Sunday, March 2, 2008

Year 2007: Resistance Against the War Update

Year 2007: Resistance Against the War Update

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I am of the opinion that there has never been a movement in U.S. history with the number of arrests which have taken place in opposition to the Iraq War. The following list of appeals, arrests, and legal cases is not all-inclusive. Please send additions, corrections, and updates to

11—Tacoma, WA: Peter Ryan, Sky Ogawa Cohen, Jesus Lopez, Jesse Schultz III, and Fiona Thompson are scheduled for trial on a charge of failure to disperse while blocking arms shipments going to the port.
23—Tacoma, WA: Wally Cuddeford is scheduled for trial. He was arrested on March 6, 2007 during public comment time in City Council chambers after he condemned police brutality.
16—Washington, DC: Thirty-four peace activists are scheduled for trial on two disorderly conduct charges in Superior Court. They were arrested in a National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance organized die-in at the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 20.
14—Tacoma, WA: Wally Cuddeford, Jeff Berryhill and Caitlan Esworthy are scheduled for trial on a charge of resisting arrest during a blockade of arms shipments going to the port. Berryhill and Cuddeford face the additional charge of assaulting police.
3—WDC: Around 20 protesters will go on trial for crossing a police line on Sept. 15 on the west side of the U.S. Capitol. Close to 200 people were arrested, but the vast majority paid a citation fine.
29—WDC: Beth Adams, Johnny Barber, Ellen Barfield, Michelle Grise, Sherrill Hogen, Kathryn McClanen, Joan Nicholson, and Max Obuszewski are to file their brief with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. They are appealing convictions related to protests on Sept. 26 or 27, 2006.
17—Cedar Rapids, IA: Mona Shaw, Lou Hellwig, Ajax Robert Ehl, Kathy Hall, Megan Felt, Lee Mickey, Nyssa Koons, Brian Shearer, Gloria Williams, Brian Terrell, and Renee Espeland go on trial for trespass. On July 6, they were arrested in Sen. Chuck Grassley's office. Also arrested was David Goodner, but he pled guilty and paid a small fine.
14—Omaha, NE: Peg Gallagher, Fr. Jack McCaslin and Jerry Ebner scheduled for trial, facing a charge of refusal to leave on Oct. 10 during a die-in outside the Strategic Space and Defense Conference.
12—San Diego, CA: Five members of San Diego Civil Disobedients scheduled for trial on a charge of trespass after being arrested in Rep. Susan Davis's office on Sept. 20.
11—WDC: Don Muller, Max Obuszewski, Perry Reeve, and Lynn Robinson file an appeals brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The activists were arrested on the White House sidewalk on Sept. 26, 2005, and later convicted of demonstrating without a permit in three separate trials. The convictions were affirmed by Chief Judge Thomas Hogan. So this appeal goes before the U.S. Court of Appeals. Working with a public defender, the appellants have requested a 60-day extension to file their brief.
5—Denver: Sue Gomez, Arnie Carter and Raphael Egger, who were part of a group of seven who sat in Sen. Ken Salazar's office on Feb. 21, scheduled for trial facing charges of trespass and disturbing the peace. The others, William Watts, Nelson Bock, John Scott Foreman and Claire Ryder, pled guilty and were given time served or community service sentences.
4—Tucson, AZ: Betsy Lamb, Mary Burton Riseley, and Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada are arraigned in federal court, facing charges of criminal trespass on a military installation, conspiracy and failure to comply with a police officer. They were arrested outside the gate of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, AZ on Nov. 18 during a solidarity demonstration with the annual protest at Fort Benning.
4—Burlington, VT: Four antiwar activists are expected to be prosecuted. They were arrested with four others on Oct. 22 while sitting in Rep. Peter Welch's office.
3—Madison, WI: Seven nonviolent peace activists, Cassandra Dixon, Flo Evans, Joy First, Jamie Haack, Janet Parker, Karin Sandvik, and Susan Spahn, go on trial after an arrest in front of Senator Kohl's office on Sept. 7. They were charged with obstructing a sidewalk after putting up crime scene tape around the entrance to the office.
30—Burlington, VT: Thirteen demonstrators were arrested and cited for trespassing at a Army National Guard recruiting office. The protests grew from a campaign by students at Mount Mansfield Union High School in Jericho who object to military recruiters in their school and the requirement that high schools hand over student contact information to the recruiters.
29—Bath, NY: Five activists, who occupied the office of Rep. Randy Kuhl on Aug. 6 and were found guilty of criminal trespass in September, were sentenced. Mark Scibilia-Carver was sent to jail for 30 days when he indicated he could not pay any fine nor perform community service. Ellen Grady, Todd Saddler, Danny Burns, and Chris Tate were ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and to pay $300. However, they informed the judge they would not pay fines or perform community service. He will revisit the matter after four months. The five plan to appeal their convictions.
28—Colorado Springs, Co: Officials dropped charges against Eric Verlo and Elizabeth Fineron who were arrested with five other war protesters while marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade. All seven went on trial in August facing a charge of obstructing a passage or assembly, but there was a hung jury. Immediately afterwards, the city dropped charges against the other five. The seven were marching in the parade under a permit issued to Verlo, but the police removed them because of their antiwar signs. During the arrest, police brutalized Verlo and Fineron.
26—Ann Arbor, MI: Dr. Catherine Wilkerson is scheduled for trial facing two charges: assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer and attempted assaulting/resisting/obstructing a paramedic. The charges are a result of her intervention on Nov. 30, 2006 after she observed a Univ. of Michigan security guard and later a paramedic mistreating a protester. She was not arrested during the protest. However, after she filed a police brutality complaint with City Hall, she was notified of the charges by mail.
During a protest against the Iraq War, as well as an attack on Iran, campus security mistreated and arrested Blaine Coleman, Henry Herksovitz, and Kathryn Babayan. The two men were charged with resisting and obstructing an officer and interfering with an arrest. Babayan was charged with disturbing a public meeting and resisting and obstructing an officer.
26—Cedar Rapids, IA: Michael Rack, Lara Elborno, Kerry Hofferber, Rose Persaud, Jamie Fredericksen, and John Paul Hornbeck were scheduled for trial facing a charge of trespass. Along with Chris Gaunt and Daisy Espino, they were arrested on July 6 in Sen. Tom Harkin's office. Gaunt and Espino later pled guilty and were fined.
16—WDC: Superior Court Judge John Ramsey Johnson denied a government motion to jail eight peace activists charged with contempt for refusing to pay an assessment fee. Maria Allwine, Johnny Barber, Michelle Grise, Joan Nicholson, Max Obuszewski, Kay Warren, Bill Wylie-Kellerman, and Jerry Zawada were convicted on charges relating to protests on Capitol Hill against war funding on either Sept. 26 or 27, 2006. They were held in contempt on May 11, and since then have challenged the government to dismiss the charges. Johnson ruled that the contempt case will be continued until after the appeals of the conviction are completed.
15—Portland, OR: Peter Bergel and Robert Projansky were found not guilty of trespass. On Mar. 16, they tried to visit, along with Michael Glaze, the office of Sen. Gordon Smith. The three were denied entry into the building and arrested. Bergel and Projansky went on trial June 22, but it took almost five months for the judge to agree their First Amendment rights were violated.
15—WDC: Eda and Mike Uca-Dorn pled guilty to unlawful assembly and incommoding and were sentenced to three months unsupervised probation, 3 days of community service, 5 days suspended sentence, and a $50 assessment fee. They were among 60 activists arrested on Oct. 22 during the No War No Warming actions to stop business as usual around Capitol Hill.
11—Boston: Eighteen antiwar veterans were arrested as they protested the exclusion of their message from the Veterans Day parade. Members of Veterans for Peace lined up in front of a podium at City Hall Plaza holding antiwar placards during a ceremony sponsored by the American Legion. Some protesters wore gags, which they later said symbolized the fact that, while they were permitted to march in the parade, they were prevented from carrying signs opposing the Iraq War. Fifteen men and three women were charged with disturbing a lawful assembly of people.
10—Olympia, WA: Thirteen anti:war demonstrators were arrested while attempting to block Stryker vehicles used for weapons transports. Olympia Port Militarization Resistance aims to end weapons transports through the Port of Olympia. Dozens of protesters, observers, and representatives of the media have been brutalized by the Olympia Police Department. According to a spokesperson on "Democracy Now" on Nov. 19, there were a total of 66 arrests.
10—WDC: Eve Tetaz was released from jail after completing her seven-day sentence. On Nov. 2 she pled nolo contendre to three charges resulting from two arrests. Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo did not want to imprison the retired schoolteacher, despite the nolo contendre pleas to two charges of failure to obey a lawful order and a charge of unlawful assembly. However, the determined Tetaz kindly explained she would not do any community service, pay any fines, or accept probation. So the judge reluctantly sent her to jail.
On June 29, Tetaz, dressed in the ancient mourning symbols of sackcloth and ashes, stood on the sidewalk in front of the White House and begged for an end to war. The Park Police arrested her and charged her with failure to obey a lawful order. After her release, she headed to the Hart Senate Office Building to try to petition Sen. Hillary Clinton. Again she was arrested, but this time held overnight. This second arrest on June 29, however, was not adjudicated on Nov. 2.
On May 14, Tetaz joined the Mother of a March from the White House to Capitol Hill. Outside the Cannon House Office Building, she, peace moms Cindy Sheehan and Tina Richards, and 30 other antiwar protesters sat down at New Jersey and Independence Aves. While most of the arrestees paid a fine, Tetaz, facing three charges, wanted her day in court. One charge was dismissed on Nov. 2. The only other protester from the May 4 action who went to trial was Joan Nicholson. She was found guilty of two charges on Sept. 4 and ordered to pay $200 in fines, do 40 hours of community service and six months of unsupervised probation. Nicholson does not intend to pay the fines or do community service.
9—Des Moines, IA: Eighteen activists were arrested in a campaign to make the Iraq War the main issue during the presidential caucus races. "Seasons Of Discontent—A Presidential Occupation Campaign" targeted the campaigns of Rudolph Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, taking over their offices.
Staffers in the Giuliani campaign office in Clive, IA waited a mere two hours to call the police to arrest 10 activists. The Clinton campaign waited almost eight hours before requesting the arrest of eight activists in the Des Moines office. The arrest honor roll is as follows: Ed Bloomer, Robert Braam, Elton Davis, Mickey Davis, Ron Durham, Renee Espeland, Joy First, Chris Gaunt, David Goodner, Kathy Kelly, Nick Kinkel, Chrissy Kirchoefer, Jeff Leys, Farah Moktareizadeh, Dan Pearson, Mona Shaw, Suzanne Sheridan, and Brian Terrell.
2—Madison, WI: Seven peace activists were arrested at East Towne Mall speaking out against the war and occupation of Iraq. The seven were Bonnie Block, Father Jim Murphy, Jamie Haack, Susan Spahn, Conor Murphy, Jean McElhaney, and Joy First. They were charged with unlawful trespassing and asked to pay a fine of $424. They intend to go to trial.
1—La Crosse, WI: Gail Vaughn, Anita Zibton, and two girls, Zoe Zibton, 13, and Katie Lamb, 12, were convicted of trespassing in Rep. Ron Kind's office. Only the adults were fined $95 as a result of their May 30 sit-in.
1—WDC: Susan Crane appeared for trial facing a charge of failure to obey a lawful order, after an arrest with 15 others in an anti-torture protest on the White House sidewalk on June 23. However, the government was not prepared, and the judge granted Crane's motion for dismissal. Most of the other protesters paid a citation fee, though one did two days of community service.
30—WDC: Mike Ferner and Linda Wiener were scheduled for a status hearing after being arrested on Sept. 20 for speaking out from the gallery during a session of the U.S. House of Representatives. They were taken into custody after shouting "Congress! Congress! Funding the war is killing our troops. Please stop."
24—WDC: Desiree Fairooz confronted Condoleezza Rice during a House of Representatives hearing, and was arrested. She is facing several charges, including destruction of government property. Also arrested were Medea Benjamin and Lori Perdue. The case against Benjamin was dismissed.
23—WDC: Leah Bolger was to go to trial in Superior Court facing a charge of unlawful assembly. She was arrested on Sept. 18 with four others during a pro-war rally. She is a retired Navy commander and member of Veterans For Peace.
20—Great Dismal Swamp, NC: Seven peace activists, Steve Baggarly, Beth Brockman, Mark Colville, Peter DeMott, Mary Grace, Laura Marks, and Bill Streit, were arrested at the headquarters of Blackwater USA. While simulating the shooting of Iraqi civilians, they were taken into custody and charged with resisting arrest, trespassing, and destruction of property.
17—Tucson, AZ: Fr. Louis Vitale, OFM, and Fr. Stephen Kelly, SJ were sentenced to five months in prison for attempting to deliver a letter on Nov. 19, 2006 to then-commander Major Gen. Barbara Fast at Fort Huachuca, AZ. The letter denounced torture and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Once the judge denied the priests any possible defense, they pled guilty to a federal count of trespass and a state count of "Failure to Comply with Police Officer."
16—Chicago: Responding to Sen. Dick Durbin's Oct. 1 vote to provide another $150 billion in war funding, eight staff members of the 8th Day Center for Justice and a friend were arrested after refusing to leave Durbin's office. In a simultaneous action, five people were arrested in the lobby of the building.
15—Wheaton, IL: Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Hartfield were to appear at a hearing to face a charge resulting from their May 6th display of a sign reading "Impeach Bush and Cheney —Liars" and an upside-down U.S. flag on the Great Western Trail bridge over Interstate 355. They are charged with disorderly conduct.
12—Alexandria, VA: Eda Uca, Mike Dorn, Bill Streit, Eve Tetaz, Start Loving, and Sr. Margaret McKenna were in court after being arrested at the Pentagon on Aug. 6. Five of them were pinched for planting tomato plants, Loving got busted for leafleting. Dorn and Loving had their cases dismissed. Uca and McKenna pled no contest, and were fined. Streit and Tetaz were found guilty and also fined.
11—WDC: Beth Friedlan pled guilty to crossing a police line on Sept. 20, which was set up on the west side of the U.S. Capitol. She also pled poverty, but the judge ordered her to pay $100 by Jan. 1. She does not plan to pay.
5—Des Moines, IA: Frank Cordaro was given a 30-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to criminal trespass. Aaron Glynn, a senior at Hoover High School, and Renee Espeland also pled guilty and were fined $300. On Sept. 21, they were part of a Students Beyond War occupation with Amanda Hicks, 17, Abby Olson, 17, and Reetzi Hughes, 14, Espeland's daughter, to urge Sen. Charles Grassley to stop voting to fund the occupation. Charges were dismissed against these three students.
27—WDC: A bench warrant was issued for Cindy Sheehan who failed to appear for arraignment to face charges of unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct, related to her arrest on Sept. 10 inside the Cannon House Office Building. Her sister Dede Miller was also arrested when the two of them urged the Capitol Police to stop beating Rev. Lennox Yearwood. Yearwood was denied entry into the hearing at which Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker were to present an Iraq progress report to the House Armed Services Committee. The Rev. was originally charged with assault, but that charge was dismissed. He is facing at least one other charge. It is believed eight members of Code Pink, including Mona Hall and Desiree Fairooz, were arrested inside the hearing.
25—Portland, ME: Lobbyists went to Rep. Tom Allen's office to deliver letters seeking his support for impeachment. Eight were arrested, and seven of them paid a $40 bail bond and were released. Kathe Chipman refused to pay the bail and spent the night in jail. The eight were never charged with a crime.
25—New York City: About a dozen antiwar protesters, including Ben Maurer, were arrested protesting George W. Bush's speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
21—Chicago: Three people were arrested in Sen. Dick Durbin's office.
19—Portland, OR: Genny Kortes, Troy Horton, Reverend Lynn Smouse-Lopez and Tom Hastings were arrested for trying to enter the office of Sen. Gordon Smith and deliver their message to stop funding the war. The four were later sentenced to community service.
18—WDC: U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham were among the featured speakers at a rally held in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill. Before the rally concluded, Leah Bolger, David Barrows, Christine Rainwater, Anne Kitridge and Anne Katz were arrested. Barrows spoke out while Lieberman was speaking. While in custody, he discovered one of the charges was for assault of a Gold Star mother, which he denies. Katz was reading the Constitution, and this caused her arrest.
17—Sacramento, CA: Ten constituents, including four vets and a mother of a soldier in Iraq, were arrested in the office of Rep. Doris Matsui, where they had gone to urge her to sign a Declaration of Peace.
14—Bend, OR: An antiwar rally outside the office of Rep. Greg Walden ended with a street blockade. Police ordered protesters to leave the street. When Betsy Lamb did not, she was arrested for disorderly conduct.
11—Fairbanks, AK: Rob Mulford found the courtroom door locked. It was eventually discovered his case had been dismissed. Rob, Seth Warncke and Don Muller had been arrested on Feb. 20 for trespass in Sen. Ted Stevens's office. While Warncke's case would also be dismissed, Don would be convicted on April 19 and jailed.
7—East Hampton, NY: Misdemeanor obstruction and disorderly conduct charges were dropped against five people arrested on April 17, 2006 during an antiwar protest on Tax Day. There were 13 postponements in the case. The defendants agreed not to sue the township after changes were made in the issuing of protest permits.
6—Santa Fe, NM: A federal judge found six citizens, including Rev. John Dear, guilty for trying to visit the office of Sen. Pete Domenici on Sept. 26, 2006. They were to be sentenced a few weeks later. The judge ignored the fact that the police shut off the power to the elevator in the federal building to prevent citizens from lobbying an elected official.
6—WDC: A police officer rode a horse into the middle of a press conference in Lafayette Park. Several activists were speaking to the media about the urgency of coming out to protest the war on Sept. 15. When Tina Richards and Adam Kokesh pasted up a poster advertising the demonstration, they were arrested. Also arrested was Ian Thompson, an attorney.
5—Juneau, AK: Rob Mulford's charge of criminal trespass was dismissed. He had been arrested on Mar. 13 at the entrance of the federal building before he could go to Rep. Don Young's office to lobby against the war.
21—Hammond, IN: Sen. Birch Bayh finally met with antiwar constituents. On May 5, Northwest Indiana Code Pink called a demonstration outside the federal courthouse, where Bayh has an office, in an attempt to get a meeting with him. Sue Eleuterio knelt outside the senator's locked office. Tears streaming down her face, she read the names of Iraq war dead until she was charged with failing to follow directions. Trial was set for late August, but the case was dismissed.
10—Denver: Carolyn Bninski began to serve a 35-day sentence, including work release to continue her job as coordinator of the Rocky Mountain Center for Peace and Justice in Boulder. On Mar. 8, she was arrested in Rep. Mark Udall's office along with David Krest, Duke Austin, Eric Bonds and Rob Ketterhagen. They were charged with trespass and unlawful assembly. Bninski, the only one with prior convictions, refused an offer of 60 days in jail in return for her plea. She was convicted on July 27, and sentenced to 365 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, with 330 days and $500 suspended.
9—WDC: During the annual Faith & Resistance Retreat, three participants were arrested on the White House sidewalk. While commemorating the bombing of Nagasaki, Steve Miller, Keeley Coleville, and Jay McGinley were taken into custody. They would be incarcerated, and arraigned the following day. They pled guilty and paid a fine.
8—Los Angeles: Six demonstrators were arrested at the office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez after camping there overnight and telling her they wouldn't leave unless she promised not to approve more funding for the war in Iraq. Pat Alviso, Robert Dietrich, Edward Garza, Jarrett Lovett, Abraham Ramirez, and Tutrang Tran were charged with trespass.
6—Fairport, NY: Three women were charged with trespass on private property while standing outside the building housing Rep. Randy Kuhl's office.
23—Chicago: Christian Peacemaker Team trainees enacted a mock trial of Sen. Dick Durbin inside his office. They demanded a final piece of evidence that would acquit or convict the senator. Would he approve funds for life, or for more war in Iraq and Afghanistan? The eight actors—Sr. Paulette Schroeder, Martin Smedjeback, Jushua Hough, Jessica Frederick, Sr. Jean Fallon, Charletta Erb, Rachel Cloud and Denis Murphy—were charged with trespass.
23—WDC: Cindy Sheehan and 45 others were arrested inside and outside Rep. John Conyers' office after he refused to initiate impeachment proceedings. Most of those arrested paid a $50 post and forfeit citation.
Four women who wanted to plead not guilty misunderstood the Capitol Police and were jailed. After suffering abuse while incarcerated, they pled guilty at an arraignment and paid a fine. One of them, Manijeh Saba, has decided to file a lawsuit for mistreatment while in police custody: "(1) attempt by a police officer to watch me using the women's room; (2) handcuffed to a bench and wall for hours; (3) kept in extremely cold conditions; (4) food deprivation; (5) sleep deprivation; (6) shackled in metal ankle-cuffs and chains for about 11 hours; (7) handcuffed with chain belt in preparation for arraignment; (8) having to agree with the increased charges and "plea bargain" under duress; and (9) threat by the judge to send us back to the jail if we did not pay the fines right there, while he we had no access to any money."
21—Tulsa, OK: Charges are dismissed against nine demonstrators, including Billie Letts, arrested during a visit of Dick Cheney. There were 11 arrests, but 2 pled no contest.
18—Baltimore: The government decided to dismiss charges against Maria Allwine and Max Obuszewski relating to their arrest on Oct. 7, 2006 when they were demonstrating in the parking lot of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. They were charged with disturbance in protected property, failure to comply with a police officer and entering a military installation for an unlawful purpose.
18—WDC: Thirteen Witness Against Torture activists were found guilty in U.S. District Court. On Apr. 18, 15 people wearing orange jumpsuits were arrested on the White House sidewalk and charged with a stationary demonstration in a restricted zone. Two of them paid a citation fee, but the others were tried in individual trials. Peter DeMott, Steve Baggarly, Bill Pickard, Nancy Gowen, Mike Walli, Tom Lewis, Mike Foley, Bill Streit, Tom Feagley, Emmett Jarrett, Susan Crane, Lindsay Hagerman, and Eve Tetaz were sentenced to time served and a mandatory $25 assessment fee.
18—Tacoma, WA: Thirteen cases were dismissed by a judge relating to blockades in March against shipments of arms going to Iraq. The activists were facing a charge that only applies to vehicles, not people. The prosecutor is appealing the dismissal.
12—WDC: Seven activists from the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance were found not guilty in a jury trail in Superior Court. Ellen Barfield, David Barrows, Gordon Clark, Sam Crook, Joy First, Malachy Kilbride, and Eve Tetaz were arrested on Mar. 29 during a "tombstone action" in the Hart Senate Office Building. Set up in the atrium of the building were more than 100 cardboard tombstones with pictures of U.S. and Iraqi dead.
10—WDC: An activist was arrested in Sen. Patrick Leahy's office.
1—Kennebunkport, ME: Lynn Curit-Smith, and Eric Washeski were arrested and charged with trespass outside the Bush family estate. G. W. Bush was inside collaborating with Vladimir Putin.
26—WDC: Pete Perry pled no contest to a charge of unlawful entry and was sentenced to 6 months of supervised probation, which included a weekly drug test, 40 hours of community service, and a $50 assessment fee. Kristin Sundell, Jean Athey and Steve Lane pled guilty and were ordered to pay the $50 fee and do three months unsupervised probation. The four sat in Sen. Barbara Mikulski's office on Feb. 27.
22—WDC: Mary Pat Brennan, Debbie Churchman, Louie Vitale, Bill Streit, Vicky Andrews, Nancy Gowan, Liz McAlister, Jerry Zawada, Elizabeth Adams, Malachy Kilbride, Susan Crane, Garland Robertson, Eve Tetaz, and Kay Warren were found guilty of crossing a police line or failure to obey. On Mar. 16, 222 participants in a Christian Peace Witness were arrested while praying on the White House sidewalk. However, the others paid a $100 citation fee.
11—Chicago: Members of the 8th Day Center for Justice were convicted of failure to obey, but the judge declined to impose any sentence. In a dual action on Mar. 15, three of them were arrested in the office of Sen. Dick Durbin and four in the office of Barack Obama.
7—San Francisco: Nine activists were arrested outside the federal building during a die-in to oppose the war in Iraq. The event was organized by Declaration of Peace Bay Area.
7—Fairbanks, AK: Rob Mulford was convicted in federal court for refusing to leave disorderly conduct: the premises of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's on Feb. 5. He was sentenced to a fine of $75, which was paid by the 15 peace activists who were in court to support him.
19—Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA: Fr. Louie Vitale, Fr. Steve Kelly, Jeff Dietrich, Dennis Apel, and Mike Wisniewski were arrested for trespass and scheduled to be arraigned in December. However, they are seeking a continuance as Vitale and Kelly are serving time in prison.
15—Syracuse, NY: Eight people silently blocked the employee entrance of the federal building, holding signs that stated "NOT ONE MORE DAY, NOT ONE MORE DOLLAR, NOT ONE MORE DEATH." Five would be arrested and charged with failure to comply with a lawful order. In August, the federal case against the five longtime Syracuse Peace Council activists was dismissed.
14—Alexandria, VA: U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered that the June 16, 2006 conviction for "failure to obey a lawful order" of Max Obuszewski, who was arrested one half mile from the Pentagon on Mar. 20, 2006, be vacated. There were 51 arrests that day, and 4 separate trials. Obuszewski was represented at the May 3, 2007 oral arguments by public defender Michael Nachmanoff before U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis. Ellis trumpeted the First Amendment, mocked the government's original conviction, and chastised the prosecutors for thinking one can sidestep procedures when dealing with pro se defendants. He hinted that the government might consider filing a motion to vacate the conviction, which it did.
11—WDC: Jerry Zawada, Eve Tetaz, Ellen Barfield and Jeff Leys were convicted of unlawful assembly for the Feb. 5 occupation of Sen. John McCain's office. Six others paid a citation fee the day of the arrest. Jerry, Ellen, and Jeff were sentenced to a suspended seven-day sentence with four months probation, while Eve received a suspended ten-day sentence with six months probation. Each was to pay a $50 assessment.
10—Smithfield, NC: The AERO 8, facing a charge of trespass, were scheduled for trial. On Apr. 9, Patrick O'Neill and his daughter Moira, whose case was dismissed, Ellen Biesack, Frank Coyle, Steve Woolford, Scott Bass, Josh McIntyre, Barbara Zelter, and Lisa Marcusson were arrested when they tried to enter an air field to deliver indictments to three pilots from Aero Contractors for flying torture taxis. Germany indicted 13 crew members, including pilots for Aero, in the 2004 kidnapping, detention, and transport of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.
9—Manchester, NH: Karen Barker, Tom Barker, Jon Hutchinson, Mary Lee Sargent, Pat Wilczynski, Nellie Grant, Chris Hobby, Jordan Butterfield and Anne Miller were arrested at Sen. John Sununu's office for criminal trespass. Bail was set at $1,000. One person posted a bond, but the others spent the night in jail.
7—Chapel Hill, NC: Charges were dismissed against six Univ. of North Carolina SDS members, Laura Bickford, Ben Carroll, Alisan Fathalizadeh, Sara Joseph, Dante Strobino, and Tamara Tal, who visited the office of Rep. David Price on Feb. 16 to urge him to cut off funds for the Iraq War. They were charged with first degree trespass. However, Rep. Price wrote a letter requesting that the charges be dropped.
3—Pittsburgh, PA: Charges were dropped for 14 people from the Pittsburgh Organizing Group arrested during a Mar. 2 blockade against military research at Carnegie Mellon University. However, the district attorney required a commitment of 25 hours of community service from each defendant. The activists were facing charges of disorderly conduct, obstructing traffic and possession of an instrument of crime—the chains used to keep a gate closed. The judge commended the arrestees for doing their part to end the war.
26—WDC: Fourteen are arrested in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building, while participating in a funeral service for the next person killed in Iraq. Among those arrested were Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Adam Kokesh, and Kevin Zeese.
23—Philadelphia: Beth Friedlan, Karen Wisniewski, Sylvia Metzler, Mary Jo McArthur, Bernadette Cronin-Geller, Melissa Elliott, Ronald Coburn, Timothy Chadwick, Robert Daniels, Robin Lasersohn, Tom Mullian, Bob Smith, Marjorie Van Cleef, and Silvia Brandon-Perez were found not guilty of defiant trespass, criminal trespass and criminal conspiracy, as the judge accepted the defendants' First Amendment argument. They were denied access to Sen. Rick Santorum's office on Sept. 25, 2006.
21—Charlottesville, VA: Eleven citizens pled no contest and were convicted of trespass after being part of a four-week campaign of sit-ins in Rep. Virgil Goode's office in February and March. Alexa Barnett, Terry Lilley, Bobby Shaw, Pat Lloyd, Jeff Winder, Shell Stern, Sue Frankel-Streit, Jennifer Connor, Brian Buckley, Mary Grace, and Priscilla Sonne were sentenced to a 30-day jail sentence, suspended on condition of 2 years good behavior and 15 hours of community service.
20—Fairbanks, AK: Don Muller went to trial as he was one of the three activists arrested on February 20 in Sen. Ted Stevens' office. A jury found Muller guilty and the judge sentenced him to a $1,000 fine, 3 years probation and either 120 hours of community service or 90 days in jail with 75 suspended. Muller told the judge that his efforts to stop the war were examples of community service and chose a jail sentence. He served eight days in the Fairbanks Correctional Center.
19—Madison, WI: The Campus Antiwar Network marched on the office of Sen. Herb Kohl demanding a meeting. One person was arrested in the office and charged with disorderly conduct.
18—WDC: The government decided to dismiss all charges relating to an action on Jan. 11, International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo. Eighty-nine anti-torture activists were arrested inside U.S. District Court. Most of them refused to cooperate, and were released on Jane and John Doe citations. Around 50 of them appeared for the trial, and later 15 of them were arrested on the White House sidewalk calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
17—Chicago: Five people were arrested after entering the federal building wearing sackcloth and ashes. The Tax Day action included the singing of the names of the dead from the Iraq War.
16—WDC: Marine Mom Tina Richards was arrested in the hallway after being forced out of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.
16—Fort Bragg, CA: Six are arrested in Rep. Mike Thompson's office. There is a report that at least four others were arrested in his office during previous occupations.
10—Portland, OR: Six were arrested trying to visit Sen. Gordon Smith's office. They would be convicted and sentenced to community service.
10—Albany, NY: Those who occupied Sen. Hillary Clinton's office, Pete Looker, Linda Letendre, Elliot Adams, and Jeffrey Halpern, were told that the case was dismissed.
10—WDC: Eve Tetaz, Desiree Fairooz, Janine Bonaparte, and David Barrows were arraigned for a Mar. 22 arrest in the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
9—Wausau, WI: Erin Cox, Ron Durham, Joy First, and Jeff Leys were arraigned on a charge of disorderly conduct for the March 5 arrest in Rep. David Obey's office. First paid a fine and court costs, while the others await a trial date.
4—St. Paul: The Antiwar Committee and Twin Cities Peace Campaign teamed up for a rush:hour action in front of the office of Sen. Norm Coleman. A dozen activists shut down traffic. Inside, another dozen activists took over the senator's office. All 24 were arrested, though the charges against the inside group were dismissed.
3—Burlington, VT: Marmete Hayes, Kate Duesterberg, Jay Vos, Owen Mulligan, Shawn Starfighter, S'ra DeSantis, Nicholas Parrish, Will Allen, Rene Kaczka-Valliere and Patrick Stanton were issued no trespassing citations after sitting in Sen. Patrick Leahy's office. All charges were dismissed.
29—Olympia, WA: A mistrial was declared in a case with 15 defendants arrested in May, 2006 during a blockade of arms shipments. In June a judge dismissed the case because of prosecutorial misconduct.
29—Portland, OR: Marci Dennison and Alexandra Ryan brought a 40-foot scroll with thousands of signatures to Sen. Gordon Smith's office building and were arrested. Convicted of trespass, they were sentenced to community service.
29—Eugene, OR: Three activists were arrested inside Sen. Gordon Smith's office. Carol Melia, Karla Cohen, and Michael Williams accepted one year deferred adjudication and twenty hours of community service.
29—Fort Wayne, IN: Three people were arrested in Sen. Richard Lugar's office.
29—Newark, NJ: Eight people were arrested in the federal building, which holds offices of Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Sen. Roberto Menendez. In July, the eight defendants were found not guilty on charges of failure to disperse and interference.
28—Springfield, IL: Two people were arrested in Sen. Dick Durbin's office.
27—Burlington, VT: Eight people, including a nursing mother and 9-month old daughter were arrested after they refused to leave Sen. Bernie Sanders' office. The state's attorney declined to prosecute.
27—Newark, NJ: Five members of the New Jersey Occupation Project were arrested in the federal building, which holds offices of Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Sen. Roberto Menendez. They were cited for defiant trespass and obstruction of justice.
27—Eureka, CA: Occupying the office of Rep. Mike Thompson, Paul Encimer and Robin Donald were arrested for holding a die-in. The case disappeared from court records.
23—Staten Island, NY: Five people were arrested in Rep. Vito Fossella's office. Elaine Brower, Tom Good, Sally Jones, Ben Maurer, and Barbara Walker were charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass, but the charges were later dismissed.
22—Sacramento, CA: Seven members of Veterans For Peace were arrested in Rep. Doris Matsui's office. For 52 consecutive days, her constituents sustained a 9-5 "peace-in" occupation of the office.
21—Burlington, VT: Six citizens were arrested in Rep. Peter Welch's office and charged with trespass. The charges against Patrick Kearney, Michael Colby, Boots Wardinski, Bob Nichols, Palmer Legare, and Will Allen were dismissed.
20—WDC: Ann Wright was arrested after leaving a Congressional hearing on FBI abuses of civil liberties. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, ordered her to stop speaking or to leave. Even though she left, Capitol Police took her into custody. Conyers's chief of staff informed the police not to arrest the activist, but the police charged her with disorderly conduct. The $35 citation fee was paid by Conyers's office.
20—Bend, OR: Seven women were arrested in Rep. Greg Walden's office. They were released on the condition not to return to the representative's office for one year or be prosecuted.
20—Burlington, VT: Three people were arrested in Rep. Peter Welch's office.
20—Syracuse, NY: Cynthia Banas and Paul Frazier were arrested in the federal building and charged with criminal trespass, following a day of protesting in congressional offices and in the hallways.
19—Chicago: Christian Peacemaker Teams took action at the offices of Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Rahm Emanuel. Five arrests were reported in Durbin's office, and three in Emanuel's.
19—La Crosse, WI: Seven people were arrested in Rep. Ron Kind's office. Dave Wennlund, KattiJo Fetting, Gail Vaughn, Anita Zibton, Matt Sawyer, Xong Xiong, and Christy Hope are expected to go to trial in 2008.
19—WDC: Traprock Peace Center director Sunny Miller was arrested in the office of Rep. John Olver, but the case was dismissed.
19—Wilmington, DE: Gemma Buckley, June Eisley & Sally Milbury-Steen did a die-in in front of the federal building. While charged with unreasonably obstructing the use of entrance, they await a trial date.
16—Cedar Rapids, IA: Judith Pedersen-Benn was arrested in the office of Rep. David Loebsack. She would later plead guilty, and was fined $288, which included court costs.
15—Brentwood, MO: Dianne Lee, Marty King, and J'Ann Allen were arrested in Rep. Russ Carnahan's office. Bill Ramsey was arrested in the lobby. Over a period of time, 22 people had been arrested in his office, and most accepted a plea bargain of a $125 fine and community service. Ramsey was convicted in a bench trial, but received a suspended sentence. Eight activists are seeking a jury trial.
15—WDC: Eleven people were arrested inside and outside the House Appropriations Committee hearing on the supplemental funding legislation.
13—Joliet, IL: Robert Braam was arrested in Rep. Jerry Weller's office and charged with trespass. He posted a $100 bond, but it was returned as no complaint was filed.
13—Superior, WI: Three were arrested in Rep. David Obey's office. In video court, Bonnie Urfer pled no contest, while John Heid and Mike Miles pled not guilty and were convicted in a bench trial. The three were ordered to pay $185.50, but they refused.
12—Eugene, OR: Two were arrested in Rep. Peter DeFazio's office. Peg Morton and Trudy Malony agreed to one year deferred adjudication and 20 hours community service.
9—Chicago: Two arrests are reported in the office of Rep. Rahm Emanuel.
7—Northbrook, IL: Five were arrested in Rep. Mark Kirk's office.
7—Bangor, ME: Maureen Block, Henry Braun, Diane Fitzgerald, Jim Freeman, Dud Hendrick, Nancy Hill, Jon Kreps, Doug Rawlings, Judy Robbins, Peter Robbins, Rob Shetterly, and Pat Wheeler were arrested in Sen. Susan Collins' office and charged with criminal trespass. Six pled no contest and paid a fine. A trial date for the others has not yet been set.
5—Des Moines, IA: Chris Gaunt, Brian Perbix, and Lindsay Ayling were arrested in Sen. Charles Grassley's office and charged with trespass and disrupting government employees. The three pled guilty to both charges and were fined.
5—Eugene, OR: Pam Garrison and Rich Klopfer were arrested at the office of Rep. Peter DeFazio. They agreed to one year deferred adjudication and 20 hours community service.
5—Denver: Ellen Stark, Sue Mitrovic, Janet Roberts, and Jourdan Hill were arrested in Rep. Mark Udall's office and charged with trespass. Stark and Hill were jailed, and at the next day's arraignment were misinformed by the prosecutor. They were told they would not be released on personal recognizance, so they pled guilty and two were given jail sentences. They are trying to withdraw their pleas. Mitrovic accepted an offer of 18 hours community service, and Roberts accepted one year unsupervised probation and a $100 fine.
5—Tacoma, WA: Police arrested three people for investigation of third-degree assault during a protest of a shipment of Iraq-bound Army equipment through the Port of Tacoma. The three were held on $10,000 bail.
2—Portland, OR: Valerie Kelley and Tom Hastings were arrested in the lobby of the building housing Sen. Gordon Smith's office. They were charged with trespass, later convicted and sentenced to community service.
28—Toledo, OH: Members of the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition went to the office of Sen. George Voinovich. Chester Chambers, Marilyn Bernstein, & Anne Abowd were arrested and charged with trespass and disorderly conduct. They later pled no contest and were given a suspended sentence ($250 fine and 15 days in jail) plus court costs.
27—St. Louis, MO: Jim Allen and Michael McPhearson, members of Veterans For peace, were arrested in Rep. Russ Carnahan's office.
26—Wausau, WI: Susanna Gilk, Roberta Thurstin, and Don Timmerman were arrested for disorderly conduct when they remained in Rep. David Obey's office. Gilk pled guilty and agreed to do community service. Thurstin & Timmerman have had their trial postponed three times and are awaiting a new date.
26—Des Moines & Cedar Rapids, IA: Seven activists were arrested in Sen. Charles Grassley's Des Moines office. In July, a jury agreed with five of them that they had a First Amendment right to have their grievance heard by the senator. The acquitted were Elton Davis, Chester Guinn, Kathleen McQuillen, Brian Terrell, and Dixie Webb. Defendants Ed Bloomer and Christine Gaunt had previously pled guilty and were fined. Eleven others, including eight Univ. of Iowa students, were arrested at his office in Cedar Rapids and charged with trespass. Andrew Alemao, Joshua Casteel, Frank Cordaro, Megan Felt, Timothy Gauger, David Goodner, John Paul Hornbeck, Ryan Merz, Conor Murphy, Rosemary Persaud, and Justin Riley were tried in April. Three weeks later, the defendants were fined the maximum $65, plus $125 "mandatory law enforcement surcharge."
22—Virginia Beach, VA: Veteran for Peace Tom Palumbo was trying to deliver antiwar petitions to the office of Rep. Thelma Drake, but was arrested for his effort. A month later, he appeared in court and was told the case was dismissed.
21—St. Louis, MO: Suzanne Renard and Jean Durel, the Atonement Affinity Group, were arrested while trying to visit Sen. Claire McCaskill's office and cited for failure to comply.
21—Portland, OR: Dot Lukin and Kathleen Bushman were arrested in Sen. Gordon Smith's office as part of the Defund the War campaign. They were later convicted and sentenced to community service.
21—Portland, ME: Thirteen activists were arrested in Rep. Tom Allen's office. A $40 bond was posted by Susan Anderson, Stephen Carroll, Kathe Chipman, Christine DeTroy, Mair Honan, Karen Wainberg, Natacha Mayers, Rhonda Wilson and Dexter Kamilewicz, who ran against Allen as an antiwar independent in 2006. Bruce Gagnon, Mary Beth Sullivan, Carolyn Coe, and Mary Donnelly refused to post bail and were jailed two days before pleading not guilty. All charges were later dismissed at Allen's request.
21—Toledo, OH: Four members of the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition, Jeff Klein, Trudy Bond, Steven Miller, and Laurence Coleman, were arrested in Rep. Marcy Kaptur's office and charged with trespass. In May, they pleaded no contest. The Republican judge did not impose a fine, but assessed court costs for only one of them.
20—Chicago: Four were arrested in lobby of federal building after meeting with a staff member for Sen. Dick Durbin. In an April trial, Marjorie Fujara, Katie Jean Dahlaw, and Laura Bernstein were found not guilty of failure to comply, as the judge accepted their First Amendment argument. Rosalie Reigle missed the trial, as she was out of the country.
16—St. Louis, MO: Seven people from St. Louis Univ. and a Catholic Worker group were arrested in Rep. Russ Carnahan's office.
15—St. Louis, MO: Two members of the Chimes Affinity Group were arrested in Rep. Russ Carnahan's office.
14—St. Louis, MO: Three were arrested in Rep. Russ Carnahan's office.
12—Portland, OR: Two were arrested in Sen. Gordon Smith's office as part of the Defund the War Campaign.
8—Campbell, CA: Two were arrested in Rep. Mike Honda's office.
8—St. Louis, MO: Seven (Cabat House Affinity Group) arrested in Rep. Russ Carnahan's office.
5—Chicago: Four were arrested in Sen. Dick Durbin's office; another four were arrested in Sen. Barack Obama's office.
25—Portland, OR: Two people arrested in Sen. Gordon Smith's office as part of the Defund the War Campaign.
4—San Francisco: Twenty-eight members of a group Declaration for Peace were arrested after blocking entrances of the San Francisco federal courthouse during a demonstration in support of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada. They were cited for failing to comply with police orders to disperse. Watada was the first commissioned U.S. officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq.

Oil money is coming - and there is little the west can do about it

Oil money is coming - and there is little the west can do about it

Energy producing countries are buying global power after decades of subjugation

Larry Elliott

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Larry Summers was in full flow. Addressing a packed meeting on sovereign wealth funds at the Davos gathering of the World Economic Forum in January, the former US treasury secretary told the investment arms of foreign governments they should sign up to a code of conduct and be more transparent.

In a telling sign of the shift in the balance of global economic power, the sovereign wealth funds told Summers to get lost.

The Saudis accused him of double standards: hedge funds were not being regulated despite causing mayhem in the financial markets, so why pick on SWFs? The Russians - revelling in Washington's discomfort - said American attempts to restrict investment were "not helpful".

This week the fears resurfaced. José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said Brussels could not allow non-European funds "to be run in an opaque manner or used as an implement of geopolitical strategy".

Barroso's main worry is that Russia - which set up an official SWF last month - is planning to relaunch the cold war, only this time with oil and gas receipts rather than with the Red Army.

Some western governments are suspicious about the motives of sovereign funds that have been buying up assets in developed countries.

Washington, which has launched talks with funds in Abu Dhabi and Singapore, has concerns over Russia's one-time rival communist superpower China, which has grown weary of stockpiling US Treasury bonds and has started to size up physical assets in the west.

However, the EU and the US are in a weak position. They would like all such funds to follow the example of Norway, which has banked its North Sea receipts from the past 30 years in a £300bn-plus long-term investment fund, and the International Monetary Fund is finalising a voluntary code of practice.

This will be revealed in the coming weeks, but if the SWFs choose not to abide by it, there is little Brussels and Washington can do. The fivefold increase in the price of crude oil to more than $100 a barrel has provided a windfall for the coffers of oil and gas producing countries, while the nations of east Asia have amassed huge holdings as a result of export-led growth. Britain, as a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers pointed out this week, could have built up a £450bn sovereign wealth fund had it not spent its North Sea bonanza on politically expedient tax cuts and higher public spending.

Elsewhere, sovereign funds are rich, they are growing in size and they have been bailing out the west's tottering banks after ill-advised speculation saw their assets slashed in value by the American sub-prime mortgage crisis. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority - the world's biggest SWF - has taken a $7.5bn (£3.8bn) stake in Citigroup; one of Singapore's funds has injected $11bn into the Swiss bank UBS, the other has invested $5bn into Morgan Stanley. China has ploughed $5bn into Merrill Lynch.

Train wreck

A study by one of the biggest banks, HSBC, noted: "The owners of emerging SWFs look unlikely just to roll over. They are enjoying the boot being on the other foot after an awfully long time. The train wreck that was the 1990s, when they had to go cap-in-hand to the developed world, was bad enough.

"Going back further, western jibes about state capitalism would, perhaps, have more power had they themselves not ruled many of these countries for years via state-licensed companies."

Gerard Lyons, chief economist at Standard Chartered, said: "Sovereign wealth funds have existed since 1953 and are here to stay. Their size and influence is set to grow. Already valued at $2.2tn, on current trends they could reach $13.4tn in a decade.

"There is a serious likelihood of western governments and SWFs clashing over what they can buy and where. A protectionist backlash against strategic investments is real and threatens global trade."

The growing tension erupted in 2006 when the US prevented Dubai Ports from taking control of six American ports on grounds of national security. Lyons believes that western governments will seek to protect national champions and strategic sectors, but that SWFs are also likely to take a tough line. "Many governments will argue that it is their money and why should they be so transparent when other areas of the financial markets are not," he said.

"Western countries may need to accept the rise of SWFs as a further sign of a shift in the world economy and should seize this opportunity to work with emerging economies such as China and Russia and others to find common ground rules and a code of practice."

There are few signs that SWFs are being used as an instrument of foreign policy, although Brussels clearly has misgivings about the Kremlin's intentions. Equally, there is evidence that the governments behind the SWFs are enjoying the clout their wealth has given them. And with no immediate end in sight to the credit crunch, their bargaining position is strong and getting stronger.

Tequila crisis

"From the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s, through the Tequila crisis of 1994-5, the Asian crisis of 1997, Russia's default and Argentina's even larger one in 2001, the emerging world always with its finances in a parlous state, rocked from one crisis to another," HSBC said.

"Now, huge quantities of money from the emerging world - some $60bn at the last count - are injecting a measure of stability into the developed world's arteries: some of its biggest, boldest and brashest banks, brought low, in their turn, by investments and finances that were themselves, it now transpires, an awful lot less stable than they or most others had assumed."

Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group

Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group

By Gareth Porter

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The George W. Bush administration has long pushed the "laptop documents" -- 1,000 pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian laptop -- as hard evidence of Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Now charges based on those documents pose the only remaining obstacles to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declaring that Iran has resolved all unanswered questions about its nuclear programme.

But those documents have long been regarded with great suspicion by U.S. and foreign analysts. German officials have identified the source of the laptop documents in November 2004 as the Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK), which along with its political arm, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organisation.

There are some indications, moreover, that the MEK obtained the documents not from an Iranian source but from Israel's Mossad.

In its latest report on Iran, circulated Feb. 22, the IAEA, under strong pressure from the Bush administration, included descriptions of plans for a facility to produce "green salt", technical specifications for high explosives testing and the schematic layout of a missile reentry vehicle that appears capable of holding a nuclear weapon. Iran has been asked to provide full explanations for these alleged activities.

Tehran has denounced the documents on which the charges are based as fabrications provided by the MEK, and has demanded copies of the documents to analyse, but the United States had refused to do so.

The Iranian assertion is supported by statements by German officials. A few days after then Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the laptop documents, Karsten Voight, the coordinator for German-American relations in the German Foreign Ministry, was reported by the Wall Street Journal Nov. 22, 2004 as saying that the information had been provided by "an Iranian dissident group".

A German official familiar with the issue confirmed to this writer that the NCRI had been the source of the laptop documents. "I can assure you that the documents came from the Iranian resistance organisation," the source said.

The Germans have been deeply involved in intelligence collection and analysis regarding the Iranian nuclear programme. According to a story by Washington Post reporter Dafna Linzer soon after the laptop documents were first mentioned publicly by Powell in late 2004, U.S. officials said they had been stolen from an Iranian whom German intelligence had been trying to recruit, and had been given to intelligence officials of an unnamed country in Turkey.

The German account of the origins of the laptop documents contradicts the insistence by unnamed U.S. intelligence officials who insisted to journalists William J. Broad and David Sanger in November 2005 that the laptop documents did not come from any Iranian resistance groups.

Despite the fact that it was listed as a terrorist organisation, the MEK was a favourite of neoconservatives in the Pentagon, who were proposing in 2003-2004 to use it as part of a policy to destabilise Iran. The United States is known to have used intelligence from the MEK on Iranian military questions for years. It was considered a credible source of intelligence on the Iranian nuclear programme after 2002, mainly because of its identification of the facility in Natanz as a nuclear site.

The German source said he did not know whether the documents were authentic or not. However, CIA analysts, and European and IAEA officials who were given access to the laptop documents in 2005 were very sceptical about their authenticity.

The Guardian's Julian Borger last February quoted an IAEA official as saying there is "doubt over the provenance of the computer".

A senior European diplomat who had examined the documents was quoted by the New York Times in November 2005 as saying, "I can fabricate that data. It looks beautiful, but is open to doubt."

Scott Ritter, the former U.S. military intelligence officer who was chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, noted in an interview that the CIA has the capability test the authenticity of laptop documents through forensic tests that would reveal when different versions of different documents were created.

The fact that the agency could not rule out the possibility of fabrication, according to Ritter, indicates that it had either chosen not to do such tests or that the tests had revealed fraud.

Despite its having been credited with the Natanz intelligence coup in 2002, the overall record of the MEK on the Iranian nuclear programme has been very poor. The CIA continued to submit intelligence from the Iranian group about alleged Iranian nuclear weapons-related work to the IAEA over the next five years, without identifying the source.

But that intelligence turned out to be unreliable. A senior IAEA official told the Los Angeles Times in February 2007 that, since 2002, "pretty much all the intelligence that has come to us has proved to be wrong."

Former State Department deputy intelligence director for the Near East and South Asia Wayne White doubts that the MEK has actually had the contacts within the Iranian bureaucracy and scientific community necessary to come up with intelligence such as Natanz and the laptop documents. "I find it very hard to believe that supporters of the MEK haven't been thoroughly rooted out of the Iranian bureaucracy," says White. "I think they are without key sources in the Iranian government."

In her February 2006 report on the laptop documents, the Post's Linzer said CIA analysts had originally speculated that a "third country, such as Israel, had fabricated the evidence". They eventually "discounted that theory", she wrote, without explaining why.

Since 2002, new information has emerged indicating that the MEK did not obtain the 2002 data on Natanz itself but received it from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Yossi Melman and Meier Javadanfar, who co-authored a book on the Iranian nuclear programme last year, write that they were told by "very senior Israeli Intelligence officials" in late 2006 that Israeli intelligence had known about Natanz for a full year before the Iranian group's press conference. They explained that they had chosen not to reveal it to the public "because of safety concerns for the sources that provided the information".

Shahriar Ahy, an adviser to monarchist leader Reza Pahlavi, told journalist Connie Bruck that the detailed information on Natanz had not come from MEK but from "a friendly government, and it had come to more than one opposition group, not only the mujahideen."

Bruck wrote in the New Yorker on Mar, 16, 2006 that when he was asked if the "friendly government" was Israel, Ahy smiled and said, "The friendly government did not want to be the source of it, publicly. If the friendly government gives it to the U.S. publicly, then it would be received differently. Better to come from an opposition group."

Israel has maintained a relationship with the MEK since the late 1990s, according to Bruck, including assistance to the organisation in beaming broadcasts by the NCRI from Paris into Iran. An Israeli diplomat confirmed that Israel had found the MEK "useful", Bruck reported, but the official declined to elaborate.

*Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.

Soaring Food Prices Putting U.S. Emergency Aid in Peril

Soaring Food Prices Putting U.S. Emergency Aid in Peril

Supplies and Recipients Likely to Be Reduced

By Anthony Faiola

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The U.S. government's humanitarian relief agency will significantly scale back emergency food aid to some of the world's poorest countries this year because of soaring global food prices, and the U.S. Agency for International Development is drafting plans to reduce the number of recipient nations, the amount of food provided to them, or both, officials at the agency said.

USAID officials said that a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months has generated a $120 million budget shortfall that will force the agency to reduce emergency operations. That deficit is projected to rise to $200 million by year's end. Prices have skyrocketed as more grains go to biofuel production or are consumed by such fast-emerging markets as China and India.

Officials said they were reviewing all of the agency's emergency programs -- which target almost 40 countries and zones including Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Honduras and Sudan's Darfur region -- to decide how and where the cuts will be made.

"We're in the process now of going country by country and analyzing the commodity price increase on each country," said Jeff Borns, director of USAID's Food for Peace, the organization's food aid arm. "Then we're going to have to prioritize."

The reductions, international relief agencies say, will seriously complicate already strained efforts to combat global hunger, particularly in Africa, Central Asia and Latin America. Poor countries in those regions are struggling to cope with record food price surges, which have made it difficult for aid groups to sustain their operations in some countries.

The cuts will likely have a direct impact on major USAID partners, including aid groups and the United Nations World Food Program, the largest international provider, which counts on U.S food aid for 40 percent of its distribution.

The U.N. program is confronting similar price pressures. It announced this month that it was facing a $505 million shortfall due to soaring food and fuel costs, and would cut distribution if it did not receive new funds. Meanwhile, need is increasing. Afghanistan, for instance, recently put in an emergency request for $77 million to cope with skyrocketing prices that have put key staples out of reach for more and more Afghans.

"Look at what's happened to wheat prices alone -- they shot up 25 percent in one day last week," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program. "This is really the first emergency we've faced without a drought, war, natural disaster. We will have to cut the amount of people being served or the amount of food being served if we do not get more funds."

Groups that work with USAID, several of which have been informed of the shortfall over the past two weeks, are alarmed. Emergency aid is earmarked only for countries in desperate need as a result of natural disasters, civil strife or other humanitarian crises. Although the United States has proportionally provided less of the world's food aid in recent years, it still provides about half the global total in efforts to relieve hunger among more than 800 million people. In 2007, USAID gave about 2.5 million tons of food, accounting for more than 50 percent of the emergency aid in a number of nations, including Ethiopia.

USAID officials would not speculate on which countries might be picked for cuts, though aid workers said it was unlikely that those with the greatest need -- such as Sudan -- would be hit hard. Most at risk appeared to be long-term emergency programs in such countries as Nepal, where unrest has quieted, as well as a number of African countries, such as Tanzania, that had relatively good harvests last year.

The Bush administration's 2008 USAID budget request calls for $1.2 billion in food aid with a supplemental $350 million to cover assistance in Darfur and critical situations in southern Africa, Kenya and other hot spots.

USAID officials said the administration, facing a tight budget year, was not planning to request funds to cover the projected $200 million shortfall from the price increases. USAID purchases grains in the same domestic commodities market as the U.S. companies that serve up Wonder bread or Big Macs, meaning they pay the same high market rates. As a result, officials said, the program cuts are necessary. "At this point, this is the administration's request," Borns said yesterday.

Aid groups said they would press USAID and the Bush administration to pursue more funds from Congress to cover the shortfall. Several are concerned that the cuts come at a time when the Senate is considering a farm bill that would make it much harder for USAID to tap into non-emergency food in the event of a catastrophic event such as the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Frank Orzechowski, an adviser for Catholic Relief Services, said his organization has calculated that U.S. food aid would drop from 2.6 million tons last year to about 2.2 million this year. "That is going to be a pretty big hit for the people who can afford it the least," he said.

"The biggest concern is that there are going to be more people being pushed into food insecurity in poor countries because they don't have the purchasing power to cover higher costs, and we will be less rather than more prepared to cope with that. Higher commodity prices is not a situation that the U.S. is to blame for, but we are going to need to see it step up now and decide to make a greater contribution anyway."

Although it may take several months before the cuts are felt, higher food prices already have begun to erode the non-emergency aid and development programs sponsored by USAID in partnership with CARE, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision and others. In the case of one Asian nation, CARE said USAID had provided 10 percent less non-emergency food aid than expected, citing higher prices.

In Liberia, Catholic Relief Services funds its developmental programs -- including health worker training and technical assistance to farmers -- by selling wheat or rice provided by USAID at market prices. But, Catholic Relief was unable to find buyers for those grains in January because market prices have jumped so high that local buyers have switched to cheaper foods. The aid group is scrambling to find alternate sources before its funding runs out in April.