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January 2011
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Dear Reader,

"The Empire Strikes Back" especially on the Bradley Manning case along with the WikiLeaks saga. But more troublesome are the subpoenas given to antiwar activists. In the "FBI Targets Midwest Activists" article in this issue of Green Politics, we give web sites where you can show your support.

There were many demonstrations throughout Europe in the fall, continuing into winter. We picked the ones in Greece where people fought back gallantly, an inspiration to us all. We have given the web page of the United National Antiwar Committee, where you can find out where the next demonstrations will be happening this spring here in the U.S.

Once again Don Fitz has written an informative article on how healthcare in Cuba has not only transformed Cuban medical care but has become a catalyst in the developing world with the Latin American School of Medicine training future doctors from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. As one participant put it, "It is a reflection of what can be done with medicine. We must attempt to have a revolutionary project in the Capitalist world."

We all sit behind our computers to click on to the latest information, perhaps sign online petitions, and/or give money to our favorite causes. This is great and we at Green Politics encourage all our readers to participate in this way. However, sometimes we have to get up, leave our computers, pick up a placard and get out in the streets. We have been quiet for too long.

Don’t forget to give us your ideas and suggestions for Green Politics articles, and news about your community.

You can reach us at http://www.greenparty.org/newsletter/contact_us.php.

In solidarity
The Print Collective

Phil Ardery, Jr
Barbara Chicherio
Devin Ceartas
Elizabeth Fattah
Wes Wagar

Cuba Trains Doctors, Fights Racism in Health Care

By Don Fitz

[Editors' Note: Author Don Fitz produces Green Time TV in St. Louis, Missouri, and is General Editor of Synthesis/Regeneration: A Magazine of Green Social Thought, which is sent to members of The Greens/Green Party USA. He can be reached at fitzdon@aol.com.]

In 1999, the Latin American School of Medicine, ELAM (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina) opened its doors near Havana. With their educational costs covered by Cuba, students focus on learning how to practice medicine in underserved communities.

ELAM pre-medical students Lorine Auma from Kenya and Yell Eric from the African island country of Sao Tome Principe. Thousands of international students who graduate from ELAM return home to careers in preventive medicine and community health. Photos by Don Fitz.

Cuba's economy is a tiny fraction of those in the West. Economic indicators suggest that Cuba is a developing country; but, by health care standards, it is a developed country. The building block of Cuban medical care is the neighborhood consultorio, which provides basic care to about 150 families. Its primary health care model focuses on at-risk sectors of the population, such as the very young, the very old and those with common medical problems. It heads off medical crises before they occur.

At the time of the 1959 revolution, Afro-Cubans comprised about 40% of the population and received vastly inferior health care. Medical services were concentrated in the cities, whose residents had more money and were lighter-skinned.

Though the government quickly outlawed overt racial discrimination, unequal access to services is more subtle. The revolutionary goal of full medical care for all benefited millions of Cubans, but especially those in the countryside. The number of rural hospitals went from 1 in 1958 to 54 in 1984. In Cuba, unlike the U.S., today there are virtually no differences in access to medical care by income, ethnicity or rural/urban living.

Read Fitz's entire article here.

War Protestors Arrested in D.C., New Antiwar Rallies Planned for April 9

Veterans for Peace organized and led a December 2010 rally outside the White House, protesting U.S. warmaking in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Washington police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. No major U.S. news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out of the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital’s local daily, the Washington Post.

Rally speakers denounced U.S. government leaders for recruiting poor and unsophisticated American boys and girls to terrorize and kill Asian peasants in the service of corporate wealth. Several independently produced videos of the December 16 D.C. rally are available on the Internet, including this one.

U.S. military spending – Dept. of Defense plus nuclear weapons – is equal to the military spending of the next 15 countries combined.

Veterans for Peace is among the endorsing organizations for new antiwar rallies planned for April 9, 2011. For details on the April rallies, go to http://www.nationalpeaceconference.org.

More than 100,000 Protest in Athens Against EU-Imposed Austerity Measures

Ordinary Greek citizens are protesting the decision by their national government to accede to an austerity regimen imposed by the European Union that will curtail social benefits. Philly Solidarity sent subscribers a link to an article (and street photos) of a December 16, 2010 mobilization in Athens. Read the article and see the photos here.

This placard carried in the December 16 Athens demonstrations says, "They hold the scissors, we hold the rock. General Strike, Dec. 15, 2010. Workers from the book sector."

More demonstrations are expected in the months ahead.

Jury Convicts Peace Activists Protesting U.S. Nuclear Weapons

Concluding a one-week criminal trial in Federal Court, a Washington jury convicted five senior peace activists on charges of trespass, felony damage to Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Bremerton, Washington, felony injury to property and felony conspiracy to damage property. Each defendant faces a possible sentence of up to ten years in prison.

In the trial, the five defendants, identifying themselves with the Plowshares anti-nuclear movement, had argued three points: (1) that the nuclear missiles at Bangor are weapons of mass destruction; (2) that those weapons are both illegal and immoral; and (3) that all citizens have the right and duty to try to stop international war crimes from being committed by these weapons of mass destruction.

Left-to-right, the five Plowshares activists convicted by a Washington jury: Bill "Bix" Bichsel, S.J., Susan Crane, Steve Kelly, S.J., Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, and Lynne Greenwald.

The five admitted from the start that they cut through the chain link fence surrounding the Navy base during the night of the Feast of All Souls, November 2, 2009. They then walked undetected for hours nearly four miles inside the base to the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific (SWFPAC). This top security area is where the Plowshares activists say hundreds of nuclear missiles are stored in bunkers. There they cut through two more barbed wire fences and went inside. They put up two big banners which said "Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident Illegal and Immoral," scattered sunflower seeds, and prayed until they were arrested at dawn. Once arrested, the five were cuffed and hooded with sand bags because the marine in charge testified "when we secure prisoners anywhere in Iraq or Afghanistan we hood them…so we did it to them."

Read a full account of this peace action and the criminal trial here. There's a "Support Us" link at the website for the five activists.

Mike Roselle Interviewed by Mickey Z: Non-Violent Civil Disobedience

As the Plowshares activists (article above) await punishment under U.S. law, others also have stepped forward to act, knowing the potential consequences.

In a Truthout interview with Mickey Z., long-time eco-activist Mike Roselle explains that "It wasn't until I worked in the anti-nuke movement that I came to understand the Nuremberg Principles and the fact that we have obligations to stand up against injustice, not just the right to do so. It's required under international law to oppose the power of corrupt institutions."

Read the interview here.

Pesticide Connection in Bee Populations' Colony Collapse Disorder

Multiple beekeeper and environmental organizations have joined to petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove a pesticide that EPA has been permitting, based on a manufacturer's report now known to be flawed. Clothianidin (product name "Poncho") has been widely used as a seed treatment on many of the country's major crops for eight growing seasons under a "conditional registration" granted after Bayer Crop Science, the pesticide's maker, submitted a field study that found no evidence that the insecticide poses risks to bee colony health.

Honeybee carrying pollen back to its hive. Photograph by Muhammad Mahdi Karim. Permission to use under terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Bayer's field study was the contingency upon which clothianidin's conditional registration was granted in 2003. According to beekeeper Jeff Anderson, who has testified before EPA on the topic, "The Bayer study is fatally flawed. It was an open field study with control and test plots of about 2 acres each. Bees typically forage at least 2 miles out from the hive, so it is likely they didn't ingest much of the treated crops. And corn, not canola, is the major pollen-producing crop that bees rely on for winter nutrition. This is a critical point because we see hive losses mainly after over-wintering, so there is something going on in these winter cycles. It's as if they designed the study to avoid seeing clothianidin's effects on hive health."

Clothianidin already has been banned in Germany, Italy, and France, based on scientific findings.

Read the petition to EPA and see the list of petition sponsors here.

Pfc. Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks

The September 2009 edition of Green Politics included an article alerting readers to the plight of Private First-Class Bradley Manning, imprisoned in the wake of WikiLeaks disclosures of war crimes committed or covered up by U.S. government officials.

Arrested in May 2010 and not yet convicted or even formally charged by the Army, Manning lives under a confinement regime that includes pronounced social isolation and a complete lack of opportunities for meaningful exercise. Additionally, Army guards routinely interrupt Manning's sleep.

A news and support page for Bradley Manning is available at http://www.bradleymanning.org.

Bradley Manning became a target for U.S. government leaders after WikiLeaks published documents for which he was the alleged whistleblower. The media attention to WikiLeaks has now spawned a number of copycat enterprises, which have the potential for bringing to light illicit activities of governments and corporations worldwide.

Here are some of these new sites:

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder now under arrest in Great Britain, has cautioned that launching credible WikiLeaks spinoffs was always difficult, but more difficult now that government and corporate leaders are alert to the possibility. How can a whistleblower trust that a site is not actually operated by the very bad guys the whistleblower wants to expose? How can a legitimate site be sure that materials it receives are not fabrications submitted by government/corporate agents?

The sites listed above, and others to follow, deserve watching and monitoring. In the meantime, one of the greatest acts of support that any of us can lend to Pfc Bradley Manning is -- exercising appropriate caution -- to feed the new leaks outlet industry with any true information we can lay our hands on. Doing that, we may further expose the corruption of those who control the world's weapons and money and who wish to keep their intentions and actions hidden from the rest of us.

FBI Targets Midwest Activists with Grand Jury Subpoenas

Starting with raids on seven homes and an antiwar office on September 24, 2010, the FBI has now handed out subpoenas to more than 20 activists, instructing the activists to appear before a grand jury convened in Chicago. After the initial raids, a spokesman for the FBI in Minneapolis said, "The warrants are seeking evidence in support of an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

A newly formed Committee To Stop FBI Repression has issued these demands:

  • Stop the repression of antiwar and international solidarity activists
  • Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.
  • End the grand jury proceedings against antiwar activists.

One of subpoenaed activists, Maureen Murphy, managing editor of the popular online publication Electronic Intifada, and also co-chair of the Chicago Committee Against Political Repression, has written fellow activists a letter that lists support actions others may take to protest the FBI and Justice Department actions.

Update on Mumia Abu-Jamal

by Michael Schreiber

The 2001 Federal District Court decision that effectively vacated the death sentence pronounced in Mumia Abu-Jamal's 1982 Philadelphia trial may itself be reversed, pending a decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mumia Abu-Jamal. Photograph from http://www.freemumia.org.

The latest legal twists are reported by Michael Shreiber in the December 2010 edition of Socialist Action newspaper. Read Shreiber's article here.

A One-State Solution for Palestine

By Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé

Noam Chomsky and Israeli historian Ilan Pappé have collaborated on a book Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians, published late in 2010 (Haymarket Books). Truthout has excerpted a chapter explaining the authors' support for a "one-state" solution for Palestine.

In arguments advanced in a writing style suitable for book-length treatment – but more deliberate than is customary in e-journal Green Politics – the authors explain the history of the much-promoted but elusive "two-state" solution, and make a one-state solution appear the most promising option for those seeking a peaceful and stable Palestine. They write, "The biggest contemporary obstacle for putting forward the one-state solution as a viable option is that the raison d'être of the 'peace process' of the last forty years is firmly based on the vision of two states. It is so powerful that even some of the bravest and most committed colleagues in the struggle for Palestine endorse it in the name of realpolitik."

Read Truthout's entire excerpt here.

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Georgia Prison Strike

By Bruce A. Dixon

Bruce A. Dixon, Managing Editor of Black Agenda Report and a member of the State Committee of the Georgia Green Party, has written about a strike by prisoners in Georgia. The prisoners are seeking better medical care, more access to their families, educational opportunities and other improvements in prison life.

Dixon writes, "The U.S. has four and half percent of the world's population and nearly twenty five percent of its prisoners. Georgia leads the nation with an astounding one in thirteen of its adult citizens in prisons and jails, or under court and correctional supervision, thanks to innovations like the privatization of misdemeanor probations. When advocating ever-longer sentences becomes a standard campaign tactic for ambitious politicians, when fortunes are made overcharging inmate families for phone calls and raking off ten percent and more of paltry funds families send their loved ones, when prisons become growth industries with their own lobbyists, punishment has become a crime."

Read Dixon's entire article here.

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