Category Archives: The Obama Administration

Demand Obama Administration Respect UPR Process

   
CALL TO ACTION: Demand Obama Administration Respect UPR Process, Adopt UN UPR Recommendation to Release U.S. Political Prisoners!

 
Atlanta, GA, – The U.S. Human Rights Network Political Prisoner/State Repression Working Group (USHRN PP/SR Wkg Grp) demands the Obama Administration adopt the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations to release COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era political activists held in U.S. prisons, some more than 40 years.  
 
“The UPR shed global light on the United States’ dirty little open secret and propelled to the forefront the unfinished business of the modern U.S. Civil/Human Rights movement.   “We are working with activists across the country to put  America’s political prisoners on the global human rights priority list alongside other atrocities like the death penalty, racial discrimination, the absence of treaty ratification  and the lack of a national institution monitoring domestic human rights practices” Efia Nwangaza said. 

Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State dismissed the significance of  the recommendations made by the Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in generally and, specifically, the call for the release of long imprisoned political activists.  Harold Koh, put the more than 230 recommendations into “3 categories:
 
1) Some in line with US policies
 
2) Some political provocation not to be taken seriously
 
3) Some to be considered.
 
Koh promised “all recommendations will be considered and taken back to branches for consideration before March, 2011. Further Koh remarked, “A small set of comments do not make bona fide recommendations for the UPR. These statements, those styled as “recommendations,” are actually political criticisms of U.S. policies or polemical comments about judicial cases, based on unsubstantiated or false allegations, which refer to individual matters that are either ongoing or already completed under court proceedings conducted under due process of law.”
 
1. We call on President Obama to use his presidential powers to grant clemency and commute the sentences to time served and release all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era political activists criminalized and held in federal custody.
 
2. We call on President Obama to direct U.S.  Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice to review the convictions of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody to identify and address civil and human rights violations perpetrated.
 
3. We call on the Obama Administration to create a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the release and compensation of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody.
 
Demand the Obama Administration Respect the UPR Process and Adopt UN UPR Recommendation to Release U.S. Political Prisoners (Recommendations  Numbers 92.153 and 92.154). Please call, fax, write, e-mail, the U.S. UPR Delegation and the Obama Administration to  Invite family, friends, neighbors, faith communities, social and professional organizations and elected and appointed officials to join this emergency campaign.
 
Contact information: 
Michael H. Posner, Asst. Secretary of State (Democracy, Human Rights and Labor) T: 202-647-2126/F:202-647-5283/E: PosnerMH@state.gov
 
Esther Brimmer, Asst. Secretary of State (T:202-647-4000/F: /E: )
 
Harold Koh, Legal Adviser to State Department (T:202-647-4000   /F:/E:)
 
Samuel Bagenstos, Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General (Civil Rights Division) T:202-353-9065/F:202-3072572/E: samuel.bagenstos@usdoj.gov 
 
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General (T: 202-514-2001/F:E:AskDOJ@usdoj.gov)
 
President Barack Obama (T:202-456-1414/ 202-456-1111     /F: 202-456-2461/E: )
 
The US Human Rights Network formed to promote US accountability to universal human rights standards by building linkages between organizations and individuals. We strive to build a human rights culture in the United States that puts those directly affected by such violations, with a special emphasis on grassroots organizations and social movements, in central leadership roles. The Network is further committed to uniting the US human rights movement with the broader social justice movements both in the U.S. and globally. See U.S. Human Rights Network Reports to the UPR Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/upr_reports.
 
Contact ushrnpp@gmail.com and firestormpp@gmail.com to report the number of e-mails and letters mailed/faxed.  Many thanks.  FREE ALL U.S. POLITICAL PRISONERS, NOW!
 

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Filed under Actions, American History, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Friends & Comrades, Human Rights, Law Enforcement, Obama Administration, Police Abuse|Brutality|Killings, Political Ideology, Protest, The Obama Administration, white supremacy, Work of Comrades

BOMB PLANT NEWS | FOIA Documents Show Plan to Pursue Experimental Nuclear Reactors at Savannah River Site without Required NRC Licenses

Documents Reveal Reactors Could Be Fueled by Radioactive Fuel Reprocessed at SRS, Leading to More Importation of Dangerous High-Level Radioactive Waste into South Carolina

 
Documents obtained by Friends of the Earth under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a private contractor plans to pursue  experimental nuclear reactors without licensing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even though such licensing is required by law.
 
The revelation that two prototype “small modular reactors” are being pursued by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the private contractor that manages the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina, “in advance of any design certification and licensing by the NRC” has drawn the charge from Friends of the Earth that such a move does not comply with pertinent U.S. regulations and must be dropped.
 
“We call on Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and the Department of Energy (DOE) to immediately affirm that no experimental nuclear reactors will be pursued in South Carolina without the required license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” said Tom Clements, Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth.  “Construction of ‘small modular reactors’ that are not licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would violate U.S. law as well as endanger the public and we will strongly oppose any attempt to avoid required licensing of such reactors.”  
 
Small modular reactors are being pursued by various companies but at present only exist as concepts. Although such reactors would be smaller than those currently operating, modular reactors would still produce nuclear waste and pose the same safety and proliferation problems of larger reactors. Licensing discussions between at least one firm and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have begun.
 
On January 7 Friends of the Earth obtained two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) related to two different small modular reactors. The memoranda were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request to the Savannah River Site.  The memoranda, related to the “Hyperion SMR” (signed August 2010) and the “GE-Hitachi PRISM SMR” (signed September 2010) designs, both state that “[the U.S. Department of Energy] would assume responsibility for regulating the design, construction, and operation of a PRISM prototype under DOE’s existing authority as codified in l0 CFR 830, in advance of any design certification and licensing by the NRC.” 
 
The federal Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, which created the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Energy Research and Development Administration (now DOE), requires NRC licensing of a nuclear reactor “when operated in any other manner for the purpose of demonstrating the suitability for commercial application of such a reactor.”  Thus, unless the projects are pursued exclusively by the Department of Energy with no private involvement, Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing is mandated.
 
“In order to avoid required regulation, it appears that the Savannah River Site is trying to manipulate things so that requirements of the Energy Reorganization  Act are avoided, but that will be impossible to do,” said Clements.  “In addition, the private firm that intends to construct these experimental reactors appears poised to try to force taxpayers to pick up the cost. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions must pay for its own activities. Friends of the Earth calls on DOE and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and its partners to demonstrate that 100 percent of the funding for any experimental reactors will come from private sources and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will play the role required by law.”
 
The Department of Energy, which is not a party to the memoranda and which is generally not regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, would have to take over and finance 100 percent of the projects if they were to go forward as proposed in the MOUs.  Friends of the Earth believes that the private companies developing the experimental reactors, which are only concepts at this point, must provide 100 percent of the financing, but even partial private financing would still trigger the requirement that licensing be carried out by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  
 
The Hyperion memorandum, signed for the Savannah River National Laboratory by Garry Flowers, President and CEO of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, also states that the fuel for the Hyperion reactor could come from commercial reprocessing in the H-Canyon reprocessing plant, an idea that is already stirring controversy and which may be impossible to pursue as the H-Canyon may be placed on stand-by due to budget constraints. Clements of Friends of the Earth and many members of the public spoke out against use of the H-Canyon facility for commercial reprocessing R&D before a January 7 meeting in Augusta, Georgia of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future as such R&D and full-scale reprocessing could lead to commercial radioactive spent fuel being dumped at SRS.  Clements affirms that environmental and public interest groups will fight against SRS from becoming the new Yucca Mountain.
 
Likewise, the PRISM memorandum states that the Savannah River Site plutonium fuel (MOX) facility, now under construction, could be used to fabricate the first fuel for the reactor, which is in direct contradiction to pledges by the Energy Department that the facility would not be used for missions beyond fabricating surplus weapons plutonium into MOX fuel for existing light-water reactors.  (That program is in trouble as the Energy Department has failed to identify reactors to use the MOX fuel and the facility could end up could end up sitting idle.  A multi-year MOX testing program will be required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission even if reactors are identified, and the Energy Department was unable to outline the details of such a testing program during a public tour of the Savannah River Site on January 6, 2011, in parallel with a tour by the presidential Blue Ribbon Commission.)
 
As an indication that some are thinking of SRS as the new Yucca Mountain, in a SRNS presentation to the SRS Citizens Advisory Board on September 29, 2010 entitled SRS Energy Park – Vision and Implementing Concepts, the SMRs are pitched as part of a “potential alternative to Yucca Mountain.” 
 
Contrary to the approach presented by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions in the two memoranda, the Tennessee Valley Authority is pursuing an mPower “small modular reactor” and has recently revealed that it plans to seek a construction license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  But like other small modular reactors, the mPower reactor is but a concept this point and faces a host of technical and licensing hurdles.
 

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F.B.I. Searches Antiwar Activists’ Homes | Walter Lippmann

 
[CubaNews] October 05, 2010

Dear Friends –
 
Please read this note carefully, and, if you agree with the thrust of what it’s saying, copy and post it to any other lists where you can.
 
Thanks in advance.
 
The Grand Jury is being convened in Chicago tomorrow. All the help we can generate to protest this can only be helpful.
 
Last week, activists in many US cities joined in public protests against FBI raids targetting anti-war activists in several mid-western cities. I joined something like 100 people here at the Federal Building in downtown L.A. on Tuesday evening, along with a broad representation of left activists. Here’s a report from that demonstration:
 
http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs3105.html  This extremely important story has been largely, but not entirely blanked out of the national media. Amy Goodman covered it in an extensive way on DEMOCRACY NOW, and the left and alternative press has given good coverage, but the dominant corporate media has given it minimal play.
 
Though people who are active specifically around Cuba weren’t targeted THIS time, we must always keep in mind that Washington, which has sponsored or turned a blind eye to terrorist attacks against Cuba, has characterized Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism”. This has a wide array of consequences, not least of which is that anyone who wishes to bring about normalization of US relations with Cuba, and end to the US blockade, or takes a stand politically in favor of the Cuban Revolution could be targeted just as were the folks in the Mid-West. They have had their homes invaded, their property seized, and been called before the grand jury tomorrow in Chicago.
 
Fidel Castro has been writing about Colombia and about the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in recent years, and most recently just a few days ago.
 
Recall the recent Colombian government attack on a key FARC base, which resulted in the death of its military commander. President Obama publicly congratulated the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, for a job well done.
Thus the timing of these raids, at a time when protest against US foreign policy is urgently needed, underscores the importance of the right to protest here in the United States. Similarly, the removal of Piedad Cordoba from her Colombian Senate seat, BANNED FROM OFFICE FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS, though no criminal charges have been filed against her, should help everyone to understand the importance of democratic rights broadly. Her constituents have thus been denied political representation, just by decision of some official of the Colombian government.
 
 Fidel Castro: Piedad Cordoba and Her Fight for Peace
http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/reflexiones/2010/ing/c300910i.html
 
 
PRI’S “THE WORLD: Colombian senator “collaborated” with FARC
By The World ⋅ October 4, 2010

http://www.theworld.org/2010/10/04/colombian-senator-collaborated-with-farc/
 
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression, uniting diverse voices opposed to the raids and the threats to the civil liberties of all, has been formed and has called a range of actions demanding and end to the attacks. Several items will follow this one. All make essentially the same point: An injury to one is an injury to all. Stop the raids, end the repression, and file no charges. It’s not illegal to protests US foreign policy.  While the US government says it’s trying to bring democracy to the world, it’s actively working to thwart the expression of democratic rights here
in these United States of America.
 
When I called the White House, I spoke, after a very short wait, with a volunteer who said she would take my comment, but not my name, and see to it that the President receives notice of the expression of opinion. Let’s hope many call.
 
The Grand Jury convenes in Chicago tomorrow, so the more who call, the more can public opposition be made manifest. This could help press the government to draw back.

WALTER LIPPMANN
    Los Angeles, California
    Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
   
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/

    “Cuba – Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo”

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Filed under American Progressive Politics, anti-war, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Criminal Justice, Human Rights, Latin America and The Caribbean, Middle East, Obama Administration, Palestine | Israel, Peace, Protest, The Obama Administration, Work of Comrades

Talking Joint Political Strategy @ 2010 US Social Forum

Green Party & Progressive Democrat Leaders, Community Organizers and Others Talk Joint Political Strategy @ US Social Forum – June 24th 

2010 US Social Forum

Five organizations have collaborated to organize a “progressive strategy dialogue” at the United States Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan. The dialogue will be one of 50 People’s Movement Assemblies during the USSF. It will take place on Thursday afternoon, June 24th, from 1 to 5:30 pm in Cobo Hall, room W2-67.

The dialogue was initiated by the Independent Progressive Politics Network, which has organized similar dialogues a number of times over the past decade. Co-sponsors are the Green Party of the United States, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, Progressive Democrats of America and the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy.

Three major issues will be addressed:

  • What can be done to stimulate independent, grassroots activism around key issues like unemployment, the housing crisis, racial justice, the climate crisis, corporate control of elections, immigrant rights, war and empire and universal health care;
  • An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as far as the building of a popular progressive movement; and,
  • How to develop a “united progressives” network that brings together Greens and other third party activists, progressive Democrats, and labor, community and issue-based organizers into an on-going, independent, progressive alternative to our corporate-dominated political system.

Among those participating in this dialogue:

  • Tim Carpenter, executive director, Progressive Democrats of America
  • David Cobb, leader of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, Green Party 2004 Presidential candidate
  • Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States
  • Ted Glick, co-founder of the Climate Crisis Coalition
  • Kevin Alexander Gray, South Carolina community organizer and author
  • Logan Martinez, leader of National Jobs for All
  • Brent McMillan, executive director, Green Party of the United States
  • Sandra Rivers, education activist, former Harlem, N.Y. school board member
  • Jerome Scott, leader of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America
  • Laura Wells, Green Party of California gubernatorial candidate

 All USSF attendees are welcome to take part in this dialogue.

For more information contact George Friday – ippn@igc.org    704-691-3627

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Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def and More Jam for Gulf Aid

“It Ain’t My Fault”

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Filed under Environmental, Movement & Message Music, NOLA, Obama Administration, The Bush Administration, The Obama Administration

The New Colossus | by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus, 18491887

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Filed under American History, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, Immigrant Rights, Obama Administration, The Obama Administration, Uncategorized, white supremacy

Georgia and South Carolina Community Leaders discuss halting work on Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Disposal Site

Georgia and South Carolina Community Leaders Hold Press Conference to Discuss Decision to Halt Work on Yucca Mountain Permanent Nuclear Waste Repository

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 –  National Press Club,  Washington, DC

Available via webcast at www.visualwebcaster.com/Finish-Yucca-Mountain | <http://www.visualwebcaster.com/Finish-Yucca-Mountain>.
      _____________________________________________________________

“The Federal Government’s decision to halt work on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository represents a betrayal of trust by the Department of Energy (DOE) with communities where high-level defense waste and commercial spent fuel are currently stored.

That is the message being delivered to the Department of Energy by  more than 40 community leaders from five counties around DOE’s  Savannah River Site near Aiken, SC, at a Washington, DC press  conference on April 28.  These elected officials and business leaders  represent counties in both Georgia and South Carolina. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions, Environmental, Nuclear bombs, Nuclear materials, Nuclear waste, Nuclear weapons, Obama Administration, South Carolina Politics, The Obama Administration, Uncategorized