Free the Cuban 5

Next month’s court hearing on the case of the Cuban Five should draw attention from all organizations that support workers’ civil, human, legal and political rights. One principle of international law — the right to reasonable security free from external danger — applies regardless of political or ideological differences. No country in the world is safe from terrorism unless the same standards apply to all.

Allowing Luis Posada Carriles illegal entry into the United States is a cynical maneuver that maintains a double standard and sets a dual policy with respect to international relations. As a fugitive from justice, this international terrorist must be extradited to Venezuela to stand trial for his crimes. His presence establishes, in fact, the administration’s desire to destroy the Cuban Revolution.

Will homeland security mean witness protection for another killer by the U.S. government? Has the war against terrorism indeed become a war against democracy and civil and human rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution? The question everyone should ask is this: How long can five, innocent, patriotic heroes be unjustly incarcerated without due process?

Richard Grassl

Via e-mail

LabourStart contest

I was happy to see the banner linking your web site to the LabourStart “best web site” contest. I actually just voted for the PWW last time I was at Labourstart (, just before you put the banner up. So it was smart to let everyone else know to go do the same. Keep up the good ideas like this. And I really love the RSS feeds on both the headlines and especially the stories in the Online Extra section.

Good luck on the voting!

Brandon Slattery

Philadelphia PA

Workers for political office

Only workers can represent workers. I nominate the business agent of the New York transit workers union to be candidate for mayor of New York. Can I get a second on this motion?

I want 20 union workers in each state running for Congress in 2006. Every local union needs to nominate two rank-and-file members to run for the House or Senate. We can remove every businessman, lawyer, banker, etc., and replace them with union bus drivers, ironworkers, painters, electricians, carpenters, etc. — our kind of people, people that know us. People that are us.

Workers must step forward and take responsibility for ourselves. Do you think a rich banker is going to go out on a limb for union ironworkers? He will fight union and nonunion workers with every breath he takes.

It is time for workers to take office and rule.

Ray Beckworth

Ellaville GA

Postcards for impeachment

Now is the time to generate tremendous pressure on the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Bush. According to the Constitution, the House brings the impeachment action, and the Senate conducts the trial, so our main focus right now should be members of the House.

We should flood Congress with postcards calling for Bush’s impeachment. We should point out that he repeatedly lied to the people and to Congress about the justifications for going to war in Iraq; that, like Nixon three decades ago, he carried out an illegal wiretapping program against the people of this country; that he continues to support torture and other violations of international law; and that he has no remorse for any of these and intends to continue all of them.

These are serious offenses that constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which — according to the Constitution — are grounds for impeachment. I urge you to support impeachment immediately. Our republic is at stake. I am counting on you!

Glen Anderson

Via e-mail

Easier way to pass the word?

It is hard to improve what is arguably the best newspaper in the country, but I will try: How about making it easier to electronically forward the web site I tried to forward a recent issue, and did not see any convenient way to do it.

John Pappademos

Ferguson MO

Outrageous claim

I e-mailed the following message to the MSNBC Tucker Carlson show, “The Situation,” after an outrageous report by their very own MSNBC analyst that people with AIDS are being recruited to be suicide bombers. It aired Jan. 9. I encourage others to respond.

“I work at a health center that is an outpatient clinic for people with AIDS and HIV. I couldn’t believe the misinformation reported by the MSNBC analyst on your show saying that the terrorist group Al Qaeda is trying to recruit people with AIDS to be suicide bombers. This misinformation creates irrational fear and further divides people.

“Persons with AIDS are now living much longer and quite often die of medical conditions associated with old age like heart disease and not from AIDS. They have everything to live for. I have never met a population of people who appreciate and love life more than people with AIDS and HIV. I have worked with this population for over five years. These outrageous reports create fear and hysteria and contribute nothing to the struggle against terrorism.”

Eva Strobeck

Chicago IL

Unnecessary deaths

On Jan. 7 The New York Times published a front-page story discussing a secret Pentagon study which concluded that up to 80 percent of the 340 GIs who died in Iraq from wounds of the upper torso could have survived had they been wearing state-of-the-art armored vests. According to the Times, the Marine Corps didn’t order any of the upgraded vests until September 2005, when it finally ordered 28,800 sets for some of its troops. The Times also reported that, as of December 2005, the Marines had distributed only 2,200 sets of these improved vests in Iraq.

The Times quotes the secret study as follows: “As many as 42 percent of the Marines casualties who died from isolated torso injuries could have been prevented with improved protection in the areas surrounding the plated areas of the vest.” (A total of 526 Marines have been killed as of 1/7/06 in Iraq.)

It is tragic if young Marines are dying because their commanders didn’t commit the funds to provide them with the best protective gear money can buy. The money the Marines are spending to hunt down and prosecute 40-year AWOLs from the Vietnam War, like Cpl. Jerry Texiero, should instead be committed to providing better protection for our troops.

Tod Ensign

Director, Citizen Soldier

Via e-mail