Join Grandmothers Against the War at Rittenhouse Sq
SPRING FORUM - Tax Fairness and Equality
Jobs with Justice 2nd Annual Solidarity Dinner
The Green Party of PA Needs You!
Prescription For Change, A project of Consumers Union (scroll down to see more)
Urgent update on Iran
Details Confirmed for Saturday April 29 March for Peace
Solidarity with Eren Keskin for Human and Women Rights!
URGENT HELP NEEDED: United Students Against Sweatshops
* Response by the Global Women's Strike to the Channel 4 News 27 March 2006 report on Venezuela
* Cuban Drugs for HIV Patients
* The Climate is Heating Up Now. When Will Congress Act? (scroll down to see more)


Join Grandmothers Against the War at Rittenhouse Sq., 4-17-06

        Monday April 17th, TAX DAY,
        Rittenhouse Sq, Walnut and 17th St at 4 to 5:30 P. M
We invite you to join us and hope you will come in Easter bonnets, flowers and all, to celebrate our vim, vigor and willingness to struggle for peace for the young.  Remember the war in Iraq is expected to cost $1.9 TRILLION   in the next decade!   Our grandchildren are expected to pay the bill! Call 215-545-4486 for more info.

SPRING FORUM - Tax Fairness and Equality
        Tuesday, April 18, 6 9 pm
        Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street
Facilitator: United for a Fair Economy
Cost: $5 per person (scholarships and discounts available)

 What is going on? Is it natural that "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? And can taxes help turn the tide in a different direction?   Come learn the answers to these questions at an interactive forum prepared specifically for Delaware Valley residents. Youll find out about issues directly affected by our state and local taxes. Youll find out how to tell the difference between taxes that are fair and those that arent. And youll find out what you can do about it.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Third World Coalition of AFSC . Reserve space by calling 215.731.1107 x202 or emailing  We appreciate advanced registration as it helps us have a better sense of expected attendance and helps us prepare for the workshop.
For more info on Spring workshops please visit our website at  tel. 215.731.1107

Jobs with Justice 2nd Annual Solidarity Dinner

        April 20, 6:30 PM
        Independence Hall Holiday Inn, 400 Arch St.
Tickets are going fast buy yours today and become a Solidarity Sustainer!
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        FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2006
        OCEAN CITY RESTAURANT: 234-236 N. 9th Street, Chinatown Philadelphia
        5:30 PM Silent Auction & Cash Bar/ 6:30 PM Eight-Course Chinese Banquet
Join us for an evening of food and fun to celebrate an support the
Asian Arts Initiative's youth and community programs:
        * Featuring performances by a diversity of local artists and youth
        * And an exciting Silent Auction and Raffle Prizes
        * With Artwork, Gift Certificates, Tickets, Baskets, and Donations
Please RSVP no later than April 14 - Individual seat(s) are $55 each. Please provide names of guests, organization (if applicable), address, phone, email, and seating preferences (if applicable). For more info, email or visit our website at

The Green Party of PA Needs You!

Volunteers needed to get our candidates on the ballot!  We must collect 100,000 signatures this year (when Democrats and Republicans only had to collect 2,000!)  (See news article below).
        Our candidates:
        Carl Romanelli for U.S. Senate / Marakay Rogers for Governor / Christina Valente for Lt. Governor
Volunteers must be registered to vote in Pennsylvania.
        Call Hillary (267.971.3559) or (Alex 215.518.2257) to sign up. Training, petitions, clipboards and
        information will be provided. You do not need to be a Green, but we would welcome you.
The Green Party is THE progressive party in Pennsylvania. We support the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. We support universal single-payer healthcare and a living wage for all workers.  / /  215.243.7103
Judge upholds third-party ballot access rules, MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request from minor political parties to reduce the number of signatures required to place their candidates on the statewide ballot. Read more at:

The Green Party of Pennsylvania will be appealing this case and need financial donations to help cover legal costs.  Regardless of whether you support the Green Party, support democracy by donating today.  Send checks made out to the Green Party of Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 11962, Federal Square Station, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1962 with "ballot access lawsuit" in the memo line.

Prescription For Change, A project of Consumers Union

Pennsylvania is about to stop drug company secrecy! Legislation which
will require drug companies to release
results of all drug studies, good and bad, to doctors and the public
has been introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Now, the bills have been stuck in committees in both the Senate and
the House and we need your help to make sure they get hearings soon.
Tell committee members to move these bills before its too late.

Pennsylvania can be a leader in protecting patient health. Tell your
legislator--if drug companies want to do business in Pennsylvania,
they must give doctors and patients all the results from clinical trials.
-, A project of Consumers Union

Friday, April 14

Noon - Stations of Justice & Peace--Resistance at Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin, Mall & Goddard Blvds., Valley Forge, PA
For info, email

7:00 p.m. Documentary Screening: "Queen of the Mountain"
Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA ,  $5 for non-members ,  For info, email

Saturday, April 15 -  10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Zoo Demo--protest treatment of elephants
Philadelphia Zoo, 34th St. & Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA . For info, email

Tuesday, April 18

9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.   Workshop: "Advocating for Social Change: Lobbying and Election Rules for Nonprofit Org"
Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA
$20 , includes lunch and materials.   Sponsored by Center for Responsible Funding   For info, Geoffrey at 215-925-6140.

6:00-9:00 p.m.   Workshop: "Tax Fairness & Equality"
Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA
Sponsored by Bread & Roses' Barbara Smith Community School   For info, email

7:00 p.m.   "You Say You Want a Revolution: Mapping the Limits & Possibilities of Service Learning in Higher Ed"
Recital Hall, Baker Center for the Arts, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, PA
Sponsored by Muhlenberg College Office of Community Service   For info, 484-664-3158.

Thursday, April 20

4:00-7:00 p.m.   Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's Third Annual Spring Student Art Exhibit & Sale
(work by students in MAP's anti-truancy and anti-delinquency programs)
1231 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA   For info, Maneesha at 215-685-0753 or email

6:00-8:00 p.m. Urban Sustainability Forum: "Greene Country Towne: The Future of Philadelphia Land Use Planning"
Academy of Natural Sciences auditorium, 1900 Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA
For info, 215-299-1108 or email

7:00-9:00 p.m. Philadelphia Area Black Radical Congress Voter Empowerment Forum & Candidates' Night
Henry C. Lea Elementary School, 47th & Locust Sts., Philadelphia, PA   For info, 267-259-7196.

7:00 p.m.   Making Our Way Home: Solving the Affordable Housing Crisis in Philadelphia
Kate's Place, 1929 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA
Sponsored by Project H.O.M.E.   For info, call Will at 215-232-7272 x.3047

Friday, April 21

All day--UNITE HERE! 2 day Organizer Training For info, see

7:30 p.m.   Greater Camden Unity Coalition Meeting
Newton Friends Meetinghouse, Cooper & Haddon Ave., Camden, NJ    For info,

Saturday, April 22-  ALL DAY--EARTH DAY

All day--UNITE HERE! 2 day Organizer Training
For info, see

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.   Celebrate Earth Day by Cleaning a Park
Your local (Philadelphia) park (over 60 locations)
Sponsored by Philadelphia Green & the Philadelphia Dept. of Recreation   Free t-shirts for volunteers while supplies last    For info, call 215-988-1611 or email

10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   Educational Tabling for Animal Rights Activists of NJ
Washington Twp. Earth Day Celebration, Washington Lake Park, Hurffville-Crosskeys Rd., Washington, NJ
For info, call 856-772-2521.

10:45 a.m. to noon   Rally for Peace, Justice and Democracy
Bucks County Courthouse, Doylestown, PA   Sponsored by, Bucks for Progress & Lower Bucks for Democracy   For info, Tom at 215-258-3894 or email

7:30 p.m.   Fundraising Concert with Pieces of East
Unitarian Fellowship of West Chester, 510 South High St., West Chester, PA
$10 at the door, $8 for students   Benefits Amnesty International Chapter #342 in West Chester
For info, see Band info see

Sunday, April 23

4:00 p.m.   2 of a Kind Family Concert at the Folk Factory
UU Church, 6900 Stenton Ave., Philadelphia, PA   For info, see or call 215-848-6246.

7:00 p.m.   Film Series: "The Real Dirt on Farmer John"   White Dog Cafe, 3420 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA
Free   For info, call 215-386-9224.

3:00 p.m.   Panel Discussion on Regional Growth & Prosperity & Volunteer Recognition Ceremony
Widener University, Widener, PA   Sponsored by Delaware County Asset Development Group
For more info, see

7:00 p.m.    Producers' Forum: "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela" (with director Thomas Allen House)
International House, 3710 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA   Admission $10, free for Scribe Video Center members   For info, email

7:30-10:30 p.m. Folk Factory People's Choice Open Stage/Open Circle
UU Church, 6900 Stenton Ave., Philadelphia, PA For info, see or call 215-848-6246.

Friday, April 28

7:00 p.m. Monthly Meeting of Animal Rights Activists of NJ
Osage School Library, 112 Somerdale Rd., Voorhees, NJ For info, call Dave at 856-772-2521.

Saturday, April 29

7:45 a.m.   Buses Depart for NYC Anti-War March (returns around 6 p.m.)
Meet at 1199C Union Hall, 1319 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA   No cost, but must RSVP   Buses sponsored by Philadelphia AFL-CIO, SEIU District 1199P, AFSCME District 1199C, Philadelphia Federation of Teacher   For info, email or call 215-724-3772.

8:30 a.m.    Travel to NYC Anti-War March from South Jersey   Meet at 36th St. Riverlink Station, Camden, NJ
Fare is approximately $23 round trip   For info, email

9:00 a.m.   Computer Clinic & Fundraiser   Gratz High School, 1798 W. Hunting Park Ave., Rm. 427, Philadelphia, PA
Bring CPU only (no keyboards, monitors, mice, etc.)   $10 benefits Gratz High computer students training trip.

6:00 p.m.   Central Jersey Vegetarians' Annual Spring Potluck Dinner
St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church, 1900 Brooks Blvd., Manville, NJ    Bring a vegan dish to share
Cost is $10 for non-members, $20 if not bringing food   For info, call 908-281-6388.



6:00-8:00 p.m    Workshop: "Build Your Own Computer"
Nonprofit Technology Resources, 1524 Brandywine St., Philadelphia, Pa   $25 per session   To register, 215-564-6686.

7:00-9:00 p.m.   International Concerned Friends & Family of Mumia Weekly Meeting
4601 Market St., 5th floor, Philadelphia, PA   For info, call 215-476-5416.


4:30 p.m.   Anti-war leafleting and picket
Market & 11th Sts., Philadelphia, PA   For info, email

5:00 p.m.   Vigil--Women in Black
Swarthmore Train Station, Park Ave. & Chester Rd., Swarthmore, PAFor info, email


10:00 a.m. to noon
"Talking Union" weekly call-in radio show, 1340 AM

noon-1:00 p.m.   Peace Vigil
Rte. 38 & Cherry Hill Mall Dr., Cherry Hill, NJ   For info, email

1:00-2:00 p.m.   Protest at Ferber Furs
1708 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA   For info, email


5:00-7:00 p.m.   Radio Show: "Labor to Neighbor" with hosts Janet Ryder, Pat Eiding &   Pete Matthews
900 AM WURD--215-634-8065.

6:00-9:00 p.m.   Weekly ACT UP Meeting
St. Luke's Church, 330 S. 13th St., Philadelphia, PA   For info, email

Tuesdays  7:30 p.m.   Books Through Bars Packing Cafe   The A Space, 4722 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA
Help pack books to send to prisoners.   Email


4:30-5:30 p.m.   Peace Vigil   Federal Building, 601 Market St., Philadelphia, PA
Sponsored by House of Grace Catholic Worker   For info, email .

5:00 p.m.   Vigil for Peace
Outside Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Dr., Philadelphia, PA   For info, see

6:00 p.m.   Movement Class taught by Sophia Hoffer-Perkins
A-space, 4722 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA   Sliding scale donations   For info, 215-727-0882.

7:00 p.m.   Peace Vigil   Germantown Ave. & Bethlehem Pike, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA
For info, see

7:30 p.m.   International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement Weekly Meeting
Uhuru House, 1021 S. 49th St., Philadelphia, Pa   For info, see


Urgent update on Iran

         I'm writing you on behalf of the UFPJ Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security Working group, which is tracking the Iranian situation for the Steering Committee.  In a very important article published in the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh documents current US planning for a military attack on Iran, including discussion at the highest levels of the Pentagon regarding the possible use of nuclear weapons. For commentary on Seymour Hersh's article in the New Yorker, "The Iran Plans", including discussion of related Washington Post and NY Times articles, please see John Burroughs' April 8 post, "Hersh's Bombshell," at  Hersh's article:

The working group is drafting a UFPJ position calling for no war, covert military action or sanctions against Iran, and for US compliance with its own obligation under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to negotiate the elimination nuclear weapons globally, including its own vast and sophisticated nuclear arsenal.  We're also putting together fact sheets and other educational materials, which will be available soon on the UFPJ website and at the April 29 moblization.  Please share this information widely. 

P.S.  As we face this new challenge, UFPJ needs the involvement and support of its member groups more than ever. If your group hasn't paid its dues, this would be an excellent time to do so.  If you have paid your dues, many thanks!  If you're able to make an additional donation, it is badly needed and would be much appreciated!!
        ~ Jacqueline Cabasso, Tel: (510) 839-5877, E-mail: Web site:

March for Peace, Justice & Democracy - Details Confirmed for Saturday April 29 March for Peace, Justice and Democracy

Details Confirmed for Saturday April 29 March for Peace, Justice and Democracy
Organizers of the March for Peace, Justice and Equality are pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with New York City officials for mobilization plans on Saturday, April 29. This massive demonstration is being organized by United for Peace and Justice, RainbowPUSH Coalition, National Organization for Women, Friends of the Earth, U.S. Labor Against the War, Climate Crisis Coalition, Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund, National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, and Veterans For Peace.

The march will kick off in Manhattan, just north of Union Square and proceed south along Broadway to Foley Square, where the Peace and Justice Festival will take place.

Please see schedule below:
10:30 am - 12 noon: Assembly along Broadway, north of 18th Street. Contingents will form in the area from 18th Street to 22nd Street, between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue South.

12 noon: March begins and proceeds south on Broadway, turning left (east) on Worth Street and continuing into Foley Square.
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm: The Peace and Justice Festival will be held at Foley Square. A map of the festival area will be available.

The March for Peace, Justice and Democracy will be an unprecedented event, uniting leaders and activists from a broad range of social justice groups and diverse communities all with one goal -ending the war in Iraq and turning our country around!
        ~ Further updates will be posted on as information becomes available.

Solidarity with Eren Keskin for Human and Women Rights!

Eren Keskin (Lawyer, Founding member of the Legal Aid Office for the Victims of Sexual Harassment and Rape in Custody and human rights activist, Turkey) delivered a speech in 2002 at a conference in Cologne, Germany under the theme "Women's Rights are Human Rights". In this speech she shared the results of their study on incidents of violence originating in action of the state with the public. As a result of this speech she has been convicted of an offense defined by the article 301 of New Turkish Penal Code by the court decision, and subjected to 6000 New Turkish Liras to pay in return 10 months imprisonment.

We, the women forming Eren Keskin Solidarity Network, believe that this punishment is a punishment on all who believe in democracy and peace. We call on everyone who believes in democracy and considers freedom of  speech as an essential plank of a democratic society, and we call on all who believe and all who say "Stop violence against women!" to join and take part of the campaign, "Solidarity with Eren Keskin for Women and Human Rights".
Click on:
                                        Contact us:, The Women in Solidarity with Eren Keskin Network

URGENT HELP NEEDED: United Students Against Sweatshops []

Students at the University of Miami and Columbia University are
currently engaged in large actions and need your help!

- USAS members at the University of Miami are currently engaged in
a hunger strike and tent city in solidarity with striking
janitorial workers who are currently attempting to organize a union.

- USAS members at Columbia University are currently sitting-in to
demand that Columbia University become sweat free!


Today, students sit in Low Library (the Office of the President)
to demand that Columbia square its policies with its values. We
are sitting-in to demand that Columbia adopt the Designated
Suppliers Program, mandating that our collegiate apparel be made
in factories where workers have democratic representation and to
which companies pay enough to allow workers to negotiate for a
living wage from management. We presented this proposal to
Columbia in September and they have failed to act, though ten
other universities already have. We have sat through countless
meetings and navigated all possible channels through the
university bureaucracy. President Bollinger claims to support
"the goal of promoting basic fairness in wages, working
conditions, and a voice for workers," but he refuses to take the
practical steps necessary to make sure those goals are met. We
sit asking President Bollinger to live up to his own values.

We hope that President Bollinger joins the presidents of Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Connecticut,
Indiana, and Syracuse in their support of the Designated Suppliers Program.

Columbia University Administration: President Bollinger:, 212.854.9970

Recent events have once again raised student escalation efforts.
This decision to hunger strike in solidarity with the workers
was well thought out and planned as a group decision.
Meetings and committees are used
commonly by administrations nationally through social justice
campaigns as stalling tactics. UNICCO's website
( com) even
reported that they would simply stall for four weeks until the
students left for summer break and forget all about the workers.
UNICCO and their stepchild (the administration) are gravely
mistaken. Workers shall not be silenced; students shall not be
stalled. We won't sit by and wait for UNICCO and SEIU to find a
fair process free of intimidation, threats, and harassment. Workers have
waited for "the process." They have waited five years; meetings
have never brought results, and hoping has only led to
desperation. It is solely the direct action and civil
disobedience of workers and students along with amazing
community support that has created change.

Your support can be shown in visits to Freedom City with
classes, encouraging events and meetings to occur here, bottled
water, and continuing education surrounding the issue. Other
events will be communicated to you as they are made.

I will leave you with a quote in which students have found
inspiration:"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your
time; but if you've come because your liberation is bound up
with mine, then let us work together." - Lila Watson

Call and E-mail the President and Vice President and tell them:
*That you support workers efforts, and are horrified that UM has allowed this to escelate to a hunger strike.
*That it is never OK to fire a worker for their union sympathies, and that the right to organize is a human right!
*That they should respect workers rights to unionize in what method they choose
*That they should publicly announce they will not cut the contract with UNICCO if they unionize.

University of Miami Administration:
President Donna Shalala - Phone:305-284-5155 email:

Vice President Patricia Whitely- Phone: 305-284-4922 email:
If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for United Students Against Sweatshops at:


* Response by the Global Women's Strike to the Channel 4 News 27 March 2006 report on Venezuela 
- Channel Four News joins media witch-hunt of disinformation against President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

Your long piece on 27 March presented by Jonathan Rugman went out of its way to portray President Chávez as an irresponsible madman opposed by human rights activists, who is foolish enough to challenge the US government.  As John Pilger pointed out in his excellent critique of this segment of your programme, the presumed human rights activist you interviewed is in fact a leader of Sumate, an extreme right wing organisation funded by the US as part of its campaign to destabilise Venezuela and bring down its elected government.  But Channel Four viewers were not told this. 

What are Chávez's crimes?  He has not bombed, invaded or pillaged another country or threatened to do so.  He has not been holding hundreds of detainees without trial for over four years.  He is not orchestrating torture through 'rendition' or by any other means.  He does not deny global warming and the need to address it.  He is not the inept, ignorant and inarticulate figurehead of unelected corporations which profit from invasions and occupations and steal 'reconstruction' money and contracts.  He has not won two elections through fraudulent means.  He is not a religious fundamentalist. 

As an international grassroots network which includes Venezuela, we know first-hand that:

1.      Chávez uses Venezuela's large oil revenue to tackle the poverty of 80% of the Venezuelan population.  This is a complete break with his predecessors, the Venezuelan elite and its international (mainly US) friends who enriched themselves at the expense of most Venezuelans.

2.      He extends the benefits of the oil revenue to other countries in the region, providing oil at a 40% reduction payable with food and services by those who can't afford to pay cash.  Even low income people in the US have benefited: Hurricane Katrina victims and others receive cheap heating fuel from Venezuela's US subsidiary, Citgo.

3.      He has worked with Cuba on literacy and health programmes which in less than two years have succeeded in eliminating illiteracy in Venezuela, and are providing free health care for all.  These programmes are now being used in other countries such as Bolivia whose governments are also intent on eliminating poverty.  (But then Evo Morales, the newly elected president of Bolivia was dismissed by Rugman as a 'Chávez protégé'.) 

4.      He is redistributing idle land to those willing to work it, restarting agricultural production which was killed decades ago by the oil boom, in order to achieve food security for the Venezuelan population who depended on imports for 65% of its staple foods.

5.      He publicly challenges attempts by the US administration - that great exporter of democracy - to bring his government down, and there have been a number, including: the April 2002 coup, defeated when millions of people, starting with women, took to the streets to demand Chávez's return and most of the army remained loyal to the constitution; and the oil sabotage of 2002-3 which was run from the CIA offices in Caracas.  There have also been assassination attempts and calls by those close to the Bush administration for his assassination (the latest was Pat Robertson).  A number of those involved in the 2002 coup are now living in Miami.

6.      He speaks out against the war and invasion of Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq.

7.      He has won eight elections and a presidential referendum since 1998, each time increasing his majority.

8.      He can count on over 70% support according to the latest polls and is the most popular head of state in the Western hemisphere, probably in the world.

9.      He acknowledges the enormous contribution of women's unwaged caring work to society, the economy and the revolution, and has called for implementation of Article 88 of the constitution which entitles housewives to social security.  In February he announced that some of the oil revenue would go to women whose hard work deserves recognition: from June the poorest housewives will receive $160 a month.  About 500,000 women are expected to get this money.  Article 14 of the Land Act prioritises woman-headed households for land distribution and for food subsidies for pregnant women and new mothers and their infants.  In March the Women's Development Bank celebrated its fifth anniversary: thousands of poor families have benefited from its subsidised micro-credit.

10. He promotes anti-racism and the rights of Indigenous people who have suffered most from over 500 years of first European then US imperialism, and are now entitled to resources including ancestral land, bilingual education and other recognition of their cultural autonomy. 

11. He has stated more than once that the market cannot be allowed to be in charge of us because it will destroy the world, and that life is too precious to be left in the hands of such an unregulated force.  He talks about 'eliminating poverty by giving power to the poor' and 'creating a caring economy, an economy at the service of human beings, not human beings at the service of the economy'. 

12. Most importantly, he plans for the involvement of the entire population most of whom are actively engaged with the revolution, especially women.  He promotes direct democracy rather than representative democracy so that those elected cannot ignore the electorate and do as they please as soon as they are voted in.  The poorest sectors of the population have been running the anti-poverty and health programmes; they are determined to do everything in their power to defend what they have won so far and to prevent any kind of intervention. 

The list is much longer.  But popularity when it is deserved earns not the respect of so-called democrats but cries of 'populism' and 'demagogy'.  It is wrong for Chávez to 'buy' populations by funding anti-poverty reforms but perfectly OK for Bush to buy whole governments with corrupt deals and arms sales.  Perhaps the most outrageous aspect of Rugman's 'report' is that he sneered at the elimination of poverty.  Does the Channel Four News Team share Rugman's contempt for millions of people who have been robbed of the wealth they have created for generations, and are finally working to get some of it back? 

Channel Four has shown no interest in reporting what Venezuela is trying to do, whether it is being successful and what obstacles it faces, including constant threats from the Bush administration which funds the Venezuelan opposition and tours South America and the Caribbean trying to make deals with governments to attack Chávez and re-impose US dominance in the region.  Trinidad & Tobago recently bought military surveillance equipment from the US which many suspect are for use against Chávez.  US military manoeuvres have just started in the Caribbean, a reminder to the region of who has the most powerful army in the world. 

Most people globally, including in Britain, agree that Bush represents a global threat and must be stopped. 

President Chávez has been giving voice to these concerns; he encourages the people of the South to work together to overcome the poverty and exploitation imposed by market and military forces directed from Washington.  That makes him popular with the world's people and unpopular with the US government and its coalition of the willing.  Is it offensive that it is a Third World head of state, leader of a revolution, a man of African and Indigenous descent, who speaks the language of the people rather than the language of the establishment, who has shown himself equal to the task?  Has Channel Four News become so embedded with the US government as to be spewing its 'rogue state' propaganda on Venezuela? 

Over 50 journalists have been killed and many others nearly killed - like the respected Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena who was shot by US troops - for maintaining their independence during the Iraq war.  Sadly, we know of no campaign of journalists to uncover the truth about these deaths.  Instead, more and more seem to be caving in to US/UK pressure - this segment of your programme is one more example of that.  Clooney's film Good Night and Good Luck on reporters who stood up to McCarthyism in the '50s is most timely, and hopefully signals the start of more independent and self-respecting media workers accountable to the truth, to professional standards and therefore to the public it claims to serve. 

Nina López,Global Women's Strike,,
Channel 4 News is a major and very respected television news program in Britain which gives extensive coverage to international current affairs. To watch the report these letters refer to, go to :  "Hugo to go?"
* Response by John Pilger

Last night (March 27), Channel 4 News broadcast a relatively long piece on Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. On Channel 4's website you get a flavour: "He is in danger of joining a rogue's gallery of dictators and despots -- Washington's latest Latin nightmare." This was a piece seemingly written by the US State Department, although Channel 4's Washington correspondent, Jonathan Rugman, appeared on screen. It was one of the worst, most distorted pieces of journalism I have ever seen, qualifying as crude propaganda. I have been in Venezuela lately and almost nothing in Rugman's rant coincides with reality. Factories are like "Soviet collectives"; a dictatorship is on the rise; Chavez is like Hitler (Rumsfeld); and the media is under government attack.

The inversion of the truth throughout this travesty is demonstrated in the "coverage" of a cowed media. Venezuela is a country in which 95 per cent of the press and TV and radio are owned by the far-right who mounts unrelenting daily attacks on the government unhindered. The Latin American Murdoch, Cisneros, unfettered, controls much of it. Indeed, it is probably the most concentrated, reactionary media on earth -- but that was not worthy of a single word from Rugman. The dishonesty of interviewing Maria Corina Machado and calling her a "human rights activist" was breathtaking. She is a leader of Sumate ('Join up'), an extreme right organisation that was deeply involved in the 2002 coup. She met Bush in the White House shortly before the coup. There was no mention of this.

Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, is dismissed as a "Chavez protégé", a puppet -- a ludicrous description of a man who has been in politics longer than Chavez and has just won a landslide election. No mention of this. Chavez himself is portrayed by Rugman as a comical dictator, with his folksy Latin way (one reason ordinary people love him) taken out of any context. In fact, this highly intelligent, accessible man has overseen victory in nine democratic elections in less than eight years -- a world record.

In crude Soviet-flick style, he is shown with the likes of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafy when these brief encounters only had to do with OPEC and oil. (He met Saddam literally in a day-long stopover). Chavez is said to have "torn up contracts" with foreign oil companies. The contracts were barely legal, based on loopholes which Chavez's predecessor Rafael Caldera exploited to give away much of Venezuela's oil, in effect; billions of dollars went into the pockets of Venezuela's wealthy minority. No mention of this. Utter bullshit about Venezuela helping Iran develop a nuclear capability is sourced to "press reports" (discredited in the United States) peddled by axe-grinding outsiders, in league with Washington, along with other half-baked hearsay. There was little, apart from tokens, about the way the Chavez government has changed millions of people's lives for the better.  Rugman whined that he was "held for 30 hours" by police in Caracas. Oh, how dramatic for him. This is a country threatened day and night by the United States; there was nothing from our Channel 4 hero about "Operation Bilbao", to which serious US analysts like William Arkin have given credibility and which is about overthrowing the elected government of Venezuela. In his brief captivity, Rugman would have learned that this is a country, although under constant military threat, and threats from within, has not a single political prisoner. While Chavez was offered up as a clown, Condoleezza Rice was given true gravitas.

I could go on, but that's enough. This was a disgrace from beginning to end. Worse, it joined the kind of hysteria in the US that is following the Bush administration's agenda of "positioning" Venezuela as a "rogue state" and a threat to US interests: in other words, softening it up for attack. If and when it comes, the Rugmans will share some of the responsibility.

* Cuban Drugs for HIV Patients
Havana, Apr 8 (Prensa Latina) Cuba´s production of bio-technological
reagents to test for HIV-AIDS constitutes a major contribution to the
scientific battle against that disease.
  The research on sero-positive and sick people at the Pedro Kouri
Tropical Medicine Institute based in Havana ensures the period in which
the anti-retroviral therapies should be applied to improve the quality
of life and survival of roughly 4,000 HIV carriers in Cuba.
                        - "Walter Tillow" <>

* Historic African-American New Orleans Church Reopened After Weeks Of Protests & Rectory Sit-In
        Historic St. Augustine Parish in New Orleans was reopened and its church re-consecrated Saturday after weeks of protests and a rectory sit -in that lasted 19 days. St. Augustine, founded in 1841 by slaves and free people of color, is one of the nation's oldest black parishes. Listen/Watch/Read

* "Poor People, Disabled People, People of Color Are Not Welcomed Back to
New Orleans" - Activists Paint Grim Picture of Struggling City *
We speak with two activists about the current state of New Orleans: Bill Quigley is a law professor at Loyola University and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola and Tracie Washington, the director of the NAACP Gulf Coast Advocacy Center. Listen/Watch/Read

The Climate is Heating Up Now. When Will Congress Act? http://

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America Is Addicted to Oil" But Where Is the 12-Step Plan?

China: Defiantly Defensive or Aggressively Expansionistic? A Brief Trip Report by Ned Stowe

"Belated Justice" Possible for Native Americans

FCNL Joins Religious Anti-Torture Coalition

South Dakota Abortion Ban Foes Petition for a Choice,1,2979411,full.story

"Why I Think Rumsfeld Must Go" A military insider sounds off against  the war and the "zealots" who pushed it
Lieut. General Greg Newbold(Ret.)
Time Magazine-,8816,1181587,00.html