Progressive Calendar 06.14.11
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 14:17:55 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   06.14.11
                            pat down the rich

1. Chris Hedges   6.14 5pm
2. 9/11 truth     6.14 7pm
3. Ranked choice  6.14 7pm
4. Holder/Montes  6.14

5. Alliant vigil  6.15 7am
6. Meme/politics  6.15 5pm
7. Canada/labor   6.15 7pm
8. Full moon walk 6.15 7pm

9. GreenStPaul    6.16 11am

10. Michael Leonardi - Huge victory in Italian referendum re water nukes
11. Chris Hedges     - No justice in Kafka's America

--------1 of 11--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Chris Hedges 6.14 5pm

"The Death of the Liberal Class (Part 2)"

Chris Hedges, former NYTimes and Pulitzer Prize winning writer, on one of
the deepest cultural phenomena of our day: the failure of liberal
institutions such as the press, universities, churches and the Democratic
Party.  Part 2 includes Hedges' responses to audience questions plus a
little vintage David Rovics folk music. (filmed April 20)

SPNN 15 viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)
Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am,
after DemocracyNow!  Households with basic cable may watch.
 Tues, 6/14, @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 6/15, 10am

--------2 of 11--------

From: shirley johnson <skjohnsn [at]>
Subject: 9/11 truth 6.14 7pm

This is late in coming because I haven't known what to say.  Those of us
who have been making the decisions about where to meet and what to
schedule have been a bit short of ideas and energy.  April was especially
busy and the summer days have given us thoughts of other aspects of life,
but we will have a meeting on:

June 14, 2011; 7 PM at Mim's (or Lori's), our meeting place for several
years at 1440 Cleveland Avenue N in St Paul.

At this location you can savor the Middle Eastern food offered by Mims,
but we don't have the great facility for showing videos that we have at
Rondo.  Another group had booked Rondo for the second Tuesday of June, so
for this one time we will be at Mims.  We will be meeting at Rondo again,
in July and August.

I will bring a couple of videos for your consideration, or we can share
our concerns and ideas for future meetings.  Reply to this email if you
wish to propose a topic and/or offer to moderate the group on a particular

--------3 of 11--------

From: Jim Ivey <james.ivey [at]>
From: Sarah Clarke <sarah.clarke [at]>
Subject: Ranked choice 6.14 7pm

Hello Amazing Ranked Choice Supporters,

Our St. Paul Voter Education Campaign is now in full swing! We have a lot
of events coming up and we need your help to ensure that St. Paul's first
year of RCV is a huge success. If you are able to join us any of the
events listed below, get in touch with me at (952) 201-4654 or
sarah.clarke [at] and I will follow up.

We would greatly appreciate your help at the Ward 3 and 5 Conventions
tomorrow if you are available.  Thank you and I hope we can count on you to
spread the word about ranked voting!

- Tuesday June 14th:
Help FairVote MN educate voters at the St. Paul Convention for Wards 3 and
5. Both conventions start at 7 p.m. The Ward 3 Convention will be at
Highland Junior High (975 Snelling Ave S) and the Ward 5 Convention is at
Como High School (740 Rose Avenue West). We will be talking to delegates
and candidates about Ranked Choice Voting.

- Sunday June 19th
Join FairVote Minnesota for the kickoff to one of the Twin Cities' biggest
festivals! The Pride Picnic is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Paul's Como
Park in the east picnic area (1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul).

- Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th
Celebrate the Pride Festival and Parade with FairVote. The festival is on
Saturday and Sunday at Loring Park, Minneapolis (1382 Willow Street). The
parade is on June 26th. It begins at 11 a.m. and runs along Hennepin Ave.
through Downtown Minneapolis.

- Music in the Park
We will be making regular appearances at St. Paul's Music in the Park.
Check the schedule <> and
let me know when you are available.

- Saint Paul Farmers Markets
Like Music in the Park, we will be frequently be visiting St. Paul's 7th
Place and St. Thomas More Markets. Take a look at the schedule and tell me
which dates work best for you.

Sarah Clarke Voter Education Coordinator FairVote Minnesota (952) 201-4654

--------4 of 11--------

From: kim defranco <kimdefranco [at]>
Subject: Holder/Montes 6.14

Reminder to keep up the pressure to Stop FBI Repression. Please call and
sign the petition.

Learn more about Carlos Montes and the Chicano Movement by watching the
movie "Walkout."

Call Holder June 14 - Drop the Charges against Carlos Montes. New AG phone #
National Call-In Day to Eric Holder,
U.S. Attorney General
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Demand: Drop the Charges,
FBI Hands Off Carlos Montes
Call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
call the A.G. directly at 202-514-2001
(or try at 202-353-1555)

Carlos Montes will appear in court on Thursday, June 16, in the aftermath
of the FBI and Los Angeles Sheriff's raid on his home. Send Eric
Holder a message on Tuesday, June 14, that we support Carlos Montes!

Suggested text:  "My name is __________, I am from _______(city), in
______(state).  I am calling U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to demand:

 * Drop all charges against Carlos Montes!
 * Stop FBI attacks on the Chicano and immigrants' rights movements!
 * Stop FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists
 * Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones,
papers, documents, etc."

Please sign and circulate our new petition!
Find out if there is a June 16 solidarity actionin your city
Visit or write info [at] or call 612-379-3585.

Background Information:

In an expansion and intensification of FBI repression of political
activists, a LA Sheriff's SWAT Team along with the FBI smashed down the
door and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos Montes' slept in his
home on May 17, 2011 at 5:00 AM. Carlos is a longtime Chicano activist and
active member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The raiders
ransacked his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of
documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political
activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement.
Hundreds of historical documents related to the Chicano movement were
taken away. He was arrested on one charge dealing with a firearm code and
released on bail the following morning.

This attack on Carlos Montes is part of the campaign of FBI harassment
targeting 23 peace and justice activists which has until now been centered
in the Midwest. Carlos Montes' name was listed on the subpoena left in the
office of the Minneapolis Anti-War Committee last September 24. An FBI
agent approached Carlos while he was in a squad car and asked him
questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Carlos Montes has done nothing wrong. This is an attack on him and an
attack on the Chicano movement for equality. Carlos has been involved and
a committed leader in the immigrant rights, anti war, solidarity, and
quality education movements his whole life. Please stand with Carlos and
defend all the movements for equality

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183Minneapolis, MN 55414
Add us to your address book

--------5 of 11--------

From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at]>
Subject: Alliant vigil 6.15 7am

Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am
Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday
morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems,
7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie.
We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies?
directions and lots of info:

---------6 of 11--------

From: Erick Boustead <erick.boustead [at]>
Subject: Meme/politics 6.15 5pm

I thought you might be interested in checking out this event on Wednesday
night at Commons Roots. smartMeme ( is hosting a book
reading for their book on story-based strategy, "RE:Imagining Change". I
highly recommend checking out their site and resources if you aren't
familiar. Please see below for details and let me know if you have any

Happy Hour Hangout & Re:Imagining Change Reading
~ a fundraiser with Doyle Canning, smartMeme Co-Director

Wednesday, June 15th from 5-7pm
Common Roots Cafe, 2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis

Whether you live in Minneapolis or are in town for the Netroots
Conference, please join us June 15th at Common Roots for a happy hour book
reading from Re:Imagining Change!

The book Re:Imagining Change -- How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win
Campaigns, Build Movements and Change the World is an interactive and
accessible resource guide to smartMeme's story-based strategy tools and
methodology. The book outlines how to apply narrative power analysis to
effectively frame issues and offers plenty of juicy case studies and
analysis including a call for our movements to innovate our storytelling
techniques in the face of the looming ecological crisis.

Join co-author and smartMeme co-director Doyle Canning and local smartMeme
friends to celebrate and support smartMeme's work and connect about
strategies for social change. Common Roots serves delicious local, organic
food as well as beer and wine.

Scott Elkins, Madeline Gardner, Erick Boustead, Isaac Martin, Ashley
Satorius, Autumn Brown & Maryrose Dolezal
P.S. You can learn more about smartMeme and order copies of the book

--------7 of 11--------

From: ElyDog <elydog [at]>
Subject: Canada/labor 6.15 7pm

Public Forum: U.S. Labor & the Canadian Elections
Wednesday, June 15th at 7:00 pm
Mayday Books - 301 Cedar Ave. S. in Minneapolis' West Bank

If there's one thing about Canada that millions of Americans admire, it's
the fact that they have universal health care coverage for all their
citizens. But there is something else they have that we don't: a mass
party of labor based on the unions. And that's precisely why they have
health care for all and we don't. The New Democratic Party (NDP), Canada's
Labor Party, co-founded by the Canadian Labor Congress in 1961, points the
way forward for U.S. workers.

The recent Canadian elections marked a massive rise in support for the
NDP. In English-speaking Canada, the Liberal Party (Canada's version of
the U.S. Democrats) saw its support collapse as workers rallied around the
NDP to fight back against the Conservative Party's plans for cuts and
austerity. In Quebec, both the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois (a Quebec
nationalist version of the U.S. Democrats) fell apart as the NDP surged to
become the most-voted party in the province. All across Canada, workers
and youth have come to the conclusion that they cannot rely on the "nice"
party of the bosses to fight against the "mean" party of the bosses. They
understand that only a labor party can effectively fight back against the

Join the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor (CMPL) for a discussion on the
history of the NDP and an analysis of the recent Canadian elections. There
are many lessons to be drawn from the experience of our Canadian brothers
and sisters to the North, many of them in the same international unions as
ourselves. Opening the discussion will be Greg Gibbs on the history of the
NDP, and John Peterson of the CMPL on the present events in Canada and our
situation here in the States. This event is free and open to the public.

Build a Labor Party to Defend Public Sector Workers, Medicare & Social

For more information, please contact info [at] or call
612-568-2675 Visit us online: Greg Gibbs

--------8 of 11--------

From: Seasnun <seasnun [at]>
Subject: Full moon walk 6.15 7pm

Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at 7 PM

John Slade is our special guest this full moon speaking on spirit and
politics. John is an organizer for affordable housing issues, working with
Habitat for Humanity in the Twin Cities to create solutions to the
affordable housing crisis. Strong Sun or Strawberry Moon

We have 15-hours and 35-minutes of daylight today along with mosquitoes and
fireflies. Although not visible here, there will be a total lunar
eclipse, where the moon passes in front of the center of the Earth's

Directions: Coldwater is south of Minnehaha Park, in Minneapolis. From Hwy
55/Hiawatha, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an
immediate right, & drive South on the frontage road for ½-mile past the
parking meters, through the cul-de-sac & the gates, & past the abandoned
buildings. Follow the curvy road left & then right down to the pond, next
to the great willow tree.

Free. Open to all. Info:

--------9 of 11--------

[Bummed out because you have no real choices to work or vote for? Here's
an exception. Rather than lesser-evil over greater evil, here's your
chance for the greater good over run-of-the-mule politics as usual. The
powers that be won't like it - and that's good! -ed]

From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at]>
Subject: GreenStPaul 6.16 11am

Here is a Green Party press conference on Thursday, June 16th that needs
people in attendance to let the media know that the Green Party is going
to shake up business as usual in St. Paul.  We want at least 100 people
there to let the media know we are serious!

Green Saint Paul is having launch party that signals a concerted effort to
change politics as usual in St. Paul.

Green Saint Paul Launch Party
Thursday, June 16, 2011, 11 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Historic Dale Street green-house site 533 Dale Street North St. Paul, MN

In 2011, the Green Party of St. Paul is organizing a coordinated, city
wide campaign to field candidates across the city of St. Paul - fueled by
the desire to live in a city that can meaningfully address issues in a way
that reflects core values that many of our neighbors share:

 *   Grassroots Democracy
 *   Social and Economic Justice
 *   Environmental Wisdom
 *   Non Violence

The introduction of Ranked Choice Voting in St. Paul presents a great
opportunity to get more people involved, and bring the vision, values and
ideas of Green Saint Paul to city government.  This campaign has a clear
vision with five core objectives:

 *   A stronger, more vibrant local economy
 *   A healthier environment
 *   A peaceful, more respectful community
 *   People first problem solving
 *   Safe, nourishing and effective schools
As of June 16th, 2011 three candidates have joined this effort:

 * Jim Ivey of Lowertown, Green Party candidate for St. Paul City Council,
   Ward 2
 * Johnny Howard of Frogtown, Green Party candidate for St. Paul City
   Council, Ward 1
 * Devin Miller of Summit University, Green Party candidate for St. Paul
   School Board

Schedule of events:

 *   11:00 - 11:15    Mingle
 *   11:15 - 11:35 Press Conference featuring Green Saint Paul co-chairs
     Andy Dawkins and Roger Meyer and candidate, followed by Q and A
 *   11:35 - Noon     Refreshments and Celebration

For more information visit<>
Amber 651 249-7286

From: Jesse Mortenson <jessemortenson [at]>
Call script:

"Hello, I'm a volunteer with the Green Party. I'm callling to invite you
to the launch of an exciting new project this Thursday. We're announcing a
new vision for St. Paul called GreenSaintPaul, backed by three excellent
candidates for city government.

The event is this Thursday at 11am, and we need you there to show St. Paul
that there is excitement for real change towards a greener St. Paul. Do you
think you can join us?"

--------10 of 11--------

[If only Americans were as feisty as Italians - or actually as anyone but
us.  -ed]

Huge Victory in Italian Referendum
No! to Nuclear Power and Privatized Water
June 14, 2011

After an inspiring mass mobilization of people across Italy with
demonstrations of all kinds: banner drops, critical mass bike rides,
workshops, information booths, film screenings, use of the social
networking and facebook, people running nude through the streets, flash
mob die-ins, young people living confined in a giant rendition of a
radioactive drum for over a month, and a door to door, neighbor to
neighbor, person to person grassroots storm, the Italian people have won a
historic vote against the forces of global capitalism and privatization to
ban the construction of Nuclear Power plants now and forever, to keep or
return Water resources to public ownership and to Prosecute the criminal
behavior of political leaders -- first and foremost Silvio Berlusconi.

Italians managed to overcome the daunting task of a quorum of 50 per cent
+ 1 of all Italian voters in the face of a mass media controlled by
Berlusconi and a government that was encouraging voters to go to the beach
instead of vote on the first weekend of summer vacation for Italian grade
school, middle school and high school students. The quorum had not been
reached for over a decade on any referendum. This time the Italian people
responded with 57 per cent of the voters turning out to the polls, the
highest on any referendum in over 20 years, and with the quorum being
surpassed in every region of the country. 95 per cent of the voters have
voted "SI" to say No as the Italian winds of change have grown to gale

The vote began on Sunday morning and by mid-day the results showed that
only around 10 percent of voters had responded nationally. There was a
frenzy of activity in every town and city, on the streets, in the coffee
bars, in the town squares, on the beaches, everywhere! The proponents of
the referendums threw all caution to the wind as they called to every
passerby to go to the polls and not let this important opportunity to
express our collective democratic voice pass by. This was an incredible
mobilization that had a domino effect, as students, families and
co-workers pushed one another to make the democratic process function for
the people once and for all. Flags sprung up on balconies, stickers on the
windows of busses and walls of the metros, with bicyclists up and down the
coasts whistling and shouting to get out the vote. By 7 o'clock on Sunday
the attendance at the polls was up to 30 per cent. The depression of the
morning gave way to a nervous feeling that maybe it really was possible
that the quorum could be reached. People went to the phones and text
messages and continued to hit the streets contacting and calling out to
everyone to let them know that they could be that one vote to tip the

The polls closed on Sunday at 10 o'clock and by that time voter turnout
was reported at 41 per cent, the quorum was well within reach. 25 towns
and cities out of over 8000 had already reached the quorum and the
predictions were that the last 10 per cent could be reached on Monday.
Being so dominated by the Catholic church, the word miracle started to
spring forth from people's lips as a nervous and incredulous tension
continued to build. The government still had some tricks up its sleeve. It
was rumored that they might not count the votes from Italians living
abroad on the nuclear question. It was said that we needed to arrive to at
least 52 or 53 per cent of the vote to ensure the Quorum and not just 50
per cent+1, would it be possible? Rome was in a stir of activity, and
people there were convinced saying that they hadn't felt this kind of
energy in the streets since the student uprisings of 1968.  In the region
of Calabria, the only region that voted for Berlusconi's right wing
coalition in the municipal elections, the activists were more cynical.
Would they be the downfall of the quorum for the country? While nationally
the turnout was at 41 per cent Calabria was only at 30 and the tension was
palpable. On Monday the Italian people responded and even in Calabria! We
surpassed the 50 per cent + 1 and sailed to 57 per cent, overcoming any
possibility that the votes from abroad could change the outcome.

Italy was overcome with joy. The leader of the Italian of Values Party
Antonio Di Pietro, who launched the petition drives for the referendums on
Nuclear Energy and Legitimate Impediment held a press conference to
express his pride and contentment with the outcome of this historic vote,
stating that "this was a victory of the Italian People and not of the
Political Establishment," and again calling for Berlusconi to resign from
power. The hundreds of local committees and local, regional and national
organizations erupted in celebrations in piazzas across the country. The
main party was held in Rome and symbolically took place in front of the
Roman monument known as the Bocca Della Verita. / The Mouth of Truth.

While the national media reported the election results with the usual
mouthpieces from Berlusconi's government and the Opposition Democratic
Party, the message from the piazzas and il popolo Italiano / the Italian
people was clear, this was a victory of, by and for the people and not
under the banner or any of the political party of the current political
caste. As Marco Bersani of the organization ATTAC Italia said, "it is time
to change the discourse in Italy. This was not a victory of any of the
major political parties but should be recognized as a clear signal that
Italians are fed up with the ineptitude of the political leadership in the
country and are ready for direct democracy to confront the serious issues
affecting the citizenry".

This victory should not only be seen in the context of the Italian
political landscape but also in its significance for the rest of Europe
and the world. Italians have voted Yes to say no to the privatization of
water resources. Many of Italy's water resources are already poorly
managed by multinational corporations and now Italians have decided that
water as a primary resource should be controlled and managed publicly.
Yesterday at Napoli's celebration rally, the renegade Italian priest Alex
Zanotelli reiterated that "all life comes from water, water is the mother
of our existence and it must not be the multinationals that decide how it
should be managed and distributed, but the people of the world. We must
join together to build human relationships and to create a network of
direct democracy to protect Water and other public goods from
exploitation". The Italian decision to say no to the privatization of
water is an challenge to the European parliament, the G8 and the IMF that
are threatening the privatization of all public resources in the face of
the growing debt crisis facing the Global Economy. Italy now stands alone
as the first European country to take this step against the forces of

Italy's decision to ban the production of nuclear energy is a signal to
the nuclear industry that its time of disastrous profiteering at the
expense of our and our children's future is coming to an end. Italians are
now calling for a democratic and just national energy plan that puts
renewable energy first. The mass movement of citizens is tired of the
business as usual politics dominated by the energy giants and the pressure
from the U.S. government to become a nuclearized nation. The people are
demanding a diffuse and safe energy production plan that utilizes the
abundant sunshine and winds for which Italy is noted and that can help
provide thousands of needed jobs for young people left out of the economic
shell game dominated by the corrupt business class.

Italians have also decided that elected politicians should not be
protected from prosecution while in office and that the law should be
applied equally for everyone. This vote eliminates the Berlusconi
government's decree called Legitimate Impediment which allowed office
holders, and especially Berlusconi himself, to be excused from appearing
in court.

The winds of change are blowing strongly now in Italy and there is a
renewed hope and belief that another world really is possible. Let's hope
that the people of the world take inspiration from this new dawn in Italy
and join in this global struggle against privatization, nuclear energy and
government corruption. Here the people realize that despite this historic
victory, the struggle has only just begun.

Michael Leonardi splits his time between Ohio and Italy. He can be reached
at mikeleonardi [at]

--------11 of 11--------

Published on Monday, June 13, 2011 by
No Justice in Kafka's America
by Chris Hedges

In Franz Kafka"s short story "Before the Law" a tireless supplicant spends
his life praying for admittance into the courts of justice. He sits
outside the law court for days, months and years. He makes many attempts
to be admitted. He sacrifices everything he owns to sway or bribe the
stern doorkeeper. He ages, grows feeble and finally childish. He is told
as he nears death that the entrance was constructed solely for him and it
will now be closed.

Justice has become as unattainable for Muslim activists in the United
States as it was for Kafka's frustrated petitioner. The draconian legal
mechanisms that condemn Muslim Americans who speak out publicly about the
outrages we commit in the Middle East have left many, including Syed Fahad
Hashmi, wasting away in supermax prisons. These citizens posed no security
threat. But they dared to speak a truth about the sordid conduct of our
nation that the state found unpalatable. And in the bipartisan war on
terror, waged by Republicans and Democrats, this ugly truth in America is
branded seditious.

The best the U.S. government could offer as evidence of Fahad's crimes was
that an acquaintance who stayed in his apartment with him while he was a
graduate student in London had raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks in
luggage at the apartment and that the acquaintance eventually delivered
these to al-Qaida. But I doubt the government is overly concerned with a
suitcase full of waterproof socks taken to Pakistan. The reason Fahad
Hasmi was targeted was because, like the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami
Al-Arian, he was fearless and zealous in his defense of those being
bombed, shot, terrorized and killed throughout the Muslim world while he
was a student at Brooklyn College. Fahad was deeply religious, and some of
his views, including his praise of the Afghan resistance, were to me
unpalatable, but he had a right to express these sentiments. More
important, he had a right to expect freedom from persecution and
imprisonment because of his opinions. Facing the possibility of a 70-year
sentence in prison and having already spent four years in jail, much of it
in solitary confinement, he accepted a plea bargain on one count of
conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism.

It has been a year since his 15-year sentence was pronounced in a New York
courtroom. He is now held in Guantanamo-like conditions in the supermax
ADX [Administrative Maximum] facility in Florence, Colo. He is isolated in
a small cell for 22 to 23 hours a day. He has only extremely limited
contact with his mother, father and brother, often going weeks without any
communication. Between his transfer to Florence last August and this March
he was permitted only one phone call. The rule of law in America,
especially if you are Muslim, fits Kafka's grim parody. The tyranny we
impose on those held in Guantanamo, Bagram and the secret CIA "black
sites" we impose on ourselves. This is and always has been the disease of
empire. Empire imports the crude and brutal tools of control and violence
back to the homeland. It creates internal as well as external colonies.

We no longer have freedom; there is only the appearance of freedom. We are
consumed by an endless and vague war on terror in which the perfidiousness
of our enemy, whose number, location and nature are never clearly defined,
justifies the shredding of constitutional rights, torture, kidnapping,
detentions without charges or trials and an occult-like battle against an
absolute evil. And if you think the state intends to limit itself to the
persecution of Muslims, especially once there is an increase in domestic
unrest and instability, you know little about human history.

I spoke Saturday night to Fahad Hashmi's father, Syed Anwar Hashmi. The
elder Hashmi came to the United States from Pakistan when Fahad was 3 and
his other son, Faisal, was 4. He worked for more than two decades as an
accountant for the city of New York. He came, as most immigrants have, for
his children. He believed in America, in its fairness, its chances for
opportunity, its freedoms. And then it all crumbled when the state proved
as capricious and cruel as the Pakistani dictatorship he had left behind.
On the day of his son's arrest, he says, "my American dream became an
American nightmare".

Three law enforcement officials appeared at his home in Flushing, Queens,
on June 6, 2006, to inform him that Fahad, who had been in London
completing a master's degree in international relations, had been arrested
at Heathrow Airport on terrorism charges. Fahad, after fighting the order
for 11 months, was the first American citizen extradited under the
post-9/11 laws. He was taken in May 2007 to the Metropolitan Correctional
Center in lower Manhattan and placed in solitary confinement.

"I came to this country from Pakistan nearly 30 years ago, in 1982 with my
wife and two young boys," Fahad's father said. "Coming from a Third World
country, we were full of hope and looked towards America for liberty and
opportunity. I had an American dream to work hard and give my sons good
educations. I worked as an assistant accountant for the city of New York,
six days a week, nine hours a day, including overtime, to support my
family and to send both my kids through college. We all became U.S.
citizens, and my sons fulfilled my dreams by completing their
undergraduate and postgraduate education. I was very proud of them".

"In high school and then as a student at Brooklyn College, Fahad became a
political activist, concerned about the plight of Muslims around the world
and the civil liberties of Muslims in America," he went on. "Growing up
here in America, Fahad did not fear expressing his views. But I was scared
for him and urged him not to speak out. He would remind me that everything
he did was under the law. But having grown up in a Third World country, I
had seen that it did not always work this way, and so I worried. He was
monitored by law enforcement and quoted in Time magazine. But he kept
speaking out. And then, with his arrest, my fears came true".

Judge Loretta Preska denied Fahad bail partly on the grounds that he had
no ties to family and community. His family and friends, who sat crowded
together in the courtroom, listened in stunned silence. And then, after
five months, Hashmi, already isolated in solitary confinement, was
suddenly put under "special administrative measures," known as SAMs. SAMs
are the legal weapon of choice used by the state when it seeks to isolate
and break prisoners. They were bequeathed to us by the Clinton
administration, which justified SAMs as a way to prevent Mafia or other
gang leaders from ordering hits from inside prison. The use of SAMs
expanded widely after the attacks of 2001. They are frequently used to
isolate terrorism case detainees before trial. SAMs, which were renewed by
Barack Obama in October, severely restrict a prisoner's communication with
the outside world. They end calls, letters and visits with anyone except
attorneys and sharply limit contact with family members. Fahad, once in
this legal straitjacket, was not permitted to see much of the evidence
against him under a legal provision called the Classified Information
Procedures Act, or CIPA. CIPA, begun under the Reagan administration,
allows evidence in a trial to be classified and withheld from those being

The weekly visits Hashmi's family made to the jail in Manhattan were
canceled. A single family member was permitted to visit only once every
two weeks, and on a number of occasions the family member was inexplicably
denied admittance. During the last five months of the trial Hashmi's
family was barred from visiting him. Anyone who has contact with a
prisoner under SAMs is prohibited by law from disclosing any information
learned from the detainee. This requirement, in a twist Kafka would have
relished, makes it illegal for those who have contact with an inmate under
SAMs "including attorneys" to speak about his or her physical and
psychological condition.

Once the SAMs were imposed, "He wrote us occasionally - one letter on no
more than three pages at a time - but he was allowed no correspondence or
contact with anyone else," his father said of his son. "In addition,
because of Fahad's SAMs, we were not allowed to discuss anything we heard
from him, including his health or any details of his detention or what he
was experiencing, with anyone else. It was like being suffocated".

In a pretrial motion, Hashmi's lawyer presented the extensive medical and
scholarly research that demonstrates the severe impact solitary
confinement has on human beings, often leaving them incapable of defending
themselves during their trial. It did not sway the judge. Fahad lived in a
universe, before ever being sentenced, where he had no fresh air and was
subjected to 23-hour lockdown and constant electronic surveillance
including when he showered or relieved himself. He was barred from group
prayer. He exercised alone in a solitary cage. He was denied access to
television or a radio. His newspapers were cut up by censors. And this was
all before trial.

"These years have brought deep disillusionment for my family in the
American justice system," his father said. "Fahad was restricted in
reviewing much of the evidence against him, and even his attorney could
not discuss much of the evidence with him. Secret evidence is something we
knew from back home. The judge accepted the prosecutor's motion to
introduce Fahad's political activities and speeches into the trial to
demonstrate his mind-set. Where was the First Amendment to protect Fahad's
speech? Two days before the trial was set to begin, Judge Preska agreed to
the prosecutor's motion to keep the jury anonymous and kept under extra
security - even though this could have frightened the jury and affected
how they viewed Fahad".

"On the day before trial, nearly four years since he had been arrested, I
had just returned from dropping off clothes for Fahad to wear to court
when I received a call from my attorney," Fahad's father said. "The
government had offered a deal to drop three of the four charges against
Fahad, if he accepted one charge which carried a 15-year sentence and
Fahad had agreed to this plea bargain. I was shocked by my son's decision
on the eve of his trial, but after I thought more, I wondered how anyone
could have decided differently in his situation. Fahad had been in
solitary confinement, under SAMs, for nearly three years. The judge had in
every instance sided with the government in pretrial motions. If
convicted, Fahad faced a possible 70-year sentence. Under those
circumstances, Fahad's decision to accept one charge was no longer
surprising. He has been in for five years this June".

"The U.S. government is concerned about human rights in China and Iran,"
he went on. "I wonder about Fahad's rights, and how they have been
blatantly violated in this great land. It seems like 'innocent until
proven guilty' is only a saying. My son was treated as guilty until proven

"The Muslim community supported my son by offering prayers, particularly
in the month of Ramadan," he said. "But they were initially afraid to
raise their voices against injustice. This reminds me of the fear the
Chinese have under Communist rule, or Iranians under Ahmadinejad. As a
citizen, I now have developed fear of my own government".

"For one charge for luggage storing socks, ponchos and raincoats in his
apartment, he is serving a 15-year sentence in the harshest federal prison
in the country, still in solitary confinement, still under SAMs," his
father said. "The cooperating witness in the case, the one who brought and
delivered the luggage, is now free and able to enjoy his life and family".

The state, by making us afraid, is able to justify the disease of
permanent war and the silencing of those who dare to dissent. The terrible
suffering we have unleashed throughout the Middle East is rendered
invisible if there is no one to decry it and document it. Communities and
families, not only in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan but at home, have
been plunged into needless grief and suffering because of the atrocities
committed in our name. The despair and bewilderment of Fahad's father are
a reflection of the wider despair and bewilderment that have gripped the
lives of hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have been forced to confront
the dark heart of empire. In their pain we stand condemned.

"There are many things I'd like to be able to say about the visit and my
son's continuing detention, but because of Fahad's SAMs, I am forbidden,"
his father said. "Everything has changed for my family. Our first
grandchild was born 19 days after Fahad's arrest, our second two years
later. But now everything has a cloud over it - graduations, birthdays,
holidays, going to the store or the park or visiting family or running
errands, and particularly the Eid day. In other words, we have lost our

Copyright  2011 Truthdig, L.L.C.
 Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated
from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign
correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books,
including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should
Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on
America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.


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