series of questions asking about his employment and finances. "My mother provides me with food, housing, and other basic expenses free of charge," he wrote.

Alvarez, wearing a brown Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt and a black hat, said he had been rounded up "by pure chance." He and about 100 others went to the convenience store looking for work, though Alvarez said he was waiting for a man who had promised to hire him as a painter.

The man failed to show because his car had broken down, Alvarez said, so he decided to go home. He ducked into the 7-Eleven to get a cup of coffee. "I was already thinking that there wouldn't be any work that day," he said.

Alvarez said that when he emerged, a van appeared and the men inside asked the crowd for "10 of each," meaning painters, bricklayers, masons and other construction workers.

In the lawsuit, Alvarez said he became suspicious of the offer and walked away. As he stepped off the parking lot, the suit says, a second vehicle blocked his exit and men emerged from the car and the van wearing holstered guns and vests emblazoned with the words "Police."

The suit says agents ordered the men to sit on a curb and that one agent "forcefully grabbed and touched" Alvarez "around the collar" and forced him to sit down. He was taken into custody, held for two to three days in the Dorchester County jail on the Eastern Shore and released on $10,000 bail.

"He occasionally has nightmares reliving his encounters with the ICE officers," the suit says. Alvarez alleges that he was falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned and assaulted.

The Washington Post reported in 2009 that the raid was done to boost statistics for the Baltimore ICE field office, which had been lagging behind other offices.

The article noted that the ICE team had been searching for illegal immigrants considered fugitives from justice, and that a series of weekend raids in Montgomery and Prince George's counties had been largely unsuccessful in helping to meet an annual quota of 1,000 arrests per team.

"I don't care where you get more arrests, we need more numbers," The Post quoted from a summary of an internal investigation. The article said that 14 of the 24 people arrested in Baltimore that day were not fugitives.



Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Judge won't release witness names early in NSA leak case



Judge won't release witness names early in NSA leak case

Prosecution's request called 'highly unusual'

By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

9:40 PM EST, November 29, 2010

A federal judge refused Monday to release the names of potential defense witnesses in a criminal case against a former NSA employee accused of leaking classified information to a reporter, calling the prosecutors' request "highly unusual."

The U.S. Department of Justice had argued that it needed to know witness identities now, months before the scheduled March trial, to ensure that they could be trusted with sensitive information. But attorneys for defendant Thomas Drake, who worked at the National Security Agency until mid-2008, said the government was overreaching.

Drake, who lives in Glenwood, was indicted under the Espionage Act in April on charges he illegally retained national defense information, obstructed justice and made false statements to agents for the FBI.

The 10-count indictment states that Drake gave classified information to a reporter, but does not charge him with leaking. Court documents do not name the reporter or newspaper involved, but sources have indicated it was a former national security correspondent for The Baltimore Sun.

Drake's defenders say he was trying to expose government waste and possible fraud, and point to his case as an example of hypocrisy within the Obama administration, which campaigned on a platform of transparency in government, yet has brought more leak prosecutions than the three previous administrations combined, including:

•Shortly after Drake was indicted, officials renewed a Bush administration investigation into New York Times reporter James Risen's confidential sources.

•Army Spc. Bradley Manning has been in custody since May for allegedly leaking classified military information to the online organization WikiLeaks.

•That same month, an FBI contract worker — Samuel Shamai Leibowitz of Silver Spring — was sentenced to 20 months in prison for leaking documents to a blogger.

•And in August, State Department contractor Stephen Jin-Woo Kim was indicted on charges of leaking information to a Fox news reporter about North Korea's planned response to U.N sanctions.

With each indictment, Department of Justice representatives condemned the willful disclosure of classified information. In the Drake case, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said "national security demands that the sort of conduct alleged here — violating the government's trust by illegally retaining and disclosing classified information — be prosecuted and prosecuted vigorously."

Jesselyn Radack, a former DOJ adviser and whistleblower who viewed the proceedings Monday, called the series of prosecutions "very disconcerting." She works for the Government Accountability Project, which advocates for whistleblower protections.

Drake's "case in particular is even more disturbing," Radack said, "because the whistleblower went through all the proper channels, chapter, line and verse in terms of complaining internally."

Drake, who declined to comment Monday, worked for the NSA from 2001 through 2008. Early in his tenure, according to supporters, he and others complained about mismanagement of an expensive data collection program to the Department of Defense's inspector general and others within the federal government.

He's accused of later giving similar information to a reporter at a "national newspaper." News organizations and a government source familiar with the investigation identified Siobhan Gorman and The Sun as the reporter and newspaper referred to in the indictment.

Gorman published several articles in The Sun citing multiple sources in 2006 and 2007; she now works for the Wall Street Journal.

Drake has pleaded not guilty to all charges.


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Moses' Last Exodus


Opinionator - A Gathering of Opinion From Around the Web

November 29, 2010, 9:52 pm

Moses’ Last Exodus



Wilmington, Del., Nov. 30, 1860

The knock came after dark. Hastening to answer it, the old Quaker found a familiar figure in the doorway: a tiny, dark-skinned woman, barely five feet tall, with a kerchief wrapped around her head. Someone who didn’t know her might have taken her for an ordinary poor black woman begging alms – were it not for her eyes. Wide-set, deep-socketed and commanding, they were the eyes not of a pauper or slave, but of an Old Testament hero, a nemesis of pharaohs and kings.

Library of Congress Harriet Tubman, circa 1860s.

Five others followed her: a man and woman, two little girls and, cradled in a basket, the swaddled form of a tiny infant, uncannily silent and still. They had braved many dangers and hardships together to reach this place of safety, trusting their lives to the woman known as “the Moses of her people.”

As politicians throughout the country debated secession and young men drilled for war, Harriet Tubman had been plotting a mission into the heart of slave territory. She did not know that it would be her last. Over the past 10 years, she had undertaken about a dozen clandestine journeys to the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, the place from which she herself had escaped in 1849. She had managed to bring some six dozen people – most of them family and friends – across the Mason-Dixon Line into freedom, then across the Canadian border to safety. But Tubman had never managed to liberate several of her closest relatives: her younger sister Rachel and Rachel’s two children, Ben and Angerine. In the autumn of 1860, she decided to rescue them.

Slave ads from a newspaper on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, 1859. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Although it lay on the border between North and South and had few large plantations, the part of Maryland east of the Chesapeake Bay was an especially hazardous place to be a slave. Soil depletion and economic stagnation had left many local planters with more field hands than they needed – as well as chronically short of cash. By the mid-19th century, the Eastern Shore had become known as one of the nation’s principal “breeder” regions, where slaves were frequently sold to slave traders, speculators who sent them south to the burgeoning cotton and sugar plantations of the Gulf Coast. As a child, Tubman had seen two of her own sisters sold away, and heard her parents’ anguished tales of others taken before her birth. Four of her remaining siblings had escaped, three of them helped by their sister Harriet. Only Rachel had remained.

By this time, Tubman was well connected to the nationwide abolitionist movement, and before departing, she raised money for the trip (and for possible bribes along the way) from Wendell Phillips and other activists. She set out from her home in Auburn, N.Y., and by mid-November she was in Maryland.

Tubman arrived to learn that her sister would never know freedom: Rachel had died a short time earlier. There were still the two children, her niece and nephew, to rescue. Here too, Tubman failed. She set a rendezvous point in the woods near the plantation where the two were held, but they failed to appear at the appointed time. Tubman waited all through that night and the following one, crouching behind a tree for shelter from the wind and driving snow. At last she gave up. Ben and Angerine’s fate is unknown.

Ad for a runaway slave, in Macon (Georgia) Daily Telegraph, Nov. 30, 1860. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Tubman had, however, found another family that was ready to seek freedom: Stephen and Maria Ennals and their children, six-year-old Harriet, four-year-old Amanda and a three-month-old infant. (One or two other men may have joined them as well.) The fugitives made their way up the peninsula, traveling mostly by night. Once, they were pursued by slave patrollers alerted to their presence. The escapees hid on an island in the middle of a swamp, covering the baby in a basket. Eventually a lone white man appeared, strolling casually along the edge of the marsh, seemingly talking to himself. They realized he was an agent of the Underground Railroad, telling them how to reach a barn where they could take shelter.

As they continued on their journey, Tubman would go out each day in search of food while the Ennalses hid in the woods, their baby drugged with an opiate to keep it from crying. Returning at the end of the day, Tubman would softly sing a hymn until they heard her and reemerged:

Hail, oh hail, ye happy spirits,
Death no more shall make you fear,
Grief nor sorrow, pain nor anguish,
Shall no more distress you dere.

Even as the group approached Wilmington, it was not yet out of danger: Delaware was still officially a slave state. In fact, due to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the escapees could have been recaptured anywhere in the North and returned to bondage. Tubman herself could have been re-enslaved, or – as an abettor of fugitives – sentenced to spend the rest of her life in a Maryland prison. But at last, on the night of Nov. 30, she reached the house of the elderly Quaker, Thomas Garrett, a leading Underground Railroad “conductor” who would smuggle the Ennals family to relative safety in Philadelphia.

Although the Underground Railroad had already become famous – and, for many Americans, infamous – only a tiny percentage of slaves managed to escape to the North: estimates have put the number at just a thousand or so each year out of a total enslaved population of some four million. Still, these fugitives were a major bone of contention for disgruntled Southerners. An adult field hand could cost as much as $2,000, the equivalent of a substantial house. To Southerners, then, anyone who helped a man or woman escape bondage was simply a thief. But more infuriating than the monetary loss it occasioned, the Underground Railroad was an affront to the slaveholders’ pride – and a rebuke to those who insisted that black men and women were comfortable and contented in bondage.

Related Civil War Timeline

An unfolding history of the Civil War with photos and articles from the Times archive and ongoing commentary from Disunion contributors.

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In an 1860 speech, Senator Robert Toombs of Georgia thundered against Republicans “engaged in stealing our property” and thus “daily committing offences against the people and property of these … States, which, by the laws of nations, are good and sufficient causes of war.” As secession loomed, some Northerners attempted to soothe such fears. A New York Times editorial suggested not only that stronger efforts be made to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, but that the federal government compensate slaveholders for their escaped “property.”

Tubman was back in Auburn by Christmas Day, 1860, having conveyed the Ennals family safely to Canada. (Abolitionists often noted the irony of Americans fleeing the “land of liberty” to seek freedom under Queen Victoria’s sheltering scepter.) Her secret missions ended with the approach of war.

But one night in the midst of the secession crisis, while staying at the house of another black leader, a vision came to Tubman in a dream that all of America’s slaves were soon to be liberated – a vision so powerful that she rose from bed singing. Her host tried in vain to quiet her; perhaps their grandchildren would live to see the day of jubilee, he said, but they themselves surely would not. “I tell you, sir, you’ll see it, and you’ll see it soon,” she retorted, and sang again: “My people are free! My people are free.”

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Sources: Kate Clifford Larson, “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero“; William Still, “The Underground Rail Road”; Sarah H. Bradford, “Harriet, the Moses of Her People”; Catherine Clinton, “Harriet Tubman, The Road to Freedom”; Fergus Bordewich, “Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America”; James A. McGowan, “Station Master on the Underground Railroad: The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett”; “Speech of Robert Toombs, of Ga., Delivered in the Senate of the U.S. January 24, 1860”; New York Times, Dec. 10, 1860.

Adam Goodheart is the author of the forthcoming book “1861: The Civil War Awakening.” He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


The Guantánamo Diaspora


Published: Nov. 29, 2010

The Guantánamo Diaspora

President Obama signed an order shortly after taking office to close the Guantánamo Bay prison within one year. But the deadline passed as it became harder than the administration expected to transfer the detainees. A secret cache of State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations reveals painstaking efforts by the United States to transfer detainees away from the prison under both the Bush and Obama administrations.  

174remain at Guantánamo





Saudi Arabia














Palestinian territories














Bosnia and Herz.


















United Arab Emirates


Note: Six detainees were released without their nationalities identified, and one detainee is both Egyptian and Bosnian, so the table has seven extra entries.

599have been transferred to the countries below

6died in custody

One cube represents one Guantánamo Bay prison detainee

·                                 Detainee returned to his own country

·                                 Detainee received by a country where he is not a citizen

| Sources: Department of Defense; Department of Justice; Guantánamo Review Task Force; news reports

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Monday, November 29, 2010

Real Hope Is About Doing Something



Real Hope Is About Doing Something

Monday 29 November 2010

by: Chris Hedges  |  Truthdig | Op-Ed

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: afagen, Brett Sayer)

On Dec. 16 I will join Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and several military veteran activists outside the White House to protest the futile and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us will, after our rally in Lafayette Park, attempt to chain ourselves to the fence outside the White House. It is a pretty good bet we will all spend a night in jail. Hope, from now on, will look like this.

Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people. It is not having a positive attitude or pretending that happy thoughts and false optimism will make the world better. Hope is not about chanting packaged campaign slogans or trusting in the better nature of the Democratic Party. Hope does not mean that our protests will suddenly awaken the dead consciences, the atrophied souls, of the plutocrats running Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil or the government.

Hope does not mean we will halt the firing in Afghanistan of the next Hellfire missile, whose explosive blast sucks the oxygen out of the air and leaves the dead, including children, scattered like limp rag dolls on the ground. Hope does not mean we will reform Wall Street swindlers and speculators, or halt the pillaging of our economy as we print $600 billion in new money with the desperation of all collapsing states. Hope does not mean that the nation’s ministers and rabbis, who know the words of the great Hebrew prophets, will leave their houses of worship to practice the religious beliefs they preach. Most clerics like fine, abstract words about justice and full collection plates, but know little of real hope.

Also See: Chris Hedges | Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion

Hope knows that unless we physically defy government control we are complicit in the violence of the state. All who resist keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become enemies of hope. They become, in their passivity, agents of injustice. If the enemies of hope are finally victorious, the poison of violence will become not only the language of power but the language of opposition. And those who resist with nonviolence are in times like these the thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration.

Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. Hope does not come with the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is an action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and the more potent hope becomes. Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope does not believe in force. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on us all. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope’s power and it is why it can never finally be defeated. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face.

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Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful. Hope is what the corporate state, which saturates our airwaves with lies, seeks to obliterate. Hope is what our corporate overlords are determined to crush. Be afraid, they tell us. Surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror. Don’t resist. Embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity. Buy our products. Without them you are worthless. Become our brands. Do not look up from your electronic hallucinations to think. No. Above all do not think. Obey.

W.H. Auden wrote:

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The powerful do not understand hope. Hope is not part of their vocabulary. They speak in the cold, dead words of national security, global markets, electoral strategy, staying on message, image and money. The powerful protect their own. They divide the world into the damned and the blessed, the patriots and the enemy, the rich and the poor. They insist that extinguishing lives in foreign wars or in our prison complexes is a form of human progress. They cannot see that the suffering of a child in Gaza or a child in the blighted pockets of Washington, D.C., diminishes and impoverishes us all. They are deaf, dumb and blind to hope. Those addicted to power, blinded by self-exaltation, cannot decipher the words of hope any more than most of us can decipher hieroglyphics. Hope to Wall Street bankers and politicians, to the masters of war and commerce, is not practical. It is gibberish. It means nothing.

I cannot promise you fine weather or an easy time. I cannot assure you that thousands will converge on Lafayette Park in solidarity. I cannot pretend that being handcuffed is pleasant. I cannot say that anyone in Congress or the White House, anyone in the boardrooms of the corporations that cannibalize our nation, will be moved by pity to act for the common good. I cannot tell you these wars will end or the hungry will be fed. I cannot say that justice will roll down like a mighty wave and restore our nation to sanity. But I can say this: If we resist and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished. If all we accomplish is to assure a grieving mother in Baghdad or Afghanistan, a young man or woman crippled physically and emotionally by the hammer blows of war, that he or she is not alone, our resistance will be successful. Hope cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen.

Any act of rebellion, any physical defiance of those who make war, of those who perpetuate corporate greed and are responsible for state crimes, anything that seeks to draw the good to the good, nourishes our souls and holds out the possibility that we can touch and transform the souls of others. Hope affirms that which we must affirm. And every act that imparts hope is a victory in itself.

Also from Auden:

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.” More information on the Dec. 16 protest can be found at www.stopthesewars.org.

All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Art Laffin Speaking is Germany Against Death Penalty.

Dear Friends,   
For the last three years, I have been invited by the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio (CSE) to take part in the "World Day of Cities for Life/Cities Against the Death Penalty Campaign" and speak about my experience as a murder victim family member. In 2007 I visited Italy, in 2008 I went to Spain and in 2009 I travelled to Mozambique. These trips were extraordinary faith-filled experiences. This year, from November 27 - December 4,  I have been invited to speak in Germany. I am especially grateful to my wife, Colleen, and son Carlos, to community member Kathy Boylan, and to all the extended Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community, for their support of me being able to make this trip at this time. And, as always, I am grateful to each of you for your heartfelt prayers. 
I can't believe that eleven years have passed since brother Paul was murdered. As I travel to Germany I carry Paul with me. I also ask you to continue to pray with me for healing for Dennis Soutar, who remains in a Connecticut prison hospital for killing Paul. 
Tragically, over 2,000 people were executed worldwide last year, and over 17,000 people currently await execution in various countries. Last year there were 52 executions in the U.S. I have been invited to Germany to share my story as a murder victim family member who opposes the death penalty and speak about Gospel Nonviolence.  I will be sharing with different groups, including young people, in several cities, including Munich and Berlin, and participate in a big "Cities for Life" event on November 30. There will be events in nearly 1,300 cities, including 62 capitals and 83 countries this November 30 to call for worldwide abolition of the death penalty. (See below info about the Cities For Life Campaign and sites for events in the U.S.) Thankfully, 95 countires and 15 states in the U.S. no longer have the death penalty. The Cities for Life Campaign is but one of many efforts to help bring about total worldwide abolition of state-sanctioned murder.

At this time of Thanksgiving, and as we approach the holy season of Advent, let us give thanks to God for the miracle of life, for the gift of one another, and for the countless blessings we have been given. And let us pray for each other, that we can deepen our commitment to stand for life wherever it is threatened. Let us seek to make the Word flesh in all we do as we strive to be Jesus´peace and justice makers in our violent yet still beautiful world.

With all my love,
 Cities For Life: throughout the world 1200 CITIES FOR LIFE, light a monument as a symbol against death penalty. They thus declare their participation to the initiative "NO JUSTICE WITHOUT LIFE"

Cities For Life

30th november

On November 30, 2009, more than 60 capitals and about 1200 cities in 81 countries of the world gave life to the eighth World Day of Cities for Life, with mobilizations, rallies, sit-ins, shows, public gatherings in schools and universities, and official commitment by municipalities and citizens councils. Each city that joins in this initiative makes available, as a “live logo,its main monument which comes “alive” because of different lighting, and as the subject of film shows which underline the engagement and the dialogue with the citizens for a world without capital punishment.

 The International Day, Cities for Life/Cities Against the Death Penalty, represents the greatest worldwide contemporary mobilization to point to a higher and more civil form of justice, capable of definitely renouncing capital punishment. It is an important opportunity to establish a dialogue with the civil societies and to promote the participation of the administrators in a process of abolition of the death penalty, capable of becoming a constant practice and an identifying character of the city that joins and of its citizens. In this way, opportunities of participation are also opened to vast layers of the civil society in areas where the death penalty is practiced, strengthening the initiative of activists and local organizations within an international network.

The invitation to the various cities to join the Cities for Life initiative and the responsibility for the initiatives is open to the collaboration of all the abolitionist subjects in the world. In addition to the Community of Sant’Egidio, the initiatives can be enlivened by the humanitarian organizations and by the most committed activists city by city. It is an opportunity to awaken all the people in general and more specialized groups (students, teachers, jurists, opinion leaders, administrators, witnesses and  the press).

The organization of the event for the ninth time, November 30, 2010, is under way. The general, global title has been consolidated over time in the message “No Justice Without Life.” The initiatives are concentrated on November 29-30 with the objective of fostering a permanent and organic participation of all the administrations of the city. The cities which participate in “Cities for Life” have at their disposal in the website a space where they can put on-line their initiatives for the campaign (lighting of monuments, public events, lectures, theater shows, etc.) and link their pages with those on other sites. In order to have one’s own city invited to participate in Cities Against the Death Penalty, it is possible to contact the coordination secretary (abolition@santegidio.org; info@citiesforlife.net) and have access to the already existing materials for mobilization and communication (films, declarations and invitations to international witnesses) and be informed about the various initiatives in the world in order to be able to suggest a list of initiatives and actions to those who want to get involved and to those in charge of cities.



Baltimore Activist Alert - Part 1

Baltimore Activist Alert Nov. 29 – Dec. 17, 2010


"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours.

The initiative to stop it must be ours." -Martin Luther King Jr.


Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center.  Go to www.baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com.  If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.  Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at] verizon.net.


The Baltimore IndyMedia Center publicizes peace-related events. Go to http://www.radicalendar.org/group/_baltimore.


1] Books, buttons and stickers

2] Web site for info on federal legislation

3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists  

4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLA  

5] Used stamps for humanitarian causes

6] Bring the World Home continues    

7] Cease violence contest through Dec. 6/event Dec. 10

8] You can buy Shiori’s book of poetry – which is available Dec. 15

9] “Freedom’s Sisters exhibit – through Jan. 17

10] Protest FBI raids – Nov. 29 – Dec. 3

11] Protest at Unemployment Office – Nov. 29

12] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Nov. 29 – Dec. 2

13] Protest the death penalty – Nov. 29           

14] CASE benefit – Nov. 29

15] International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People -- Nov. 29

16] Pledge of Resistance meeting – Nov. 29

17] Free shipping for online auction items – Nov. 29

18] Call-In to Save Social Security – Nov. 30

19] Lobby against military spending – Nov. 30

20] Peace in Colombia – Nov. 30

21] Death penalty forum – Nov. 30

22] War Is Not the Answer demo – Nov. 30


24] Philadelphia peace vigil – Dec. 1

25] Chestnut Hill, PA vigil – Dec. 1

26] Release Prisoner of Conscience – Dec. 1           


1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him

at 410-366-1637.


2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/.  Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/.

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR].  It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed.  It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq.


To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to donmuller@msn.com.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  


THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe.  It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing.  To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to ncnrnotices-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. You will get a confirmation message once subscribed.  If you have problems, please write to the list manager at ncnrnotices-admin@lists.riseup.net.


4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA Café Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale.  For more details and to download the order form, go to http://friendsoflatinamerica.typepad.com/hocofola/2010/02/hocofola-cafe-quetzal-order-form-2010.html.


Be sure you indicate ground (G) or bean (B) for each type of coffee ordered. Make the check out to HoCoFoLA and send it with your order form to Nancy Meier, 10 Pepperdine Circle, Catonsville, MD 21228.  Contact Pat McLaine at 410-964-0960 or pamcl@aol.com.  The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up.


5] – Brad Hathaway spearheads an effort to sell donated used stamps to raise money for different humanitarian causes around the world. Go to www.mattapoisettquakers.org, and click the link for the stamp ministry.  Carefully clip canceled postage stamps and send to Quaker Missions, PO Box 795, Mattapoisett, MA 02739. Send no small flag stamps or Liberty Bell Forever stamps.


6] – Catch the "Bringing the World Home" exhibit in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps!  The exhibit is in the UMBC Library Rotunda through the end of the semester and consists of 5 display cases featuring photos and artifacts from UMBC's faculty, staff and students who have served in the Peace Corps, including many current and alumni Shriver Peaceworker Fellows.  The center case features pieces from the Peace Corps founding era (a tribute to Sarge Shriver!) and the surrounding case highlight experiences from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and the AmericasThere is no formal "opening,” but mark Tues., Nov.16 from 7 to 9 PM in your calendars for the "Practical Idealist Evening" event in the Library during which the exhibit will be featured.  If you are coming from off campus, give Joby Taylor a call at (410) 455-6398, and he will give you a tour.


7] – Shiori was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1951 on August 15, six years after the day the initial announcement of Japan's surrender to the Allies was made, the official end of World War II. She describes herself as hapa, half-American, and half-Japanese— the child of the enemy amor.  In her first chapbook collection of poetry from Finishing Line Press, the debut author weaves memoir and historical record into a lyrical and moving portrait of post-war immigration to the United States. Shiori’s work has appeared in many publications, and she has won several awards including Thomas Merton poetry prizes.


Finishing Line Press is a poetry publisher based in Georgetown, Kentucky, and the Chapbook Series will be published on Dec. 3.  However, early orders can be made by ordering online at http://www.finishinglinepress.com/ or directly from the publisher [$12, check or money order] at Finishing Line Books, PO Box 1626, Georgetown, KY  40324. Email finishingbooks@aol.com or call 859-514-8360.  You may also contact Kathleen Hellen at khe1721111@aol.com or khellen@coppin.edu.


8] – Now through Dec. 6, Baltimore City and County School Students who submit an essay, poetry, or artwork for the David B. Wright Memorial Foundation, Inc. “Cease Violence / Increase Education Campaign” will be entered to win a Holiday Gift Card! To participate email SHAWNTE WRIGHT at snjwright@gmail.com.  The Selected Student's Essay Winners will win a $100 card by Mon., Dec. 20.  Submitted materials will not be returned and will be kept by the David B. Wright Memorial Foundation, Inc. for future displays.  At the DBWMF, INC. Holiday Event on Fri., Dec. 10 from 6 to 10 PM, families and students can enjoy an evening of essay/poetry reading, art and culture and fitness dancing! Essay Winners will be Announced! The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students. Register at www.DavidBWrightMemorialFoundation.org. Local business sponsors and vendors are needed! Call 443-438-5302.


9] – Catch the exhibit at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture, 830 Pratt St.—“Freedom’s Sisters,” which runs through Jan. 17.  Twenty remarkable African-American women are profiled, including Coretta Scott King.  Call 443-263-1800 or go to www.africanamericanculture.org.


10] – The National Coalition against FBI raids has called for a week of actions from Mon., Nov. 29 through Fri., Dec. 3 aimed at Congress.   Email DCLiberties@lists2.democracyinaction.org. 


11] – PROTEST at the Unemployment Office, Eutaw & Preston Sts., on Mon., Nov. 29 from 5 to 6:30 PM.  Congress Must Take Emergency Action and EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS NOW and No Cut Offs in Benefits.  If Congress fails to act by Nov. 30, 800,000 people unable to find work will lose the critical help that keeps a roof over their heads and food on the table.  By the end of the year, 2 million jobless will be without help and another 1 million a month will lose their benefits beginning next year.  Baltimore and Prince George's County have been especially impacted by the crisis.  The Black and Latino communities along with youth have suffered disproportionately.  The unemployment rate for Black youth is close to 50% and Baltimore City's unemployment rate is 14-16%.  The protest is called by the Balto/Maryland Peoples Assembly.  Call Job Is A Right Campaign at 410-218-4835.


12] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 PM on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at www.weaa.org.   The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to steinershow@gmail.com. All shows are also available as podcasts at www.steinershow.org . 


13] – There is usually a vigil to abolish the death penalty every Monday from 5 to 6 PM, outside the prison complex and across the street from Maryland’s Super Max Prison, at the corner of Madison Ave. and Fallsway in Baltimore.  Recently death row was moved out of Baltimore, but it was decided to continue the vigil. The next one is scheduled for Mon., Nov. 29.  Call 410-366-1637.


14] – Join with other Marylanders in a push to repeal the death penalty in the newly-elected General Assembly on Mon., Nov. 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Lord Baltimore Hotel (Radisson Plaza), 20 West Baltimore St., hosted by Maryland Case. The hotel entrance is on N. Hanover St., and parking validation available. Garage entrance is at Lombard and S. Hanover Sts. under federal Building.  Exit garage to Baltimore St., and hotel is across the street.  Tickets available on-line at www.mdcase.org or call 301-779-5230.  Tickets range from $150 to $1,000, and these are tax-deductible donations. Email info@mdcase.org. 

15] – On Mon., Nov. 29 commemorate International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People from 7 to 9 PM at George Washington Univ., Continental Ballroom, Marvin Center.  The theme is Breaking the Siege and New Horizons: BDS, Universal Jurisdiction, and Direct Action.  Join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Badil and Students for Justice in Palestine. Email USCAMPAIGN@ENDTHEOCCUPATION.ORG or go to WWW.ENDTHEOCCUPATION.ORG.


16] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM, and the meetings now take place at Max’s residence.  The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 29.  The agenda will include a discussion of bringing David Swanson to Baltimore, the FBI raids and helping out veterans suffering from combat stress.  Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at verizon.net for directions.  


17] – If you place a bid on an item before MIDNIGHT TONIGHT [Mon., Nov. 29] in Casa Baltimore/Limay's online auction, and if you win the bid in the end, you'll get FREE SHIPPING on the item within the 48 contiguous US states. It will be shipped at the most economical rate - you can pay the difference if you prefer a different method.  Look at the auction site NOWAfter midnight tonight, you will be charged for shipping costs.  Ten additions are now on the auction site at www.BiddingForGood.com/CBL . These include the following:


- Three colorful ceramic plates by the celebrated Jose Ortiz - some people collect every plate he designs.

- Signed posters by internationally renowned Nicaraguan painters Armando Morales and Leoncio Saenz, and two unsigned poster reproductions by other excellent painters

- Three beautiful Nicaraguan pottery jars, etched and painted - one of indigenous women, another of frogs on a background of leaves, and a third of parrots in trees.

Please donate items or services to the auction to help the flood victims of Limay? Cash donations are also welcome, as are auction sponsorships. Just click on the relevant button on the home page, at www.BiddingForGood.com/CBL .


18] – Keep Social Security Safe.  The Co-Chairs of the president’s Deficit Commission have proposed deep cuts to Social Security under the guise of reducing the budget deficit. They want to cut benefits for middle-class workers and reduce annual Cost of Living Adjustments. On top of that, they want to increase the retirement age to 69. Stop them by joining on Tues., Nov. 30 the National Call-In Day to say “No!” to Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 800-962-3524 or 202-224-3121. and contact them directly.  When you call, tell them: Gutting Social Security will not reduce the budget deficit. Social Security is funded separately, from employee contributions. It is entirely self-sufficient—even at today’s retirement age and funding levels—until 2037.


19] – On Tues., Nov. 30, Progressive Democrats of America is hosting a lobby day to call for a huge decrease in the military budget as a way of protecting Social security and Medicare.  If you can participate email conor@pdamerica.org.  Join activists in the Rayburn Building, Room 2226, at 10 AM to get packets to tell members of Congress directly to keep their hands off Social Security and Medicare.  If the Deficit Commission were serious about reducing the deficit they would look to a single-payer health care system that would save $400 billion annually on the national level, cutting the military budget or taxing the rich.  Remind them we need jobs, clean energy and restoration of voting rights.  Contact Andrea Miller at amiller6210@gmail.com.


20] – On Tues., Nov. 30 from 4:30 to 6 PM, the Washington Office on Latin America, 1666 Connecticut Ave. NW, will host a discussion about Curvaradó: Afro-Colombian and Mestizo's Proposals for Peace.  The armed conflict between the Colombian armed forces and insurgent groups continues to influence civilians' lives and their livelihoods.  In the face of these major obstacles, the returned IDP communities of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó, with support from the Inter-Church Commission of Justice and Peace and unarmed physical accompaniment of PBI, continue to resist displacement, construct peace and promote nonviolence with their "humanitarian and biodiverse" zones models.


21] – Join with other Marylanders in a push to repeal the death penalty in the newly-elected General Assembly on Tues., Nov. 30 at 5 PM at Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Road, Largo MD, at the Rennie Forum in the Largo Student Center, for a screening of "Race to Execution.” The film reveals how, beyond DNA and the issue of innocence, the shameful open secret of America's capital punishment system is a matter of race.


Then at 7 PM, MD Citizens Against State Executions and the Prince George's Branch of the NAACP present a Forum on the Death Penalty with Rev. Wayne Price, Center for True Justice and Healing, Ron Hampton, National Black Police Association, Elbridge James, NAACP, Maryland State Conference of Branches, and Margery Patten, member of State Board on Victims Services, and Beth Wood, Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation.  Go to www.mdcase.org or call 301-779-5230. Email info@mdcase.org.   


22] – There is a vigil to say "War Is Not the Answer" each Tuesday since September 11, 2001 at 4806 York Road. Join this ongoing vigil.  The next vigil is Nov. 30 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.


23] – You are invited to a Book Party for HANDS ON THE FREEDOM PLOW: Personal Accounts of Women in SNCC on Tues., Nov. 30 at 7 PM 2640 St. Paul St. [St. John’s].  This is a book Betty Robinson has been working on with 5 other women for 15 years.  It is already in its second printing and is a collection of 54 stories of women who were in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  At least four of the editors will be on hand. Red Emma’s will be selling the book @ 20% off. Email bettygrobinson@gmail.com.


24] – Each Wednesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the House of Grace Catholic Worker holds a weekly vigil for peace in Iraq outside the Phila. Federal Building, 6th & Market Sts. The next vigil is Dec. 1. Call 215-426-0364.


25] – Each Wednesday, the Northwest Greens hold a peace vigil from 7 to 8 PM outside the Borders Book Store, Germantown Ave. at Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill, PA. The next vigil is Nov. 10. Call 215-843-4256 or email nwgreens@yahoo.com.


26] -- On Wed., Dec. 1, 12:30-1:30 PM, Amnesty International will hold its monthly demonstration calling for the release of Prisoner of Conscience Filep Karma.  The demonstration is at the Indonesian Embassy, 2020 Massachusetts Ave., NW, near Dupont Circle. Go to http://www.amnestyusa.org/individuals-at-risk/priority-cases/indonesia-filep-karma-and-yusak-pakage/page.do?id=1101238Arrested on Dec. 1, 2004, Karma is in prison for his participation in a peaceful flag-raising ceremony to commemorate Papuan independence.  Visit http://etan.org/action/action4/32alert.htm.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs